When I have bent Judah - Judah is the bow, and Ephraim is the arrows; and these are to be shot against the Greeks. I am inclined, with Bp. Newcome, to consider that the language of this prophecy is too strong to point out the only trifling advantage which the Maccabees gained over Antiochus, who was of Macedonian descent; and it is probable that these prophecies remain to be fulfilled against the present possessors of Javan or Greece, Macedonia, and a part of Asia Minor.
When - or For I have bent Judah for me As a mighty bow which is only drawn at full human strength, the foot being placed to steady it. It becomes a strong instrument, but only at God‘s Will. God Himself bends it. It cannot bend itself. “And filled the bow with Ephraim.” The bow is filled, when the arrow is laid upon it. God would employ both in their different offices, as one. “And raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece.” Let people place this prophecy where they will, nothing in the history of the world was more contradictory to what was in human sight possible. “Greece was, until Alexander, a colonizing, not a conquering, nation. The Hebrews had no human knowledge of the site or circumstances of Greece. There was not a little cloud, like a man‘s hand, when Zechariah thus absolutely foretold the conflict and its issue. Yet here we have a definite prophecy later than Daniel, fitting in with his temporal prophecy, expanding part of it, reaching on beyond the time of Antiochus, and fore-announcing the help of God in two definite ways of protection;
(1) “without war,” against the army of Alexander Zechariah 9:1-8;
(2) “in the war” of the Maccabees; and these, two of the most critical periods in their history after the captivity 2 Chronicles 14:8-10 ff), and he met Zerah the Ethiopian with his million of combatants, besides his 500 chariots, and defeated him. And this, in reliance on the “Lord his God, to whom he cried, Lord, it is nothing to Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go against this multitude” 2 Chronicles 14:11. Asa‘s words found an echo in Judas Maccabaeus (Hebrews 11:34.