16. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
16. Et erit, (hoc est, accidet,) ut quisque residuus fuerit ex cunctis gentibus quae venerint contra Ierusalem, ascendat ab anno in annum ad adorandum, (vel, ad supplicandam,) Regem Iehovam exercituum, et celebrandum celebritatem tabernaculorum.
Zechariah here advances farther, -- that those who shall have escaped the ruin of which he had spoken shall be so humbled that they would of their own accord submit to God. He said before, that God would take vengeance and destroy all the enemies of his Church; but the promise here is still more valuable, -- that he would turn the hearts of those who escaped punishment, so that without any constraint they would become obedient; for come, he says, shall they every year to worship God in his temple. Then the sum of what is said is this, that God would subdue all the enemies of his Church, and in two ways, for some he would destroy, and he would humble others, so as to make them willing servants and ready of themselves to obey his authority. It shall be then that every one who shall remain of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall ascend to supplicate God, or humbly to worship God.
If the time be inquired, I answer, that whenever the Prophets speak of the conversion of the nations, they are wont to speak always in general terms; but that this is an hyperbolical language, and that still there is nothing unreasonable in this excess, for surely it was a wonderful work of God when a great number from the nations became subject to him. We indeed know, that the name of the people of Israel was universally hated, so that their religion was disliked by almost the whole world. It was then a thing incredible when Zechariah said, that men from all countries would be so changed as to worship the true God of Israel. But many Churches we know were everywhere formed in the world, and men without number professed God's name, and undertook his yoke, and embraced that religion which before had been despised by them, and which indeed they had persecuted with the greatest hatred. It is therefore no wonder that the Prophet should say, that the remnant who escaped the sword of vengeance would at length become the willing servants of God. But we ought to notice, as I have said, the mode of speaking commonly adopted by the Prophets, for, in order to amplify the grace of God, they speak in general terms, though what they say ought to be confined to the elect alone.
Ascend, he says, shall every one from year to year. Zechariah speaks here also according to the apprehensions of the people. Festivals, we know, were appointed by God; the Israelites ascended at least three times a year unto the temple, but as this was too hard and difficult for the miserable exiles to do, who had been scattered through all countries, those influenced by zeal for religion were wont to descend unto Jerusalem once a year. To this custom of the law the Prophet now alludes, as though he had said, |God indeed spares some, yet they will at length come to his service without any constraint, and submit to the God of Israel.| But he speaks, as I have said, according to the rites of the law; and of this mode of speaking we have often reminded you: I shall therefore pass by the subject, but some additional remarks shall be made at the end of this chapter. Ascend then shall every one to supplicate the king, Jehovah of hosts; that is, that they might confess the only true God to be king: for he has regard to the Prophecy which we considered yesterday, when he said that the only true God would be king. So also in this place, confirming the former truth he says, that they who had before furiously assailed the Church would become the worshipers of God, for they would understand him to be the king of the whole world. But the remainder shall be deferred to another time.