OUTLINE OF MESSIAH'S CAREER ACCORDING TO ZECHARIAH
I. THE PRIEST KING
IT is recognized by all scholars that Zechariah falls into two divisions: (1) chapters 1-8; (2) chapters 9-14. The theme of the first division is expressed by the Lord in the following words: "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy ... I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it ... a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem ... My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem" (Chapter 1:14-17). On the night of the 24th of the eleventh month of the second year of Darius the Lord gave Zechariah a series of eight visions all of which pertained to the glorious promises connected with Zion's future. In chapter 6 the climax is reached in the symbolic act of the crowning of Joshua, the high priest.
Upon the arrival of certain wealthy Jews at Jerusalem from Babylon, the word of the Lord came to the prophet, instructing him to receive from them gold and silver with which crowns should be made. He was, furthermore, instructed to take the crowns and place them upon the head of Joshua at that time and to utter a prophecy.
וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה־אִישׁ צֶמַח שְׁמוֹ וּמִתַּחְתָּיו יִצְמָח וּבָנָה אֶת־הֵיכַל יְהוָה׃ וְהוּא יִבְנֶה אֶת־הֵיכַל יְהוָה וְהוּא־יִשָּׂא הוֹד וְיָשַׁב וּמָשַׁל עַל־כִּסְאוֹ וְהָיָה כֹהֵן עַל־כִּסְאוֹ וַעֲצַת שָׁלוֹם תִּהְיֶה בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם׃
With the word הִנֵּה, which was characteristic with the prophets, Zechariah called his auditors' attention to "the man whose name is the "Branch." The expression "Branch" had in Zechariah's day become a proper name. Isaiah seems to be the first writing prophet who used it (Isa. 4:2). Without controversy he was speaking of the Messiah Whom he termed "the Branch of the Lord" צֶמַח יְהוָה which words refer to the divine nature of the Messiah.¹
In the second half of that line he spoke of His human nature as "fruit of the earth" פְרִי הָאָרֶץ. Again, the same prophet spoke of Messiah in Chapter 11, using, however, different words. Jeremiah also spoke of Messiah as the "righteous Branch" Who is "the Lord our righteousness" (Jer. 23:5,6; 33:15); hence when Zechariah speaks of "the man whose name is the "Branch" he is undoubtedly speaking of בֶּן דָוִיד, "the Son of David." He is God manifest in the flesh--the God-Man.
"And he shall grow up out of his place." The use of the word "grow up" doubtless is an echo of Isa. 53:2 which compares the Messiah to a plant growing up out of dry ground--a reference to the unfavorable spiritual environment in which the Messiah is born and lives. The expression "his place" unmistakably refers to the location of His birth and the sphere of His activity.
"And he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord." These words were the source of great comfort to the discouraged community. On the occasion of the dedication of Zerubbabel's temple the streams of joy and sadness flowed together, for the old men and women who had seen the temple of Solomon before its destruction, though delighted over the fact that the house of God had been completed, were, nevertheless, sad because there was no comparison between the two structures. This fact, doubtless, had a very depressing effect upon everyone. In order to alleviate the overwhelming depression of their spirits and to encourage the nation to loyalty to God and to greater activity, the prophet portrayed vividly the power, work, and glory of the Messiah in symbolic form by placing crowns upon the head of the high priest in their presence. The newly completed temple, which in comparison with Solomon's was very insignificant, and the feeble efforts of the community under the leadership of Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of David, serving as a dark background, the prophet pointed to Joshua, who was wearing the priestly garments and upon whose head had been placed the crowns of priesthood and of royalty, exclaiming, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch ... He shall build the temple of the Lord." This prediction drew their attention away from Zerubbabel and his work to THE PRINCE OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID, THE MESSIAH, Who shall build the great temple described minutely and accurately by Ezekiel (chapters 40-48). The temples which were built by Solomon and Zerubbabel were simply temporary and typical; but the temple which Messiah shall build will be the real temple of God upon this earth.
"And he shall bear the glory." The glory referred to here is evidently that of which Isaiah spoke (4:5). "And the Lord will create over the whole habitation of Mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory shall be spread a covering." At that time the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Again, the same prophet (60:1) referred to this glory, "and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee (Jerusalem)." Hence when Zechariah says that Messiah "shall bear the glory," he refers to the manifestation of the glory of God in Zion.
"And shall sit and rule upon his throne." He will reign in righteousness and in absolute justice over the entire world (see Psa. 2; 72; Isa. 9:6,7; 11; 32:1-8; Jer. 23:5,6).
