Zechariah 9:9

The Coming of Zion’s King

9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9 Images

Read Zechariah 9:9 Using Other Translations

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.

What does Zechariah 9:9 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of
Jerusalem
By whom are meant, not the inhabitants of Jerusalem in common; nor the children in it, that said Hosannas to the son of David; but the church of God, and true believers in Christ, who are called upon to "rejoice" and "shout": not merely in an external way, by showing marks of outward joy, but in a spiritual manner, for which there was good reason, as follows: behold, thy King cometh unto thee;
Aben Ezra says that interpreters are divided about the sense of this prophecy; some say it is Messiah the son of David; and others, Messiah the son of Joseph. R. Moses, the priest, he observes, thinks that Nehemiah the Tirshathite is meant; and he himself is of opinion that Judas Maccabeus is intended; but Jarchi affirms that it is impossible to interpret it of any other than the King Messiah; and this is the sense of many of their writers, both ancient and modern. It is applied to him in the Talmud; they say F18, he that sees an ass in his dream, let him look for salvation, as it is said, behold, thy king cometh unto thee, "riding on an ass". R. Alexander relates that R. Joshua ben Levi opposed these two phrases to each other, "in its time", and "I will hasten it", ( Isaiah 60:22 ) and gave this as the sense to reconcile them: if they (the Israelites) are worthy, i.e. of the coming of the Messiah, "I will hasten it"; if they are not worthy, it shall be "in its time"; and that he also put these Scriptures together, and compared them to that Scripture, "behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven", ( Daniel 7:13 ) and also what is written, "poor, and riding on an ass"; if they are worthy, he will come with the clouds of heaven; if they are not worthy, he will come poor and riding on an ass F19. In an ancient book F20 of theirs, at least so reckoned, it is said the King Messiah shall prevail over them all (the nations of the world, and the Israelites); as it is said, "poor, and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass": and in several other places of that work, and other treatises in it F21, the text is applied to the Messiah; as it likewise is in their ancient Midrashes or expositions. In one F23 it is observed,

