10. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.
10. Vertetur tota terra quasi planities a Geba ad Rimmon versus meridiem Ierusalem; exaltabitur et habitabitur loco suo, (sub se, ad verbum,) a porta Ben-jamin ad locum portae primae, ad portam angulorum, et ab arce Chananeel ad torcularia Regis.
The Prophet in this verse promises two things, -- that the city would be in a very prominent place, so as to be seen at a distance, and also, that it would be a secure and peaceable habitation.
With regard to the former part he says, Turned shall be the whole land into a plain We indeed know that Jerusalem was situated with mountains around it, its foundations, as it is said in Psalm 87:1, were on the holy mountains. As then the country was uneven on account of its many hills, the Prophet says, that it would become a wide plain, so that travelling would not be rough and difficult as before; and further, that Jerusalem would not be low in a deep place, but would be on a plain, which would not prevent it from being seen from whatever quarter the visitants might come. The whole land, he says, shall be a plain from Geba to Rimmon. As we do not fully know what sort of country that was, nor where Geba and Rimmon were, I shall not speak here particularly on every word; but it is enough for us to understand the design of what is said, which was to show -- that steep places would become level ground, so that Jerusalem might be seen from far, and that the surface being level there would be no mountains to impede a distant view.
Then follows the second clause, Inhabited shall be Jerusalem in its own place; that is, though it was formerly pulled down, and now lies as it were dilapidated, and the buildings already begun are very imperfect, yet it shall on itself be inhabited, it shall have the same limits, the same boundaries: in short, the Prophet means, that the size of the city would be the same as it was formerly.
Zechariah, we know, performed the office of a teacher, when the Jews began, not without great hindrances, to build the city. They were not able at first to take in the whole compass; indeed they thought this impracticable, until they were encouraged by Ezra and Nehemiah, as we learn from the books of both. Since then the city they began to build was confined in its limits, Zechariah says, that there was no reason to despair, for in a short time it would again attain its ancient splendor, and be extended to all its gates, as it is afterwards stated. And a description of the ancient city, when destroyed, is no doubt given here when he says,
From the gate of Benjamin to the place of the first gate, (he mentions the place of the gate, for there was then no gate, as that part of the city remained as yet desolate,) to the gate of the corners, from the citadel of Hananeel to the wine-vats of the king. Though we know not fully now how far the ancient Jerusalem extended, or what was its exact situation, it is yet certain that the Prophet meant that such would be the greatness and magnificence of the city, that its condition would fully equal its ancient splendor which then had disappeared. The city, as it is well known, had been very large; though writers do not agree on the subject, yet it is commonly admitted, that it included 30 stadia. This was certainly no common size; and hence the Prophet states what all thought to be incredible, that though the extent of the city was small, it would yet become a new Jerusalem, not inferior to the former either in largeness or in magnificence, or in any other respect. But we must defer what remains till tomorrow.