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Go to Bible: Zechariah 12
“burden.” The word of the Lord can be a burden to the prophet, and then, when it is spoken, can be a burden to the people. It might have been more clear in the English to say “burdensome message” instead of “burden,” but the Hebrew word is “burden.” [For more information on “burden,” see commentary on Malachi 1:1].(top)
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“open my eyes.” An idiom meaning to keep a watchful eye on. Yahweh will fight against those who come against the house of Judah, but keep a watchful eye on Judah.(top)
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“but Jerusalem will yet again dwell.” This use of “Jerusalem” is the figure of speech metonymy, where “Jerusalem” is put by metonymy for the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the people who live there.(top)
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“they will look on the one whom they have pierced.” Some English versions of Zechariah 12:10 read: “They will look on me, the one they have pierced…” (NIV). However, there are textual issues involved in the transmission of the Hebrew text that we must examine so that we have the right translation and meaning of the verse. Some translators supply a first person pronoun (“me”) because they see this verse as referring back to God and hence they translate “they will look on me.” But other translators supply a third person pronoun (“him,” or “the one”) because they see the phrase referring to someone other than God. Both the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the New American Bible (NAB) translate the phrase as “so that when they look on him….”
Translators and commentators who believe that the word “pierced” should refer back to the pronoun “him” cite textual variants that more clearly read “him.” This agrees with the flow of the sentence that continues with the word “him” in the phrases “they shall mourn for him” and “grieve bitterly for him.” The Jewish understanding of this verse has always been that the one pierced was one in an intimate relationship with God, but there is no record of any early Jewish commentator understanding Zechariah 12:10 to be saying that somehow Yahweh Himself would come into the flesh and be “pierced.” Instead, this verse relates to the piercing of the promised Messiah, whom many in Jerusalem would mourn and weep for, and thus it is apparent that the RSV and NAB offer a better translation of the verse in order to convey this meaning.
Another important reason to believe that “him” is the correct reading of the original text of Zechariah 12:10 is the way it is quoted in John 19:37, after the Roman soldier thrust his spear into Christ’s side. The Greek text of John 19:37 reads: “and again, another scripture says, ‘They will look on the one they pierced.’” Different English versions may disagree on whether the Hebrew text of Zechariah 12:10 says “me” or “him,” but none of them disagree on the translation of the Greek text in the New Testament. None of the versions include a first person pronoun (“me”), and most of them supply the word “him” as does the KJV, NAB and RSV. If the original reading of Zechariah 12:10 read “me” instead of “him,” then “me” would almost certainly be the reading of John 19:37. On the other hand, the New Testament quotation in John 19:37 agrees with the reading of Zechariah 12:10 in the RSV and other versions. Therefore, we believe that the proper reading of Zechariah 12:10 is “him,” and that is reflected in John 19.
Not only is Zechariah 12:10 quoted in John, but also it is alluded to in Revelation. Revelation 1:7 says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” Commentators freely admit that this verse alludes back to Zechariah, and it uses the pronoun “him” and not “me.” This is more evidence that the Hebrew text of Zechariah should read “him,” or “the one,” and thus we conclude that the internal evidence of Scripture suggests that the one who is pierced in Zechariah is not God Himself but one who is in an intimate relation with God, i.e., the Messiah.(top)
“Hadad-Rimmon.” This compound word is made from Hadad, a storm and rain god (most modern scholars think Hadad was the same god as the Canaanite god Baal), and Rimmon, a thunder god (2 Kings 5:18. Some scholars believe Rimmon was also identified with Baal).
The use of the word here in the genitive case, “the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon,” is unclear. It could refer to “the mourning for Hadad-Rimmon” (cp. ESV, NAB, NLT), that is, the mourning done by the pagans when their gods were destroyed by Yahweh.
Also, however, Hadad-Rimmon could be a place name, in which case the phrase would mean “the mourning done at Hadad-Rimmon.” Although there is no known mourning event at a place by that name, the fact that Zechariah 12:11 says, “Hadad-Rimmon in the valley of Megiddo,” has led many to believe that it is likely that Judah mourned the death of the righteous king Josiah at that place in the valley of Megiddo after Josiah was mortally wounded by an arrow (2 Chron. 35:22-25). The fact that it is the families of the Judeans who are mourning and not the pagans (Zech. 12:12-14), tends to support this latter interpretation.(top)
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