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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Zechariah 13 and 14

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

Chapter 13

      In that time shall be "ma qo wr" (fountain) opened "le bet" ('for the' house) of David "u le yo se be" (inhabiting / living) in Jerusalem "le hat tat" (sin (also includes 'purification from' and 'sin offering')) "u le nid dah" (for impurity / uncleanness (word includes 'menstruation' (making a woman ritually unclean)).

      And in that time, says YHWH of Hosts, cut off "se mo wt" (names) "ha 'a sab bin" ('the' idols) from "ha 'a res" (land / earth), and no 'longer' "yiz za ke ru" (be remembered / mindful) - "we gam" (and also) prophets and "ru ah" (spirit) "hat tum 'ah" ('the' religiously impure / unclean (different word from verse 1))....

An Unclean side note:
      This word is "tumah" which means 'unclean' as in 'impure', and also "tamel" which is the status of being unclean. It is used in two way in the OT. The first is in terms of the body, either by being physically dirty, or by touching a dead body or an unclean animal. A lot of this is defined in Leviticus 11 and 12, and elsewhere in the Books of Moses.
      "taharah" is another type of uncleanness with deals with the morality of being unclean. It focuses more on matters in which one has a choice to do something rather than what comes as part of the human condition, which is the text term we'll look at.
      In verse one we saw "niddah" and the note was added that it included menstruation, it also covered other aspects of the human body and things that happen with and to it.
      And then there is "nevelah" which is the term that applies to a dead animal that wasn't dispatched according to Jewish law.
      There was a whole hierarchy of stages of uncleanliness. With some, the person, or object, was only unclean until sundown, with others, until the following Sabbath, then there were more serious ones, such as the birth of a child, that required a set number of says, and a few others that required a sacrifice for the person to be declared clean. This includes people like shepherds and fishermen who were thought to be unclean by many Jews because they MIGHT have touched the blood or feces of an animal.
      There's a link below to one article about all this, on that site you can find a lot more.
end note

      ... "'a 'a bir" ('go away' (essentially)) from the 'land/earth'.

      We'll take these next few verses somewhat together, then look at the overall meaning:
      paraphrase: "the time will come when the parents of anybody who speaks the word in the name of GOD will kill them."
      The statement in the verse is direct and brutal as well as damning. And this tone continues.

4 and 5
      paraphrase: "the time will come when the prophets deny their calling and wear a disguise and say they are a farmer or rancher."

      paraphrase: "somebody will say to him, 'how did you hurt your "ya de ka" (hands) ?' and he'll answer 'I got hurt at my friend's house'."
      Obviously the theme here is that the overall society is going to deny GOD and those that believe and serve Him. Is the 'wounded hands' a Messianic prophecy? No. Christ never claimed that He was anything other than what He was.
      Now as to whether the next set of verses are Messianic, we'll let you judge.

      Sword, wake up, "'al" (against / upon) "ro 'i" (shepherd) and against "ge ber" (man) "'a mit ti" (associate / companion / neighbor / friend (the word is used for all those, and implies someone who spends time with someone else)), says YHWH of Hosts, "hak" (strike / defeat / 'kill') the shepherd "u te pu se na" ('and will' disperse / scatter) "has son" (animals) "wa ha si bo ti" ('and will' turn / return) "ya di" (hands (same word as in 6)) against "ha so 'a rim" ('those that are' insignificant)

      "be kal" (whole / all) "ha 'a res" (land / earth) says YHWH,...
      two thirds will be 'cut down / off' and die, and one third survive. These numbers are reversed in the ocean in Revelation 8: 9 and following and with humans in 9 : 18.

      discussion: The purification by fire happens all over the Bible. We see it in Proverbs 8 :19 where it says "fine gold" which is gold that has been assayed (tested) by cupellation in the fire. As well as in Matthew 25, and, 1 Peter 1 : 6 and 7, and then in Revelation 3 : 18.
      .... "hu" (these / those / he / she / etc) "yiq ra" (call / proclaim) "bis mi" (name) and I "'e 'e neh" (respond / answer) them, I will say "'am mi" (my people), and they will say YHWH Elohim.

