Zechariah 11 - Beauty and Bonds - The Incarnation, Ministry, Death and Resurrection of the God-Man
Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. 2
Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down. 3
[There is] a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.
Thus says the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; 5
whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD;
for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.
For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, says 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.
So I fed the flock of slaughter, the truly poor
of the flock. And I took unto Me two staffs
; the one I called Beauty
, and the other
I called Bonds
; and I fed the flock.
And I caused the three shepherds to perish in one month; and
My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred Me.
And I said, I will not feed you: that which dies, let it die; and that which is to perish, let it perish; and let the rest eat every
one the flesh of another.
And I took My staff Beauty and cut it asunder, that I might break My covenant, which I then made with all the peoples. 11
And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon Me knew that it was the word of the
And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my wages;
and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my wages 30 pieces of silver. 13
And the LORD said unto me, “Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them.” And I took the 30 pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house
of the LORD.
14 Then I cut asunder My other staff Bonds that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet again the vessel of a foolish shepherd.
16 For behold, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit those that are about to perish, neither shall seek that which is strayed away, nor heal that which is wounded, nor feed that which is sound; but he will eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their hoofs in pieces.
17 Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaves 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 utterly darkened.
Isa 9:16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
Matt 15:24 But He (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Matt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Song of Songs 2:3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
And there shall come forth a rod
out of the stem
Jesse, and a Branch
shall grow out of his roots
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and be lifted up, and be very high. 14
As many were astonished at thee — his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the children of men 15
— so shall he astonish many nations; kings shall shut their mouths at him: for what had not been told them shall they see, and what they
had not heard shall they consider.
Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 He was taken from oppression and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people the stroke was upon them.
And they made his grave
with the wicked, and with a rich
man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin
, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Phil 2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. 11 He came unto His own, and his own received Him not. 12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the
Father,) full of grace and truth.
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after… to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.”
1 Tim 3:16 And confessedly great is the mystery of godliness! God has been manifested in flesh, has been justified in the Spirit, has appeared to angels, has been preached among the nations, has been believed on in the world, has been received up in glory.
Hebrews 1:2-3 His Son, ... 3 who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Matt 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders
and chief priests and scribes
and be slain, and be raised the third day.
Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Matt 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city, and told unto the chief priests all the things that were come to pass.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers, 13 saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until this day.
Matt 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
John 10:15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Gal 3:15 Brothers, I speak according to man, though it is a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one nullifies it or makes additions to it. 16 But to Abraham were the promises spoken and to his seed. He does not say, ``And to the seeds,'' as concerning many, but as concerning one: ``And to your seed,'' who is Christ. 17 And I say this: A covenant previously ratified by God, the law, having come four hundred and thirty years after, does not annul so as to make the promise of none effect.
Rom 11:29 For the gracious gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Heb 6:16 For men swear by the greater, and for all disputes among them an oath is final for confirmation. 17 Therefore God, intending to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His counsel, interposed with an oath, 18 In order that by two unchangeable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, 19 Which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil,
Lev 26:44 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I [am] the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I [am] the LORD
Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
35 Thus saith the LORD, which gives the sun for a light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts [is] his name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off
all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
Isa 42:6 I the LORD have called Thee [ Messiah] in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant to the people [Israel], for a light of the Gentiles;
Matt 20:1 For the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, who is a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire workmen for his vineyard. 2 And having agreed with the workmen for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place, 4 And to those he said, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went. 5 And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and said to them, Why have you been standing here all the day idle? 7 They said to him, Because no one has hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard. 8 And when evening fell, the master of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the workmen and pay them their wages, beginning from the last ones to the first. 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, they received each a denarius. 10 And when the first ones came, they supposed that they would receive more. And they themselves also received each a denarius. 11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder, 12 Saying, These last ones worked one hour, and you have made them equal to us who bore the burden of the day and the scorching heat. 13 But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I am doing nothing unrighteous to you. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one even as I have given to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is mine? Or is your eye evil because I am good? 16 Thus shall the last be first and the first last.
Matt 8:11 But I [Jesus] say to you that many will come from the east and the west and will recline at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens, 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
They said to Him, He will miserably destroy those evil men and will lease the vineyard to other vinedressers, who will give the fruit to him in their seasons. 42 Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, ``The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes''?
