Zechariah 10:3
My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts has visited his flock the house of Judah, and has made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 10:3. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds — Against the kings, princes, and priests. These were the leaders of the Jewish people into idolatry and vice. The word shepherds is beautifully taken up from the preceding verse. And I punished the goats — The chief ones, as Newcome renders it. The principal men are meant. For — Or rather, but, the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock — In mercy. He hath now given his people manifest tokens of his favour and protection. And hath made them — Or, will make them, as his goodly horse in the battle — Will give them strength and courage. This must relate to the times of the Maccabees, and afterward, when God punished several nations by the hands of the Jewish people.10:1-5 Spiritual blessings had been promised under figurative allusions to earthly plenty. Seasonable rain is a great mercy, which we may ask of God when there is most need of it, and we may look for it to come. We must in our prayers ask for mercies in their proper time. The Lord would make bright clouds, and give showers of rain. This may be an exhortation to seek the influences of the Holy Spirit, in faith and by prayer, through which the blessings held forth in the promises are obtained and enjoyed. The prophet shows the folly of making addresses to idols, as their fathers had done. The Lord visited the remnant of his flock in mercy, and was about to renew their courage and strength for conflict and victory. Every creature is to us what God makes it to be. Every one raised to support the nation, as a corner-stone does the building, or to unite those that differ, as nails join the different timbers, must come from the Lord; and those employed to overcome their enemies, must have strength and success from him. This may be applied to Christ; to him we must look to raise up persons to unite, support, and defend his people. He never will say, Seek ye me in vain.Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds - As Ezekiel continued, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand" Ezekiel 34:10.

I punished the he-goats - The evil powerful are called the "he-goats of the earth: Isaiah 14:9; and in Ezekiel God says, "I will judge between cattle and cattle, between rams and he-goats" Ezekiel 34:17; and our Lord speaks of the reprobate as goats, the saved as sheep Matthew 25:32. God "visited upon these in His displeasure, "because" He "visited His flock, the people of Judah," to see to their needs and to relieve them.

And hath made them as the goodly horse - As, before, He said, "I made thee as the sword of a mighty man" Zechariah 9:13 Judah's might was not in himself; but, in God's hands, he had might like and above the might of this world; he was fearless, resistless; as Paul says, "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" 2 Corinthians 10:4.

3. against the shepherds—the civil rulers of Israel and Judah who abetted idolatry.

punished—literally, "visited upon." The same word "visited," without the upon, is presently after used in a good sense to heighten the contrast.

goats—he-goats. As "shepherds" described what they ought to have been, so "he-goats" describes what they were, the emblem of headstrong wantonness and offensive lust (Isa 14:9, Margin; Eze 34:17; Da 8:5; Mt 25:33). The he-goats head the flock. They who are first in crime will be first in punishment.

visited—in mercy (Lu 1:68).

as his goodly horse—In Zec 9:13 they were represented under the image of bows and arrows, here under that of their commander-in-chief, Jehovah's battle horse (So 1:9). God can make His people, timid though they be as sheep, courageous as the charger. The general rode on the most beautiful and richly caparisoned, and had his horse tended with the greatest care. Jehovah might cast off the Jews for their vileness, but He regards His election or adoption of them: whence He calls them here "His flock," and therefore saves them.

Mine anger was kindled; though it was justly kindled against all, yet it was more hot and fierce against the chief sinners among them.

Against the shepherds; officers in church and state, who neglected to keep the flock from straying, who were ringleaders in idolatry and soothsaying.

I punished the goats; the wanton, lustful, and petulant officers among them, which, like he-goats, push. and wound, and trample under foot the feebler cattle, as Ezekiel 34:16,17: these were more grievously punished, Jeremiah 29:22 39:6. Hath visited his flock, in favour and mercy.

Hath made them as his goodly horse; with change of state hath changed their sheepish weakness and cowardice into strength, courage, and gallantry, like that of a goodly horse: this appeared in the Maccabees’ wars.

In the battle; when all his courage is stirred up, and he appears, as Job brings him forth, with neck clothed with-thunder, Job 39:19-26.

Mine anger was kindled; though it was justly kindled against all, yet it was more hot and fierce against the chief sinners among them.

Against the shepherds; officers in church and state, who neglected to keep the flock from straying, who were ringleaders in idolatry and soothsaying.

