Zechariah: Chapter 14: Calamity and Redemption

The connection of this haftarah to the holiday of Sukkot is made evident in verses 16 and 17.  The mood of this reading relates to the theological concept that Sukkot as the messianic end of days for all nations. Verse 9 will be familiar from its inclusion in the Aleinu prayer which also has messianic connotations. This English translation is reprinted with permission from Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures published by the Jewish Publication Society.

14:1.         Lo, a day of the LORD is coming when your spoil shall be divided in your very midst!

mount of olives

The Mount of Olives

14:2.         For I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for war: the city shall be captured, the houses plundered, and the women violated; and a part of the city shall go into exile. But the rest of the population shall not be uprooted from the city.

14:3.         Then the LORD will come forth and make war on those nations as He is wont to make war on a day of battle.

14:4.         On that day, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall split across from east to west, and one part of the Mount shall shift to the north and the other to the south, [forming] a huge gorge.

14:5.         And the Valley in the Hills shall be stopped up, for the Valley of the Hills shall reach only to Azal; it shall be stopped up as it was stopped up as a result of the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. — And the LORD my God, with all the holy beings, will come to you.

14:6.         In that day, there shall be neither sunlight nor cold moonlight,

14:7.         but there shall be a continuous day — only the LORD knows when — of neither day nor night, and there shall be light at eventide.

14:8.         In that day, fresh water shall flow from Jerusalem, part of it to the Eastern Sea and part to the Western Sea, throughout the summer and winter.

14:9.         And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one LORD with one name.

14:10.     Then the whole country shall become like the Arabah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. The latter, however, shall perch high up where it is, and it shall be inhabited from the Gate of Benjamin to the site of the Old Gate, down to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.

14:11.     Never again shall destruction be decreed, and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.

14:12.     As for those peoples that warred against Jerusalem, the LORD will smite them with this plague: their flesh shall rot away while they stand on their feet; their eyes shall rot away in their sockets; and their tongues shall rot away in their mouths.

14:13.     In that day, a great panic from the LORD shall fall upon them, and everyone shall snatch at the hand of another, and everyone shall raise his hand against everyone else’s hand.

14:14.     Judah shall join the fighting in Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the nations round about — vast quantities of gold, silver, and clothing — shall be gathered in.

14:15.     The same plague shall strike the horses, the mules, the camels, and the asses; the plague shall affect all the animals in those camps.

14:16.     All who survive of all those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts and to observe the Feast of Booths.

14:17.     Any of the earth’s communities that does not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts shall receive no rain.

14:18.     However, if the community of Egypt does not make this pilgrimage, it shall not be visited by the same affliction with which the LORD will strike the other nations that do not come up to observe the Feast of Booths!

14:19.     Such shall be the punishment of Egypt and of all other nations that do not come up to observe the Feast of Booths.

14:20.     In that day, even the bells on the horses shall be inscribed “Holy to the LORD.” The metal pots in the House of the LORD shall be like the basins before the altar;

14:21.     indeed, every metal pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holy to the LORD of Hosts. And all those who sacrifice shall come and take of these to boil [their sacrificial meat] in; in that day there shall be no more traders in the House of the LORD of Hosts.

Photo credit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/william-and-mary/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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