Zechariah 12:7
The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 12:7. The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first — Some MSS. and versions read כראשׁנה, as at the first; “but the meaning here is, that God would save the tents of Judah first, or previously to any other; and for this the reason immediately follows, that the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem might not be tempted to value themselves too highly on the preference given to them (supposing that had been the case) above the rest of Judah.” — Blayney. As the house of David were wont to glory in the honour of their being descended from him, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to value themselves above their brethren, because their city was the place of God’s peculiar residence, and the seat of the royal family; therefore, to take away all occasion of any such glorying and emulation, God here promises that he would first appear in behalf of those Jews that should live in the open country, in cottages or tents, in places unfortified. He will first save the weaker and despised, and then the stronger and more honourable. But this promise, which evidently looks forward to gospel times, seems principally to imply, that the conversion of the nation to Christianity will begin among the more poor, low, and obscure Jews, and not among the rich, great, and learned; lest the latter should glory over the others, as if the change among the people had been effected by their power, wisdom, or influence; or should assume any improper ascendency over their inferiors: in other words, that the wise man might not glory in his wisdom, neither the mighty man in his might, nor the rich man in his riches; and that no flesh might glory in God’s presence, but that he that should glory might glory only in the Lord, Jeremiah 9:23.

12:1-8 Here is a Divine prediction, which will be a heavy burden to all the enemies of the church. But it is for Israel; for their comfort and benefit. It is promised that God will make foolish the counsels, and weaken the courage of the enemies of the church. The exact meaning is not clear; but God often begins by calling the poor and despised; and in that day even the feeblest will resemble David, and be as eminent in courage and every thing good. Desirable indeed is it that the examples and labours of Christians should render them as fire among wood, as a torch in a sheaf, to kindle the flame of Divine love, to spread religion on the right hand and on the left.The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first - Still it is, 'the Lord shall save.' We have, on the one side, the 'siege,' the gathering of all the peoples of the earth 'against Jerusalem, the horse and his rider.' On the other, no human strength; not, as before, in the prophecy of the Maccabees, the bow, the arrow, and the sword, though in the hand of God Zechariah 9:13. It is thrice, 'I will make' Zechariah 9:2-3,; 'I will smite' (Zechariah 9:4 bis); and now, 'The Lord shall save.' By 'the tents,' he probably indicates their defenselessness. God would 'save' them first; that 'the glory of the house of David - 'be not great against' or 'over Judah,' may not overshadow it; but all may be as one; for all is the free gift of God, the mere grace of God, that 'he that glorieth may glory in the Lord' Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Corinthians 10:17, and both "may own that, in both, the victory is the Lord's" (Jerome).

Lap.: "In Christ Jesus is neither Jew nor Greek; neither bond nor free, neither rich nor poor" Galatians 3:28; "but all are one," namely a new creation; yea in Christendom the poor are the highest, both because Christ "preached to the poor" Luke 4:18, and pronounced the "poor blessed" Luke 6:20, and He made the Apostles, being poor, nobles in His kingdom, through whom He converted kings and princes, as is written, "ye see your calling, brethren, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the would to confound the things which fire mighty ..." 1 Corinthians 1:26; and, "Hath not God called the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which God has promised to them that love Him?" James 2:5. The rich and noble have greater hindrances to humility and Christian virtues, than the poor. For honors puff up, wealth and delights weaken the mind; wherefore they need greater grace of Christ to burst their bonds than the poor. Wherefore, for the greater grace shown them, they are bound to give greater thanks unto Christ."

7. Judah is to be "first saved," because of her meek acknowledgment of dependence on Jerusalem, subordinate to Jehovah's aid.

tents—shifting and insecure, as contrasted with the solid fortifications of Judah. But God chooses the weak to confound the mighty, that all human glorying may be set aside.

Shall save; rescue from the power and rage of the Antiochuses, nay, subdue their armies, and put them to flight before the Jews.

The tents; the unfenced places, the open country, the shepherd-like cottages or tents of Judah.

