Zechariah 9-11

Thursday Evening Bible Study

August 3, 2006

Introduction

We now begin a series if prophecies that are a bit ahead of Zechariah, things in the future.

The first “burden”, oracle, or prophecy is in chapters 9-11, and will cover events that touch on the first coming of Jesus the Messiah.

The second “burden” is in chapters 12-14, and peeks into the distant future, when Jesus returns for the second time.

Zechariah 9

:1-8 Alexander the Great

The first part of this prophecy will be about the coming conquests of Alexander the Great.

In 336 BC after his father was assassinated, Alexander is made king. After calming a revolt in Greece, he set out to conquer the Persian empire.

In 334 BC, he won his first battle against the Persians at Halicarnassus, on the west coast of Turkey.

In 333 BC, he marched eastward to the northeast corner of the Mediterranean, and won a battle with Darius III at Issus.

In 332 BC, he marched south and conquered the Phoenician city of Tyre.

Over the next year he marched further south along the coast of Israel, into Egypt, where he was received as a “god”, and he established the city of Alexandria.

By 331 BC he had marched back north through Israel, up through Syria, and fought another battle with Darius III at Guagamela where he achieved his final victory over the Persian empire.

Over the next eight years, he marched his armies all the way to India and ended up back in Babylon, where he died in 323 BC of a fever, some say in a drunken stupor.

Everywhere Alexander went, he spread the Greek culture. It was through his conquests that a simplified version of Greek, koine, was taught and unified the world. It was this language that the New Testament was written in, a language that was at that time known around the world.

:1 The burden of the word of the LORD Against the land of Hadrach, And Damascus its resting place (For the eyes of men And all the tribes of Israel Are on the LORD);

Hadrach – or, Hattarika, a city near Hamath

Damascus – the capital of Syria

the eyes of men … are on the LORD – There are going to be some amazing prophecies in these next three chapters about Jesus Christ. I find it interesting that Zechariah notes that men’s eyes are on the Lord, and God shows them Jesus.

:2 Also against Hamath, which borders on it, And against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.

Hamath – a Syrian city north of Damascus

Tyre and Sidon – Phoenician cities, on the coast of modern Lebanon, north of Israel.

:3 For Tyre built herself a tower, Heaped up silver like the dust, And gold like the mire of the streets.

:4 Behold, the LORD will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, And she will be devoured by fire.

Tyre had been considered an unconquerable city. It was the capital of the Phoenicians, a people renown for their ship building. Because of it’s great ships, it was a city of merchants, incredibly wealthy from trade.

The Assyrians had tried to lay siege to Tyre for five years, but gave up.

Nebuchadnezzar tried to capture Tyre, but while he laid siege to the city over 13 years, the people evacuated the city to an island off shore about a ½ mile. Nebuchadnezzar wiped out the coastal city, but was unable to conquer the island city.

Alexander came along and took the rubble of Nebuchadnezzar’s campaign, pushed it all into the ocean, and built a land bridge out to the island where he conquered the city. It took him seven months.

:5 Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; And Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron – cities of the Philistines, in the southern part of Israel near the coast. The modern Gaza strip covers this area now.

These cities would be terrified to see Alexander’s army marching south right through them.

:6 "A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

Ashdod – another Philistine city.

:7 I will take away the blood from his mouth, And the abominations from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, And shall be like a leader in Judah, And Ekron like a Jebusite.

take away the blood – The Jews are forbidden from eating meat with the blood still in it.

Jebusite – the original Canaanite inhabitants of Jerusalem. They got absorbed into the Jewish nation.

It seems like this is describing the Philistines becoming followers of Yahweh.

We don’t know if this happened or is still in the future.

:8 I will camp around My house Because of the army, Because of him who passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, For now I have seen with My eyes.

Even though Alexander went straight through Israel, he did not come against the city of Jerusalem. He just went right by it.

God would protect Jerusalem from Alexander.

