The following blog post was originally posted here: The Lowly King of Israel…Zechariah 13
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. 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. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;(Zechariah 9:9-12)
Zechariah saw the coming of Alexander the Great, and described details of his Syrian campaign accurately, two centuries before it commenced. From this perspective it becomes manifest that God used Alexander as his scourge on the Gentile Powers who had helped “further the affliction of His people”. From his invasion of Hadrach, on into Damascus,(which had been one of the the Persian King’s storehouse cities), Alexander then sent a detachment to Sidon, which surrendered immediately.
Exactly as Zechariah predicted, Alexander then went to lay siege to Tyre, one of the most formidable and richest merchant cities in the world.Tyre had moved itself from a coastal city out into a securely fortified island, and had in the past,successfully resisted sieges lasting five years (The Assyrians) and then 13 years (the Babylonians), due to her wealth and the clever engineers she employed, to build defensive siege weapons.
It was during Nebuchadnezzar’s 13 year siege, that Tyre mover herself out to an Island. The Babylonians were shocked, when they had finally breached the walls, after so many years, to find the city deserted and the people of Tyre safely fortified on an Island further out to sea. Lacking a sufficient naval force, Nebuchadnezzar abandoned Tyre’s ruins.
… Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.(Zechariah 9:2-3)
Notice Zechariah predicted the wealth ofTyre and the smug security and confidence in her own wisdom, two centuries before.
Alexander the Great took up where Nebuchadnezzar had left off, when he razed the ruins of the coastal city of Tyre, in one of the great engineering feats of the Ancient world, pushing the rubble of the abandoned city of Tyre out into the sea thus forming a causeway, which allowed his troops to attack, sack and burn the new Tyre in a span of seven months! This also fulfilled a specific prophecy of Ezekiel,
In the eleventh month of the twelfth[a] year, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, because Tyre has said of Jerusalem, ‘Aha! The gate to the nations is broken, and its doors have swung open to me; now that she lies in ruins I will prosper,’ therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. She will become plunder for the nations, and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the Lord.(Ezekiel 26:1-6)
That God used Alexander the Great, as He used Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and many other pagan Kings and conquerors, just underscores the message of the Psalm, which states that “…the wrath of man shall praise Him…” who is Sovereign and rules among the affairs of nations and Kingdoms.
But the real purposes of God are wrapped up in a King of another kind. Zechariah saw him approaching Israel, 500 years before his coming, “Behold Thy King Comes unto Thee…”.
Unlike the violent and perverted Alexander, this one shall be truly great, for He is just(Righteous) , bringing the long awaited salvation to Israel. He comes not as Alexander, with awesome military power and speed, bristling with a multicultural army of conquerors, but in humility, (lowly) riding not on a battle Steed, but on a colt, the foal of an Ass.
This is the one whose ultimate effect would be to deliver Israel once and for all from war, and the humiliation of Gentile reign, captivity and conquest. His reign shall be righteous and shall extend to the ends of the earth, He shall command peace to the warring nations of the earth, and in Him, the turbulent sea of human history shall be calmed and stilled at his command.
Multitudes, not only of Israel but of every nation shall find deliverance from the pit that they were destined for, because of their sins. They shall go free “through the blood of the covenant”, and flee into the refuge He has prepared for them, as “prisoners of the Hope” which he reveals.