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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Zechariah - Chapter 12

Zechariah - Chapter 12

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 12

1. The prophecy of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Says the Lord, Who stretches out the heavens and founds the earth and forms the spirit of man within him:   א. מַשָּׂא דְבַר יְהֹוָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם יְהֹוָה נֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם וְיֹסֵד אָרֶץ וְיֹצֵר רוּחַ אָדָם בְּקִרְבּוֹ:
The prophecy of the word of the Lord: This is the completion of the word that he began to speak about the retribution of those who devour Israel - Esau and his ilk.  
2. Behold! I am making Jerusalem a cup of weakness for all the peoples around, and also on Judah, [that he] shall be in the siege against Jerusalem.   ב. הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי שָׂם אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם סַף רַעַל לְכָל הָעַמִּים סָבִיב וְגַם עַל יְהוּדָה יִהְיֶה בַמָּצוֹר עַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם:
a cup of weakness: a vessel of weakness, as in (Exod. 12:22), “in the blood that is in the cup.”  
weakness: an expression of bewilderment, [it means] the clogging of the heart and the limbs, for, like man enwrapped in a garment, they have no strength, as in (Nahum 2:4), “And the cypress trees were enwrapped” ; and (Isa. 3:19) “And the bracelets and the veils.” In the language of the Mishnah (Shabbath 6:6) we find, “Arabian women may go out veiled.” It is involopiment in O. F.  
and also on Judah: the nations that will be in siege against Jerusalem will impose upon Judah, for the house of David will be inside and the gentiles will besiege them. And also, the children of Judah will come, against their will, to besiege Jerusalem. So did Jonathan render it.  
3. And it shall come to pass on that day that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all peoples; all who bear it shall be gashed, and all the nations of the earth shall gather about it.   ג. וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַהוּא אָשִׂים אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם אֶבֶן מַעֲמָסָה לְכָל הָעַמִּים כָּל עֹמְסֶיהָ שָׂרוֹט יִשָּׂרֵטוּ וְנֶאֶסְפוּ עָלֶיה כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ:
a stone of burden: A stone of burden placed upon men by order of the ruler, to carry it and to load it on their shoulders. It is very heavy, to the extent that all who bear it become gashed.  
4. On that day, says the Lord, I will smite every horse with bewilderment, and its rider with madness. And upon the house of Judah I will open My eyes, and all the horses of the peoples I will smite with blindness.   ד. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם יְהֹוָה אַכֶּה כָל סוּס בַּתִּמָּהוֹן וְרֹכְבוֹ בַּשִּׁגָּעוֹן וְעַל בֵּית יְהוּדָה אֶפְקַח אֶת עֵינַי וְכֹל סוּס הָעַמִּים אַכֶּה בַּעִוָּרוֹן:
I will smite every horse: of those gathered there with bewilderment and blindness, and their riders with madness (Shem Ephraim). But upon the [members of the] house of Judah, who are among those gathered against their will, I will open My eyes to protect them from this plague.  
5. And the princes of Judah shall say to themselves, "The inhabitants of Jerusalem were my strength through the Lord of Hosts, their God."   ה. וְאָמְרוּ אַלֻּפֵי יְהוּדָה בְּלִבָּם אַמְצָה לִי יֹשְׁבֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם בַּיהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם:
And the princes of Judah shall say to themselves: when they see that the others who were gathered are plagued with this plague, and they are saved.  
The inhabitants of Jerusalem were my strength, etc.: The inhabitants of Jerusalem, who know that we came upon them against our will, strengthened my help with their prayer by the Lord, their God.  
6. On that day I will make the princes of Judah as a fiery stove among wood, and as a brand of fire among sheaves. And they shall consume on the right and on the left all the nations round about, and Jerusalem shall still stay in its place in Jerusalem.   ו. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אָשִׂים אֶת אַלֻּפֵי יְהוּדָה כְּכִיּוֹר אֵשׁ בְּעֵצִים וּכְלַפִּיד אֵשׁ בְּעָמִיר וְאָכְלוּ עַל יָמִין וְעַל שְׂמֹאול אֶת כָּל הָעַמִּים סָבִיב וְיָשְׁבָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם עוֹד תַּחְתֶּיהָ בִּירוּשָׁלִָם:
I will make the princes of Judah: They will return and wage war with those who brought them there.  
as a fiery stove: Like a great bonfire. The word כִּיוֹר is an expression of כִּירָה, a stove. So did Menahem (Machbereth, p. 109) classify it.  
in its place: lit. under it.  
7. And the Lord shall first save the tents of Judah, so that the boasting of the house of David and the boasting of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not increase over Judah.   ז. וְהוֹשִׁיעַ יְהֹוָה אֶת אָהֳלֵי יְהוּדָה בָּרִאשֹׁנָה לְמַעַן לֹא תִגְדַּל תִּפְאֶרֶת בֵּית דָּוִיד וְתִפְאֶרֶת ישֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם עַל יְהוּדָה:
