Zechariah 8:23
Thus said the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
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Zechariah 8:23. In those days ten men — That is, many men, a definite number being put for an indefinite. Out of all languages of the nations — From many different and remote countries, no nation being any longer excluded; shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew — Christians are sometimes called by the name of Jews, as being confessors of the true religion, and those to whom the promises, made to the fathers of the Jewish nation, chiefly belong. In this sense especially the word is here to be taken. To take hold of another is a gesture of entreating his friendly assistance: see the notes on Isaiah 3:6; Isaiah 4:1. The meaning of the passage, therefore, is, that the heathen should apply themselves to the Christians, particularly to Christian pastors and ministers, for instruction, in order to qualify themselves for admittance into the church. 8:18-23 When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meet him with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honest in all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so, though thereby you come short of the gains others get dishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably with all men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants of God drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices were softened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hitherto the Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of other nations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religion to their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of the earth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass. Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and no doubt future events will explain it further. It is good to be with those who have God with them; if we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people, and be willing to take our lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal, either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personal religion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to have their portion with us in the realms of bliss.Ten men of all languages of the nations - Ten is the symbol of a whole, all the numbers before it meeting in it and starting again from it. The day of Pentecost was to be the reversal of the confusion of Babel; all were to have one voice, as God had said, "It (the time) shall come to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see My glory" Isaiah 66:18.

They shall lay hold of the skirt of one man who is a Jew - Jerome: "That is, of the Lord and Saviour, of whom it is said, "A prince shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He shall come, for whom it is laid up, and for Him shall the Gentiles wait" Genesis 49:8-10; for "there shall be a rod of Jesse, and He who shall arise to rule over the Gentiles, to Him shall the Gentiles seek" Isaiah 11:10. And when they shall lay hold of Him, they shall desire to tread in His steps, since God is with Him. Or else, whosoever shall believe out of all nations, shall lay hold of a man who is a Jew, the Apostles who are from the Jews, and shall say, Let us go with you; for we have known through the prophets and from the voice of all the Scriptures, that the Son of God, Christ, God and Lord, is with you. Where there is a most manifest prophecy, and the coming of Christ and His Apostles and the faith of all nations is preached, let us seek for nothing more."

Cyril: "Christ turning our sorrow into joy and a feast and good days and gladness, and transferring lamentation into cheerfulness, the accession to the faith and union to God by sanctification in those called to salvation shall not henceforth be individually; but the cities shall exhort each other thereto, and all nations shall come in multitudes, the later ever calling out to those before them, "I too will go." For it is written, "iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a man the countenence of another" Proverbs 27:17. For the zeal of some is ever found to call forth others to fulfill what is good. But what is the aim proposed to the cities, that is, the Gentiles? "To entreat and to seek the face of the Lord," that is, Christ, who is the exact image of God the Father, and, as is written, "the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person" Hebrews 1:3, of whom also the divine David saith, "Shew Thy countenance to Thy servant" Psalm 119:135.

For the Image and Countenance of God the Father hath shone upon us. Having Him propitious and kind, we lay aside the injury from sin, being justified through faith, "not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His great mercy" Titus 3:5. But how they shall come, he explains. By the ten men you are to understand time perfect number of those who come. For the number ten is the symbol of perfection. But that those of the Gentiles, who cleave to the holy Apostles, took in hand to go the same way with them, being justified by the faith in Christ, he sets evidently before us. For little children, if they would follow their fathers, lay hold of the hem of their dress, and, aided by the touch and hanging from their dress, walk steadily and safely. In like way, they too who "worshiped the creature rather than the Creator" Romans 1:25, choosing as their true fathers the bringers-in of the Gospel-doctrines, and joining themselves by like-mindedness to them, follow them, being still of childlike minds, and go the same way, ever showing themselves zealous followers of their life, and by continued progress advancing "to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" Ephesians 4:13.

