Zechariah 7:9
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 7:9-12. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts — Or did speak, that is, to your fathers, and thus he speaks to you now; Execute true judgment — I often put your fathers in mind that judgment and mercy were more acceptable to me than fasting, or any external performances; (see the margin;) and I repeat the same admonition to you of the present age. And let none of you imagine evil against his brother, &c. — Neither think ill of, nor wish ill to, nor plot evil against one another. But they refused to hearken — But your fathers refused to obey the admonitions of the former prophets, and were often reproved by them for their refractory disposition; and pulled away the shoulder — Withdrew their shoulder from the yoke of the law. The metaphor is taken from oxen that refuse to put their necks under the yoke. See the margin. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant-stone — So that no arguments could make any impression upon them; lest they should hear the law — Of God by Moses, which they were peremptorily required to do, but to do which they as peremptorily refused; and the words — The counsels and commands; which the Lord hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets — Inspired and commissioned his prophets to declare; therefore — For this great obstinacy; came a great wrath — Which consumed the whole land, and burned against the people that had inhabited it seventy years together in Babylon; from the Lord of hosts — In all which the hand of the Lord was most evidently seen, rendering unto them according to their ways.

7:8-14 God's judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.Thus spake the Lord - that is, through the former prophets, for he goes on to speak of their rejection in the past. "Execute true judgment." He retains the words of Ezekiel. The injunction itself runs throughout the prophets. "Shew mercy" (as Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 58:6-7; Jeremiah 7:5; Ezekiel 18:8; Hosea 12:6, etc.), that is, tender love, to all; compassion, to the unhappy. Omit no act of love, God so loves the loving. Lap.: "Like Paul to the Romans Rom 13:9, he names only the duties to the neighbor, but understands what relates to God. For the love of our neighbor presupposes the love of God, from which it springs." Jerome: "After strictness of justice, let mercy to all follow, and specially to brethren, of the same blood and of one faith. Brother and neighbor we ought to account the whole human race, since we are all born of one parent, or those who are of the household of faith, according to the parable of the Gospel, "which willeth us to understand by neighbor, nor our kin, but all men" (Luke 10:30 ff). 9. speaketh—implying that these precepts addressed to their ancestors were the requirements of Jehovah not merely then, but now. We must not only not hurt, but we must help our fellow men. God is pleased with such loving obedience, rather than with empty ceremonies. Thus speaketh, or did speak, i.e. to your fathers, and thus he doth speak to you now.

Execute true judgment: God required former judges, and he requireth present judges, without hatred, prejudice, partiality, or bribery to give true sentence.

Show mercy and compassions; be kind and beneficent to such as need; wrong none if you could; do good to all you can with tenderest and most abundant pity, with a heart that feels their miseries.

Every man; as this is every man’s duty, let it be every one’s practice.

To his brother, i.e. to every one that needs you.

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying,.... The same things as he had before; for the things following are ever in force, and always to be attended to, and to be regarded and preferred before anything merely ritual and ceremonial; and especially before the traditions and commandments of men, of which nature the above fasts were:

Execute true judgment; or, "judge judgment (e) of truth"; this is addressed to the judges of the people, that when any cause came before them between man and man, that they would judge righteously, according to the law of God; and, without respect to persons, pass sentence as the truth of the case required:

and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother; whether in want of food, raiment, or in whatsoever distress, whether of body or mind; which is much more acceptable to God than any legal sacrifices, or outward abstinences and humiliations, Hosea 6:6.

(e) "judicium veritatis", Montanus, Calvin, Cocceius, Burkius; "jus veritatis", Junius & Tremellius, Tarnovius.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, {k} Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

(k) He shows that they did not fast with a sincere heart, but because of hypocrisy, and that it was not done from a pure religion, because they lacked these offices of charity which should have declared that they were godly; Mt 23:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. thus speaketh] Rather, thus saith. Some would render, thus said the Lord of hosts, i.e. to your fathers by the former prophets (Zechariah 7:7), a summary of whose teaching is then given, Zechariah 7:9-10. But a comparison of Zechariah 8:1-2 sq. supports the rendering, thus saith, &c. always, to you now, as to your fathers of old. Let their disobedience and its consequences, Zechariah 7:11-14, be your warning. The rendering, Thus hath the Lord of hosts spoken, R. V., comes much to the same thing.

