Purifying the priests for the offerings (Mal 3:3-3:4)

“Yahweh will sit

As a refiner.

Yahweh will sit

As he purifier

Of silver.

He will purify

The descendants of Levi.

He will refine them

Like gold,

Like silver,

Until they present offerings

To Yahweh

In righteousness.

Then the offerings

Of Judah,

The offerings

Of Jerusalem

Will be pleasing

To Yahweh,

As in the days of old,

As in former years.”

Yahweh was going to purify the priests or the descendants of Levi, like people refined gold and silver.  Thus, they would be able to present righteous offerings for Judah and Jerusalem.  Then these offerings would be like the good old days of former years.

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The cooking pots are holy (Zech 14:20-14:21)

“On that day,

There shall be inscribed

On the bells

Of the horses.

‘Holy to Yahweh.’

The cooking pots

In the house of Yahweh

Shall be as holy

As the bowls

In front of the altar.

Every cooking pot

In Jerusalem,

As well as in Judah

Shall be sacred

To Yahweh of hosts.

Thus,

All who sacrifice

May come.

They may use them

To boil the flesh

Of the sacrifice.

There shall no longer

Be traders

In the house

Of Yahweh of hosts,

On that day.”

On this glorious day, the bells of the horses will have the inscription that Yahweh is holy.  The cooking pots in the house of Yahweh would be as holy as the bowls on the altar in front of the holy of holies.  In fact, all the cooking pots in Judah and Jerusalem would be sacred to Yahweh.  The sacrifices could then be boiled in any kind of pot because they were all holy.  They would no longer need to depend on the traders at the Temple selling them special holy pots.

The great panic (Zech 14:13-14:14)

“On that day,

A great panic

From Yahweh

Shall fall on them.

Thus,

Each will seize

The hand of a neighbor.

The hand of the one

Will be raised

Against the hand of the other.

Even Judah

Will fight at Jerusalem.

The wealth

Of all the surrounding nations

Shall be collected,

Gold,

Silver,

Garments.

All in great abundance.”

There would be a panic on the great day of Yahweh.  Thus, they would seize their neighbors by the hand.  They would raise their hands against each other.  Even Judah would fight with Jerusalem.  All the wealth of the surrounding countries of gold, silver, and garments would be collected in large amounts.  Everything would be topsy-turvy.

Jerusalem will remain (Zech 14:10-14:11)

“The whole land

Shall be turned

Into a plain

From Geba

To Rimmon,

South of Jerusalem.

But Jerusalem shall remain aloft

On its site,

From the Gate of Benjamin

To the place

Of the former gate,

To the Corner Gate.

It will remain

From the Tower of Hananel

To the king’s wine presses.

It shall be inhabited.

Never again shall it be doomed

To destruction.

Jerusalem shall abide in security.”

Although the whole land south of Jerusalem from Geba to Rimmon would be turned into a plain, Jerusalem would remain aloft from the fray, tall and strong.  Geba would be the northern boundary of Judah, about 5 miles north of Jerusalem, but actually in Benjamin.  Rimmon was the southernmost town in Judah, in the old Simeon territory, about 13 miles south of Hebron.  Jerusalem would be safe from its norther Gate of Benjamin to the wines presses in the southern part of the city.  Never again would Jerusalem be destroyed, because it would live in security.

The flight from Jerusalem (Zech 14:5-14:5)

“You shall flee

By the valley

Of Yahweh’s mountain.

The valley between the mountains

Shall reach to Azal.

You shall flee,

As you fled

From the earthquake

In the days of King Uzziah

Of Judah.

Then Yahweh,

Your God,

Will come.

All the holy ones

Will be with him.”

The citizens of Jerusalem would flee their town via this valley in the Mount of Olives.  They would reach Azal, probably a small town beside the Mount of Olives.  Apparently, this was the same place where people fled during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah (781-740 BCE).  The Book of Amos in its first chapter mentioned an earthquake that took place at that time sometime around 760-750 BCE.  This must had made a big impact on people, because Zechariah mentioned it some 250 years later.  In the end, Yahweh, their God would come with his holy ones.  Thus, all the fugitives would be with Yahweh.

The great individual mourning period (Zech 12:11-12:14)

“On that day,

The mourning in Jerusalem

Will be as great

As the mourning

For Hadad-rimmon

In the plain of Megiddo.

The land shall mourn.

Each family shall mourn

By itself,

The family of the house of David

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the house of Nathan

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the house of Levi

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

The family of the Shimeites

Shall mourn by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.

All the families that are left,

Shall mourn,

Each by itself.

Their wives shall mourn

By themselves.”

There would be great mourning in Jerusalem, but it would not be a communal mourning.  Each family and group would mourn separately.  Even their wives would also mourn separately from their husbands.  This great grieving in the city itself would be just like the mourning for the local fertility idol god of Hadad-rimmon in the Megiddo area.  It may also be a reference to the death of the religious reforming King Josiah of Judah (640-609 BCE) in Megiddo.  Each family would mourn by itself.  Thus, the house of David, the house of Nathan, the house of Levi, and the house of the Shimeites would grieve separately by themselves with their wives by themselves.  Nathan was the son of David, while Shimei was the grandson of Levi and the son of Gershon.  All these groups had separate families.  The segregated wives of these individual families all had separate mourning activities.

The problem of Judah (Zech 12:4-12:5)

“On that day,

Says Yahweh.

‘I will strike every horse

With panic.

I will strike its rider

With madness.

But upon the house of Judah,

I will keep a watchful eye,

When I strike every horse

Of the people

With blindness.

Then the clan leaders of Judah

Shall say to themselves.

‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem

Have strength

Through Yahweh of hosts,

Their God.’”

Once again, Yahweh declared, via Zechariah, that he was going to strike panic among the horses and their riders, who would be struck with madness.  However, the exception would be the house of Judah, because Yahweh kept a watchful eye on them.  When many of the people would be struck blind, then the various clan leaders of Judah would realize that the people of Jerusalem had great strength through Yahweh, their God.