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.’
These two verses introduce Judah’s King/Messiah. Verse 9 describes His character and verse 10 what He will accomplish. These two verses present the two advents of Christ, verse 9 the first and verse 10 the second advent. Having depicted Alexander’s march to defeat Israel’s enemies in the previous sections, Zechariah now presents the ultimate conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Second Coming. This time it will not be a foreign king but the King of Israel who will come to bring peace on earth.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The above sentence contains personified phrases that refer to the people of Jerusalem. Jerusalem surrounded Mount Zion (Isa 1:8). The people were to welcome the coming Messiah/King with joy. The theocratic people will welcome their theocratic King.
Behold [note with great attention], your King is coming to you [first coming];
“King” in this context refers to the Messiah (Jer 23:5) coming to Israel (Isa 9:5-7; Micah 5:2-4; Luke 1:32-33). Just as Alexander, the Greek conqueror, defended Israel, so Jesus will come as King to ultimately defend Israel. The Messiah’s coming will carry great significance.
He is just and having salvation,
The Messiah will come with both justice and victorious deliverance. “Salvation” will deliver Israel from all her foes. He will be “just” or righteous both in His person and in His reign (Ps 45:6-7; Isa 11:1-5; 32:17; Jer 23:5-6; 33:15-16). He will fully establish His universal kingdom when He comes the second time. His reign will be “just” among the nations of the world.
Lowly [humble] and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal [untamed] of a donkey.
The donkey was a beast of burden, a common means of transportation in biblical times. The entrance to Jerusalem would be peaceful by His riding on a donkey in the Triumphal Entry (Mt 21:1-5). In the Messiah’s first coming, He came on an untamed donkey in peace (Mt 21:2; compare Ge 49:10-11); in His Second Coming, He will ride on a white horse for war.
I will cut off the chariot [the battle chariot] from Ephraim [Israel] And the horse [battle horse] from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off.
When the Messiah comes, He will battle His enemies to accomplish His goals. The “battle bow” was a very significant weapon of war in ancient Israel. Zechariah linked both Ephraim (the northern tribes) and Jerusalem (representing the southern tribes) together. The nation Israel will be united one day again, and the Messiah will use them in the final battle.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
The Messiah will establish universal peace among the nations of the world during the Millennium. It will be an epic peace in the world.
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River [Euphrates River] to the ends of the earth.’
The extent of the Messiah’s rule will be vast, running “to the ends of the earth”; it will be a worldwide kingdom. The “River” here is the Euphrates, the longest river in Mesopotamia. This river extends today from Turkey to the Persian Gulf. It also flows through Babylon. The Euphrates River was the easternmost boundary of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 15:18). The point here is that the Euphrates was the starting point of a worldwide kingdom.
The first coming of Christ is a pledge of His Second Coming.
Zechariah called upon Israel to rejoice because her King was coming. The King is the promised Messiah who was to establish a kingdom for Israel. He would redeem the nation in doing this. He would bring salvation (v.9).
Jesus will reign one day as the Prince of Peace. He will do this by destroying instruments of war. We call this period the Millennial kingdom of Christ.
All the Gospels show that Jesus fulfilled Zechariah 9:9. Only Matthew alludes to Zechariah directly (Mt 21:1-5). The nation of Israel rejected the Messiah in His first coming when He presented Himself as King but will embrace Him as King Jesus in His Second Coming.
The Gospels did not quote verse 10 because they knew the so-called Triumphal Entry was only partially fulfilled in our Lord’s first coming. The original Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday was not triumphal; it ended in disaster—Jesus’ death on the cross. His true triumph will occur with His Second Coming. In His first coming, He came on a donkey, an animal of peace. In His Second Coming, He will come on a white horse, an animal of war by which He will conquer the world.
The centuries of the church economy lie between verses 9 and 10.