Zechariah 8:9
Thus said the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, you that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.
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Zechariah 8:9-10. Let your hands be strong — Be of good courage, and go on with resolution and perseverance in the work you have begun, the rebuilding of the temple, since you have received such assurances from God’s prophets, even from the very first of your entering upon it, that he would prosper you in it, enable you to finish it, and bless you on account of your labour bestowed on it. Ye that hear these words of the prophets — He refers to the prophecies of Haggai, as well as those of Zechariah; which were in the day, or, who spake in the day, that the foundation of the house was laid — The prophet speaks of the carrying on of the building as if it were the laying a new foundation: see Haggai 2:18. For before these days there was no hire for man, &c. — Or rather, There was no reward for man, nor any reward for beast: so the word שׂכר, here used, often signifies; that is, the fruits of the earth would not pay for the labour of those who cultivated it: see the margin. For I set all men everyone against his neighbour — I suffered many molestations to be given you. The enemies of the Jews ceased not to molest them from without, Ezra 4:1, &c.; and civil dissensions, it seems, prevailed within.8:9-17 Those only who lay their hands to the plough of duty, shall have them strengthened with the promises of mercy: those who avoid their fathers' faults have the curse turned into a blessing. Those who believed the promises, were to show their faith by their works, and to wait the fulfilment. When God is displeased, he can cause trade to decay, and set every man against his neighbour; but when he returns in mercy, all is happy and prosperous. Surely believers in Christ must not trifle with the exhortation to put away lying, and to speak every man peace with his neighbour, to hate what the Lord hates, and to love that wherein he delights.Let your hands be strong - The fulfillment of God's former promises are the earnest of the future; His former providences, of those to come. Having then those great promises for the time to come, they were to be earnest in whatever meantime God gave them to do. He speaks to them, "as hearing in these days," that is, that fourth year of Darius in which they apparently were, "these words from the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day when the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, the temple, that it might be built." Haggai was now gone to his rest. His voice had been silent for two years. But his words lived on. The fulfillment of what the prophets had then spoken in God's Name, was a ground, why their hands should be strong, now and thereafter, for every work which God gave or should give them to do. Ribera: "Some things are said to Jerusalem, that is, to the Jews, which belong to them only; some relate to what is common to them and the other members of the Church, that is, these who are called from the Gentiles. Now he speaks to the Jews, but not so as to seem to forget what he had said before. He would say, Ye who hear the words, which in those days when the temple was founded, Haggai and Zechariah spake, be strong and proceed to the work which ye began of fulfilling the will of the Lord in the building of the temple, and in keeping from the sins, in which ye were before entangled. For as, before ye began to build the temple, ye were afflicted with many calamities, but after ye had begun, all things went well with you, as Haggai said, "so, if you cultivate piety and do not depart from God, ye shall enjoy great abundance of spiritual good" Haggai 2:15-19. Osorius: "The memory of past calamity made the then tranquillity much sweeter, and stirred the mind to greater thanksgiving. He set forth then the grief of those times when he says;" 9-13. All adversities formerly attended them when neglecting to build the temple: but now God promises all blessings, as an encouragement to energy in the work.

hands … strong—be of courageous mind (2Sa 16:21), not merely in building, but in general, as having such bright prospects (Zec 8:13, &c.).

these days—the time that had elapsed between the prophet's having spoken "these words" and the time (Zec 8:10; compare Hag 2:15-19) when they set about in earnest restoring the temple.

the prophets—Haggai and Zechariah himself (Ezr 5:1, 2). The same prophets who promised prosperity at the foundation of the temple, now promised still greater blessings hereafter.

Let your hands be strong; be of good courage, and hearten on each other to the expectation of God’s promise, and the doing your duty.

Ye, you returned captives, that hear: this is an argument to revive their courage, they hear God by his word very fairly proposing great things.

