Zechariah 9:16
And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign on his land.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
9:9-17 The prophet breaks forth into a joyful representation of the coming of the Messiah, of whom the ancient Jews explained this prophecy. He took the character of their King, when he entered Jerusalem amidst the hosannas of the multitude. But his kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. It shall not be advanced by outward force or carnal weapons. His gospel shall be preached to the world, and be received among the heathen. A sinful state is a state of bondage; it is a pit, or dungeon, in which there is no water, no comfort; and we are all by nature prisoners in this pit. Through the precious blood of Christ, many prisoners of Satan have been set at liberty from the horrible pit in which they must otherwise have perished, without hope or comfort. While we admire Him, let us seek that his holiness and truth may be shown in our own spirits and conduct. These promises have accomplishment in the spiritual blessings of the gospel which we enjoy by Jesus Christ. As the deliverance of the Jews was typical of redemption by Christ, so this invitation speaks to all the language of the gospel call. Sinners are prisoners, but prisoners of hope; their case is sad, but not desperate; for there is hope in Israel concerning them. Christ is a Strong-hold, a strong Tower, in whom believers are safe from the fear of the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the assaults of spiritual enemies. To him we must turn with lively faith; to him we must flee, and trust in his name under all trials and sufferings. It is here promised that the Lord would deliver his people. This passage also refers to the apostles, and the preachers of the gospel in the early ages. God was evidently with them; his words from their lips pierced the hearts and consciences of the hearers. They were wondrously defended in persecution, and were filled with the influences of the Holy Spirit. They were saved by the Good Shepherd as his flock, and honoured as jewels of his crown. The gifts, graces, and consolations of the Spirit, poured forth on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2 and in succeeding times, are represented. Sharp have been, and still will be, the conflicts of Zion's sons, but their God will give them success. The more we are employed, and satisfied with his goodness, the more we shall admire the beauty revealed in the Redeemer. Whatever gifts God bestows on us, we must serve him cheerfully with them; and, when refreshed with blessings, we must say, How great is his goodness!And the Lord their God shall save them in that day - Still all should be God's doing; they themselves were but as a flock, as sheep among wolves, ready for the slaughter; but they were "the flock, His people," as He says, "I will increase them like the flock, men, as the flock of holy things, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks, men" Ezekiel 36:37-38. "As a man saves his flock with all his strength, so He will save His people; for they are His flock." As in, "Thou leddest Thy people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron" Psalm 77:20.

They shall be as the stones of a crown - While God's enemies shall be trampled under foot, as a common thing which has failed its end, these shall be precious stones; a consecrated diadem of king or priest, "raised aloft," so that all can see. "On His land." It was laid down, as the title-deed to its whole tenure, "the land is Mine" Leviticus 25:23, and much more our Christian land, bought and purified by the blood of Christ.

16. save them … as the flock of his people—as the flock of His people ought to be saved (Ps 77:20). Here the image of war and bloodshed (Zec 9:15) is exchanged for the shepherd and flock, as God will give not only victory, but afterwards safe and lasting peace. In contrast to the worthless sling-stones trodden under foot stand the (gems) "stones of the crown (Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17), lifted up as an ensign," that all may flock to the Jewish Church (Isa 11:10, 12; 62:10). The Lord their God, as in covenant with them, not only as Lord of hosts by his power, but as their God in mercy and faithfulness,

shall save them, fully deliver them, i.e. the sons of Zion, in that day, in the day of their contest and wars with the sons of Javan,

as the flock of his people; as a shepherd saves his flock, as David saved his.

For they shall be as the stones of a crown; or, seeing that they are precious, and of value with me, as the stones of a royal crown, or as the stones of trophy set up in memory of some noble achievement;

lifted up as an ensign upon his land; which are as an ensign lifted up, to which whoso repair may give thanks and rejoice in their deliverance; a form of which, for aught I know, may follow. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day,.... In the times of the Gospel, and the dispensation of it; meaning either the apostles, before said to be protected and defended, Zechariah 9:15 or rather the persons converted, conquered, and subdued by them, who are not killed, but saved by the Lord their God, their glorious Redeemer, from sin, Satan, the law, wrath to come, and out of the hands of all their enemies:

as the flock of his people; they being his special people, by choice, by covenant grace, and by redemption, and like to a flock of sheep; to sheep, for harmlessness, meekness, weakness, and timorousness, for being prone to go astray, and for their being clean, profitable, and sociable; and to a flock, being a distinct society of men, and but one, and a small one too, though a flock beautiful and holy:

for they shall be as the stones of a crown; like the gems and precious stones which are on a king's crown; they being Christ's jewels, highly valued and esteemed of by him; and comparable to them, for their richness through the grace of God, and for their purity, brightness, and glory in themselves, as owing to that; and for the glory they give to Christ, and for the durableness of them. The Targum renders it, "the stones of the ephod"; they may be translated, "the stones of separation" (x); set for boundaries to distinguish places; those being separated by the grace of God, in effectual calling, from the rest of mankind, and laid as lively stones upon the foundation Christ:

lifted up as an ensign upon his land; the land of Judea, as trophies of victorious grace; as monuments of praise and thankfulness; and as means of encouraging others to seek to Christ, and believe in him. The allusion seems to be to trophies erected on account of victories obtained by valiant men, to perpetuate their memories; which were sometimes of brass, and sometimes of marble, with inscriptions and titles on them, that they might endure forever; and where sufficiency of such materials could not be got, a vast heap of stones used to be laid together; or large trees, and their branches cut down, and the spoils of the enemy laid upon them; and these were raised up as trophies to perpetuate the memory of mighty men to posterity. So Germanicus, having conquered the nations between the Rhine and the Elbe, piled up a vast heap of marble stones, and dedicated them to Tiberius (y); and Fabius Aemilianus, having, with an army not amounting to 30,000 men, defeated an army of the Gauls near the river Rhosne, consisting of 200,000 men, set up a trophy of white stone, as well as built two temples, one to Mars, and another to Hercules (z); and Domitius Aenobarbus, and Fabius Maximus, having got the victory over the Allobroges, the people of Savoy and Piedmont, erected stone towers on the spot, and fixed trophies adorned with hostile arms, which before had been unusual (a); and it was an ancient custom with the Goths and Swedes, in the camps and fields where battles were fought, to fix stones like the Egyptian pyramids, on which they engraved, in a brief manner, the famous exploits performed, thereby to perpetuate the memory of the names and actions of great men (b); and these pillars of stone set up for trophies, the chapiters of them might be made in the form of crowns, and may be here referred to; and so some render the words to this sense (c).

(x) "lapides separationis", Sanctius; so Aquila in Drusius. (y) Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 22. (z) Strabo. Geograph. l. 4. p. 128. (a) Flori Roman. Gest. l. 3. c. 2.((b) Olai Magni de Ritu Gent. Septentrional. Epitome, l. 1. c. 16. (c) "Lapides coronarii", Junius & Tremellius; "lapides coronati", i. e. "epistyliis ornati trophaeis", Piscator.

And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the {a} stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

(a) The faithful will be preserved, and reverenced by all, that their very enemies will be compelled to esteem them: for God's glory will shine in them, as Josephus declares of Alexander the great when he met Jadi the high priest.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. lifted up as an ensign upon] Rather, raised aloft over, or perhaps, shining, or glittering. So R. V. lifted on high over. Margin, glittering upon.Verse 16. - Shall save them. He shall give them a positive blessing beyond mere deliverance from enemies. Keil, "Shall endow them with salvation." As the flock of his people; so the Vulgate; literally, as a flock, his people; Septuagint, ὡς πρόβατα, λαὸν αὐτοῦ. He will tend his people as a shepherd tends his flock (Psalm 77:20; Psalm 100:3; Jeremiah 23:1; Ezekiel 34:2, 8, etc.), So Christ calls himself the "good Shepherd," and his followers "little flock" (John 10:11; Luke 12:32). Stones of a crown. The valuable gems set in crowns and diadems, or in the high priest's official dress. The people shall be in God's sight as precious as these in the eyes of men, and shall be highly exalted. The Septuagint and Vulgate render, "sacred stones;" and Knabenbauer thinks that by the term is meant the temple of God, which shall arise or shine in the Holy Laud, as a reward for its faithful defence. But the sense given above is satisfactory and simpler. Lifted up as an ensign upon his land; better, as the Revised Version margin, glittering upon his land. "His" may refer to Jehovah, or Israel; probably the latter is meant. The "land" is the crown or diadem in which the precious stones, the redeemed people, are set. They shall be raised to the highest possible glory and honour. If the words be taken in the sense of "raised on high over his land," they must be considered to indicate that the crown which contained the gems shall be raised aloft in victorious triumph. The word of God was as follows: Haggai 2:11. "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Ask now the priests for instruction, saying, Haggai 2:12. Behold, one carries holy flesh in the lappet of his garment, and touches with his lappet the bread, and that which is boiled, the wine, and the oil, and any kind of food: does it then become holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Haggai 2:13. And Haggai said, If one who is unclean on account of a corpse touches all this, does it become unclean? And the priests answered and said, It does become unclean. Haggai 2:14. Then Haggai answered and said, So is this people, and so this nation before my face, is the saying of Jehovah; and so is all the work of their hands, and what they offer to me there: it is unclean." In order to impress most earnestly upon the hearts of the people the fact that it was through their sin that they brought upon themselves the failure of crops that had hitherto prevailed, viz., as a punishment from God, the prophet proposes two questions concerning holy and clean for the priests to answer, in order that he may make an application of the answer they give to the moral condition of the nation. Tōrâh in Haggai 2:11, without the article, is used in its primary signification of instruction, and is governed by שׁעל, accus. rei: to ask a person anything, for to ask or solicit anything from him. The first question has reference to the communication of the holiness of holy objects to other objects brought into contact with them: whether, if a person carried holy flesh in the lappet of his garment,

