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Translation Comparison
Zechariah 10:4-12 Young's Literal Translation

Zechariah 10:4-12 English Standard Version


From him [is] a corner-stone, From him a nail,

From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg,

from him a battle-bow, From him goeth forth every exactor together.

from him the battle bow, from him every ruler all of them together.

And they have been as heroes, Treading in mire

of out-places in battle, And they have fought, for Jehovah [is] with them, And have put to shame riders of horses.

They shall be like mighty men in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;

they shall fight because the LORD is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

And I have made mighty the house of Judah, And

"I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph.

the house of Joseph I do save, And I have caused them to dwell, for I have loved them, And they I will bring them back because I have compassion have been as [if] I had not cast them off, For I [am] on them, Jehovah their God, And I answer them. and they shall be as though I had not rejected

And Ephraim hath been as a hero, And rejoiced them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer

hath their heart as wine, And their sons see, and they have rejoiced, Rejoice doth their heart in them. Jehovah.

Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior,

and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.


I hist for them, and I gather them, For I have Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the LORD.

redeemed them, And they have multiplied as they did multiply.

9 8

"I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them,

And I sow them among peoples, And in far-off

places they remember Me, And they have lived with their sons, And they have turned back.
10 9

and they shall be as many as they were before. Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return.

And I have brought them back from the land of

Egypt, And from Asshur I do gather them, And unto the land of Gilead and Lebanon I do bring them in, And there is not found for them.

I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria,

And He hath passed over through the sea, And

and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them.

hath pressed and smitten billows in the sea, And dried up have been all depths of a flood, And brought down hath been the excellency of Asshur, And the rod of Egypt doth turn aside.

He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up.

And I have made them mighty in Jehovah, And

in His name they walk up and down, An affirmation of Jehovah!

The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall walk in his name," declares the LORD.

In looking at these two different translations of the same passage, there are two main differences between them. Perhaps the largest difference between the two translations is that Young translates the passage largely in the past tense, while the ESV translates it in the future. Take, for instance, verse 5, which reads And they have been as heroes [] and they have fought in YLT, but in ESV it reads They shall be like mighty men [] [and] they shall fight. The difference between

4 the two is very large in uncovering the meaning of the text; Youngs translation makes it sound as if the history of Israel is being remembered, whereas the ESV makes it clear that this a prophecy of things to come. The second large difference in the translations is that Youngs translation uses a large amount of outdated language. This is, of course, merely a side effect of Youngs translation being rather old. Language that has fallen out of use does not really change the meaning of the text the same meaning can be (and is) expressed in the ESV. While it may be off-putting to new or modern readers, one who wishes to read a Bible filled with outdated language will still find the same ideas expressed in Youngs translation. Overall, the only real difference between the translations is the choice of tense. Taken at face value, this significantly changes the meaning of the passage it goes from a prophecy of things to come to a story of things that have passed.

Word Study
The most ambiguous word in the passage is found in verse eight, which is translated in the NIV as I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. The key word in this passage is signal. The Hebrew, , means to hiss

or whistle, and when used in qal form, it is to do so as a signal. The translated word varies from translation to translation: Youngs Literal Translation has hist, the English Standard Version has whistle, and the aforementioned NIV has signal. Each word has very different connotations in English depending on which version is used, the meaning of the verse can be drastically changed. Which one did Zechariah mean?

5 The answer is rather simple. T.V. Moore writes that the use of hiss or whistle is a reference to beekeeping, where the keeper will hiss or whistle to bring the bees together.1 This terminology brings a new meaning to the word in the same way that a beekeeper can make one sound and collect his swarms, so can Yahweh gather Israel. And in the context of the verse, it is a loving gathering of hope and joy, which fits perfectly with the context of the verse. There is little doubt that this is the intended meaning of the word as found in Zechariah 10:8.

