John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17 (Zechariah 14:17)

Verse 17

Zechariah goes on here with the same subject, — that the name of the only true God would be known throughout the whole world, so that all nations would unite in his worship, while the whole earth was before polluted with various superstitions, and every one followed his own god: but the more clearly expresses here than in the last lecture, that vengeance was prepared for all the despisers of the true God. He says then, that the curse of God is laid up for all those who would not come to Jerusalem humbly to worship God to there.

We have said that in these words is set forth the legitimate worship of God; for after the coming of Christ it was not necessary to ascend into Jerusalem according to what John says in John 4:21

“The time comes and now is, that the true worshippers of God shall worship God, neither in this mountains nor at Jerusalem;”

but in every part of the world. But the Prophets speak according to the state of things in their time, and always describe the spiritual worship of God according to the types of the law. To ascend then into Jerusalem amounts to the same thing as to embrace true religion and cordially to engage in the worship of the only true God, such as has been prescribed in his word. The meaning then is, — that all who despised the God of Israel would be accursed.

Then what follows is mentioned by the Prophet as a part for the whole; he declares that there would be no rain on the despisers of God; as though he had said, that they would perceive God’s vengeance, as he would take away from them all the necessaries of life; for by rain the Prophet means whatever is needful for the support of life. And we know that as to the blessings of God needful for the present life, the chief thing is, when he renders the heavens and the earth the servants as it were of his bounty to us: for how can we be supplied with food, except the earth by his command open its bowels and the heavens hear the earth, as it is said elsewhere, (Hosea 2:21;) so that rain may irrigate it, and render it fruitful, which must be otherwise barren?

We now then understand the design of the Prophet, — that in order to invite all nations to the pure worship of God, he declares that all who refused to serve the only true God would be accursed. He further intended by this prophecy to animate the Jews, that they might firmly proceed in the course of true religion until the coming of Christ, and never doubt but that the God whom they worshipped would be the supreme king of the whole world, though before hidden as it were in a corner of the world, while worshipped in Judea alone. The Prophet then intimates that though God had been despised by all nations, his name would yet be sanctified and adored; and also, that if any deprived him of his legitimate worship they would be visited with punishment, because they were destined to perish through famine and want, inasmuch as the heavens would deny rain to them, and the earth would not give them food.

- John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible