Parallels between Zechariah 2:8-12 and 9:9


Zechariah ties 2:8-12 to chapter 9 (especially verses 2:10 and 9:9) through several unique parallels that signal we are to read these texts in light of each. This is significant, because, in doing so, Zechariah signals that we are to see the coming figure in these passages as the same individual. This is noteworthy, for in Zechariah 2:8-12 the coming figure is undeniably the LORD. Let me point out how Zechariah ties these verses together through six clear parallels.

1) “Daughter of Zion” – In both passages, God’s announcement is addressed to the same audience: “Daughter of Zion” (2:10; 9:9; along with “Daughter of Jerusalem” in 9:9). What makes this parallel really stand out is that Zechariah only mentions these titles in these two passages and nowhere else in his book.

2) “Shout for joy” and “rejoice” – Furthermore, God calls Daughter Zion to the same response: “Shout (for joy)” (2:10; 9:9) and “rejoice” (2:10; 9:9).

3) “For behold” – Zechariah accentuates both of these passages by using of the same emphatic phrase to introduce the cause for rejoicing: “Behold” (2:9, 10; 9:9).

4)  “I/Your King is coming” – After this, we find that the cause for rejoicing is also the same: the coming of a central figure who is depicted throughout each section as the one who will bring judgment, usher in God’s presence and kingdom, and establish God’s ultimate restoration and peace. 

5) The Inclusion of the Gentiles – Zechariah also links the coming figure depicted in both of these passages with the same surprising result: the inclusion of the Gentiles. This, in fact, serves as the focal point of the chiastic arrangement spanning 2:8-12.  For those who may not be familiar with this term, a chiasm is a literary structure commonly used in the Old Testament. It involves a series of key themes or phrases being inversely mirrored around a central, often unparalleled, unit.  Chiasms generally serve two purposes: 1) they highlight the main theological themes, so the author’s message becomes more explicit; and 2) they aid in remembering larger sections of text. 

In this passage, the outer layer (A1 and A2, which you can find outlined below) contrasts God’s judgment against Israel’s oppressors and His subsequent restoration of His people in the holy land. “Plundering” and “[re]possessing as one’s portion” serve as a unifying motif in this section. 

Moving inward, B1 and B2 mirror each other with a nearly identical declaration concerning Israel’s future recognition of the coming figure’s identity: “you will know that the LORD of armies has sent Me.” Interestingly, the passage hints at the idea that the divine origin and identity of this coming figure will not be widely grasped until He is sent “after glory” (verse 8) to bring about the LORD’s judgement and full restoration. The passage tells us, it is “then you will know that the LORD of armies has sent Me” (verses 9 and 11; this delayed recognition is also found elsewhere in the book, such as in 12:10-14).[1]

The next sections, C1 and C2, focus in on this theme further, celebrating through identical phrases how God Himself has come to “dwell in your midst.” 

As we then come to the heart of the chiasm (D), we discover a shocking twist: instead of receiving judgment like we find in A1, many nations will join themselves to the LORD, becoming part of His people, just as we see Judah being restored to the LORD in A2. Like the A units, the center of the chiasm once again presents language on the transferring of possession (“many nations . . . will become My people”). You can follow this structure below:

A1) 8For the Lord of armies says this: “After glory He has sent Me against the nations that plunder you, for the one who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. 9For behold, I am going to wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves.

B1) Then you will know that the Lord of armies has sent Me.

C1) 10Shout for joy and rejoice, daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord.

D) 11 “And many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and will become My people.

C2) Then I will dwell in your midst,

B2) and you will know that the Lord of armies has sent Me to you.

A2) 12 And the Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”

This focus on how God’s coming will surprisingly bring about the inclusion of the Gentiles also plays a key role in Zechariah 9, where it serves as the main theme for two parallel units: “Then they [the hostile nations] also will be a remnant for our God, And be like a clan in Judah” (Zechariah 9:7); “And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea; And from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10).

Go Deeper

  1. The term “then” reflects the NASB’s interpretive clarification of the relationship the original weqatal verb has with the preceding clause (The weqatal is a standard Hebrew verbal form used in future prophecy to connect the main storyline events in sequence, much like the wayyiqtol does with past-tense narrative). I think the NASB is correct in this clarification since the knowing follows as a result of seeing God’s actions. Although this temporal result is not emphasized in Hebrew by an additional word, the connection still remains. Furthermore, a temporal focus does arise earlier in the passage from the intriguing clarification, “After glory,” that opens God’s speech.

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