Zechariah 10 Meaning: Let’s turn our attention to Zechariah 10.
Last time we finished studying the 9th chapter of this book in which we’re brought from the time of Alexander the Great in the 300s BC… to Jesus’ first coming about 300 years later… all the way to the Millennium which is at some future point even to us, of course.
And I think that the Lord dwells on that future time of the Millennium in this 10th chapter of this book. So, let’s read Zechariah 10 in its entirety before we study its details.
|Read Zec 10…|
Zechariah 10 Meaning Ask for Rain
So, this chapter begins with the Lord challenging the people to ask him for rain. Read verse 1 again.
KJV Zechariah 10:1 ¶ Ask ye of the LORD rain in the |time/season| of the |latter/spring/late spring| rain;
|so the/The/It is the| LORD |shall make bright clouds/who makes the storm clouds/who causes thunderstorms|,
and |give/he will give/he gives| |them/everyone/men| showers of rain,
to every one |grass/vegetation/green growth/plants| in the field.
And so, the Lord seems to make the point that he alone sends rain and that’s why he’s the one to be asked to send rain.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Others Are Vain
Well, why does the Lord need to emphasize the fact that he alone sends rain?
That’s because there were other entities that claimed to be able to send rain. Verse 2 speaks of them as idols and diviners.
And the reality is that they are false.
2 For the |idols/teraphim/household gods| |have spoken/speak| |vanity/iniquity/wickedness/deceit|,
and the |diviners/soothsayers| |have seen a lie/see lying visions|,
and have |told false dreams/disclosed emptiness|;
they comfort in vain:
therefore |they/the people| |went their way/wander/set out| |as a flock/like sheep|,
they |were/are| |troubled/afflicted/scattered/oppressed|, because there was no shepherd.
And so, you see the result of lying visions and trusting false gods. It’s not simply that the people ended up asking idols and their purveyors to send rain and they didn’t get any because they were seeking it from the wrong source.
The result of idolatry like this is that the people wander morally. Because idolaters don’t just look to their idol for rain or whatever other kind of material desire they have. Idolaters seek their idols to give them guidance in this life.
And when you seek life-guidance from a source that is not true but is rather a lie, you don’t stay on the path. You wander.
You might even get some comfort from your idol. But ultimately that supposed comfort will evaporate. It’s a mirage.
And you’ll end up seeking some other source of comfort. But unless that source is the Lord you will come up disappointed again. And you will do what the Israelites did. You will wander.
The Israelites had those who claimed to be shepherds. But they were no shepherds. And God’s people who don’t have true shepherds tend to wander.
And you know what it’s like to wander. I’m sure that you would agree that the way that God describes it – as affliction and trouble – are indeed the side effects of wandering without God shepherding you.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Punish the False Shepherds
And it’s not as if God holds those false shepherds blameless. No, he’s as angry at them just as we ought to be.
And this is why the Lord vows in verse 3 to punish those false shepherds and to care once more for his flock who had so foolishly gone after those false guides.
3 |Mine anger was kindled against/I am enraged at| the shepherds,
and I |punished/will punish| the |goats/male goats/lead goats/leaders|:
for the LORD of hosts |hath visited/has brought blessing to/will care for| his flock the house of Judah,
and |hath made/will make/will transform| them |as/into| his |goodly/majestic/proud| |horse in the battle/war horse|.
So, God says that he either punished or will punish these false prophets who led Israel astray. And then the Lord says that he’ll take over for them and lead his people in the right direction.
And as he’s speaking of the Jews in what I believe to be the timeframe of the future Millennium, the Lord goes on and we saw him speak of using these formerly disobedient people as weapons in his future holy war.
Zechariah 10 Meaning What’s to Come Through Judah
And so, I think that this emphasis on Judah and what the Lord is going to bring about through that tribe continues in verse 4.
4 |Out of/From| |him/them/Judah| |came forth/will come| the |corner/cornerstone|,
|out of/from| |him/them| the |nail/tent peg/wall peg|,
|out of/from| |him/them| the battle bow,
|out of/from| |him/them| every |oppressor together/ruler, all of them together/ruler|.
So, we see the Lord repeat four times what will come “out of” or “from” Judah.
