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And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. (Zechariah 10:11)

What was the pride of Assyria during the time of Zechariah because he was prophesying towards the end of the 6th century BC and by this time of Zechariah, Assyria was already conquered by the Babylonians and taken over by the Persians? What historical event fulfills the pride of Assyria being brought down during or after the time of Zechariah?

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There is a similar "problem" in Ezra 6:22 where "Assyria" is used as the name for the nation that now controls it, ie, Persia. See appendix below.

Thus, the simplest way to understand the "pride of Assyria" in Zech 10:11 is to read "pride of Persia" because Persia now controlled and occupied the area once held by Assyria.

There is a similar explanation for "king of Babylon" found in Ezra 5:13.

APPENDIX - Comment on Ezra 6:22

In Ezra 6:22 we read:

For seven days they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread with joy, because the LORD had made them joyful and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to strengthen their hands in the work on the house of the God of Israel.

Note that no such literal king of Assyria existed at the time of Ezra, it had been conquered about 200 years earlier. Persia now occupied and controlled the area that Assyria once controlled. Note the comments of Benson:

And turned the heart of the king of Assyria — Of the king of Persia, called the king of Assyria, as now reigning over all the kingdoms which were formerly under the power of the Assyrians;

The Cambridge Commentary is similar:

of the king of Assyria This is a strange expression to be used of a Persian king. For by the context it naturally refers to Darius.

(1) It has been said that Darius is so called because the Persian kings were the successors to the great Assyrian empire.

(2) It has been suggested that all Western Asia might be termed Assyria.

(3) It has been supposed that Darius is not personally referred to, but that the power of Western Asia is symbolized by the name of Assyria, Israel’s traditional foe. (But to the Jew, after the Captivity, the symbolical hostile power is Babylon.)

Of these views the first is the most probable. See note on Ezra 5:13 (Cyrus king of Babylon).

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When reading the whole passage of Zechariah 10;

vv1-3a - The Lord reminded the remnants the days their ancestors' wrong doings that led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

vv3b - However the Lord still care of His people

vv4 - Implying the coming Messiah

vv5 - 10 - Implying the salvation from the Lord eventually reinstated His people and reunited the Israelites.

vv11 - now then why it mentioned Assyria's pride and Egypt's scepter?

In the prophetic books, it has been frequently seen the prophets warned and condemned the evil deeds of the Israelites followed at the end of the book, a promise of salvation, which give a picture of prosperous and wonderful future of them. Did this promise given unconditional?

The temple worship was the core of the covenant between God and the Israelites. It was a main cause that their ancestors worship idols led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of their ancestors. Now the punishment was over, and God will forget their sin. The descendants of them were brought back to Jerusalem, reinstated their covenant by rebuilding the temple. However, since its foundation was laid at 536BC by Zerubbabel, the work had been abandoned for 16 years. God sent Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the Israelites completed the work. Finally the 2nd temple completed in 516BC, exactly 70 years after the 1st temple destruction.

The punishment to the kingdoms who oppressed the Israelites had been prophesized by the earlier prophets. The remnants should see these words realized, that only their God is real, all idols were deceitful (vv2). They should "Ask the Lord" for well being (vv1) by putting God as their centre of living, rebuild of the temple and resumed their worship of the Lord.

Assyria’s pride will be brought down and Egypt’s scepter will pass away. (Zechariah 10:11b NIV)

Who brought down Assyria's pride? Who took away Egypt's scepter? The remnants should know only God was their highest, their shield and only protection.

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