Zechariah 6:1
And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 6:1. And I turned and looked, &c. — “The main design of this eighth and last vision is to confirm the Jews in their faith in, and dependance upon God, by showing them that, weak and defenceless as they seemed to be, they had nothing to fear from the greatest earthly powers, while they remained under the divine protection; since all those powers originally proceeded from the counsels of the Almighty, were the instruments of his providence, and could not subsist, nor act, but under his permission.” — Blayney. And behold there came four chariots — Horses and chariots are the usual emblems of conquerors: see Isaiah 21:7-9; Zechariah 10:3. The four chariots, here mentioned, denoted the four great empires, which either had subdued, or were to subdue the greater part of the then known world, namely, the Assyrian, or Babylonian, the Persian, Grecian, and Roman. They are here represented as coming from between two mountains, because mountains are the natural barriers which divide kingdoms; which, though they be strong as brass, are here supposed to be broken through by those that invade and conquer their neighbours. And it is observable, that several of the mighty conquerors of the world owed the beginning of their greatness to their successful passage through the straits of mountains, where a small force might have maintained the passes against a powerful army. Thus the beginning of Alexander’s success against the Persians, was his passing without opposition through the straits of Cilicia; through which also the Babylonians and Persians had passed before, when they marched into Syria and Judea.

6:1-8 This vision may represent the ways of Providence in the government of this lower world. Whatever the providences of God about us are, as to public or private affairs, we should see them all as coming from between the mountains of brass, the immoveable counsels and decrees of God; and therefore reckon it as much our folly to quarrel with them, as it is our duty to submit to them. His providences move swiftly and strongly as chariots, but all are directed and governed by his infinite wisdom and sovereign will. The red horses signify war and bloodshed. The black, signify the dismal consequences of war, famines, pestilences, and desolations. The white, signify the return of comfort, peace, and prosperity. The mixed colour, signify events of different complexions, a day of prosperity and a day of adversity. The angels go forth as messengers of God's counsels, and ministers of his justice and mercy. And the secret motions and impulses upon the spirits of men, by which the designs of Providence are carried on, are these four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from God, and fulfil what the God of the spirits of all flesh appoints. All the events which take place in the world spring from the unchangeable counsels of the Lord, which are formed in unerring wisdom, perfect justice, truth, and goodness; and from history it is found that events happened about the period when this vision was sent to the prophet, which seem referred to therein.Behold, four chariots going forth - Alb.: "By the secret disposal of God into the theater of the world," "from between two mountains of brass." Both Jews and Christians have seen that the four chariots relate to the same four empires, as the visions in Daniel.

"The two mountains." It may be that the imagery is from the two mountains on either side of the valley of Jehoshaphat, which Joel had spoken of as the place of God's judgment, Joel 3:2, and Zechariah afterward Zechariah 14:4. It may then picture that the judgments go forth from God. Anyhow the powers, symbolized by the four chariots, are pictured as closed in on either side by these mountains, strong as brass, unsurmountable, undecaying, (Ribera), "that they should not go forth to other lands to conquer, until the time should come, fixed by the counsels of God, when the gates should be opened for their going forth." The mountains of brass may signify the height of the Divine Wisdom ordering this, and the sublimity of the power which putteth them in operation; as the Psalmist says, "Thy righteousnesses are like the mountains of God" Psalm 36:6.

CHAPTER 6

Zec 6:1-8. Eighth Vision. The Four Chariots.

1. four chariots—symbolizing the various dispensations of Providence towards the Gentile nations which had been more or less brought into contact with Judea; especially in punishing Babylon. Compare Zec 6:8 ("the north country," that is, Babylon); Zec 1:15; 2:6. The number "four" is specified not merely in reference to the four quarters of the horizon (implying universal judgments), but in allusion to the four world kingdoms of Daniel.

from between two mountains—the valley of Jehoshaphat, between Moriah and Mount Olivet [Moore]; or the valley between Zion and Moriah, where the Lord is (Zec 2:10), and whence He sends forth His ministers of judgment on the heathen [Maurer]. The temple on Mount Moriah is the symbol of the theocracy; hence the nearest spot accessible to chariots in the valley below is the most suitable for a vision affecting Judah in relation to the Gentile world powers. The chariot is the symbol of war, and so of judgments.

