Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:13-14

3/25/15

(13) As a result of the plague(s) falling upon them, the wicked will be seized with panic. In their panic they will seize each other’s hands and will raise their hands against each other. This means that they will begin to fight against one another. This is what happened in the story of Gideon (Judg 7:22) and the story of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Mount Seir (2 Chr 2:23). It is also Isaiah’s prediction in Isa 13:4 and Jesus’ predictions in Matt 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:10; and also in Revelation when the ten horns destroy the scarlet beast in Rev 17:16. In the end the wicked turn on each other. Ezekiel’s prediction in Ezek 38:17-22 concerning Gog has so many parallels to Zechariah’s prophecy that it is clearly speaking of the same event, at least in general terms.

(14) Judah will also fight in or at Jerusalem. This seems to parallel Zech 12:5-7 where Judah and Jerusalem are cooperating in their fight against their attackers. This, it seems to me, is continuing the scenes of verses 1 and 2, which is of the purifying tribulation of God’s people. Probably the story of the Aramean siege of Jerusalem is in the background here. Jerusalem was nearly starved when God miraculously sent the Aramean’s fleeing and the people of Jerusalem went out and plundered the camp in great abundance.

Isa 23:18 also speaks about how the harlot’s wages will be devoted to the Lord and how her spoil will be given to God’s people. So once again we see the picture of how in the end God will bring His people through the final events of earth’s history and will reward them lavishly for their faithfulness.

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Zech 9:7

2/4/15

Take the Blood from its Mouth

(7) God promised that He would take away the blood from Philistia’s mouth. Herodotus tells of the custom among many of Israel’s enemies of drinking blood as a ceremony, particularly before battle. Blood was strictly forbidden to the Jews even in meat (Lev 3:17) because blood was the symbol of life, which belongs solely to God. Sometimes the enemies of God’s people are compared to wild beasts tearing at their prey, so that image may also be in the background here (e.g. 1 Sam 17:34-36, Ps 3:7, 58:6, Amos 3:12).

Abominations from Between its Teeth

In the parallel line of the couplet God promised also to take away the abominations from between Philistia’s teeth. The word Xqv (shaqatz) in the OT is nearly always used in the context of uncleanness, particularly of animals. It is a prophetically significant word in Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11 as well, when the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the house of God. It’s Greek parallel bdelugma (bdelugma) is found in Rev 17:4-5 as well concerning Babylon. Spiritually this image seems to be used as a symbol for spiritual uncleanness, an abomination that God will not allow to continue forever.

A Remnant from Philistia

Interestingly, though, Philistia is not necessarily headed for complete destruction. Even among the non-Jews and enemies of the Jews God has a remnant of those He will be able to save. Like in Zech 8:23 where those from other nations will beg to join Israel. Once again we see an example of those who are not called His people He will call His people. See comments on Zech 6:15.

The word Pla (‘alluf) changes depending on how the vowel indicators are inserted. It can mean either a group of some kind like a clan or a tribe or it can indicate a chief of a group.  Not only will some in Philistia be part of the remnant but they will be like a tribe in Judah or maybe even a chief or prince in Judah. If that is the case, then God will not merely save those who are faithful to Him but He will honor them as well.

Like the Jebusites

At first glance it seems that the first line of the couplet is a contrast with the second, that part of Philistia will be saved while the other part, symbolized by Ekron, will be dealt with as David dealt with the Jebusites by conquering and killing them when he took Jebus (1 Chr 11:4-6). That understanding is possible. However, it is also possible that the second line is a positive comparison with the first. Not all of Philistia would be killed but some would be absorbed into Israel as a part of Israel, as we see when David came to Arauna the Jebusite purchase his threshing floor to build an altar (2 Sam 24:16, 1 Chr 21:15). So it is easily possible to understand all of these nuances in this verse. The enemies of God’s people would be conquered by God. Some would die in their sin, others will be saved as an inferior, enslaved group (e.g 1 Kg 9:20-21, Is 11:12-14) that will grow and become equal with Israel (e.g. Is 19:23-25) and even become prominent leaders, because in God’s kingdom there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free man . . . (Gal 3:28).

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