And the Lord shall first save the tents of Judah: Before the inhabitants of Jerusalem come out of the city, they shall have a salvation - to return to their tents and to their homes - and afterwards the salvation shall come to the inhabitants of the city. That is the salvation concerning which it is stated (14:3): “And the Lord shall go forth and wage war.”  
so that the boasting of, etc., shall not increase: to boast over them and to say, “ You were saved only because of us.”  
8. On that day the Lord shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the weakest of them shall be, on that day, like David. And the house of David shall be like angels, like the angel of the Lord before them.   ח. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יָגֵן יְהֹוָה בְּעַד יוֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְהָיָה הַנִּכְשָׁל בָּהֶם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כְּדָוִיד וּבֵית דָּוִיד כֵּאלֹהִים כְּמַלְאַךְ יְהֹוָה לִפְנֵיהֶם:
and the weakest among them: Heb. הַנִּכְשָׁל  
like angels: Jonathan renders: like great ones, like angels.  
like the angel of the Lord before them: They will prosper like the angel of the Lord before them.  
9. And it shall come to pass on that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come upon Jerusalem.   ט. וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אֲבַקֵּשׁ לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶת כָּל הַגּוֹיִם הַבָּאִים עַל יְרוּשָׁלִָם:
I will seek to destroy: I will seek their destruction, and I will be exact in judging their iniquity. And our Sages (Avodah Zarah 4a) explained this verse as concerning merit. I will search in the books of their deeds; if they have merit, I will spare them; otherwise, I will destroy them.  
10. And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplications. And they shall look to me because of those who have been thrust through [with swords], and they shall mourn over it as one mourns over an only son and shall be in bitterness, therefore, as one is embittered over a firstborn son.   י. וְשָׁפַכְתִּי עַל בֵּית דָּוִיד וְעַל | יוֹשֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלַםִ רוּחַ חֵן וְתַחֲנוּנִים וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר דָּקָרוּ וְסָפְדוּ עָלָיו כְּמִסְפֵּד עַל הַיָּחִיד וְהָמֵר עָלָיו כְּהָמֵר עַל הַבְּכוֹר:
a spirit of grace and supplications: That it should come into their mind to supplicate Me, and they will be in My good graces.  
a spirit: Talant in Old French, a desire.  
they shall look to Me because of those who have been thrust through: Jonathan renders: And they shall supplicate Me because of their wanderings. And they shall look to Me to complain about those of them whom the nations thrust through and slew during their exile.  
and they shall mourn over it: Over that slaughter.  
as one mourns over an only son: As a man mourns over his only son. And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring to the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was slain.  
11. On that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon.   יא. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִגְדַּל הַמִּסְפֵּד בִּירוּשָׁלִַם כְּמִסְפַּד הֲדַדְרִמּוֹן בְּבִקְעַת מְגִדּוֹן:
like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon: Hadadrimmon has no connection to the Valley of Megiddon. These are, rather, two cases of mourning. [The first is] like the mourning of Ahab the son of Omri, who was slain by Hadadrimmon the son of Tabrimmon in Ramoth Gilead, as it is stated (I Kings 22:36): “A cry passed through the camp.” That is the mourning [of Ahab. The second case is] like the mourning of Josiah the son of Amon, who was slain by Pharoah the lame in the Valley of Megiddon, as it is stated (II Chron. 35:25): “And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women spoke in their laments, etc.”  
12. And the land shall mourn, every family apart: The family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart.   יב. וְסָפְדָה הָאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת לְבָד מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית דָּוִיד לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית נָתָן לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד:
the house of Nathan: the prophet. Some say that it refers to Nathan the son of David, as it is said (II Sam. 5:14): “Shammua and Shobab, and Nathan and Solomon.”  
13. The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart.   יג. מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית לֵוִי לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד מִשְׁפַּחַת הַשִּׁמְעִי לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד:
the house of Levi: The priests and the Levites.  
the family of the Shimeites: Shammua the son of David. Scripture first makes a generality about the house of David, and then it specifies each one.  
14. All the remaining families-every family apart, and their wives apart.   יד. כֹּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת הַנִּשְׁאָרוֹת מִשְׁפָּחֹת מִשְׁפָּחֹת לְבָד וּנְשֵׁיהֶם לְבָד:
All the remaining families: of the house of David.  
and their wives apart: because of decency. Now why were the families of the priesthood and the kingdom [mentioned]? In order to restore their crowns to them, as it is stated in the beginning of the Book (4:14): “These are the two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of all the earth.”  
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