But why do they follow them? Being persuaded that God is with them, that is, Emmanuel, God with us. But that this calling belongs not only to those of the blood of Israel but to all nations throughout the world, he indicated by saying, that those who laid hold of that hem should be of all languages. But when were the nations called to the knowledge of the truth, and when did they desire to seek the face of the Lord and to entreat it, and to go the same way, as it were, as the holy Apostles, except when the Only-Begotten came to us, who is "the expectations of the nations" Genesis 49:10; to whom also the divine David singeth, "All the naions, whom Thou hast made, shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord?" Psalm 86:9. For the multitude of the nations also is saved through Him."

The startling condescension of this passage is, that our Lord is spoken of as "a man, a Jew." Yet of His human Nature it is not only the simple truth, but essential to the truth. Pilate said to Him in scorn, "Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee unto me" John 18:35. But it was essential to the fulfillment of God's promises. The Christ was to be "the Son of David" Matthew 1:1; Matthew 22:42. "Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the linen of Bethlehem, where David was?" John 7:42. David, "being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne Acts 2:30; "Of this man's seed hath God, according to promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus" Acts 13:23. Whence Paul begins his great doctrinal Epistle with this contrast, "the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power" Romans 1:1-4. He was that "one Man among a thousand, whom Solomon says, I found; but a woman among all those have I not found" Ecclesiastes 7:28; the one in the whole human race. It was fulfilled in the very letter when "they brought to Him all that were diseased, and besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole" Matthew 14:35-36. "The whole multitude sought to touch Him, for there went virtue out of Him and healed all" (Luke 6:19, add Luke 8:46; Mark 5:30).

Even the Jews saw the reference to the Messiah. : "All nations shall come, falling on their faces before the Messiah and the Israelites, saying, Grant, that we may be Thy servants and of Israel. For as relates to the doctrine and the knowledge of the law, the Gentiles shall be their servants, according to that, "In those days ten men etc.""

23. ten—a definite number for an indefinite. So in Le 22:26; Nu 14:22.

of all languages of the nations—that is, of nations of all languages (compare Isa 66:18; Re 7:9).

take hold of the skirt—a gesture of suppliant entreaty as to a superior. Compare Isa 3:6; 4:1, on a different occasion. The Gentiles shall eagerly seek to share the religious privileges of the Jew. The skirt with a fringe and blue ribbon upon it (Nu 15:38; De 22:12) was a distinguishing badge of a Jew.

God is with you—the effect produced on unbelievers in entering the assemblies of the Church (1Co 14:25). But primarily, that produced on the nations in witnessing the deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus. Finally, that to be produced on the nations by the future grand interposition of Messiah in behalf of His people.

The Lord seems delighted with the reporting what should be done in those days of the building up his Jerusalem, and therefore he bids his prophet report it again, as he doth in this last verse of the chapter.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts: once more the Lord avows this as his design, so his work as his purpose, so he would effect it.

In those days it shall come to pass; in the days which shall be the shadow of better, that shall be brought to pass which shall be proportioned to them: thus in the deliverance of the church from Haman’s conspiracy, many in the provinces of that mighty kingdom became Jews; but in the gospel days it shall be more full.

Ten men, that is, many men,

shall take hold; as children lay hold on the nurse’s or mother’s skirt to go with them.

Out of all languages; no nation any longer excluded.

Of him that is a Jew; to whom the gospel was first preached, nay, who were the first preachers of it, as the apostles, and the seventy disciples.

We will go with you; we will go, that we may learn your religion, and be of it.

For we have heard, and now see, believe, and are assured,

that God, the true God, the only true God, whom to know is life eternal,

is with you. Our gods are vanity, a doctrine of lies, and a pernicious cheat; we will cast them off. and no more trust to lies: God is with you only, and we must be with you, and of you, that God the Saviour may be with us too: having hold on you, we will not let you go without us; we seek your God and our God. Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... For the further confirmation and illustration of this prophecy:

in those days it shall come to pass; this shall be done in the times of the preaching of the Gospel by Christ and his apostles:

