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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Zechariah 9:15

15. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.

15. Iehova exercituum proteget eos; et comedent et subjicient lapidibus fundae, (vel, lapides, ut alii vertun,) tanquam a vino, et replebuntur quasi phiala, quasi anguli altaris.

He expresses again the same thing in other words -- that God would be like a shadow to his people, so that he would with an extended hand protect them from their enemies. Since the Jews might have justly felt a distrust in their own strength, the Prophet continually teaches them that their safety depended not on earthly aids, but that God alone was sufficient, for he could easily render them safe and secure. He also adds, that there would be to them plenty of bread and wine to satisfy them. He seems here indeed to promise too great an abundance, as by its abuse luxury came, for he says, that they would be satiated and be like the drunken; they shall drink, he says, and shall make a noise as through wine. Certainly those who drink wine moderately, do not make noise, but they are as composed and quiet after dinner as those who fast. Zechariah then seems here to make an unreasonable promise, even that of excess in meat and drink. But we have elsewhere seen that wherever the Holy Spirit promises abundance of good things he does not give loose reigns to men's lusts, but his object is only to show that God will be so bountiful to his children that they shall stand in need of nothing, that they shall labor under no want. Nay, the affluence of blessings is to try our frugality, for when God pours forth as it were with a liberal hand more than what is needful, he thus tries the temperance of each of us; for when in the enjoyment of great abundance, we of our own accord restrain ourselves, we then really show that we are grateful to God.

It is indeed true, that cheerfulness for abundance of blessings is allowed us, for it is often said in the law, |Thou shalt rejoice before thy God,| (Deuteronomy 12:18;) but we must bear in mind, that frugal use of blessings is required, in order that the gifts of God may not be converted to a sinful purpose.

Then the Prophet does not here excite or stimulate the Jews to intemperance, that they might fill themselves with too much food, or inebriate themselves with too much wine; but he only promises that there would be no want of either food or drink when God blessed them as in former days. And this seems also to be specified at the end of the verse, when he mentions the horns of the altar. He had previously said, that they would be full as the bowls were; but when he adds, |the horns of the altar,| he no doubt reminds them of temperance, that they were to feast as though they were in God's presence. They were indeed accustomed to pour out the wine and the oil on the horns of the altar; but, at the same time, since they professed that they offered from their abundance of wine and oil some first-fruits to God, it behaved them to remember that their wine was sacred, that their oil was sacred, as both proceeded from God. The Prophet then declares, that the Jews would be thus enriched and replenished with all good things, and that they were yet to remember, that they were to live as in God's presence, lest they should by luxury pollute what he had consecrated to a legitimate end. He then adds --

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