Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ZACHARIAS - Chapter 9

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Zacharias ix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Burden. Preaching of the truth is disagreeable to infidels, and light to the faithful. (Worthington) --- Hadrach; Syria, (Challoner) or a city near Damascus, on which it rested. The victories of Alexander and of the Machabees are here described. The former defeated the Arabs near Damascus, (which was betrayed to Parmenio) and having gained the victory at Issus, became master of Celosyria, of which he made Parmenio governor. (Calmet) --- Rest. Septuagint, "his sacrifice, for the Lord looks on men and on all the tribes of Israel." (Haydock) --- He wished for the conversion of all, and those who turn to him are not rejected. (St. Jerome)

Ver. 2. Emath, or Emesa, not far from Damascus. (Calmet) --- It shall also fall a prey to Alexander. (Haydock) --- Tyre was become again very rich and strong, (Calmet) and gloried in its wisdom; yet was taken after a long and obstinate resistance (Haydock) of seven months, when the inhabitants were slain or sold, the city demolished, and the ships sunk. (Curt. iv.; Usher, year of the world 3672.) --- Sidon made no resistance, as it hated the Persians. Yet Strato was forced to resign the throne to Abdolonymus, (Arian ii.; Just. xi.) which indicates some opposition. (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Ascalon was ruined. The other cities opened their gates, as Jerusalem did. (Josephus, Antiquities xi. ult.) --- Batis alone resolved to defend Gaza. He was dragged round the city when it was taken, after a siege of two months; the inhabitants were slaughtered or sold, and others brought in their stead. (Curt. iv.; Diod. Oly. cxii.)

Ver. 6. Divider. Hebrew mamzer; "bastard," or rather "stranger." It is reported that Alexander was the illegitimate son of Nestabanes, whom Olympius took for Jupiter. (Plut.[Plutarch]; Just. xi.) --- But these might be popular reports. The sequel seems to shew that the Jews, &c., occupied the towns of the Philistines under the Machabees. (Chaldean) (Grotius) (Calmet) --- The divider may denote any conqueror. (Menochius)

Ver. 7. His blood. It is spoken of the Philistines, and particularly of Azotus, (where the temple of Dagon was) and contains a prophecy of the conversion of that people from their bloody sacrifices and abominations to the worship of the true God. (Challoner) --- Many pagans devoured the victims raw, and drank the blood of their enemies. These marks of cruelty and superstition shall cease when they adopt the law of Moses, Genesis ix. 4., and Leviticus vii. 26,. and xvii. 11. --- Governor, or city of a thousand: (Calmet) Hebrew alup, Micheas v. 2. (Haydock) --- Jebusite. They probably embraced the faith with Areuna, 2 Kings xxiv. 16. The city was formerly styled Jebus. The towns of the Philistines shall not be distinguished from the rest, under the dominion of Juda. See 1 Machabees v. 66., and x. 78. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. War; the Machabees. (Challoner) --- They stood up like a wall for the people and the temple. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "my house, on account of those going," &c. I will protect it better than an army. (Haydock) --- After the Machabees, God preserved the temple from profanation till he abandoned it after the death of Christ. (Calmet) --- Yet Pompey penetrated into the most holy place, and Crassus plundered the treasury. Both felt the effects of their impiety, and had no farther success. --- Oppressor; tax-gatherer, (Haydock) sent by foreign tyrants. (Menochius) --- Till the Machabees, particularly Hircan, (Calmet) or Simon, his father, (Haydock) threw off the yoke, the Jews were always subject (Calmet) either to the Persians, to Syria, or to Egypt. (Haydock) --- Hircan's son, Aristobulus, took the title king, and governed in peace. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. King. Christ often came to Jerusalem; but his last entrance, to die for man's redemption, was most excellent. (Worthington) --- If the Jews had not wilfully blinded themselves, they could not mistake Him, as he is here so minutely described, possessing the most humble and the noblest qualities. Not knowing how to reconcile them, they feign one Messias glorious and another poor and despised; while others admit only of one, and reject either the abject or the exalted things which the prophets have spoken of him. The Church alone can reconcile these apparent contradictions in our Saviour's character. After predicting what would befall the Jews till about one hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet turns to Him who was the desire and comfort of the nation. (Calmet) --- Saviour. Hebrew Noshah, (Haydock) or Jesus. (St. Jerome) --- Poor; or meek, as St. Matthew quotes it, after the Septuagint and Chaldean. (Menochius) --- They have read v for i, as hani (Haydock) means poor. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "lowly," which may signify devoid of riches, or of pride. --- Ass. Septuagint, "yoked animal, and upon a young foal." (Haydock) --- The former denotes the Jews.