Historical Background
Zechariah began prophesying in 520 B.C., only two months after Haggai had started himself.2 The dates in his book make it known that chapters one through seven were written from 520 to 518 B.C., but chapter nine on is undated and commonly believed to have been written later.3 It is important to consider the events taking place around the time of the writing of the book. After struggling to rebuild the temple for 15 years, Israel finally had permission from Darius to complete the building without hindrance.4 However, the long process had caused the Israelites to become apathetic about the whole ordeal. Both Haggai and Zechariah wanted to

I will hiss to them, is an image taken from the management of bees, where the apiarist hisses or whistles to collect the swarm. Moore, T. V. A Commentary on Zechariah. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1958. 2 Zechariahs first message was delivered in [] 520 B.C. [], whereas that of Haggai had begun two months earlier. Freeman, Hobart E. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets,. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968, 333. 3 His last dated prophecy was [] in 518. The last portion of Zechariahs prophecy (9:14) is undated and many feel was written by Zechariah in later life. Ibid., 336. 4 When Cyrus sent forth his decree in 536 B.C. [] their one thought was to rebuild the temple of God. The Samaritans [] began to oppose the work, and succeeded []. For nearly fourteen years the work was at a standstill. In 521 B.C. Darius Hystaspes came to the throne. [] Haggai and Zechariah [] urges their coreligionists to undertake the task once more. The work went forward [] but was again interrupted []. When the matter was referred to Babylon, [] Darius confirmed the permission in the second year of his reign, removing all obstacles. Feinberg, Charles Lee. God Remembers: a Study of Zechariah. Fourth ed. Portland, Or.: Multnomah Press, 1979, 2.

6 rally the people into completing the temple in fact, the dating of chapters one through seven in Zechariah are during the rebuilding period.5 While it is certain that the first eight chapters of Zechariah were written by Zechariah at the aforementioned times, chapters 9-14 are controversial in regards to authorship and date. There are numerous inconsistencies of historical and chronological references seen in the last five chapters, a shift in the style of writing, and, in Matthew 27, a verse from Zechariah 11 is attributed to Jeremiah, not Zechariah.6 After looking at evidence for and against a change in authorship within the book, Hobart E. Freeman concluded that the critics themselves are hopelessly at variance. The hypothesis of a [change in authorship] has proved, in final analysis, [to be] unsound.7

Movement of the Text

The text, in most translations, is split into three distinct paragraphs: the first contains verses 4-5, the second 6-7, and the third 8-12. These paragraph breaks seem to accurately reflect the three parts to the text a shift is noticeable between each break. The first chunk of the text prophecies political and military rule coming out of Israel. The prophecy was actually fulfilled twice: once in Maccabean times and again with Christ.8 The second chunk is Yahweh comforting His people and assuring them that they will be restored and made powerful again. Part of this prophecy was fulfilled in Maccabean times, while another part has still to happen.9

But a change had taken place in the hearts of the people. [] Haggai and Zechariah arduously sought to bring the people from their indifference. [] All the dates in Zechariah (1:1, 7; 7:1) come within the peri od of work on the temple. Feinberg, God Remembers, 2. 6 The grounds for objection to the genuineness of chapters 9 -14 are threefold: (1) the problem of Matthew 27:9-10; (2) so-called inconsistencies of historical and chronological references []; (3) differences in style between the two sections. Freeman, Old Testament Prophets, 338. 7 Freeman, Old Testament Prophets, 344. 8 Moore, Zechariah, 247.

7 The third and final chunk is very much related to the second, but there is still a shift that calls for a break between the two. While the second chunk was a general promise of restoration to different parts of Israel (I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph), the third chunk is an extended look at the full restoration, with many images to show the fullness. As with most imagery in the Bible, the images found in this passage are symbolic rather than literal. The first image is found in verse 4: From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow The him in this verse is commonly though to refer to Judah10, but there can be two different interpretations of the imagery. It is possible that it is actually predicting two different events the prosperity and power that Judah will have as a nation, and the power that the Messiah would bring. Going by the Judean interpretation, the cornerstone stands for the firm foundation that Judah will have, the tent peg for political power, and the battle bow for military power.11 The more common interpretation is Messianic. Peter, in Acts 4, testifies that Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone, clearly paralleling the cornerstone imagery in Zechariah. The tent peg, which can also be translated as nail, is found in Isaiah 22, when Eliakim is being placed at head of the government. Yahweh pronounces that He will drive

