The restorationistic theme of so much of Zechariah continues in chapter 10. The people of Israel/Judah have mistakenly trusted in false gods, prophets, and priests in the past, and, have paid a severe price for this error. Now, Adonai tells them to call on Him for spring rain. He makes the storm clouds, rain showers, and plants of the field for everyone-even, in grace and mercy, the pagans themselves. Paul writes in Romans that the Lord “sends the rains on the just and the unjust”. He also states that the “goodness of God leads you to repentance. ”God, recognizing that even the most evil man was originally created in His Image, loves him and gives him the opportunity to recognize on “which side his bread is buttered” and to turn to Him.
Secondly, since HaShem, not the former false gods, sends the rain, it makes sense to request it from Him instead of the powerless idols who have visible form but no power; even their form is given to the idols by men who have their creative capacities by God. People confuse tangibility-the capacity to be seen and touched-with reality of power. Also, we can be sure that as the people became guiltier, they found difficulty in believing that the offended Adonai would even be open to their pleas. Here, He tells them of His astounding Grace and Mercy. The referral to the spring rains implies, with spring, an available new beginning. Integrating these things with the general promises of the prophets of a coming, atoning Messiah, the Lord provides the means to redeem men from the past while opening new vistas for the future, especially with Him.
HaShem now, starting with the second verse, turns to the idolatristic system. ”The idols utter deceit and diviners see lies. They relate false dreams and comfort in vain. Therefore, the people wander like sheep, afflicted because there is no shepherd.”(Tree of Life Version) Idols, of course, are unable to speak, much less think, so, their “voices” are the false prophets and priests who “make it up as they go along”. Because they have no real powers to back up their soothsaying, people who trust in them are playing with counterfeit cash with no value, scattered in the wilderness of life awaiting a salvation that never materializes.
Because of the devastation in the lives of the beloved people, God states, ”My anger burns against the shepherds and I will punish the leaders. Adonai-Tzva’ot cares for His flock, the House of Judah. He will make them His valiant steed in battle.”(TLV) The nations like Assyria and Babylon had been used as instruments of discipline to Israel/Judah, but, now, God will reverse the roles and Israel will be the whip in God’s hands. What a forgiving God!
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.