And said unto him
That is, the other angel said to the angel that had been talking with the prophet, Run, speak to this young man:
meaning Zechariah, who was either young in years, as Samuel and Jeremiah were when they prophesied; or he was a servant of a prophet older than he, and therefore so called, as Joshua, Moses's minister, was, ( Numbers 11:28 ) as Kimchi observes: saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited [as] towns without walls;
this shows that this is not to be understood of Jerusalem in a literal sense, for that was not inhabited as a town without a wall; its wall was built in Nehemiah's time, and remained until the city was destroyed by Vespasian; yea, it had a treble wall, as Josephus says F2; but of the church of Christ in Gospel times; and denotes both the safety and security of it; see ( Ezekiel 38:11 ) and the populousness of it; and especially as it will be in the latter day, when both Jews and Gentiles are called, and brought into it; which sense is confirmed by what follows: for the multitude of men and cattle therein;
the Jews being meant by "men"; see ( Ezekiel 34:31 ) and the Gentiles by "cattle", to which they used to be compared by the former: this will be fulfilled when the nation of the Jews will be born at once, and all Israel will be saved, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in; for the number of the spiritual Israel, the sons of the living God, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured, ( Hosea 1:10 ) ( Romans 9:26 ) and when there will be such a large increase of converts; and such flockings to Zion, to the spiritual Jerusalem, the church of God, that the place will be too small for them, ( Isaiah 49:19 Isaiah 49:20 ) whereas, when Jerusalem in a literal sense was rebuilt, after the Babylonian captivity, there was a want of persons to inhabit it, and lots were cast for one out of ten to dwell in it; and they were glad of others that offered themselves willingly to be inhabitants of it, ( Nehemiah 11:1 Nehemiah 11:2 ) for there was but a small number that returned from Babylon to repeople the city of Jerusalem, and the whole country of Judea; no more came from thence but forty two thousand, three hundred, and threescore, besides men and maid servants, which amounted to seven or eight thousand more, ( Ezra 2:64 Ezra 2:65 ) ( Nehemiah 7:66 Nehemiah 7:67 ) which were but a few to fill such a country, and so many cities and towns that were in it, besides Jerusalem; and yet Josephus F3 affirms, that the number of those of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, that came up from thence, and were above twelve years of age, were four millions, six hundred, and twenty eight thousand; in which he is followed by Zonaras F4, and it is admitted and approved of by Sanctius on the place; which is not only contrary to the accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah, but is incredible; that such a number that went into captivity, which was not very large, should, under all the distresses and oppressions they laboured, in seventy years time so multiply, and that two tribes only, as to be almost eight times more than all the twelve tribes were at their coming out of Egypt; a number large enough to have overrun the Babylonian monarchy; and too many to be supported in so small a country as the land of Canaan: wherefore, upon the whole, it must be best to interpret this of spiritual and mystical Jerusalem, and of the populousness of the church of Christ in the latter day.
F2 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 2.
F3 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 10.
F4 Apud Hudson in ib.