Zechariah 10 - Outline of Zechariah (Book Notes menu page)
III. Prophetic Burdens (ch. 9-14)
  1. The Burden of the Shepherd for His wayward flock -
    Israel's Messiah: Redeeming, Rejected (ch. 9-11)
    1. The flock of God delivered (ch. 9)...
    2. The flock of God refreshed & strengthened (ch. 10)...
      • emaciated by vain shepherds (10:2,3)
      • visited by the true Shepherd (10:4-12)
1. Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain;
[so] the LORD shall make bright clouds,
and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie,
and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain:
therefore they went their way as a flock,
they were troubled, because [there was] no shepherd.
3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats:
for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah,
and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain...-
The first verse of this chapter completes the closing thought of ch.9 concerning the physical blessings during the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah (read Zech 9:16 - 10:1). At that time, the nation of Israel will also overflow with spiritual blessings (Joel 2:23-29). Those blessings will not be realized until the second coming of Christ.
     Christ's first and second comings, which were both in view in Zech 9:9, are also illustrated by the former and latter rains. The former rain, coming at the beginning of the growing season, causes the seed to germinate. Whereas, the latter rain brings the fruit to maturity (cp. Joh 12:24). Thus, in v.1, the believing remnant is told to ask the LORD to establish the anticipated glorious Messianic kingdom, though they ask while living during a time when darkness prevails. Verse 2 reviews the causes of that darkness:
for the idols have spoken vanity...-
The word 'idols' is HB=teraphim, which is a plural form of the root word HB=rapha, to heal. These were small portable images, to which the heathen turned to obtain help and guidance through occult practices (Eze 21:21; The 'images' which Rachel stole from her father, Laban, were 'teraphim' which were regarded as his household gods. Gen 31:19,30,34). Israel had preferred the empty promise of false gods, over the Word of the living God, who was their true Healer (Ex 15:26; 2Chr 7:14).
and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain...-
The word 'diviners' (HB=qacam) refers to those who practise witchcraft. It is used here of the false prophets, who claimed to be spokesmen for the LORD, but who denied and contradicted the Word of God, through self-serving messages. The nation loved what they heard. Jer 5:31; 6:13,14; 23:25-27
...they went their way as a flock...-
God's people having rejected God's Word, had gone 'their own way' to their own hurt (Eze 36:17-19; Jer 50:17).
...they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.-
Israel's difficulties and dispersion came because they wandered from the LORD. Their priests, prophets and kings should have corrected their error and led them in His way. But they had been false shepherds, behaving like head strong "he goats," leading the charge down the path toward destruction. God's wrath upon the nation, had also overtaken their leaders, and taken away many of the false confidences, in which the people had trusted (Hos 3:4,5). Among Israel's many leaders, there had been "no shepherd," who truly cared for God's sheep (Isa 56:10-11; Eze 34:1-12).
for the LORD of hosts hath visited {ie., will visit} his flock the house of Judah...-
Having stated the cause for their troubles, the LORD proclaims the cure:
  • He Himself, as the true Shepherd, will tend His flock.
  • At His first coming, Christ presented Himself as the good Shepherd (cp. Mat 9:35,36; Joh 10:7-15).
From this point onward, the chapter is in the future tense.
...and hath made them {ie., will make them} as his goodly horse in battle...- cp. Zech 9:13
Israel's future deliverance, previously described in Zech 9:10-15, is previewed again, but with additional details. As the LORD will "render double" blessing unto Israel in that day (Zech 9:12), the preview of her deliverance (and of her Deliverer) is also doubled (first in ch.9, and again in ch.10). Though they rejected their humble King and refused to follow their true Shepherd, still, it is He who will deliver them.
4 Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail,
out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.
5. And they shall be as mighty [men],
which tread down [their enemies] in the mire of the streets in the battle:
and they shall fight, because the LORD [is] with them,
and the riders on horses shall be confounded.
6 And I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph,
and I will bring them again to place them;
for I have mercy upon them:
and they shall be as though I had not cast them off:
for I [am] the LORD their God, and will hear them.
7 And [they of] Ephraim shall be like a mighty [man],
and their heart shall rejoice as through wine:
yea, their children shall see [it], and be glad;
their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.
Out of him came {ie., will come} forth the corner...- Out of whom? Out of 'the house of Judah' (v.3)
Out of Judah will come forth the Messiah, the good Shepherd, who is:
  • the corner {ie., the corner stone} - The One who is the sure foundation upon whom the promises of God rest (Psa 118:22; Isa 28:16; 1Pet 2:6-8).
  • the nail - The One upon whom our hope hangs (Isa 22:22,23).
  • the battle bow {ie., the weapons of warfare} - The One who defends and delivers His people (Zech 9:10; Isa 49:2; 2Cor 10:4,5; Rev 19:15).
  • every oppressor together - The word 'oppressor' is HB=nagas, tyrant, ruler, lord, taskmaster, exactor of tribute. Israel has suffered long under gentile oppressors (cp. Zech 9:8). However, here, the word is used of a ruler who will come forth out of Judah (Mic 5:2). The phrase "every oppressor together" can be translated: "He that will exercise all rule" [GWms]. Every aspect of authority will be united {'together'} in the One who is King of kings and Lord of lords (Mat 28:18; 1Tim 6:15,16; Rev 19:16).
and they shall be as mighty men... they shall fight, because the LORD is with them...-
The sheep who were previously scattered and torn without a shepherd, will be victorious over their well prepared and equipped enemies ('the riders on horses'). But the battle is won, not through their strength or ability, but through the power of their Shepherd: "because the LORD is with them" (v.5; Psa 46:6-11; Isa 40:9-11). Although His people are engaged in the conflict, the battle is the LORD's. Everything depends upon Him, who says: "I will strengthen... I will save... I will bring them again... for I have mercy upon them... and will hear them." (v.6; cp. Isa 41:14-16)
...the house of Judah... the house of Joseph {referred to as Ephraim, in v.7}...-
In that day, the divided kingdoms of Israel will be re-united under their one King. Eze 37:22
and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I [am] the LORD their God...-
Having returned to the LORD, the nation will be restored in relationship to Him. Their prior separation from Him, the cause of their sorrow and darkness, will be removed and forgotten.
