This is our third Sabbath of Zechariah, and the closing notes have to reflect the text. It all comes to crisis, this ‘day of the Lord’, with conflict and carnage. The bleak side sounds like Likud threatening ‘plague’ on all Arabs.
I’d prefer to linger over the promise of the mundane made sacred, the cooking pots in the kitchen as blessed as the holy of holies. I’d prefer to imagine all nations observing the festival of booths with Israel, remembering our own humble beginnings in huts.
We’ve just a few days left, to read Joel and Malachi….
Zechariah 14 (NRSV)
1 See, a day is coming for the LORD, when the plunder taken from you will be divided in your midst.
2For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that half of the Mount shall withdraw northwards, and the other half southwards.
5And you shall flee by the valley of the LORD’s mountain,* for the valley between the mountains shall reach to Azal;* and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
6 On that day there shall not be* either cold or frost.*
7And there shall be continuous day (it is known to the LORD), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light.
8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter.
9 And the LORD will become king over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses.
11And it shall be inhabited, for never again shall it be doomed to destruction; Jerusalem shall abide in security.
12 This shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.
13On that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of a neighbour, and the hand of one will be raised against the hand of the other;
14even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected— gold, silver, and garments in great abundance.
15And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever animals may be in those camps.
16 Then all who survive of the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year by year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the festival of booths.*
17If any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain upon them.
18And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then on them shall* come the plague that the LORD inflicts on the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths.*
19Such shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to keep the festival of booths.*
20 On that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ And the cooking-pots in the house of the LORD shall be as holy as* the bowls in front of the altar;
21and every cooking-pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be sacred to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and use them to boil the flesh of the sacrifice. And there shall no longer be traders* in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.