New Defender's Study Bible Notes
9:1 burden. The second portion of the book of Zechariah, beginning here at chapter 9, has been attributed by many critics to some other author than Zechariah, primarily because of its remarkable Messianic prophecies. However, there are numerous points of similarity between the two portions, in both theme and vocabulary. Furthermore, both sections are quoted in the New Testament, the authors always regarding the passages as inspired Scripture. Until the rise of modern evolutionary liberalism, both Jews and Christians, ancient and modern, have unanimously accepted the entire book as a canonical unit. In this section, received by the prophet much later in his life than the eight visions of his youthful ministry, he is given a “burden” of judgment soon to fall on the nations still opposing Israel (see also Zechariah 12:1).
9:1 Hadrach. Hadrach was long believed by critics to be a mythical region. In the late nineteenth century, however, a number of references to it have been found in archaeological records. It was a Syrian city, along with Damascus and Hamath (Zechariah 9:2).
9:3 Tyrus. See notes on Ezekiel 26. The original mainland city of Tyre, capital of Phoenicia, was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, but the Tyrians then built an almost impregnable city on a nearby island, becoming very rich through her maritime trade. She continued strong throughout the Persian period as well.
9:4 smite her power. The Greeks, under Alexander the Great, finally demolished and burned the new Tyre after building a broad causeway out to the island city.
9:6 pride of the Philistines. Even though subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar, the Philistines remained a proud nation during the Chaldean and Persian periods, though paying tribute to these kings as a semi-independent group of city-states. However, as Alexander swept down the coast after defeating the Persians, then the Syrians, then the Phoenicians (all this in about 335 B.C., some 150 years after Zechariah’s prophecy), he next routed the Philistines. The chief city, Gaza, was completely destroyed when its king defied Alexander. The other cities evidently surrendered with little resistance. Ashdod and presumably the others were taken over by foreigners, so that they soon were occupied by a mixed, or bastard, population. Eventually these were all incorporated into the dominant Jewish population of the region, as the Jebusites had been long before (Zechariah 9:7). See also Jeremiah 47.
9:9 behold, thy King. This is clearly a Messianic prophecy, quoted as such in Matthew 21:4-5; and John 12:14-15. The event is also described in Mark and Luke, all four writers clearly regarding it as of profound significance.
9:9 having salvation. The King who comes is fully righteous and able to bring salvation. Nevertheless, He is also “lowly” (or “afflicted”) and will enter Jerusalem in a manner not like kings would, with chariots and horses, but on a lowly donkey, thus identifying Himself with the poor.
9:9 foal of an ass. This terminology indicates the ass on which He would ride is not yet broken, for it is still following its mother. Yet, when the time came, the unbroken ass would willingly obey its Creator.
9:10 cut off. The lowly King will cause all wars to cease, and will become ruler over all the earth, but this obviously did not happen when He came fulfilling the first part of this prophecy, entering Jerusalem on a young donkey. As with numerous prophecies, especially Messianic prophecies, there is a blending of the events of His first and second comings. A frequently used illustration is that of an observer looking at two far-off mountain peaks. Unaware that there is a great valley between the peaks, he assumes they are part of the same mountain, describing the two together.
9:10 ends of the earth. Zechariah here, in effect repeats and reinforces such earlier Messianic prophecies as Psalm 72:8; Micah 5:4; etc.
9:13 Greece. When Zechariah wrote this prophecy, the Greek nation had not yet risen to military prominence, but he knew from Daniel’s prophecies (Daniel 2:39; 8:3-7, 20-21) that Greece would eventually displace Medo-Persia as the dominant world power. Sooner or later, little Israel must confront mighty Greece. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, when Alexander had defeated the Philistines and headed toward Jerusalem, Alexander was led to spare and even honor the Jews when Jaddua, the high priest, met him and showed him these prophecies of Daniel that he was fulfilling. Later, after the break-up of Alexander’s empire, the Maccabean Jews did have to battle continually with his successors in Syria, but the Lord preserved them and enabled them to endure.