(Note: Luther: "in the geren of his dress." The gehren, or gehre, middle high German gre, old high German kro (English goar), is a triangular piece, forming the gusset of a dress or shirt, then that portion of the dress in which it is inserted, viz., below the waist, probably derived from the Gothic gis, and the conjectural root geisan equals to thrust or strike (Weigand, Germ. Dict.).)

and touched any food with the lappet, it would become holy in consequence. Hēn, behold, pointing to an action as possible, has almost the force of a conditional particle, "if," as in Isaiah 54:15; Jeremiah 3:1 (cf. Ewald, 103, g). "Holy flesh" is flesh of animals slain as sacrifices, as in Jeremiah 11:15. Nâzı̄d, that which is boiled, boiled food (Genesis 25:29; 2 Kings 4:38.). The priests answer the question laid before them quite correctly with "No;" for, according to Leviticus 6:20, the lappet of the dress itself was made holy by the holy flesh, but it could not communicate this holiness any further. The second question (Haggai 2:13) has reference to the spread of legal defilement. טמא נפשׁ is not one who is unclean in his soul; but, as Leviticus 22:4 shows, it is synonymous with טמא לנפשׁ in Numbers 5:2; Numbers 9:10, "defiled on a soul;" and this is a contraction of טמא לנפר אדם, or טמא לנפשׁ מת, in Numbers 9:6-7, "defiled on (through) the soul of a dead man" (Numbers 6:6; Leviticus 21:11 : see at Leviticus 19:28), hence one who has been defiled through touching a dead body. This uncleanness was one of the strongest kinds; it lasted seven days, and could only be removed by his being twice purified with sprinkling water, prepared from the ashes of the red cow (see at Numbers 19). This question the priests also answered correctly. According to Numbers 19:22, he who was defiled by touching a dead body made everything unclean that he touched. The prophet now applies these provisions of the law to the ethical relation in which the people stood to Jehovah. "So is this people before me, saith Jehovah." הגּוי is quite synonymous with העם, as in Zephaniah 2:9, without any subordinate meaning of a contemptuous kind, which could at the most be contained in hazzeh (this), but in that case would apply to hâ‛âm just as well. Kēn, ita, refers to the substance of the two legal questions in Haggai 2:12 and Haggai 2:13. The nation, in its attitude towards the Lord, resembles, on the one hand, a man who carries holy flesh in the lappet of his garment, and on the other hand, a man who has become unclean through touching a corpse. "Israel also possesses a sanctuary in the midst of its land, - namely, the place which Jehovah has chosen for His own abode, and favoured with many glorious promises. But just as no kind of food, neither bread nor vegetables, neither wine nor oil, is sanctified by the fact that a man touches it with his sanctified garment, so will all this not be rendered holy by the fact that it is planted in the soil of the land which surrounds and encloses the sanctuary of Jehovah. For though the land itself becomes a holy land in consequence, it cannot spread this holiness any further, nor communicate it to what grows upon it. All that Israel raises on its holy land, whether corn, wine, or oil, remains unholy or common. No special blessing rests upon the fruits of this land, on account of the holiness of the land itself, so as of necessity to produce fruitfulness as its result; nor, on the other hand, does it in itself communicate any curse. But if, as experience shows, a curse is resting notwithstanding upon the productions of this land, it arises from the fact that they are unclean because Israel has planted them. For Israel it utterly unclean on account of its neglect of the house of Jehovah, like a man who has become unclean through touching a corpse. Everything that Israel takes hold of, or upon which it lays its hand, everything that it plants and cultivates, is from the very first affected with the curse of uncleanness; and consequently even the sacrifices which it offers there upon the altar of Jehovah are unclean" (Koehler). Shâm, there, i.e., upon the altar built immediately after the return from Babylon (Ezra 3:3).

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