Review: Zechariah (Klein, NAC)

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Klein, George.  Zechariah NAC.  Nashville, TN: Holman.  2005.

Klein does afford a place to a physical Israel in the future (Klein 67).  He notes that “the Church and Israel both participate in God’s eschatological promises, but neither will disappear in the end times” (67).  However, he rejects the idea that there are two parallel covenants today. Israel cannot be a metaphor for the church since there is no compelling literary or theological evidence in Zechariah to see it as such.

This is a fine, albeit limited scholarly commentary.  Klein interacts with the Hebrew text and occasionally the syntax.  There is a tendency for it to be “word studies,” but that is usually kept in check.

I only have one real disagreement and that is at the end of the book. He says “The biblical text gives no quarter to polytheism or even henotheism….Any other so-called deity is a non-god that possesses no power whatsoever” (376).  That statement is misleading. Of course, polytheism is out, since the “gods” are not on an even level. But what about henotheism? The problem there is that henotheism usually presupposes an evolutionary worldview, which is out of the question.  But the bible isn’t using the word “elohim” in the same sense that Klein is. An elohim is a spirit being of the unseen world. Yahwen is an elohim, but not all elohim are Yahweh. In any case, the Bible does say that elohim are real and they do have authority in some limited sense (Dt 32:8; Psalm 82; NT archons, principalities, etc).

Chapter 3

Great discussion on the identity of ha-Shatan.  Klein correctly argues that it isn’t the Satan figure of the New Testament.  The lexical argument, almost universally agreed among Hebraists, is that when x is preceded by the definite article, it is a common noun, not a proper name (135).  There are some rare exceptions. He also links it to the figure in Job 1-2. In any case, the passage makes no attempt to identify the figure, whose position is secondary to the flow of the narrative, anyway.

Chapter 6

Klein correctly recognizes that “Tsaphon” symbolizes something like cosmic evil (186).  Klein: “Mount Zaphon had a long association with Baal worship and functioned as the sacred mountain of Baal-Hadad in Canaanite mythology” (cf. CTA 3.3.10-28).

Chapter 7

Real Justice (8-14). “Zechariah places “true justice’ in an emphatic position, preceding the verb, in order to stress its importance” (221).  Justice isn’t an abstract term. It stresses the character of the Lord of the Covenant. Klein’s language is stronger: “Hence, the Bible ascribes ‘loyalty’ to a person, never to a concept. Theologically, the word hesed conveys the very ‘essence of the covenant relationship’” (221). Down with scholastic wrangling! We are dealing with the Lord of the Covenant.

Chapter 9

While there are good insights here, he misses the opportunity to fully exploit the battle between Zion and Greece.  Most commentators point to the oddity that Zechariah wrote this long before Alexander the Great, which means either it can only have some vague spiritual application, or it is a later addition.  Both, obviously, are unacceptable.

While this predated Greece’s military rise, the Greek worldview was already on the stage and fully at odds with God. On the next page Klein rightly notes the anti-Ba’al language (coming from the South as a counter to the North), but he could have extended the analysis further by noting that Zeus = Ba’al.

Chapter 11

Lebanon is linked with Bashan (315).  See Isaiah 2.13; Jer. 22.20; Ezek. 27.5-6.

Chapter 14

Klein argues persuasively that the events in chapter 14 must be future.

  1. (1) Numerous statements in chapter 14 have no equivalent in history (398).
    1. “God will gather all nations against Jerusalem” (v2)
    2. It will be a unique day known to the Lord (7)
    3. Yahweh will be king over the whole earth” (9)
    4. The survivors from all the nations that attacked Jerusalem will go up to worship (16)
  2. (2) The seven-fold reverberation of the eschatological formula “on that day” (bayyom-hahu) (4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21) also makes the eschatological outlook certain.

Klein does mention the connection between Yahweh’s (Jesus’s) feet landing on the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming and the earthquake that it creates (whose sole purpose is to allow the survivors time to escape). He notes textual connections with Exodus 14-15 and Ezekiel 38:19-23, which judgment will include a “great earthquake.”

Argues that the holy ones (kol-kadoshim) refers to some kind of heavenly council (407).



Chiasms in Zechariah

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From George Klein’s commentary (NAC) on Zechariah.

A. Vision 1: The man on a red horse (1.7-17).
             B. Vision 2: Four horns and four craftsmen (1.18-21).
                        C. Vision 3: The Surveyor (2.1-13).
                                    D. Vision 4: The cleansing of the high priest (3.1-10).
                                    D’ Vision 5: The lampstand and the two olive trees (4.1-4).
                         C’ Vision 6: The flying scroll (5.1-4).
            B’ Vision 7: The woman in the basket (5.5-11).
A’ Vision 8. The Four chariots (6.1-8).

A question about fasting

A. Embassy with question about fasting (7.13)
B. God’s answer concerning fasting (7.4-6).
C. Ancestor’s misconduct (7.7-12a).
D. Judgment against the ancestors (7.12b-14).
E. Exhortation (8.9-13)
D’ Salvation in the present and future (8.1-8, 14-15).
C’ The Community’s Conduct (8.16-17)
B’ God’s edict concerning fasting (8.18-19)
A’ Embassy to seek the Lord (8.20-23)

Chiasm of 9-14

A.  Judgment and salvation of surrounding nations (9:1-8).
            B. Introduction to the King (9.9-10).
                         C. Israel’s battle and ultimate victory (9.11-10.1)
                                       D. Idolatry and Judgment (10.2-3a)
                         C’ Israel’s battle and victory (10.3b-11.3).
             B’ The People reject the shepherds (11.4-17)
                         C” Israel’s battle and victory (12.1-9).
             B” Yahweh’s servant pierced; mourning and purification (12.10-13.1)
                                      D” Idolatry and judgment (13.2-6).
              B”’ Shepherd struck; judgment, purification, and return to God (13.7-9).
                         C”’ Israel’s battle and victory (14.1-9).
A’ Judgment and salvation of all nations (14.16-21).