43 Therefore I say to you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and shall be given to a nation producing its fruit. 44 And he who falls on this stone shall be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it shall crush him to powder and scatter him like chaff. 45 And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking concerning them. 46 And though they sought to seize Him, they feared the crowds because they held Him as a
Rom 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all and rich to all who call upon Him; 13 For "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.''
11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled so as to fall? Absolutely not! But by their misstep salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. 12 But if their misstep has become riches for the world, and their loss, riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness be!
11:15 For if their being cast aside is the reconciliation of the world, what will their being received back be, if not life from the dead?
11:25 For I do not want you, brothers, to be ignorant of this mystery (lest you be wise in yourselves), that hardness has come upon Israel in part, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in;
Psalm 22:6 But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, [saying], 8 He trusted on the LORD [that] he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: You didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother's breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: You [art] my God from my mother's belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble [is] near; for [there is] none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong [bulls] of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me [with] their mouths, [as] a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks
are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, [that] from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince [shall be] seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the
street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,
but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week
: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced
, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon 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; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for
13:5 And He shall say, I [am] no prophet, I [am] a servant of the ground; for I have been made to purchase mankind from My youth. 6 And they shall say unto Him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands? Then He shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of those zealous after Me. 7 Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man [that is] my equal, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn My hand upon the last ones.
Then Judas, who betrayed Him, seeing that He was condemned, regretted and returned the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said, What is that to us? You see to that yourself! 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple
and departed, and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is blood money. 7 And after taking counsel, they bought with it the potter's field as a burial place for strangers. 8 Therefore
that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
27:9 At that time what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, ``And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that had been priced, whom they of the sons of Israel had priced, 10 And they gave them for the potter's field , as the Lord directed me.''
Exo 21:32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
Acts 2:24 Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, since it was not possible for Him to be held by it.
Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death lords it over Him no more
. 10 For the death which He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life
which He lives, He lives to God.
1 Cor 15:54 And when this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality, then the word which is written will come to pass, "Death has been swallowed up unto victory.'' 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
Rev 1:18 And the living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of Hades
Gal 6:16 And as many as walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God
Gal 3:29 And if you are of Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise.
Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has fallen away, for not all who are out of Israel are Israel ;
Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh,
Col 2:11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh , in the circumcision of Christ,
1 Cor 10:18 Look at Israel according to the flesh . Are not those who eat the sacrifices those who have fellowship with the altar?
1 Cor 15:45
So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became
a living soul''; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.
1 Pet 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 Unto an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled and
unfading, kept in the heavens for you,
Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he? 5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh , and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born anew. 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from and where it goes; so is everyone
who is born of the Spirit.
For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of One, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 Saying, "I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.'' 13 And again, "I will trust in Him.'' And again, "Behold, I
and the children whom God has given to Me.''
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.
Rom 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them and became a fellow partaker of the root of fatness of the olive tree, 18 Do not boast against the branches; but if you boast, remember that it is not you who bear the root, but the root you. 19 You will say then, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. 20 Rightly said: they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear; 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but on you, the kindness of God, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree and were grafted contrary to nature into the cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree! 25 For I do not want you, brothers, to be ignorant of this mystery (lest you be wise in yourselves), that hardness has come upon Israel in part, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in;
Zech 12:7 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.
Rev 13:11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his sight, and he causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose death stroke was healed. 13 And he does great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth before men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth on account of the signs which he was given power to do before the beast, commanding those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast, who had the stroke of the sword and revived. 15 And power was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast that the image of the beast might even speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 And that no one may be able to buy or sell except he who has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Rev 19:20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet, who in his presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire, which burns with brimstone
Acts 1:25 To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.
Rom 9:21 Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?
God Himself became a Man to shepherd His people, Israel, expressing the beauty of God in a poor lowly servant of a man, rejected by the leaders of His people, but received and believed in by the poor and lowly among them. God caused Him to be put to death, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, by which death He consummated the new covenant for all peoples, and resurrected, creating the new covenant people of God.
Brief overview: I believe this is the most negative prophecy concerning Israel in the whole Bible. It speaks of terrible things in this life, as do other prophecies, but also foretells something much worse: the apparent loss of 2 great spiritual birthrights, the new covenant and the brotherhood of God's people. Actually these are not lost to the Jewish people, but they have lost the new covenant being exclusively to them, and their being the only chosen people of God.