The first two items seem to have to do with building materials. The corner or cornerstone would be the foundation upon which an edifice is built. And then the nail or perhaps even tent or wall peg speaks of the material that is built upon that foundation.
Or perhaps the emphasis is on the effect that each of these things has on a building. The corner holds it up and the tent peg holds it down. But both serve to steady and secure the building.
Well, what is the building in this metaphor and who is the one who will serve to steady and secure it? Jesus Christ – the king of the Jews who was rejected by them as a stone but was chosen by God to be the chief corner. He’s the one who will secure and steady the building which is God’s people.
Well, then the second two items – the battle bow and every oppressor or every ruler – have to do with military and political power. And of course, it’s easy to see this as yet another reference to the King of the Jews – Jesus Christ.
He will come from Judah and will secure and steady Israel and will protect them and rule them.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Victory for Judah
Well, with such a king as Jesus Christ promised to the Jews, the Lord continues by speaking of giving Judah victory over their enemies in verse 5.
5 And they shall be |as/like| |mighty men/warriors|, |which tread down/treading down/trampling| |their enemies in the mire of the/the enemy in the mire of the/the mud of/the muddy| streets |in the/in| battle:
and they shall fight, because the LORD |is/will be| with them, and the |riders on horses/enemy cavalry/horsemen| shall be |confounded/put to shame/defeated/overthrown|. |i.e., by Judah…|
And so what else would you expect as the Jews are led by the LORD their King than total victory over all their enemies? And this will indeed happen at the end of the Tribulation and going into the Millennial reign of Christ.
Those nations that come against Israel will receive this kind of destruction at the hands of Jesus and his people who will uniformly receive him in the future.
Zechariah 10 Meaning God Turns Back to His People
And with such wonderful promises given to Judah, the Lord continues in verse 6 by speaking of his turning back to Judah and Joseph – that is, all the Jews – even though in times past he rejected them.
6 And I |i.e., the Lord…| will strengthen the |house/kingdom| of Judah,
and I will |save the house/deliver the people| of Joseph,
and I will |bring them again to place them/bring them back/restore them|;
|for I have mercy/because I have had compassion/because of my compassion| |upon/on/for| them:
and they shall be as though I had |not cast them off/not rejected them/never rejected them|:
for I am the LORD their God, |and/and therefore I| will |hear/answer| them.
So, this set of events also could occur at the end of the Tribulation. Or I suppose it could even be happening – or at least starting to happen – in the last seventy years since 1948 since the nation of Israel was re-founded in its original land given to it by the Lord.
And this restoration has nothing to do with Israel’s performance. It has all to do with God’s mercy. Israel doesn’t deserve good any more than any other sinful people. But God’s mercy makes all the difference.
And even though the Lord has had to cast his people out of their land at least twice, the mercy to come to the will be so great that it will seem in those future days as if the Lord had never cast them away.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Great Joy
And that kind of mercy calls for a response on the part of the recipients of it. And so, that’s why verse 7 describes the joy that Ephraim and their children will have when they see how the Lord is being gracious to them.
7 |And they of Ephraim/Ephraim/The Ephraimites| |shall/will| be like |a mighty man/warriors|,
and their heart |shall rejoice/will be glad| as |through/if they had drunk/with| wine:
|yea/Indeed|, their children |shall/will| see it, and |be glad/rejoice/be joyful|;
|their heart shall rejoice/they will celebrate| in |the/the things of the| LORD.
So, the Ephraimites will be strong and mighty like warriors. And their reaction to this new-found strength will be joy. And that’s also how their children will respond to seeing their fathers possessing such strength.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Gather the Exiles
And then the Lord declares that he will gather his previously-exiled people once more at some point in the future to Zechariah and make them prosperous in verse 8.
8 I will |hiss/whistle/signal| for them, |and/to| gather |them/them together/them in|;
|for/Surely| I |have/have already/will| |redeemed/redeem| them:
and they |shall increase/will become as numerous| as they |have increased/were before|.
So, it’s God’s buying these people back – redeeming them – that will allow him to show them mercy and bestow on them all of the blessings that he has promised so far in this chapter.
