The prosperity of Jerusalem. (1-5) The Jews called to return to their own land. (6-9) A promise of God's presence. (10-13)
Verses 1-5 The Son of David, even the Man Christ Jesus, whom the prophet sees with a measuring line in his hand, is the Master-Builder of his church. God notices the extent of his church, and will take care that whatever number of guests are brought to the wedding-supper, there shall be room. This vision means well to Jerusalem. The walls of a city, as they defend it, so they straiten its inhabitants; but Jerusalem shall be extended as freely as if it had no walls at all, yet shall be as safe as if it had the strongest walls. In the church of God there yet is room for other multitudes, more than man can number. None shall be refused who trust in Christ; and He never shuts out from heaven one true member of the church on earth. God will be a Wall of fire round them, which can neither be broken through nor undermined, nor can it be assailed without danger to those who attack. This vision was to have its full accomplishment in the gospel church, which is extended by admitting the Gentiles into it; and which has the Son of God for its Prince and Protector; especially in the glorious times yet to come.
Verses 6-9 If God will build Jerusalem for the people and their comfort, they must inhabit it for him and his glory. The promises and privileges with which God's people are blessed, should engage us to join them, whatever it costs us. When Zion is enlarged to make room for all God's Israel, it is the greatest madness for any of them to stay in Babylon. The captivity of a sinful state is by no means to be continued in, though a man may be easy in worldly matters. Escape for thy life, look not behind thee. Christ has proclaimed that deliverance to the captives, which he has himself wrought out, and it concerns every one to resolve that sin shall not have dominion over him. Those who would be found among God's children, must save themselves from this world, see ( Acts 2:40 ) . What Christ will do for his church, shall be an evident proof of God's care and affection. He that touches you, touches the apple of his eye. This is a strong expression of God's love to his church. He takes what is done against her as done against the tenderest part of the eye, to which the least touch is a great offence. Christ is sent to be the Protector of his church.
Verses 10-13 Here is a prediction of the coming of Christ in human nature. Many nations in that day would renounce idolatry, and God will own those for his people who join him with purpose of heart. Glorious times are foretold as a prophecy of our Lord's coming and kingdom. God is about to do something unexpected, and very surprising, and to plead his people's cause, which had long seemed neglected. Silently submit to his holy will, and patiently wait the event; assured that God will complete all his work. He will ere long come to judgment, to complete the salvation of his people, and to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their sins.
Zechariah 2:1-13 . THIRD VISION. The man with the measuring-line.
The city shall be fully restored and enlarged ( Zechariah 2:2-5 ). Recall of the exiles ( Zechariah 2:6 Zechariah 2:7 ). Jehovah will protect His people and make their foes a spoil unto them ( Zechariah 2:8 Zechariah 2:9 ). The nations shall be converted to Jehovah, as the result of His dwelling manifestly amidst His people ( Zechariah 2:10-13 ).
1. man with a measuring-line--the same image to represent the same future fact as in Ezekiel 40:3 Ezekiel 40:41 Ezekiel 40:42 . The "man" is Messiah the Author of its coming restoration. Thus the Jews are encouraged in Zechariah's time to proceed with the building. Still more so shall they be hereby encouraged in the future restoration.
2. To measure Jerusalem--(Compare Revelation 11:1 , Revelation 21:15 Revelation 21:16 ).
to see what is the breadth . . . what is the length--rather, "what is to be the due breadth and length."
3. angel that talked with me . . . another angel--The interpreting angel is met by another angel sent by the measuring Divine Angel to "run" to Zechariah ( Zechariah 2:4 ). Those who perform God's will must not merely creep, nor walk, but run with alacrity.
went forth--namely, from me (Zechariah).
went out--from the measuring angel.
