Zechariah (Ch 11-12)

Chapter 11 contains a prophecy of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and which took place just before our Lord’s return to glory and its redemption. Under the symbol a shepherd with two staves (a) Pleasantness, like “Josiah, the anointed” and (b) Destroyers, like “Nebuchadnezzar, my servant” both are the Lord’s staves to deal with his People.

Zechariah 11

1 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. — Open thy doors, O Lebanon, the region on the northernmost border of the Holy Land that the fire may devour thy cedars. Instead of describing the destruction of the land outright, the prophet calls upon Lebanon for judgement, its border to open its doors; its people are found wanting, for which is the consuming fire;

 Jonathan renders: O peoples, open your gates; the Targum paraphrases it, “and the fire shall consume your fortresses.”

Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the mighty are despoiled; howl, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the forest of the vintage is come down. — howl, fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the mighty are spoiled; by which are designed the princes, nobles and magistrates of the land: so the Targum interprets them of kings and princes; 

— howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; governors of provinces and men of power and authority, for the forest of the vintage is come down; or rather “the fortified forest” could also mean the city of Jerusalem which was a fortified place and like a forest full of trees but now cut down and destroyed; see Isaiah 10:16.

There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds, for their glory is despoiled; a voice of the roaring of young lions, for the pride of Jordan is despoiled. — there is a voice of the howling of the shepherds, those occupying the rich meadow-lands of Bashan, for their glory, the fine pasture on which they depended is spoiled; a voice of the roaring of young lions for the pride of Jordan, the thickets along the river which offered excellent opportunities for dens is spoiled;

— the description is short and bold but comprehensive enough to indicate that the Lord is speaking of another desolation of the Holy Land by which everything that was great and mighty in the country would be overthrown and the Holy Land once more become a wilderness.

Thus saith the Lord my God: “Feed the flock for the slaughter, — thus saith the Lord of Zechariah with regard to the congregation of Israel, ‘Feed the flock for the slaughter,’ that is, give the flock the reasons why they would soon be suffering with captivity, oppression or death at a latter time, so that mentally they are well prepared for a coming slaughter;

whose possessors slay them and hold themselves not guilty; and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich’; and their own shepherds pity them not. — whose possessors slay them and hold themselves not guilty, the buyers and masters of the covenant people dealing with them as they pleased, without incurring blame; 

— and they that sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich,’ the expression fitly describing the self-satisfaction felt by the hard-hearted masters in enriching themselves at the expense of the flock; and their own shepherds pity them not. One is compelled to think of the attitude of the rulers of the people at the time of Yeshua and before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; and is also timely for a endtime scenario.

For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land,” saith the Lord. “But lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor’s hand, and into the hand of his king; and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.” — for God will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, no longer spare them after a last effort to save them; but, lo, God will deliver the men everyone into his neighbor’s hand, so that internal strife and dissension would ruin the country;

— and into the hand of his king, the foreign emperor or governor; and they shall smite the land, the house of Judah for 40 years and the house of Israel for 190 years (Ezekiel 4) oppressing it in various ways; and out of their hand, out of the power of such oppressors, God will not deliver them.

And I will feed the flock for slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. — and God will feed the flock of the slaughter, rather, “I fed the flock,” for the prophet here describes how he undertook the commission which the Lord gave him, even you, O poor of the flock, those in his charge being in a very sad condition, lacking in spiritual knowledge;

— and God took unto for Himself two staves, or rods (Psalms 23:4), such as shepherds used in their work; the one I called Pleasantness (H5278 – nōʿam נֹעַם kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favour), or “loveliness, favor” or delight, like “Josiah, the anointed” such as the Lord intended to show His people through the work of His servants, the prophets: Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, Micah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Amos, etc;

— and the other God called Destroyers, (H2254 – ḥāḇal חָבַל; to destroy, spoil, deal corruptly, offend, to pervert) like the second Personage in the Garden of Eden; or like “Nebuchadnezzar, my servant” or like wolves and foxes, allowing them to roam around as often the Lord’s people are stiffed-necked and needed a longer way (like taking an extra 40 years to reach the Promised Land);

and harder (like spending 70 years in captivity in Babylon) to learn before they genuinely wanted to be His people and to feel the blessings over the oppression by all their enemies; and God fed the flock, performing his work as a true shepherd according to the intend of the first staff.

— Rashi: and one I called Destroyers: Rehoboam told his kingdom that he would flog them with scorpions (I Kings 12:11). [Zechariah] calls their rulers staffs because it is customary to lead flocks with staffs.

Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them and their soul also abhorred me. — three shepherds also God cut off in one month, the wicked shepherds and the scribes of the nation being probably meant, who were removed from power in a very short time; and God loathed them, since he, the type of the one Good Shepherd and Ruler of His Kingdom, became impatient with their perverse impenitence, and their soul also abhorred God, the sheep foolishly refusing to follow the kind leadership of their shepherd.

