1 The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: 2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
Zechariah 12:1-14:21 presents a second revelatory oracle. This oracle focuses on events of the Tribulation and the Second Coming and the establishment of the King of Israel, the consummation of God’s purpose for creation. The phrase “in that day” repeatedly occurs through this section. Chapters 12-14 are almost all future, while chapters 9-11 concern the past primarily.
The burden [oracle] of the word of the Lord against [concerning] Israel.
The second and final “burden” reveals that Jerusalem will face a future siege by her enemies (Zech 14:1-5). The word “burden” indicates a prophecy of grief. The nation “Israel” is the object of this “burden” from Jehovah. Her marauding enemies will face God’s judgment.
Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:
God bolsters the importance of this prophecy by three affirmations: (1) Jehovah stretches out the heavens; that is, He stretches out the heaves because He is omnipotent. (2) Jehovah created the earth. (3) He created human life. All three affirmations show Israel can depend on God’s providential care. They show that Jehovah can deliver Israel. This passage reminds Israel that God is the Creator of the universe and has the power to deal with her enemies (Isa 42:5; 43:1).
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.
The “cup of drunkenness” symbolizes the nations that surround Jerusalem as staggering drunk while they attack the city. God will supernaturally cause Israel’s enemies to be incapacitated.
And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
“That day” is an essential prophetic term. Here it refers to a day of Jehovah’s judgment against nations that oppose Israel (five times in Zechariah 12:3-4, 6, 8-9, three times in Zechariah 13:1-2,4, and seven times in Zechariah 14:4, 6, 8-9, 13, 20-21). The reference to a “very heavy stone” refers to a stone that injures a person when he tries to lift it. It will be difficult for nations of the world to attack Jerusalem.
The confederacy of nations against Israel will be universal during the Tribulation.
This study refers to the future Battle of Armageddon, where the world’s nations will fight against Jerusalem as a worldwide confederation; this event will be the world’s greatest conflagration in time. The word “all” indicates a worldwide attack on Israel (Joel 3:9-16; Mt 24:27-30; Rev 9:13-18; 16:12-16; 19:17-21). However, Jehovah will fight for Israel at that time and will foil the attempt of the world’s nations against His people.