In Zech 1:17, Yahweh proclaims that (My cities will again overflow with prosperity).[1] The verb usually means to “spread or disperse”, but has a secondary meaning in the Qal stem, which is used here “overflow”.[2] The Qal form is used in this sense also in Pr 5:16. This verb when used in the Hifil stem can mean to disperse or scatter things, such as mountains in Isaiah 28:25, which is a creative act.[3] The use of this verb implies that blessing will flow in torrential fashion.[4]

Similar ideas can be found in Isaiah and also in Deuteronomy. Isaiah 44:26 describes Jerusalem being, and also does it in the context of the Creator acting in history (creatio continua). The verse is located within a description of God as Creator. Isaiah 51:3 depicts Zion being comforted, and in terms of re-creation. It will be restored to an Eden-like state. Deut 6:10 speaks of cities which are bAJ also. These are cities which are given to the Israelites when going into the land God is giving them.

I think that it is important for a Christian who values ecology (environment) to base that view upon ideas found in the Bible. As I will be discussing in the future, Zechariah demonstrates a certain understanding of God as Creator which implies that humanity ought to value and care for God’s creation (the earth).

[1]The Hebrew text is from the MT, as shown in BHS, and the English text is from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

[2]HALOT, 919.


[4]George Klein. Zechariah, 105. David L. Peterson points out that one would expect more agrarian language, such as one finds in Joel 4:18. Yet this is what he calls a picture of sub-urban flourishing. Haggai and Zechariah 1-8, 158. Merril thinks this figure of speech implies the cities will become “abundantly prosperous”, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, 107. McComisky makes two important observations. First, he says that in this metaphor, the cities source of goodness is God. Second, He points out that in Deuteronomy this concept has carries an economic sense. McComisky, 1044. Meyers and Meyers also point out the economic connection of this figure of speech. Meyers and Meyers, 124. It seems one should also keep in mind the fact that Persians thought that Persians thought of famine being the product of a judgment of Ahrimin. So in this text, Yahweh is counteracting, overcoming, or showing the ineptness of that mythical god.

One comment on “Creation Metaphor in Zechariah 1:17

  • these are great thoughts; i would think deuteronomy would be ripe (double entendre?) for this sort of study too, especially all the agricultural blessings God promises Israel if she is faithful to covenant. it seems God’s plan in Eden, Israel, and the future is to bless the faithful with a lush and thriving creation

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