Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zechariah 8:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Ten men - shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew - The converts from among the Gentiles shall be to the Jews as ten to one. But ten may here signify a great number, without comparison. And from this scripture it appears as if the Jews, converted to God, should be the instruments of converting many Gentiles. See on Isaiah 3:6; (note). Catching hold of the skirt is a gesture naturally used to entreat assistance and protection. This and the three foregoing verses, says Abp. Newcome, refer to the great accession of converts which the Jewish Church received between the captivity and the coming of Christ; to the number of Christian disciples which the Jewish preachers made, and to the future conversions of which the restoration of the Jews will be an eminent cause.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Ten men of all languages of the nations - Ten is the symbol of a whole, all the numbers before it meeting in it and starting again from it. The day of Pentecost was to be the reversal of the confusion of Babel; all were to have one voice, as God had said, “It (the time) shall come to gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see My glory” Isaiah 66:18.

They shall lay hold of the skirt of one man who is a Jew - Jerome: “That is, of the Lord and Saviour, of whom it is said, “A prince shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He shall come, for whom it is laid up, and for Him shall the Gentiles wait” Genesis 49:8-10; for “there shall be a rod of Jesse, and He who shall arise to rule over the Gentiles, to Him shall the Gentiles seek” Isaiah 11:10. And when they shall lay hold of Him, they shall desire to tread in His steps, since God is with Him. Or else, whosoever shall believe out of all nations, shall lay hold of a man who is a Jew, the Apostles who are from the Jews, and shall say, Let us go with you; for we have known through the prophets and from the voice of all the Scriptures, that the Son of God, Christ, God and Lord, is with you. Where there is a most manifest prophecy, and the coming of Christ and His Apostles and the faith of all nations is preached, let us seek for nothing more.”

Cyril: “Christ turning our sorrow into joy and a feast and good days and gladness, and transferring lamentation into cheerfulness, the accession to the faith and union to God by sanctification in those called to salvation shall not henceforth be individually; but the cities shall exhort each other thereto, and all nations shall come in multitudes, the later ever calling out to those before them, “I too will go.” For it is written, “iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a man the countenence of another” Proverbs 27:17. For the zeal of some is ever found to call forth others to fulfill what is good. But what is the aim proposed to the cities, that is, the Gentiles? “To entreat and to seek the face of the Lord,” that is, Christ, who is the exact image of God the Father, and, as is written, “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person” Hebrews 1:3, of whom also the divine David saith, “Shew Thy countenance to Thy servant” Psalm 119:135.

For the Image and Countenance of God the Father hath shone upon us. Having Him propitious and kind, we lay aside the injury from sin, being justified through faith, “not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His great mercy” Titus 3:5. But how they shall come, he explains. By the ten men you are to understand time perfect number of those who come. For the number ten is the symbol of perfection. But that those of the Gentiles, who cleave to the holy Apostles, took in hand to go the same way with them, being justified by the faith in Christ, he sets evidently before us. For little children, if they would follow their fathers, lay hold of the hem of their dress, and, aided by the touch and hanging from their dress, walk steadily and safely. In like way, they too who “worshiped the creature rather than the Creator” Romans 1:25, choosing as their true fathers the bringers-in of the Gospel-doctrines, and joining themselves by like-mindedness to them, follow them, being still of childlike minds, and go the same way, ever showing themselves zealous followers of their life, and by continued progress advancing “to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” Ephesians 4:13.

But why do they follow them? Being persuaded that God is with them, that is, Emmanuel, God with us. But that this calling belongs not only to those of the blood of Israel but to all nations throughout the world, he indicated by saying, that those who laid hold of that hem should be of all languages. But when were the nations called to the knowledge of the truth, and when did they desire to seek the face of the Lord and to entreat it, and to go the same way, as it were, as the holy Apostles, except when the Only-Begotten came to us, who is “the expectations of the nations” Genesis 49:10; to whom also the divine David singeth, “All the naions, whom Thou hast made, shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord?” Psalm 86:9. For the multitude of the nations also is saved through Him.”

The startling condescension of this passage is, that our Lord is spoken of as “a man, a Jew.” Yet of His human Nature it is not only the simple truth, but essential to the truth. Pilate said to Him in scorn, “Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee unto me” John 18:35. But it was essential to the fulfillment of God‘s promises. The Christ was to be “the Son of David” Matthew 1:1; Matthew 22:42. “Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the linen of Bethlehem, where David was?” John 7:42. David, “being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne Acts 2:30; “Of this man‘s seed hath God, according to promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus” Acts 13:23. Whence Paul begins his great doctrinal Epistle with this contrast, “the Gospel of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power” Romans 1:1-4. He was that “one Man among a thousand, whom Solomon says, I found; but a woman among all those have I not found” Ecclesiastes 7:28; the one in the whole human race. It was fulfilled in the very letter when “they brought to Him all that were diseased, and besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole” Matthew 14:35-36. “The whole multitude sought to touch Him, for there went virtue out of Him and healed all” (Luke 6:19, add Luke 8:46; Mark 5:30).

Even the Jews saw the reference to the Messiah.: “All nations shall come, falling on their faces before the Messiah and the Israelites, saying, Grant, that we may be Thy servants and of Israel. For as relates to the doctrine and the knowledge of the law, the Gentiles shall be their servants, according to that, “In those days ten men etc.””

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meet him with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honest in all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so, though thereby you come short of the gains others get dishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably with all men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants of God drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices were softened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hitherto the Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of other nations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religion to their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of the earth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass. Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and no doubt future events will explain it further. It is good to be with those who have God with them; if we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people, and be willing to take our lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal, either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personal religion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to have their portion with us in the realms of bliss.