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Zechariah 12

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The Repentance of Judah

12:1 The revelation of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: The Lord – he who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, who forms the human spirit within a person 1  – says, 12:2 “I am about to make Jerusalem 2  a cup that brings dizziness 3  to all the surrounding nations; indeed, Judah will also be included when Jerusalem is besieged. 12:3 Moreover, on that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy burden 4  for all the nations, and all who try to carry it will be seriously injured; 5  yet all the peoples of the earth will be assembled against it. 12:4 In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion and its rider with madness. I will pay close attention to the house of Judah, but will strike all the horses 6  of the nations 7  with blindness. 12:5 Then the leaders of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are a means of strength to us through their God, the Lord who rules over all.’ 12:6 On that day 8  I will make the leaders of Judah like an igniter 9  among sticks and a burning torch among sheaves, and they will burn up all the surrounding nations right and left. Then the people of Jerusalem will settle once more in their place, the city of Jerusalem. 12:7 The Lord also will deliver the homes 10  of Judah first, so that the splendor of the kingship 11  of David and of the people of Jerusalem may not exceed that of Judah. 12:8 On that day the Lord himself will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the weakest among them will be like mighty David, and the dynasty of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them. 12  12:9 So on that day I will set out to destroy all the nations 13  that come against Jerusalem.”

12:10 “I will pour out on the kingship 14  of David and the population of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication so that they will look to me, 15  the one they have pierced. They will lament for him as one laments for an only son, and there will be a bitter cry for him like the bitter cry for a firstborn. 16  12:11 On that day the lamentation in Jerusalem will be as great as the lamentation at Hadad-Rimmon 17  in the plain of Megiddo. 18  12:12 The land will mourn, clan by clan – the clan of the royal household of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the clan of the family of Nathan 19  by itself and their wives by themselves; 12:13 the clan of the descendants of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; and the clan of the Shimeites 20  by itself and their wives by themselves – 12:14 all the clans that remain, each separately with their wives.”

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1 tn Heb “who forms the spirit of man within him” (so NIV).

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 sn The image of a cup that brings dizziness is that of drunkenness. The Lord will force the nations to drink of his judgment and in doing so they will become so intoxicated by his wrath that they will stumble and become irrational.

4 tn Heb “heavy stone” (so NRSV, TEV, NLT); KJV “burdensome stone”; NIV “an immovable rock.”

5 sn In Israel’s and Judah’s past they had been uprooted by various conquerors such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians. In the eschaton, however, they will be so “heavy” with God’s glory and so rooted in his promises that no nation will be able to move them.

6 tn Heb “every horse.”

7 tn Or “peoples” (so NAB, NRSV).

8 sn On that day (referring to the day of the Lord) the Davidic monarchy will be restored and the Lord’s people will recognize once more the legitimacy and divine sanction of David’s dynasty. But there will also be a democratizing that will not give Jerusalem and its rulers undue priority over the people of the countryside (v. 7).

9 tn Heb “a firepot” (so NASB, NIV); NRSV “a blazing pot”; NLT “a brazier.”

10 tn Heb “the tents” (so NAB, NRSV); NIV “the dwellings.”

11 tn Heb “house,” referring here to the dynastic line. Cf. NLT “the royal line”; CEV “the kingdom.” The same expression is translated “dynasty” in the following verse.

12 sn The statement the dynasty of David will be like God is hyperbole to show the remarkable enhancements that will accompany the inauguration of the millennial age.

13 tn Or “peoples.”

14 tn Or “dynasty”; Heb “house.”

15 tc Because of the difficulty of the concept of the mortal piercing of God, the subject of this clause, and the shift of pronoun from “me” to “him” in the next, many mss read אַלֵי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’aleetasher, “to the one whom,” a reading followed by NAB, NRSV) rather than the MT’s אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’elaetasher, “to me whom”). The reasons for such alternatives, however, are clear – they are motivated by scribes who found such statements theologically objectionable – and they should be rejected in favor of the more difficult reading (lectio difficilior) of the MT.

tn Or “on me.”

16 tn The Hebrew term בְּכוֹר (bÿkhor, “firstborn”), translated usually in the LXX by πρωτότοκος (prwtotokos), has unmistakable messianic overtones as the use of the Greek term in the NT to describe Jesus makes clear (cf. Col 1:15, 18). Thus, the idea of God being pierced sets the stage for the fatal wounding of Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God (cf. John 19:37; Rev 1:7). Note that some English translations supply “son” from the context (e.g., NIV, TEV, NLT).

17 tn “Hadad-Rimmon” is a compound of the names of two Canaanite deities, the gods of storm and thunder respectively. The grammar (a subjective genitive) allows, and the problem of comparing Israel’s grief at God’s “wounding” with pagan mourning seems to demand, that this be viewed as a place name, perhaps where Judah lamented the death of good king Josiah (cf. 2 Chr 35:25). However, some translations render this as “for” (NRSV, NCV, TEV, CEV), suggesting a person, while others translate as “of” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT) which is ambiguous.

18 map For location see Map1 D4; Map2 C1; Map4 C2; Map5 F2; Map7 B1.

19 sn By the time of Zechariah the line of descent from David had already been transferred from the Solomon branch to the Nathan branch (the clan of the family of Nathan). Nathan was a son of David (2 Sam 5:14) through whom Jesus eventually came (Luke 3:23-31). Matthew traces Jesus’ ancestry back through Solomon (Matt 1:6-16) but apparently this is to tie Joseph into the Davidic (and thus messianic) line. The “official” descent of Jesus may be viewed as passing through Solomon whereas the “physical” descent came through Nathan.

20 sn The Shimeites were Levites (Exod 6:16-17; Num 3:17-18) who presumably were prominent in the postexilic era. Just as David and Nathan represented the political leadership of the community, so Levi and Shimei represented the religious leadership. All will lament the piercing of the Messiah.



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