THE SKIRT OF A JEW.....A STUDY
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” - Zechariah 8:23.
I‘M sure that this verse has caused endless questions amongst Bible students over the years. The secret is to understand the original meaning of the words and/or phrases used.
The most important of these words is “Jew”. So let us firstly understand that there is no such word as “Jew” in either the original Old Testament, or New Testament Scriptures. In the Old Testament the original Hebrew means “Judahite, or descendant of Judah”. In the New Testament the original Greek word is “Judean”. The difficulty arises because of the fact that there is a race of people today who are called “Jews”, and the natural assumption is that whenever this word is used in the Bible, it refers to God’s people Israel, when in fact this is not, in most instances, the truth.
The next important factor is to establish the context in which the verse is stated. From the statement in verse 13 it is quite obvious that the Lord is referring to the both houses of Israel and Judah.
“And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, 0 house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.”
The next aspect to decide is the timing intended for this message. This timing is referred to in the first phrase of our text in the statement., “In those days it shall come to pass,” What Days?
Verse 8 informs us that;
“And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”
This is the same promise contained in several other Scriptures regarding the conditions when our Lord Jesus Christ returns to restore all things spoken of by the prophets, when His New Covenant will be fully operational within His people Israel under His personal reign.
The word “skirt”, refers to the outer garment worn by a person. In its prophetic sense, it refers to the “garment of righteousness” worn by a king. So now we have the description of ten men taking hold of the outer garment, or emblem of kingship, worn by a descendant of Judah, saying, “We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”
Now I have never believed, or accepted, that God wastes words. In this instance He was most emphatic as to the number of men who would be involved in this exercise. Why, I wonder, did He specify “ten” men if they had no special significance? Everything God says is said for a specific reason. Perhaps we could consider the statement recorded in Jeremiah 3:18;
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”
In Psalm, 114:2, we are informed that “Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His dominion.” At that time, and for many years later, Israel was comprised of TEN tribes, and constituted the dominion, or territory of God’s earthly kingdom. On the other hand, Judah was the recipient of the “kingship” which was destined by God Himself to finally reign over the entire Kingdom of Israel.
Ezekiel 37:15-22, and 27 fully explains the situation;
“The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all..... My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
And it all happened in 1603 when James VI of Scotland, of the lineage of Judah, became James I of both houses of Judah and Ephraim. The “dominion” had now taken hold of the garment of kingship. So what is the answer to our question? I believe that Zechariah is merely confirming, and providing a second witness to what his compatriot Ezekiel had previously recorded, but in different terminology.
How important it is to properly study God’s Word, rather than accept what we consider as human logic.
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