"And he shall be a priest upon his throne." The Messiah here is first represented as of the royal lineage; secondly, as being a priest. These facts are corroborated by Psa. 110 (see Chapter XIII). Messiah is King of the earth because He is God manifest in the flesh. Being King, the sacerdotal office is conferred upon Him by an oath of the Eternal God. Unmistakably Jeremiah speaks of Him in the following words: "And their prince shall be of themselves, and their ruler shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is he that hath had boldness to approach unto me? saith the Lord" (Jer. 30:21).
"And the counsel of peace shall be between them both." From Sinai unto the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. there was a continuous succession of priests of the house of Aaron who wore the priestly mitre and crown. The high priest was supreme in matters religious. During the days of the monarchy a succession of kings of the house of David sat upon the throne. In matters secular the King was supreme. When Messiah builds the temple of the Lord He will be both King and Priest upon His throne, which fact is symbolized by Joshua's wearing these crowns. At various times in Israel's past history friction arose between priest and king; not so when Messiah comes, for these two offices will be filled by Him.
"And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God." If this passage were the only one touching upon this subject, one would be justified in concluding that His coming, reigning, and building the temple of the Lord are contingent upon Israel's diligently obeying the voice of God; hence it would be in that case conditional, but other passages teach most clearly that these promises are unconditional. "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness: I will not lie unto David: his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me" (Psa. 89:34-36; cf. Jer. 33:19-22). There is no question concerning Israel's being brought to the point that she will obey God. "In their affliction they will seek me earnestly. Come, and let us return unto the Lord" (Hos. 5:15-6:1). In view of these facts the conditional clause, "If ye will diligently ..." is equivalent to "When ye will diligently ..."
II. THE PRINCE OF PEACE
The second division of Zechariah falls into two sub-divisions: (1) chapters 9-11; (2) 12-14. In the first is seen the Lord's judgments upon the world and the coming and reign of the Prince of Peace. In the second, Israel's deliverance in the end-time, the repentance of the nation, and the glorious reign of Messiah over the earth.
The conquest of the western Asiatic territory, which is described in 9:1-7, had its partial fulfillment in the conquests of Alexander the Great. Concerning this proposition there can be no doubt in the mind of one familiar with history. Under the titanic strokes of the Greek phalanx the Persian hordes were utterly broken. After the decisive battle of Issus, Hadrach and Damascus capitulated; likewise, Hamath. Sidon submitted without resistance. Tyre, which had resisted Shalmaneser for five years and Nebuchadnezzar for thirteen, on account of her strong insular position offered stubborn resistance but finally fell after a seven months' siege. The Philistine cities likewise yielded to the conqueror who became master of the eastern Mediterranean coast.
After these conquests Alexander marched against Judaea, the news of which caused consternation at Jerusalem. The high priest, Jaddua, at the head of a procession of priests marched out in holy array to meet him. As Alexander approached this procession, he, according to Josephus, recognized these men as the ones whom he had seen in a vision before his departure from Macedonia. This fact caused him to spare the nation, to bestow rich gifts upon the temple of God, and to grant unusual liberties to the Hebrew people. This immunity from war and bloodshed, together with the great concessions to, and honors bestowed upon the Jews by Alexander was a fulfillment of the promise of verse 8: "And I will encamp about my house against the army, that none pass through or return: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes."
That Alexander's conquests were only a fulfillment of the passage and typify a yet future and complete fulfillment is seen from two facts herein presented: (1) "For the eye of man and of all the tribes of Israel is toward the Lord"; (2) "And no oppressor shall pass through them any more." When this passage is completely fulfilled, the eyes of all men surviving that final conquest, including all of the tribes of Israel, shall turn to God. This same prediction is included in Isaiah's oracle against Damascus (Isa. 17:7): "In that day shall men look unto their Maker, and their eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel." The time of Jacob's trouble will wake men up intellectually and spiritually and cause them to see that God is Lord of creation. At that time all the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. "Yea, in the way of thy judgments, 0 Lord, have we waited for thee; to thy name, even to thy memorial name, is the desire of our soul. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee earnestly: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:8,9). Again, since oppressors have passed through Palestine many times since the conquest of Alexander, this passage cannot have been completely fulfilled. Therefore it awaits its complete fulfillment at the conclusion of the time of Jacob's trouble.
Very easy is the transition from the promise that "no oppressor (or exactor) shall pass through the land" to the prediction of the coming of Zion's King to her (verses 9, 10), since the former promise suggests or implies the presence and reign of a mighty King of Zion Who has the situation in hand and to Whom no king would dare to throw down the gauntlet of war.
