Zechariah 11:4-14

Two Shepherds

4 This is what the LORD my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter.
5 Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the LORD, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them.
6 For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the LORD. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.”
7 So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock.
8 In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them
9 and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.”
10 Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations.
11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD.
12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.
14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel.

Zechariah 11:4-14 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ZECHARIAH 11

This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of the Jews, and shows the causes and reasons of it; and is concluded with a prediction concerning antichrist. The destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it, is signified by figurative expressions, Zec 11:1,2 which occasions an howling among the shepherds or rulers of Israel, on account of whose cruelty and covetousness the wrath of God came upon them without mercy, Zec 11:3,5,6 but inasmuch as there were a remnant according to the election of grace among them, named the flock of the slaughter, Christ is called upon to feed them; who undertakes it, and prepares for it, Zec 11:4,7 but being abhorred by the shepherds, whom he therefore loathed and cut off, he determines to leave the people to utter ruin and destruction, Zec 11:8,9 and, as a token of it, breaks the two staves asunder he had took to feed them with, Zec 11:10,11,14 and, as an instance of their ingratitude to him, and which is a justification of his conduct towards them, notice is taken of his being valued at and sold for thirty pieces of silver, Zec 11:12,13 but, in the place of these shepherds cut off, it is suggested that another should arise, who is described by his folly, negligence, and cruelty, Zec 11:15,16 to whom a woe is denounced, Zec 11:17.

Zechariah 11:4-14 In-Context

2 Wail, you juniper, for the cedar has fallen; the stately trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan; the dense forest has been cut down!
3 Listen to the wail of the shepherds; their rich pastures are destroyed! Listen to the roar of the lions; the lush thicket of the Jordan is ruined!
4 This is what the LORD my God says: “Shepherd the flock marked for slaughter.
5 Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Praise the LORD, I am rich!’ Their own shepherds do not spare them.
6 For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the LORD. “I will give everyone into the hands of their neighbors and their king. They will devastate the land, and I will not rescue anyone from their hands.”
7 So I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock.
8 In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them
9 and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.”
10 Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations.
11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the LORD.
12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.
14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family bond between Judah and Israel.
15 Then the LORD said to me, “Take again the equipment of a foolish shepherd.
16 For I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land who will not care for the lost, or seek the young, or heal the injured, or feed the healthy, but will eat the meat of the choice sheep, tearing off their hooves.

Cross References 13

  • 1. S Jeremiah 25:34
  • 2. Jeremiah 50:7; S Ezekiel 34:2-3
  • 3. Zechariah 14:13
  • 4. Isaiah 9:19-21; S Jeremiah 13:14; S Lamentations 2:21; Lamentations 5:8; S Mic Lamentations 5:8; Micah 7:2-6
  • 5. S Jeremiah 25:34
  • 6. S Ezekiel 14:5
  • 7. S Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 43:11
  • 8. S Isaiah 9:20
  • 9. ver 7
  • 10. S Psalms 89:39; Jeremiah 14:21
  • 11. S Genesis 23:16; Exodus 21:32; Matthew 26:15
  • 12. S Exodus 21:32
  • 13. Matthew 27:9-10*; Acts 1:18-19
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