I punished the goats; the wanton, lustful, and petulant officers among them, which, like he-goats, push. and wound, and trample under foot the feebler cattle, as Ezekiel 34:16,17: these were more grievously punished, Jeremiah 29:22 39:6. Hath visited his flock, in favour and mercy.

Hath made them as his goodly horse; with change of state hath changed their sheepish weakness and cowardice into strength, courage, and gallantry, like that of a goodly horse: this appeared in the Maccabees’ wars.

In the battle; when all his courage is stirred up, and he appears, as Job brings him forth, with neck clothed with-thunder, Job 39:19-26. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds,.... The Targum interprets it of "kings"; as the "goats" of "princes", in the next clause; by whom, according to Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, are meant the kings of Greece; but rather the antichristian kings are designed, the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome, which is the cause of the anger of the Lord being kindled: or else ecclesiastical rulers are meant, the Romish clergy, the chief of them, as cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. who may fitly be represented by the shepherds of Israel in the times of the prophets for their name, professing to be of Israel, or to be Christians; and by them for their ignorance, covetousness, luxury, disregard to the flock, tyranny and cruelty over it, and murder of it; see Isaiah 56:10, against these the fire of God's wrath will be kindled, and with it will they be destroyed:

and I punished the goats; not the Seleucidae, as the above Jewish writers; though they may with propriety be so called, since they were the successors of Alexander, signified by the he goat in Daniel 8:5 rather the monks and friars, comparable to these for their filthiness and uncleanness; and because they pretend to be guides of the people, and to go before them, and yet use them ill, and push them with their horns of power; wherefore God will punish them, and kill those children of Jezebel with death, Revelation 2:22,

for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Judah; by sending the Gospel to them, and his Spirit with it, to make it effectual to their conversion; which will be at the time that the antichristian hierarchy will be destroyed; then the Lord's flock, who have gone astray, shall be returned to the true Shepherd and Bishop of souls, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall be saved by him: a gracious visitation this will be!

and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle; this denotes that the Jews, when converted, will be bold in their God; valiant for the truth on earth; courageously fight the good fight of faith, and be victorious over their enemies; and that they will be in great honour and esteem among the saints, though so mean and justly despicable now: the sense is, that as the horse shows its strength and courage in battle, so should they; see Job 39:19.

My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the {d} goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as {e} his majestic horse in the battle.

(d) Meaning, the cruel governors who did oppress the poor sheep; Eze 34:16-17.

(e) He will be merciful to his Church, and cherish them as a king or prince does his best horse, which will be for his own use in war.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. was kindled … punished … hath made] is kindled … will punish … shall make, R. V.

the shepherds] who though they were “no (true) shepherds,” yet retained the name and office. Quite parallel is the passage in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:5-6 with Ezekiel 34:7-10); where also (Ezekiel 10:17-22), as here, the rulers and principal men are spoken of as “goats,” as well as “shepherds.”

