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.

The second broken staff of union (Zech 11:14-11:14)

“Then I broke

My second staff,

Union.

This annulled

The family ties

Between Judah and Israel.”

Zechariah broke the 2nd staff named unity to indicate that the family ties between northern Israel and southern Judah were broken.  Perhaps, this was the final break between the northern Israelites or Samaritans and the southern Judeans of Judah.  Sometime in the 4th century BCE, the northern Samaritans built a temple at Mount Gerizim that opposed worship in southern Jerusalem.

The return of the prisoner captives (Zech 9:11-9:13)

“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.

I have bent Judah

As my bow.

I have made Ephraim

Its arrow.

I will arouse your sons!

O Zion!

Against your sons,

O Greece!

I will wield you

Like a warrior’s sword.”

In this oracle, Yahweh said that he was going to free the prisoners from their dungeons or waterless pits, because of the covenant or blood treaty that he had with Israel.  Perhaps, this is an allusion to the Temple sacrifices.  The former prisoners of hope or captives would return to their stronghold, since Yahweh was going to double what they had before.  He was going to use Judah in the south and Ephraim in the north as a bow and arrow against other countries, such as Greece.  Yahweh was going to wield them like a warrior’s sword.

Against the Philistine cities (Zech 9:5-9:7)

“Ashkelon shall see it.

They shall be afraid.

Gaza too,

Shall writhe in anguish.

Ekron also,

Because its hopes are withered.

The king shall perish

From Gaza.

Ashkelon shall be uninhabited.

A mongrel people

Shall dwell in Ashdod.

I will make an end

Of the pride of Philistia.

I will take away

Its blood

From its mouth.

I will take away

Its abominations

From between its teeth.

It too shall be a remnant

For our God.

It shall be

Like a clan in Judah.

Ekron shall be

Like the Jebusites.”

Once again, there is a diatribe against the Philistine cities on the Mediterranean coast.  Only 3 of the 5 cities are mentioned here.  Ashkelon and Gaza would be afraid.  Ekron would have its hope crushed.  There would no longer be a king in Gaza.  No one would live in Ashkelon.  Only a mongrel or mixed race would live in Ashdod.  The pride of the Philistines would be crushed.  Yahweh was going to end their unclean practices of eating their meat with blood in their mouths, since they would follow the Israelite dietary laws.  These Philistines would become a small remnant just like Judah had become.  Ekron would become like the decimated Canaanite Jebusites, who had formerly inhabited Jerusalem, before the time of David.

The coming peace (Zech 8:11-8:13)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘But now I will not deal

With the remnant

Of this people

As in the former days.

Now there shall be

A sowing of peace.

The vine

Shall yield its fruit.

The ground

Shall give its produce.

The skies

Shall give their dew.

I will cause

The remnant of this people

To possess all these things.

Just as you have been a curse

Among the nations,

O house of Judah!

O house of Israel!

Thus,

I will save you.

You shall be a blessing.

Do not be afraid!

But let your hands be strong!’”

Yahweh of hosts was going to deal with his people, but not like in the former days.  Now Yahweh was going to sow peace.  Their vines would yield much fruit.  Their ground would produce rich harvests.  Their skies would send down gentle rain and dew.  The remnant of the people would possess all these things.  Just as many countries had cursed them in the past, now Judah and Israel would be a blessing to many countries.  They should not be afraid, but continue with their strong hands.

Yahweh will dwell in their midst (Zech 2:10-2:12)

“‘Sing!

Rejoice!

O daughter Zion!

Look!

I come!

I will dwell

In your midst.’

Says Yahweh.

Many nations

Shall join themselves

To Yahweh

In that day.

‘They shall be my people.

I will dwell

In your midst.’

You shall know

That Yahweh of hosts

Has sent me to you.

Yahweh will inherit Judah

As his portion

In the holy land.

He will again choose

Jerusalem.”

Yahweh wanted daughter Zion to sing and rejoice.  He was going to come to dwell in their midst, among them.  Many nations or people from many different countries would join with Yahweh on that day.  Yahweh said that they would be his people.  He was going to live among them.  Yahweh would inherit Judah, since he had sent his prophet to his Holy Land.  This was the first use of this term that was later used in 2 Maccabees, chapter 1.  Yahweh had chosen Jerusalem again.