Not By Might Nor By Power: What Does Zechariah 4:6 Mean?


Zechariah 4:6 reads, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationZechariah 4:6
ESVThen he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
NASBThen he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.
NIVSo he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
NLTThen he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

Not By Might Nor By Power: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

4:1-7 The prophet’s spirit was willing to attend, but the flesh was weak. We should beg of God that, whenever he speaks to us, he would awaken us, and we should then stir up ourselves.

The church is a golden candlestick, or lamp-bearer, set up for enlightening this dark world, and holding forth the light of Divine revelation.

Two olive trees were seen, one on each side the candlestick, from which oil flowed into the bowl without ceasing. God brings to pass his gracious purposes concerning his church, without any art or labour of man; sometimes he makes use of his instruments, yet he needs them not.

This represented the abundance of Divine grace, for the enlightening and making holy the ministers and members of the church, and which cannot be procured or prevented by any human power. The vision assures us that the good work of building the temple, should be brought to a happy end.

The difficulty is represented as a great mountain. But all difficulties shall vanish, and all the objections be got over. Faith will remove mountains, and make them plains. Christ is our Zerubbabel; mountains of difficulty were in the way of his undertaking, but nothing is too hard for him.

What comes from the grace of God, may, in faith, be committed to the grace of God, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands.

Zechariah 4:6 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

6. Not by might … but by my Spirit— As the lamps burned continually, supplied with oil from a source (the living olive trees) which man did not make, so Zerubbabel need not be disheartened because of his weakness; for as the work is one to be effected by the living Spirit (compare Hag 2:5) of God, man’s weakness is no obstacle, for God’s might will perfect strength out of weakness (Ho 1:7; 2Co 12:10; Heb 11:34).

“Might and power” express human strength of every description, physical, mental, moral. Or, “might” is the strength of many (an “army,” literally); “power,” that of one man [Pembellus].

God can save, “whether with many, or with them that have no power” (2Ch 14:11; compare 1Sa 14:6). So in the conversion of sinners (1Co 3:6; 2Co 10:4). “Zerubbabel” is addressed as the chief civil authority in directing the work.

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