In these days; in these days of Darius Hystaspes, some twelve, or fifteen, or perhaps eighteen years since the time I point at. In these days of hope from Darius favourably helping, but most from God assisting and blessing.

These words, promises, exhortations, and counsels, by the mouth of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah.

In the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid; in the second year of Cyrus, which if reckoned from his succeeding of his father Cambyses in the Persian crown, and his father-in-law Cyaxares in the crown of Media, which happened near about A.M. 3167, unto the second of Darius Hystaspes, A.M. 3485, that is eighteen years ago, will make it likely that Haggai and Zechariah are intended there: but to lay it so that this re-edifying of the temple be in the second of Darius Nothus, is to make these two prophets either to be silent one hundred and twelve years together, or to preach with little success and less complaint, for I do not remember that either of them chargeth this people with this particular fault.

That the temple might be built, according to God’s command and your duty. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Let your hands be strong,.... In going on with the building of the temple, which was typical of the church of God, since so many great and good things were promised by the Lord, Haggai 2:4,

ye that hear in these days; such as Zerubbabel the ruler, Joshua the high priest, and the rest of the people of the land:

these words by the mouth of the prophets; that is, these prophecies of future good things, which were delivered by Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; who were the prophets,

which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid; which was in the second year of Darius, on the twenty fourth day of the ninth month, Haggai 2:10,

that the temple might be built; in order to the rebuilding of it, the foundation was laid; and from that time it was to continue building, till it was finished (m).

(m) The true reading of these words, according to the accents, is, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: let your hands be strong, that hear in those days these words: out of the prophets, I say, ye have heard, that, from the day the house of the Lord of hosts shall be founded, the temple should be continued to be built." So Reinbeck. De Accent. Heb. p. 453.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your {f} hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who were in the day when the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.

(f) Let neither respect of your personal benefits, neither counsel of others, nor fear of enemies, discourage you in the going forward with the building of the temple, but be steadfast and obey the Prophets, who encourage you to that.

9. by the mouth] Rather, from the mouth. R. V.

the prophets, which were, &c.] Remember that “these words” of promise (e.g. Zechariah 8:3-8 supra) which you are hearing in “these days” are spoken to you by the same prophets who first urged you to the work, and whose earlier promises then made are already being fulfilled to you, Zechariah 8:10-11; Haggai 2:15-19.

that the temple might be built] Rather, even the temple, that it might he built, as R. V. This clause seems to be added to shew that it is not the first laying of the foundation, which was followed by no further progress (Ezra 3:10-12), but the vigorous resumption of the work, a second founding, as it were, with a view to building, in which “the prophets” (Ezra 5:1-2) bore so prominent a part, that is here referred to.

