I love words! And I love finding out the meaning of seemingly obscure words in the Bible. For instance, what in the world does the word “nail” or “tent peg” in Zechariah 10:4 mean:
“From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler–all of them together.” (ESV)
This verse refers to Christ and I was curious about the “tent peg” reference. In some Bible versions the word “pin” or “nail” is used. The word “nail” was particularly curious to me.
Here’s what I found. One commentator says the Hebrew word yathed can refer to:
- a peg that fastens the cord of a tent
- a nail used in building with timber
- peg for hanging up arms and utensils on the walls of a house.
It’s definitely the idea of supporting and providing a strong load-bearing resource.
Curiously, this idea of a nail or tent peg is mentioned other places, although not to Christ, but to other people. Isaiah 22:23-24 tell us about God choosing a man named Eliakim to be a “peg.”
“I will drive him like a peg in a firm place,And he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house.
So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars” (NASB)
Unfortunately, he failed at the task. Isaiah 22:25 tell us,
“In that day,” declares the LORD of hosts, “the peg driving in a firm place will give way; it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut off, for the LORD has spoken.”
Although Eliakim failed, we can depend upon Jesus as our peg and nail because He will never loosen His grip on us nor be pulled away from His working in our lives.
Michael P.V. Barnett writes,
“It is good to know that not only did Christ bear the load of our guilt and sin, but that He is ever able to bear the load of our troubles and cares. We can hang it all on Him.” (Beginning at Moses: A Guide to Finding Christ in the Old Testament).
P.S. If we’re looking to another human person to be our tent peg or nail, guess what? He or she will eventually be like Eliakim. Not capable of pulling the load of being our strength and provision. Only Jesus is strong enough.