The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.
Hadrach — This is the name of a city in Celosyria, and here signifies the country also. It was not far from Damascus.
The rest thereof — This burden shall lie long as well as heavy on Damascus.
Towards the Lord — For as all men's appeals in cases of wrong are to heaven, so they who have been wronged by Syrian injustice, look to heaven for right.
 And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.
Hamath — A principal town of Syria.
Shall border — Shall be so near the storm, that they shall not quite escape.
Very wise — Each of them are subtle, and think by craft to save themselves, but God derides their wisdom.
 Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
Cast her out — Of her inheritance, as the word properly means.
 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
Her expectation — Her hope that Tyre would break Alexander's power, or hold out against it.
Ashamed — Turned into shame and confusion.
The king — The government shall be overthrown.
Shall not be inhabited — For many years.
 And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
A bastard — Strangers, who have no right of inheritance.
 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
Take away his blood — Though proud and warlike nations have delighted to shed blood, and, as it were, to eat the blood of their enemies, yet God will overthrow their power, and take the prey out of their mouth.
Abominations — Their abominable sacrifices which they offered and feasted on. God will punish their idolatries, and by destroying the cities of those abominations, will remove them for ever.
The remnant — That small select number who escape the sword, shall be the Lord's peculiar ones.
As a governor — For the honour which shall be given them.
As a Jebusite — The city is put for the people, and this one city and people for all the other: all the remaining Philistines shall be as Jebusites, servants to the people of God.
 And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.
I will encamp — To defend it from all its enemies.
Mine house — This temple, but as it is an emblem of the church.
The army — Of the Persian and the Grecian army, whose march lay through Judea.
 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Thy king — The Messiah.
He is just — The righteous one, who cometh to fulfil all righteousness.
Having salvation — To bestow on all that believe in him.
 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
I will cut off — When the Messiah comes and sets up his kingdom, he will need no external force. Neither chariot, bow nor sword, brought salvation to him, neither shall they be mentioned in the day of his conquest.
The heathen — The Heathens through him shall be reconciled unto God, and one another, Ephesians 2:17.
From the river — From Euphrates to the utmost end of Canaan, to the Mediterranean sea; a type of all the world, which was in due time to be the inheritance of Christ.
 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
As for thee — Oh Jerusalem; these words are Christ's words to her.
By the blood — By my blood, in which thy covenant as confirmed; 'tis God's covenant as made by him, 'tis Zion's covenant as made for her, 'tis Christ's also as made in him.
Sent forth — I have delivered the Jews out of Babylon: compared to a pit in which no water was, wherein the Jews must have perished, had not God visited them.
 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
Turn ye — The prophet exhorts the Jews to hasten to Christ, who is the salvation and high tower of the church.
Prisoners of hope — Captives, yet not without hope.
Even to-day — In this day of lowest distress.
Double — Twice as much good as thou hast suffered evil.
 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.
When I have bent Judah — In the day's when Judah shall be in my hand as a strong bow, already bent.
Ephraim — Ephraim, the remainder of the ten tribes (which returned with Judah) shall be for a supply of warriors; as the quiver filled is a supply of arrows to the bow-man.
O Greece — Against the Grecians or Ionians, who had oppressed the Jews, and bought them for slaves, against whom the Jews took arms, under the conduct of the Maccabees, to whom Christ made good much of this promise.
 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.
Shall be seen — Shall manifestly appear for them.
His arrow — His judgments, swift, irresistible, and sudden.
As the lightning — Which breaks forth with violence, and runs from east to west in a moment.
The Lord God — Their God, the God of Israel, shall give the alarm to them, and sound the call to bring them together.
Of the south — In which the mightiest whirlwinds are raised; some think the prophet alludes to the tempest at the delivery of the law.
 The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.
Devour — Destroy their enemies.
With sling-stones — As David did Goliath.
Shall drink — In their festivals, when they offer sacrifices of thanksgiving for their victories.
Make a noise — Shout with shouts of triumph, as men do whose hearts are glad with success, and cheared with wine.
Shall fill — With the blood of the sacrifices they offer.
 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.
As the flock — As a shepherd saves his flock.
As the stones of a crown — Precious in my sight.
As an ensign — Or trophy.
 For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.
His goodness — Infinite goodness is the fountain of all the good done for this people.
His beauty — How wonderful the beauty of Divine Providence in Israel's deliverance and salvation? Corn - Plentiful harvests shall make the young men chearful in sowing, reaping, and eating the fruits thereof.
New wine — There shall be such plenty of wine, that all, young and old, shall be cheared with it.