Ver. 10. Chariot. Arms shall be useless, Micheas v. 10. --- Earth. This can be understood only of Christ's kingdom, (Calmet) though it allude to the greatest limits of the promised land. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. Water; from limbo, (St. Jerome; &c.; Worthington; St. Thomas Aquinas, iii. p. q. 52. a. 1; Calmet) and purgatory. See St. Augustine, de Genesis xii. 23., & ep. 99. (Menochius) --- Christ delivered the ancient patriarchs by virtue of his covenant, just sealed with his blood. Hebrew at present reads, "and as for thee, Sion, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners," &c., delivering the Hebrews out of Egypt by the paschal lamb. (Chaldean) But this text is suspected, as St. Jerome remarks no variation.

Ver. 12. Hold. Return ye, who stay behind, to Jerusalem. God will make good all that you abandon; or come, Judas has procured liberty for the people, 1 Machabees iv. 36. (Calmet) --- Embrace the gospel, and enter the Church. (Menochius)

Ver. 13. Juda: the Machabees. (St. Jerome) --- Filled, or stretched the bow of Ephraim. (Calmet) --- The people shall act with vigour and union. (Haydock) --- Sons; viz., the apostles, who, in the spiritual way, conquered the Greeks, and subdued them to Christ. (Challoner) --- The Machabees repressed the insolence of the Seleucides, who were of Greek extraction.

Ver. 14. Seen. God miraculously interposed in favour of the Machabees, and his angels appeared at their head, 1 Machabees ii. 22., and v. 2., and x. 29., and xi. 8., and xv. 15. A handful of men thus routed vast armies, and asserted their independence, avenging religion and the state, which they restored to greater splendour. --- South, whence storms usually arise in that country, Job xxxvii. 9. The angels confounded the enemy, 1 Machabees x. 30.

Ver. 15. Sling. At first the Machabees had no other weapon, 1 Machabees iv. 6. The sling was much used, Judges xx. 16. --- Wine. They will shed blood of the enemy so abundantly, and be all besmeared with it. They would never drink it, like the pagans, Leviticus xvii. 10. (Calmet)

Ver. 16. Holy stones; the apostles, who shall be as pillars and monuments in the Church. (Challoner) --- The Machabees are like a wall. They restore the altar of holocausts, built of fresh stones, 1 Machabees iv. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. The corn, &c. His most excellent gift is the blessed Eucharist, called here the corn, that is, the bread of the elect, and the wine springing forth virgins, that is, maketh virgins to bud, or spring forth as it were like flowers among thorns, because it has a wonderful efficacy to give and preserve purity. (Challoner) --- It enables the weak to despise all things for the sake of virtue, and makes them fruitful and eloquent, as the original implies. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "a fragrant wine for virgins." (Haydock) --- Christ is the grain of wheat, which dying, brings forth much fruit, (John xii.) and "of this wheat that bread is made which came from heaven," John vi. (St. Jerome) (Worthington) --- "How shall not they have joy, who being inebriated with the cup of our Saviour, are made virgins?" This was partly verified in the days of the Machabees, to whom plenty was granted. (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- Those who partake worthily of the blessed Eucharist, become strong and pure. (Menochius) --- Protestants, "corn shall make the young men cheerful, (marginal note: grow, or speak) and new wine the maids." (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

God will defend his Church, and bring over even her enemies to the faith. The meek coming of Christ, to bring peace, to deliver the captives by his blood, and to give us all good things.

1 The burden of the word of the Lord, in the land of Hadrach, and of Damascus the rest thereof; for the eye of man, and of all the tribes of Israel, is the Lord's.

2 Emath also, in the borders thereof, and Tyre, and Sidon; for they have taken to themselves to be exceeding wise.

3 And Tyre hath built herself a strong hold, and heaped together silver as earth, and gold as the mire of the streets.

4 Behold the Lord shall possess her, and shall strike her strength in the sea, and she shall be devoured with fire.

5 Ascalon shall see, and shall fear, and Gaza, and shall be very sorrowful: and Accaron, because her hope is confounded: and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ascalon shall not be inhabited.

6 And the divider shall sit in Azotus, and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines.

7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth; and even he shall be left to our God, and he shall be as a governor in Juda, and Accaron as a Jebusite.

8 And I will encompass my house with them that serve me in war, going and returning, and the oppressor shall no more pass through them; for now I have seen with my eyes.

9 *Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy king will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.

10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.

11 Thou also, by the blood of thy testament, hast sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water.

12 Return to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, I will render thee double, as I declare to-day.

13 Because I have bent Juda for me as a bow, I have filled Ephraim; and I will raise up thy sons, O Sion, above thy sons, O Greece, and I will make thee as the sword of the mighty.

14 And the Lord God shall be seen over them, and his dart shall go forth as lightning; and the Lord God will sound the trumpet, and go in the whirlwind of the south.

15 The Lord of hosts will protect them: and they shall devour, and subdue with the stones of the sling: and drinking, they shall be inebriated as it were with wine, and they shall be filled as bowls, and as the horns of the altar.

16 And the Lord, their God, will save them in that day, as the flock of his people: for holy stones shall be lifted up over his land.

17 For what is the good thing of him, and what is his beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect, and wine springing forth virgins?



9: Isaias lxii. 11.; Matthew xxi. 5.