זכריה 9:9 (WLC):
9 גִּילִ֨י מְאֹ֜ד בַּת־צִיּ֗וֹן הָרִ֙יעִי֙ בַּ֣ת יְרוּשָׁלִַ֔ם הִנֵּ֤ה מַלְכֵּךְ֙ יָ֣בוֹא לָ֔ךְ צַדִּ֥יק וְנוֹשָׁ֖ע ה֑וּא עָנִי֙ וְרֹכֵ֣ב עַל־חֲמ֔וֹר וְעַל־עַ֖יִר בֶּן־אֲתֹנֽוֹת׃
9 Rejoice exceedingly, O Daughter of Zion! Raise a shout, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold! Your King shall come to you! Righteous and having salvation is He!
He is lowly and riding upon a donkey, upon a male donkey, a son of female donkeys.
Biblical Context: The prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai (cf., Hag. 1:1; Zech. 1:1), was among those who returned from the exile, and was instrumental in calling people to finish the rebuilding of the temple. Yahweh gave Zechariah an apocalyptic message to proclaim, a message which pointed toward the coming of the Messiah (Christ Jesus). Zechariah 9:9 is just one of those Messianic proclamations and is explicitly identified as such in the Gospels (cf., Matt. 21:1-5; Jn. 12:14-15). Within this verse we see an emphatic command to praise!
“Rejoice!” (גִּילִ֨י) and “raise a shout!” (הָרִ֙יעִי) are both imperatives! Yahweh was not asking for His people to praise, nor was He extending an invitation for them to join the celebration! Rather, Yahweh commanded His people to praise! As both גִּילִ֨י and הָרִ֙יעִי share the connotation of lifting up praise and adoration, when they are placed together it becomes an emphatic command to praise! Not only do these two verbal commands show emphases, but the coupling of these terms and their subjects, “O Daughter of Zion” and “O Daughter of Jerusalem,” add to the already emphatic command to praise! Yahweh really wants His people to praise! If that were not enough, the use of the term מְאֹ֜ד, “exceedingly,” with the first imperative makes this emphasis even more explicit! Yahweh really wants His people to praise!
Though the imperatives and term “daughter” are grammatically singular, Yahweh is not speaking to an individual. Yahweh is addressing the people together collectively. Thus, Yahweh commanded all the inhabitants of Jerusalem together to praise! But why should they in light of their circumstance? Though the people had returned from exile, Israel was not “free.” Jerusalem and the temple were still being rebuilt, but not in their former glory… so why the emphatic command to praise? The King was coming!
By using the interjection הִנֵּ֤ה, “behold,” and placing the subject, “your king,” before the verb, “he shall come,” the King Who is coming is emphasized, rather than the act of His coming. The King was the reason for praise! This emphasis on the coming King continues through the four descriptors concerning Him. First, He is righteous (צַדִּ֥יק). Second, He is having salvation (וְנוֹשָׁ֖ע). Using the participle to describe the King having salvation implies ongoing action! In other words: He had, He has, and He will have salvation! Third, though not expected, He is lowly, afflicted, poor (עָנִי֙). Fourth, He will be riding (וְרֹכֵ֣ב) on a donkey’s colt. The description of the colt He would ride, draws attention to its significance, as all four Gospels later record, recognizing Jesus as this King! Here in Zechariah 9:9, despite their present circumstances, we have Yahweh giving an emphatic command for His people to praise because of Israel’s coming King, Jesus!
Life Application: Due to the many difficulties we encounter in life, at times we can find it difficult to praise, impossible to rejoice, and if we were to raise a shout it may not be joyous! Like many of the Israelites to whom Zechariah prophesied, our circumstances can discourage us, try to keep us from praise, and even attempt to turn us away from our God. Nevertheless, our God commands us to rejoice exceedingly and raise a joyful shout! And we can! How? If our reason for praise is not our circumstances, but is rather our King Jesus, then we can praise in all circumstances! After all, our King has come and He is coming again! So let us rejoice exceedingly! Raise a shout! For our King has come to us and He is coming again! Righteous and having salvation is He! He was lowly, but now is highly exalted!
New Testament Scriptures for Further Meditation: Mt. 21:1-11; Mk.11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-40; Jn. 12:12-16
Personal Prayer: Heavenly Father, I rejoice and raise a shout knowing that my King Jesus has come and is coming again! I rejoice knowing He is righteous! He is having salvation! He is humble, and though He came lowly and afflicted, He is exalted! Help me to praise You without ceasing! Help me to rejoice and raise a shout because of Who You are, regardless of my circumstances. In Jesus’ glorious name, I rejoice! Amen!
-Pastor Chris Montgomery