Punishment of the enemies of Judah. (1-8) Repentance and sorrow of the Jews. (9-14)
Verses 1-8 Here is a Divine prediction, which will be a heavy burden to all the enemies of the church. But it is for Israel; for their comfort and benefit. It is promised that God will make foolish the counsels, and weaken the courage of the enemies of the church. The exact meaning is not clear; but God often begins by calling the poor and despised; and in that day even the feeblest will resemble David, and be as eminent in courage and every thing good. Desirable indeed is it that the examples and labours of Christians should render them as fire among wood, as a torch in a sheaf, to kindle the flame of Divine love, to spread religion on the right hand and on the left.
Verses 9-14 The day here spoken of, is the day of Jerusalem's defence and deliverance, that glorious day when God will appear for the salvation of his people. In Christ's first coming he bruised the serpent's head, and broke all the powers of darkness that fought against God's kingdom among men. In his second coming he will complete their destruction, when he shall put down all opposing rule, principality, and power; and death itself shall be swallowed up in that victory. The Holy Spirit is gracious and merciful, and is the Author of all grace or holiness. He, also, is the Spirit of supplications, and shows men their ignorance, want, guilt, misery, and danger. At the time here foretold, the Jews will know who the crucified Jesus was; then they shall look by faith to him, and mourn with the deepest sorrow, not only in public, but in private, even each one separately. There is a holy mourning, the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit; a mourning for sin, which quickens faith in Christ, and qualifies for joy in God. This mourning is a fruit of the Spirit of grace, a proof of a work of grace in the soul, and of the Spirit of supplications. It is fulfilled in all who sorrow for sin after a godly sort; they look to Christ crucified, and mourn for him. Looking by faith upon the cross of Christ will cause us to mourn for sin after a godly sort.
This chapter contains a prophecy of the defence, protection, and salvation of the church of God; and of the effusion of the Spirit; and of the conversion of the Jews in the latter day. It begins with a title and preface, describing the power of God, from the creation of the heavens and earth, and soul of man, Zec 12:1 then follows the subject matter of the prophecy, in a way of judgment upon the enemies of the people of God, and in a way of salvation to them. The judgments on their enemies are signified by various metaphors; by Jerusalem's being a cup of trembling, a burdensome stone, and a hearth, and torch of fire to them, Zec 12:2,3,6. The effects of which are to them astonishment, madness, blindness, and utter destruction; and to the people of God confidence in him, salvation from him, and strength and protection by him, Zec 12:4,5,7,8 and, at the same time that God will destroy all the enemies of his people, he will pour out his Spirit upon his chosen ones among the Jews. The consequence of which will be, their faith in Christ, signified by looking to him whom they have pierced; and their repentance towards God, expressed by mourning; and this illustrated by mourning for an only and firstborn son, Zec 12:9,10 and which is further illustrated by the mourning for Josiah in the valley of Megiddon; and by an enumeration of the several families in Jerusalem, that should separately mourn on this account, Zec 12:11-14.