9:12. Return to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, I will render thee double as I declare today.
9:13. Because I have bent Juda for me as a bow, I have filled Ephraim: and I will raise up thy sons, O Sion, above thy sons, O Greece, and I will make thee as the sword of the mighty.
Thy sons, O Sion, etc... Viz., the apostles, who, in the spiritual way, conquered the Greeks, and subdued them to Christ.
9:14. And the Lord God shall be seen over them, and his dart shall go forth as lightning: and the Lord God will sound the trumpet, and go in the whirlwind of the south.
9:15. The Lord of hosts will protect them: and they shall devonr, and subdue with the stones of the sling: and drinking they shall be inebriated as it were with wine, and they shall be filled as bowls, and as the horns of the altar.
9:16. And the Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of his people: for holy stones shall be lifted up over his land.
Holy stones... The apostles, who shall be as pillars and monuments in the church.
9:17. For what is the good thing of him, and what is his beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect, and wine springing forth virgins?
The corn, etc... 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.
Zacharias Chapter 10
God is to be sought to, and not idols. The victories of his church, which shall arise originally from the Jewish nation.
10:1. Ask ye of the Lord rain in the latter season, and the Lord will make snows, and will give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
10:2. For the idols have spoken what was unprofitable, and the diviners have seen a lie, and the dreamers have spoken vanity: they comforted in vain: therefore they were led away as a flock: they shall be afflicted, because they have no shepherd.
10:3. My wrath is kindled against the shepherds, and I will visit upon the buck goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Juda, and hath made them as the horse of his glory in the battle.
10:4. Out of him shall come forth the corner, out of him the pin, out of him the bow of battle, out of him ever exacter together.
10:5. And they shall be as mighty men, treading under foot the mire of the ways in battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders of horses shall be confounded.
10:6. And I will strengthen the house of Juda, and save the house of Joseph: and I will bring them back again, because I will have mercy on them: and they shall be as they were when I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them.
10:7. And they shall be as the valiant men of Ephraim, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: and their children shall see, and shall rejoice, and their heart shall be joyful in the Lord.
10:8. I will whistle for them, and I will gather them together, because I have redeemed them: and I will multiply them as they were multiplied before.
10:9. And I will sow them among peoples: and from afar they shall remember me: and they shall live with their children, and shall return.
10:10. And I will bring them back out of the land of Egypt, and I will gather them from among the Assyrians: and will bring them to the land of Galaad, and Libanus, and place shall not be found for them.
10:11. And he shall pass over the strait of the sea, and shall strike the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the river shall be confounded, and the pride of Assyria shall be humbled, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart.
10:12. I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, saith the Lord.
Zacharias Chapter 11
The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. God's dealings with the Jews, and their reprobation.
11:1. Open thy gates, O Libanus, and let fire devour thy cedars.
O Libanus... So Jerusalem, and more particularly the temple, is called by the prophets, from its height, and from its being built of the cedars of Libanus.-Ibid. Thy cedars... Thy princes and chief men.
11:2. Howl, thou fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, for the mighty are laid waste: howl, ye oaks of Basan, because the fenced forest is cut down.
11:3. The voice of the howling of the shepherds, because their glory is laid waste: the voice of the roaring of the lions, because the pride of the Jordan is spoiled.
11:4. Thus saith the Lord my God: Feed the flock of the slaughter,
11:5. Which they that possessed, slew, and repented not, and they sold them, saying: Blessed be the Lord, we are become rich: and their shepherds spared them not.
11:6. And I will no more spare the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: behold I will deliver the men, every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall destroy the land, and I will not deliver it out of their hand.
Every one into his neighbour's hand, etc... This alludes to the last siege of Jerusalem, in which the different factions of the Jews destroyed one another; and they that remained fell into the hands of their king, that is, of the Roman emperor, of whom they had said, John 19.15, we have no king but Caesar.
11:7. And I will feed the flock of slaughter for this, O ye poor of the flock. And I took unto me two rods, one I called Beauty, and the other I called a Cord, and I fed the flock.
Two rods... Or shepherd's staves, meaning the different ways of God's dealing with his people; the one, by sweet means, called the rod of Beauty: the other, by bands and punishments, called the Cord. And where both these rods are made of no use or effect by the obstinacy of sinners, the rods are broken, and such sinners are given up to a reprobate sense, as the Jews were.
11:8. And I cut off three shepherds in one month, and my soul was straitened in their regard: for their soul also varied in my regard.
Three shepherds in one month... That is, in a very short time. By these three shepherds probably are meant the latter princes and high priests of the Jews, whose reign was short.
11:9. And I said: I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die: and that which is cut off, let it be cut off: and let the rest devour every one the flesh of his neighbour.
11:10. And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people.
11:11. And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord.
11:12. And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
11:13. And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary.
The statuary... The Hebrew word signifies also a potter.
11:14. And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel.
11:15. And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.
A foolish shepherd... This was to represent the foolish, that is, the wicked princes and priests that should rule the people, before their utter desolation.
11:16. For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs.
11:17. O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
Zacharias Chapter 12