Chapter 14

      behold a time 'of YHWH' is coming and "hul laq" (divide / share) "se la lek" (spoils (as in 'goods')) "be qir bek" (among / midst 'you').

      for I will gather all "hag go w wyn" ((gentile) nations) against Jerusalem "lam mil ha mah" (battle / war) 'and the city will be taken and sacked', "hab bat tim" (the houses) and "han nas sim" (women / wives / etc) "tis sa kab nah" (violated / ravished) - 'and will go' half "ha ir" ('the' city) "bag go w lah" ('into' exile) 'but a remnant will remain'.

      "we ya sa" (and go forth) YHWH and "nil ham" (fight (as in a battle)) "bag go w wyn" (those (gentile) nations), as He fights in the "bay yo wn" (time / day) of "qe rab" (war).

      and "'a me du" (his feet) 'in that time' "har" (mountain / hill) "haz ze tim" (olives), which faces Jerusalem in the "miq qe dem" (front / (also) east), and be "we nib qa'" (cleaved / split / broken) the mount from "miz ra hah" (east / sunrise) to "wa yam mah" (to the sea / west), "ge" (valley) very great "u mas" (will move) half the mountain to the "sa po w nah" (northward) and half "neg bah" (to the south).

      discussion: the verse says "they will flee" evidently meaning the people that remain in Jerusalem, through the new valley, to the mountain. Then it mentions "Azal", which is an archaeologically verified settlement beneath the Mount that was destroyed in the earthquake mentioned in the verse and recorded in Josephus's Antiquities, see quote and link below.
      ... "u ba" (will come) YHWH Elohim and all "qe do sim" ('holy ones') with Him.

6 and 7
      paraphrase: "in that day, there will be no sunlight, "ye qa ro wt" (precious (perhaps 'stars')) will get dim...
      "... in the time that God knows, neither day nor night, but in the evening 'there will be light'"
      Again, this is a supernatural darkness, not an eclipse or other natural occurrence. See Isaiah 13 : 10 and Revelation 6 : 12 and 8 : 12. And the same goes for the 'evening light', which is probably the Presence of GOD, you can start with 1 John 1 : 5 on that one.

      Discussion. The "may yim" (water) "hay yim" (living / alive) as a river was mentioned in John 7 : 37 - 39. Then you have the River of Life in Revelation 22. In this verse in Zechariah, it is specified that the River divides in two, and flows east and west, and that it is year round.

      Summary: YHWH is One, YHWH is King of the Earth.
      The first half of the verse recalls Deuteronomy 6 : 4.

      will be turned "kal" (all) "ha 'a res" (land / earth) "ka 'a ra ba" (plain (especially a 'desert plain') ...
      Geba was a city of the priests about five miles north of Jerusalem in the land of Benjamin. The location of Rimmon is disputed, but was probably in the area of Galilee, perhaps North of Nazareth, about halfway between the Lake and the Sea. The locations of the gates varies depending on the version of the walls being discussed. The Tower of Hanaleel was always located on the northern wall, usually in the northeastern section, see Jeremiah 31 : 36 and Nehemiah 3 and chapter 12 : 39. As to where the "king's winepresses" were, or will be, is open to speculation, there is a good chance they may be in the vicinity of the Mount of Olives where the "king's garden' was until it was buried in the earthquake. There's a link below that talks about ancient wine presses.

      "we ya se bu" ('they will' dwell / live / inhabited) in it, "we he rem" (and 'total devastation' (includes 'accursed')) shall be no longer, but shall be inhabited (same root) Jerusalem "la be tah" (in safety).

12 If you just ate, you may want to skip this verse.
      A bit of a set up for this one, then we'll hit it head on:
      One of the likely suspects of what is being described is "Necrotizing Fasciitis", a flesh eating bacteria that, even today, is fatal in up to a third of cases, sometimes in a matter of days. In the time period of the Minor Prophets, it was almost certainly lethal, and probably would have killed more quickly than it does now. The described condition is not likely to be leprosy (Hansen's disease) because that does not directly cause the deeper flesh 'to rot' and is a much slower condition to develop. See link below for the flesh eating bacteria.