גִּילִי מְאֹד בַּת־צִיּוֹן הָרִיעִי בַּת־יְרוּשָׁלִַם הִנֵּה מַלְכֵּךְ יָבוֹא לָךְ צַדִּיק וְנוֹשָׁע הוּא עָנִי וְרֹכֵב עַל־חֲמוֹר וְעַל־עַיִר בֶּן־אֲתֹנוֹת׃ וְהִכְרַתִּי רֶכֶב מֵאֶפְרַיִם וְסוּס מִירוּשָׁלִַם וְנִכְרְתָה קֶשֶׁת מִלְחָמָה וְדִבֶּר שָׁלוֹם לַגּוֹיִם וּמָשְׁלוֹ מִיָּם עַד־יָם וּמִנָּהָר עַד־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ׃
"Rejoice' greatly, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zech. 9:9,10).
In these verses the prophet sees Zion's King coming to her; hence He calls upon the people to rejoice greatly. This promise is the same which had been made through the former prophets even when Zion had kings of the royal house of David. The twenty kings of the Davidic dynasty who sat upon his throne simply were occupying the time until Zion's real King should come--"until He come Whose right it is." Therefore the expression "thy King" points definitely to the great King for Whom Israel has longed, namely King Messiah. That this passage is a Messianic prediction is seen in the Talmud, Bab., fol. 98, where Rabbi Joshua ben Levi says, "It is written in one place, 'Behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven,' but in another place it is written, 'lowly, and riding upon an ass.' How is this to be understood? The answer is, If they be righteous (or deserving) He shall come with the clouds of heaven; if they be not righteous, then He shall come lowly, and riding upon an ass." Rashi comments as follows, "This cannot be explained except of King Messiah, for it is said of Him, 'and His dominion shall be from sea to sea': but we do not find that such a One ruled over Israel in the time of the second temple." Saadiah Gaon, in his remarks on Dan. 7, said, "Behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven"; then he remarks, "This is the Messiah our righteousness. But is it not written of the Messiah, 'lowly and riding upon an ass'? Yes, but this shows that He will come in humility and not in pride upon horses."
After this prophecy was spoken, no kings of the house of David sat upon the throne of Judah. It is true that Jonathan Maccabaeus was recognized as king of the Jews and that John Hyrcanus did wear the title and crown, but they were not of the house of David but were of the priestly family; hence in no sense could they be considered as the fulfillment of this wonderful prediction.
"He is just, and having salvation." The word צַדִּיק means righteous in the absolute sense of the term. This statement evidently is an echo of Jeremiah's statement (23:5), "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as King and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called יְהוָה צִדְקֵנו, the Lord our righteousness." He also comes "having salvation." נוֹשָׁע is the niphal participle of יָשַׁע. It is well known to all Hebrew scholars that the niphal is not only passive, but is also reflexive, which latter meaning probably was the original, inherent one; therefore it may be translated "being saved" or "saving himself." Both ideas are correct, for He saves Himself and is saved in the sense that God is with Him and assists Him. Since he is God in the flesh and is able to save Himself, He is also able to save others; hence when He comes to Zion He comes "having salvation."²
He is "lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass." He is lowly and very meek and humble. His coming to Zion is not as a warrior, but as "the Prince of Peace," which fact is set forth in His riding upon an ass.
His coming in this manner--in humiliation to suffer and to die for the chosen people--is in fulfillment of such passages as Isa. 53.
In verse 10 the prophet, speaking for God, declares that "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off." If this passage were the only one dealing with this subject, one would conclude that the Lord brings war to a close as far as the Hebrew people are concerned when Zion's King comes in this humble way to her; but it has already been seen from the passages examined in the preceding chapters of this book that when He comes in this manner He is rejected by the nation; that He in turn rejects her, returning to the right hand of the throne of God; and that eventually He returns in glory and power with the Lord God at His right hand, Who assists Him in subduing His enemies. Thus the period of Messiah's rejection is omitted in this passage and is to be supplied from the information gathered from parallel statements.
After He, Zion's Divine King, has conquered His foes, "He shall speak peace unto the nations; and His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." He, being the Prince of Peace and being all-powerful, will speak peace to the nations of earth in the sense of His stopping wars and of His establishing a reign of peace and righteousness throughout the world.