that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take bold of the skirt of him that is a Jew: which may be understood either of our Lord Jesus Christ; who was a Jew by nation, the Jews were his own people, and Judea his nation; by descent, he springing from the tribe of Judah, and the family of David; by religion, being made under the Jewish law; by his habit and dress, by which, as well as by his language, the woman of Samaria knew he was a Jew, John 4:9 and very probably he wore the fringe the Jews did on the border of his garment, Matthew 9:20 and which the Jewish doctors think is here meant (t) by the skirt; but this may intend, in a spiritual sense, the skirt being put for the whole garment, Ezekiel 16:8, the robe of Christ's righteousness, which sensible sinners take hold of by faith, and put it on as their justifying righteousness: and "ten men" out of "all nations" being said to do it, and this number signifying many, Leviticus 26:26 may denote that the number of them that believe in Christ for righteousness, and are justified by it, are many, Isaiah 53:11 though they are but few when compared with others; and that as God has chosen, Christ has redeemed, so the Spirit calls some out of all nations; and God is the God of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews, since the one are justified by him as well as the other, Romans 3:29 or this may be understood of any of the apostles of Christ, who were all Jews; and especially the Apostle Paul, who was the apostle of the Gentiles; who were sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, by which means they came to hear it; and many of them out of every nation laid hold on the skirts of these men; believed and embraced the doctrines they preached; were greatly affected towards them; gave up themselves to them; consorted with them; accompanied them, and cleaved unto them; did not care to part with them, as children, that lay hold on their parents' skirts, will not leave them, but go with them where they go, as follows:

saying, We will go with you; either with Christ, resolving to follow him whithersoever he goes; to hold to him the Head; to abide by his truths and ordinances; to walk on in his ways, whatever they suffer for his name's sake: or with his ministers and people, determining to go along and join with them in all religious exercises; see Ruth 1:16,

for we have heard that God is with you: with Christ, as he always was; in the council and covenant of grace before time, and at the beginning of time to his incarnation; and during his state of humiliation, and in his sufferings and death; and now in his state of exaltation; hence his name "Ithiel", God with me, Proverbs 30:1 or with his ministers and people, which he has promised to be unto the end of the world; and this the Gentiles heard and understood, by the power that went along with their ministry, to the conversion of multitudes of sinners; and by the miracles which they wrought, for the confirmation of the doctrines they delivered.

(t) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 32. 2.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
23. ten men] i.e. a large number. Comp. Genesis 31:7; Leviticus 26:26; Numbers 14:22; Nehemiah 4:12.

take hold of the skirt] See Haggai 2:12, and comp. Isaiah 4:1.Verse 23. - Ten men. The number ten is used for a large indefinite number (comp. Genesis 31:7; Leviticus 26:26; 1 Samuel 1:8). Out of all languages (the languages) of the nations. The diversity of languages shall not hinder the unity in the faith (comp. Isaiah 66:18; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9). Shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew. Taking hold of the skirt implies a desire to share the privileges, and to be united in fellowship with (comp. Isaiah 4:1; Haggai 2:12). St. Cyril considers the idea to be that the heathen shall cling to the Jews like children holding their fathers' dress for support and guidance. In "the man that is a Jew" St. Jerome discerns the Messiah. We will go with you. The picture presented to the mind by this verse is of a Jew journeying to Jerusalem from some distant country to keep a solemn festival, and a number of Gentiles clinging round him, asking permission to accompany him on his journey, because they have learned how good the Lord has been to his countrymen. But the ideal intended is much more than this. Salvation, indeed, is of the Jews; it began to be announced at Jerusalem; it was preached by the Jewish apostles; its founder was of the seed of David. But the true Israelites are not merely those who are of the natural posterity of Abraham, but all true Christians united under Christ, the Head. To their number all who would be saved must be joined (comp. Romans 4:11; Galatians 3:7, 29; Galatians 4:26, etc.).

