Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

the mountains. But why does the prophet, in order to designate the judgment as a consequence of the Theocracy, make the four chariots go forth particularly from this valley of the mountains ? Because it lay under the Temple mountain, and was the nearest place to the Temple accessible to carriages, which was the dwelling-place of the Lord under the Old Testament. Here, therefore, (comp. v. 5,) the four winds of heaven stationed themselves, expecting the commands of the Lord. For a similar reason, because this place was the nearest to the temple, which was suited to contain a great multitude of men, Joel, chap. 4:1, represents the Lord as here collecting the heathen nations for judgment. .For behold, in those days, at the time when I shall restore Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.On which Cyril of Alexandria remarks : Xãpos oŭtos πόλλους σταδίοις απέχων της Ιερουσαλήμ εν τοις πρός τώ μέρεσι ψιλόν δε είναι φασί και ιππήλατον. . Wherefore were the two mountains called brazen? To indicate, that the Lord surrounds his kingdom with a wall of protection, which can neither be scaled nor broken through. This truth was symbolized by the position of Jerusalem, as the Psalmist had already expressed it in the words ; “ The mountains are round about Jerusalem, and the Lord surrounds his people.” In order to make the type more conformable to the reality, the prophet converts the mountains, which cover Jerusalem on the eastern side, into brass. As for the rest, that the whole description is to be figuratively understood, and that the existence of the temple at the time of the judgment upon all the nations of the earth cannot be inferred, appears partly from this very designation of the mountains, partly from the foregoing chapter, according to which, before the coming of this judgment, Jerusalem shall be entirely destroyed and the people carried into exile.

The color of the horses is here equally significant as in chap. 1. It indicates the destination of the chariots to execute judgment upon the enemies of God, red the color of blood, black the color of mourning, white the color of victory. But here the circle of colors suited to the sense to be expressed was completed. The prophet, therefore, since no significant color remained for the horses of the fourth chariot, was compelled to give them an unmeaning color (speckled), and by a special epithet. (O'BON, strong) to signify the attribute, horses go

which, in the case of the others, was already implied in the color. Not perceiving this, the interpreters following Bochart (Hieroz. I. p. 111 sqq.) have invented a meaning (purpureus) for D'xDx, in this passage, which it elsewhere never has, and is the less capable of receiving here, since it occurs, v. 7, in the usual acceptation strong.

After the prophet, v. 4, 5, has received, in reply to his question, information from the angelus interpres respecting the import of the four chariots, he describes, v. 6, 7, the direction, which in inward contemplation he sees them take. “ The chariots with the black

forth towards the north country, and the white follow after them, and the speckled go towards the south country. And, as the strong went forth, they desired to go over the whole earth, and the Lord said, 'Go and pass over the earth,' and they passed over the earth.” The difficulty here, which has given occasion to the interpreters for the most forced explanations, is, that the black horses of the second chariot are mentioned first, and that the red of the first appear to be entirely passed over. On a nearer inspection, however, this difficulty entirely disappears, the red horses of the first chariot are here the strong (disregard of the article is the chief cause of the errors of interpreters), those in comparison with which the rest were to be regarded as weak, although in themselves considered they were strong, and had before in part been designated by the same epithet ; — the strongest among them. These are mentioned last, because, feeling their power, and not satisfied like the rest with any particular portion of the earth, they desire permission of the Lord to go over the whole, whereby it is intended to express the thought, that the judgment shall be strictly universal, no portion of the earth shall be exempted from it.

The chariot with the black and that with the white horses both go towards the north country. There must be a reason why this country is expressly mentioned, and two chariots depart for it. The inhabitants of the north country,- according to constant usage, the Babylonians and Assyrians, - had been in times past the most dangerous enemies of the covenant people. They, therefore, served the prophet, chap. 5, as a type of their future enemies. In order now to express the thought, that after the latter shall have returned again to the Lord, (comp. chap. 12,) the former shall eminently experience the divine chastisement, he makes the executioners of the justice of God go forth in a peculiar manner towards the north country. That the north country is here to be understood, not properly, but typically, appears even from the foregoing chapter, where the prophet, not in a literal, but in a figurative sense, calls the country of those whose punishment is here announced, the land of Shinar.

About the same is true in reference to the south country. On the south of Palestine dwelt the Egyptians, the first oppressors of Israel, who were elsewhere also combined by Zechariah with the enemies from the north, as a type of the future enemies of the covenant people, (comp. 10: 10, 11.) That only one chariot departs for them, represents them as comparatively less guilty, since their misconduct from length of time now appeared in a less striking light.

The vision closes with an explanation of the Lord to the prophet concerning the design of the departure of the chariots. “Behold those, which depart for the north country make mine anger to rest on the north country ; comp. Ezek. 5:13; “ I make mine anger rest," and Zech. 9:1, where the land of Hadrach and Damascus is represented as the resting-place of the divine sentence of punishment, which included in itself the fulfilment. The explanation indeed refers in the first instance only to one part, which, however, according to the above remarks, was the chief object of the divine judgment; but the prophet could easily hence deduce the destination of the rest sent forth under similar circumstances.