Continuing to speak to Zion, the prophet explains to her the foundation upon which her hope for future deliverance and the reign of righteousness are based, namely, "As for thee also, because of the blood of thy covenant I have set free thy prisoners from the pit wherein is no water" (verse 11). The blood of what covenant? one may ask. There really was but one covenant into which God entered with Israel, namely, the Abrahamic one (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:1-21). In the latter passage God cut a covenant with Abraham. After Abraham had divided the heifer, the she-goat, and the ram and after a deep sleep had come over him, the appearance of a smoking furnace and a flaming torch passed between the parts. Thus God cut a covenant with Abraham that day (verses 17,18). This same covenant was ratified to Isaac and Jacob. Also when Israel was at Sinai the nation entered into covenant relationship with God, which covenant was sealed with the blood of "burnt offerings" and "peace offerings" (Ex. 24:5-8), but the blood of animals was only typical of the blood of Messiah, which washes away the sins of men completely. Evidently, then, the reference to the blood of the covenant, while pointing back to the typical blood of animals, points mainly to the Blood of the Messiah as the Blood of the covenant.
On account, therefore, of Messiah's Blood of the covenant God declares, "I have set free thy (Zion's) prisoners from the pit wherein is no water." Zion's prisoners are the Hebrew people who have been held in bondage, more or less, by the nations among whom they have been and are living. They are considered as prisoners because of the unfair disadvantages under which they have been placed by the Gentiles who, in many instances, have curtailed their liberties so that the people of Israel are quite appropriately called prisoners.
In the plan of God for the ages He has decreed that they shall be liberated from this bondage among the nations and shall be restored to their own land. At the proper time, which time will be when the nation accepts her Messiah, she shall be released from her bondage.
The expression, "The pit wherein is no water," is the same in the original as occurs in the narration of Joseph's being in a pit. The echo of these words introduces an analogy between the experiences of Joseph and that of the nation. Had there been water in the pit he would have been drowned but by the providence of God there was none; hence his life was preserved. Israel, figuratively speaking, has been cast into a pit in that she has been scattered among the nations. No water being there, she has been preserved, being the nation of destiny.
Having set forth the assurance of deliverance, the Lord pleads with her, "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double upon thee." The marginal reading of "turn" is "return" which invitation implies that the nation has turned from God Who is her stronghold. Now she is to return to Him for they have a sure hope. When they accept that invitation, "even today," He will render unto them double. The first-born always received the double portion of the inheritance. Israel is God's first-born; therefore she is to inherit a double portion. Such is the promise of Isa. 61:6,7. Such great advantages and blessings bring increased responsibility; hence Israel is to be punished doubly for her sins (Isa. 40:2).
III. ISRAEL'S REJECTION OF HER SHEPHERD, AND HER PUNISHMENT
A. Israel's Rejection of Her Shepherd
"Thus said the Lord my God: Feed the flock of slaughter; whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty; and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich; and their own shepherds pity them not. For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord; but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king; and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them. So I fed the flock of slaughter, verily the poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. And I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me. Then said I, I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let them that are left eat every one the flesh of another. And I took my staff Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples. And it was broken in that day; and thus the poor of the flock that gave heed unto me knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of the Lord. Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel" (Zech. 11:4-14).
In verse 4 God instructed the prophet to feed "the flock of slaughter" which, from the context, one sees is the nation of Israel. It is designated as the flock of slaughter because God intends to give them up to slaughter and persecution among the nations. God has been Israel's shepherd through the centuries; but because of her unfaithfulness and sinfulness, He declares "I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land ... but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king; and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them." Having thus received instruction to shepherd the flock of slaughter, the prophet in a very realistic and dramatic way took his two staves--Beauty and Bands--and enacted the role of a shepherd, feeding only, however, "the poor of the flock." In this capacity he represents God, Who is the True Shepherd of Israel: "Give ear, 0 Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that sittest above the cherubim, shine forth" (Psa. 80:1). In Ezek. 34 God likewise declared that He Himself, since Israel's shepherds--leaders--have been unfaithful, will shepherd her. The entire context shows that He is speaking of the Messiah Who will do the shepherding; this fact proves conclusively that Israel's Messiah is the God-Man.
Continuing to act in this official and representative capacity the prophet declared: "And I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me." It was quite evident to his auditors that the prophet himself could not cut off the three shepherds, but that he was simply the spokesman of God, declaring what the Lord would do.
There is some discussion as to who these three shepherds are. Passing by these speculations the author is inclined to believe that they refer to three different classes of officials of the Jewish nation, namely, the Priests, the Scribes, and the Elders. Having made that statement the prophet broke the staff called "Beauty," which act symbolized God's breaking His covenant with all the peoples. A survey of Israel's history shows no actual covenant which God made with all nations in relation to Israel. To the author the proper significance of that expression is that God here announces the fact that He no longer will protect Israel from foreign invasions as He had done in the past. In this language He represents Himself as having entered into a covenant with the nations of the earth whereby they are hindered from doing any violence to Israel. The latter's unfaithfulness has been such that He can no longer consistently with His holiness continue in covenant relationship with her. This fact meant the withdrawal of His loving, providential protection over the nation.
