Zechariah 13

Cleansing From Sin

1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.
3 And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive.
5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.[a]
6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body[b] ?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’

The Shepherd Struck, the Sheep Scattered

7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
8 In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.
9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’ ”

Zechariah 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The Fountain for the remission of sins, The conviction of the false prophets. (1-6) The death of Christ, and the saving of a remnant of the people. (7-9)

Verses 1-6 In the time mentioned at the close of the foregoing chapter, a fountain would be opened to the rulers and people of the Jews, in which to wash away their sins. Even the atoning blood of Christ, united with his sanctifying grace. It has hitherto been closed to the unbelieving nation of Israel; but when the Spirit of grace shall humble and soften their hearts, he will open it to them also. This fountain opened is the pierced side of Christ. We are all as an unclean thing. Behold a fountain opened for us to wash in, and streams flowing to us from that fountain. The blood of Christ, and God's pardoning mercy in that blood, made known in the new covenant, are a fountain always flowing, that never can be emptied. It is opened for all believers, who as the spiritual seed of Christ, are of the house of David, and, as living members of the church, are inhabitants of Jerusalem. Christ, by the power of his grace, takes away the dominion of sin, even of beloved sins. Those who are washed in the fountain opened, as they are justified, so they are sanctified. Souls are brought off from the world and the flesh, those two great idols, that they may cleave to God only. The thorough reformation which will take place on the conversion of Israel to Christ, is here foretold. False prophets shall be convinced of their sin and folly, and return to their proper employments. When convinced that we are gone out of the way of duty, we must show the truth of our repentance by returning to it again. It is well to acknowledge those to be friends, who by severe discipline are instrumental in bringing us to a sight of error; for faithful are the wounds of a friend, ( Proverbs 27:6 ) . And it is always well for us to recollect the wounds of our Saviour. Often has he been wounded by professed friends, nay, even by his real disciples, when they act contrary to his word.

Verses 7-9 Here is a prophecy of the sufferings of Christ. God the Father gave order to the sword of his justice to awake against his Son, when he freely made his soul an offering for sin. As God, he is called "my Fellow." Christ and the Father are one. He is the Shepherd who was to lay down his life for the sheep. If a Sacrifice, he must be slain, for without shedding of the life-blood there was no remission. This sword must awake against him, yet he had no sin of his own to answer for. It may refer to the whole of Christ's sufferings, especially his agonies in the garden and on the cross, when he endured unspeakable anguish till Divine justice was fully satisfied. Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. This passage our Lord Jesus declares was fulfilled, when all his disciples, in the night wherein he was betrayed, forsook him and fled. It has, and shall have its accomplishment, in the destruction of the corrupt and hypocritical part of the professed church. Because of the sin of the Jews in rejecting and crucifying Christ, and in opposing his gospel, the Romans would destroy the greater part. But a remnant would be saved. And if we are his people, we shall be refined as gold; he will be God, and the end of all our trials and sufferings will be praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cross References 24

  • 1. Jeremiah 17:13
  • 2. S Leviticus 16:30; S Psalms 51:2; Hebrews 9:14
  • 3. Exodus 23:13; S Jeremiah 43:12; S Ezekiel 6:6; S Ezekiel 36:25; S Hosea 2:17
  • 4. S Micah 5:13
  • 5. 1 Kings 22:22; Jeremiah 23:14-15
  • 6. S Jeremiah 28:16
  • 7. Deuteronomy 13:6-11; Deuteronomy 18:20; S Nehemiah 6:14; Jeremiah 23:34; S Ezekiel 14:9
  • 8. S Jeremiah 6:15; Micah 3:6-7
  • 9. Matthew 3:4
  • 10. S 1 Kings 18:7; 2 Kings 1:8; S Isaiah 20:2
  • 11. S Ezekiel 12:24
  • 12. S Amos 7:14
  • 13. S Isaiah 34:5; Jeremiah 47:6
  • 14. Isaiah 40:11; S Isaiah 53:4; Ezekiel 37:24
  • 15. S 2 Samuel 17:2; Matthew 26:31*; Mark 14:27*
  • 16. S Eze 5:2-4,12; Zechariah 14:2
  • 17. S Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 33:14; Malachi 3:2
  • 18. S Psalms 12:6; S Daniel 11:35; Isaiah 48:10; 1 Peter 1:6-7
  • 19. S Job 6:29; S Jeremiah 6:27
  • 20. S Psalms 50:15
  • 21. Psalms 105:1
  • 22. S Psalms 86:7; S Isaiah 30:19; S Zechariah 10:6
  • 23. S Leviticus 26:12; S Jeremiah 30:22
  • 24. S Isaiah 44:5; S Jeremiah 29:12; S Ezekiel 20:38

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "farmer; a man sold me in my youth"
  • [b]. Or "wounds between your hands"

Chapter Summary


In this chapter are prophecies concerning the purification of the penitent Jews before spoken of; the removal of idols, and false prophets, out of the earth; the death of Christ; the destruction of the greater part of men, and the salvation of a few of them. The cleansing of such that mourn for sin, in a fountain opened for that purpose, is spoken of, Zec 13:1 the utter abolition of idols, and false prophets, and unclean spirits, is affirmed, Zec 13:2 the parents of false prophets will forbid them to prophesy; they themselves will be ashamed of their visions; they will throw off the rough garment, which was a token of their being prophets, and by which they deceived: they will confess they are no prophets, and what they are, and own the wounds they have received from their friends on that account, Zec 13:3-6 and whereas the Messiah, as pierced and crucified, is spoken of in the preceding chapter Zec 12:10, whose blood is the cleansing fountain mentioned in this, an account is given of his death; who is described by his office, the Shepherd of the Lord; and by his natures, human and divine, the Man his fellow; his death is signified by smiting with the sword, which was done by the order of the Lord; the consequences of which were the scattering of the sheep, and the turning of the hand of the Lord upon them in a way of mercy, Zec 13:7 and then it is declared that two parts in three of the land should be cut off, and a third part saved, but yet so as by fire, whom the Lord would own as his people, and they should acknowledge him to be their God, Zec 13:8,9.

Zechariah 13 Commentaries

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