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Zechariah Chapter 9


The Coming King

Third part of Zechariah


Zechariah chapter nine begins the third section of Zechariah, following the first section, chapters 1 to 6, and the second, chapters 7-8.  In section one, Zechariah has eight visions, in the second section, sincerity of worship and fasting are the focus.


Contents of Zechariah

Chapters 1 to 6

Eight Visions

Chapters 7-8


Fasting and Jerusalem

Chapters 9 to 14

Oracles, of the first and second (Chapters 9-11) and (Chapters 12-14) coming of Messiah

This third section of Zechariah can be divided into two parts.  Zechariah receives two distinct prophetic visions in this last section. They are called oracles, by Zechariah, the first one is covered in chapters 9 through 11. The second, in chapters 12 to 14. Chapters 9 through 11 primarily deal with the First Coming, while chapters 12 through 14 deal with the Second Coming. The Messiah,   rejected at His First Coming is the exalted King of Jerusalem at His Second Coming (Zeck. 14).

The unity between the first eight visions (chapters 1-6) and the last section (chapters 9-14) is worth noting.   Commenting on this unity, Walvoord and Zuck write,


These two oracles contain numerous passages which are counterparts to major themes of the eight visions, thus giving testimony to the unity of the entire Book of Zechariah.[1]  


( Adapted from Walvoord and Zuck commentary)



First Oracle


1. Zech. 1:7-17

Man among the myrtle trees

The future prosperity of Jerusalem and Israel

Zechariah 10:6-9

Zechariah 12:6-8, 14:11

2. Zech 1:18-21

Four Horns, four craftsmen

The destruction of nations


12:1-6, 14:1-3

3. Zech Chapter 2

Man with a measuring line

The divine protection and exaltation of Jerusalem


12:7-9, 14:4-11

4. Zech Chapter 3

Cleansing of Joshua the High Priest

The spiritual cleansing of Israel


12:10-14, 14:8

5. Zech Chapter 4

Gold Lampstand and 2 Olive trees

The divine enablement of Israel



6. Zech 5:1-4

Flying Scroll

The divine judgment on sinners

Chapter 11

13:7-9, 14:12-15

7. Zech 5:5-11

Women in a Basket

The removal of iniquity from the land of Israel



8. Zech 6:1-8

Four Chariots

God’s judgment on rule over the whole earth




Introduction to chapter 9


Zechariah chapter 9 looks forward to the establishment of the Messianic kingdom, when King Messiah will over the earth, and His people Israel will be gathered, and dwell in righteousness.  The King, who enters Jerusalem on donkey, in verse 9, is the same king who rules over the nations in verse 10.  The First and Second Coming of Messiah separate verses 9 and 10.

In the first eight verses, the enemies are of Israel are removed for the coming of the King in verse 9. Many of these prophecies were fulfilled with advance of Alexander the Great’s armies, which brought down the Persian Kingdom, and the cities, which were enemies to Israel, including Tyre and Gaza. Alexander granted the Jews freedom to worship, Jerusalem was never conquered by the armies of Alexander, as noted by Josephus (See below). These first eight verses look forward to the day when the remnants of the Philistines will one day be part of the Messiah’s Kingdom, in the Millennium.

            The last part of this chapter looks to the day of the Second Coming, when the Lord will establish the descendents of Jacob as “jewels of a crown”.  During this period, the Messiah who entered Jerusalem on a donkey, and was rejected will rule and reign over the earth in power and glory.

Oracle regarding Israel’s enemies 

Zechariah 9
1 The burden of the word of the Lord Against the land of Hadrach, And Damascus its resting place (For the eyes of men And all the tribes of Israel Are on the Lord); 2 Also against Hamath, which borders on it, And against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise. 3 For Tyre built herself a tower, Heaped up silver like the dust, And gold like the mire of the streets. 4 Behold, the Lord will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, And she will be devoured by fire. 5 Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; And Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. 6 "A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 7 I will take away the blood from his mouth, And the abominations from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, And shall be like a leader in Judah, And Ekron like a Jebusite. 8 I will camp around My house Because of the army, Because of him who passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, For now I have seen with My eyes.

