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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
"...the son of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Haggai 1:1 ; Zorobabel, Matthew 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chronicles 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word "son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel. He is also known by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8 Ezra 1:11). In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of servants, who returned from captivity at the close of the seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13 ; ch. 4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place... as he was a descendant of the royal line of David."The name "Zerubabbel" means "one who was born in Babel" or "born in Babylon". But in spite of being born in Babylon, Zerubabbel was a Torah-keeping, Yahweh-worshiping person.
All that is known certainly about Zerubbabel is found in the books of Zechariah, Haggai, Ezra, and Nehemiah. According to these he and Joshua, the high priest, led up a band of captives from Babylon to Jerusalem and began rebuilding the temple in the second year of Darius Hystaspis.
They first constructed the altar of burnt offerings, and afterward built a temple, usually called the Second Temple, much inferior in beauty to that of Solomon. According to Josephus and the apocryphal Book of Ezra (1 Esdras 3, 4), Zerubbabel was a friend of Darius Hystaspis, having successfully competed before him in a contest whose object was to determine what was the strongest thing in the world-wine, kings, women, or truth.
Zerubbabel, won the contest when he demonstrated that
truth was the mightiest of all, was called the king's "cousin," and was granted by him permission to go up to Jerusalem and to build the temple. Zerubbabel was also made a governor of Jerusalem.
As John McTernan explains, Zerubbabel has connections with Messiah, which the most significant thing about him.
Although Jeconiah’s descendants were cursed in that they could not sit on the throne of David as the king of Israel , clear messianic promises were made to Jeconiah’s grandson, Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel returned from the Babylonian captivity and helped rebuild the temple. Because he was a direct descendant of David, Solomon and Rehoboam, he was eligible to sit as king. The Scriptures are clear, from Zerubbabel’s genealogy, that he is from King David through Rehoboam and Jeconiah. Zerubbabel’s genealogy follows:
1 Chronicles 3:10 “And Solomon's son was Rehoboam, Abia his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, (11) Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son,(12) Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, 13 Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son, (14) Amon his son, Josiah his son.(15) And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. (16) And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. (17) And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, (18) Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. (19) And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah,”
However, the kingdom was taken away from the Jews, and Israel was under the authority of a foreign power. Zerubbabel was recognized only as the governor and not the king of Israel. The curse was in effect as Zerubbabel did not sit as the king of Israel .
Haggai 1:1 “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of Yahweh by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah,”
There is no Scripture in the Bible to indicate that the curse was lifted off Jeconiah’s descendants which would include his grandson, Zerubbabel. Although the curse was not lifted off Jeconiah’s descendants, clear messianic promises were made to Zerubbabel by the prophet Haggai. The prophet Haggai shows a direct link between Zerubbabel and the Messiah. The Messiah is addressed and described by Haggai under the name of Zerubbabel. By addressing the Messiah in the name of Zerubbabel, a clear messianic link was established from David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeconiah to Zerubbabel. The Scriptures by Haggai follow:
Haggai 2:21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
(22) And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
(23) In that day, saith the Yahweh of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith Yahweh, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith Yahweh of hosts.”
The above Scriptures could not have been about Zerubbabel, but have to be directly related to the Messiah. There are several indicators in Haggai 2:21-23 which completely rule out Zerubbabel. In Zerubbabel’s day, God did not shake the heavens and earth. The kingdoms of the Gentiles were not overthrown. Zerubbabel was never made as a signet as he never was the king of Israel but only a governor of Judah. The Messiah is God’s signet.
God will shake the heavens and the earth at the End of the World. The Bible refers to this time as the Day of Yahweh.
Isaiah 13:9 “Behold, the Day of Yahweh cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (10) For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (13) Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of Yahweh of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.”
Three people in the Hebrew Scriptures foreshadow the Messiah: David, Solomon and Zerubbabel. They are all of the kingly line and all become a type of the Messiah. Zerubbabel was a type of the Messiah as it says in Haggai 2:23. Solomon was a type of the Messiah as it says in Psalm 72, and David was a type of the Messiah as well, as we see in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 34:23 “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”
The genealogy of king David through Rehoboam was maintained until the close of the Old Testament, in about 400 BC. Progenitors for Messiah, as recorded in the Bible, would come through Zerubbabel. The only genealogical line from David to Messiah, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, is that of Zerubbabel. There are no others that are recorded. God very carefully narrowed the Messianic line directly through Zerubbabel. The Bible lists the descendants of Zerubbabel to the sixth generation after him.
“And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister: And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushabhesed, five. And the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah: the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah. And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; Hattush, and Igeal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six. And the sons of Neariah; Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three. And the sons of Elioenai were, Hodaiah, and Eliashib, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Dalaiah, and Anani, seven.” 1 Chronicles 3:19-24
The genealogy of Zerubbabel, as recorded in the Book of 1 Chronicles has a very unique factor. This further shows the Bible’s special attention given to Zerubbabel and his descendants. The Book of 2 Chronicles ends with Cyrus, the King of Persia, allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Zerubbabel was with the first group of Jews that returned. This event occurred in approximately 535 BC. The last verse recorded in 2 Chronicles, as follows:
“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia , All the kingdoms of the earth hath Yahweh God of Heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him an House in Jerusalem , which is in Judah . Who is there among you of all His people? Yahweh his God be with him, and let him go up.” 2 Chronicles 36:23
The unique factor is that Zerubbabel’s genealogy was kept for six generations after the close of 2 Chronicles! The genealogy of Zerubbabel was maintained by some person or persons for approximately 100-150 years after the completion of 2 Chronicles. God sent several prophets to Israel after the return from Babylon. These prophets included Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. It is entirely probable that the prophets were monitoring Zerubbabel’s genealogy because they were aware of the Messianic significance.
For this reason, a look at Zerubbabel gives us a shadowy, prophetic glimpse of our Messiah - in both His past and future Roles.