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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Zechariah 9 and 10

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

Chapter 9
1 and 2

      The section introduction has changed.
      "massa" (burden) of the word of YHWH against the land of Hadrach (an ancient place name, and possible local deity, centered around the city of Damascus) and Damascus "me nu ha tow" (resting place)...
      NOTE: The word order from here in the Hebrew makes this verse, and the transition to verse two difficult to understand. It appears that the subject of the line comes first.
      paraphrase: 'are on YHWH' the eyes of 'all' men, and the tribes of Israel,
      and against Hamath (Hama, a city a hundred miles north of Damascus) and Tyre and Sidon (coastal cities south of today's Beirut), though they are very wise.

      for built Tyre "ma so wr" (rampart / defensive tower) herself, "wat tis bar" (piled / stored) "ke sep" (silver / money) like "'a par" (dust), and "ha rus" (fine gold) like "tit" (mire / mud) of the streets.

      behold YHWH "yo w ri sen nah" (possess (as in 'take control of')) "we hik kah" (strike / strike down) "bay yam" (sea) "he lah" (army / strength) and she "ba 'es" (fire) "te 'a kel" (consumed / devoured)

      summary: Other towns in the area will see it and fear and mourn, its a bad day to be king, and then they're all deserted.

      discussion: the verse promises that a "mam zer" (bastard / illegitimate) group will move in, and destroy the pride of the Philistines. Today's Ashdod is one of the largest cities in modern Israel, then it was a Philistine port.

      'I will remove' "da maw" (blood) "mip piw" (mouth) "we siq qu saw" (detestable thing / abomination) "mib ben" (between) "sin naw" (teeth). "we nis ar" ('he' remains) he will be for "elohim" "we ha yah" (become) "ke 'a lup" ('as / like' leader) in Judah, and Ekron (Philistine city just in from the coast) a Jebusite (another Canaanite tribe the Jews were supposed to remove, their capital was Jebus, which was renamed. See Joshua 11 and 12, and 1 Chronicles 11 : 4)

      paraphrase and discussion: YHWH will stay around His house because of an enemy army, one that bypasses the house, and one that stays nearby, and no oppressor will come, because HE is watching.
      This has to be a prophecy of a future kingdom, because the land of Israel has been occupied, and oppressed, by everybody in the phone book since Zech saw his horses.

      "gi li" (rejoice) "me od" (greatly) ...
      A point blank Messianic prophecy. And one of the most well known of all of them. See Matthew 21. Mark 11. Luke 19. John 12.

      The time and tone shift. 'He' will eliminate military hardware, and speak peace. The verse ends with a clear indication of what this will be.

11 and 12
      ... because of "be dam" (blood (same root as earlier)) "be ri tek" (covenant) I will free your captives from the "mib bo wr" (pit / cistern) no water.
      Then the next verse refers to the captives released from the dry well with instructions of where to go and a promise.

      discussion: And now the prophet uses a very warlike metaphor with Judah as a bow and Ephraim as either the bowstring or perhaps the arrows (we'll see more on this in a moment), who are called the 'sons of Zion', who will be 'like the sword of a mighty man'. Except now there is a new enemy which he identifies as Yawan, which is usually thought to mean Ionia. The group of Greek colonies on the extreme western end of today's Turkey. These were something of a Greek speaking beachhead for Alexander's march east a few years after the time of the Minor Prophets.
      This should be mentioned here, and will be discussed in depth when we look at that so called "400 years of silence" between Malachi and Matthew, or rather, between the last of the Minor Prophets and the arrival on the scene of John the Baptist. A lot happened during that period that, to coin a phrase, set the table for the arrival of the Messiah, including putting in place the language of the New Testament, Greek, and the Pax Romana. And it was Alexander's own whirlwind conquest that, while his forces did catastrophic damage to the Second Temple, did put things in place that, to some degree, are still in use. See link below for a look at all that.

      Then YHWH "'a le hem" (over / above) "ye ra 'eh" (seen / appear / etc) "we ya sa" (go / go forth) "kab ba raq" (lightning) "his sow" (arrow), and "Adonay YHWH" "shophar" (ram's horn / trumpet) "yit ga'" (blow / blew (as in 'to sound')) and go "be sa 'a ro" ('with' tempest / whirlwind) from "te man" (south)

      YHWH of Hosts "ya gen" (defend) them and "'a ke lu" (consume / devour) and "ka be su" (subdue / 'force into bondage') 'with stones from slings' - and "sa tu" (drink) and "ha mu" (roar (as with laughter)) as with wine- "u mal le 'u" ('will be' full / filled) "kam miz raq" (basin) corner of the altar.