 (1) Burden (Oracle):  aXXmMassa'  This word has been translated both burden and oracle depending on the version.  The root of this word is nasa, which means to carry. For example, the “Word of the Lord” is a burden, which must be carried by the prophet to proclaim the message. Both Nahum and Habakkuk introduce their entire books with this term, meaning oracle.  Therefore, the better translation herewould probably be oracle as opposed to burden.

             Zechariah chapters 9 to 11 are part of one oracle, while chapters 12 to 14 are part of a second oracle. 

Hadrach:  This reference most likely refers to an area north of Damascus, known in the days of the Assyrian King, Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 B.C.) as Hatarikka, who wrote in his annals about how the land was conquered. The land reached as far south as Damascus, which might have been the capital of the region.

Damascus…its resting place: The start of this oracle concerns the nations to the north of  Jerusalem, leading to the entry of the Messiah into the city of Jerusalem (vs.  9). Resting place here, could be understood as seat or throne of the region. Damascus and Hadrach are part of the same area referred too here, with a southward progression toward Jerusalem in the first eight verses.

Eyes of men:  The first 8 verses, look for a southern movement ending in Jerusalem, when the King enters the city.  This culminates in the Messiah, who is the focus of all humanity and the tribes of Israel.

Tribes of Israel:  Israel as a nation is made distinct from the eyes of men, or humanity.  Through Israel, the Lord will accomplish his plan of righteousness and judgment upon the nations.

(2)  Hamath:  This city is located 125 miles north of Damascus and is built on both sides of the Orontes River; at one time, this city-state was the capital of small Hittite kingdom prior to 900 B.C... Tiglath Pillesr III (745-727 B.C.) conquered this territory, and forced them to pay tribute.

Tyre…Sidon:   Located on the Mediterranean coast, these two cities are often mentioned together in scripture.  Both cities were Phoenician cities, which traded and bartered with other cities throughout the Mediterranean area.  Here, Zechariah notes the wisdom, which these two cities had and their reputation for trade and money. They are located about 30 miles apart.

 Hiram, King of Tyre, is noted for his friendship with David and Solomon, and providing Cedar trees, which were used in the Temple. (2 Samuel 5;11, I Kings 5:1-8)  The King of Tyre is also used as a picture of Satan in Ezekiel 28.  Ezekiel notes the wisdom of the king of Tyre, noting he is wiser then Daniel.

Queen Jezebel was the great-granddaughter of Hiram who along with Ahab, King of Israel resisted the Lord and his prophet Elijah. (I Kings 16;31)

(3)  Tyre built:  The city of Tyre was known as a stronghold, which was able to resist mighty kings because part of the city was located off the coast, built on an impenetrable rock. Not until Alexander the Great, built a causeway from the mainland to the island city did it fall, fulfilling the words of Ezekiel (Chapter 28) and Zechariah 9:3. (See Josephus comments) 

            Ezekiel also notes the wealth and glory of Tyre, which the Lord used to illustrate Satan’s pride before his fall.


2 "Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god 3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! 4 With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; 5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches)," 6 'Therefore thus says the Lord God: "Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.
Ezekiel 28:1-8 

 (4)  Cast her out:  During the time of Zechariah, many of these kingdoms were under Persian rule.  When Alexander the Great marched against Persia, these cities were taken, including Tyre after a 5-month siege, after they closed the gates to Alexander’s army.  Jerusalem on the other hand, enjoyed Alexander’s favor and was not conquered by Greek troops, which passed by her walls.  Alexander met with the High Priest, of the Temple and was shown the prophecies of Daniel regarding him, and as a result granted favor to the Jews.

            The marching Greek armies are seen fulfilling the near term prophecies, bringing down these proud city-states, preparing the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to enter Jerusalem on the colt, the foal of a donkey.

(5)Ashkelon:  Following a southern route from Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, Tyre and Sidon, along the coast of Mediterranean Sea, the city of Askelon follows.   The Easton Bible Dictionary writes the following about Ashkelon. 

=Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judges 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Samuel 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jeremiah 25:20; 47:5,7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan. 