of brass—the metal among the ancients representing hard solidity; so the immovable and resistless firmness of God's people (compare Jer 1:18). Calvin explains the "two mountains" thus: The secret purpose of God from eternity does not come forth to view before the execution, but is hidden and kept back irresistibly till the fit time, as it were between lofty mountains; the chariots are the various changes wrought in nations, which, as swift heralds, announce to us what before we knew not. The "two" may thus correspond to the number of the "olive trees" (Zec 4:3); the allusion to the "two mountains" near the temple is not necessarily excluded in this view. Henderson explains them to be the Medo-Persian kingdom, represented by the "two horns" (Da 8:3, 4), now employed to execute God's purpose in punishing the nations; but the prophecy reaches far beyond those times.The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 6

The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 6

The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked,.... When he saw another vision, as follows:

and, behold, there came four chariots; by which are meant, not the four Gospels; rather the apostles of Christ, who had their commission from Christ; were sent into all the world by him, and carried his name and Gospel thither; were the instruments Christ made use of in bringing many souls to him, and into his church, and for the defence of his Gospel, and of his interest; and were military chariots, who fought the good fight of faith; and triumphal ones, who were made to triumph in Christ, being more than conquerors through him; though others think angels are here meant, the chariots of the Lord, Psalm 68:17 since they are called the four spirits of the heavens; and are said to go forth from standing before the Lord of the earth, and are sent by him into each of the parts of it, Zechariah 6:5 and are represented by horses of various colours, as in Zechariah 1:8 these may be signified by chariots, for their glory, strength, and swiftness, in which Jehovah rides about the world, and executes his will; and are made use of for the destruction of the church's enemies, and for its protection and defence. The Jewish writers, after the Targum, generally interpret them of the four monarchies, the Persian, Grecian, and Roman, by whom were done the will of God in the world; and seem to be greatly the design of the vision:

these came out from between two mountains: and the mountains were mountains of brass; such in which this metal is found, as in Chalcis, where it is said to be first found (o); and from thence it has its name in the Greek tongue; or in the island of Cyprus, from whence it may be is the name of copper; and such mountains were in Judea, Idumea, and Arabia, formerly; as Carmel, according to Hesychius (p); and Phinon in Idumea; and some mountains in Arabia, about eleven miles from Horeb, which, Jerom says (q), formerly abounded with veins of gold and brass: these may intend the decrees and purposes of God, which, like "mountains", are very ancient, earlier than the everlasting hills, high and deep, not to be reached and searched into; are dark, obscure, and hidden to men, till made known; and are firm, solid, and immovable, and are lasting and durable; and, like mountains of "brass", are never to be broken in pieces, revoked, made null and void; for they stand upon the unalterable will of God, upon the basis of infallible wisdom; are supported by uncontrollable power, and can not be disannulled by all the men on earth, and devils in hell: and, according to these fixed and immutable decrees, the said monarchies in succession have took place in the world; unless rather it should be thought, that by these mountains of brass are designed the power and providence of God, by which the several people that first founded those empires were restrained for a while from going forth to make war upon others, and subdue their kingdoms; until the time was come, it was the will of God they should. The allusion may be to race horses in chariots, formerly used for such exercises, which were held within the circus or bars, till the sign was given when they should start: in like manner these nations were kept within bounds for a while, just as the four angels were bound by the providence of God at the river Euphrates, until they were loosed; which signify the Saracens, and their numerous army of horsemen under their four leaders, who were restrained from overrunning the "eastern" empire of the Romans, until it was the pleasure of God to loose them, and give them liberty, Revelation 9:14. Grotius understands this literally of the straits of Cilicia, and the vastness of the mountains there, through which the Babylonians and Persians, Alexander and his generals, used to pass into Syria, Judea, and Egypt; but rather these visionary chariots seemed to steer their course through a valley, which lay between two mountains, whereby they escaped the difficulties that lay in their way by the mountains; and may denote the low estate of these monarchies in their original, and the difficulties they grappled with, and got over, before they rose to the grandeur they did. Some interpret the two mountains of brass of the kingdom of Israel, after the Babylonish captivity, and the kingdom of the Messiah; and the four chariots, of the four kingdoms, in this order; the Persian, the Grecian, that of the Lagidae and Seleucidae, and the Roman, which is in course last; but was seen first by the prophet, because utter destruction was brought upon Israel by it (r): according to this interpretation, the red horses are the Romans; and the other, the above mentioned. So Cocceius is of opinion that the two mountains are two powerful and unshaken kingdoms, set up by God; or rather two manifestations of the same kingdom; the one the kingdom of the house of David; the other the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual, but as to the effect earthly, in the subjection of all nations to it, Daniel 7:22 the kingdom of the house of David, as to the external form, is abolished, but notwithstanding remains in the root, until it appears in another mountain; and between these two, or in the middle space of time, four kingdoms with their armies would possess the promised land; and he observes, that in Daniel 2:35, mention is made of two mountains, and, that these chariots in part agree with the several parts of the image there.