9–13. These verses, introduced by the phrase, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, and beginning and ending with the same words, Let your hands be strong, form one continuous exhortation to persevere in rebuilding the Temple. The exhortation is grounded upon a comparison of their condition, before and after the time when they began in earnest to build the house of the Lord. The improvement which had already taken place since that time should encourage them to go on building, cheered by fresh prophecies and promises from the mouth of the same prophets who had urged them to begin the work, and of Him whose messengers of good they were.Verses 9-17. - § 5. The people are exhorted to be of good cheer, for god will henceforth give them his blessing, which, however, was conditional on their obedience. Verse 9. - Let your hands be strong (comp. Haggai 2:15-19). Be of good courage for the work before you (Judges 7:11; Isaiah 35:3; Ezekiel 22:14). By (from) the mouth of the prophets, which were. Who came forward as prophets. These prophets, who prophesied after the foundations of the temple were laid, were Haggai and Zechariah; they are thus distinguished from the pre-exilian seers mentioned in Zechariah 7:7. The same prophets who encouraged you in your work at first are they who have spoken to you words of promise in those days. That the temple might be built; Revised Version, even the temple that it might be built. This could not be predicated of the first foundation, which was followed by a long period of inaction (Ezra 4:24), only terminated by the vigorous exhortations of the prophets, which led to a resumption of the work that might be called a second foundation of the temple. "Exult, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! rejoice and exult with all the heart, O daughter Jerusalem. Zephaniah 3:15. Jehovah has removed thy judgments, cleared away thine enemy; the King of Israel, Jehovah, is in the midst of thee: thou wilt see evil no more. Zephaniah 3:16. In that day will men say to Jerusalem, Fear not, O Zion; let not thy hands drop. Zephaniah 3:17. Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a hero who helps: He rejoices over thee in delight, He is silent in His love, exults over thee with rejoicing." The daughter Zion, i.e., the reassembled remnant of Israel, is to exult and shout at the fulness of the salvation prepared for it. The fulness is indicated in the heaping up of words for exulting and rejoicing. The greater the exultation, the greater must the object be over which men exult. הריעוּ, to break out into a cry of joy, is a plural, because the Israel addressed is a plurality. The re-establishment of the covenant of grace assigns the reason for the exultation. God has removed the judgments, and cleared away the enemies, who served as the executors of His judgments. Pinnâh, piel, to put in order (sc., a house), by clearing away what is lying about in disorder (Genesis 24:31; Leviticus 14:36), hence to sweep away or remove. 'Oyēbh: with indefinite generality, every enemy. Now is Jehovah once more in the midst of the daughter Zion as King of Israel, whereas, so long as Israel was given up to the power of the enemy, He had ceased to be its King. Yehōvâh is in apposition to melekj Yisrâ'ēl, which is placed first for the sake of emphasis, and not a predicate. The predicate is merely בּקרבּך (in the midst of thee). The accent lies upon the fact that Jehovah is in the midst of His congregation as King of Israel (cf. Zephaniah 3:17). Because this is the case, she will no more see, i.e., experience, evil (ראה as in Jeremiah 5:12; Isaiah 44:16, etc.), and need not therefore any longer fear and despair. This is stated in Zephaniah 3:16 : They will say to Jerusalem, Fear not. She will have so little fear, that men will be able to call her the fearless one. ציּון is a vocative of address. It is simpler to assume this than to supply ל from the previous clause. The falling of the hands is a sign of despair through alarm and anxiety (cf. Isaiah 13:7). This thought is still further explained in Zephaniah 3:17. Jehovah, the God of Zion, is within her, and is a hero who helps or saves; He has inward joy in His rescued and blessed people (cf. Isaiah 62:5; Isaiah 65:19). יחרישׁ בּאחבתו appears unsuitable, since we cannot think of it as indicating silence as to sins that may occur (cf. Psalm 50:21; Isaiah 22:14), inasmuch as, according to Zephaniah 3:13, the remnant of Israel commits no sin. Ewald and Hitzig would therefore read yachădı̄sh; and Ewald renders it "he will grow young again," which Hitzig rejects as at variance with the language, because we should then have יתחדּשׁ. He therefore takes yachădı̄sh as synonymous with יעשׂה חדשׁות, he will do a new thing (Isaiah 43:19). But this rendering cannot be justified by the usage of the language, and does not even yield a thought in harmony with the context. Silence in His love is an expression used to denote love deeply felt, which is absorbed in its object with thoughtfulness and admiration,

(Note: "He assumes the person of a mortal man, because, unless He stammers in this manner, He cannot sufficiently show how much He loves us. Thy God will therefore be quiet in His love, i.e., this will be the greatest delight of thy God, this His chief pleasure, when He shall cherish thee. As a man caresses his dearest wife, so will God then quietly repose in thy love." - Calvin.)

and forms the correlate to rejoicing with exultation, i.e., to the loud demonstration of one's love. The two clauses contain simply a description, drawn from man's mode of showing love, and transferred to God, to set forth the great satisfaction which the Lord has in His redeemed people, and are merely a poetical filling up of the expression, "He will rejoice over thee with joy." This joy of His love will the Lord extend to all who are troubled and pine in misery.

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