Ekron . . . expectation . . . ashamed--Ekron, the farthest north of the Philistine cities, had expected Tyre would withstand Alexander, and so check his progress southward through Philistia to Egypt. This hope being confounded ("put to shame"), Ekron shall "fear."

king shall perish from Gaza--Its government shall be overthrown. In literal fulfillment of this prophecy, after a two-month’s siege, Gaza was taken by Alexander, ten thousand of its inhabitants slain, and the rest sold as slaves. Betis the satrap, or petty "king," was bound to a chariot by thongs thrust through the soles of his feet, and dragged round the city.

(6)  Mixed race: Because of the pride of Philistia, others will migrate into the land and become the inhabitants, the land would become a migratory land, desolate in nature, allowing new people to mix with the Philistine population.

Pride of Philistines:  The Lord will humble the nations into submission, however, these remnants of these nations will one day be part of the Lord’s kingdom, including Philistia.

(7)  Blood…mouth: The pagan practices of the Philistines will be stopped on this day, eating blood was forbidden. (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 7:26).

Abominations… teeth: The meat of food sacrificed to Idols will not be eaten, because Idol worship will stop in the days to come, when Messiah rules (Zechariah 14).

He who remains:  Here Zechariah chapter 9 looks forward to the day, when the remnants of the pagan Philistines and the surrounding nations, are incorporated into believing Israel.  When they will one day be one with the nation, to the point where they are “like a leader in Judah”.

Ekron: The Jebusites, the original inhabitants of Jerusalem were incorporated into the inhabitants of Jerusalem over time. (2 Samuel 24:16,).  Ekron will be like the Jebusites one day, who were incorporated into Jerusalem.

(8)  I will:  Though all the nations and cities surrounding Jerusalem fell to the advancing armies of Alexander, Jerusalem was spared.  According to Josephus, Alexander had a dream, which was confirmed when he met the High Priest.  Alexander was shown the prophecies of Daniel, regarding his victories over Persia, he then conferred great rights on the Jews, which other nations did not receive. 

I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians…... …And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad,[2] 

My house:  The Temple was preserved to the time of Messiah, who entered Jerusalem,, and was later sacrificed for the sins of the world. (Isaiah 53), The Tempe was then destroyed after the Messiah was cut off, in A.D. 33. fulfilling the words written by Daniel. (Daniel 9:26)

 The Coming of Zion’s King


9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.' 11 "As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you. 13 For I have bent Judah, My bow, Fitted the bow with Ephraim, And raised up your sons, O Zion, Against your sons, O Greece, And made you like the sword of a mighty man."  Zechariah 9:9-13 

(9) Rejoice greatly:   Jerusalem is told to rejoice, literally, dance with force, because  “Your King” comes.  Jerusalem is celebrate the entrance of it’s king. The first eight verses were in preparation for the coming of Israel’s king.  What king is this talking about?

Your king:  Here, both Judaism and Christianity are in agreement, this King is the Messiah. Judaism understands this verse to be referring to King Messiah, who is entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Christianity sees Jesus fulfilling this verse, who entered Jerusalem before death, riding on a donkey. (See also Mark 11:9,10; Luke 19:37,38; John  12:13-15)

7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David!' Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!"Matthew 21:7-9

The Jewish commentator Rashi writes regarding this verse

Behold! Your king shall come to you It is impossible to interpret this except as referring to the King Messiah, as it is stated: “and his rule shall be from sea to sea.” We do not find that Israel had such a ruler during the days of the Second Temple.[3]

Clearly presented in scripture, the Messiah, is the King of Israel, the king of Jerusalem ruling on the throne of David.  (See also II Samuel 7:12-14,)  

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.  Isaiah 9:6-7 

5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Jeremiah 23:5-6 

Jesus entered Jerusalem as Israel’s King, the choice to accept or reject Him, was up to the people.  Jesus was rejected by the Priesthood as King and died for our sins fulfilling the Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the suffering Messiah (Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Daniel 9:26). The Messiah was killed, for the sins of the world, bringing salvation not only to Judah, but the whole world.


13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" 15 But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"

John 19:13-15

Having Salvation:  The amazing description which follows this King of Israel, is he has “salvation”, how does he have salvation?  The Hebrew word here is, [XyYasha, meaningto save. The Coming King is described as being just or righteous, (qyddcTsaddiyq) and bringing salvation to the nation.   The description of the righteous servant corresponds to Isaiah, where the servant killed for the sins of the world is described as the Lord’s  “righteous servant”.


