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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Zechariah 12:4

4. In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.

4. Die illo, inquit Iehova, percutiam omnem equum stupore, et sesso rem ejus amentia; et super domum Iehudah aperiam oculos meos, et omnem equum populorum percutiam caecitate.

He pursues here the same subject, but in other words, -- that multiplicity of means is in God's hand, by which he can drive away and break down the fury of enemies. By the words horse and its rider, the Prophet, stating a part for the whole, means whatever is strong, and intimates that it can be easily overcome by divine power

He says first, I will smite every horse with stupor Military strength, we know, is in horses and horsemen; but he says that the horses would be stunned, and the horsemen seized as it were with madness, so that they would destroy themselves, and could do no harm to the Church. He then confirms what he said before -- that though the whole world conspired against the Church, there would yet be sufficient power in God to repel and check all their assaults and he mentions stupor, madness, and blindness, that the faithful might know that God can by hidden means either destroy or put to flight all their enemies. Though then God fights not with drawn swords, nor uses the common mode of warfare, yet the Prophet says, that he is prepared with other means to lay prostrate their enemies; for even the most powerful in the world cannot proceed so far as to confound their enemies by blindness and madness; but the Prophet here shows, that though no way appears to us by which God may deliver us, we are yet to entertain firm hope, for he can by his breath destroy all enemies, as he can render then blind, and take from them understanding, and wisdom, and strength.

Then he adds, I will open mine eyes on the house of Judah. A reason is here given why all enemies would be smitten with stupor and madness, because the Lord would have a regard for his Church; for to open the eyes means the same thing as to have a care for a thing. It had seemed good to God to neglect his people for a time, and this neglect was as it were an oblivion. Hence the saints often complain |How longs wilt thou sleep! how long wilt thou close thine eyes! Look down, O Lord, and see.| So in this place Zechariah means that God would yet care for his people, so as to subdue their enemies.

We may hence learn a useful doctrine -- that, in the first place, there is nothing better for us than to be gathered under the shadow of God's protection, however destitute of any fortress the Church may be, yea, were she to have innumerable enemies hostile to her, and to be without any strength to resist them. Though then the Church were thus grievously tried, and be in the midst of many dangers, and exposed even to death, let us learn from this passage that those are miserable indeed who through fear or cowardice separate themselves from her, and that they who call on God, and cast on him the care of their safety, shall be made blessed, though the whole world were mad against them, though the weapons of all nations were prepared for their ruin, and horses and horsemen were assembled to overwhelm them; for the defense of God is a sufficient protection to his Church. This is one thing. Then let us learn to exercise our faith, when God seems to cast us as it were between the teeth of wolves; for though he may not afford any visible aid, yet he knows how to deliver us, and possesses hidden means of help, which we may not perceive, because his purpose is to try our faith and our patience. And lastly, let us learn, that when God connives at our miseries, as though he had forgotten us, yet our hope, founded on him, can never be disappointed; for if we abide among his flock, he will at length open his eyes upon us, he will really show that he cares for our safety. It now follows --

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