Of Judah first; before he saveth Jerusalem, before he put Jerusalem into arms, or bring her inhabitants into the field, to fight, and help the country and its inhabitants; first the weaker are saved, next the stronger.

That the glory of the house of David, that the illustrious house of David, and so the glorious citizens of Jerusalem,

do not magnify themselves against Judah; boast of their power, policy, courage, and forwardness, and how much Judah owed to these for their deliverance: this would exasperate Judah, and provoke God, who would do all this: so that all might magnify their God, none think greatly of themselves.

The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first,.... That is, the Jews, who will be in other parts of the land encamped in tents, to defend themselves against their enemies; these will be saved out of the hands of them, before the inhabitants of Jerusalem will be saved; and in such a manner, that it will evidently appear that their salvation is of the Lord: and his end in so doing will be,

that the glory of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, do not magnify themselves against Judah; lest the chief of the family of David, and the principal inhabitants of Jerusalem, should glory over their brethren in other parts of Judea; and say it was owing to them that they were saved and delivered out of the hands of their enemies.

The LORD also shall save the {d} tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not magnify themselves against Judah.

(d) The people who are now as it were dispersed by the fields, and lie open to their enemies, will be preserved by my power just as if they were under their kings (which is meant by the house of David), or in their defended cities.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. the tents of Judah first] The meaning seems to be that when the besiegers shall reel back like drunken men from the walls of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2), smitten with panic by God (Zechariah 12:4), the first to fall upon them and put them to the sword shall be, not the inhabitants of the besieged city by sallying forth from their walls, though they by their gallant and successful defence had rightly been regarded as the bulwark of the whole land (Zechariah 12:5), but the inhabitants of the open country, who shall have the honour of consuming their adversaries (Zechariah 12:6), and so of saving first themselves and then the capital, which as the result of their prowess shall be completely delivered.

that the glory, &c.] The human agents are to have each their due share of honour. (Comp. Zechariah 12:5.) But to God alone the glory really belongs. “I will make,” Zechariah 12:2-3; Zechariah 12:6; “I will smite,” Zechariah 12:4; “Jehovah shall save,” Zechariah 12:7. Compare “my strength in Jehovah of hosts, their God,” Zechariah 12:5. “Sensus est, gloriam victi hostis non penes Hierosolymitanos futuram, quippe post superatum demum hostem ex urbe exituros, sed penes Judam, qui supra Zechariah 12:6 dicebatur ignis instar hostes circumquaque absumturus; aut penes ipsum potius Jovam, qui hostes amentia et cæcitate percusserit (Zechariah 12:4), Judam vero robore induerit ad hostes jamjam confusos ulterius debellandos.” Rosenm.

do not magnify themselves] be not magnified, R. V.