      And this shall be the "ham mag ge pah" (plague) which "yig gop" (strike / smite) YHWH all people "sa be 'u" (wage war) against Jerusalem - "ha meq" (decay / rot (includes 'fester')) "be sa row" ('his' flesh / meat / body) "we hu" ('as / and' who) "'o med" (stand / stands) "'al" (on / upon) "rag law" (feet / foot), and "'e naw" (eyes) 'shall rot' (same root) "ba ho re hen" ('in the' holes), "u le so w now" ('and their' tongue) 'shall rot' (same word) "be pi hem" ('in their' mouth).

      discussion first: the verse states that in that time, GOD will cause the people to panic. The implication is that this 'great panic' will be among those that are attacking Jerusalem. The panic will cause them to turn on each other, which will probably end badly.

      Judah will "til la hem" (fight) at Jerusalem - "we 'us sap" ('and' gathered) "hel" ((means both) wealth / army) of the nations around, gold, silver and "be ga dim" (raiment / apparel) 'in great abundance'.

      Summary: "the plague" from verse 12 now infects domestic animals.

      paraphrase: "everybody that is left of those that attacked Jerusalem"...
      "we 'a lu" (and shall go up) from year to year "le his ta ha wot" (bow down / prostrate) "le me lek" (the king), YHWH of Hosts, "we la hog" ('and' observe (as a pilgrimage)) the "hag" (feast) of "has suk ko wt" (tabernacles / booths).

      paraphrase: "whoever goes to Jerusalem to worship will stay dry"

      And if the family from Egypt not comes up, 'will have no rain' "tih yeh" (become / came) "ham mag ge pah" (plague) which "yig gop" (strikes) YHWH the nations that 'do not come up to keep the feast...'
      In this verse, the Egyptians are standing in for all those outside of the Holy Land that ignore the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Which is confirmed in a moment.

      "zot" (this) "hat tat" (sin / punishment of sin) of Egypt 'and' "kal" (all) "hag go w yim" (nations) "lo" (not) come up "la hog" (to keep) the feast of tabernacles.

      In that time, "yih yeh" (will be) "'al" (on) "me sil o wt" (bells (the sound making device)) "has sus" (horses (especially chariot pulling ones)), "qo des" (holy / holiness / etc) 'to' YHWH, and shall be "has si ro wt" (caldrons / pots) in "bet" (house) YHWH "kam miz ra him" (bowls / basins (for sacrifice)) before "ham miz be ah" (altar).
      "bells of the horses"? Well. OK. Whatever.

      'and it shall come to pass' "kal" (all / every) "sir" (bowl / pot (same root)) in Jerusalem and Judah, 'holy' (same word) to YHWH of Hosts - and shall come "kal" (all) "haz zo be him" ('offer' sacrifice) take them and "bis se lu" (boil / cook) them and "lo" (no) "yih yeh" (will be) "ke na 'a ni" (Canaanite (gentile / non-believer)) "'o wd" (around) "be bet" ('in the' house) YHWH of hosts in time that.
      Some of the translators and editors of commentaries make the Canaanites in the last verse out to be 'traders' or 'merchants' in the Temple, probably with one eye on the episode with Christ and the 'money changers'. Is it? That's a possible meaning, or it could mean what it says. Or both. It's Zechariah.

End Zechariah

Selected Sources for this chapter:

Unclean "niddah"

Another look at all things unclean:

Today's Josephus reference:

"And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled it self four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain; till the roads, as well as the King’s gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction."
Antiquities of the Jews, book 9, chapter 10, 4
And then it shakes:
"Jerusalem is located 25 km from the active Dead Sea fault, which is a part of the Dead Sea Rift System Despite its proximity to the fault, the city has escaped past seismic events relatively undamaged. In contrast to the rest of the city, the Mount of Olives did suffer damage as a result of landslides, as evidenced by a large landslide scarp found in the western slope ..."
Earthquake risk and slope stability in Jerusalem in the Holy Land

And that plague:

What Is Flesh-Eating Bacteria (Necrotizing Fasciitis)?
"Flesh-eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis) is a rare infection of the skin and tissues below it. It can be deadly if not treated quickly.
Necrotizing fasciitis spreads quickly and aggressively in an infected person. It causes tissue death at the infection site and beyond. Every year, between 600 and 700 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. About 25% to 30% of those cases result in death.
In some cases, it is unknown how the infection began. Once it takes hold, the infection rapidly destroys muscle, skin, and fat tissue."

Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages: We'll change this link as we change books.

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

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