7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
7. Sic dicit Iehova exercituum, Ecce ergo servans populum meum e terra orientis et e terra occasus solis;
8. And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
8. Et reducam eos, et habitabunt in medio Ierosolymae; et erunt mihi in populum, et ego ero illis in Deum, in veritate et justitia.
He pursues the same subject, and introduces a preface, very necessary in so confused a state of things; for it was very difficult to raise up desponding minds and to inspire them with confidence, when pressed down with fear and trembling. This is the reason why Zechariah repeats so often, that he declared nothing but God's commands only.
Behold, he says, I will save, or deliver my people. As dispersion took away hope, the Prophet restores it, and says, that it would not be difficult to gather the people from all parts of the world, when God stretched forth his hand; and emphatical is the expression, I will deliver my people. God then does here exalt himself, that we may learn to exalt his power, and not to judge of it according to our own comprehension. I will deliver my people, he says, from the rising as well as from the setting of the sun. This sentence then is connected with the preceding, in which the Prophet briefly shows that the Jews erred and acted perversely, when they ascribed no more to God than what the judgment of their own flesh dictated, or what seemed probable according to the course of nature. As then he had taught them that great wrong is done to God except he is separated from men, and shines eminent above the whole world, he now adds, that God, with whom nothing is wonderful or difficult, had resolved to gather his people, and from their dispersion to restore them again to Jerusalem. The Prophet then says here nothing new, but rightly applies what he had just said of God's infinite and incomprehensible power, which men absurdly attempt to inclose in their own brains, and to attach to earthly instrumentalities.
He then adds, I will restore them, and they shall dwell, he says, in the midst of Jerusalem. He again confirms what I have already stated, -- that their return would not be in vain, though many said, that the Jews had done foolishly in having returned so quickly into their own country; and they condemned their determination, as though they had been suddenly carried away by extreme ardor. Hence the Prophet, in order to show that God had dealt faithfully with his people, promises them here a safe and a perpetual habitation at Jerusalem. They shall dwell, he says; that is, |As you now see that you have been gathered, so expect that God will be your protector, so as to render you safe, and to make Jerusalem to be again inhabited, as it had been formerly.|
He afterwards adds, They shall be to me for a people, and I shall be to them for a God. By these words the Prophet confirms what he has hitherto taught, when he now speaks of the renewal of the covenant; for the whole hope of the people depended on this one thing, -- that God remembered the covenant which he had made with them. This covenant had indeed been broken, according to the usual language of Scripture; for the people, when removed into exile, thought that they were cast away and forsaken by God. As then the memory of this covenant had been buried as to the effect, or as they say, apparently, the Prophet, in order to confirm what he has already said, expressly declares, that they would be God's people, and that he would be their God. We now then understand why he adds, |I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people|.
In the last place he says, in truths and righteousness; that is, |settled and permanent shall be this felicity|: for when God shows that he cares for his people, then follow outward blessings, which are evidences of his favor. The Prophet adds, that this shall be in truth and righteousness; for God will not be propitious and kind to his people only for a short time, but will continue his favor to them to the end. As then God intended to establish the safety of the city, he testifies that he would be its God in righteousness, even in sincerity, in good faith, and without dissimulation, and also without any danger of changing. And how this was to be fulfilled we shall hereafter see.