And a result of all of this blessing – and even part of the blessing itself – is that these people the Jews will multiply.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Remembering God in Exile
But first, he needs to get these people back from exile outside of their land and get them back into their land. And so, in verse 9 the Lord discusses this and says that his people will remember him while they’re in exile and he will bring them back to their land.
9 |And/When/Though| I |will sow/scatter| them among the |people/peoples/nations|:
|and they/they/yet they| |shall/will| remember me in |far countries/far-off places/distant lands|;
and they |shall/will| |live/sprout forth/survive| with their children,
and |turn again/come back/return|.
So, the fact that God has scattered the Jews will not deter him from gathering them again. He will put it in their heart to remember him and to return to their land.
It’s difficult to know if this is talking about the return of the Jews to their land in 1948 or not. One difficulty is that this verse says that they will remember the Lord and return. And I’m just not sure if that’s why the Jews started returning in 1948. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the reason for their return.
So, I think this is speaking of a return right around the end of the Millennium.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Coming Back to a Full Country
And return they will. Because in verse 10 the Lord describes the places from which his exiled people will return.
In addition, the Lord is going to describe the Jews as coming back to their land – but actually having to live in adjacent territory because their land will be so full of people.
10 I will bring them |again also out of/back from| the land of Egypt,
and gather them |out of/from| Assyria;
and I will bring them |into/to| |the land of Gilead/the lands of Gilead/Gilead| and Lebanon;
|and place shall not be found for them./Until no room can be found for them./for there will not be enough room for them in their own land./and there will not be room enough for them.|
So, the Jews in the future I believe will be taken from two areas and placed into a corresponding two areas. They’re taken from Egypt and Assyria. And they’ll be transferred – some of them at least – not into Israel, but rather into Gilead and Lebanon.
Gilead is east of the Jordan River from Israel and Lebanon is north of Israel.
Well, why is they Lord not going to just put these folks in Israel proper? It’s because of what he says in last statement of verse 10. There won’t be enough room for all of them in Israel proper. That’s a good problem to have!
Zechariah 10 Meaning Out of Trouble Into Peace
And when the Lord finally brings his people Israel out of Egypt and Assyria, he’s not taking them from nice and peaceful places. No, these places of exile for the Jews can be full of affliction and distress and trouble.
And that’s why the Lord speaks in verse 11 – in the context of returning them from exile – he speaks of bringing his people out of trouble and back into their peaceful land.
And the converse of that reality is that he’s going to punish those lands from which they flee for their troubling his people.
11 |And he/And they/The LORD| |shall pass through/will cross| the sea |with affliction/of distress/of storms/of trouble|,
|and shall smite the waves in the sea,/and will calm its turbulence/the surging sea will be subdued|
|and all the/So that all the/The| |deeps/depths| of the |river/Nile| |shall/will| dry up:
and the pride of Assyria |shall be brought down/will be humbled|,
and the |scepter/domination| of Egypt |shall depart away/will depart/will be no more/will pass away|.
So, the reference to “sea” and “river” might be purely metaphorical to describe the time of the Jews’ exile in Egypt and Assyria.
But it could also be that the “river” refers to the Nile River in Egypt and that the “sea” refers to a sea in Assyria. Now, ancient Assyria is contained in the southeastern part of modern-day Turkey and the northern part of Iran. And it so happens that there are two larger bodies of water in these two countries that the Lord might be referring to – Lake Van in Turkey and Lake Urmia in Iran.
Anyway, whether the Lord is actually thinking about those two bodies of water or not, it’s clear that while he plans to rescue his people the Jews from these nations, he is also planning a corresponding destruction on these two nations that held them captive for so long.
Zechariah 10 Meaning Strength
But that’s not where the Lord ends this discussion – with talk of destroying enemies. And so in verse 12 the Lord ends this chapter by declaring that he will strengthen his people.
12 |And/Thus| I will strengthen them |in the LORD/by my power|;
and they shall |walk up and down/walk/walk about| in |his/my| name,
|saith/declares| the LORD.
So, this chapter ends on a positive note. But what we’ll see in the next chapter is the Lord coming back to this theme of judgement on the nations and catastrophe to his people Israel.