"Ye looked out for much, and behold (it came) to little; and ye brought it home, and I blew into it. Why? is the saying of Jehovah of hosts. Because of my house, that it lies waste, whereas ye run every man for his house. Haggai 1:10. Therefore the heaven has withheld its dew on your account, that no dew fell, and the earth has withheld her produce. Haggai 1:11. And I called drought upon the earth, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon everything that the ground produces, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands." The meaning of Haggai 1:9 is evident from the context. The inf. abs. pânōh stands in an address full of emotion in the place of the perfect, and, as the following clause shows, for the second person plural. Ye have turned yourselves, fixed your eye upon much, i.e., upon a rich harvest, והנּה־למעט, and behold the desired much turned to little. Ye brought into the house, ye fetched home what was reaped, and I blew into it, i.e., I caused it to fly away, like chaff before the wind, so that there was soon none of it left. Here is a double curse, therefore, as in Haggai 1:6 : instead of much, but little was reaped, and the little that was brought home melted away without doing any good. To this exposition of the curse the prophet appends the question יען מה, why, sc. has this taken place? that he may impress the cause with the greater emphasis upon their hardened minds. For the same reason he inserts once more, between the question and the answer, the words "is the saying of Jehovah of hosts," that the answer may not be mistaken for a subjective view, but laid to heart as a declaration of the God who rules the world. The choice of the form מה for מה was probably occasioned by the guttural ע in the יען, which is closely connected with it, just as the analogous use of על־מה instead of על־מה in Isaiah 1:5; Psalm 10:13, and Jeremiah 16:10, where it is not followed by a word commencing with ע as in Deuteronomy 29:23; 1 Kings 9:8; Jeremiah 22:8. The former have not been taken into account at all by Ewald in his elaborate Lehrbuch (cf. 182, b). In the answer given by God, "because of my house" (ya‛an bēthı̄) is placed first for the sake of emphasis, and the more precise explanation follows. אשׁר הוּא, "because it," not "that which." ואתּם וגו is a circumstantial clause. לביתו ... רצים, not "every one runs to his house," but "runs for his house," ל denoting the object of the running, as in Isaiah 59:7 and Proverbs 1:16. "When the house of Jehovah was in question, they did not move from the spot; but if it concerned their own house, they ran" (Koehler). In Haggai 1:10 and Haggai 1:11, the curse with which God punished the neglect of His house is still further depicted, with an evident play upon the punishment with which transgressors are threatened in the law (Leviticus 26:19-20; Deuteronomy 11:17 and Deuteronomy 28:23-24). עליכם is not a dat. incomm. (Hitzig), which is never expressed by על; but על is used either in a causal sense, "on your account" (Chald.), or in a local sense, "over you," after the analogy of Deuteronomy 28:23, שׁמיך אשׁר על ראשׁך, in the sense of "the heaven over you will withold" (Ros., Koehl.). It is impossible to decide with certainty between these two. The objection to the first, that "on your account" would be superfluous after על־כּן, has no more force than that raised by Hitzig against the second, viz., that super would be מעל. There is no tautology in the first explanation, but the עליכם, written emphatically at the commencement, gives greater intensity to the threat: "on account of you," you who only care for your own houses, the heaven witholds the dew. And with the other explanation, מעל would only be required in case עליכם were regarded as the object, upon which the dew ought to fall down from above. כּלא, not "to shut itself up," but in a transitive sense, with the derivative meaning to withhold or keep back; and mittâl, not partitively "of the dew," equivalent to "a portion of it," but min in a privative sense, "away from," i.e., so that no dew falls; for it is inadmissible to take mittâl as the object, "to hold back along with the dew," after the analogy of Numbers 24:11 (Hitzig), inasmuch as the accusative of the person is wanting, and in the parallel clause כּלא is construed with the accus. rei. ואקרא in Haggai 1:11 is still dependent upon על־כּן. The word chōrebh, in the sense of drought, applies strictly speaking only to the land and the fruits of the ground, but it is also transferred to men and beasts, inasmuch as drought, when it comes upon all vegetation, affects men and beasts as well; and in this clause it may be taken in the general sense of devastation. The word is carefully chosen, to express the idea of the lex talionis. Because the Jews left the house of God chârēbh, they were punished with chōrebh. The last words are comprehensive: "all the labour of the hands" had reference to the cultivation of the soil and the preparation of the necessities of life.
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