the restoration of the Jews, an event still future, is connected with the Maccabean deliverance, an event long since past. Moore, Zechariah, 249-250 10 With the majority of interpreters of the passage, [] we understand Judah to be meant. Feinberg, God Remembers, 143. 11 Ibid., 143-144.

8 him like a peg into a firm place and that all the glory of his family will hang on him, just as Christ will be planted firmly as king, and all of Gods glory hung on him on the last day.12 The next image found in the passage is in verse 8. As explained in the Word Study, the word hiss or whistle is intended to evoke imagery of a beekeeper collecting a swarm of bees with a simple gesture. This is meant to show the ease with which Yahweh will collect Israel and restore them. The final image is a familiar one. Verse 11: He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up. This image is obviously meant to evoke remembrance of the Exodus and prophecy a new Exodus, a new release from bondage, a new redemptive act.13 This clearly means Christ, who released us from the bondage of sin, redeeming us to be with God. Note that there is a contrast between the images at the beginning and the images at the end of the passage. At the beginning, words and images associated with military and fighting are used, such as battle bow; towards the end, there are images of peace and reunion, such as the beekeeping image found in whistle. The contrast there is intentional. By starting with war imagery, the people are reminded of their past of fighting and being scattered.14 However, this time Yahweh is reversing the battle, making Israel the victor. As the passage moves on, the imagery becomes more peaceful and reassuring. Not only does the transition move the reader from a state of panic and worries to a state of reassurance, but it also somewhat parallels Israels history, going backward.


Eliakim [] will be as a nail upon which all the glory of his fathers house will be suspended. But our Lord Jesus Christ, the dependable Nail, will have entrusted to Him all the glory of His Fathers house in that coming day Feinberg, God Remembers, 145-146. 13 Jones, Douglas Rawlinson. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. London: SCM Press, 1962, 146. 14 Hartzell, Eric S. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Revised ed. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 2005, 101.

9 In recent times, Israel had been fighting most recently to get the temple built, but from an overhead look at Israels history, it had been fairly recent that the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom had split, and even more recent that the Northern Kingdom had been wiped out through war. Moving back, Yahwehs promises to bring them home in verses 6-10 are reminiscent of Davids reign, when the whole Promised Land was under Israels control. The final image in the passage goes the furthest back in Israels history, with imagery taken from the exodus of Egypt, the beginning of Israels independent history. It seems that this passage was organized to reflect the history of Israel. As for repetition, there is really only one phrase to look at. That is the phrase that bookends verses 6-12: I will strengthen. As a bookend phrase should, it describes the main theme and message of the words in between. Verses 6-12 are about Yahweh strengthening and restoring Israel, especially through Christ. It is fitting to place the phrase I will strengthen in both verse 6 and 12, as it sums up the passage.

Themes and Theology

The main message of Zechariah 10:4-12 is that God will restore Israel through Christ. This can easily be connected to the rest of the book, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The passages message is first connected to the rest of the book in a couple different ways. The selected text is about Yahweh remembering his people, blessing and restoring them, and ultimately saving them through Christ. Zechariahs whole message is about this exactly; in fact, the names of Zechariahs grandfather, father, and himself, in order, read the appointed time, Jehovah blesses, Jehovah remembers.15 As names are of great significance in Hebrew culture, it is no surprise that Zechariahs prophecies follow the names of him and his fathers.


Gaebelein, Arno C. Studies in Zechariah. New York: F.E. Fitch, 1910, 3.

