Zechariah 9-14
(Your King Comes on a Donkey)
September 29th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

I will strengthen the house of Judah,
the house of Joseph I will save;
I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them;
they will be as if I had never cast them off,
for I am the LORD their God, and I will answer them.

- Zechariah 10:6 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

Zechariah wrote the second part of his book after the temple was completed. With this project done he focused on the first and second coming of the Messiah. He reports that the LORD describes a future consequence for the nations who remain a threat to Israel and promises that he will never again allow an oppressor to overrun his people. The LORD also depicts a future gentle king who will rule the entire earth:

    Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
        Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
    See, your king comes to you,
        righteous and victorious,
    lowly and riding on a donkey,
      on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
    I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
        and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
        and the battle bow will be broken.
    He will proclaim peace to the nations.
        His rule will extend from sea to sea
        and from the River to the ends of the earth.

    - Zechariah 9:9-10 (NIV)

In chapter 10 the LORD explains how he will come for all of the people of Israel. The northern and southern kingdoms will be reunited and redeemed ("the house of Joseph will be saved" refers to the north). Chapter 11 describes a symbolic task given by the LORD to Zechariah. He was asked to manage a herd of sheep that represented the people of Israel. The previous shepherds were fired and the sheep who detested him were allowed to perish.

Chapter 12 portrays a final battle of evil and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit following the fatal piercing of the Messiah. In chapter 13 the author explains the wickedness of the false prophets and the death of the shepherd that caused the sheep to scatter.

Zechariah concludes his book in chapter 14 with a final description of the Messiah and his second coming. There are four sections of this chapter: "Verses 1–5 concentrate on the destruction and rescue of Jerusalem and the escape of a remnant; verses 6–11 describe the transformation of the climate and the topography of Jerusalem; verses. 12–15 depict the defeat of Jerusalem’s enemies; and verses. 16–21 outline a vision for the end time, in which even foreign nations will make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to acknowledge God’s universal reign (1)." At this time Jerusalem will rise as the center of the universe. It will be cleansed of all unbelievers and all survivors will praise the LORD.

    And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.

    - Zechariah 14:9 (KJV)

Reflection and Application

Zechariah 9 was referenced by the Disciple Matthew in his description of Jesus preparing to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey:

    As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

    This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

    “Say to Daughter Zion,
        ‘See, your king comes to you,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

    - Matthew 21:1-5 (NIV)

The scene of a king riding a donkey was not uncommon. Nevertheless, the people recognized the scenario as a fulfillment of the scripture, but may not have fully understood the part about the gentleness of this king. What is our expectation? Are we still waiting for the warrior Messiah and forgetting about the gift of grace that has been offered?

Zechariah had also prophesized about Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Spirit came upon thousands of people following the piercing, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah. Where is that Holy Spirit now? Can we get some of it like the people did on Pentecost? The answer is yes – the availability began on that day and it doesn’t stop until the end.

When we spend time studying the Bible and praying we are more likely to feel the presence of the Spirit. The people of Zechariah’s day could only wait and hope, but we can wait and experience.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. On what type of animals have you ridden?
    2. How is it that some of the people did not recognize Jesus when he fulfilled the prophecies found in the Hebrew Scriptures?
    3. How can we prepare our hearts to welcome the Holy Spirit today?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know that you sent your son to save us and the Holy Spirit to inspire us. Help us to recognize your gifts.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Those who care for animals


    (1) The New American Bible, Sponsored by the Bishop's Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Bible Publishers, Wichita, KS, 1970, http://www.usccb.org/bible/zechariah/14 footnotes at the end of chapter 14

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Malachi 1-4 (The End)

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