Insights With Rabbi Jeff | Zechariah 2

After  laying the  groundwork  in  chapter  1  for  the  declaration  of  His  true  intentions  for  Israel  in  the  wake  of  the  return  from  Babylonian  exile, the  Lord  continues  in  concrete  terms  in  chapter  2  to  make  clear  that  there  should  be  no  doubt.

The  chapter  opens  with  an  angelic  figure  appearing  with  a  measuring  line, declaring  his  intention  to  measure  Jerusalem. Mysteriously, after  departing, he  is  ordered  back  with  another  message  for  the  young  prophet. Reading  between  the  lines, Zechariah  is  embarrassed  by  the  ruined  state  of  the  city. Nehemiah, speaking of his clandestine, nighttime inspection of the ruins, had stated that there were many places where his horse could not pass because of the damage.   Zechariah was  understandably  humiliated  by  the  prospect  of  this  “workman”  surveying  the  chaos  of  the  city  and  focusing  on  it  by  measuring  it.  Instead, the visitor is sent back to clarify; Jerusalem was not  being  measured  in  its  current  state, but, to  lay  out  plans  for  a  glorious  future. “Jerusalem will be  a  city  without  walls  because  of  the  number  of  people  and  animals  within  her, and, I  will  be  a  wall  of  fire  around  her. And, I will be the glory in her midst.”

Jerusalem of the future would be a city whose growth will be so explosive and expansive that protective  walls  will  be  useless  and  impractical. How will she have protection without walls? God Himself would  defend  her,  just  as  in  classical  times. And, the Lord would be her “k’vod”, “glory”.  We  tend  to  think  of  “glory”  as  brightness, which  is certainly  appropriate, but, the Hebrew  verb  from  which  it  derives  literally  means  to  have  weight  or  to  be  heavy.  Israel had been blown away into exile,  but, here  God  says  He  Himself  would  hold  her  together. As  verse  8  says, “He  who  touches  you, sticks  his  finger  in  God’s  eye.”

The result will be the testimony to God’s faithfulness and power that Israel was called to bring, resulting in nations being turned to the Lord.

Rabbi Jeffrey Adler

Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.