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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Zechariah 12:3

3. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

3. Et erit in die illa, Ponam Ierusalem lapidem onerosum cunctis populis; quisque portabit concisione concidetur (vel, laceratione lacerabitur,) et congregabuntur contra eam omnes gentes terrae (sic autem resolvi debet oratio, Licet congregentur adversus eam cunctae gentes terrae.)

Zechariah adds here another metaphor, which is very apposite; for when the ungodly made war against the holy city, the object was not to reduce it only to subjection, or to impose a tribute or a tax, or simply to rule over it, -- what then? to cut it off entirely and obliterate its name. Since then such a cruelty would instigate enemies to assail the holy city, the Prophet here interposes and declares that it would be to them a most burdensome stone. He thus compares the enemies of Jerusalem to a man who attempts to take up a stone when he is too weak to do so. He then injures his own strength; for when a man tries to do what is too much for him, he loosens some of his joints, or breaks his sinews. The Prophet then means, that though many nations conspired against Jerusalem, and made every effort to overthrow it, they should yet at length find it to be a weight far too heavy for them: they should therefore break or lacerate their own arms, for their sinews would be broken by over-exertion. Some explain the last clause more frigidly, |In tearing he will be torn,| as when any one takes up a rough stone, he tears his own hands. But the Prophet, I have no doubt, meant to set forth something more serious; and each clause would thus correspond much better; for as we have said, the object of the ungodly was to remove Jerusalem, so as not to leave a stone upon a stone: but God declares here that it would be too heavy a burden, so that they would find their own strength broken in attempting inconsiderately to remove what could not be transferred from its own place.

Now the reason for this prophecy is, because God was the founder of Jerusalem, as it is said,

|Its foundations are in the holy mountains, love does the Lord the gates of Sion,|
(Psalm 87:1,2;)

and again it is said,

|Jehovah in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.| (Psalm 46:5.)

We must also remember what we have observed in the last verse: for though the heavens are in continual motion, they yet retain their positions, and do not fall into disorder; but were the heavens and the earth blended together, still Jerusalem, founded by God's hand and exempt from the common lot of men, and whose condition was peculiar, would remain firm and unchangeable. We hence see why the Prophet says, that there would be no other issue to the ungodly, while attempting to overthrow Jerusalem, than to wound and tear themselves.

He then adds, And assemble against them shall all nations. This, as we have said, was added in order to show, that though enemies flocked together from every quarter, God would yet be superior to them. This clause then contains an amplification, to encourage the faithful to continue in their hope with invincible constancy, though they saw themselves surrounded by hosts of enemies. It afterwards follows --

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