8. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.
8. Sibilabo illis et congregabo eos, quia redemi eos; et multiplicabuntur sicuti multiplicait sunt.
The same is the object of this verse. By the word whistle, Zechariah means what it imports in other passages, -- that it will not be an arduous world for God; for we are wont to measure his works by what our flesh understands. Since then the Jews might have easily raised this objection, -- that their brethren were dispersed through various countries and among many nations, so that the assembling of them was incredible, the Prophet meets this objection and says, that God was able by mere whistling or by a single nod to restore them to their country. God is sometimes said to whistle for the wicked, when he constrains them unwillingly to do him service, and employs them as instruments to execute his hidden purposes; for when great armies daily assemble, it is no doubt through the secret appointment of God. When therefore trumpets sound and drums beat, the Lord whistles from heaven, to lead the reprobate here and there as it pleases him. But in this passage the Prophet simply means, that though God may not have many heralds nor an equipped army to open a way for his people, he will be satisfied with whistling only; for when it should please him, a free passage would be made for captives, though the whole world were to hinder their return. These two words then are to be joined together, I will whistle for them and gather them; as though Zechariah had said, that the nod of God would alone be sufficient, whenever he designed to gather the people.
He then adds, For I have redeemed them. Here also I retain the past time, as the verb is in the past tense: for God speaks of redemption already begun, as though he had said, |I have promised that your exile would only be for a time; I have already appeared in part as your Redeemer, and I will not discontinue my work until it be completed.| God then no doubt confirms here what I have stated, -- that as he had begun in some measure to redeem his people, a complete redemption was to be expected, though the distressed could hardly believe this. But they ought to have felt assured, that God, as it is said in Psalm 138:1, would not forsake the work of his hands. Hence by the consideration of what had commenced he encourages the Jews here to entertain confidence, so that they might with composed minds look for the end, and doubt not but that the whole people would be saved; for the Lord had already proved himself to be their Redeemer. It is indeed true that this had not been fulfilled as to all the Israelites: but we must ever remember, that gratuitous election so existed as to the whole people, that God had notwithstanding but a small flock, as Paul teaches us. (Romans 11:5.) The Prophet at the same time intimates that Christ would be the head of the Church, and would gather from all parts of the earth the Jews who had been before scattered; and thus the promised restoration is to be extended to all the tribes. It afterwards follows --