Zechariah 12:10

10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.

Zechariah 12:10 Meaning and Commentary

Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem
The Jews that belong to the family of Christ, and to the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven: the Spirit of grace and of supplications;
by which is meant the Holy Spirit of God, who is called the "Spirit of grace"; not merely because he is good and gracious, and loving to his people, and is of grace given unto them; but because he is the author of all grace in them; of gracious convictions, and spiritual illuminations; of quickening, regenerating, converting, and sanctifying grace; and of all particular graces, as faith, hope, love, fear, repentance, humility, joy, peace, meekness, patience, longsuffering, self-denial; as well as because he is the revealer, applier, and witnesser of all the blessings of grace unto them: and he is called the "Spirit of supplications"; because he indites the prayers of his people, shows them their wants, and stirs them up to pray; enlarges their hearts, supplies them with arguments, and puts words into their mouths; gives faith, fervency, and freedom, and encourages to come to God as their Father, and makes intercession for them, according to the will of God: pouring it upon them denotes the abundance and freeness of his grace; see ( Isaiah 44:3 ) : and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced;
by nailing him to the tree at his crucifixion; and especially by piercing his side with a spear; which, though not personally done by them, yet by their ancestors, at least through their instigation and request; and besides, as he was pierced and wounded for their sins, so by them: and now, being enlightened and convicted by the Spirit of God, they shall look to him by faith for the pardon of their sins, through his blood; for the justification of their persons by his righteousness; and for eternal life and salvation through him. We Christians can have no doubt upon us that this passage belongs to Christ, when it is observed, upon one of the soldiers piercing the side of Jesus with a spear, it is said, "these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled; they shall look on him whom they have pierced"; and it seems also to be referred to in ( Revelation 1:7 ) yea, the Jews themselves, some of them, acknowledge it is to be understood of the Messiah. In the Talmud F6, mention being made of the mourning after spoken of, it is asked, what this mourning was made for? and it is replied, R. Dusa and the Rabbins are divided about it: one says, for Messiah ben Joseph, who shall be slain; and another says, for the evil imagination, that shall be slain; it must be granted to him that says, for Messiah the son of Joseph that shall be slain; as it is written, "and they shall look upon whom they have pierced, and mourn" for, for the other, why should they mourn? hence Jarchi and Kimchi on the place say, our Rabbins interpret this of Messiah the son of Joseph, who shall be slain; and the note of Aben Ezra is, all the nations shall look unto me, to see what I will do to those who have pierced Messiah the son of Joseph. Grotius observes, that Hadarsan on ( Genesis 28:10-16 ) understands it of Messiah the son of David. The Jews observing some prophecies speaking of the Messiah in a state of humiliation, and others of him in an exalted state, have coined this notion of two Messiahs, which are easily reconciled without it. The Messiah here prophesied of appears to be both God and man; a divine Person called Jehovah, who is all along speaking in the context, and in the text itself; for none else could pour out the spirit of grace and supplication; and yet he must be man, to be pierced; and the same is spoken of, that would do the one, and suffer the other; and therefore must be the (yeanyrwpov) , or God-man in one person. As to what a Jewish writer F7 objects, that this was spoken of one that was pierced in war, as appears from the context; and that if the same person that is pierced is to be looked to, then it would have been said, "and mourn for me, and be in bitterness for me"; it may be replied, that this prophecy does not speak of the piercing this person at the time when the above wars shall be; but of the Jews mourning for him at the time of their conversion, who had been pierced by them, that is, by their ancestors, hundreds of years ago; which now they will with contrition remember, they having assented to it, and commended it as a right action; and as for the change from the first person to the third, this is not at all unusual in Scripture: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for [his] only [son];
or, "for this" F8; that is, piercing him; for sin committed against him; because of their rejection of him, their hardness of heart, and unbelief with respect to him; and on account of their many sins, which were the occasion of his being pierced; which mourning will arise from, and be increased by, a spiritual sight of him, a sense of his love to them, and a view of benefits by him. Evangelical repentance springs from faith, and is accompanied with it; and this godly sorrow is like that which is expressed for an only son; see ( Amos 8:10 ) ( Luke 7:12 ) and indeed Christ is the only begotten of the Father, as well as the firstborn among many brethren, as follows: and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for
[his] firstborn;
sin is a bitter thing, and makes work for bitter repentance.


F6 T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1.
F7 R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 36. p. 309.
F8 (wyle) "super hoc", Junius & Tremellius; "propter hoc", Gussetius; "super illo", Piscator, Cocceius.

Zechariah 12:10 In-Context

8 On that day the LORD will defend the people of Jerusalem; the weakest among them will be as mighty as King David! And the royal descendants will be like God, like the angel of the LORD who goes before them!
9 For on that day I will begin to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.
11 The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo.
12 “All Israel will mourn, each clan by itself, and with the husbands separate from their wives. The clan of David will mourn alone, as will the clan of Nathan,

Footnotes 1