Oracles Concerning the Nations and Judah.* 1An oracle:* The word of the LORD concerning Israel—oracle of the LORD, who spreads out the heavens, lays the foundations of the earth, and fashions the human spirit within:a 2See, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling* for all peoples round about.b Judah will be besieged, even Jerusalem. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all peoples. All who attempt to lift it will injure themselves badly, though all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4On that day—oracle of the LORD—I will strike every horse with fright, and its rider with madness. But over the house of Judah I will keep watch, while I strike blind all the horses of the peoples. 5Then the clans of Judah will say to themselves, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have their strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.”c 6On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a brazier of fire in the woodland and like a burning torch among sheaves, and they will devour right and left all the surrounding peoples; but Jerusalem will again inhabit its own place.d
7The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over Judah. 8On that day the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the weakest among them will be like David on that day; and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.
9On that day I will seek the destruction of all nations that come against Jerusalem.e 10I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of mercy and supplication, so that when they look on him whom they have thrust through,* f they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and they will grieve for him as one grieves over a firstborn.g
Catalogue of Mourners. 11On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.* 12And the land shall mourn, each family apart: the family of the house of David, and their women; the family of the house of Nathan, and their women; 13the family of the house of Levi, and their women; the family of Shimei, and their women; 14and all the rest of the families, each family apart, and the women apart.
* [12:1–10] The oracles deal with (1) the status of Judah in relation to other political powers in the world that threaten its existence and (2) the reordering of Judah’s internal structures so that its future can be realized. That future is linked to the fortunes of the house of David, which is mentioned five times between 12:7 and 13:1 (12:7, 8, 10, 12; 13:1).
* [12:1] An oracle: part two of Second Zechariah begins with the same heading as that of part one (9:1; also Mal 1:1), suggesting two distinct blocks of material. The unusual cluster of introductory terms that follow the heading greatly intensifies the claim of prophetic authority, apparently an issue in postexilic prophecy.
* [12:2] Cup of reeling: like a cup filled with intoxicating drink, Jerusalem will cause the nations to stumble and fall (cf. Is 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15; 49:12; Lam 4:21).
* [12:10] They look on him…thrust through: another possible rendering is “they shall look to me concerning him…thrust through.” In either case, the victim is an enigmatic figure, perhaps referring to a Davidic descendant, a priestly leader, or even a true prophet. Some historical event, unknown to us from any surviving source, may underlie this reference. The Gospel of John applies this text to the piercing of Christ’s side after his death (19:37).
* [12:11] The mourning for the pierced victim in Jerusalem is compared to the annual ritual mourning in the plain of Megiddo over the death of the Phoenician fertility god, Hadadrimmon. According to others, Hadadrimmon is the name of a place near Megiddo, and the reference would then be to the mourning over the death of King Josiah at the hands of Pharaoh Neco in 609 B.C.; cf. 2 Kgs 23:29–30; 2 Chr 35:22–25.