(o) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 12. Vid. l. 7. c. 56. & l. 34. c. 2.((p) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 6. col. 886. (q) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 90. A. (r) Vid. Gurtler. Voc. Typ. Prophet. Explic. p. 58, 177.

And I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four {a} chariots out from between {b} two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

(a) By chariots here, as by horses before, he means the swift messengers of God to execute and declare his will.

(b) By the mountains he means the external counsel and providence of God, by which he has from before all eternity declared what will come to pass, and that which neither Satan nor all the world can alter.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. turned, and lift up] Rather, lifted up again. Comp. Zechariah 5:1.

looked] Rather, saw.

four chariots] These have very commonly been identified with the four great powers or kingdoms of Daniel’s visions (chap. 2, 7). The first chariot, as to the destination of which the vision is silent, will then represent the Babylonian empire, of which the power was already broken, and which had therefore no future to be foretold. The second and third chariots are, on this supposition, the Medo-Persian and Macedo-Grecian empires, by which successively the overthrow of Babylon, “the north country,” was to be completed; while the fourth chariot, the power of Rome, triumphing first over Egypt, “the south country,” extends its victorious sway over all the earth. This view, however, is not without its difficulties, and some commentators prefer to regard the chariots generally, in accordance with the interpretation put upon them by the Angel (Zechariah 6:5), as swift and mighty engines of destruction (four in number like “the winds of heaven”), which fall with twofold vengeance (Zechariah 6:6) on Babylon the latest enemy of Israel, while they execute wrath also upon Egypt (Ib.), her earlier oppressor, and thus cause that “shaking of all nations,” which was the promised precursor of good. Haggai 2:7.

two mountains] Lit. the two mountains. The use of the definite article has been held to indicate the (well-known) mountains, either of Zion and Moriah (which, however, do not appear to have been generally regarded by the Jews as two), or more commonly of Zion and Olives. The chariots would then travel along the valley of Jehoshaphat. This is not, however, necessarily the force of the article (comp. “the ephah,” Zechariah 6:6). It may only mean that the prophet saw the chariots coming into view between “the two mountains,” which he had previously noticed though he has not previously mentioned them, as the side-scenes of the picture.

mountains of brass] Denoting, perhaps, that the great powers or agencies, which overthrow empires and shape the destinies of nations, as they come forth from God (Zechariah 6:5), so also have their course defined by the counsels of His irresistible and immutable will.

