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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Zechariah 14:19

Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Zechariah 14:19

19. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

19. Haec erit poena Egypti et poena omnium gentium, quae non ascenderint ad celebrandum celebritatem tabernaculorum.

He repeats the same thing, and almost in the same words; but yet it is not done without reason: for we ought to consider how difficult it was to believe what is said, as the Jews who had returned to their country were few in number, and unwarlike, and on every side opposed by their enemies. Since then the Church was almost every moment in danger, it was no wonder that the faithful had need of being strengthened under their trials, which often disturbed and harassed their minds. This then is the reason why the Prophet repeats often the same thing.

This, he says, shall be the sin of Egypt and of all nations, etc. The word cht't, chethat, properly means wickedness, sin; but as piaculum in Latin sometimes means sin, and sometimes expiation, so cht't, chethat, in Hebrew: it signifies at one time sin, at another the sacrifice by which sin is atoned: and hence Christ is said to have been made sin; for when he offered himself as an expiation, he sustained the curse which belonged to us all, by having it transferred on himself (Galatians 3:13.) As Christ then was an expiation, he was on this account called sin. And the Greek translators did not change the name, because they saw that cht't, chethat, in Hebrew, is taken for a sacrifice or punishment as well as for sin; hence they used the word hamartia indiscriminately.

So then the Prophet says that this would be the sin or the punishment of Egypt and of all nations, as though he had said, |If they despise the God of Israel and condemn his worship, such a contumacy shall not be unpunished; for God will show himself to be the vindicator of his own glory.| And hence we conclude, that nothing ought to be more desired by us than that God should reveal himself to us, so that we may not presumptuously wander after superstitions, but purely worship him; for no one rightly worships God, except he who is taught by his word. It is then a singular favor, when the Lord prescribes to us the rule by which we may rightly worship him: but when we assent not to his true and legitimate worship, we here see that our whole life is accursed. It now follows --

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