From Warren Wiersbe:

History tells us that Alexander destroyed many cities, but not Jerusalem. He threatened the city but never carried out his threats. Before the general arrived, the Jewish high priest had a dream which he felt was from God, and in the dream he was told to dress in his robes and meet Alexander outside the city. With him went the priests in their white robes. The scene dazzled Alexander. In fact, he claimed that he too had dreamed of this very scene. Alexander entered Jerusalem peacefully and never harmed the people or the city in any way.[1]

Lesson

God knows how to take care of us

(Psa 46:1-3 NKJV) God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. {2} Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; {3} Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
Illustration
When Corrie Ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame was a little girl in Holland, her first realization of death came after a visit to the home of a neighbor who had died. It impressed her that some day her parents would also die. Corrie’s father comforted her with words of wisdom. “Corrie, when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”
“Why, just before we get on the train,” she replied.
“Exactly,” her father said, “and our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him Corrie.
When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.”
You are His child. He knows how to protect you and provide for you.

:9-10 A Coming King

:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

This is not talking about Alexander the Great. He would be known for the animal he rode on, but it would be a huge stallion named Bucephalus, not a donkey colt.

In the ancient Near East, if a king came in peace, he would ride on a donkey instead of on a war stallion.[2]

Prophetic Telescoping – a prophecy may hop, skip, and jump through time without stopping to catch it’s breath. If you are waiting for something to tell you that there’s a shift in time, you won’t find it. This is part of the nature of prophecy. These skips are imbedded into the prophecies. We may not see them until they are fulfilled.

We see this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus:

(Mat 21:1-7 NKJV) Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, {2} saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. {3} "And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." {4} All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: {5} "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'" {6} So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. {7} They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

Lesson

Humility

There will be a day when He arrives on a white horse. But the first time He came on a donkey colt.
Jesus came to demonstrate humility and a servant’s heart.
(Mark 9:33-37 NKJV) Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, "What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?" {34} But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. {35} And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." {36} Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, {37} "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me."

Expressing humility by gathering up the “smallest”, the “least”, the children.

Illustration
Sometimes us guys just don’t know what to do with kids

A woman gets on a bus holding a baby. The bus driver says, “That’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.” In a huff, the woman slammed her fare into the fare box and took an aisle seat near the rear of the bus. The man seated next to her sensed that she was agitated and asked her what was wrong. “The bus driver insulted me,” she fumed. The man sympathized and said “Why, he’s a public servant and shouldn’t say things to insult passengers.” “You’re right” she said. “I think I’ll go back up there and give him a piece of my mind.” “That’s a good idea” the man said. “Here, let me hold your monkey.”

:10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.'

This is a prophecy of universal peace, of the reign of the Messiah on the earth.

Because Israel rejected her Messiah the first time He came, this prophecy gets pushed into the future.

:11-17 God will save

:11 "As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

the blood of your covenant – a “covenant”, or a legal agreement required the shedding of blood to initiate it.

(Heb 9:18 NKJV) Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

The Abrahamic covenant was initiated through a sacrifice (Gen. 15).

The Mosaic covenant came with the sprinkling of blood.

(Exo 24:8 NKJV) And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."

The “New” Covenant was also initiated through the sprinkling of blood – Jesus’ blood (Heb. 9).

waterless pit – cisterns that were empty, drained of water, were often used as dungeons or prisons. The idea is that God will set the prisoners free.

Because of God’s relationship with His people, He will set them free.

:12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.

Perhaps this is a word to those still in Babylon to return home to Jerusalem. God promises to restore the nation.

:13 For I have bent Judah, My bow, Fitted the bow with Ephraim, And raised up your sons, O Zion, Against your sons, O Greece, And made you like the sword of a mighty man."

Long after Alexander, while the Greeks still ruled the world, the Jews would rise up in rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC). This was the time of the Maccabean rebellion (169-135 BC).

:14 Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And go with whirlwinds from the south.

This may go beyond the Maccabean rebellion and also be a picture of the return of Jesus.

:15 The LORD of hosts will defend them; They shall devour and subdue with slingstones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; They shall be filled with blood like basins, Like the corners of the altar.

:16 The LORD their God will save them in that day, As the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, Lifted like a banner over His land;

:17 For how great is its goodness And how great its beauty! Grain shall make the young men thrive, And new wine the young women.

Zechariah 10

:1-12 Israel’s restoration

:1 Ask the LORD for rain In the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone.

Rain in Israel comes during two seasons of the year, the former rain (Sept.-Oct.), and the latter rain (March-April).

Both were necessary to allow the crops to grow properly.