The basic message of the prophecy is: God would send a Shepherd to spiritually feed Israel at a time when Israel's leaders were religious hypocrites
; Isaiah 9:16
). This leadership rejects the Shepherd sent to them by God(v.8), but “the truly poor of the flock” received and believed in Him
The result of rejecting this Shepherd is far worse than anything that previously happened to Israel. They would be slaughtered (v.4,6,7,9)
and God would not deliver or pity them. This is similar to what is mentioned in other passages such as Leviticus 26
. Much worse than that, God would not spiritually feed them (v.9
), and they would perish, which is much worse than physical death. But far, far worse than even these are the broken covenant (v.10
) and the broken brotherhood (v.14
), the top spiritual birthrights which God has given Israel.
There is another thing that you can see in this passage: This Shepherd is not like any previous prophet who spoke for God. This Shepherd, whom God sends to feed Israel, is none other than God Himself. In v.4
God sends the Shepherd to feed the flock, but in v.7
, God Himself feeds the flock. This Shepherd speaks things that only God has the authority to say (v.8-9
Questions or Puzzles
The closer you look at the details of this prophesy, the more marvelous it is.
1. What are the staffs Beauty & Bonds?
2. Who are “the truly poor of the flock?”
3. Who are the three shepherds of Israel whom the Shepherd causes to perish?
4. What does it mean to break the staffs Beauty & Bonds?
5. What are the 30 pieces of silver thrown into the temple? And who threw them?
6. What are the broken covenant and the broken brotherhood?
7. Can God break a covenant?
Answers to all these questions are in the New Testament Gospels. They fit like a divine glove, yet they fit in such a way, that it would have been impossible for anyone to have fabricated the four Gospels to fit this prophecy.
For the details read the verse by verse interpretation, or skip to the end to read a gospel tract on this chapter.
The coming of the Roman army in 70 AD. As in many other prophecies (Isa 52:13
), God tells the end from the beginning.
The flock of slaughter is Israel.
Their possessors who slay them are the Romans.
Those who sell them are those Jews who sold out to the Romans in exchange for a religious or political position. We know they are religious Jews because they say, "Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich". That is the epitome of religious hypocrisy. They seem religious but are as far as one can get from the spirit of the Old Testament.
Their own shepherds are the leaders that the Jews chose for themselves, Rabbis, Scribes, Elders, Doctors of the Law. They were cold and judgmental to the people they were supposed to serve.
This is God talking.
This was fulfilled after the Lord's death and resurrection in 70 AD when the Jews rebelled against the Romans, but destroyed themselves through infighting between various factions favoring different leaders. The "they shall smite the land" is the Romans.
In verse 4 God sent a shepherd to feed the flock, Israel. Now in verse 7 God says that He Himself fed the flock. God Himself is the Shepherd Whom He sent.
The truly poor of the flock are those who are poor in spirit, lowly, meek, not proud. Most are losers, despised by the secular and religious world. (Matt. 5:3
-11) These are the ones of the flock who received the Shepherd's feeding.
The Shepherd shepherded Israel with the 2 staffs, Beauty and Bonds. The same word for beauty is used in Psalm 27:4
. If you ask anyone who has read the four Gospels what impressed him, He will tell you it is the beauty of the man Jesus. In an interview Albert Einstein said, “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” When the interviewer then asked, “You accept the historical existence of Jesus?" Einstein responded, "Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” The most beautiful thing in the universe is God expressed in man. Jesus was the very God become a human being in every way except sin. Jesus’ life and words declared God to man (John 1:18)
. This Beauty was the Divine Attributes expressed in Jesus’ human virtues (1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:2-3)
. With this Beauty, God shepherded Israel as a Man!
God named the other staff Bonds. Jesus had no outward beauty. He was born in a stable to poor parents. He grew up as a root out of dry ground. He took the form of a slave
). He received the punishment for the sins of the whole world
). He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). His beauty was hidden by His bonds. What a wonder of wonders! The Creator of the universe become a man! Look at what kind of man He became. Not a king, nor a celebrity, nor a rich man, nor even a well-off man. But a poor man, a servant to all! A bond slave! Can anyone come up with a better summary of Jesus’ earthly ministry to Israel than the two words, Beauty and Bonds?
The Hebrew word for “perish” here and in verse 9 is worse than death and is to go to hell. It was by these ancient Jewish leaders’ treatment of Jesus that they caused themselves to perish. Despite witnessing Jesus’ miracles, words and life, which matched the Old Testament, they hired false witnesses against Jesus and even bribed the Roman soldiers to lie about Jesus’ resurrection.