— Zechariah 11:8 is one of the most intriguing verse in the Scriptures. “Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them and their soul also abhorred me.” Who are these three shepherds? Could one series of these three be Fred Coulter, Frank Nelte and John Ritenbaugh? All three have accused Ezra of forging the Scriptures, especially Deuteronomy 16. Forging God’s Word are serious charges, whose penalty is death (Revelation 22:18-19).

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book,” Revelation 22:18-19.

But on the other hand, if Ezra isn’t guilty of forging, then these three accusers are wolves in shepherd clothings that are also destroyers at the beginning of verse eight above.

Then said I, “I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die, and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.” — because of the continual sins of Israel and Judah, said the Lord, ‘I will not feed you,’ declaring that he would no longer be their shepherd; that that if the sheep die, let it die, he would let them rush to their own ruin since they refused to be guided by the good staff; 

— and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off, to be destroyed, let it be destroyed by the power of their oppressors; and let the rest eat everyone the flesh of another, that is, in a typical civil war, such as preceded the final destruction of Jerusalem; and as now, more and more intense talks of a second civil war as election looms over the United States.

10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. — and God took his staff, even Beauty, one of a gentle approach, one favoured, one of Pleasantness, and cut it asunder, to indicate the withdrawal of God’s favor from His people, ‘that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.’

11 And it was broken on that day, and so the poor of the flock who waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. — and it was broken in that day, the covenant being annulled by Israel’s disobedience; and so the poor of the flock, sheep that were not fed, that waited upon the Lord, the lowly among the people, those who were Israelites in truth, knew that it was the word of the Lord. It was from among the poor and lowly that the Lord, the righteous among them who kept His statute understood; even in those latter days, they’ll understand.

12 And I said unto them, “If ye think it be good, give me my price; and if not, forbear.” So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. — and God said unto them, to the those destroyers of Israel, those not recognizing the things of peace, ‘If ye think it be good, if ye think good, give me my price;’ but if not, forbear: so these destroyers weighed for his price thirty pieces of silver.

— give me my price; and if not, forbear, see Ezekiel 2:5, so they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver, the value of a slave that had been killed, Exodus 21:32, the ordinary price of a female slave, Hosea 3:2. Cf Matthew 26:15.

13 And the Lord said unto me, “Cast it unto the potter” — a goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. — and the Lord said unto Zechariah, Cast it unto the potter, thereby rejecting the insult which they offered. A goodly price that Zechariah was prized at of them! this being said in impressive irony;

— and Zechariah took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. This statement has no meaning in this connection, but it receives a meaning through its fulfillment, for the thirty pieces of silver which the rulers of the Jews weighed to Judas for his betrayal of the Lord were by him cast into the Temple, the money later being used for the purchase of a potter’s field. Cf Matthew 27:1-10 and Jeremiah 32:6-15.

14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. — then God cut asunder his other staff, even Bands, the Destroyer, that God might break the gentle approach He used to shepherd the children of Israel, 

— so that, by the punishment of God, there might be lasting dissension between the house of Israel and the house of Judah, a peculiarity which, in the later history of the people, contributed much toward the numerous tribulations of each nation. Sin is a reproach to any people, but the height of folly is the denial and rejection of God, the staff called Beauty, then later the Messiah, the one Good Shepherd rather than the Destroyer that come with the Romans for destruction.

15 And the Lord said unto me, “Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. — and the Lord said unto Zechariah, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd, of a wicked Destroyer, who bears the insignia of a true shepherd, wolves in sheep skin, but cares nothing for the sheep.

16 For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land who shall not visit those that are cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that which is broken, nor feed that which standeth still; but he shall eat the flesh of the fat and tear their claws in pieces. — for, lo, God will raise up a shepherd in the land, one assuming the functions of a true shepherd, which shall not visit those that be cut off, paying no attention to those who perish;

— neither shall seek the young one, those that have gone astray, nor heal that that is broken, suffering with broken limbs, nor feed those that could stand still, those who are still strong, but in need of food; but he shall eat the flesh of the fat and tear their claws in pieces, in order to get even the last vestige of meat from the bones.

17 “Woe to the sham shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” — woe to the idol shepherd, the Destroyer, those worthless shepherding that leaveth the flock, neglecting his chief duty toward its members;

— the Sword shall be upon the arm of the wicked shepherd, causing him to lose an important function of his body, and upon his right eye, so that he’s blind; his arm shall be clean dried up; his secular power shall be taken away from him; and his right eye shall be utterly darkened, so he couldn’t see; his knowledge of the Scriptures, judgement in errors, and even the infallibility pretended by these shepherds will cease;

— it will hardly do to limit this prophecy to an earthly, temporal power. It seems rather that the Spirit of the Lord, looking forward in the history of Israel, outlined in a few strokes by the Destroyer, which originated in the Garden of Eden, in the midst of those who are willing to reject the Truth of God, indicating at the same time that this same power would still be promoted by the power of the same Destroyer, as it is evidenced in the “Churches” today.