The question is, what do you do to cause the rain to fall? Do a “rain dance”? Who do you as for help? Do you resort to asking the various idols?

I saw an interesting article on the internet the other day about the current war in Israel. The political government has an agreement with the orthodox Jews, the government fights, the orthodox Jews will pray. I like that set up.

:2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd.

idols[email protected] a kind of idol used in household shrine or worship, often used in “divination”, trying to figure out the future.

The people are like wandering sheep because they ask their idols for help instead of asking God.

:3 "My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the goatherds. For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

shepherds …goatherds – the leaders of the nation, perhaps the foreign leaders ruling over the nation.

:4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg, From him the battle bow, From him every ruler together.

from him – from Judah (vs. 3)

cornerstone … tent peg … etc. – all descriptions of the Messiah

:5 They shall be like mighty men, Who tread down their enemies In the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because the LORD is with them, And the riders on horses shall be put to shame.

I don’t know why anyone would want to go up against an army of Israel. I wonder if some of this isn’t still in the future…

:6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am the LORD their God, And I will hear them.

Judah – the southern kingdom

Joseph – the northern kingdom

:7 Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.

as with wine – could this be a hint at the Holy Spirit being involved? (Acts 2; Eph. 5:18)

:8 I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased.

:9 "I will sow them among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, And they shall return.

remember Me in far countries – no matter where they are scattered, the Jews will remember God.

:10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, And gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, Until no more room is found for them.

This could be a picture of what is happening today. Jews are returning to Israel from all over the world.

:11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction, And strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, And the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

This might be a look back at how God brought the Jews out of Egypt and brought them into their Promised Land.

It also might be a look ahead of how God will remove obstacles that would keep them from coming home.

the River – the phrase might refer to the Nile, the strength of Egypt. It is also often used to describe the Euphrates, which runs through Iraq.

:12 "So I will strengthen them in the LORD, And they shall walk up and down in His name," Says the LORD.

Zechariah 11

We now flip back in time from our future, to the time after Jesus’ first coming.

:1-3 Coming devastation

:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars.

In light of the current war going on between Israel and the terrorists in Lebanon, I think this is kind of interesting …

Except this isn’t talking about the Jewish forces heading north through Lebanon, this is talking about destruction coming on Israel from the north, entering Israel from Lebanon.

:2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the thick forest has come down.

Bashan is the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee, the area known today as the Golan heights, the disputed area between Israel and Syria. Israel captured the land from Syria during the Six-Day war of 1967.

:3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.

Jordan – the land along the Jordan river was also filled with trees, land that would be wasted by the coming invasion.

What’s this looking towards? Most likely the destruction of Israel by Rome in AD 70, linked to the Jews rejection of their Messiah.

:4-14 Cause for devastation – flocks and shepherds

:4 Thus says the LORD my God, "Feed the flock for slaughter,

Feed the flock that is doomed to be slaughtered.

:5 "whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, 'Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich'; and their shepherds do not pity them.

A picture of those leading Israel not caring any more for their flock, allowing them to be slaughtered.

:6 "For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD. "But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor's hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand."

God would no longer have pity on Israel. Why? Because they rejected His Son.

Jesus told a parable about a landowner who rented out his vineyard, but the keepers of the vineyard wouldn’t pay their rent. Each person he sent to collect the rent was beaten. Finally he sent his son, but they killed the son (Mat. 21:33-45). When Jesus asked what the landowner would do, the people replied, “He will destroy those wicked men”.

What a tragedy to find yourself in a position of fighting against God.

You will never win if you try and fight against God.

:7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

Zechariah takes the role of shepherd.

Zechariah is going to be a picture of the Messiah. We’re going to see a fuzzy picture of Jesus in these next couple of verses.

the poor of the flock – I think this might be a reference to the Jews that Jesus spent the most time with, His disciples.

two staffs – how Zechariah will help and guide the flock.

Beautyno‘am kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favor

Bondschabal to bind; to hold by a pledge, take in pledge, hold in pledge

It seems that the idea is that Zechariah will guide this flock by bringing them kindness and binding them together.

