1. What do you think of when you hear the word, “king”?
2. There are 28 men named Zechariah (or variants) in the Bible. But who is this Zechariah? To start with, he is called the, “son of Iddo” (see Ezra 6:14). Iddo was properly his grandfather in our way of geneologizing, but in the Hebrew style, “son of” can refer to any ancestor in the blood line. He prophesied in Judah after the Babylonian exile, probably beginning around 520BC. He is one of the last prophets before the silent period of several centuries between Malachi and the New Testament. The book of Zechariah appears to be divided into two parts with the latter half, beginning at chapter 9, being written late in Zechariah’s time, possibly even at the same time as Malachi. So this is some of the very last writing in the Old Testament. As you think about this passage, bear in mind that Judah has not had a time of significant peace since 930BC when the kingdom split in two (northern kingdom = Israel, southern kingdom = Judah) after Solomon’s reign.
3. Read Zechariah 9:9-10
4. The terms “daughter of Zion” and “daughter of Jerusalem” all refer to the “children of Israel,” or “children of Abraham.” Who does Paul equate with the children of Abraham in Galatians 3:7?
5. Jeremiah (not the bullfrog) prophesied in Judah during the time leading up to the Babylonian captivity and so was a generation or two before Zechariah. Look up Jeremiah 23:5-6 and compare the “king” described there with the king in Zechariah
6. Ephraim is the second son of Joseph (Manasseh is the first). Near the end of his life, Jacob (Joseph’s father) recognized Joseph’s two sons with a blessing, even though Joseph’s wife, Asenath, was Egyptian. Manasseh was the older, but Jacob blessed Ephraim with his right hand, indicating that Ephraim would be greater. “Ephraim” also became, in later times (like the time of this writing) another name referring to the northern kingdom, Israel. Likely in this passage, “Ephraim” does refer to the northern tribes who had been decimated by the Assyrians in the 700’s BC. (cf. Hosea 4:17) Jerusalem refers to the southern kingdom of Judah.
7. Chariots, war horses and bows are powerful implements of war. These will be cut off either as in “the enemies will be cut off with their weapons” or “my people will no longer need their weapons” or both. “Riding on a donkey” also symbolizes times of peace. Nobody fights a war on a donkey!
8. How far and wide does the peace this king brings spread?
9. Matthew, seeing Jewish people as his primary audience, takes care to point out prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life. Look up Matthew 21:4-5 to see an example of this emphasis that relates specifically to this passage.
10. How does this king’s reign sound to you? Would you like to be ruled by a king if it was this kind of king?
11. In what ways did Jesus act like a king? In what ways didn’t he act like a king? Where did Jesus tell Pilate his kingdom was?
12. How does it impact your life to look at the life of Jesus and know that he will one day show himself king over all?
13. What else struck you?
14. Close with prayer.