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Zechariah 1:9-15

Context
The Interpretation of the First Vision

1:9 Then I asked one nearby, “What are these, sir?” The angelic messenger 1  who replied to me said, “I will show you what these are.” 1:10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees spoke up and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk about 2  on the earth.” 1:11 The riders then agreed with the angel of the Lord, 3  who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been walking about on the earth, and now everything is at rest and quiet.” 1:12 The angel of the Lord then asked, “Lord who rules over all, 4  how long before you have compassion on Jerusalem 5  and the other cities of Judah which you have been so angry with for these seventy years?” 6  1:13 The Lord then addressed good, comforting words to the angelic messenger who was speaking to me. 1:14 Turning to me, the messenger then said, “Cry out that the Lord who rules over all says, ‘I am very much moved 7  for Jerusalem and for Zion. 1:15 But I am greatly displeased with the nations that take my grace for granted. 8  I was a little displeased with them, but they have only made things worse for themselves.

1 tn Heb “messenger” or “angel” (מַלְאָךְ, malakh). This being appears to serve as an interpreter to the prophet (cf. vv. 13, 14).

2 sn The stem used here (Hitpael) with the verb “walk” (הָלַךְ, halakh) suggests the exercise of dominion (cf. Gen 13:17; Job 1:7; 2:2-3; Ezek 28:14; Zech 6:7). The Lord is here about to claim sovereignty over the nations. Cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT “to patrol”; TEV “to go and inspect.”

3 sn The angel of the Lord is a special being who throughout the OT represents God himself and on occasion almost approaches divine hypostatization or incarnation (cf. Gen 18:2, 13, 17, 22; Exod 23:20-21; Josh 5:13-15; Judg 6:11-24; 13:2-20).

4 sn Note that here the angel of the Lord is clearly distinct from the Lord who rules over all himself.

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

6 sn The seventy years refers to the predicted period of Babylonian exile, a period with flexible beginning and ending points depending on the particular circumstances in view (cf. Jer 25:1; 28:1; 29:10; Dan 9:2). Here the end of the seventy years appears to be marked by the completion of the temple in 516 b.c., exactly seventy years after its destruction in 586.

7 tn Heb “jealous for” (so KJV, ASV); NIV, NRSV “very jealous for”; CEV “very protective of.” The meaning is that Jerusalem/Zion is the special object of God’s grace and purposes. This results in his unusual protection of his people, a protection not accorded others with whom he does not have such a close relationship.

8 tn Or “the nations that are at ease” (so ASV, NRSV). The Hebrew word in question is שַׁאֲנָן (shaanan) which has the idea of a careless, even arrogant attitude (see BDB 983 s.v. שַׁאֲנָן); cf. NAB “the complacent nations.” Here it suggests that the nations take for granted that God will never punish them just because he hasn't already done so. Thus they presume on the grace and patience of the Lord. The translation attempts to bring out this nuance rather than the more neutral renderings of TEV “nations that enjoy quiet and peace” or NLT “enjoy peace and security.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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