Verses 1-8. - § 10. The eighth vision: the four chariots. Verse 1. - I turned, and lifted up mine eyes (see note on Zechariah 5:1). Four chariots. These are war chariots. The angel explains, in vers. 5, etc., what these chariots mean, how that they represent God's judgments on sinners in all the world. Though evil is removed from the Church, God's vengeance pursues it wherever it is located. If we compare this vision with the first (Zechariah 1:8-11), we shall see that the quiet there spoken of is here broken, and that the shaking of the nations, which is to accompany Messiah's advent (Haggai 2:7), has begun. That the four chariots are to be identified with the four powers of Daniel's visions (2 and 7.) - the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Macedonian, and Roman - is an opinion that does not commend itself. These four kingdoms and their fate have been already symbolized in the horns of the second vision (Zechariah 1:19-21), and it is most unlikely that they should be again introduced under a different figure. This would mar the orderly development of the revelation. And how could these kingdoms, such as they were, be said to issue from the seat of the theocracy and to be attentive to God's commands? Further, how could the chariots symbolize the kingdoms which were to be the objects of punishment, when at the same time they are themselves the instruments which inflict the chastisement? Neither does the angel's explanation suit this notion; for kingdoms are nowhere found under the figure of winds, and such a symbol would have been unintelligible to the prophet without further elucidation. Two mountains. The Hebrew has the article, "the two mountains," two well known mountains. The scene of the vision is Jerusalem or its neighbourhood; hence the two mountains mentioned are thought to he those of Zion or the temple mount, and Olives (comp. Zechariah 14:4; Joel 3:16). It is impossible to identify them; end probably nothing more is meant than that the chariots came forth from a defile between the two mountains which appeared in the vision. Mountains of brass; or, copper. These impregnable, undecaying mountains represent the immovable, invincible nature of the theocracy and of God's decrees respecting it. From it the chariots go forth, because for the sake of God's kingdom and to promote its objects the world powers are destroyed (Knabenbauer) (Isaiah 66:15). The number "four" represents completeness; the judgment shall leave no quarter unvisited. Zechariah 6:1Zechariah 6:1. "And again I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold four chariots coming forth between the two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of brass. Zechariah 6:2. In the first chariot were red horses, and in the second chariot black horses. Zechariah 6:3. And in the third chariot white horses, and in the fourth chariot speckled powerful horses. Zechariah 6:4. And I answered and said to the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? Zechariah 6:5. And the angel answered and said to me, These are the four winds of heaven going out, after having stationed themselves by the Lord of the whole earth. Zechariah 6:6. Those in which the black horses are, go out into the land of the north, and the white have gone out behind them, and the speckled have gone out into the land of the south. Zechariah 6:7. And the powerful ones have gone out, and sought to go, to pass through the earth; and he said, Go ye, and pass through the earth; and they passed through the earth. Zechariah 6:8. And he called to me, and spake to me thus: Behold, those which go out into the land of the north let down my spirit in the land of the north." The four chariots are explained in Zechariah 6:5 by the interpreting angel to be the four winds of heaven, which go forth after they have taken their stand by the Lord of the whole earth, i.e., have appeared before Him in the attitude of servants, to lay their account before Him, and to receive commands from Him (התיצּב על, as in Job 1:6; Job 2:1). This addition shows that the explanation is not a real interpretation; that is to say, the meaning is not that the chariots represent the four winds; but the less obvious figure of the chariots is explained through the more obvious figure of the winds, which answers better to the reality. Since, for example, according to Zechariah 6:8, the chariots are designed to carry the Spirit (rūăch) of God, there was nothing with which they could be more suitably compared than the winds (rūăch) of heaven, for these are the most appropriate earthly substratum to symbolize the working of the Divine Spirit (cf. Jeremiah 49:36; Daniel 7:2). This Spirit, in its judicial operations, is to be borne by the chariots to the places more immediately designated in the vision. As they go out, after having appeared before God, the two mountains, between which they go out or come forth, can only be sought in the place where God's dwelling is. But the mountains are of brass, and therefore are not earthly mountains; but they are not therefore mere symbols of the might of God with which His church is defended (Hengst., Neumann), or allusions to the fact that the dwelling-place of God is immovable and unapproachable (Koehler), or symbols of the imperial power of the world and the kingdom of God (Kliefoth), according to which the power of the world would be just as immovable as the kingdom of God. The symbol has rather a definite geographical view as its basis. As the lands to which the chariots go are described geographically as the lands of the north and south, the starting-point of the chariots must also be thought of geographically, and must therefore be a place or country lying between the northern and southern lands: this is the land of Israel, or more especially Jerusalem, the centre of the Old Testament kingdom of God, where the Lord had His dwelling-place. It is therefore the view of Jerusalem and its situation that lies at the foundation of the vision; only we must not think of the mountains Zion and Moriah (as Osiander, Maurer, Hofmann, and Umbreit do), for these are never distinguished from one another in the Old Testament as forming two separate mountains; but we have rather to think of Zion and the Mount of Olives, which stood opposite to it towards the east. Both are named as places where or from which the Lord judges the world, viz., the Mount of Olives in Zechariah 14:4, and Zion very frequently, e.g., in Joel 3:16. The place between the two mountains is, then, the valley of Jehoshaphat, in which, according to Joel 3:2., the Lord judges the nations. In the vision before us this valley simply forms the starting-point for the chariots, which carry the judgment from the dwelling-place of God into the lands of the north and south, which are mentioned as the seat of the imperial power; and the mountains are of brass, to denote the immovable firmness of the place where the Lord dwells, and where He has founded His kingdom.

