9 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.
10 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)
As we opened the prophecy of chapter 9 last time, we saw the Lord take back His territory for His people. Just as Jerusalem’s conquerers had come from the north, so the Lord will start in the northernmost parts of the Persian kingdom and conquer everything in His path until He reaches Jerusalem.
In today’s passage, we see God bringing celebration and joy, protection and peace. Similar to the previous passage, the timeframes are more general in nature; more of a description of an end result rather than a specific event. That being said, scholars normally associate today’s verses with the reign of King David, who was the model of Messiah to come.
Verse 9 begins with a call to celebration and joy in Judah and Jerusalem. In the Hebrew language, cities and regions were always referred to in the feminine noun form; hence, the use of the “daughter” references. The Lord could have just spoken the names of the city and region; instead, He uses the term “daughter” to also signify the restored covenant family relationship that He has with them. The former days of the “wild child” of Judah described in Jeremiah are now replaced with a loving, restored relationship.
Remembering back to Zechariah 2:10, the Lord called His people to rejoice because God had made a promise to come live among His people once again. Today’s passage is a call to rejoice and celebrate His eagerly anticipated arrival.
The focus now turns from the people to the king (v. 9b). He comes humbly, bringing justice (righteousness) and salvation (victory). This was clearly something God had done, not something the king was able to do on his own. The reference to riding on a donkey points to peace and humility. Again, this refers to both King David (2 Samuel 16:2) as well as Jesus’ triumphal entry (Matthew 21:5, John 12:15).
Verse 10 speaks of events that will take place upon the king’s arrival. The first three lines of verse 10 refer to global disarmament, both of the northern kingdom of Israel (referred to as Ephraim), and the southern kingdom of Israel (referred to as Jerusalem). The breaking of the battle bow is a reference to mutually agreed-to peace between adversaries.
The last three lines of verse 10 indicate that the king will speak peace to the nations. Also, Israel’s God-ordained original geographic borders will be restored (Exodus 23:31). King Solomon (King David’s son and heir to his throne) asked the Lord for these same geographic boundaries in Psalm 72:8.
May we remember that we can have peace with God through Jesus (Romans 5:1) in this life as well as the life to come.
May we also remember that while Jesus came in humility, riding on a donkey, giving His life as a ransom for our, He is also coming back one day to rule in peace and righteousness.
Today, may we look forward to that day when Christ returns with anticipation, celebration, and joy.