Restoration of the Land of Israel*
1An oracle:* the word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach,
and Damascus is its destination,
For the cities of Aram are the LORD’s,
as are all the tribes of Israel.
2Hamath also on its border,
Tyre too, and Sidon, no matter how clever they be.
3Tyre built itself a stronghold,
and heaped up silver like dust,
and gold like the mud of the streets.
4But now the Lord will dispossess it,
and cast its wealth into the sea,
and it will be devoured by fire.
5Ashkelon will see it and be afraid;
Gaza too will be in great anguish;
Ekron also, for its hope will wither.
The king will disappear from Gaza,
Ashkelon will not be inhabited,
6and the illegitimate will rule in Ashdod.
I will destroy the pride of the Philistines
7and take from their mouths their bloody prey,
their disgusting meat from between their teeth.
They will become merely a remnant for our God,a
and will be like a clan in Judah;
Ekron will be like the Jebusites.*
8I will encamp at my house,
a garrison against invaders;
No oppressor will overrun them again,
for now I have seen their affliction.
The King’s Entry into Jerusalem*
9Exult greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
Behold: your king* is coming to you,
a just savior is he,
Humble, and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.b
10He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,c
and the horse from Jerusalem;
The warrior’s bow will be banished,
and he will proclaim peace to the nations.d
His dominion will be from sea to sea,
Restoration of the People
I have freed your prisoners from a waterless pit.
12Return to a fortress,*
O prisoners of hope;
This very day, I announce
I am restoring double to you.
13For I have bent Judah as my bow,
I have set Ephraim as its arrow;
I will arouse your sons, O Zion,
against your sons, O Yavan,*
and I will use you as a warrior’s sword.
14The LORD will appear over them,
God’s arrow will shoot forth as lightning;
The Lord GOD will sound the ram’s horn,
and come in a storm from the south.g
15The LORD of hosts will protect them;
they will devour and conquer with sling stones,
they will drink and become heated as with wine;
they will be full like bowls—like the corners of the altar.h
16And the LORD their God will save them:
the people, like a flock on that day;i
For like gemstones of a crown*
they will shine on the land.
17Then how good and how lovely!
Grain will make the young men flourish,
and new wine the young women.j
* [9:1–8] The opening verses of Second Zechariah delineate the ideal boundaries of a restored Israel. Echoing the ideas of Haggai and First Zechariah (chaps. 1–8), the prophet reiterates the notion that the rebuilt Temple will bring about peace. The areas to be returned to Israel include Syria (Aram), with the cities of Hadrach and Damascus; Phoenicia, with the cities of Tyre and Sidon; and Philistia, with the cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod.
* [9:1] An oracle: this designation also introduces Zec 12:1 and Mal 1:1, suggesting a connection among the three units. The term functions as both a title to the larger literary unit (Zec 9–11) and a part of the message of the opening oracular statement.
* [9:7] The Jebusites: the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem, conquered by David and incorporated into Israel.
* [9:9–10] These two verses form the centerpiece of chap. 9. The restoration of a royal figure connects the first part of the chapter (vv. 1–8), which depicts the restored land of Israel, with the second part (vv. 11–17), which concerns the restoration of the people Israel.
* [9:9] Your king: a just savior, a figure of humble demeanor, but riding on a donkey like royalty in the ancient Near East (Gn 49:11; Jgs 5:10; 10:4). The announcement of the coming of such a king marks a departure from the view of the royal figure as a conquering warrior. This depiction is in keeping with the tone of First Zechariah (3:8; 4:6–10; 6:12) but contrasts with Haggai (2:20–23). New Testament authors apply this prophecy to Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:4–5; Jn 12:14–15).
* [9:12] Fortress: the Hebrew word for “fortress” (bissaron) plays upon the Hebrew word for Zion (siyyon). Those who return to Zion will be protected by the Lord. O prisoners of hope: imagery of exile, conveying a sense that the future in Israel will be better.
* [9:13] Your sons, O Yavan: the reference is to the Greeks and their struggle with the Persians for control of Syria-Palestine and the eastern Mediterranean in the mid-fifth century B.C.