Home  Library  Donate

Zechariah 9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 2, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

Video:  Grants in South Africa

GRANT FUNDRAISER - Daniel & Laura Grant, our missionaries in South Africa, are trying to raise money so they can come home for a visit next summer. Laura made these wall hangings out of South African. Cost is $10 each.

The historical background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.

Zechariah lived during the time that the Jews had begun to return from Babylon and rebuild their Temple.

After having been captive in Babylon for seventy years, the Jews are given permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem.

When the Temple construction is stopped, it was Haggai and Zechariah who began to prophesy and encourage the people to finish the Temple. (Ezra 5:1-2)

After the people began to build, opposition arose from their enemies, and for a period of 15 years, the Temple construction was halted.

It was then that God raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, who began to encourage the people to get back to work and make God’s House a priority.

(Ezra 5:1–2 NKJV) —1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
It was under the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah that the work got stirred up again.
The Temple won’t be complete until March 12, 515 BC (Ezr 6:15-18)

The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the years of 520-518 BC.

One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the amount of prophecy about the coming Messiah.

Except for the prophet Isaiah, there are more prophecies about the Messiah in this book than any other Old Testament book.

We now begin a new section in Zechariah, when he gives a series of prophecies that look far into the future.

The first “burden”, oracle, or prophecy is in chapters 9-11, and covers how Israel finds victory over its enemies.

The second “burden” is in chapters 12-14, and focuses more on how Israel will be tested and purged through these conflicts.

Both sections will talk a lot about the coming Messiah in His first and second coming.

9:1-8 Alexander the Great

This next section is kind of cool in light of the recent archaeological discoveries in Greece where they’ve found a huge ancient tomb that dates back to the time of Alexander the Great.  I’m not sure they’ve decided yet who was buried in the tomb.

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

Video:  Alexander’s Battles map video

In 336 BC after his father was assassinated, Alexander is made king of Macedonia at Pella.
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 established the city of Alexandria.
By 331 BC he had marched north for his final victory over Darius III of Persia at Guagamela.
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, just short of his 33rd birthday.

Everywhere Alexander went, he spread the Greek culture. It was through his conquests that a simplified version of Greek, known as koine (“common”), 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);

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

:1 burdenmassa– load, burden; utterance

The term is generally used for a prophecy that has something “heavy” to say.

There is going to be some bad news for some of Israel’s enemies in this prophecy.

:1 the land of Hadrach

Or, Hattarika, a city near Hamath.

:1 Damascus

The capital of Syria, the same as Damascus today.

:1 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 as men’s eyes are on the Lord, God shows them Jesus.

:2 Hamath

A city in Syria north of Damascus.

:1-2 HadrachTyre and Sidon

These were cities that belonged to the Phoenicians.

They were on the coast of modern Lebanon, north of Israel.

What Zechariah is doing is actually tracing part of Alexander’s route from Issus to Tyre.

: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.

:3 Tyre built herself a tower

Tyre had been considered an unconquerable city. It was the capital of the Phoenicians, a people world famous for their ship building, their international trade, and their great wealth.

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.


Trusting the wrong things

The city of Tyre had thought it was invincible.
It had wealth.
It thought it could buy itself out of every problem.
It had smarts.
It thought it was wiser and smarter than everyone else.
If all else failed, it could think itself out of every situation.
Seventy years before Zechariah, Ezekiel wrote about Tyre,
(Ezekiel 28:5–8 NKJV) —5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),” 6 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.
The problem for Tyre was that it did not have God.
If you think that being smart enough and rich enough is going to solve all your problems, there will be a day when you will find out just how wrong you are.

It may be in this lifetime.

It may be the moment after you die and stand before God.

Jesus told a story,
(Luke 12:16–21 NKJV) —16 …“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
It’s not wrong to have wealth.  It’s just wrong to trust your money or your brain instead of God.
Paul wrote,
(1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

: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.

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

:5 Ashkelon shall see it and fear

These are all cities of the Philistines.

These were three of the 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 right at them.

:6 Ashdod

Ashdod was another of the main Philistine cities.

It is in on the coast of southern Israel.

:6 A mixed race

Ashdod will lose its original inhabitants and be settled by foreigners.

: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.

:7 take away the blood from his mouth

Jewish dietary law prohibits eating meat that has not been properly drained of blood. (Lev. 7:26-27)

(Leviticus 7:26–27 NKJV) —26 Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. 27 Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people.’ ”

The Philistines would adopt Jewish dietary customs.

:7 like a Jebusite

The Jebusites were the original Canaanite inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem, but were eventually absorbed into the nation of Israel (2Sam. 24:18)

After David conquered Jerusalem, the Jebusites eventually got absorbed into the nation of Israel. (2Sam. 24:18)
(2 Samuel 24:18 NKJV) And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”

God is saying that the remaining Philistines would become followers of Yahweh and be absorbed into Israel.

: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.

:8 I will camp around My house


God’s protection

You are His child. He knows how to protect you and provide for you.
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records that after Alexander had conquered Tyre and the cities of Philistia, he headed to Jerusalem. (Antiquities 11:325-339)
Alexander 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.

In fact the people told Alexander about Daniel’s prophecies and how he would conquer the Persians.

Apparently Alexander even offered sacrifices to Yahweh.

David wrote,
(Psalm 46:1–3 NKJV) —1 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.

You can trust God.  He’s bigger than your problems.

