King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zechariah 9

God’s defense of his church. (1-8) Christ’s coming and his kingdom. (9-11) Promises to the church. (12-17)

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God’s defense of his church

1 The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.

2 And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.

3 And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets.

4 Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.

5 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

6 And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.

8 And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

Christ’s coming and his kingdom

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.

11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

Promises to the church

12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;

13 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.

14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the LORD God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.

15 The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.

16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

17 For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Burden. Preaching of the truth is disagreeable to infidels, and light to the faithful. W. — Hadrach; Syria, (Ch.) or a city near Damascus, on which it rested. The victories of Alexander and of the Machabees are here described. The former defeated the Arabs near Damascus, (which was betrayed to Parmenio) and having gained the victory at Issus, became master of Celosyria, of which he made Parmenio governor. C. — Rest. Sept. “his sacrifice, for the Lord looks on men and on all the tribes of Israel.” H. — He wished for the conversion of all, and those who turn to him are not rejected. S. Jer.

Ver. 2. Emath, or Emesa, not far from Damascus. C. — It shall also fall a prey to Alexander. H. — Tyre was become again very rich and strong, (C.) and gloried in its wisdom; yet was taken after a long and obstinate resistance (H.) of seven months, when the inhabitants were slain or sold, the city demolished, and the ships sunk. Curt. iv. Usher, A. 3672. — Sidon made no resistance, as it hated the Persians. Yet Strabo was forced to resign the throne to Abdolonymus, (Arian ii. Just. xi.) which indicates some opposition. C.

Ver. 5. Ascalon was ruined. The other cities opened their gates, as Jerusalem did. Jos. Ant. xi. ult. — Batis alone resolved to defend Gaza. He was dragged round the city when it was taken, after a siege of two months; the inhabitants were slaughtered or sold, and others brought in their stead. Curt. iv. Diod. Oly. cxii.

Ver. 6. Divider. Heb. mamzer; “bastard,” or rather “stranger.” It is reported that Alexander was the illegitimate son of Nestabanes, whom Olympius took for Jupiter. Plut. Just. xi. — But these might be popular reports. The sequel seems to shew that the Jews, &c. occupied the towns of the Philistines under the Machabees. Chal. Grot. C. — The divider may denote any conqueror. M.

Ver. 7. His blood. It is spoken of the Philistines, and particularly of Azotus, (where the temple of Dagon was) and contains a prophecy of the conversion of that people from their bloody sacrifices and abominations to the worship of the true God. Ch. — Many pagans devoured the victims raw, and drank the blood of their enemies. These marks of cruelty and superstition shall cease when they adopt the law of Moses. Gen. ix. 4. Lev. vii. 26. and xvii. 11. — Governor, or city of a thousand: (C.) Heb. alup. Mic. v. 2. H. — Jebusite. They probably embraced the faith with Areuna. 2 K. xxiv. 16. The city was formerly styled Jebus. The towns of the Philistines shall not be distinguished from the rest, under the dominion of Juda. See 1 Mac. v. 66. and x. 78. C.

Ver. 8. War; the Machabees. Ch. — They stood up like a wall for the people and the temple. C. — Heb. “my house, on account of those going,” &c. I will protect it better than an army. H. — After the Machabees, God preserved the temple from profanation till he abandoned it after the death of Christ. C. — Yet Pompey penetrated into the most holy place, and Crassus plundered the treasury. Both felt the effects of their impiety, and had no farther success. — Oppressor; tax-gatherer, (H.) sent by foreign tyrants. M. — Till the Machabees, particularly Hircan, (C.) or Simon, his father, (H.) threw off the yoke, the Jews were always subject (C.) either to the Persians, to Syria, or to Egypt. H. — Hircan’s son, Aristobulus, took the title king, and governed in peace. C.

