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Zechariah 14:1-8

Context
The Sovereignty of the Lord

14:1 A day of the Lord 1  is about to come when your possessions 2  will be divided as plunder in your midst. 14:2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem 3  to wage war; the city will be taken, its houses plundered, and the women raped. Then half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away. 4 

14:3 Then the Lord will go to battle 5  and fight against those nations, just as he fought battles in ancient days. 6  14:4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, leaving a great valley. Half the mountain will move northward and the other half southward. 7  14:5 Then you will escape 8  through my mountain valley, for the mountains will extend to Azal. 9  Indeed, you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah 10  of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come with all his holy ones with him. 14:6 On that day there will be no light – the sources of light in the heavens will congeal. 11  14:7 It will happen in one day (a day known to the Lord); not in the day or the night, but in the evening there will be light. 12  14:8 Moreover, on that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, 13  half of them to the eastern sea 14  and half of them to the western sea; 15  it will happen both in summer and in winter.

1 sn The eschatological day of the Lord described here (and through v. 8) is considered by many interpreters to refer to the period known as the great tribulation, a seven year time of great suffering by God’s (Jewish) people culminating in the establishing of the millennial reign of the Lord (vv. 9-21). For other OT and NT references to this aspect of the day of the Lord see Amos 9:8-15; Joel 1:15–2:11; Isa 1:24-31; 2:2-4; 4:2-6; 26:16–27:6; 33:13-24; 59:1–60:22; 65:13-25; Jer 30:7-11; 32:36-44; Ezek 20:33-44; Dan 11:40; 12:1; Matt 24:21, 29; 25:31-46; Rev 19:11-16.

2 tn Heb “your plunder.” Cf. NCV “the wealth you have taken.”

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

4 tn Heb “not be cut off from the city” (so NRSV); NAB “not be removed.”

5 sn The statement the Lord will go to battle introduces the conflict known elsewhere as the “battle of Armageddon,” a battle in which the Lord delivers his people and establishes his millennial reign (cf. Joel 3:12, 15-16; Ezek 38–39; Rev 16:12-21; 19:19-21).

6 tn Heb “as he fights on a day of battle” (similar NASB, NIV, NRSV).

7 sn This seismic activity provides a means of escape from Jerusalem so that the Messiah (the Lord), whose feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, may destroy the wicked nations in the Kidron Valley (the v. of Jehoshaphat, or of “judgment of the Lord”) without harming the inhabitants of the city.

8 tc For the MT reading נַסְתֶּם (nastem, “you will escape”) the LXX presupposes נִסְתַּם (nistam, “will be stopped up”; this reading is followed by NAB). This appears to derive from a perceived need to eliminate the unexpected “you” as subject. This not only is unnecessary to Hebrew discourse (see “you” in the next clause), but it contradicts the statement in the previous verse that the mountain will be split open, not stopped up.

9 sn Azal is a place otherwise unknown.

10 sn The earthquake in the days of King Uzziah, also mentioned in Amos 1:1, is apparently the one attested to at Hazor in 760 b.c.

11 tn Heb “the splendid will congeal.” This difficult phrase (MT יְקָרוֹת יְקִפָּאוֹן, yÿqarot yÿqippaon) is not clarified by the LXX which presupposes וְקָרוּת וְקִפָּאוֹן (vÿqarut vÿqippaon, “and cold and ice,” a reading followed by NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). Besides the fact that cold and ice do not necessarily follow the absence of light, the idea here is that day will be night and night day. The heavenly sources of light “freeze up” as it were, and refuse to shine.

12 sn In the evening there will be light. The normal pattern is that light breaks through in the morning (Gen 1:3) but in the day of the Lord in judgment it would do so in the evening. In a sense the universe will be “de-created” in order to be “recreated.”

13 sn Living waters will flow out from Jerusalem. Ezekiel sees this same phenomenon in conjunction with the inauguration of the messianic age (Ezek 47; cf. Rev 22:1-5; also John 7:38).

14 sn The eastern sea is a reference to the Dead Sea (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

15 sn The western sea is a reference to the Mediterranean Sea (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).



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