his goodly horse] Comp. Zechariah 9:13; and for the image of the war-horse, Job 39:19-25.Verses 3, 4. - § 5. The evil rulers set over them for their sins shall be removed, and Israel shall be firmly established. Ver. 3, - Mine anger was (is) kindled against the shepherds. These heathen rulers were indeed God's instruments in punishing his people, but they had exceeded their commission, and afflicted Israel in order to carry out their own evil designs, and now they themselves shall be chastised. Some commentators raise "the shepherds" to be the rulers of Israel civil and ecclesiastical, comparing Ezekiel 34:2, 5, etc. But the context leads us to consider them as those who took the place of rulers of Israel when she had no shepherd of her own (ver. 2). I punished (will punish) the goats (bellwethers); literally, will visit upon; i.e. will chastise. The same word (paquad) is used in the next clause in a good sense. The "goats" are the leading men, those powerful for evil, as Isaiah 14:9. Hath visited his flock. The reason why the evil shepherds are punished is because God visits his flock in love and care, to see their state and to relieve them from trouble (Zephaniah 2:7). The house of Judah here includes all the nation, to which it afterwards gave its name. Hath made (shall make) them as his goodly horse. The Israelites shall not only be delivered from oppression, but God shall use them as a stately war horse, richly caparisoned, to tread down enemies and triumph ever them. So he said before (Zechariah 9:13) that he would make Judah his bow and Ephraim his arrow. (For a description of the war horse, see Job 39:19-25; comp. Revelation 6:2; Revelation 19:14, where Christ is represented riding on a white horse, and his saints following him on white horses.) The prophet explains these words in Haggai 2:15-19 by representing the failure of the crops, and the curse that has hitherto prevailed, as a punishment from God for having been wanting in faithfulness to the Lord (Haggai 2:15-17), and promises that from that time forward the blessing of God shall rest upon them again (Haggai 2:18, Haggai 2:19). Haggai 2:15. "And now, direct your heart from this day and onward, before stone was laid to stone at the temple of Jehovah. Haggai 2:16. Before this was, did one come to the heap of sheaves of twenty-(in measure), there were ten: did he come to the vat to draw fifty buckets, there were twenty. Haggai 2:17. I have smitten you with blasting, and with mildew, and with hail, all the work of your hands; and not one of you (turned) to me, is the saying of Jehovah." The object to which they are to direct their heart, i.e., to give heed, is not to be supplied from Haggai 1:5, Haggai 1:7, "to your ways" (Ros. and others), but is contained substantially in Haggai 2:16 and Haggai 2:17, and is first of all indicated in the words "from this day," etc. They are to notice what has taken place from this day onwards. נמעלה, lit., upwards, then further on. Here it is used not in the sense of forwards into the future, but, as the explanatory clause which follows (from before, etc.) clearly shows, in that of backwards into the past. Mitterem, literally "from the not yet of the laying ... onwards," i.e., onwards from the time when stone was laid upon stone at the temple; in other words, when the building of the temple was resumed, backwards into the past; in reality, therefore, the time before the resuming of the building of the temple: for min and mitterem cannot be taken in any other sense than in the parallel מיּום which precedes it, and מהיותם which follows in Haggai 2:16. The objection which Koehler raises to this cannot be sustained. מהיותם, from their existence (backwards). Most of the modern commentators take the suffix as referring to a noun, yâmı̄m (days), to be supplied from Haggai 2:15; but it appears much simpler to take it as a neuter, as Mark and others do, in the sense of "before these things were or were done, viz., this day, and this work of laying stone upon stone," etc. The meaning is not doubtful, viz., looking backwards from the time when the building of the temple was resumed, in other words, before the point of time. בּא commences a new sentence, in which facts that they had experienced are cited, the verb בּא being used conditionally, and forming the protasis, the apodosis to which is given in והיתה. If one came to a heap of sheaves of twenty measures (se'âh is probably to be supplied: lxx σάτα), they became ten. A heap of sheaves (‛ărēmâh as in Ruth 3:7), from which they promised themselves twenty measures, yielded, when threshed, no more than ten, i.e., only the half of what they expected. They experienced just the same at the pressing of the grapes. Instead of fifty buckets, which they expected, they obtained only twenty. Yeqebh was the vat into which the juice flowed when pressed out of the grapes. Châsaph, lit., to lay bare, here to draw out, as in Isaiah 30:14; and pūrâh, in Isaiah 63:3, the pressing-trough, here a measure, probably the measure which was generally obtained from one filling of the wine-press with grapes (lxx μετρητής). Haggai 2:17 gives the reason why so small a result was yielded by the threshing-floor and wine-press. Jehovah smote you with blasting and mildew. These words are a reminiscence of Amos 4:9, to which passage the last words of the verse also refer. To the disease of the corn there is also added the hail which smote the vines, as in Psalm 78:47. 'Eth kol-ma‛ăsēh, all the labour of the hands, i.e., all that they had cultivated with great toil, is a second accusative, "which mentions the portion smitten" (Hitzig). The perfectly unusual construction אין־אתכם אלי does not stand for אין בּכם א, non fuit in vobis qui (Vulg.), nor is אתכם used for אתּכם, "with you;" but אין־אתכם either stands for אינכם, the suffix which was taken as a verbal suffix used as an accusative being resolved into the accusative (cf. Ewald, 262, d); or it is the accusative used in the place of the subject, that is to say, את is to be taken in the sense of "as regards," quoad (Ewald, 277, p. 683): "as far as you are concerned, there was not (one) turning himself to me." אלי, to me, sc. turning himself or being converted; though there is no necessity to supply שׁבים, as the idea is implied in the word אל, as in Hosea 3:3 and 2 Kings 6:11.
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