The Hebrew word for "perish" here is causative, hence I translated it "caused to perish". Most translate it, "I cut off 3 shepherds", but this is different. Jesus did not cut off anyone, but He caused these to perish when they unrighteously accused Him and had Him put to death when no cause of death was in Him.
It took one month rather than one day, because God, not willing that any should perish, gave them time to repent. It is the same today.
The month would be the month up to just after the Lord's resurrection, including the bribing of the Roman guards. After the Lord's resurrection, the disciples were in Galillee for 40 days, so there would be no offenses for the month following the Lord's resurrection.
This is the Shepherd talking. But who could say this except God Himself? Even Moses could not say, "I will not feed you ..." This Shepherd must be God Himself. This is similar to what God said in verse 6
God's taking up the two staffs was one act, His incarnation, but He broke the staffs in two separate acts with something occurring in between.
The breaking of the staff beauty is the death of the God-man, Jesus. The Shepherd, who is God Himself, is the One who broke the staff. It was actually God and Jesus, not any man, who broke His beloved staff that He named Beauty. God says that He Himself did it. He used evil men, but ultimately it was God Himself who killed Jesus to pay the price for the sins of all mankind (Isaiah 53:10
; John 10:15-18).
This verse is my only important translation change from KJV in Zechariah 11. All versions that I have seen translate as KJV, "that I might break My covenant which I had made with all the peoples," using the past perfect tense, "which I had made". There is no past perfect in this verse. The use of past perfect is the translator's judgment, not part of the text. It should be translated "that I might break My covenant, which I then
made with all the peoples." God says that He broke His staff Beauty in order that He might break His covenant and then make it with all the peoples (v. 10).
The Shepherd is the One who made the covenant. Another proof that the Shepherd is God.
How could God break His covenant? This is a big problem. The Bible assures us that when God makes a covenant, even He cannot change it (New Testament - Galatians 3:15,17; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 6:16-19
). God said that if Israel did not keep their side of the covenant, He would punish them severely, but He would never break His covenant with them (Leviticus 26:44-45)
. Because God can never break His covenant, we have full assurance that what He has promised, He will do.
In the Bible, "all the peoples" always means all the peoples of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles. Thus, "My covenant" here cannot refer to the old covenant which God made with the children of Israel through Moses, because that covenant was not made with "all the peoples."
The New Covenant, which is not like the Old Covenant, was promised to Israel alone
). Jesus said that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
). By Jesus' death, God righteously EXPANDED the New Covenant to include all the nations. It was thus in this sense that God “broke” His New Covenant: What He had promised Israel He now also opened to all nations. How marvelous!
This is illustrated by the parable of the vineyard told by Jesus in Matthew 20: 1-16. A householder, early in the morning, contracted workmen to work in his vineyard. Then he hired more workers later in the day and even some just before the day was done. At the end of the day he paid all the workmen the same amount that he had contracted the first workmen for. The first workers were understandably indignant, but the householder had done no wrong. He had fulfilled his contract with them, and graciously expanded the same payment to the other workers.
(Matthew 8:11-12; 21:41-43
; Romans 10:12; 11:11-12, 15, 25
"it was broken" refers to both to the breaking of the staff Beauty, which was the Lord's death, and the breaking of the exclusivity of the New Covenant to the Jews only. Both happened at the same time, on the day of the Lord's death.
For "the poor of the flock" see v. 7.
The "word of the Lord" refers to the numerous prophecies of the Messiah's rejection by Israel and His death in the Old Testament. It does not take a scholar to see it. In fact the scholars were and still are blind to it. The Bible is written so that the poor and lowly can see it and understand it.
; Psalm 118:22-23
; Dan. 9:26
; Zech 12:10-13:1
). It also includes this prophesy, Zechariah 11. The early believers knew that this chapter applied to the Lord's death, and it is quoted in the book of Matthew.
After Jesus was delivered to death, Judas received his cheap wages for betraying Jesus, that is, for his role in breaking the staff Beauty.
This verse is Judas talking. It may seem strange that Zechariah would take the roles of both Jesus and also of Judas, but see verse 15
, where the Lord God tells Zechariah to take again
the role of a foolish shepherd.