He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11


By His death, Messiah the King brought salvation to the whole world, and at His second coming he will fulfill the 10th verse, when reigns over the whole earth in righteousness and power.


Lowly: Not only is the coming king, just and having salvation, we are told he is yn[`aniy, meaning poor, afflicted, humble, wretched.  How is the Messiah, poor, and afflicted?  At what point is the Messiah in this condition? 

      Here we see the dual nature of Messiah, as both, conquering king, and a suffering servant.  Contrast the pictures of Messiah presented in Psalm 2 (Conquering King) and Isaiah 53 (Suffering Servant). Though these two portraits seem different, they are of the same person. One presents the first coming of Messiah, when He is rejected and dies for the sins of the world, the second, presents the Second Coming of Messiah, when He comes in glory and power to rule  and judge the nations.

Riding….a donkey:  The description of Messiah riding a donkey, entering Jerusalem, being lowly has presented a conundrum for the Jewish Messianic interpretation, because (Daniel 7:13) the messiah is pictured arriving on the clouds. The Jewish answer to this problem was to present an “either-or” scenario, dependent on Israel’s righteousness.


R. Alexandri said: “R. Y’hoshua’a ben Levi explained:  ‘If they will be righteous, [the Messiah will come] on the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13); if they will not be righteous, [he will come] as a poor man riding upon an ass (Zech. 9:9)….King Shabur [Sapur] said to Sh’muel: “You say that the Messiah will come upon an ass; I shall send him a well-groomed horse.” He answered “do you, perchance, have a horse of a hundred colors?”  Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 98a[20]

        The answer is not an either question, but Messiah will fulfill both, at His first coming, he enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey, at His second, He comes on the clouds in glory and power to rule the nations.(Matthew 24:30, 25;31, Acts 1:9-11, Daniel 7;13) Messiah ruling the nations is exactly what is presented in the 10th verse.

(10)  Chariot…horse…battle bow:  At the Second Coming, the nations of the earth are gathered together against Jerusalem, its at this point, as the Jewish nation finally understands the Messiah, is non other then Jesus Christ, who entered the city on a donkey at His first coming so they call out Him and He returns in glory and power.  This picture of the Second Coming of Christ is clearly pictured in Zechariah 12:9-10.  The instruments of war will be broken by the power of the Messiah.

 9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Zechariah 12:9-0

peace to the nations:  The Kingdom of Christ will be established, and peace will brought to the nations.

His dominion: Messiah’s dominion will be universal throughout the earth, from sea to sea.

(11) the blood of your covenant: The Mosaic Covenant was a foreshadowing of the New Covenant, which was fulfilled by the blood of Messiah. All the animal sacrifices were done in anticipation of the coming sacrifice, the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sins of the world.

(12) prisoners of hope: Those who died before Christ, but in faith were prisoners of hope, who looked forward to the coming of the Redeemer, who would pay or redeem them from their sins. This is exactly what the Messiah did, he released those bound for their sins, because His death paid for them. Job looked forward to the coming of his Redeemer, who would  

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

 (13) Judah, My bow: Judah is the Lord’s instrument of war against the nations. In the end, the nations despise Judah and Jerusalem, because they are sign of Messianic rule against the nations. There are several ways this verse can be applied.

First, through Judah, the Messiah would come into the world to subject the nations to the Lord’s rule.  Second, through God’s covenant relationship and promises the Lord will elevate an obedient Israel above the nations (Deut. 28:1-2), in opposition to the nations.

Third, the nations rage against Judah, will cause the Lord to judge the nations. 

The Lord will appear


14 Then the Lord will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord God will blow the trumpet, And go with whirlwinds from the south. 15 The Lord of hosts will defend them; They shall devour and subdue with slingstones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; They shall be filled with blood like basins, Like the corners of the altar. 16 The Lord their God will save them in that day, As the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, Lifted like a banner over His land 17 For how great is its* goodness And how great its+ beauty! Grain shall make the young men thrive, And new wine the young women. Zechariah 9:14-17


(14)The Lord will be seen: Here the Second Coming is in view, as the Lord returns in Glory and power to establish His Kingdom over the earth

(15) Will defend them: In that day Israel will be supernaturally empowered to defend herself against the nations, this is described in Zechariah 12:8.

