weekly word – 5/30/24

Zechariah 9:9-10

In Zechariah 9:1-8, Yahweh led His army from Syria down to the coast of the Philistines. In each battle, He brought those proud cities down for worshipping false gods: Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Sidon, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ashdod, and Philistia.

While there is debate about when this prophecy is fulfilled, many scholars of various denominations see a striking parallel in the campaign in Alexander the Greet, the Greek world-conquerer who defeated these peoples. Alexander was uniquely gracious to the Jews, choosing not to attack them, but accepted their surrender and allowed them to practice their biblical traditions.

After conquering these pagan peoples and destroying their idolatrous cultures, God promises to make the remnant who survive “like a clan in Judah”. That’s a privilege undeserved by anyone, since it’s giving sinners undeserved blessing and inheritance with God’s people. But it shows God’s willingness to forgive and redeem even pagan people such as ourselves.

Zechariah 9:9-17 deals with Jerusalem. It divides into two sections: Jerusalem’s coming King (9-10) and Jerusalem’s liberation from Greece (11-17). Today we’ll focus on the coming King in verses 9-10.

Beginning in this section, we see an immediate shift to focus on Jerusalem:

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!” (9:9a)

Why should Jerusalem rejoice?

“Look, your King is coming to you;

he is righteous and victorious, 

humble and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the horse from Jerusalem.

The bow of war will be removed,

and he will proclaim peace to the nations.

His dominion will extend from sea to sea,

from the Euphrates River

to the ends of the earth.” -- (9:9b-10)

Notice that this passage portrays the coming Messiah in three ways: His character, His conquest, and His kingdom.

The character of this King is righteous, victorious, and humble. That combination is stunning because each quality is rare; but combining two of them seems almost impossible for a normal, sinful human. How many righteous leaders actually become victorious in this world? How many victorious leaders are also humble? God’s King will be all three.

His conquest of the world will also be stunning, considering His manner of transport: a humble donkey. Yet this King on a donkey will cut off “the chariot”, “the horse”, and the “bow of war” from those gathered against His people. While modern technology surpasses those of Zechariah’s time, even in our world, God’s King won’t need superior technology to gain decisive victory.

Finally, this passage shows the way He leads His kingdom once He has conquered it. Zechariah says “He will proclaim peace to the nations”. It isn’t a chaotic place like the world we see today; it will be peacefully ordered according to God’s law.

It will also be a vast dominion, extending “from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.” As He reigns in Jerusalem, His power extends past the normal boundaries of Israel throughout the whole world. 

It must have challenged Zechariah to imagine such a King, since none who reigned on earth in his time were anything like this. But for Christians, we can instantly know this King. We have already witnessed His peaceful ride on a donkey into Jerusalem to offer her redemption. Jesus will return again, as Genesis 49:10-12 promises, and establish lasting peace and prosperity in a world that fully recognizes His greatness and power.

Until that happens, the hearts of every believer will repeat the cry of John at the end of Revelation: Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Pastor David