Lesson

Shepherd’s tools

It seems that the tools of a good shepherd are “grace” and “unity”.
We see a picture of grace when Jesus said,
(John 10:11-14 NKJV) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. {12} "But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. {13} "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. {14} "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

A good shepherd is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his flock. Jesus did that for us, we ought to do that for others.

And it’s “grace” when we sacrifice our self whether they deserve it or not.

We can see a touch of the unity when Jesus prayed,
(John 17:20-23 NKJV) "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; {21} "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. {22} "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: {23} "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Somehow our “unity” sends a clear message to the world that Jesus is God’s Son.

:8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

We don’t know who these “three shepherds” are or what they might refer to. Apparently there are lots of ideas, but nobody knows for sure.

Perhaps they were just “hirelings” (John 10:12).

I wonder if this isn’t a reference to the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day. I wonder about Herod, Annas, and Caiaphas???

:9 Then I said, "I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh."

I will not feed you – the shepherd stops being their shepherd.

When Jesus was rejected by the Jews, He stopped being their shepherd.

Forty years after Jesus’ rejection, the nation was conquered by the Romans and scattered to the wind. There was cannibalism involved in the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70.

:10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples.

There is no longer beauty “grace”, no longer favor.

:11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.

the poor of the flock – perhaps a reference to the Jewish believers, Jesus’ disciples. After they saw it happening, they realized the Scriptures were being fulfilled.

:12 Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

The Shepherd quits and asks for his last paycheck.

They pay him 30 pieces of silver.

This is the value of the life of a slave (Ex. 21:32)

Does this price sound familiar?

Lesson

How much is it worth?

What’s Jesus worth to you?
(Mat 26:6-16 NKJV) And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, {7} a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

Mark says it was worth 300 denarii (Mark 14:5), about a year’s worth of wages.

{8} But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? {9} "For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."

John tells us that it was Judas that spoke up here (John 12:4-6). John also tells us that Judas couldn’t have cared less for the poor, but that he was a thief and had been stealing money from the group. He was upset because this was something he couldn’t get his hands on for himself.

{10} But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. {11} "For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. {12} "For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. {13} "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." {14} Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests {15} and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. {16} So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

This gal was willing to spend 300 denarii to pour oil on Jesus.

Judas was willing to sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver.

Giving or getting? The gal wanted to give. Judas was out to “get”. The heart of Jesus is to give, not get.

:13 And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"; that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.

princely price – a little sarcasm here?

When Judas realized what he had done in betraying Jesus to die, he tried to give the money back to the chief priests, but they took it and bought a potter’s field as a place to bury strangers in. (Mat. 27:3-10)

:14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Under the Roman oppression, the nation fell apart. There was national disunity.

:15-17 The Foolish Shepherd

:15 And the LORD said to me, "Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd.

foolish‘eviliy (looks evil!) foolish; from ‘eviyl be foolish, one who despises wisdom; of one who mocks when guilty; of one who is quarrelsome

Don’t think of a “dumb” shepherd. Think evil.

Zechariah is now going to change roles. First he was playing the part of Jesus Christ. Now he’s going to play the part of the antichrist.

Jesus said,

(John 5:43 NKJV) "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.

The Jews rejected Jesus at His first coming. But initially they will receive the antichrist, the “foolish” shepherd.

:16 "For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.

Qualities of a bad shepherd

Not care for those cut off

Not seeking the young

Not healing the broken

Not feeding those waiting to be fed

eat … the fat – selfishness - take only the best for himself. Takes the part that was supposed to be given only to God.

Lesson

Good Shepherding

Take the qualities and reverse them…
1. Caring for those cut off – having a heart for the lost.
2. Seeking the young – a heart for young believers, a heart for children.
3. Healing the broken – not shooting the wounded
4. Feeding the hungry – there are people who want to know God, they want to learn, feed the sheep
5. Sharing the fat – thinking of others, selflessness

:17 "Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded."

arm … eye – could be symbolic of a person’s strength and insight.

Some have suggested that this might be a hint of something that would happen to the antichrist. Some have suggested that this might indicate some sort of an attempt on the life of the antichrist.

(Rev 13:3 NKJV) And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast (the antichrist).
(Rev 13:14 NKJV) And he (the false prophet) deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast (the antichrist), telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.


[1]Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993). Zec 1:1.

[2]John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985). 1:1563.