Devotional Commentary on Zechariah 9


With great joy in my heart, I remembered that Philip Samaan, the current professor at Southern Adventist University wrote a book and commentary on Zechariah and the Sabbath School lesson of 1989 which can be downloaded. I did and thanks for this great work. His interpretation and mine and what Delitzsch and his friends Hengstenberg, Köhler and Kliefoth are saying from time to time as well as Ellen White are all in line. Are you? You have homework.

This is what he said about a synthesis and overview of Zechariah 9: “Zechariah 9 stands out as a chapter that is Messianic in nature. It focuses on both the first and second advents of Christ. The Messiah is the central theme of the chapter. The well-known prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 clearly points to Him. He is represented in this prophecy as the humble King bringing peace and salvation during His first advent. The following verse alludes to the second coming of Christ in glory. He ends wars, brings peace, and establishes universal dominion over the entire earth. Zechariah's significance in New Testament times and today. New Testament writers frequently quoted Zechariah in connection with the last week—known as Passion Week—of our Lord's life on this earth. (See Matt. 21:5; 26:31; 27:9; Mark 14:27; John 12:15; 19:37, and Rev. 1:7.) These passages were especially meaningful for the New Testament writers who related Old Testament prophecy to the life and mission of Jesus Christ. The same passages are spiritually significant to those who await the coming of the King of glory.” (Phillip Samaan in Sabbath School Lesson of 1989: 68).

I think his analysis of chapter 9 is very fitting:


I. God Our Defense (Zech. 9:1-6).

II. A Universal Remnant for God (Zech. 9:7). .

HI. God Will Encamp as a Guard (Zech. 9:8).

IV. The First Advent of Christ (Zech. 9:9).

V. The Second Advent of Christ (Zech. 9:10-17).”

In verse 1 the Lord had a burden [mśś’] against the land of Hadrach. Every friend of Delitzsch had their own take on this word [Köhler said it was Syria; Hoffmann said it was Israel] and no-one really knows where this land is. But Delitzsch suggested that the meaning of Hadrach is a root meaning which makes him think of Medo-Persia. There source for this conclusion is not correct since three of these friends, Delitzsch, Hengstenberg and Kliefoth thought that a certain Arabic root that one can see in –rach of Hadrach means “soft” and with Had- means strong thus a combination of soft and hard. Arabic of the time of Mo cannot help us to uncover the meanings of a book 1000 years before! If you use Imperial Persian, or Demotic Egyptian or Late Egyptian or Aramaic, or Canaanite Inscriptions, or Neo-Babylonian or Neo-Assyrian or late-Hittite, or Classical Greek you may be closer to the meaning, but not Arabic. Middle Age rabbis invented this root meaning by saying that “this is the Messiah who is sharp [had] against the nations and soft [rach] to Israel”. Yes, the chapter is Messianic but this meaning of Hadrach cannot hold because of the Arabic influence in the lexicographical methodology. One cannot put the cart before the horse.

There is a meaning in Late Egyptian of eter meaning “yoke, allies, twins” and Egyptian influence in the time of Zechariah was strong. The interesting thing in this section of chapter 9 is that two cities are connected each time: Damascus and Hamath; Tyre and Sidon (verse 2); Gaza and Ashkelon (verse 5); Ekron and Ashdod (verses 6-7); Zion and Jerusalem (verse 9).

The burden comes against the land of Hadrach starting with Damascus and working its way to the seacoast cities of Tyre and Sidon. Tyre could not be conquered by Shalmanezer V and he fought against it for 5 days and so did Nebuchadnezzar tried for 13 days. Their island fortress had walls of 150 feet high so that only in the time of Alexander in 332 did he conquered it and destroyed it (so Hengstenberg [conservative ‘Adventist’ thinking Lutheran] and also mentioned by the Adventist Samaan 1989).

But Köhler contested his friend Hengstenberg who wanted to park the fulfillment of verses 1-8 with Alexander’s conquest by saying that the heathens did not convert at this time. It cannot be. Delitzsch went a step further than his friends and saying that the heathens converting is still going on till Christ will have complete victory over them “…until the Kingdom of Christ shall attain that complete victory over the heathen world…”(Delitzsch 1884: 331-332).

Delitzsch also picked-up the text message just like Phillip Samaan saw it, that a universal remnant shall come from these heathens.

In verse 7, amidst this sifting of the good and bad from these areas, the good emerge as it is said: “and it [Ashdodites] shall remain to our God, and it shall be like a studyhall in Judah; and Ekron, like Jebusi”.

Delitzsch remind us that Jebusi were those inhabitants who converted to Israelite religion when David took over the city (Delitzch 1884: 330). In positive notes about this time in the eschaton when these disasters will come, the faithful is said to join the true remnant.

“When the Philistines would respond to God by leaving their idolatrous ways, they would become part of the remnant just as the Jebusites, who were the original Canaanite inhabitants of Jerusalem, became part of Israel (Samaan 1989: 70).

“And I will encamp [tentdwelling or incarnation] to My house, who is a garrison who is passing by and who is returning. And no oppressor shall pass over them, for now I have seen with My eyes” (verse 8). Protection by God of His remnant who seek refuge.

Samaan concluded correctly: “The term remnant was mentioned several times in the previous chapter, referring to "this people," meaning Israel and Judah and including peoples of other nations as well. The remnant not only includes the Philistines who respond to God but also some individuals from all nations. They will find their spiritual home in the New Jerusalem as part of God's remnant. (See Zech. 14:16.)” (Samaan 1989: 70). Samaan correctly talked about a universal remnant for God that is in mind here. This is the kind of Adventist commentaries that we need. Not the ones that copy data from preteristic Reformed scholars who deny any reference to the Eschaton or the End-Times.

