When we look through the eyes of Zechariah, we see interspersion of different perspectives and periods and subject matters. Places, people (nations), time frames and future destinies change the tone and scenario as he listens to and records down the various messages in his spirit from the Spirit of God.
There are always two themes: the people of God, and those used by the enemy of God to do harm to His people, thereby obstructing His plan.
There are also two scenarios: God’s plan for His people in the immediate future, and His big picture plan for humanity in eternity.
The re-building of the second Temple of God was a sign, a pattern of things yet to come. What was to come was a transformation change in the heart of man and not a mere superficial external building and the religious services therein.
The Old Covenant: the old one which God has made with Abraham concerning the biological descendants of Abraham. Moses was given the physical Law (including tabernacle/temple worship and the holiness plumb line). Within this framework God made a covenant with the house of David. The original plan was one nation. But disobedience to God divided the people into two nations: Judah and Israel. In the prophetic action that Zechariah was led by the Spirit of God to demonstrate, taking two staffs, breaking them, he was referring to the two divided and broken nations which were no longer in existence when the remnant returned to Israel (Judah and Israel).
God again issues a warning to the destructive end of the enemy of His people (1-3). Note He again speaks of their pride of their physical military might.
God also warns of the appointed shepherds who become foolish and worthless, and do not care for His flock. The flock, particularly the poor are fed only for slaughter. For money and personal selfish gain. Who are the shepherds? In the history of His people, individuals (in the forms of prophets, priests, kings) were raised to tender to the flock of God. They undertook the role on earth as shepherds for God’s people. Their failure in this sole responsibility and reason for their existence in the past had caused the downfall of the kingdoms and the dispersion of God’s chosen people. They could not fulfill their original purpose of witnessing God and be a blessing to the rest of the world.
A prophecy: God promises the sending of a true Shepherd (the Son of God). Zechariah was led by the Lord’s Spirit to do a powerful prophetic act which has since come true, throwing the thirty pieces of silver Into the house of God for the potter. This accurately demonstrated what Judas Iscariot would do after he betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver! (John 10:11-16; Matthew 27:3-10)
Zechariah 11 New King James Version (NKJV) Desolation of Israel
11:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon,
That fire may devour your cedars.
2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the mighty trees are ruined.
Wail, O oaks of Bashan,
For the thick forest has come down.
3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds!
For their glory is in ruins.
There is the sound of roaring lions!
For the pride[a] of the Jordan is in ruins.
Prophecy of the Shepherds
4 Thus says the Lord my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter, 5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them. 6 For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord. “But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand.”
7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock.[b] I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty,[c] and the other I called Bonds;[d] and I fed the flock. 8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor[e] of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter. 14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 And the Lord said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.
17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd,
Who leaves the flock!
A sword shall be against his arm
And against his right eye;
His arm shall completely wither,
And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
- Zechariah 11:3 Or floodplain, thicket
- Zechariah 11:7 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint reads for the Canaanites.
- Zechariah 11:7 Or Grace, and so in verse 10
- Zechariah 11:7 Or Unity, and so in verse 14
- Zechariah 11:11 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint reads the Canaanites.
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