 "In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. Zechariah 12;8

The Lord Himself, will be the power behind the people.

(16) God will save them: When Christ returns, the nation will know that Jesus the Messiah, was God in the flesh, who died on the cross for the sins of the nation.  In that day, the nation will be restored to the Lord. The people are called the flock of His people, and the Lord is the Sheppard and Messiah. They are described as Jewels of a Crown, because its at this point God as able to bless an obedient people, who now know their sin and their Messiah.

Through Israel, the Lord will bless the nations, as King Messiah rules and reigns over the earth from Jerusalem.

(17) How great: The Messianic era will surpass any period known on the earth, in beauty and glory.  The people will radiate, both men and women, both grain and wine will be a blessing to humanity in the age to come.


Josephus account of Alexander the Great’s approach to Jerusalem

3. About this time it was that Darius heard how Alexander had passed over the Hellespont, and had beaten his lieutenants in the battle at Granicum, and was proceeding further; whereupon he gathered together an army of horse and foot, and determined that he would meet the Macedonians before they should assault and conquer all Asia. So he passed over the river Euphrates, and came over Taurus, the Cilician mountain, and at Issus of Cilicia he waited for the enemy, as ready there to give him battle. Upon which Sanballat was glad that Darius was come down; and told Manasseh that he would suddenly perform his promises to him, and this as soon as ever Darius should come back, after he had beaten his enemies; for not he only, but all those that were in Asia also, were persuaded that the Macedonians would not so much as come to a battle with the Persians, on account of their multitude. But the event proved otherwise than they expected; for the king joined battle with the Macedonians, and was beaten, and lost a great part of his army. His mother also, and his wife and children, were taken captives, and he fled into Persia. So Alexander came into Syria, and took Damascus; and when he had obtained Sidon, he besieged Tyre, when he sent all epistle to the Jewish high priest, to send him some auxiliaries, and to supply his army with provisions; and that what presents he formerly sent to Darius, he would now send to him, and choose the friendship of the Macedonians, and that he should never repent of so doing. But the high priest answered the messengers, that he had given his oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and he said that he would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the living. Upon hearing this answer, Alexander was very angry; and though he determined not to leave Tyre, which was just ready to be taken, yet as soon as he had taken it, he threatened that he would make an expedition against the Jewish high priest, and through him teach all men to whom they must keep their oaths. So when he had, with a good deal of pains during the siege, taken Tyre, and had settled its affairs, he came to the city of Gaza, and besieged both the city and him that was governor of the garrison, whose name was Babemeses.

4. But Sanballat thought he had now gotten a proper opportunity to make his attempt, so he renounced Darius, and taking with him seven thousand of his own subjects, he came to Alexander; and finding him beginning the siege of Tyre, he said to him, that he delivered up to him these men, who came out of places under his dominion, and did gladly accept of him for his lord instead of Darius. So when Alexander had received him kindly, Sanballat thereupon took courage, and spake to him about his present affair. He told him that he had a son-in-law, Manasseh, who was brother to the high priest Jaddua; and that there were many others of his own nation, now with him, that were desirous to have a temple in the places subject to him; that it would be for the king's advantage to have the strength of the Jews divided into two parts, lest when the nation is of one mind, and united, upon any attempt for innovation, it prove troublesome to kings, as it had formerly proved to the kings of Assyria. Whereupon Alexander gave Sanballat leave so to do, who used the utmost diligence, and built the temple, and made Manasseh the priest, and deemed it a great reward that his daughter's children should have that dignity; but when the seven months of the siege of Tyre were over, and the two months of the siege of Gaza, Sanballat died. Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifice to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.

5. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king's displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, "I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind." And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest's direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him(23) wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreared him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.   


Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI Chapter 8



[1] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Zechariah 9, Walvoord and Zuck, Pg.1561 Victor Books 1989

[2] Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI Chapter 8

[3]The Judaica Press Complete Tanach, Rashi Commentary, online version