When the prophet had thus acted, only "the poor of the flock that gave heed unto me knew that it was the word of the Lord." Only the humble and contrite ones who desire truth and righteousness have seeing eyes and discerning hearts to perceive the truth. The great masses of those who heard the prediction of the prophet understood it not.
Continuing his dramatic action, the prophet, still representing God, asked his auditors "If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forebear." In response to his proposal, they (the Jerusalem authorities) immediately "weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver." It is clear from the context that they understood that he was impersonating the Lord; hence what they did to him was but an expression of their attitude toward God. This statement is apparent from the fact that in response to the prophet's proposition they weighed thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Furthermore, it becomes more apparent when one realizes that the prophet was not working for these leaders; hence they were under no obligation to pay him when he prophesied. To his asking for his hire, they should have replied that it was impossible for them to show their gratitude to God for all the things which He had done and was doing for them. Instead of responding thus, they in blindness and hardness of heart flung defiance at God by doling out the thirty pieces of silver--the price of a common slave. That this statement is indisputable is seen from the message which God immediately gave to the prophet, saying: "Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I (יְהוָה) was prized at by them." The Lord in so many words says that He Himself was prized by them as simply a common slave. Having received the command, he cast the money unto the potter in the house of the Lord. Then immediately he cut asunder the other staff, even Bands, which symbolic act signified that God thereupon would break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel--would utterly destroy all unity and brotherhood in the twelve tribes.³
As seen above, the cutting asunder of the first staff, Beauty, signified God's ceasing to protect the nation as He had done in former days. This was fulfilled in God's ceasing to exercise that paternal protection over the nation from the days of Zechariah on to the present. The cutting asunder of the second staff, Bands, symbolized the complete destruction of their national existence and the disintegration of the bonds of fellowship and unity which formerly on various occasions had united them as one man. This destruction was accomplished in the year 70 A.D. by the collapse of the nation under the sledgehammer blows of Rome. The destruction of the idea and feeling of brotherhood renders the nation incapable of full, complete, and harmonious action, which fact is well known to all familiar with Israel's history to the present day.
¹ That the crowning of Joshua is purely symbolic is seen from the fact that the prophet calling attention to him who was wearing the crown, spoke of him as "the man whose name is the Branch." As stated above, the term "Branch" had long since become the name for the Messiah. His auditors well understood that the Messiah was to come from the house of David and not from the house of Aaron. Hence they understood that the action was symbolic and prophetic.
The occasion giving rise to the prophecy was the discouragement on the part of the returned exiles who remembering the glory of Solomon's temple and seeing that Zerubbabel's temple was insignificant in comparison with the former, were very much downhearted. In order to quicken them to a living hope, the prophet in their presence placed the crowns--priestly and royal--upon the high priest's head, and exclaimed, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch." By so doing he pointed their minds forward to the great days of the Messiah.
² The charge has been made by some Jewish controversialists that the Christians have corrupted the text. The following quotation from David Baron is sufficient refutation of the charge: "'The Nazarenes have altered the word נושע (Saved), and written instead of it מושיע (Saviour), in order to add some auxiliary confirmation to their faith.' (Rabbi Isaak ben Abraham, of Troki, born 1533, died 1594, in his Chizzuk Emunah.) But in the first place the accusation as it stands is false. The Christians have never altered this word. In every Christian edition of the Hebrew Bible it stands just as it does in those edited by Jews. But, in "the next place, allowing him to mean what he does not say, that some Christians, as the Vulgate, have translated the word 'Saviour,' and not 'saved,' as he would have it, they did not do this with a fraudulent intention to confirm their faith, but were led by Jews to think that this was the right sense of the word. The Jews, who translated Zechariah into Greek before the rise of Christianity, translated נושע (nosha) by σωζων 'saving,' or 'Saviour,' and Christians simply followed them. The mistake, therefore, is not to be attributed to the Christians, but to the Jews themselves. But if Jews say that the Greek text had been altered, then we refer them to the Targum of Jonathan, who translates the word by פריק (Phariq), 'Redeemer,' or 'Saviour'; and surely Jonathan had no fraudulent desire to favor Christianity. His translation shows that the meaning of the word originated, and was common, amongst the Jews themselves; they, therefore, and not the Christians, are answerable for it (Alexander McCaul)."
³ That בין has the significance of "among" is seen clearly from its use in Isa. 44:4.
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