9. The Crown on the Head of Joshua.

Verses 9-15.

The future developements of the kingdom of God, which the prophet had described in the preceding context, the judgment, upon the former covenant people, as well as also, after their restoration, upon the remaining people of the earth, had their cause and source in the promised Anointed of the Lord, and presupposed his appearing. To fix the attention of the prophet, and through him that of the people upon this point, it is once more presented to his inward contemplation towards the close of his ecstasy, and with this, as the last words indicate, at once lovely and terrific image, the whole series of visions, whese collective contents in some way refer to it, is closed,

V. 9. Then came the word of the Lord to me: (v. 10.) Take of them of the captivity of Heldai, of Tobijah, of Jedaiah, and of

[ocr errors]

stood. ???,

Josiah the son of Zephaniah, who have come from Babylon, when thou goest into the house of the last named; (v. 11.) take, I say, silver and gold, and make crowns, and place them on the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest.” The prophecy presupposes certain historical circumstances, the knowledge of which is necessary

in order to understand it. It appears, that the Jews, great numbers of whom remained in Babylonia, on hearing of the rebuilding of the temple, which had now been going on for five months, had sent deputies with pecuniary aid to Jerusalem. This, does not indeed appear from the expression “ of the captives,” or of the exiles in v. 10. For izbun, in the book of Ezra, is sometimes a designation, not indeed of those still in the exile, but of those already returned, commonly called the sons of the captives. It is manifest, however, from a comparison of v. 15. There the représentatives of the " captivity," are described as a type of the distant heathen nations, who will hereafter actively promote the building of the temple or church of God. This type disappears, if by the captivity, the exiles, who had long since returned, are under

“and when it happened,” connects this vision with the foregoing; it was delivered to the prophet in the same night with the others, and contains a charge in respect to a symbolic action to be afterwards performed. With respect to the use of the Infin. absol. nips, instead of the Imper., comp. Ewald, p. 558. As the verb is separated from its object by the full description of those from whom the gold and silver were to be received, it is once more re

. naming of the particular persons, in order to indicate, that these have not come privatim, but as representatives and deputies of a whole corporation, the Jews still living in the exile ; just as in chap. 7: 2, Scharezer and Regemmelech appear as deputies of the Palestine Jews, (“ The house, the church of the Lord sent Scharezer," &c.) and speak in the name of the whole people, (“Shall I weep,” &c., v. 3.) This representative character of the individuals was important for the object of the prophet. Only in this respect were they suited to become a type of the heathen nations. - The interpreters, for the most part, suppose, that only three deputies had come from Babylon, and that Josiah, the son of Zephaniah, was the person by whom they were entertained at Jerusalem. They translate, “ When thou goest into the house of Josiah, into which they have come,” quam ingressi sunt," from Babylon." But this is contradicted by

precedes the את הגולה .peated for the sake of greater clearness

v. 14, 15, where Josiah appears as a partaker in the dedication of the crown, as a joint type of the distant heathen nations, who should build in the temple of the Lord. We must, therefore, translate baan ix3 90x, “who have come from Babylon,” and refer it to all the four who had been mentioned. The expression, "and thou shalt go into the house of Josiah,” is i. q. “ and from Josiah, into whose house thou shalt go.” The reason why the prophet should go into. the house of Josiah probably was, that he was the treasurer of the community, in whose house the presents which had been brought were deposited. In the view of the prophet the names of the deputies are as typical as their persons; he regards them as intimations of the attributes of those whom the persons typified, and of the blessings destined for them. This appears from the comparison of v. 14.

There two of the deputies bear à name different from that which here occurs, but of the same import. "In, the robust, from obo = Giá perennavit, sempiternus fuit, vegeta viridique senectute fuit, is there called on, strong, from bbm, to be strong. Josiah, God founds or sustains, from nex= vvx, fundavit, from which comes vs fulcimen, fulcimentum, Jerem. 50: 15, is there called in, grace. This variation is plainly designed; the easy remark oportet hos homines binomines fuisse of several interpreters is not a sufficient explanation, and the efforts to change the text rest on mere caprice. It is designed to show, that the names should be taken, not as current coin, but in their original worth. That the other names also, besides those already explained, — Tobijah, goodness of God, Jedaiah, God knows, Deus prospicit, and Zephaniah, God protects,were suited to the design of the prophet, needs no further proof. On the phrase $1777 Dia, Michaelis justly remarks: Die isto, quo scil. facere debes, quæ nunc mando. Forte deus in visione diem aliquem certum determinaverat, quem vero in visionis descriptione exprimere propheta minus necessarium duxit.Take silver and gold and make crowns. The prophet should obtain as much of the silver and gold, which had been brought, as was requisite for executing the commission he had received from the Lord. There is a difference among the interpreters with reference to the number of the crowns to be made. The common opinion is in favor of two, in support of which, it is said, that this, number is required to make the type correspond with the following prophecy, which announces the union of the high-priestly and the regal dignity in the person

« FöregåendeFortsätt »