Zechariah 10 – God’s People Gathered Together as One

Zechariah 10

[We have been covering Zechariah in our OT Reading during Sunday morning worship services. I have not posted all the comments I make after the reading but I am posting this ahead of time for this coming Sunday 3/30/14 since I won’t be able to cover all of it. The notes up to this chapter will be uploaded sometime in the near future.]

Verses 1-5

Many in the ANE (Ancient Near East) believed that certain gods and goddesses gave rain but Israel must remember God alone gives rain (v. 1). The “household gods” indeed “utter nonsense” (v. 2) which their leaders seemed to have consulted. God will punish these leaders and will Himself care for his flock (v. 3). God’s flock will be transformed to a “majestic steed” and the replacement leaders will be like the cornerstone, tent peg, and a battle bow (v. 4); the leader may in fact be the Messiah. These new leaders will triumph over their enemies “because the Lord is with them” (v. 5).

Verses 6-12

God will reunite Judah (the southern kingdom) and Joseph (the northern with Ephraim and Manasseh – or all the ten tribes of Israel) (v. 6). God will gather His people because He redeemed them (vv. 8-10). “As a shepherd whistles for his flock, the Lord will whistle for his people (v. 8), bringing them back from the nations where he scattered them.”[1] When Israel broke the covenant, most of the tribes of Israel disappeared but this prophecy indicates a reunited people will emerge — a new Israel.

His people will return from their exile (v. 10).[2] God will strike down the enemies of the North (Assyria) and the South (Egypt) (v. 11).[3] All the obstacles (like the sea and the Nile) will be removed (v. 11) – something like a new exodus will occur. God gives his people this promise: “I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall walk in his name,” declares the LORD.” (v. 12)

Something seemingly impossible will happen. A strong renewed and united people of God, a new Israel will materialize. A return that looks a new exodus will occur. As one writer said, “The new exodus produces a new Israel, in which all exiles will be included.”[4]

When will this happen? In Zech. 9, we read of the Messiah’s coming on a donkey into Jerusalem (9:9) and His coming will trigger all of these events (restoration of God’s people, the judgment of the nations, the rebuking of bad leaders, etc.). It is when Christ comes into Jerusalem all this will happen — “That will be the time for false shepherds to be judged, for the dispersed flock to be regathered, and for a new Israel to be created. Not everything would be fulfilled then, for Jesus himself spoke of a yet future coming of the kingdom, for which his disciples were to pray.”[5]

As the same commentator astutely stated, “The essential point is that the fulfillment would come through him [Jesus], and his arrival in Jerusalem would be the sign that it was beginning to happen.”[6]

There are some who believe that God will resurrect real Jews who died over two thousand years ago to come back to the land (drawn from phrase “they shall live and return” in v. 9b).[7] Others believe literal Jews will especially go through Assyria and Egypt. Again, we need to be careful here. The point here is that God gave a vision of Israel returning in the language and context fitted for them. God fulfills that in a greater degree by bringing many nations to Himself through Jesus Christ (beginning in Acts 2 where the various nations were present) — one united people. The fulfillment exceeds the prophecy. God’s elect people do come from their spiritual exile and at Christ’s second coming, all the nations will be subdued and judged.

[1] ESV Study Bible

[2] Dispensationalists say, “Judah’s return will be from all directions, but according to the tenth verse Ephraim will be brought back from Egypt and Assyria” (A. C. Gaebelein, Studies in Zechariah). Another writer says, “While the regathering is to occur from around the world, there will be a special emphasis upon the Middle East nations” (vv. 10-11)” (Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, revised ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2001), 798.

[3] Curiously, Ryrie takes Egypt and Assyria to be representatives of “all the lands of Israel’s present worldwide dispersion…” (Ryrie Study Bible). How can these two nations “represent” something that is not literally Egypt and Assyria when they will not permit others to represent “Israel” as the people of God. However, we take Egypt and Assyria to be representatives of the nations opposed to God’s people, i.e., the church (much like how the Great Babylon of Revelation represents the world). Eugene Merrill also does the same as Ryrie.

[4] Webb, The Message of Zechariah, Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 20003), 142.

[5] Webb, Zechariah, 143.

[6] Webb, Zechariah, 143.

[7] Cf. Eugene H. Merrill, An Exegetical Commentary – Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Minor Prophets Exegetical Commentary Series (Biblical Studies Press, 2003), 244; Merrill Unger, Zechariah (cited by Eugene Merrill).

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