God exclaims sarcastically , “Oh see how My people appreciate Me, valuing Me at 30 pieces of silver!” This is the price a man would have to pay a slave's master if he accidentally killed the other man's slave
). This shows how the 3 shepherds, not only hated Him, but also despised Him, counting Him as nothing! They not only hired Judas to betray Jesus, but they even paid Judas minimum wage to do so.
The 30 pieces of silver were Judas' wages, and they were also the price on the head of the Shepherd. Here the Lord God is talking, and says that the price was what He Himself was prized at by the 3 shepherds. This also proves that the Shepherd is Jehovah Himself.
The New Testament tells us that Judas threw the money on the floor in the temple and the chief priests used the money to buy the Potter's Field
). Therefore "me" and "I" in vv. 12-13 is Judas, outside of the quote spoken by the LORD.
Matthew quoted these verses from Zechariah, but said that they were spoken by the prophet Jeremiah. It may have been that Jeremiah spoke them, but Zechariah wrote them (Witness Lee footnote on Matt 27:9).
I believe the reason Matthew gave the name of Jeremiah is because Jeremiah explains Zechariah. The Jews believed that Zechariah had the spirit of Jeremiah. Jeremiah is straightforward, not hard to understand, while Zechariah is one of the 4 mysterious books of the Old Testament. (The others are Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel.)
In this chapter, the covenant, which the Shepherd broke and then made with all the peoples, is the New Covenant, which is defined by Jeremiah
. Apart from Jeremiah's definition of the New Covenant, it is impossible to understand the details of this chapter.
The broken brotherhood refers to the difference in life between God's New Covenant people, who are the continuation of Israel (Gal 6:16; 3:29; Rom 9:6; Phil 3:3; Col. 2:11)
, and God's Old Covenant people who rejected the Messiah, and thus could not receive the New Covenant. God's Old Covenant people who did not receive the Messiah, are still Jews (in Hebrew, Judah), and are still "Israel according to the flesh" (1 Cor 10:18)
, but are no longer the Israel of God
When He resurrected, Jesus became the life-giving Spirit
(1 Corinthians 15:45
). When we receive the life-giving Spirit into our spirit, we are born again with the life of God
(1 Peter 1:3
; John 3:3-8
). This makes us Jesus’ brothers and brothers of each other
). When Jesus was on earth, He called His followers His “friends.” But immediately after His resurrection, He called them His brothers
)! So by breaking the staff Bonds, God actually created the New Covenant brotherhood of believers in Jesus. In this way, God broke the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. By Jesus’ resurrection, God has created a new brotherhood, and the only way to join this brotherhood is to believe into Jesus. Those Jews who did not believe in Jesus are no longer the Israel of God.
The breaking of the brotherhood between Judah and Israel is pictured in the New Testament in Romans 11:17-25
. Israel is likened to God's cultivated olive tree, and the Gentile nations to wild olive trees. The unbelieving Jewish branches were broken off of God's olive tree, Israel, and the believing Gentile branches were grafted into it. Christians cannot boast against the Jews, (Zech 12:7)
but fear and learn from God's dealing with them: “They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear: for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. Behold then the kindness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but on you, the kindness of God, if you continue in His kindness: otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:20-23)
I believe this definition of Judah and Israel is a key to interpreting other prophesies. The word "Israel", unmodified, when it refers to a time between Christ's resurrection and His return, refers to Christians. More on this when I get to cover Zech 12-14, the burden of the word of the Lord for Israel.
The prophecy now skips approx. 2,000 years to the end of the age. This 2,000 year gap is in all Old Testament prophecies. The Old Testament does not see the church age from the destruction of the temple in 70 AD to a short time before Daniel's 70th week
, which is the seven years before the Lord's 2nd coming.
The foolish shepherd is the false prophet, the 2nd beast in Revelation 13.
The vessel (Rom. 9:21)
of the foolish shepherd, which Zechariah took yet again
, may be the spirit of Judas Iscariot, whom Zechariah impersonated previously in vv.12-13.
The false prophet may have the spirit of Judas Iscariot, just like the antichrist, the 1st beast in Revelation 13, has the spirit of Caesar Nero. Acts 1:25
says that after Judas committed suicide he went to his own place
, indicating that he still has a special role reserved for him.
Most translations translate the Hebrew word for "vessel" as "instruments". The word is used 325 times in the Old Testament, 166 of which KJV translated as "vessel" and 39 times as "instrument". The Hebrew word here is singular.
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