The colour of the horses, by which the four chariots are distinguished, is just as significant here as in Zechariah 1:8; and indeed, so far as the colour is the same, the meaning is also the same here as there. Three colours are alike, since beruddı̄m, speckled, is not essentially different from seruqqı̄m, starling-grey, viz., black and white mixed together (see at Zechariah 1:8). The black horses are added here. Black is the colour of grief (cf. "black as sackcloth of hair," Revelation 6:12). The rider upon the black horse in Revelation 6:5-6, holds in his hand the emblem of dearness, the milder form of famine. Consequently the colours of the horses indicate the destination of the chariots, to execute judgment upon the enemies of the kingdom of God. Red, as the colour of blood, points to war and bloodshed; the speckled colour to pestilence and other fatal plagues; and the black colour to dearness and famine: so that these three chariots symbolize the three great judgments, war, pestilence, and hunger (2 Samuel 24:11.), along with which "the noisome beast" is also mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21 as a fourth judgment. In the vision before us the fourth chariot is drawn by white horses, to point to the glorious victories of the ministers of the divine judgment. The explanation of the chariots in this vision is rendered more difficult by the fact, that on the one hand the horses of the fourth chariot are not only called beruddı̄m, but אמצּים also; and on the other hand, that in the account of the starting of the chariots the red horses are omitted, and the speckled are distinguished from the אמשצים instead, inasmuch as it is affirmed of the former that they went forth into the south country, and of the latter, that "they sought to go that they might pass through the whole earth," and they passed through with the consent of God. The commentators have therefore attempted in different ways to identify האמשצים in Zechariah 6:7 with אדמּים. Hitzig and Maurer assume that אמצים is omitted from Zechariah 6:6 by mistake, and that אמצים in Zechariah 6:7 is a copyist's error for אדמים, although there is not a single critical authority that can be adduced in support of this. Hengstenberg and Umbreit suppose that the predicate אמצּים, strong, in Zechariah 6:3 refers to all the horses in the four chariots, and that by the "strong" horses of Zechariah 6:7 we are to understand the "red" horses of the first chariot. But if the horses of all the chariots were strong, the red alone cannot be so called, since the article not only stands before אמצּים in Zechariah 6:7, but also before the three other colours, and indicates nothing more than that the colours have been mentioned before. Moreover, it is grammatically impossible that אמצּים in Zechariah 6:3 should refer to all the four teams; as "we must in that case have had אמצּים כּלּם" (Koehler). Others (e.g., Abulw., Kimchi, Calvin, and Koehler) have attempted to prove that אמצּים taht evo may have the sense of אדמּים; regarding אמוּץ as a softened form of חמוּץ, and explaining the latter, after Isaiah 63:1, as signifying bright red. But apart from the fact that it is impossible to see why so unusual a word should have been chosen in the place of the intelligible word 'ădummı̄m in the account of the destination of the red team in Zechariah 6:7, unless אמשצים were merely a copyist's error for 'ădummı̄m, there are no satisfactory grounds for identifying אמץ with חמוּץ, since it is impossible to adduce any well-established examples of the change of ח into א in Hebrew. The assertion of Koehler, that the Chaldee verb אלם, robustus fuit, is חלם in Hebrew in Job 39:4, is incorrect; for we find חלם in the sense of to be healthy and strong in the Syriac and Talmudic as well, and the Chaldaic אלם is a softened form of עלם, and not of חלם. The fact that in 1 Chronicles 8:35 we have the name תּארע in the place of תּחרע in 1 Chronicles 9:41, being the only instance of the interchange of א and ח in Hebrew, is not sufficient of itself to sustain the alteration, amidst the great mass of various readings in the genealogies of the Chronicles. Moreover, châmūts, from châmēts, to be sharp, does not mean red ( equals 'âdōm), but a glaring colour, like the Greek ὀξύς; and even in Isaiah 63:1 it has simply this meaning, i.e., merely "denotes the unusual redness of the dress, which does not look like the purple of a king's talar, or the scarlet of a chlamys" (Delitzsch); or, speaking more correctly, it merely denotes the glaring colour which the dress has acquired through being sprinkled over with red spots, arising either from the dark juice of the grape or from blood. All that remains therefore is to acknowledge, in accordance with the words of the text, that in the interpretation of the vision the departure of the team with the red horses is omitted, and the team with speckled powerful horses divided into two teams - one with speckled horses, and the other with black.

