This section concerns judgement. Judgement has a twofold purpose – to bring about destruction but it can also be a catalyst for repentance and change.
v1: The burden – There is a change in the way this section is written. Instead of a dream or vision Zechariah receives a heavy weight upon him. A burden is placed on someone to bring them down – not necessarily for destruction but can also be to bring about repentance and therefore a change.
· Hadrach is Syria of today (which has been devastated in the past 7 or so years). Damascus is the main city in Syria. Syria is a key location in the last days for assembling those nations that will come against Israel in the last days.
· Resting place – The burden is going to rest there in Damascus. G-d is going to judge the northern part of the Middle East and this is going to capture the attention of Israel and all of humanity. G-d’s working in Syria is a call for people (now) to repent.
v2: Hamath (Hamat Gader today) is part of the Golan Heights today (between Jordan and Syria and very close to the Sea of Galilee)
· Tyre and Sidon are two maritime cities in Lebanon.
· Very wise – This expression has to do with a call. Are these cities going to be wise and respond properly to G-d? It seems like Sidon does respond wisely as no disaster is prophesied for her.
v3-4: Tyre rebels against the call of the L-rd and builds herself a stronghold. Because of this she is destroyed by fire (end time judgement)
· Nothing is said against Sidon, so the thinking is that she responded appropriately to G-d.
v5: Ashkelon is an old Philistine city on the Mediterranean – above Gaza.
· Gaza and Ekron were also Philistine cities (Gaza is occupied by the Palestinians today – ‘Palestinian’ is a derivative of the word ‘Philistine’.)
· “The king shall perish from Gaza”: Gaza to lose either her physical ruler/leader or it could be talking about the rule of Gaza will cease.
Note: G-d brings the judgement upon the Philistine cities (Israel’s enemies) to call the world to repentance.
v6: Israelis (foreigners/a mixed race – from the Philistine perspective) occupy Ashdod today. Ashdod is the 5th largest Israeli city today. This should encourage us that G-d’s full fulfillment is going to be… It’s only a matter of time.
· The Philistines (modern day unrepentant Palestinians) are going to be cut off from the land.
v7: G-d is going to remove idolatry (“blood…abominations”). Among all of these people mentioned here (ie the Philistines) a remnant are going to repent!(What amazing grace!). They (this remnant) are going to become leaders – even in Israel! Ekron will be like Jerusalem (the Jebusites lived in Jerusalem) – holiness and righteousness will dwell in Ekron.
v8: G-d’s house is His temple -His people. G-d is going to bring stability. Tyrants will be erased.
· I have seen: The book of Exodus talks of G-d being silent for many hundreds of years. After all of that time G-d saw and then He responded (Ex 2:25). That is what this passage alludes to.