on Zechariah 9 :8
I will encamp about mine house - This may apply to the conquests in Palestine by Alexander, who, coming with great wrath against Jerusalem, was met by Jaddua the high priest and his fellows in their sacred robes, who made intercession for the city and the temple; and, in consequence, Alexander spared both, which he had previously purposed to destroy. He showed the Jews also much favor, and remitted the tax every seventh year, because the law on that year forbade them to cultivate their ground. See this extraordinary account in Josephus Antiq. lib. xi., c. 8, s. 5. Bishop Newcome translates: "I will encamp about my house with an army, so that none shall pass through or return."
on Zechariah 9 :8
And I will encamp about my house - (for my house's sake) because of the army "Because," it is added in explanation, "of him that passeth by and of him that returneth;" Alexander, who passed by with his army, on his way to Egypt, and "returned," having founded Alexandria.
It was a most eventful march; one of the most eventful in the history of mankind. The destruction of the Persian empire, for which it prepared, was in itself of little moment; Alexander's own empire was very brief. As Daniel had foretold, he came, cast down Persia "to the ground, waxed very great, and when he was strong, the great horn was broken" Daniel 8:7-8. But with the marvelous perception which characterized him, he saw and impressed upon his successors the dependibleness of the Jewish people. When he came into Judaea, he sent to the high priest for aid against Tyre and for the like tribute as he used to pay to Darius, promising that he would not repent of choosing the friendship of the Macedonians . The high priest refused on the ground of the oath, by which his people were bound in fealty to the earthly king of kings, whom Alexander came to subdue.
Alexander threatened to teach all, through its fate, to whom fealty was due. This, after the conquest of Gaza, he prepared to fulfill. He came, he saw, he was conquered . Jaddua and his people prayed to God. Taught by God in a dream not to fear, he went to meet the conqueror. The gates of the city were thrown open. There marched out, not an army such as encountered the Romans, but as he had been taught, a multitude in white garments, and the priests going belove in their raiment of fine linen. The high priest, in his apparel of purple and gold, having on his head the mitre, and on it the golden plate , whereon was written the name of God, advanced alone, and the Conqueror, who was expected to give the city to be plundered, and the high priest to be insulted and slain, kissed the name of God, recognizing in the priest one whom lie had seen in the like dress in a dream, who had bidden him, when hesitating, cross to Asia; for that he would go before his army and deliver the Persian empire to him.
The result is related to have been, that Alexander promised to allow the Jews in Judea to live according to their own laws, remitted the tribute of every seventh year, acceded beforehand to the terms to be proposed by those in Babylonia and Media, and that many Jews joined his army, under condition that they might live under their own laws.
Rationalism, while it remains such, cannot admit of Daniel's prophecies which the high priest showed him, declaring that a Greek should destroy the Persian empire, which Alexander rightly interpreted of himself. But the facts remain; that the conqueror, who, above most, gave way to his anger, bestowed privileges almost incredible on a nation, which under the Medes and Persians had been "the most despised part of the enslaved;" made them equal in privileges to his own Macedonians , who could hardly brook the absorption of the Persians, although in inferior condition, among themselves .
The most despised of the enslaved became the most trusted of the trusted. They became a large portion of the second and third then known cities of the world. They became Alexandrians, Antiochenes, Ephesians , without ceasing to be Jews. The law commanded faithfulness to oaths, and they who despised their religion respected its fruits.
The immediate successors of Alexander, Ptolemy Lagi and Antiochus Nicator, followed his policy; Ptolemy especially on the ground of the fealty shown to Darius; Nicator, as having observed their faithfulness as soldiers, who had served with him ; but they were so enrolled on this visit to Jerusalem. The pagan kings multiplied, in their own purpose, faithful subjects to themselves; in God's design, they prepared in Asia and Egypt a seed-plot for the Gospel. The settlement of the Jews at Alexandria formed the language of the Gospel; that wonderful blending of the depth of the Hebrew with the clearness and precision of the Greek. Everywhere the seed of the preparatory dispensation was sown, to be fostered, grow and ripen with the harvest of the Gospel.
For now have I seen with Mine eyes - This is the counterpart of what the Psalmists and pious people so often pray, "Awake to help me and behold" Psalm 59:4; "Look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine" Psalm 80:14; Psalm 9:13; "Look upon my trouble from them that hate me" "Look upon my affliction and my trouble; look upon my enemies, for they are many" Psalm 25:18-19; "Look upon my adversity and deliver me" Psalm 119:153; "O Lord, behold my affliction" (Lamentations 1:9, add 11; Lamentations 2:20); "Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress" Lamentations 1:20; "Look and behold my reproach" Lamentations 5:1; "Open Thine eyes, O Lord, and see" Isaiah 37:17; Daniel 9:18; "Look clown from heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and glory" Isaiah 63:15. With God, compassion is so intrinsic an attribute, that He is pictured as looking away, when He does not put it forth. With God, to behold is to help.
on Zechariah 9 :8
9:8 I will encamp - To defend it from all its enemies. Mine house - This temple, but as it is an emblem of the church. The army - Of the Persian and the Grecian army, whose march lay through Judea.