Chapter 9:9-12 (ESV) - Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Question to consider: How does the blood of the covenant set prisoners free from the waterless pit?
After the Lord declared to Zechariah that the Philistines would become like a clan in Judah and Ekron would be like the Jebusites who were grafted into the people of Israel in what had become Jerusalem, He promised to camp at the new temple to keep watch over His people. This promise was to be fulfilled by a righteous king who would bring salvation.
They could expect Him to come into Jerusalem on a donkey rather than a warhorse. This event appears in all four gospels, and both Matthew and John quoted this prophecy directly to make sure we understood that it was fulfilled at that moment. Martin Luther commented on this passage with the following, “Here there is no violence, no armor, no power, no anger, no wrath… Here there are only kindness, justice, salvation, mercy and every good thing.” (Luther’s Works, American Edition 20:94).
The people of Israel expected Jesus to be their conquering king who would overthrow Rome and rule eternally from His holy mountain in Jerusalem, but Zechariah is clear that He would cut off the chariot and the war horse and the battle bow and speak peace to the nations. I think people saw “his rule shall be from sea to sea,” and they could only conceive that this could be brought about through military strength instead of freedom from sin.
The blood of His covenant with the nations was not that of His enemies but of His own that was shed on the cross. This covenant would be an everlasting covenant, and His sacrifice would be once for all time unlike the blood of animals which was temporary. It would set us free from the waterless pit, the curse of the Law in which we were utterly hopeless.
So the Lord called them to return to their stronghold to receive a double portion. Those found in the Lord would receive an inheritance like a firstborn son. Though the people in the day of Zechariah would have seen this as a call to be protected by the walls of Jerusalem, our ultimate stronghold is in Christ Himself. Throughout the rest of this prophetic book, Jerusalem is used as an image of the church from which Christ rules to the ends of the earth.
Dear heavenly father, help us to rejoice greatly in our merciful and humble king! Thank You for establishing a covenant with us which saves us from sin and death. May we find rest in Your stronghold and be restored to You as Your pure and holy children. Amen.