We cannot find any support in this for the interpretation of the four chariots as denoting the four imperial monarchies of Daniel, since neither the fact that there are four chariots nor the colour of the teams furnishes any tenable ground for this. And it is precluded by the angel's comparison of the four chariots to the four winds, which point to four quarters of the globe, as in Jeremiah 49:36 and Daniel 7:2, but not to four empires rising one after another, one of which always took the place of the other, so that they embraced the same lands, and were merely distinguished from one another by the fact that each in succession spread over a wider surface than its predecessor. The colour of the horses also does not favour, but rather opposes, any reference to the four great empires. Leaving out of sight the arguments already adduced at Zechariah 1:8 against this interpretation, Kliefoth himself admits that, so far as the horses and their colour are concerned, there is a thorough contrast between this vision and the first one (Zechariah 1:7-17), - namely, that in the first vision the colour assigned to the horses corresponds to the kingdoms of the world to which they are sent, whereas in the vision before us they have the colour of the kingdoms from which they set out to convey the judgment to the others; and he endeavours to explain this distinction, by saying that in the first vision the riders procure information from the different kingdoms of the world as to their actual condition, whereas in the vision before us the chariots have to convey the judgment to the kingdoms of the world. But this distinction furnishes no tenable ground for interpreting the colour of the horses in the one case in accordance with the object of their mission, and in the other case in accordance with their origin or starting-point. If the intention was to set forth the stamp of the kingdoms in the colours, they would correspond in both visions to the kingdoms upon or in which the riders and the chariots had to perform their mission. If, on the other hand, the colour is regulated by the nature and object of the vision, so that these are indicated by it, it cannot exhibit the character of the great empires.

If we look still further at the statement of the angel as to the destination of the chariots, the two attempts made by Hofmann and Kliefoth to combine the colours of the horses with the empires, show most distinctly the untenable character of this view. According to both these expositors, the angel says nothing about the chariot with the red horses, because the Babylonian empire had accomplished its mission to destroy the Assyrian empire. But the Perso-Median empire had also accomplished its mission to destroy the Babylonian, and therefore the team with the black horses should also have been left unnoticed in the explanation. On the other hand, Kliefoth asserts, and appeals to the participle יצאים in Zechariah 6:6 in support of his assertion, that the chariot with the horses of the imperial monarchy of Medo-Persia goes to the north country, viz., Mesopotamia, the seat of Babel, to convey the judgment of God thither; that the judgment was at that very time in process of execution, and the chariot was going in the prophet's own day. But although the revolt of Babylon in the time of Darius, and its result, furnish an apparent proof that the power of the Babylonian empire was not yet completely destroyed in Zechariah's time, this intimation cannot lie in the participle as expressing what is actually in process, for the simple reason that in that case the perfects יצאוּ which follow would necessarily affirm what had already taken place; and consequently not only would the white horses, which went out behind the black, i.e., the horses of the imperial monarchy of Macedonia, have executed the judgment upon the Persian empire, but the speckled horses would have accomplished their mission also, since the same יצאוּ is affirmed of both. The interchange of the participle with the perfect does not point to any difference in the time at which the events occur, but simply expresses a distinction in the idea. In the clause with יצאים the mission of the chariot is expressed through the medium of the participle, according to its idea. The expression "the black horses are going out" is equivalent to, "they are appointed to go out;" whereas in the following clauses with יצאוּ the going out is expressed in the form of a fact, for which we should use the present.

