King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zechariah 12

Punishment of the enemies of Judah. (1-8) Repentance and sorrow of the Jews. (9-14)

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Punishment of the enemies of Judah

1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.

5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.

6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.

7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.

8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.

Repentance and sorrow of the Jews

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;

13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;

14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. A lintel of surfeiting. That is, a door into which they shall seek to enter, to glut themselves with blood: but they shall stumble, and fall like men stupified with wine. It seems to allude to the times of Antiochus, and to the victories of the Machabees. Ch. — Yet it indirectly relates to the last siege of Jerusalem, and to Jesus Christ establishing his Church. Heb. “a cup of drowsiness,” or trembling. C. — Sept. “as courts (or thresholds; prothura) shaken.” H. — Jerusalem first drank the cup herself; and then under the Machabees, made others suffer. — Juda. Never before Epiphanes had the Jews fought against their brethren. Then the apostates became most terrible. 1 Mac. i. 55. and ii. 7, 19. C. — Thus none persecute the Catholic faith more than those who have perfidiously abandoned it. H. — When the gospel began to be preached, the obstinate Jews opposed it. Acts iv. &c. W.

Ver. 3. Stone. It was customary to have such huge stones for people to try their strength. S. Jer. — Ruptures and wounds were frequently the consequence. Eccli. vi. 22. The nations which attacked God’s people, paid dear for their victory. C. — All fight against the Church; (M.) yet she prevails. H.

Ver. 4. Blindness. The cavalry of the Syrians proved useless against a few (C.) champions under God’s protection. H.

Ver. 5. Let. Sept. “We shall find for us the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in the Lord Almighty, their God.” H. — Judas always exhorted his men to trust in the Lord. 1 Mac. iii. 18. C. — Mocbai, the initials of “who is like thee among the strong, (Alim) O Lord,” (Ex. xv. 11. H.) is supposed to have been his motto, (C.) written on his banners; and some assert, that it occasioned the appellation of Machabee. H. — “Strengthen for me.” Aquila.

Ver. 6. Furnace. Sept. “firebrand among wood, and as a burning lamp amid straw.” H. — Left. The Samaritans shall fall as well as the Idumeans. — Place. The temple and city had been deserted, while the troops of Epiphanes occupied the citadel. 1 Mac. iii. 45. and iv. 38.

Ver. 7. David. The Machabees were not of this family, but Levites, born at Modin, in Ephraim. C.

Ver. 8. Hath. Sept. “is weak.” — Offended. Such shall repent and be pardoned, like David. H. — They shall imitate his valour. The posterity of David shall no more cause the people to go stray. — Of God. He seems to allude to Christ’s birth. David’s offspring shall not ascend the throne; but their virtue shall be conspicuous; they shall give birth to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. C.

Ver. 10. Prayers. Sept. and Chal. “pity.” H. — After the Machabees more synagogues were erected, and the people were more faithful; yet this chiefly regards the new law, in which the spirit prays with us ineffably. Rom. viii. 26. C. — Me. So far the prophet speaks in Christ’s name. He afterwards relates how the people will grieve for him, beating their breasts. Lu. xxiii. 48. This was clearly verified in Christ. John xix. 31. M. — But in the gospel we read, him whom they have pierced, as the context seems here to require. H. — Some Hebrew copies read in like manner, (C.) the Erfurth MS. 2. having aliu, “on him,” though Michaelis remarks not this important variation. The Jewish transcriber would not alter his text to make it conformable to the New Testament. Kennicott — Sept. “they shall look upon me for having insulted,” or skipped. C. — Yet “S. John did not much regard what the Greek contained, but interpreted word for word as he had read in Hebrew,” as the other sacred writers did when there was any material difference. S. Jerom, quoted by Kennicott. Dis. ii. p. 347, &c. H. — Adopting this reading, we may explain this of Judas, whom the people greatly bewailed. 1 Mac. ix. 20. He was a figure of Christ, whom the prophet had chiefly in view. All the Jews who embraced the faith verify this prediction, (C.) as those particularly did who had been instrumental to the death of our Saviour, and afterwards entered into themselves. Acts ii. 37. Both Jews and Gentiles have all contributed by their sins to crucifying their Lord; and, at the last day, all shall look on him as their judge or as their deliverer. — Pierced. Heb. dakaru. H. — Sept. have transposed d and r, which are very similar, and read rokdu, “have danced,” or derided. S. Jer. — The original implies, have outraged or blasphemed, as well as pierced. They shall henceforward cease to despise God and his law. C.

Ver. 11. Adadremmon. A place near Mageddon, where the good king Josias was slain, and much lamented by his people. Ch. — It was not far from Jezrahel. 2 Par. xxxv. The lamentation for Josias represents that of impenitent sinners at the day of judgment. S. Jer. W. — Sept. translate the proper names, “of the pomegranate which is cut down in the field.” H. — All from v. 8 may be explained of Judas.

Ver. 12. Apart. Bands of men and of women mourning, went with musical instruments separately through the streets, and into the country; as they still do in the East. C. — On such occasions, as well as in times of prayer, continence is observed. S. Jer.

Ver. 13. Nathan. Zorobabel was his descendant. — Semei, the son of Gershom. 1 Par. vi. 16. C. — “From this tribe the doctors are chosen.” S. Jer. — The pious of all ranks bewail the death of Christ, and the share which they had in it. H. — He had done good to many; and therefore we may presume that many would grieve in every tribe. M.