4. this young man--So Zechariah is called as being still a youth when prophetically inspired [GROTIUS]. Or, he is so called in respect to his ministry or service (compare Numbers 11:27 , Joshua 1:1 ) [VATABLUS]. Naturally the "angel that talked with" Zechariah is desired to "speak to" him the further communications to be made from the Divine Being.
towns without walls for the multitude . . . Cattle--So many shall be its inhabitants that all could not be contained within the walls, but shall spread out in the open country around ( Esther 9:19 ); and so secure shall they be as not to need to shelter themselves and their cattle behind walls. So hereafter Judea is to be "the land of unwalled villages" ( Ezekiel 38:11 ). Spiritually, now the Church has extended herself beyond the walls ( Ephesians 2:14 Ephesians 2:15 ) of Mosaic ordinances and has spread from cities to country villages, whose inhabitants gave their Latin name (pagani) to pagans, as being the last in parting with heathenism.
5. I . . . wall of fire round--Compare Zechariah 2:4 . Yet as a city needs some wall, I JEHOVAH will act as one of fire which none durst approach ( Zechariah 9:8 , Isaiah 26:1 ).
glory in the midst--not only a defense from foes outside, but a glory within ( Isaiah 60:19 , Revelation 21:23 ). The same combination of "glory and defense" is found in Isaiah 4:5 , alluding to the pillar of cloud and fire which defended and enlightened Israel in the desert. Compare Elisha in Dothan ( 2 Kings 6:17 ). As God is to be her "glory," so she shall be His "glory" ( Isaiah 62:3 ).
6. flee from the land of the north--that is, from Babylon: a type of the various Gentile lands, from which the Jews are to be recalled hereafter; hence "the four winds of heaven" are specified, implying that they are to return from all quarters ( Deuteronomy 28:64 , Jeremiah 16:15 , Ezekiel 17:21 ). The reason why they should flee from Babylon is: (1) because of the blessings promised to God's people in their own land; (2) because of the evils about to fall on their foe ( Zechariah 2:7-9 ). Babylon was soon to fall before Darius, and its inhabitants to endure fearful calamities ( Isaiah 48:20 , Jeremiah 50:8 , Jeremiah 51:6 Jeremiah 51:45 ). Many of the Jews in Zechariah's time had not yet returned to Judea. Their tardiness was owing to (1) unbelief; (2) their land had long lain waste, and was surrounded with bitter foes; (3) they regarded suspiciously the liberty of return given by Cyrus and Darius, as if these monarchs designed suddenly to crush them; (4) their long stay in Babylon had obliterated the remembrance of their own land; (5) the wealth and security there contrasted with Judea, where their temple and city were in ruins. All this betrayed foul ingratitude and disregard of God's extraordinary favor, which is infinitely to be preferred to all the wealth of the world [CALVIN and PEMBELLUS].
for I have spread you abroad--The reasoning is: I who scattered you from your land to all quarters, can also gather you again to it.
7. O Zion . . . daughter of Babylon--Thou whose only sure dwelling is "Zion," inseparably connected with the temple, art altogether out of thy place in "dwelling with the daughter of Babylon" (that is, Babylon and her people, Psalms 137:8 , Isaiah 1:8 ).
After the glory--After restoring the "glory" ( Zechariah 2:5 , Isaiah 4:5 , Romans 9:4 ) of Jehovah's presence to Jerusalem, He (God the Father) hath commissioned ME (God the Son, Isaiah 48:16 , the Divine Angel: God thus being at once the Sender and the Sent) to visit in wrath "the nations which spoiled you." Messiah's twofold office from the Father is: (1) to glorify His Church; (2) to punish its foes ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 ). Both offices manifest His glory ( Proverbs 16:4 ).
toucheth . . . the apple of his eye--namely, of Jehovah's eye ( Deuteronomy 32:10 , Psalms 17:8 , Proverbs 7:2 ). The pupil, or aperture, through which rays pass to the retina, is the tenderest part of the eye; the member which we most sedulously guard from hurt as being the dearest of our members; the one which feels most acutely the slightest injury, and the loss of which is irreparable.
