The Lord of hosts shall defend then - He alone is the sure trust of his Church.
Subdue with sling-stones - This was an ancient and powerful instrument in the hands of the Hebrews. See the note on Judges 20:16.
They shall drink - After the victory gained as above, thy people shall hold a feast, and drink and be filled with wine. There is no intimation here that they shall drink the blood of their enemies, as some barbarous nations were accustomed to do. When they have gained the victory, they shall banquet abundantly on the spoils taken from the enemy.
As the corners of the altar - They shall pour out libations of wine at the foot of the altar, as the priests were accustomed to pour out the blood of the victims.
The Lord of hosts, shall defend them - As God says, “I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake and for My servant David‘s sake”. The word is used by Isaiah only before Zechariah, and of the protection of Almighty God. The image of the complete protection on all sides stands first in God‘s words to Abraham, “I am thy shield” Genesis 15:1; David thence says to God, “Thou, O Lord, art a shield around me” (Psalm 3:4, (Psalm 3:3 in English)).
And they shall devour, and subdue - Or more probably (as in the margin), “shall tread on, the stones of the sling,” as in the image of leviathan in Job, “The son of the bow will not make him flee; sling-stones are to him turned into stubble; clubs are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear” (Job 41:20-21 (28,29 English)). Their enemies shall fall under them, as harmless and as of little account as the slingstones which have missed their aim, and lie as the road to be passed over. It is not expressed what they shall devour, and so the image is not carried out, but left indefinite, as destruction or absorption only; as in that, “thou shalt consume (literally, eat) all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee” Deuteronomy 7:16; and, “they are our bread” Numbers 14:9; and in that, “they shall devour (literally, eat) all the people round about” Zechariah 12:6, where the image is of fire, not of eating. The one thought seems to be, that their enemies should cease to be, so as to molest them any more, whether by ceasing to be their enemies or by ceasing to be. There is no comparison here, (as in Balaam) with the lion; or of eating flesh or drinking blood, which, apart from the image of the wild beast, would be intolerable to Israel, to whom the use of blood, even of animals, was so strictly forbidden. They should disappear, as completely as fuel before the fire, or food before the hungry. The fire was invigorated, not extinguished, by the multitude of the fuel: the multitude of the enemies but nerved and braced those, whom they sought to destroy.
And they shall be filled like bowls, like the corners of the altar - They shall be consecrated instruments of God; they shall not prevail for themselves, but for Him; they shall be hallowed like the bowls of the temple, from which the sacrificial blood is sprinkled on His altar, or “as the corners of the altar” which receive it.
“They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever.” “He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight.” Psalm 125:1-3; 72:14. AA 86.1
“The Lord of hosts shall defend them; ... the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land.” Zechariah 9:15, 16. AA 86.2Read in context »