Zechariah 11:16

16 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will 1not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will 2devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.

Zechariah 11:16 Meaning and Commentary

Zechariah 11:16

For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land
Not in the land of Judea, but in the Roman empire; and so not Herod, nor King Agrippa, as Kimchi; nor Antiochus Epiphanes, as others; nor those wicked priests and princes, who governed after the times of Zechariah; nor the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ's times, though they are often called fools by him, and were truly foolish shepherds; nor even Titus Vespasian, who destroyed the city and temple; nor Bar Cozba, who set up for the Messiah, and was a false one; or any other of that sort. Calmet


F19 thinks this designs the Roman emperors, successors of Tiberius, under whom Jesus Christ was crucified. Caligula succeeded Tiberius. Claudius Caligula, and Nero succeeded Claudius: everyone knows (adds he) the characters of those princes, that they were truly foolish shepherds, mad, wicked, and cruel: but rather it intends shepherd, or shepherds, not in a civil, but in an ecclesiastic sense; all such after Christ, who took upon them this office, but did not perform it aright, as heretics, false teachers, with which the first ages abounded; and especially it points at the bishop of Rome, and all under him, when he fell off from the true doctrine and discipline of the Gospel, the man of sin, or antichrist, as Jerom rightly observes; who, though his coming is according to the working of Satan, yet may be said to be raised up by the Lord, because he suffered him to rise; and by his secret providence, and wise ordination in righteous judgment, he came to the height of his power: with him agrees the name of a "shepherd"; he calls himself the vicar of Christ, the chief shepherd and bishop of souls; Peter's successor, who was ordered to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ; and universal pastor, and a single one, that will not admit of any associate. The character of a "foolish" one belongs to him, though he would be thought to be wise; nor is he wanting in wicked craft and cunning, but ignorant of the pastoral office, and how to feed the church of God; and is a wicked or evil shepherd, as the word F20 used is pretty much the same in sound with our English word "evil": he governing the flock, not with and according to the word of God, but according to his own will and laws; for his "instruments" are laws of his own making, an exercise of tyrannical power over kings and princes, unwritten traditions, pardons, indulgences: [which] shall not visit those that be cut off;
not that cut off themselves, or are cut off by the church; but such that go astray, wander from the fold, and are in danger of being lost; (twdbwa) , that are perishing, as Jarchi explains the word; these he looks not after, nor has he any regard to their spiritual and eternal welfare: neither shall seek the young one;
the lamb, the tender of the flock; he will not do as the good shepherd does, carry the lambs in his arms, ( Isaiah 40:11 ) or, "that which wanders" F21; that strays from the fold, and out of the pastures, or the right way: nor heal that that is broken;
that is of a broken and of a contrite spirit; or whose bones are broken, and consciences wounded, through falls into sin: nor feed that that standeth still;
that can not move from its place to get fresh pasture, but is obliged to stay where it is, and needs supply and support there: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat;
that is, as the Targum well explains it,
``shall spoil the substance of the rich;''
see ( Revelation 18:3 Revelation 18:7 ) : and tear their claws in pieces;
take all their power and privileges from them; all which well agrees with the pope of Rome.
F19 Dictionary, in the word "Shepherds."
F20 (ylwa) .
F21 (renh) "errantem", Noldius; "quod prae ruditate evagatur", Cocceius.

Zechariah 11:16 In-Context

14 Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 The LORD said to me, "Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd.
16 "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.
17 "Woe to the worthless shepherd Who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm And on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered And his right eye will be blind."

Cross References 2

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