10 Remember that Zechariah, along with his contemporary Haggai, was greatly concerned with the finishing of the temple of Yahweh. Zechariahs prophecy was intended to encourage the people of Israel to tell them that they should begin building again, as this time their work would see a completion without hindrance.16 But even more than giving the Israelites an encouraging picture of a completed temple, he gave them a picture of the time when Israel [would be] redeemed and restored forever.17 The selected passage is exactly that. Zechariah is preaching a message of God restoring Israel, saying that He will bring them back because [He has] compassion on them, and they shall be as though [He] had not rejected them. This message of restoration, of Yahwehs blessing and protection, is exactly what the Israelites needed to hear to motivate them to finish rebuilding the temple. The selected passage also fits with the larger picture of the Old Testament as a whole. Jesus is apparent throughout the passage, not only with the items listed in verse four, but also in the deeds told of in verse 11: The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. The turning aside of earthly governments parallels the prophecy of Jesus found in Isaiah 9, which says that the government will be on his shoulders. The prophecy of Christ found in verse four was explained in the section titled Movement of the Text. This fits the overall picture in the Old Testament because Christ is meant to be apparent throughout the Old Testament. In the same way that Jesus can be found in Numbers, with Moses and the bronze snake; Genesis, with Noahs salvation and creations purification through water; or Isaiah, with direct prophecies of Christs birth, John the Baptist, and other events in the life Jesus. Zechariah fits into the Old Testament because it increases the strength with which it points to Christ.

16 17

Gaebelein, Studies, 4-5. Ibid., 5.

11 Going even further, Zechariah relates to the New Testament, and thus the Bible as a whole, through the same prophecies that solidify its inclusion in the Old Testament canon. Jesus fulfilled many of the prophecies Zechariah recorded from being the physical fulfillment of the cornerstone, tent peg, and battle bow, to physically strik[ing] down the waves of the sea. It is apparent from the prophecies presented in Zechariah that Jesus is the fulfillment of the book even that which has not been fulfilled will be at judgment day.

Summary and Application

Zechariah 10:4-12 is a message of hope and redemption to the Israelites, intended to motivate them to finish rebuilding the temple. It also contains several prophecies of Christ, which prove the inspiration of the text. Overall, the message of the passage parallels Genesis 50:20, when Joseph speaks: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. Despite all of the pain Joseph went through, Yahwehs intent was good the whole time. Similarly for Zechariah, even though Israel had been practically wiped out, Yahwehs intent was good, in that it was all part of His plan for Christ. The passage from Zechariah shows Gods plan for the ultimate salvation and restoration for Israel; even if it will not be completed until judgment day, Gods intent is good. The passage is still very applicable today, even though it has been 2,500 years since its writing. It is a message of comfort and reminder of Yahwehs great love. It also serves as a reminder that He had a plan for salvation and that He watches over His people. Most important to remember, though, is a phrase found in verse five: they shall fight because the LORD is with them. Israel would fight and win only because Yahweh was with them. But Israel has changed and that means that this verse can be applied to today, as well. In Romans 9, Paul writes that not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. It is not the children

12 by physical descent who are Gods children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as [Israel]. The children of the promise are the believers in Christ; all Christians are Israel. But another important part is still missing: is God with us? The answer is yes. Matthew 1 says that one of Jesus names, Immanuel, means God with us. Even moreso, in Acts 2 Paul tells a crowd Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, being a part of the Trinity, is God. And all who have repented and been baptized have received the Spirit. It is very clear that God is with us, and that means that He is fighting for us.

13 Bibliography Feinberg, Charles Lee. God Remembers: a Study of Zechariah. 4th ed. Portland, Or.: Multnomah Press, 1979. Freeman, Hobart E. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophets,. Chicago: Moody Press, 1968. Gaebelein, Arno C. Studies in Zechariah. New York: F.E. Fitch, 1910. Hartzell, Eric S. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Revised ed. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Pub. House, 2005. Jones, Douglas Rawlinson. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. London: SCM Press, 1962. Moore, T. V. A Commentary on Zechariah. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1958.