Josephus, Anquituities 11.325-339
(325) but when the seven months of the siege of Tyre were over, and the two months of the siege of Gaza, Sanballat died. Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; (326) and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifices to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; (327) whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. (328) Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced; and declared to all the warning he had received from God according to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.
5. (329) And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha; which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple; (330) and when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him, thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; (331) for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head having the golden plate on which the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. (332) The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about: whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. (333) However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass, that when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with that high priesthood; (334) for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios, in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; (335) whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.” (336) And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city; and when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. (337) And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present, but the next day he called them to him, and bade them ask what favors they pleased of him: (338) whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired: and when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired: (339) and when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army on this condition, that they should continue under the law of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars. [1]

9:9-10 The Coming King

Prophetic Telescoping – a prophecy may hop, skip, and jump through time without stopping to catch its 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.

: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.

:9 your King is coming to you

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.

We’ve just skipped 350 years past Alexander.

The picture is from an ancient mosaic (100 BC), depicting Alexander and Bucephalus in battle at Issus.
Bucephalus was a massive creature with a massive head.
He had a black coat with a large white star on his brow.

:9 just and having salvation

justtsaddiyq – just, lawful, righteous

This coming King is not going to be a crooked, wicked tyrant.

He is “just”.
He always does what is right and good.
Even when Jesus forgives our sins, He is “just”.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let’s say that the Islamic fellow beheading Americans on those ISIS videos were to become a Christian and ask Jesus to forgive him.

Would it be “just” for Jesus to forgive him?  Shouldn’t he have to pay for all the bad things he’s done?

Jesus is “just” because He Himself has taken the punishment that this man deserves when He died on the cross.

Do you think it’s not possible for God to forgive you?  Think again.

This king has “salvation”.

He will not just give the Jews salvation from their enemies, He will save the world from the penalty of their sin.
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

:9 Lowly and riding on a donkey

We see this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus (John 12:12-15)

Video:  The Gospel of John

(John 12:12–15 NKJV) —12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” 14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”



There will be a day when He arrives on a white horse. But the first time He came on a donkey colt.
One Bible scholar (Hengstenberg, Feinberg pg.165) has noted that after the time of Solomon, there is not one record of a king or any distinguished person riding on a donkey.
Jesus came to demonstrate humility and a servant’s heart.
(Mark 9:33–37 NKJV) —33 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.”
Jesus said that the greatest thing you can achieve is to be a “servant”.
One of the best ways to express true humility is in the way you treat children.
I was so blessed to see how so many people pitched in on Friday night to pull off the Kids’ Harvest Party.
Some guys have this mistaken notion that it’s not “manly” to spend time with kids.

I think the most “manly” thing a guy can do is to learn “How To Dad”.

Video:  How to Dad

: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.’

:10 He shall speak peace

Zechariah now jumps far into the future to speak of the worldwide peace that will come when the Messiah rules over the earth.

This doesn’t happen until Jesus comes the second time.

9:11-17 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.

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

:12 prisoners of hope

Literally, “prisoners of the hope”.

Even in while in prison, God is the “hope” of His people.

:12 Return to the stronghold

Perhaps this is a word to those still in Babylon to encourage them 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.”

:13 Against your sons, O Greece

Long after Alexander the Great, but 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 revolt (169-135 BC).

Keep in mind, Zechariah is writing this around 518 BC, about 350 years before the Maccabees.

: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.

: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.

:16 The Lord their God will save them

It’s possible that this might be talking about the Maccabean revolt.

It might also be a picture of when Jesus returns and rescues the Jews from the antichrist.

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

:11 the waterless pit

pitbowr – pit, well, cistern

Cisterns were large underground reservoirs used to store up rain water.

When a cistern was emptied of water, it was sometimes used as a dungeon or a prison.

God promises to set prisoners free.

:11 Because of the blood of your covenant

covenantberiyth – covenant, alliance, pledge

A covenant was a legal agreement between two individuals.

Sometimes, when a covenant was made between two individuals, the shedding of blood was involved.
When a covenant was made between two people, it seems that sometimes the use of blood seems to be implied.
One of the words used in “making a covenant” was the Hebrew word karath, meaning “to cut”, and implied a sacrifice of animals.
When God made a “covenant” with Abraham (Gen. 15:18), animals were sacrificed, cut into pieces, and God showed up to walk between the pieces.
I think you could imagine that it was a bloody event.
(Genesis 15:18 NKJV) On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—

God “cut” a covenant with Abram.

When you make an animal sacrifice, things get bloody.

After God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the “covenant” was ratified between God and the people with blood.
(Exodus 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.”


Saved by the blood

It may be that God is simply saying that He will honor His original “covenant” with Israel, the blood that Moses sprinkled on them, and they can count on God to rescue them from their “pit”, from their prison.
Yet Jeremiah prophesied that one day there would be a new covenant between God and man (Jer. 31:31-34)
(Jeremiah 31:31–34 NKJV) —31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Jesus came to establish that New Covenant between God and man.
It wasn’t an agreement that was based on man’s obedience to the Law, but it was an agreement based on trusting the sacrifice, the blood of Jesus to pay for our sins.
And this covenant was also ratified with blood.

(Hebrews 9:12 NKJV) Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

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

It was at the Last Supper that Jesus took a cup of wine and said…

(Matthew 26:28 NKJV) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The Bible says that the life of an individual is “in the blood” (Lev. 17:11).  When Jesus shed His blood, He was giving His life for us.
We have a vague picture of this in the current news.
Video:  Nina Pham receives blood

Nina is actually home now, cured of Ebola because she was “saved by the blood” of someone who had conquered the disease.

We are “saved by the blood” of Jesus.  He conquered death.

Do you need saving today?

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.