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e. g. Zeph. 2: 12, "also ye Cushites, slain of my sword are they" (). Ezek. 28 : 22, “Behold, I come upon thee, Sidon, and glorify myself in thee, and they shall experience, that I am the Lord, when I in her," &c. Jer. 7:4. The second '3 shows the reason, wherefore Joshua and his colleagues are noin VIX. This lies in the appearing of the antitype. For if this is not real, then the type also ceases. This antitype, the Messiah, is designated by a twofold appellation. First, my servant, as Is. 42:1, 49: 3, 5, 50 : 10, 52 : 13, 53:11, Ezek. 34 :: 23, 24. Then nos, sprout. This latter name designates the early obscurity of the Messiah; he will not resemble a proud tree, but a sprout, which gradually grows up and becomes a tree. This appears from the comparison of the parallel passages already collected, p. 5, &c. Among these, Zechariah, to judge according to his relation to these prophets elsewhere, in all probability had before his eyes especially those of Jeremiah (23 : 5, 33 : 15.) and Ezekiel. It is unnecessary to suppose, with several interpreters, that sprout here stands for sprout of David. The expression rather designates, in general, the early obscurity of the Messiah, not as Is. 11:1, especially his origin from the fallen family of David, which is indeed a necessary consequence of the former. The assertion of Quenstedt is erroneous ; germen est nomen originis et filiationis, - semper respectum habet ad id, cujus est germen." In Is. 53:2, also, without respect to his descent, in order to designate his original obscurity, the Messiah is called a tender shoot, pur in opposition to a stately tree. Calvin : "comparat Christum surculo, quia de nihilo, ut ita dicam oriri visus est, propterea quod principium ejus contemptibile fuit. Quid enim obtinuit excellentia Christus in mundo, quum natus est, quomodo auspicatus est regnum suum ? et quomodo initiatus est suo sacerdotio ?” The Seventy render nog by ávatoàn, which, however, they have not employed, as several interpreters erroneously suppose, in the sense of “a rising light," but, as Jerome, on chap. 6: 12, rightly perceived, in that of a sprout. In this sense they employ åvatoàn (toữ dypoũ) Ez. 16:7, 17: 10; the verb noy is alternately rendered by therm ανατέλλειν, εξανατέλλειν, φυεϊν, αναφυεϊν, and βλαστάνειν, Jer. 33: 15. They translatė noy by Bhaotós, as does Symm. also, 23 : 5, by Badornua, (comp. Mark exercitt. misc., p. 160 sq.) That by “the servant of the Lord, Branch," the Messiah was intended, was the prevailing opinion of the older Jews. The Chaldee paraphrases
behold I bring my servant the " ,הא אנא מיתי ית עבדי משיחא ויתגלי
Messiah, who will be revealed.” In Echa Rabbati, Branch is cited among the names of the Messiah. In the Christian church also, this view was always predominant. Some of the fathers, nevertheless, (Theodoret on the passage, and probably, so far as can be ascertained from his obscure expressions, Eusebius, demonstr. I. 4, c. 70,) found here Zerubbabel, led astray by a misapprehension of the words, “ he will build my temple," in the parallel passage, chap. 6: 13. For another reason, an earnest desire to set aside, as much as possible, references to the Messiah, this interpretation has found favor with some later Jewish critics, and with Grotius. Its refutation need not detain us long. A still stronger objection than that which is commonly and justly urged against it, – that nox is a constant designation of the Messiah, and as such, occurs particularly in Jeremiah, the exemplar of Zechariah ; that here a future person is promised, while Zerubbabel had already long been active in the new colony,
is, that by it the whole object of the prophecy is defeated. Why does Zerubbabel appear in a prophecy which is occupied throughout with the priesthood ? How can his appearing be announced especially to them, as peculiarly honorable and joyful for them, how can it be contrasted as a higher blessing with the inferior one, the divine confirmation of their office granted to them before? In what relation were the priests types of Zerubbabel ? In what sense could the removal of the sins of the land in one day, (comp. v. 9,) be attributed to him ? It now only remains to answer the question, in what sense the priests are here called types of the Messiah. It is impossible it should be any thing else than what constitutes the characteristic of their office. For that regard was had to the office, but not the person of Joshua, is evident from the circumstance that his colleagues were associated with him. The characteristic of the priestly office consisted, however, in the mediation between God and the people, and this in accordance with the circumstances of the latter, was exercised chiefly in procuring forgiveness of sins by sacrifice and intercession. The Messiah, therefore, can be represented as the antitype of the priesthood only so far as he should perfectly accomplish the mediation and deliverance from sin, which was but imperfectly accomplished by it. This is further confirmed by the following arguments. 1. We have already seen, that the people, troubled concerning the forgiveness of their sins, are consoled in what precedes by the assurance, that, notwithstanding their transgressions, the Lord would not reject the priesthood. When,
therefore, hitherto the priesthood has been solely considered only in reference to the deliverance of the people from sin, and when Joshua has appeared as occupied in procuring it, how can it be thought otherwise, than that the antitypical high priest here promised is contrasted with the typical, only in reference to the perfect deliverance from sin to be effected through him ? 2. The Lord promises, v. 9, expressly, that he will remove the sins of the whole land through his servant. 3. Forgiveness of sin is a constant characteristic mark of the Messianic time, (comp. Vol. I. p. 199.) Zechariah, chap. 13:1, exhibits, as the chief blessing to be imparted to those who should look upon him who was pierced, that a fountain should be opened for them for all impurities and sins. But this passage derives the clearest light from Is. 53, where the Messiah is represented, at the same time, as the true sacrifice, and as the true high priest. As the latter, he sprinkles many nations (52: 15); he presents a sin offering (53 : 10); he makes intercession for sinners, (v. 12.) The only difference between the two passages is, that here the method is, not as it is there, pointed out, whereby the true high priest shall effect the removal of sin. Finally, the Messiah appears as a high priest also in Ps. 110.