Verse 7. - Shall save the tents of Judah first. Instead of "first," a preferable reading, supported by the Greek, Latin, and Syriac Versions, is "as in the beginning," or "as in former days." The prophet declares that the open towns and villages of Judah, which can offer no effectual resistance to an enemy like the fortified city Jerusalem, shall be saved by the aid of God, as so often has happened in old time. If "first" be the genuine reading, the meaning is that the country people shall first be saved in order to prevent Jerusalem glorifying herself at their expense. That the glory...do not magnify themselves against (be not magnified above) Judah. God will save the chosen nation in such a manner that each part shall have its share in the glory and honour. The leaders, represented by "the house of David" and "the inhabitants of Jerusalem," as the sanctuary of Cod and a strongly fortified city, shall not be able to exalt themselves as more favoured than the rest of the people. By God's help alone is the victory won, and all alike share in this. The expressions in this verse could not have been written, as some assert, while the dynasty of David reigned. Zechariah 12:7Zechariah 12:5. "And the princes of Judah will say in their hearts, The inhabitants of Jerusalem are strength to me, in Jehovah of hosts their God. Zechariah 12:6. On that day will I make the princes of Judah as a basin of fire under logs of wood, and like a torch of fire under sheaves; and they will devour all nations round about, on the right and on the left; and Jerusalem will dwell still further in its place, at Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:7. And Jehovah will save the tents of Judah first, that the splendour of the house of David and the splendour of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not lift itself up over Judah." The princes of Judah are mentioned as the leaders of the people in war. What they say is the conviction of the whole nation ('allūph, as in Zechariah 9:7). אמצה (in this form ἁπ. λεγ.) is a substantive equals אמץ, strength (Job 17:9). The singular lı̄ (to me) expresses the fact that every individual says or thinks this, as with the expression "should I weep" in Zechariah 7:3. The princes of Judah recognise in the inhabitants of Jerusalem their strength or might, not in this sense, that Judah, being crowded together before Jerusalem, expects help against the foe from the strength of the city and the assistance of its inhabitants, as Hofmann and Koehler maintain, for "their whole account of the inhabitants of the land being shut up in the city (or crowded together before the walls of Jerusalem, and covered by them) is a pure invention" (Koehler), and has no foundation in the text; but in this sense, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are strong through Jehovah their God, i.e., through the fact that Jehovah has chosen Jerusalem, and by virtue of this election will save the city of His sanctuary (compare Zechariah 10:12 with Zechariah 3:2; Zechariah 1:17; Zechariah 2:12). Because the princes of Judah put their trust in the divine election of Jerusalem, the Lord makes them into a basin of fire under logs of wood, and a burning torch under sheaves, so that they destroy all nations round about like flames of fire, and Jerusalem therefore remains unconquered and undestroyed in its place at Jerusalem. In this last sentence Jerusalem is first of all the population personified as a woman, and in the second instance the city as such. From the fact that Jerusalem is still preserved, in consequence of the destruction of the enemy proceeding from the princes of Judah it is very evident that the princes of Judah are the representatives of the whole nation, and that the whole of the covenant nation (Judah with Jerusalem) is included in the house of Judah in Zechariah 12:4. And Zechariah 12:7 may easily be reconciled with this. The statement that the Lord will "save the tents of Judah first, that the splendour of the house of David may not lift itself up above Judah," contains the simple thought that the salvation will take place in such a manner that no part of the nation will have any occasion to lift itself up above another, and that because the salvation is effected not by human power, but by the omnipotence of God alone. "The tents of Judah, i.e., its huts, form an antithesis to the splendid buildings of the capital, and probably (?) also point to the defenceless condition of Judah, through which it was absolutely cast upon the help of God"

(Note: Calvin observes: "In my opinion, the prophet applies the term 'tents' to huts which cannot protect their guests or inhabitants. We have thus a tacit contrast between huts and fortified cities.")

(Hengstenberg). תּפארת, the splendour or glory, not the boasting. The house of David is the royal line, which was continued in Zerubbabel and his family, and culminated in Christ. Its splendour consists in the glorification promised in Zechariah 4:6-10 and Zechariah 4:14, and Haggai 2:23; and the splendour of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is the promises which this city received through its election to be the city of God, in which Jehovah would be enthroned in His sanctuary, and also through the future glorification predicted for it in consequence (Zechariah 1:16-17; Zechariah 2:8, Zechariah 2:12, ff.). The antithesis between Jerusalem and the house of David on the one hand, and the tents of Judah on the other, does not serve to express the thought that "the strong ones will be saved by the weak, in order that the true equilibrium may arise between the two" (Hengst.), for Judah cannot represent the weak ones if its princes consume the enemy like flames of fire; but the thought is simply this: At the deliverance from the attack of the foe, Jerusalem will have no pre-eminence over Judah; but the promises which Jerusalem and the house of David have received will benefit Judah, i.e., the whole of the covenant nation, in like manner. This thought is expressed in the following way: The defenceless land will be delivered sooner than the well-defended capital, that the latter may not lift itself up above the former, but that both may humbly acknowledge "that the victory in both cases is the Lord's" (Jerome); for, according to Zechariah 12:8, Jerusalem will enjoy in the fullest measure the salvation of God.

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