13. And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
13. Et respondit Iehova angelo mecum loquenti verba bona (vel, dulcia) verba consolatoria.
The Prophet shows here, that though God did not immediately on the first day stretch forth his hand to the miserable Jews, he was yet propitious to them. But we must notice, that God speaks only, and does not yet manifest his power. The Prophet's design must be here observed; for first he reminds the faithful that there was no reason for them to despair, or to be cast down with sorrow; for celestial angels prayed to God for them, and pleaded for their salvation. This is one thing. But a greater and fuller confirmation is added; for God testifies that he is ready to deliver the Jews, though he does not declare this immediately at first. And here we may remark, that it ought to be sufficient to sustain our hope and patience, when God testifies and affirms that he favors us, and that our salvation is dear to him, however miserable our condition may apparently be. God might indeed have immediately given a real proof to the Jews that the time had come to restore them to full prosperity: this he did not, but only made a promise. He gave words only: but his purpose was, by an actual trial, to prove the patience and obedience of his people, when he said that he had not forgotten his covenant, on which depended all the promises previously made.
But the Prophet seems to allude to a prophecy of Isaiah in the fortieth chapter,
|Comfort ye my people, saith your God.| Isaiah 40:1
The Prophets had been for a long time silent: it was indeed right that the Jews should remain long struggling, as they had for so many years hardened themselves against all threatening, and even despised all God's judgments, according to what is said by Isaiah,
|Let us eat and drink, tomorrow we shall die.|
As then the obstinacy of the people had been so great, it was proper that they should long mourn without comfort. But Isaiah says, that the time would come when God would command his servants to comfort his people again as in former times. Zechariah says now, that God spoke consoling words. We hence learn, that the desires of the godly and the prayer of the angel had been heard; for redemption was now nigh at hand, according to what is said in the hundred and second Psalm, |It is time for thee, O God, to have mercy on Sion, for its time is come;| that is, |The seventy years are completed, which it has pleased thee to assign for our exile.| It now follows --