Daily Word

Horns and Craftsmen | Zechariah 1:18-21 (ESV)

18 And I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four horns! 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” And he said to me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 20 Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. 21 And I said, “What are these coming to do?” He said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one raised his head. And these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it.”

Zechariah 1:18-21 (ESV)


Yesterday we read that God was indeed angry at Israel’s rejection of Him – which is why He used other nations to punish them. But these nations, that are now at ease (verse 11), were too harsh and cruel to Israel. 

In this vision of horns and craftsmen, God prophesied He would judge these nations. Horns often represent nations and power. Commentators suggest what nations they represent. “Denoting four powers by which the Jews had been oppressed; the Assyrians, Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians. Or these enemies may be termed four, in reference to the four cardinal points of the heavens, whence they came.” ( Clarke commentary)

Who are the craftsmen?

Clarke suggests the craftsmen are Nabopolassar (father of Nebuchadnezzar), Cyrus, Alexander the Great, and Ptolemy. One commentator suggests this horns/ craftsmen matrix.

Horn / Craftsmen matrix – source unknown

It doesn’t seem like there is any future fulfillment beyond Ancient Greece but who knows. 

What can we learn?

God’s Word is powerful and true. We also see that God has a plan and a specific way to carry it out. He may even use bystanders (even a donkey with Balaam – Numbers 22:21-39) to accomplish it or, whole nations, as in this case. 

We also see God’s sense of order and balance, His “fine tuning”, in carrying out judgement on Israel – but just the right amount. He knows and cares about the details. He’s a Mighty God!

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