4. Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.
4. Ab eo angulus, ab eo clavus, ab eo arcus belli, ab eo egredietur omnis exactor pariter.
There is here a confirmation of the last verse, but the metaphors are different; for he says, that the Jews would be fortified by every defense necessary for their security; nor is he inconsistent with himself. In the last chapter he indeed taught us, that though exposed to all kinds of wrongs, they would yet be safe through aid from heaven; but now he promises that there would come from them the corner-stone, the nail, the bow, and the exactor; and this seems a different doctrine; but it is the same as though he had promised, that though they stood in need of many helps, they would yet be sufficiently furnished, as God would be ready to aid them whenever there was need.
By the corner-stone he means the firmness of the building; from the Jews then shall be the corner-stone; that is, there shall ever be among that people those capable of carrying on the public government: then, from thee the nail; beams, we know, and other parts of the building, are fastened by nails, and we know also, that the ceiling is thereby made secure. Zechariah then mentions here all the supports which sustain a building from its very foundation. He afterwards adds, the bow of war, that is, what is necessary to overcome enemies; and, lastly, the exactor, one who has power over bordering nations, and demands tribute or tax from them, as conquerors are wont to do from their subjects.
We now see what the Prophet means -- that when God would manifest his care for his people and openly show his favor, the Jews would be fortified by all kinds of help, so as to be well established, and that they would possess so much public authority as to have strength enough to resist all enemies; in short, that they would gain the fruit of conquest, and constrain all nations to be tributaries to them.
If any one asks when has this been fulfilled, my answer is, that some preludes of this were given when God raised up the Maccabees, and made the Jews again to live according to their own laws, and to enjoy their own rights; but no doubt the Prophet includes the whole course of redemption. As then God redeemed his people only to a small extent until Christ appeared, it is no wonder that Zechariah, in speaking of full and complete redemption, extends his words to the kingdom of Christ, and this was necessary. We hence learn, that the Church stands abundantly firm, and is also furnished with all needful things, while it continues under the protection of God, and that it is endued with sufficient power to resist all its enemies. It follows --