``the Rabbins say an ox; this is the anointed for war, as it is said, "his glory is like the firstling of his bullock", ( Deuteronomy 33:17 ) an ass; this is the King Messiah, as it is said, "poor, and riding on an ass";''
and again F24, on these words, "binding his foal to the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine", ( Genesis 49:11 ) , this remark is made; this shall be when that shall come to pass which is written of him, "poor, and riding on an ass". And in another F25 of their expositions, the two Redeemers, Moses and the Messiah, are compared together; and, among the several things in which they agree, this is one; as it is said of the former redeemer, "and Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on an ass", ( Exodus 4:20 ) so it is said of the latter Redeemer (the Messiah), "poor, and riding on an ass". And thus it is interpreted by many of their more modern writers F26. This is to be understood of Christ's coming, not merely to Jerusalem, when he rode on an ass, after mentioned; but of his coming in the flesh, when he came to Zion, and for her good; and which was wonderful, and therefore a "behold" is prefixed to it; and is matter of great joy, which she is called to show, because of the birth of him who is her Saviour; and because of the good things that come by him; and because of his appearing as a King, and her King; for, as he was prophesied of as such, as such he came, though his kingdom was not of this world; and as Zion's King, being placed there by his Father, and to which he has a right by virtue of redemption, and is owned as such by his people in the effectual calling, and to whom all the following characters belong. He [is] just:
not only essentially righteous as God, but just and upright in the whole course of, his life as man; and faithful in the administration of his office as Mediator; and the author and bringer in of righteousness to his people: and having salvation;
the salvation of his church and people; which he not only had at heart, but had it to execute, being appointed to that service by his Father, and having agreed unto it as the surety of his people, and was the business he was coming into the world to do, here prophesied of; yea, he is called salvation itself, as in a parallel text, ( Isaiah 62:11 ) the purpose of it was purposed in him; God resolved to save his people by him, and by him only; he never intended to save any but in and through him; and the thing was not only consulted with him, but the scheme of it was drawn in him; God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. The covenant of grace, in which salvation is a principal article, was made with him; and he, as the surety of that covenant, undertook it; and in the fulness of time being sent, came to effect it; for which he was abundantly qualified, being God and man in one person, and so had something to offer as a sacrifice for satisfaction to law and justice, in order to obtain it; and could put a sufficient virtue therein to answer the end, being the mighty God; and having as Mediator a commission from his divine Father, he is become, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, the author of eternal salvation to his people; and in him salvation is, and in no other; and in vain it is to expect it from any other, or in any other way, than by him, ( Acts 4:12 ) ( Jeremiah 3:23 ) . Some render the word "saved" {a}; as he was by his divine Father, when he was raised from the dead, and not suffered to see corruption; see ( Hebrews 5:7 ) others, "saving himself" F2; when he raised himself from the dead, and thereby declared himself to be the Son of God; and when he brought salvation to his body, the church, which is himself, ( Isaiah 63:5 ) lowly;
meek, and humble, as he appeared to be in the assumption of human nature; in his carriage to sinners, conversation with them, and reception of them; in his ministrations to his disciples; and in not seeking his own, but his Father's glory. Or "poor" F3; as Jesus the Messiah was; born of poor parents, had not where to lay his head, and was ministered unto by others; See ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 ) and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass;
which was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, ( Matthew 21:4 Matthew 21:5 ) not that he rode upon them both, but on the foal only; for so it should be rendered, "upon an ass, that is, upon a colt, the foal of an ass" F4. The Jews have a fable, that the ass Abraham saddled, when he went to sacrifice his son Isaac, was the foal of the ass that was created on the evening of the sabbath, that is, at the creation; and that the same Moses set his wife and sons upon, when he came out of Midian; and the same ass, they say, Messiah the son of David was to ride upon at his coming F5; but one of such a prodigious age surely could not be called a colt, or a foal; however, this fable shows the conviction of their minds that this is a prophecy of the Messiah, and that they expected the Messiah to ride upon an ass, according to it, as our Messiah Jesus did. And the Greeks have another fable, which perhaps took its rise from this prophecy, that when Antiochus entered the temple at Jerusalem, he found in it an image of a man in wood, with a long beard, riding on an ass {f}. And a like falsehood is told by Tacitus F7, that the Jews consecrated the effigies of an ass in the inmost part of the temple; because a flock of wild asses, as he pretends, directed them to fountains of water, when in the wilderness, and ready to die with thirst; and yet he himself afterwards says, the Jews have no images, neither in their cities, nor in their temple: and from hence it may be arose the calumny cast upon the primitive Christians, who were sometimes confounded with the Jews, that they worshipped an ass's head; and which is refuted by Tertullian F8.
FOOTNOTES:

F18 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 56. 2.
F19 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1. Vid. etiam ib. fol. 99. 10.
F20 Zohar in Gen. fol. 127. 3.
F21 Zohar in Numb. fol. 83. 4. & in Deut. fol. 117. 1. & 118. 3. Raya Mehimna apud ib. in Lev. fol. 38. 3. & in Numb. fol. 97. 2.
F23 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 75. fol. 66. 2.
F24 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3.
F25 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 63. 2.
F26 Jarchi in Isa. xxvi. 6. Baal hatturim on Exod. fol. 88. 2. Abarbinel, Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 15. 4. R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror Hammor, fol. 46. 2. Caphtor Uperah, fol. 81. 2.
F1 (awh evwnw) "et salvatus ipse", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "servatus", Calvin, De Dieu. Schultens F9 observes, that (evy) , in the Arabic language, signifies large, ample, spacious, and denotes amplitude of riches, power, knowledge, happiness, and glory; and in this place the word describes a king endued with most ample salvation, and brought into this amplitude out of poverty and straits, darkness and misery.
F2 "Servabit seipsum", Vatablus.
F3 (yne) pauper, V. L. Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "inops", Cocceius
F4 (rye lew) "id est, super pullum", Noldius.
F5 Pirke Eliezer, c. 31. fol. 32. 1. Caphtor Uperah, fol. 81. 2.
F6 Diodor. Sicul. Excerpta, l. 34. p. 901, 902.
F7 Hist. l. 5. c. 3, 4, 5.
F8 Apologet. c. 16. ad nationes, l. 1. c. 11.
F9 Origines Hebr. l. 1. p. 18, 19, 20. & indicul. voc. Hebr. in calce ejus.
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