By Jeff Pulse –
The Old Testament lesson for the Sunday of the Passion (Palm Sunday), March 25, 2018, is from the Book of the Twelve: Zechariah. The text is Zechariah 9:9-12 and is the prophecy of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on what is now called the Sunday of the Passion. This is the beginning of Holy Week and all that is involved in the events leading to the most important celebration of the Church Year: Easter.
The appointed Gospel for the day does not focus upon the triumphal entry, which is quite unfortunate considering the important ramifications and the prophetic fulfillments involved. The pericopal system does list John 12:12-19 for the Palm Sunday procession, and I would strongly recommend using this text in your service to reinforce this Messianic event which was very significant to the Jews. This is the new King David! Hosanna in the highest!
In addition to the Davidic references in verses 9-10, we also find references to other Christological figures in these verses. In verse 11, the reference to being set free from the waterless pit is a direct connection to Joseph in Genesis 37 (and perhaps Daniel and the pit of lions), and the “restoration of double” in verse 12 points us back to Job 42. All these characters—David, Joseph, and Job—point to Christ in very important ways. The fact that the Jews of Jerusalem recognize the fulfillment of these verses in Jesus is a powerful statement—not only of Jesus’ being the Messiah but also that they understand the Messianic/Christological nature of the Old Testament and the characters therein.
9:9 giyliy—root: gil “to shout(in exultation); rejoice”
hariyiy—root: ru—hiphil “to rejoice; shout in triumph; to cheer”
tsadiyq wenosha hu “righteous and having salvation is He” Note the nominal use of the pronoun.
aniy “lowly; humble”
werocev—root: racab “to ride; to be riding”
chamor “donkey; ass”
ayir “male donkey”
athonoth “female donkey; she-ass”
9:10 wehikratiy—root: karat—hiphil “to cut; to cut off” Could be translated with the causative sense: “I will cause to be cut off” God is the agent of action here.
aphsey “end; extreme limit”
9:11 shilachti—root: shalach—piel “to set free (piel); to send forth (qal)”
asiyrayik “prisoner” (see also verse 12)
bor “cistern; pit; dungeon” This usually references a waterless, storage pit—not a well. It is also used in Genesis as the word for prison (39-41). Joseph was cast into such a “pit” as was Daniel and Jeremiah.
9:12 shuvu—root: shuv “to return (imperative)” ashiyv “I will return/restore” (at the end of the verse)
leviitsaron “stronghold; fortified place”
mishneh “two-fold; a double portion”
Note the command to return with the promise of a double “returning” to those who return.