Zechariah 8

1 The word of the LORD of Armies came to me. 2 the LORD of Armies says: “I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.” 3 the LORD says: “I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the middle of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of the LORD of Armies, ‘The Holy Mountain.’” 4 the LORD of Armies says: “Old men and old women will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. 5 The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.” 6 the LORD of Armies says: “If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my eyes?” says the LORD of Armies. 7 the LORD of Armies says: “Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 and I will bring them, and they will dwell within Jerusalem; and they will be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” 9 the LORD of Armies says: “Let your hands be strong, you who hear in these days these words from the mouth of the prophets who were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of Armies was laid, even the temple, that it might be built. 10 For before those days there was no wages for man, nor any wages for an animal; neither was there any peace to him who went out or came in, because of the adversary. For I set all men everyone against his neighbor. 11 But now I will not be to the remnant of this people as in the former days,” says the LORD of Armies. 12 “For the seed of peace and the vine will yield its fruit, and the ground will give its increase, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. 13 It shall come to pass that, as you were a curse amongst the nations, house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Don’t be afraid. Let your hands be strong.” 14 For the LORD of Armies says: “As I thought to do evil to you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath,” says the LORD of Armies, “and I didn’t repent; 15 so again I have thought in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Don’t be afraid. 16 These are the things that you shall do: speak every man the truth with his neighbor. Execute the judgement of truth and peace in your gates, 17 and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate,” says the LORD. 18 The word of the LORD of Armies came to me. 19 the LORD of Armies says: “The fasts of the fourth fifth, seventh, and tenth months shall be for the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.” 20 the LORD of Armies says: “Many peoples, and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come; 21 and the inhabitants of one shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of Armies. I will go also.’ 22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the LORD of Armies in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the LORD.” 23 the LORD of Armies says: “In those days, ten men will take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they will take hold of the skirt of him who is a Jew, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

The sins of Zion were her worst enemies. God will take away her sins, and then no other enemies shall hurt her. Those who profess religion must adorn their profession by godliness and honesty. When become a city of truth and a mountain of holiness, Jerusalem is peaceable and prosperous. Verses #(4, 5), beautifully describe a state of great outward peace, attended with plenty, temperance, and contentment. The scattered Israelites shall be brought together from all parts. God will never leave nor forsake them in a way of mercy, for this he has promised them; and they shall never leave nor forsake him in a way of duty, as they have promised him. These promises were partly fulfilled in the Jewish church, betwixt the captivity and the time of Christ’s coming; and they had fuller accomplishment in the gospel church; but the full import must be as to the future times of the Christian church, or the future restoration of the Jews. With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible; so far are God’s thoughts and ways above ours. In the present low state of vital godliness, we can hardly conceive that so complete a change can be made; but a change thus extensive and glorious, can be brought to pass by the almighty power of the new-creating Spirit, in less time than he was pleased to employ in creating the world. Let the hands of all who labour in the cause of the gospel be strong, serving the Lord in true holiness, assured that their labour shall not be in vain.

Verses 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.

Verses 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.

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