14. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
14. Et dixit angelus qui loquebatur mecum, Clama dicendo, sic dicit Iehova exercituum, Zelatus sum Ierusalem et Sion zelo magno.
Zechariah now mentions the chief consolation to which he had referred; for it would not have been sufficient to say in general, and in a few words without explanation, that God gave a kind answer to the angel. For we know how strong were those temptations with which the faithful had to struggle. It was then needful for them to be furnished, not with light weapons, in so arduous a contest. This is the reason why Zechariah more fully expressed the words by which God then strengthened the faith of his people.
He says that the angel had spoken; and he thus intimates that the consolation was not given privately to the angel that he might keep it in his own bosom, but convey it to the whole people. This was not then a secret consolation but what the Lord intended to be proclaimed by his Prophets, according to what is said by Isaiah in the passage to which we have already referred -- |Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God.|
What God says, that he was moved with great zeal for Jerusalem and Sion, is according to the common language of Scripture. For as God cannot otherwise sufficiently express the ineffable favor which he has towards his elect he is pleased to adopt this similitude, that he undertakes the defense of his people according to what is done by a husband who fights with the greatest zeal for his own wife. This is the reason why he says that he was zealous for Jerusalem. And we ought especially to notice this mode of speaking, that we may not think that God is indifferent when he delays and defers his aid: for as we are hasty in our wishes so we would have God to be precipitant in the same manner; and we impute to him indifference when he does not hasten according to our desires. These doubts God checks when he testifies that he is zealous: for he intimates that his slowness did not proceed from neglect or because he despised or disregarded them; but that there was another reason why he held them in suspense. We may therefore be fully persuaded that even when God withholds his aid he is not otherwise affected towards us than the best of fathers towards his own children; and further that the signs of his love do not appear because it is not always expedient for us to be delivered soon from our troubles. Let this then be our shield against all hasty desires, so that we may not indulge our too ardent wishes, or think that our salvation is neglected by God, when he hides himself for a time and does not immediately stretch forth his hand to help us. It follows --