4. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
4. Sic dicit Iehova exercituum, Adhuc habitabunt vetuli et vetulae (vel, senes et anus, sed est idem nomen) in plateis Ierosolymae, et viro baculus ejus in manu sua prae multitudine dierum.
He confirms what we have already stated, that the Jews would be safe under the hand and protection of God, as he would dwell among them. The cause of a safe and quiet state he made to be the presence of God. For when we have peace with the whole world, we may yet disturb one another, except the God of peace restrains us; inasmuch as mutual and intestine discord may harass us, though we may be spared by external enemies. It is then necessary in the first place, that the God of peace and salvation should dwell in the midst of us. But when we have the presence of God, then comes full security. Suitably then does the Prophet now say, that yet dwell would old men and old women the midst of Jerusalem: for since the time the Jews had returned, they had been harassed, we know, by continual wars; and it could hardly be expected that they could live long in a state of incessant troubles, while new fears were daily disturbing them. Since then they were thus in incessant and endless dangers, the Prophet gives them relief, and promises that there would be to them yet a quiet habitation, so that both men and women would live to extreme old age. Hence he says, There shall yet dwell, etc
Then he adds, a staff shall be to man for his age, or on account of multitude of days. This seems indeed to have been said with no great propriety; for it would have been much better had vigor been given them, so that men failed not through old age. Hence the weakness mentioned here seems to have been a sign of God's curse rather than of his favor; and on this account the Lord promises by Isaiah, that old men would be vigorous and strong, (Isaiah 65:20;) so that they felt not the disadvantage of age. But the design of Zechariah, as we have already reminded you, was here different; for many by their daily complaints depressed the minds of the godly, declaring that they were deceived, and saying that Jerusalem would not long stand, as they were surrounded by so many enemies. Hence Zechariah shows, that the Jews would be in no danger of falling by the hand of enemies, as they would live securely without any external disturbances; for we know that many old men, half alive through age and supporting themselves by a staff, cannot be anywhere seen, except in a state of peace and quietness, undisturbed by enemies.
We now then perceive the design of the Prophet, which was to show, that Jerusalem would be tranquil and in peace, and that this would be the fruit of God's presence; for its citizens would die through years, and not through the violence of eternal enemies. To the same purpose is what follows --