A still greater difficulty lies in the way of the interpretation of the colours of the horses as denoting the great empires, from the statement concerning the places to which the teams go forth. Kliefoth finds the reason why not only the black horses (of the Medo-Persian monarchy), but also the white horses (of the Graeco-Macedonian), go forth to the north country (Mesopotamia), but the latter after the former, in the fact that not only the Babylonian empire had its seat there, but the Medo-Persian empire also. But how does the going forth of the speckled horses into the south country (Egypt) agree with this? If the fourth chariot answered to the fourth empire in Daniel, i.e., to the Roman empire, since this empire executed the judgment upon the Graeco-Macedonian monarchy, this chariot must of necessity have gone forth to the seat of that monarchy. But that was not Egypt, the south country, but Central Asia or Babylon, where Alexander died in the midst of his endeavours to give a firm foundation to his monarchy. In order to explain the going out of the (fourth) chariot with the speckled horses into the south country, Hofmann inserts between the Graeco-Macedonian monarchy and the Roman the empire of Antiochus Epiphanes as a small intermediate empire, which is indicated by the speckled horses, and thereby brings Zechariah into contradiction not only with Daniel's description of the empires, but also with the historical circumstances, according to which, as Kliefoth has already observed, "Antiochus Epiphanes and his power had not the importance of an imperial monarchy, but were merely an offshoot of another imperial monarchy, namely the Graeco-Macedonian."

(Note: Kliefoth (Sach. p. 90) adds, by way of still further argument in support of the above: "The way in which Antiochus Epiphanes is introduced in Daniel 8 is in perfect accordance with these historical circumstances. The third monarchy, the Graeco-Macedonian, represented as a he-goat, destroys the Medo-Persian empire; but its first great horn, Alexander, breaks off in the midst of its victorious career: four horns of kingdoms grow out of the Graeco-Macedonian, and one of these offshoots of the Macedonian empire is Antiochus Epiphanes, the 'little horn,' the bold and artful king." But Zechariah would no more agree with this description in Daniel than with the historical fulfilment, if he had intended the speckled horses to represent Antiochus Epiphanes. For whereas, like Daniel, he enumerates four imperial monarchies, he makes the spotted horses appear not with the third chariot, but with the fourth, and expressly combines the spotted horses with the powerful ones, which, even according to Hofmann, were intended to indicate the Romans, and therefore unquestionably connects the spotted horses with the Roman empire. If, then, he wished the spotted horses to be understood as referring to Antiochus Epiphanes, he would represent Antiochus Epiphanes not as an offshoot of the third or Graeco-Macedonian monarchy, but as the first member of the fourth or Roman, in direct contradiction to the book of Daniel and to the historical order of events.)

Kliefoth's attempt to remove this difficulty is also a failure. Understanding by the spotted strong horses the Roman empire, he explains the separation of the spotted from the powerful horses in the angel's interpretation from the peculiar character of the imperial monarchy of Rome, - namely, that it will first of all appear as an actual and united empire, but will then break up into ten kingdoms, i.e., into a plurality of kingdoms embracing the whole earth, and finally pass over into the kingdom of Antichrist. Accordingly, the spotted horses go out first of all, and carry the spirit of wrath to the south country, Egypt, which comes into consideration as the kingdom of the Ptolemies, and as that most vigorous offshoot of the Graeco-Macedonian monarchy, which survived Antiochus Epiphanes himself. The powerful horses harnessed to the same chariot as the Roman horses go out after this, and wander over the whole earth. They are the divided kingdoms of Daniel springing out of the Roman empire, which are called the powerful ones, not only because they go over the whole earth, but also because Antichrist with his kingdom springs out of them, to convey the judgments of God over the whole earth. But however skilful this interpretation is, it founders on the fact, that it fails to explain the going forth of the speckled horses into the land of the south in a manner corresponding to the object of the vision and the historical circumstances. If the vision represented the judgment, which falls upon the empires in such a manner that the one kingdom destroys or breaks up the other, the speckled horses, which are intended to represent the actual and united Roman empire, would of necessity have gone out not merely into the south country, but into the north country also, because the Roman empire conquered and destroyed not only the one offshoot of the Graeco-Macedonian empire, but all the kingdoms that sprang out of that empire. Kliefoth has given no reason for the exclusive reference to the southern branch of this imperial monarchy, nor can any reason be found. The kingdom of the Ptolemies neither broke up the other kingdoms that sprang out of the monarchy of Alexander, nor received them into itself, so that it could be mentioned as pars pro toto, and it had no such importance in relation to the holy land and nation as that it could be referred to on that account. If the angel had simply wished to mention a vigorous offshoot of the Graeco-Macedonian empire instead of mentioning the whole, he would certainly have fixed his eye upon the kingdom of the Seleucidae, which developed itself in Antiochus Epiphanes into a type of Antichrist, and have let the speckled horses also go to the north, i.e., to Syria. This could have been explained by referring to Daniel; but not their going forth to the south country from the fact that the south country is mentioned in Daniel 11:5, as Kliefoth supposes, inasmuch as in this prophecy of Daniel not only the king of the south, but the king of the north is also mentioned, and that long-continued conflict between the two described, which inflicted such grievous injury upon the holy land.

