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Verse 7

Zechariah 7:7. Should ye not hear the words You needed not to have thus inquired, had you regarded the words spoken by my prophets, who have borne testimony to the real excellence and absolute necessity of obedience to the great and momentous precepts of my law, and who have called for true repentance and sincere love to God and man, with their proper fruits, and have shown how light and insignificant all ceremonies and formal services are in comparison thereof. When Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity He puts them in mind of the reproofs, warnings, and exhortations of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others of the former prophets, delivered to them when they were in a state of comparative prosperity, in which state they would have been continued, if they had hearkened to these prophets, and been obedient to the Lord’s voice uttered by them. As if he had said, This is what you should have done on your fast-days; it was not enough to weep and separate yourselves on those days in token of your sorrow for the judgments that had come upon you; but you should have searched the Scriptures of the prophets, that you might have seen what was the ground of God’s controversy with your fathers, and might have taken warning by their miseries, not to tread in the steps of their iniquities. You ask, shall you do as you have done in fasting? No; you must do that which you have not yet done; you must repent of your sins, and reform your lives; that is it that we now call you to, and it is the same that the former prophets called your fathers to. To affect them the more with a sense of the mischief that sin had done them, and to bring them to true repentance, he reminds them of the former flourishing state of their country; Jerusalem was then inhabited, and in prosperity, but is now desolate and in distress; the cities round about, that are now in ruins, were then inhabited too, and in peace; the country likewise was very populous. But then God by the prophets cried to them, as one in earnest, and was importunate with them to mend their ways, and their doings, or else their prosperity would soon be at an end. Now, says the prophet you should have taken notice of that, and have inferred, that what was required of them for the preventing of the judgments, and which they did not perform, is required of you for the removal of the judgments; and if you do it not, all your fastings and weeping signify nothing. The south was that tract of land called the wilderness of Judea, Matthew 3:1; part of which, or near to it, was the hill country, mentioned Joshua 21:11; Luke 1:39. The LXX. here render it Ορεινη , the hill country. The plain was that open country, called the plains of Jericho, 2 Kings 25:5; and the plain of the valley of Jericho, Deuteronomy 34:3; and reached as far as the salt sea, or the lake of Asphaltites, called the sea of the plain, Deuteronomy 3:17; compare Jeremiah 17:26.

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