Weekly word – 6/20/24

Zechariah 9:11-17

The first section of Zechariah 9 gave a prophecy about God's attack on the major cities near Israel in Zechariah’s day. Yahweh would conquer and impoverish the cities; but one day, He will welcome the remnant of those peoples when He returns to His house in Jerusalem (9:1-8). 

In the second section, Zechariah gave a picture of Israel’s future, final King in verses 9-10, showing us that He is righteous, peaceful, and victorious. He will bring worldwide peace during His unending reign.

What is left in the final section of this oracle, verses 11-17? 

Let me put it this way: the first section addresses the land of Israel—it will ever be preserved for His people. The second section addresses the king of Israel—He will be present to protect His people. The third section addresses the people of Israel—they will be in their land with their King.

In their commentary on Zechariah, Carol and Eric Meyers write this about chapter nine, “Although the material that constitutes each of its three subunits is quite varied, the overall result is a chapter that is resoundingly universal in its scope while never losing sight of the special concern of Yahweh for Israel that is at the core of its worldview purview.” In essence, chapter 9 talks about a lot of things, but it always keeps its focus on God’s plan for Israel.

That plan is to fully restore the kingdom He promised to Moses and David; and that plan is accomplished when three components all come together at the same time; the King is reigning in the promised land with His people Israel (Deuteronomy 30:1-5; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Luke 1:31-33, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 11:15). Therefore, having spoken already about the land and the King, this final section addresses the people whom Yahweh possesses.

He addresses them personally in verses 11-13

(11) As for you, because of the blood of your covenant,
I will release your prisoners from the waterless cistern.

(12) Return to a stronghold, you prisoners who have hope;
today I declare that I will restore double to you.

(13) For I will bend Judah as my bow; I will fill that bow with Ephraim.
I will rouse your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece.
I will make you like a warrior’s sword.

On the day of His return to be their King, Yahweh will rescue Israel based on the blood of your covenant. Animal blood was shed to seal the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15 and with Moses in Exodus 23. The shedding of blood at a covenant ceremony symbolized the punishment due to the one who breaks the covenant. Israel broke the covenant; so Jesus came as an Israelite to shed His blood for them. That’s why Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins,” shortly before He died (Matthew 26:28).

On the basis of that shed blood, He saves them in verses 11-12 and brings them to attack the Gentile armies gathered against them, including Greece (13). That attack is described in 9:14-17:

(14) Then Yahweh will appear over them, and his arrow will fly like lightning.
Yahweh God will sound the ram’s horn and advance with the southern storms.

(15) Yahweh of Armies will defend them.

They will consume and conquer with slingstones; 

they will drink and be rowdy as if with wine.

They will be as full as the sprinkling basin, like those at the corners of the altar.

(16) Yahweh their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people;
for they are like jewels in a crown, sparkling over his land.

(17) How lovely and beautiful! Grain will make the young men flourish,
and new wine, the young women.

The attack on Israel’s enemies is shown here as a total victory. Verse 15 uses four synonyms to describe how they devour their enemies: “consume”, “conquer”, “drink”, and “be full”. This language contrasts with their imprisonment in verse 11, prior to the coming of Yahweh. Their strength comes completely from Yahweh, who fights with them.

His reason for giving them such thorough victory is given in verse 16: they are His “flock” that He leads as a shepherd. They are “sparkling jewels” by which He adorns His crown. Both these terms speak of the preciousness of Israel to Yahweh. Their salvation is His glory.

The final language of verse 17 is again reminiscent of the Last Supper. Except it isn’t somber; it is joyous. The same elements, bread and wine, will be consumed after the return of Christ as a celebration of His victory and enthronement in Jerusalem. It will be the first time Jesus consumes bread and wine since the Last Supper, as Jesus Himself prophesied, “Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:25).

This whole chapter reveals the plan God has to bring His kingdom on earth in the second coming of Jesus Christ. When we share communion every month, this passage invites us to reflect on the blood of the covenant shed by Jesus Christ so that we could be saved from our sins, adopted into His family, and given a reservation at the marriage feast when He returns. Are you ready for the feast?

Pastor David