Samaan, Ellen White and the Gospel of John remind us “The majority of God's true children are members of other Christian churches. (See John 10:16; The Great Controversy, p. 390.)”

From the previous chapter, 7:23, the formula of influx seems to me that if there are 10 members in the church with the Latter Rain the influx would be 110!

The promise of the first Advent of Christ is mentioned in verse 9. Delitzch and his friends all acknowledged this connection and even Rabbi Rashi in the 12th century said: “It is impossible to interpret this except as referring to the King Messiah, as it is stated: ‘And His rule shall be from sea to sea. We do not find that Israel had such a ruler during the days of the Second Temple.”

Ibn Ezra of the same time listed some rabbis who said it is the Messiah, the son of Joseph; Nehemiah, or Judah Maccabbee. It is the Messiah the son of David according to Rashi and the Jewish source Sanhedrin 98a.

This verse also outlined the character of Christ. Said Samaan, the ass symbolizes lowliness, peace; and royalty. This individual is the righteous Messiah. Jesus the saving King.

Samaan also pointed out about the entry by Christ on a colt of an ass:

“Triumphal entry foreshadowed Second Advent.” Then he cited Ellen White saying:

“The triumphal ride of Christ into Jerusalem was the dim foreshadowing of His coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory, amid the triumph of angels and the rejoicing of the saints. Then will be fulfilled the words of Christ to the priests and Pharisees: 'Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.' Matt. 23:39. In prophetic vision Zechariah was shown that day of final triumph; and he beheld also the doom of those who at the first advent had rejected Christ: `They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.' Zech. 12:10. This scene Christ foresaw when He beheld the city and wept over it.” Ellen White in The Desire of Ages, p. 580.

Verse 10 is the Second Advent. “’And I will cut off the chariots from Ephraim and the horses from Jerusalem and the bow of war shall be cut off.’ And He shall speak peace to the nations and His rule shall be from sea to the west and from the river to the ends of the earth”.

The Second Coming of Christ brings an end to the war in Lebanon heights, the end of the powerful international armies in Jerusalem and all military hardware all over the globe shall be destroyed. This is the Second Advent of Christ and His glory disables all these hardware.

In verse 11 the promise is to the remnant “you too” will be freed with the blood of your covenant “I have freed your prisoners from the pit in which there was no water.”

The Second Advent theme and consequences are in mind also in verse 12: “Return to the stronghold [Zion, see Psalm 46, Joel, heavenly Zion] you prisoners of hope [prisoner of this world suffering and tribulation for the sake of God. Hope of His Second Coming and rescue]. Also the day I will return to you a story/narrative of two.” Why two? First Advent = one and Second Advent = two. He kept His first promise of the First Advent and will keep His second promise of the Second Advent.

God promised to raise a remnant upon Judah, Ephraim, bringing together the inhabitants of heavenly Zion in preparation, also from Greece [Javan] and “I will make you as the sword of a mighty man” (verse 13). The remnant are going to be kings in heaven due to their suffering on earth. They will be strong. Maybe Zechariah has this in mind. There is no future militaristic vision of the good fighting the bad on earth as Futurism is trying to explain. Futurism wants to use the neo-cons to fight wars on earth to create an Utopia on earth but that is post-millennialism whereas the biblical view is premillenialism. Christ coming before [pre-] the 1000 years or millennium. Charismatic Evangelicals are postmillennial and thus wrongly engaged in “holy” armies that must go out and “rescue” the Middle East from evil so that the Messiah can put up His kingdom. Cart before the horse.

Christ strengthens the physical and emotional fabric of the faithful remnant at the end of times (verse 13) “and the Lord shall appear over them and His arrows [not theirs] shall go forth like lightning” (verse 14). At the Second Coming the Lord shall sound a shofar and He shall go with the whirlwinds [angel-crowds] of the south. Delitzsch correctly said: “Jehovah appears above them, i.e. coming from heaven as a defence, to fight with them” (Delitzsch 1884: 341).

“The Lord of Hosts [angels] shall protect over them” (verse 15). It is over the remnant when they come out of the Time of Trouble just ahead.

“and they shall devour” that is the enemies and the evil at His appearance (verse 15).

“They shall tread down the slingstones”. Israel is not the slingstones and but the enemy is according to Hengstenberg and Hitzig. Their friend Kliefoth saw it that their weapons are useless and harmless.

It is possible that this verse was written in two columns with a divider in between them:

The Lord of Hosts shall protect them [remnant]


and they [enemy] shall devour And they [remnant] shall tread the slingstones


and they [enemy] shall drink [the cup of His wrath].

They [remnant] make a noise like wine


and they [enemy] shall become full like the basin [synonymous parallelism] like the corners of the altar.

In this way this difficult syntax can be understood better.

In the Second Coming the Lord their God “shall cause to save them [literally because a strong hiphil form of the verb is used] on that day [Second Coming] like the flocks of His people, for crown stones are exalted on His ground” (verse 16).

He is the Shepherd so He will lead His remnant. They are the crownstones in His crown.

Samaan cited from Ellen White here: “"The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. He says, 'They shall be as the stones of a crown. “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Zechariah 9:16; Isaiah 13:12. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love.” Ellen White in Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 89.

“For how is His goodness and How is His beauty. Corn young men, and new wine will cause to speak the maids”.

There is no alcohol in this wine that Christ offers in Heaven. Enough to eat and drink there will be in heaven.

Rabbi Abarbanel saw this verse as fulfilled in the future day of the war of the Gog and Magog. I see it fulfilled in heaven.


Dear God

Truly how good You are and indeed how excellent Your ways. We want to be crownstones and a peculiar treasure for You. In Jesus Name. Amen.