9. shake . . . hand--A mere wave of God's hand can prostrate all foes (compare Ruth 1:13 , Job 31:21 , Isaiah 11:15 , 19:16 , Acts 13:11 ).
a spoil to their servants--to the Jews whom they had once as their slaves (compare Isaiah 14:2 ). As the Jews' state between the return from Babylon and Christ's coming was checkered with much adversity, this prophecy can only have its fulfilment under Christ.
sent me--( Isaiah 48:16 , 61:1 , John 10:36 ).
10. I will dwell in . . . midst of thee--primarily at Messiah's first advent ( Psalms 40:7 , John 1:14 , Colossians 2:9 , 1 Timothy 3:16 ); more fully at His second advent ( Isaiah 40:10 ). So Zechariah 9:9 , where ( Isaiah 12:6 , Ezekiel 37:27 , Zephaniah 3:14 ). Meanwhile God dwells spiritually in His people ( 2 Corinthians 6:16 ).
11. many nations . . . joined to the Lord in that day--The result of the Jews' exile in Babylon was that, at their subsequent return, through the diffusion of knowledge of their religion, many Gentiles became proselytes, worshipping in the court of the Gentiles ( 1 Kings 8:41 ). Cyrus, Darius, Alexander, Ptolemy Philadelphus, Augustus, and Tiberius, paid respect to the temple by sending offerings [GROTIUS]. But all this is but a shadow of the future conversion of the Gentiles which shall result from Jehovah dwelling in Jerusalem ( Psalms 102:15 Psalms 102:16 , Philippians 2:10 Philippians 2:11 ).
sent me unto thee--"unto thee" is here added to the same formula ( Zechariah 2:9 ). Zion first shall "know (generally) that Jehovah of hosts hath sent" Messiah, by the judgments inflicted by Him on her foes. Subsequently, she shall know experimentally the particular sending of Messiah unto her. Jehovah here says, "I will dwell," and then that JEHOVAH of hosts sent Him; therefore Jehovah the Sender and Jehovah the Sent must be One.
12. Judah his portion in the holy land--Lest the joining of the Gentile "nations to Jehovah" ( Zechariah 2:11 ) should lead the Jews to fear that their peculiar relation to Him ( Deuteronomy 4:20 , 9:29 , 32:9 ) as "His inheritance" should cease, this verse is added to assure them of His making them so hereafter "again."
choose Jerusalem again--The course of God's grace was interrupted for a time, but His covenant was not set aside ( Romans 11:28 Romans 11:29 ); the election was once for all, and therefore shall hold good for ever.
13. Be silent, O all flesh--( Habakkuk 2:20 ). "Let all in silent awe and reverence await the Lord's coming interposition in behalf of His people!" The address is both to the Gentile foes, who prided themselves on their power as if irresistible, and to the unbelieving Jews, who distrusted God's promises as incredible. Three reasons why they must be silent are implied: (1) they are but "flesh," weak and ignorant; (2) He is JEHOVAH, all-wise and all-powerful; (3) He is already "raised up out of His place," and who can stand before Him? [PEMBELLUS], ( Psalms 76:8 Psalms 76:9 ).
he is raised up out of his holy habitation--that is, out of heaven ( Deuteronomy 26:15 , 2 Chronicles 30:27 , Isaiah 63:15 ), to judge and avenge His people ( Isaiah 26:21 ); or, "out of His holy" temple, contemptible and incomplete as it looked then when Zechariah urged them to rebuild it [CALVIN]. But the call to all to "be silent" is rather when God has come forth from heaven where so long He has dwelt unseen, and is about to inflict vengeance on the foe, before taking up His dwelling in Zion and the temple. However, Psalms 50:1 Psalms 50:2 ("Out of Zion"), Psalms 50:3 (compare Habakkuk 2:3 ), Psalms 50:4 , favors CALVIN'S view. God is now "silent" while the Gentile foe speaks arrogance against His people; but "our God shall come and no longer keep silence"; then in turn must all flesh "be silent" before Him.