Ver. 9. King. Christ often came to Jerusalem; but his last entrance, to die for man’s redemption, was most excellent. W. — If the Jews had not wilfully blinded themselves, they could not mistake Him, as he is here so minutely described, possessing the most humble and the noblest qualities. Not knowing how to reconcile them, they feign one Messias glorious and another poor and despised; while others admit only of one, and reject either the abject or the exalted things which the prophets have spoken of him. The Church alone can reconcile these apparent contradictions in our Saviour’s character. After predicting what would befall the Jews till about one hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet turns to Him who was the desire and comfort of the nation. C. — Saviour. Heb. Noshah, (H.) or Jesus. S. Jer. — Poor; or meek, as S. Matthew quotes it, after the Sept. and Chal. M. — They have read v for i, as hani (H.) means poor. C. — Prot. “lowly,” which may signify devoid of riches, or of pride. — Ass. Sept. “yoked animal, and upon a young foal.” H. — The former denotes the Jews.

Ver. 10. Chariot. Arms shall be useless. Mic. v. 10. — Earth. This can be understood only of Christ’s kingdom, (C.) though it alludes to the greatest limits of the promised land. H.

Ver. 11. Water; from limbo, (S. Jer. &c. W. S. Tho. iii. p. q. 52. a. 1. C.) and purgatory. See S. Aug. de Gen. xii. 23. & ep. 99. M. — Christ delivered the ancient patriarchs by virtue of his covenant, just sealed with his blood. Heb. at present reads, “and as for thee, Sion, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners,” &c. delivering the Hebrews out of Egypt by the paschal lamb. Chal. But this text is suspected, as S. Jerom remarks no variation.

Ver. 12. Hold. Return ye, who stay behind, to Jerusalem. God will make good all that you abandon; or come, Judas has procured liberty for the people. 1 Mac. iv. 36. C. — Embrace the gospel, and enter the Church. M.

Ver. 13. Juda: the Machabees. S. Jer. — Filled, or stretched the bow of Ephraim. C. — The people shall act with vigour and union. H. — Sons; viz. the apostles, who, in the spiritual way, conquered the Greeks, and subdued them to Christ. Ch. — The Machabees repressed the insolence of the Seleucides, who were of Greek extraction.

Ver. 14. Seen. God miraculously interposed in favour of the Machabees, and his angels appeared at their head. 1 Mac. ii. 22. and v. 2. and x. 29. and xi. 8. and xv. 15. A handful of men thus routed vast armies, and asserted their independence, avenging religion and the state, which they restored to greater splendour. — South, whence storms usually arise in that country. Job xxxvii. 9. The angels confounded the enemy. 1 Mac. x. 30.

Ver. 15. Sling. At first the Machabees had no other weapon. 1 Mac. iv. 6. The sling was much used. Judg. xx. 16. — Wine. They will shed blood of the enemy so abundantly, and be all besmeared with it. They would never drink it, like the pagans. Lev. xvii. 10. C.

Ver. 16. Holy stones; the apostles, who shall be as pillars and monuments in the Church. Ch. — The Machabees are like a wall. They restore the altar of holocausts, built of fresh stones. 1 Mac. iv. C.

Ver. 17. The corn, &c. His most excellent gift is the blessed Eucharist, called here the corn, that is, the bread of the elect, and the wine springing forth virgins, that is, maketh virgins to bud, or spring forth as it were like flowers among thorns, because it has a wonderful efficacy to give and preserve purity. Ch. — It enables the weak to despise all things for the sake of virtue, and makes them fruitful and eloquent, as the original implies. C. — Sept. “a fragrant wine for virgins.” H. — Christ is the grain of wheat, which dying, brings forth much fruit, (Jo. xii.) and “of this wheat that bread is made which came from heaven.” Jo. vi. S. Jer. W. — “How shall not they have joy, who being inebriated with the cup of our Saviour, are made virgins?” This was partly verified in the days of the Machabees, to whom plenty was granted. S. Jer. H. — Those who partake worthily of the blessed Eucharist, become strong and pure. M. — Prot. “corn shall make the young men cheerful, (marginal note: grow, or speak) and new wine the maids.” H.