V. 9. “For behold, the stone, which I have laid before Joshua, upon this one stone shall seven eyes be directed; behold, I will hew it out saith the Lord of hosts and remove the sin of the land in one day.” ') shows, that this verse 'must be the reason of the proposition immediately before ; " for I bring my servant, Branch," in like manner as the first '), in v. 8, and the second, must be respectively that of “hear," and "they are types." Appearances were altogether against the manifestation of the Messiah ; the miserable condition of the new colony seemed to cut off all prospect of the fulfilment of such splendid promises, comp. 4:10. The Lord, therefore, the Almighty (Jehovah of hosts), by pointing to his lively concern for the best good of the Theocracy, as the ground of these blessings, withdraws the attention from the outward appearance. That the seven eyes must not be regarded as belonging to the stone, but as directed to it, scarcely needs a proof, as is generally confessed by modern interpreters. It is suficient even to refer to chap. 4:10, where the seven eyes of the Lord are designated as those, which look on the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, and are cited as having been already mentioned in what had preceded. The eye of God is not seldom employed to designate the Divine Providence.
It is, however, peculiar to Zechariah, that he designates the most special concern of God for the stone by the resting of his seven eyes
It appears, that he had here in view the symbolic representations of the Babylonians or Persians. That similar figurative designations were employed, particularly by the Persians, appears from the fact, that certain confidential servants of the king were called op fauoi Baoudéws; comp. Suidas and Hesychius s. v., Brisson. de reg. Pers. princ. p. 264 sq.; a designation probably borrowed from their theology, as the whole Persian kingdom was supposed to be a visible representation of the heavenly kingdom of Ormuz, of whom the king was the representative, (comp. Beiträge, 1, p. 125 sq.) It is further to be inquired, what is meant by the stone, to which the seven eyes are directed. It is almost unanimously supposed by the older interpreters to be the Messiah. But this is contradicted by “which I have laid before Joshua,” whereby the stone appears as something already present only to be ornamented hereafter, as also by, “I will grave it.” Others suppose it to be the foundation stone of the temple; but we do not perceive how this was to be graved. The correct view is rather, that the unhewn stone, to be polished and graven by the Lord, is an image of the Theocracy, and its seat, the temple, signifying its present low condition, and its future glorification by the Lord. The stone is then with entire propriety described as lying before Joshua, since, as had been said, v. 7, the chief oversight of the Theocracy, at that time, devolved upon him. The polishing and graving of the rough, precious stone, (comp. Exod. 28 : 9, 11, 21, 36, 39, 40,) consists preëminently in the sending of the Messiah, though without excluding the earlier mercies of God. According to the cotemporary prophecy of Haggai, chap. 2:7 – 10, the second temple was to be filled with glory, and made more illustrious than the first, through him. dining and, to open openings, to grave. The verb wird, elsewhere intrans. recedere, here transitive. This land, Judea, which, although the deliverance from sin to be effected by the Messiah should extend further, even over the whole heathen world, is here alone mentioned, because in this whole prediction the prophet aims only to comfort the troubled minds of his people. The expression, “ in one day,” where day stands for the shortest portion of time, implies, that the removal of sin, to be effected by the Messiah, would not be continually repeated, like that accomplished by the typical priesthood, but completed in a single action.
V. 10. “ At that time ye shall call one to another, to the vine and to the fig tree !” So translates correctly De Dieu, Crit. Sacr. More seebly others; “ Ye shall invite one another under." The words contain an image of the rest, peace, and prosperity, (" summa et lætissima tranquillitas in amena omnium copia,” De Dieu,) which would be a consequence of the forgiveness of sins procured by the Messiah,
5. The Candlestick with the Two Olive Trees.
Between this and the preceding vision a pause is to be supposed. The angelus interpres had withdrawn for a time from the prophet, and the latter, his ecstasy having ceased, had recovered his ordinary condition of mind. Jerome: “ Quotiescunque humana fragilitas suæ relinquitur imbecillitati, deus a nobis et angelorum ejus auxilium abire credendum est," “And the angel who conversed with me," -- it is said, v. “ returned and awoke me, as a man who is awakened from sleep.” We have here the deepest designation of the condition of the prophets while prophesying (comp. Vol. I. p. 217), in comparison with their ordinary state. They stand related to each other as sleep to being awake. The ordinary condition, in which, given up to sensible impressions, we are unable to raise the spiritual eye to the contemplation of what is divine, is that of spiritual sleep; the ecstasy on the contrary, when the senses are at rest, and the whole of our conscious agency ceases, and the images of divine things are represented in the soul as in a pure and smooth mirror, is a state of spiritual watchfulness. This sense, which is the only true one, Cyril alone among all the interpreters has perceived, who remarks: “Our condition, in comparison with that of the angels, is to be regarded as a state of sleep." The rest, as Theodoret, Jerome, Vitringa, have been led astray by their erroneous preconceived opinions respecting the condition of the prophets while prophesying. (Comp. Vol. I. p. 217.) They suppose the prophet was so absorbed in the contemplation of the vision, chap. 3, as to need the admonition of the angelus interpres to attend to the new scene which presented itself. But this supposition is untenable, since it leaves out of view," and the angel returned," and indeed makes his going away to be without meaning.