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Father," as in Zech. vi. 12, “Behold a man whose name is Zemach (or Branch) who shall grow up out of his place.” A similar opinion may be seen in that ancient commentary called Echa Rabbati; in fact, till it was perceived how forcibly this prediction supported Christianity, it was never attempted to confine it to Joshua and Zerubbabel. This, and Isaiah xi. 1, were the prophecies to which St. Matthew referred in chap. ii. 23. Joshua and Zerubbabel are here typical of Christ.
The ninth chapter likewise speaks of the re-union of Israel and Judah, and contains passages only explicable by the revelation of Christianity; but the primary allusion is to the conquering career of Alexander the Great. While Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, and the provinces of the Persian Empire next to Judæa, experienced the outpourings of God's judgments, the covenanted people were assured of his protection. The prophecy and the history so remarkably coincided, that no one can read this chapter without adding his testimony to the clearness of the prophet.
After these descriptions, Zechariah, at the ninth verse, breaks forth into exultation for Jerusalem, and, as if his vision had pierced through the gloom of coming centuries, pourtrays minutely and distinctly Christ's triumphant entrance into the Holy City. Here thy King strongly shows, that in the fullest and highest sense He alone was the King of Israel, (as Moses had said, The Lord thy God is Thy King) the King, whom God had set upon Zion, his holy hill : nor is “ unto thee” expletive; for it is manifestly used in the same pregnant sense, as “ unto us” in Isa. ix. 6, and implies that the King cometh bearing salvation unto thee, as the next clause fully asserts.
Both St. Matthew and St. John cite the ninth verse of the ninth chapter, which clearly proves the fulfilment of the prophecy. The Jews also allowed it to allude to the Messiah. With sight extended to future times, the prophet saw the King approaching Jerusalem, having salvation, and calls upon the people to rejoice ;—“ Rejoice greatly,” said Zechariah in the transports of his joy, “O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” So rejoiced were the people when our Saviour entered Jerusalem, that, although He came in an humble and lowly procession, they “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna ; Blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.” This prophecy is so universally explained of the Messiah, that it is scarcely necessary to say more upon the subject. Yet we will observe, that in the East, the ass is not accounted an animal degraded, as with us; but, as travellers and eastern works assure us, was often used by kings and nobles. The Mosaic law wisely and politically opposed itself to the introduction of horses into Palestine; He therefore, who came to fulfil the law, would scarcely have infringed it in this respect. From the book of Judges, especially the epinicion of Deborah, (ver. 10), we may perceive, to the conveyance of what dignified personages asses were appropriated. But, when Israel would have a king, like other nations, first the mule, then the horse, was substituted for the ass. In Persia, and some other parts of the East, the learned in the law still, by way of dignity, ride upon asses; and these animals in those regions are by no means wanting in fleetness. Christ therefore, by the act, asserted his regal character, and we observe in the Evangelists, that He was understood as so asserting it, by the multitude '.
1 In the sixth number of the Church of England Quarterly Review, page 334, the following passage, upon this subject, occurs. “In the prophecy of Zechariah (ix. 9.) we read, mina ya 781 ion, where the (kai) must signify even, rendering the animal but one, the ovaplov of St. John. With this interpretation St. Mark and St. Luke coincide, who mention it as #ūlov. In this passage
CHAP. xi. 12.
Matt. xxvi. 14, 15.
In the eleventh chapter a most definite prophecy is introduced by a figurative description of God taking two staves—beauty and bands. The former has been shown by Michaelis and other scholars to have been incorrectly translated callos, as in the Septuagint, whence probably came our version of the word, and has been proved to imply mercy and lovingkindness. The expositions also, which have been given of the three shepherds, are in general singular and inapposite ; Junius, Tremellius, Piscator, and Lightfoot imagined the reference to have been to the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes : but when were they shepherds of the people? The most antient opinion was, that they were the civil rulers, priests, and prophets, from which Cyril but inconsequentially varies, and Jer. ii. 8. 26. xviii. 18. has been cited in evidence of this classification. The difficulty, as to the cessation of prophecy, in the days of Christ, when this prediction was accomplished, has been removed by the argument, that the prophet depicted the future according to the classification in his time, and that when the prophetic gift disappeared, men, such as the Scribes of the New Testament, were employed in the study of the prophetic oracles, and thus fell in an amplified sense under the prophet's meaning. Thus explained, the words clearly point to the increase of Christianity, and the deliverance of the flock from the blind leaders and false shepherds, who presided over them, when Christ appeared upon the earth.
we appear to have a strong evidence that St. Matthew's Gospel was written in Hebrew, as a great body of ecclesiastical traditions asserts. In this case, having quoted Zechariah, it is nearly certain that he would have adhered to Zechariah's words throughout; if so, like that of the other Evangelists, his allusion would have been to one. On the other hand, the translator of St. Matthew's Gospel into Greek might have understood the r (xal) as having a conjunctive sense; and, following up this notion, have placed the pronouns in the plural; which common sense, and the other Gospels, lead us to imagine the real history of the passage, Theophylact conceived, that avtùy xxi. 7. referred not to two animals, but to the ass and the garments placed upon
and then immediately ventured on an absurd hypothesis, contradictory to his criticism : others also have cited a passage from Baba Bathra, which cannot in any way impart authority to us. Winer, quoted by Strauss, sought to illustrate it from the common expression, he has mounted the horses, when a man mounts one of two horses harnessed together; and many have insisted on an enallage numeri. But of all the suggested expositions, that of the Hebrew original is the most satisfactory."
The preliminary remarks were necessary to show, that the very people, who paid the thirty pieces of silver when Christ was betrayed, were foretold; for “ unto them " in the twelfth verse las reference to the three shepherds, not to the poor of the flock mentioned in the preceding verse.
And when we call to mind, that they were to be cut off in a pro