To obtain a simple explanation of the vision, we must consider, above all things, that in all these visions the interpretations of the angel do not furnish a complete explanation of all the separate details of the vision, but simply hints and expositions of certain leading features, from which the meaning of the whole may be gathered. This is the case here. All the commentators have noticed the fact, that the statement in Zechariah 6:8 concerning the horses going forth into the north country, viz., that they carry the Spirit of Jehovah thither, also applies to the rest of the teams - namely, that they also carry the Spirit of Jehovah to the place to which they go forth. It is also admitted that the angel confines himself to interpreting single features by individualizing. This is the case here with regard to the two lands to which the chariots go forth. The land of the north, i.e., the territory covered by the lands of the Euphrates and Tigris, and the land of the south, i.e., Egypt, are mentioned as the two principal seats of the power of the world in its hostility to Israel: Egypt on the one hand, and Asshur-Babel on the other, which were the principal foes of the people of God, not only before the captivity, but also afterwards, in the conflicts between Syria and Egypt for the possession of Palestine (Daniel 11). If we observe this combination, the hypothesis that our vision depicts the fate of the four imperial monarchies, is deprived of all support. Two chariots go into the north country, which is one representative of the heathen world-power: viz., first of all the black horses, to carry famine thither, as one of the great plagues of God with which the ungodly are punished: a plague which is felt all the more painfully, in proportion to the luxury and excess in which men have previously lived. Then follow the white horses, indicating that the judgment will lead to complete victory over the power of the world. Into the south country, i.e., to Egypt, the other representative of the heathen world-power, goes the chariot with the speckled horses, to carry the manifold judgment of death by sword, famine, and pestilence, which is indicated by this colour. After what has been said concerning the team that went forth into the north country, it follows as a matter of course that this judgment will also execute the will of the Lord, so that it is quite sufficient for a chariot to be mentioned. On the other hand, it was evidently important to guard against the opinion that the judgment would only affect the two countries or kingdoms that are specially mentioned, and to give distinct prominence to the fact that they are only representatives of the heathen world, and that what is here announced applies to the whole world that is at enmity against God. This is done through the explanation in Zechariah 6:7 concerning the going out of a fourth team, to pass through the whole earth. This mission is not received by the red horses, but by the powerful ones, as the speckled horses are also called in the vision, to indicate that the manifold judgments indicated by the speckled horses will pass over the earth in all their force. The going forth of the red horses is not mentioned, simply because, according to the analogy of what has been said concerning the other teams, there could be no doubt about it, as the blood-red colour pointed clearly enough to the shedding of blood. The object of the going forth of the chariots is to let down the Spirit of Jehovah upon the land in question. הניח רוּח יי, to cause the Spirit of Jehovah to rest, i.e., to let it down, is not identical with הניח חמתו, to let out His wrath, in Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 16:42; for rūăch is not equivalent to chēmâh, wrath or fury; but the Spirit of Jehovah is rūăch mishpât (Isaiah 4:4), a spirit of judgment, which not only destroys what is ungodly, but also quickens and invigorates what is related to God. The vision does not set forth the destruction of the world-power, which is at enmity against God, but simply the judgment by which God purifies the sinful world, exterminates all that is ungodly, and renews it by His Spirit. It is also to be observed, that Zechariah 6:6 and Zechariah 6:7 are a continuation of the address of the angel, and not an explanation given by the prophet of what has been said by the angel in Zechariah 6:5. The construction in Zechariah 6:6 is anakolouthic, the horses being made the subject in יצאים, instead of the chariot with black horses, because the significance of the chariots lay in the horses. The object to ויּאמר in Zechariah 6:7 is "the Lord of the whole earth" in Zechariah 6:5, who causes the chariots to go forth; whereas in ויּזעק אתי in Zechariah 6:8 it is the interpreting angel again. By יזעק, lit., he cried to him, i.e., called out to him with a loud voice, the contents of the exclamation are held up as important to the interpretation of the whole.

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