11. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.
11. In die illo magnificabitur (ad verbum, magnus erit) lucus in Ierusalem, sicut luctus Hadadrimon in planitie Megedon.
The Prophet says nearly the same thing to the end of the chapter; but as the event was worthy of being commemorated, he embellishes it with many figurative terms. He then says, that the lamentation for the death of Christ would be like that after the death of Josiah; for they who would have Hadadrimmon to be a man's name, have no reason for what they hold, and indulge themselves in mere conjecture. It is indeed agreed almost by all that Hadadrimmon was either a town connected with the plain of Megiddon, or a country near Jezreel. But as to what it was, it is a matter of no great consequence. I indeed believe that Hadadrimmon was a neighboring town, or a part of that country in which was situated the plain of Megiddon.
We may now observe, that this comparison which the Prophet institutes is very apposite; for when Josiah was slain by the King of Egypt, it is said in 2 Chronicles 35:25, that an yearly lamentation was appointed. The Jews then were wont every year to lament the death of Josiah; for from that time it was evident that God was so displeased with the people, that they had no longer any hope of deliverance; nay, Jeremiah in his mournful song had special reference to Josiah, as it appears from sacred history. And, among other things, he says, that Christ our Lord, in whose life lived our life, was slain for our sins. Jeremiah then acknowledges that it was a special proof of God's vengeance, that that pious king was taken away, and that the Jews were thus as it were forsaken, and became afterwards like a dead body, inasmuch as they only breathed in the life of Josiah: and at the same time he reminds us, that the kingdom, which God had intended to be the type and image of the kingdom of Christ, had as it were ceased to exist; for the successor of Josiah was deprived of all royal honor, and at length not only the whole dignity, but also the safety of the people, were trampled under foot. Hence, most fitly does the Prophet apply this lamentation to the death of Christ; as though he had said, -- That the Jews lamented yearly the death of Josiah, because it was an evidence of the dreadful vengeance of God that they were deprived of that pious ruler; and that now there would be a similar lamentation, when they perceived that their light of salvation was extinguished, because they had crucified the Son of God, unless they humbly acknowledged their great wickedness, and obtained pardon.
We now then see the true meaning of the Prophet, when he says, that the lamentation in Jerusalem would be like that in Megiddon.
Were any to object and say, that the death of Christ was not accompanied with tears and mourning; I answer, -- that the penitence of believers only is here described; for we know that a few only of the whole people were converted to God: but it is not to be wondered that the Prophet speaks generally of the whole nation, though he referred only to the elect of God and a small remnant; for God regarded those few who repented as the whole race of Abraham. Some mention the women of whom Luke speaks; but this seems too confined and strained: and we find also that that lamentation was forbidden by Christ,
|Weep,| he says, |for yourselves and for your children, not for me.| (Luke 23:28.)
Since then Christ shows that that weeping was vain and useless, we may surely say that what is here said by Zechariah was not then fulfilled. And we must bear in mind what I have said before, -- that by lamentation and sorrow is described that repentance with which the Jews were favored, not indeed all, but such as had been ordained to salvation by the gratuitous adoption of God. It follows --