The angel that talked with me, commentaries on Zechariah 1 v 9

(Isaiah 57:14-21; Jeremiah 3:11-25; Hosea 14:1-3)

1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

A Man among the Myrtle Trees

7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

Mercy Promised to Jerusalem

12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. 14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Zechariah 1:9-11. Then said I, O my Lord, what are these — What is the meaning of these appearances, or visions? And the angel that talked with me said — “This was another heavenly minister, sent, probably, to present the visions to the prophet’s imagination, as well as to explain them. Angelus comes et interpres, “an accompanying angel and interpreter.” And under his direction the prophet receives satisfactory information from the mouth of the first angel and his attendants.” — Blayney. I will show thee what these be — “I will cause that it shall be explained to thee by the angel who stands first among the myrtles. This may have been done by a sign given to that angel, or by words omitted in the relation.” — Newcome. And the man that stood among the myrtle-trees — This was an angel of an order superior to him mentioned in the preceding verse, who either prevents that angel, and takes upon him to return an answer to the prophet’s question, or else sends his answer to Zechariah by that angel, as Christ sent his revelation to St. John by an angel, Revelation 1:1. These are they whom the Lord hath sent — They are the messengers or ministering spirits of Jehovah. And they — The rest of the angels, implied at the end of Zechariah 1:8, and who came after the first; answered, We have walked to and fro through the earth — We have been diligent to execute that office which was allotted to us. And behold all the earth sitteth still, &c. — This must be understood here, and in many other places, in a restricted sense, for all the nations with whom the Jews had a connection. It means here chiefly the Persian empire, which enjoyed peace at that time. But the state of the Jews was unsettled: see Zechariah 1:16 : which circumstance gives occasion to the following intercession.

1:7-17 The prophet saw a dark, shady grove, hidden by hills. This represented the low, melancholy condition of the Jewish church. A man like a warrior sat on a red horse, in the midst of this shady myrtle-grove. Though the church was in a low condition, Christ was present in the midst, ready to appear for the relief of his people. Behind him were angels ready to be employed by him, some in acts of judgment, others of mercy, others in mixed events. Would we know something of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, we must apply, not to angels, for they are themselves learners, but to Christ himself. He is ready to teach those humbly desirous to learn the things of God. The nations near Judea enjoyed peace at that time, but the state of the Jews was unsettled, which gave rise to the pleading that followed; but mercy must only be hoped for through Christ. His intercession for his church prevails. The Lord answered the Angel, this Angel of the covenant, with promises of mercy and deliverance. All the good words and comfortable words of the gospel we receive from Jesus Christ, as he received them from the Father, in answer to the prayer of his blood; and his ministers are to preach them to all the world. The earth sat still, and was at rest. It is not uncommon for the enemies of God to be at rest in sin, while his people are enduring correction, harassed by temptation, disquieted by fears of wrath, or groaning under oppression and persecution. Here are predictions which had reference to the revival of the Jews after the captivity, but those events were shadows of what shall take place in the church, after the oppression of the New Testament Babylon is ended.

What are these? – He asks, not who, but what they import.

The angel that talked with me – Literally, “spake in me.” The very rare expression seems meant to convey the thought of an inward speaking, whereby the words should be borne directly into the soul, without the intervention of the ordinary outward organs. God says to Moses, “If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, will make Myself known unto him in a vision, I will speak (literally) in him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so – In him will I speak mouth to mouth Numbers 12:6-9;” and Habakkuk says of the like inward teaching, “I will watch to see, what He will speak in me” . It is the characteristic title of one attendant-angel, who was God’s expositor of the visions to Zechariah (Zechariah 1:13-14, Zechariah 1:19, (Zechariah 2:2 Hebrew) Zechariah 2:3; (7) Zechariah 4:1, Zechariah 4:4-5; Zechariah 5:5, Zechariah 5:10; Zechariah 6:4). Dionysius: “By his ministry God showed me things to come, in that that angel formed in the spirit and imaginative power of Zechariah phantasms or images of things which were foreshown him, and gave him to understand what those images signified.”

9. the angel that talked with me—not the “man upon the red horse,” as is evident from Zec 1:10, where he (the Divine Angel) is distinguished from the “angel that talked with me” (the phrase used of him, Zec 1:13, 14; Zec 2:3; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4), that is, the interpreting angel. The Hebrew for “with me,” or, “in me” (Nu 12:8), implies internal, intimate communication [Jerome].

show thee—reveal to thy mental vision.

Then; so soon as he had seen and observed. Said I; Zechariah.

O my Lord: this was Christ the Lord of hosts.

What are these? what is the meaning of these appearances or visions?

The angel; Christ, the Angel of the covenant; so I take this Angel, that promiseth to inform the prophet, to be the same that appears, a man on the red horse among the myrtles.

Then; so soon as he had seen and observed. Said I; Zechariah.

O my Lord: this was Christ the Lord of hosts.

What are these? what is the meaning of these appearances or visions?

The angel; Christ, the Angel of the covenant; so I take this Angel, that promiseth to inform the prophet, to be the same that appears, a man on the red horse among the myrtles.

Then said I, O my Lord,…. These are the words of the Prophet Zechariah to the angel that showed him this vision:

what are these? what is the meaning of this vision? particularly who are meant by the horses, red, speckled, and white, and those upon them?

And the angel that talked with me; who seems to be different from the Angel of the Lord, the man among the myrtle trees, Zechariah 1:8 he was one of the ministering spirits; see Revelation 17:1,

said unto me, I will show thee what these be; that is, give an interpretation of the vision, and point out the persons intended by the horses.

Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.

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