      The translations have the saving of the people good.
      .... for "'ab ne" ('they are' stones (meaning 'gemstones') "ne zer" (crown), "mit no ws so wt" (flag / banner (something high and visible)) over His land

      For its "tu bow" (goodness) and "ya pe yow" (beauty)! "dagan" (cereal grains) "ba hu him" (young men) and "ti ro wos" (new wine) "ye no w beb" (yield fruit / increase) "be tu lo wt" (maidens / virgins).
      Evidently ol' Zech has as idea as to how the country will be repopulated.

Chapter 10

      The translations know Who makes the rain, and the "ha zi zim" (lightning flashes), and the "'e seb" (herbs) in the fields.

      the "tera phim" (idols in the home) "dib be ru" (speak / etc) "'a wen" (iniquity), and "haq qo ws mim" (diviners) "ha zu" (behold / see) "se qer" (lies / falsehood) and "la ha lo mo wt" (dreams) "has sa w" (vain / empty) "ye dab be ru" (speak / spoken) "he bel" (vanity / futility) - "ye na he mun" ('they' comfort) thus "nas se u" (journey / set out) like "son" (sheep / flock), "ya 'a nu" ('they are' afflicted) because no "ro 'eh" (herdsman)

      "'al" (against) "ha ro 'im" (herdman (same root)), "ha rah" (burning) "'ap pi" (anger) and "ha 'at tu dim" (literally 'goat leaders') - "'ep qo wd" (numbered / punish) for will visit YHWH of Hosts "'et 'ed row" (His flock) the house of Judah, "we sam" (place / set) them "ke sus" (horse) "ho w dow" (splendor / majestic) "bam mil ha mah" (battle).
      discussion, there's a couple of key pieces to these last two verses. First, we see that God is upset with those that are supposed to be leading the people, their shepherds, but without identifying them as the elders, or priests, or even the royals, it leads to the conclusion that it is a general failure of leadership, and that has caused their 'affliction'. Then Judah becomes a special war horse? Well, that's what it says.

      "mim men nu" (from 'Him') (the list in order): "pin nah" (corner / cornerstone), "ya ted" (peg (tent peg) / pin), "qe set" (bow), "mil ham mah" (battle) from Him comes "kal" (every) "no w ges" (task master / overseer) "yah daw" (together).

      Discussion. The description is somewhat gruesome. But the point is that they will win because YHWH is with them.

6 and 7
      And again. The promise specifies the houses of Judah and Joseph.... Except there was no 'tribe' of Joseph so to speak. His two sons were given his inheritance, Manasseh and Ephraim, and as we've seen elsewhere, there were some issues there, so this promise to restore and have mercy on them drops back a generation to the 'favorite son' Joseph.
      But God isn't done with the younger brother yet, the next verse says they will rejoice, and they will be redeemed. It is likely they there will be some from Ephraim in the remnant.

      "'es re qah" ('I will' whistle) for them....
      That's what it says. God will whistle. But when you consider that earlier we had the image of sheep and shepherds, who DID have a special whistle to call his flock, it's OK... at least this wasn't written in central Europe where the herdsmen might yodel. See below for how shepherds call their sheep, and where you can get a university degree in yodeling. Back to verse eight.
      .... and gather them. So it is talking about His flock. And He will redeem them, and they will increase.

9 and 10
      Discussion of both: It is implied that once the people, meaning the Jews, have increased, they will be scattered again. But it says that "yiz ke ru ni" (they will remember), they will have children, then return.
      The list of foreign lands where the people have been dispersed to, and will be brought back from, is extensive, but it meant to indicate that they are scattered all over the world, and God will bring them back.
      .... "'a bi 'em" (came / enter / come / brought / etc) no room "yim ma se" (will find / found / discovered) for them.

      "we 'a bar" (and pass through / over) "bay yam" (sea) "sa rah" (trouble / adversity)...
      synopsis and discussion: The statement is that God will pass through the sea and cause the sea to dry up and the Nile to be 'brought down'. Then Assyria and Egypt will go away.
      This was basically fulfilled when the aforementioned Alexander the Great who conquered everything worth conquering with his Macedonians in only a handful of years, and was then succeeded but the Seleucid Macedonian Empire, who was worse than the Assyrians.

      "we gib bar tem" ('I will' strengthen / 'make' strong) YHWH "u bis mow" 'in His' Name - "yit hal ls ku" (walk / 'come and go') says YHWH.

End chapter 10

Selected Sources for this chapter:
Alexander the Great: Facts, biography and accomplishments

How Does A Shepherd Call His Sheep?

"Yodelling has come a long way since it was used by herdsmen to call their animals or communicate between Alpine villages. People are expected to have singing lessons before applying to join a yodelling club. Now Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts has gone one step further, offering a bachelor course majoring in yodelling."

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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