Execute true judgment] Lit. Judge judgment of truth. The phrase, judgment of truth, occurs only here and Ezekiel 18:8.

Verse 9. - Thus speaketh; thus saith. The Lord hath always so said, and saith so now. Revised Version, thus hath the Lord of hosts spoken, saying. Execute true judgment; literally, judge ye judgment of truth; i.e. judge according to truth without bias or partiality. The same phrase occurs in Ezekiel 18:8. Exhortations to this effect are often found; e.g. Exodus 23:6, etc.; Deuteronomy 24:14; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Jeremiah 22:3. Show mercy. Kindness and love in general. Compassions. Pity for the afflicted. Zechariah 7:9The second word of the Lord recals to the recollection of the people the disobedience of the fathers, and its consequences, viz., the judgment of exile, as a warning example. The introduction of the prophet's name in the heading in Zechariah 7:8 does not warrant the strange opinion held by Schmieder and Schlier - namely, that our prophet is here reproducing the words of an earlier Zechariah who lived before the captivity - but is merely to be attributed to a variation in the form of expression. This divine word was as follows: Zechariah 7:9. "Thus hath Jehovah of hosts spoken, saying, Execute judgment of truth, and show love and compassion one to another. Zechariah 7:10. And widows and orphans, strangers and destitute ones, oppress not; and meditate not in your heart the injury of every brother. Zechariah 7:11. But they refused to attend, and offered a rebellious shoulder, and hardened their ears that they might not hear. Zechariah 7:12. And they made their heart diamond, that they might not hear the law and the words which Jehovah of hosts sent through His Spirit by means of the former prophet, so that great wrath came from Jehovah of hosts." כּה אמר is to be taken as a preterite here, referring to what Jehovah had caused to be proclaimed to the people before the captivity. The kernel of this announcement consisted in the appeal to the people, to keep the moral precepts of the law, to practise the true love of the neighbour in public life and private intercourse. Mishpat 'ĕmeth, judgment of truth (cf. Ezekiel 18:8), is such an administration of justice as simply fixes the eye upon the real circumstances of any dispute, without any personal considerations whatever, and decides them in accordance with truth. For the fact itself, compare Exodus 22:20, Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:6-9; Leviticus 19:15-18; Deuteronomy 10:18-19; Deuteronomy 24:14; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 7:5-6; Jeremiah 22:3; Ezekiel 18:8; Hosea 12:7, etc. רעת אישׁ אחיו, the injury of a man who is his brother (as in Genesis 9:5); not "injury one towards another," which would suppose a transposition of the אישׁ equals אישׁ רעת אחיו. In Zechariah 7:11, Zechariah 7:12 the attitude of the people towards these admonitions of God is described. Nâthan kâthēph sōrereth: to give or offer a rebellious shoulder, as in Nehemiah 9:29. The figure is borrowed from an ox, which will not allow a yoke to be placed upon its neck (cf. Hosea 4:16). To make the ears heavy (hikhbı̄d), away from hearing, i.e., so that they do not hear (cf. Isaiah 6:10). To make the heart diamond (shâmı̄r), i.e., as hard as diamond. A stony heart is a heart not susceptible to impressions (cf. Ezekiel 11:19). The relative אשׁר before shâlach refers to the two nouns named before, viz., tōrâh and debhârı̄m, though we need not on that account take tōrâh in the general sense of instruction. God also sent the law to the people through the prophets, i.e., caused them to preach it and impress it upon their hearts. The consequence of this obduracy of the people was, that "there arose great wrath from Jehovah" (cf. Zechariah 1:2; 2 Kings 3:27).
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