8 I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them:
and they shall increase as they have increased.
9 And I will sow them among the people:
and they shall remember me in far countries;
and they shall live with their children, and turn again.
10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt,
and gather them out of Assyria;
and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon;
and [place] shall not be found for them.
11 And he shall pass through the sea with affliction,
and shall smite the waves in the sea,
and all the deeps of the river shall dry up:
and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down,
and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.
12 And I will strengthen them in the LORD;
and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.
I will hiss {ie., whistle} for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them...-
In that day, the Shepherd of Israel will call, and His flock will gather to Him, for having been redeemed, they will recognize His call (Joh 10:27).
And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries;
and they shall live with their children, and turn again...-
The word 'sow' (HB=zara, to scatter seed) and the GK word 'diaspora' are identical in meaning. How can this passage, concerning Israel's future ingathering, also speak of a future dispersion?
This sowing may refer to one or more of the following events (listed in chronological order):
  1. The diaspora at the destruction of the second Temple was still a few hundred years in the future. (Zechariah ministered to those who had returned from the previous diaspora.) The promise would remain certain, that Israel will 'turn again' (ie., be regathered) to the land of Israel, for the promise anticipates that later scattering.
    See Amos 9:9-11 (written prior to the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman captivities) where the 'sifting' of Israel, in judgment, anticipates her future restoration, in the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah.
  2. The scattered Jewish believers who carried the Gospel of Christ, to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, during the period between Christ's first and second coming (ie., during the Church Age).
    See Acts 11:19; Jam 1:1; 1Pet 1:1. In each of these verses, 'scattered' or 'scattered abroad' is from the GK word 'diaspora.'
    [This point is valid for the Church Age, which began with the sending out of twelve Jewish apostles. However, because the Church Age is hidden in the OT, it is unlikely that this is the intended meaning, here.]
  3. The 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will proclaim the Gospel of Christ's Kingdom, throughout the world, during the Tribulation period.
    In Rev 7:1-14, these witnesses are chosen. Then, a great multitude comes to Christ out of the Tribulation.
    Rev 14:1-4 is a foreview of these witnesses standing with Christ in His Kingdom, where they are referred to as "the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (ie., the first to turn to Christ during the Tribulation period).
  4. The sowing of God's people into the land of Israel, at the time of their ingathering and national restoration. See Hos 2:23.
  5. The purposeful planting of selected Jews in far countries, as emissaries of the King, during the time of the Messiah's Kingdom. Having remembered and 'turned again' to the LORD in their hearts, these Israelites teach the Word of Life to Gentile nations. See Mic 5:7; Isa 55:1-5.
...I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt... out of Assyria...-
Here, Egypt and Assyria are representative of all the gentile nations, out of which Israel will be regathered to their land.
...I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon...-
Gilead is the territory east of the Jordan River. After the exodus from Egypt, this area was the home of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. However, following the division of Solomon's kingdom, the area came under the control of other nations. Lebanon (to the north of historic Israel) and Gilead are both included in the territory promised to Abraham (Gen 15:18). Israel's possession of these areas will not be realized until the Kingdom of her Messiah, whose dominion will be 'from sea to sea' (Zech 9:10).
...and place shall not be found for them.-
Because of Israel's ingathering, and because of God's blessing to multiply their numbers, it will be a challenge to find housing for the population, even though the nation's borders will be broadened. Isa 54:2,3
And he shall pass through the sea with {ie., of} affliction... and all the deeps of the river shall dry up...-
The way for Israel's return to her land will be miraculously opened through great suffering and impossible obstacles. Just as the LORD opened the Red Sea and the Jordan River, during the historic exodus from Egypt, making a way for His people to escape their enemies and to enter into the land of promise, so, He will preserve them through their Great Tribulation, and establish them in their land. Jer 23:7,8; 30:6-9
and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.-
Having been brought back into their land, they will be at liberty to live there, free from opposition or danger. Eze 34:22-28; Mic 4:4-7; Zeph 3:12,13
...in his name...- All of the blessings above will come "in His Name,"
for again we see that the LORD Himself will accomplish all that He has promised: "I will strengthen them... I will save {deliver} them... I will hiss for them, and gather them, for I have redeemed them... I will sow them... I will bring them out... I will bring them in... I will strengthen them..."
     Notice that one of the above verbs is in the past tense, while the others are all future. According to Zechariah's prophecy, the LORD's redeeming work will have been accomplished prior to the time of the latter rain, the time of Israel's ingathering. The blessings of Israel's restoration (which Zechariah has highlighted in both ch.9 and ch.10) await the future Kingdom of Israel's Messiah.
     Yet, their King (Zech 9:9) and Shepherd, the Messiah who arose out of Judah (10:3b-4) has already come. Because His people neither recognized nor received Him at that time, the blessings of His Kingdom await a future day (Luk 19:41-44; 13:34,35). However, even in His rejection, the King accomplished the work of redemption, upon which all of these future blessings rest. This is the subject of the next chapter. (The healing, which evaded the wandering sheep, was secured for them through their Shepherd's wounds. Isa 53:5,6).

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