Zechariah 1:7-17 A Vision Of Horses And Mercy For His People.
The word of the LORD came to Zechariah a second time (v. 7), and here he moves into what we might call an apocalyptic vision-“a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white” (v. 8), and the angel who talked to him will go on to explain what these all meant (v. 9). “These verses record the first of eight night visions that Zechariah saw in the course of one night (v. 8). The visions are organized so that the first and last (6:1-8) correspond to one another in the imagery of horses and chariots. This first one emphasizes God’s commitment to His covenant people; He is the rebuilder of Jerusalem and its protector against pagan forces in the outside world. The vision calls God’s people to look beyond their present circumstances and place their trust in the promises of God” (NGSB p.1466).
This structure helps us understand what the individual pieces might mean. We are also helped by other references pertaining to apocalyptic horses, such as Revelation, and to the significance of the colours. Red is typically representative of blood, black of death, and white of purity. The myrtle trees signify blessing, contrasted with briars (Is. 55:13 Cf. Ne. 8:15; Is. 41:19), and as they passed through the earth they found peace (vv. 10-11). The angel of the LORD asks if the Lord of hosts will now show mercy, after 70 years of captivity (v. 12). Then the Lord of hosts speaks to the prophet through the first angel, indicating that He is about to be zealous for Jerusalem and Zion. The LORD was angry with the nations who were at ease, as had been reported (v. 15). Mercy would be shown to Jerusalem, and His house would be built (v. 16), and the surrounding cities will also prosper (v. 17).