In oracles against His own people, nations comprising the rod of God’s discipline come to Israel and Judah from the north. Jeremiah’s vision of the boiling pot tipping south, about to pour its painful contents on the land is just one example of that (cf. Jeremiah 1:13-16). But in chapter nine of Zechariah, the promises of God are to come from the north. It is to be the Lord Himself, leading his army against those who oppressed His people. Hadrach was north of Syria and south of that came Hamath and Damascus.
Surprisingly, the cities that follow are along the Israeli coast: Sidon, Tyre, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gaza. These cities were intended to belong to Israel, but they never had. That’s why this text is so surprising. God is promising a conquest Israel had always been promised but which she had never received. God is coming and his empire will encompass the earth and His people will be blessed as never before. Notice the words: The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.
Zechariah is speaking in the fifth century B.C. The Israelites who heard his promise must have, in time, viewed the promise as empty . . . unless, in time, they understood it to refer to the coming of the Messiah. Both Matthew and John use it that way and the crowds who welcome Jesus acknowledge the imagery. But the Messiah riding on the foal of a donkey was only part of it. What about the completeness of it, the triumph and recognition of God’s people?
Jesus came to initiate the fulfillment of such prophecies as this. But their complete fulfillment awaits the second coming of the Christ when the seventh trumpet will sound and the “mystery of God will be accomplished, just as He announced to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7).