Zechariah 12

1 The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: — this is the Lord’s word about Israel; it is a prophetic revelation from the Lord—who spread out from the heavens;

— and layeth the foundation of the earth, which if it were not upheld by His power would wander from its orbit and fall into ruins; and formeth the spirit of man within him, controlling the thoughts and purposes of men so as to accomplish His own plans through them.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. — behold, God will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling, a vessel filled with the intoxicating beverage of His wrath, unto all the people round about, the neighboring nations, reeling and falling in hopeless weakness and misery;

— when the nations around shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem, literally, “and also upon Judah shall it be in the siege of Jerusalem,” the entire country and its capital being involved in the severe trial which would come from among its neighbors.

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people. All who burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. — on that day God will make Jerusalem a stone too heavy for all the nations to lift; all who try to lift it will be severely injured. All the nations in the world will gather to fight against Jerusalem; all the powers of evil being united in an effort to overthrow the city of the Lord.

In that day,” saith the Lord, “I will smite every horse with astonishment and his rider with madness. And I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness; — on that day, God will smite every horse with panic and every rider with madness, all the warlike forces finding themselves at a loss to effect their evil purposes;

— and God will keep His watch upon the house of Judah with His protecting care and will smite every horse of the nations with blindness so that the hostile forces would not be able to find their way;

— the Targum paraphrases it, “and upon those of the house of Judah, I will reveal my power to do them good.”

and the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ — and the leaders and princes of Judah shall say in their heart, in the firm conviction which upholds them, the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall have God’s strength, a reliable source of confidence, in the Lord of hosts, our God, because the Lord has chosen this city, His Kingdom, and by virtue of this choice is bound to redeem His people.

“In that day will I make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf, and they shall devour all the people round about on the right hand and on the left; and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. — on that day will God make the leaders and princes of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, so that they would consume their enemies like a basin of fire devouring wood; the Targum renders it, “as a garment of fire among wood;”

— and like a torch of fire in a sheaf, burning up the dry straw; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left, so that none of the adversaries can hold out against them; and Judah shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem, so that the renewed people could fitly become the nucleus of the New Kingdom in Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God.

The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. — the Lord also shall save the dwellings of the country outside of the capital of Judah first, with its stone palaces, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah, the house of David being the royal family as continued in the descendants of Zerubbabel.

“In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. — as with a shield against their enemies on that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, by a special strengthening against the foe;

— and he that is feeble among them, literally, “the stumbler,” one who can hardly hold himself up, being very weak; on that day shall be as David, to the Jew the highest type of strength and courage; and the house of David shall be as God, like a supernatural being, as the Angel of the Lord before them, like the Son of God in His Old Testament form, whose power lived in all His believers.

And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. — on that day and using the second staff, God will seek to destroy all the nations who attack Jerusalem; and even while Jerusalem was exalted to a degree of strength and glory far transcending anything in its past experience, God will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn. — and God will pour upon the house of David, the entire royal family, the royal priesthood of the Kingdom of God, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the members of His congregation in general, the spirit of grace and of supplications, Him who works in the heart of man the certainty of the divine grace and urges him to seek forgiveness of sins by fervent prayers and fastings; 

— and the Jews shall look upon Me whom they have pierced (H1856 – dāqar דָּקַר to pierce, piercing through), as they nailed their Messiah to the cross, John 19:34Revelation 1:7, or by piercing His side with a spear; and they shall mourn for Him as one mourn for his only son, acknowledging their transgression in killing the Prince of Life, Acts 3:15, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn, almost the greatest grief and sorrow known to the Jews;

— Rashi: as one mourns over an only son: As a man mourns over his only son. And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring to the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was slain;

— Rashi rightly quoted the Targum Sukkah (52a) about the Messiah to come from one Yeshua, a son of Joseph, of the house of David, yet they are blindsided to Him as the Son of God and as the fulfilment of the Messiah’s first coming; (reference to this “piercing” disappeared in the Masoretic Text, an example of the lying pen of the scribes: Jeremiah 8:8; or perhaps the lying tongues of their Sages).

11 “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo. — on that day, when the greatness of their crime in putting their own Messiah to death, would be brought home to some of the people, shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem as is ever the case when men realize that their sins were the cause of Christ’s death;

— as the mourning of Hadadrimmon, when the men of Judah mourned so bitterly over the death of their King Josiah, who was mortally wounded near that place in the Plain of Esdraelon, II Chronicles 35:22 ff. in the Valley of Megiddon.

12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart: the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; — and the land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of David by itself, and the wives by themselves; the family of Nathan by itself, and the wives by themselves;

13 the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; — the family of Levi by itself, and the wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and the wives by themselves;

14 all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. — all the families that remain, that is, the whole nation shall be born; every family apart and their wives separately. Nor would this sorrow of true repentance be in vain. Zechariah 13:1

— on that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the entire nation, as representative of the Kingdom of God in the Millenium, in whose members the blood of the Messiah, shed for the sins of the whole world, has prepared a water which thoroughly cleanses sinners from their uncleanness. Cf 1 John 1:7. It is the washing of regeneration and renewing of the spirits of God which is shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, or Yeshua the Messiah, Titus 3:5-6.

~ by Joel Huan on January 14, 2022.

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