About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 11
Shepherds (ch. 11:4 - 17)
this chapter Zechariah is acting out a prophecy.
On certain occasions, in both the Old and New Testaments prophets
have acted out prophecies instead of just speaking them.
You might remember Agabus in the book of Acts acting out a
prophecy concerning Paul’s future chains and imprisonment.
verse 4 God asks Zechariah to act as if he is a shepherd of a flock.
The flock represents God’s people, and in this case, that’s Israel.
4 also tells us that this flock is “marked for slaughter.”
This should tell us something about Israel’s future. They would at
some point be slaughtered. That
has happened a few times during the history of Israel, but it happened in a major way in 70
5 says that “their shepherds do not spare them.”
Because of this lack of attention by the shepherds, verse 5 says
that their sellers, that’s the shepherds get rich by selling the
flock. Those who buy the
flock simply kill the flock off and go unpunished for what
shepherds of Israel
in Zechariah’s day and in the days ahead in time have not cared for
God’s people as they should. That
was one of Jesus’ biggest complaints against the leaders of Israel. In fact the Jewish leaders
actions here is compared to a selling of the flock to men who would
destroy them. This is what
happened in 70 A. D.. Jewish
leadership failed to recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
Jesus pronounced judgment on Israel
for this. The judgment came
in the form of
Prophetic Futurists, we should note that in the end, this selling of the
vision of the man that represents the four last great empires fits in
here. The legs and the feet
of iron and clay is thought to be the
5 says that Israel’s shepherds say “I am rich”.
This arrogance is what Jesus faced while He was on earth.
The Jewish leadership was rich, while their flock struggled in
life. The proverb says that
pride goes before destruction, and that’s certainly the case with
first century Jewish leadership.
verse 6 God tells Zechariah to say that He will no longer have pity on
the people of the land. The
term “people of the land” refers to the Jews.
He also says He will hand them over to their neighbour and king.
This refers to the handing over of the Jews to the Gentile world,
and in particular the Romans. If
you remember when Pilate asked the Jews if they would like their king
released, they answered by saying that they had no king other than
Caesar. For a Jew, and
especially a Jewish leader to say this, would be blasphemy in the eyes
of God. They were saying
that a Gentile King was their leader and that is what they wanted.
This is an unbelievable confession on the part5 of the Jews.
also says that “they”, meaning the Jews, “will be oppressed in the
land.” Before the
final destruction of
verse 7, Zechariah on behalf of God, says that he will punish the flock,
even the oppressed, which was basically the whole flock, all of Israel,
except for a few of its leaders. The
Jews were oppressed during the time of Jesus while He was on earth.
Their oppression continued until 70 A. D., and as a result of the
Jews rejecting of Jesus, great punishment came at the hands of the Roman
in verse 7 we see that Zachariah took up two shepherd staffs in his
hand. One was named Favour,
and the other named
this point we should understand the sometimes historical events can be
prophetic in themselves. Prophecy
comes in many ways. It can be spoken. It can be acted out as in this
case. Yet historical events can be prophetic. I believe the demise of
the first century Jews is one of these events.
What we’ve seen so far in this chapter had its first
fulfillment in the first century. But
as is the case in prophecy, many times the prophecy has another
fulfillment and therefore its first fulfillment is actually prophetic as
well. The secondary
fulfillment of this prophecy takes place at the end of this age, and the
bad shepherd here is compared to the anti-christ.
names of these two staffs are important.
One is called Favour, the other called Union. This is significant as we
look at the secondary fulfillment of this prophecy.
At the end of this age, God will have “favour’ on His people,
and He will “unite” them as they were meant to be all along.
and Union also speaks to the covenant God made to bless Israel
as we will see in verses 11 and 14.
He wanted them to be united, and He wanted to be gracious to
them. God’s covenant with
verse 8 Zechariah, acting in the place of God, says that “in one month
he got rid of three shepherds.” These
were obviously false shepherds. There
is not much clarity among scholars to what this means.
Some suggest that this might be in reference to Rev. 13:1.
The beast of the sea has ten heads and seven horns.
Why only seven horns when there is ten heads.
Well three horns might have been destroyed as mentioned here in
Zechariah. That’s only one
of many possible interpretations of this verse.
Other’s suggest that this might have some kind of fulfillment
in Jesus’ day, due to the next verse.
rest of verse 8 says that Zechariah, acting as the shepherd from God
says that he is weary of being Israel’s shepherd. You can sure
see this in the life of Jesus and how He acted towards the Jewish
verse 9 God says that he will no longer be their shepherd.
Just let those who are dying die. Let those who are left, eat one
another’s flesh. That
sounds pretty drastic, but that’s what happened when Jesus pronounced
verse 10 Zechariah actually took the staff called Favour and broke it in
half. This signified the
breaking of the covenant between
this point we should note a difference among Bible teachers.
Some say that since the covenant was broken, and it was broken by
God as in the breaking of the two staffs, that God is no longer
associated with Israel as He once was, and that Israel is no different
that any other nation. The church, or the New Testament people of God
has replaced Israel. These Bible teachers then
go back into all the Old Testament passages and replace
don’t believe this to be true. There
are many scriptures, and many right here in Zechariah that tell us that
God will restore Israel, that He will re-instate the covenant once again
at the end of the age Israel
will repent and turn to their Messiah, and all the Old Testament
passages that speaks about them is for them and no one else.
thing we should understand here is that God deals with humanity in two
ways. He deals with nations
and He deals with individuals. In Matt. 34:37, God was dealing with
in the past have stressed individual salvation to such an extent that
they’ve neglected to teach national salvation, that is, the national
salvation of the Jews. We’ve
stressed how God deals with the individual so much that we’ve
neglected to teach that God deals with nations as well.
Few evangelicals really understand this.
this being said concerning verse 10, there are differences among Bible
teachers to what verse 10 really means.
Zechariah broke the staff of Favour which symbolized God
“revoking the covenant He made with all the nations.”
Some have a hard time thinking that God would
break His covenant with the Jews, but I believe He did. The
generation of Jews that were alive at the time of Jesus were cursed,
just as the Law of Moses said they would be if they failed to obey it.
That generation of Jews were accountable before God for all the
sins, from Abel to the present day when Jesus lived on earth.
The covenant with them in my thinking was revoked, but will be
reinstated at the end of this age.
problem is over two words in verse 10. They are the word “covenant”
and the word “nations.” What
covenant is being spoken of here, and to whom was this covenant with?
The word “nations” seems to suggest that the covenant spoken
of here is to the nations of the world, yet some translations don’t
use the word “nations” here.
They use the word “people” or “peoples” instead.
So the question arises, what people is being spoken of here?
In verse 6 we see the word “people” being used for the Jews,
some say the word “people” or “peoples” here refers to Gentiles,
or the nations of the world. If
this is the case then we derive a whole different meaning to verse 10
than what I’ve just said.
holding to this second viewpoint say the covenant spoken of here is the
one where God said those who bless Israel
will be blessed, and those who curse Israel
will be cursed. That
doesn’t make a lot of sense to
me. I believe that covenant
was spoken to
staff that was broken here was a staff that was specifically for the
sheep, that is, for
thing to note about the word "nation" here. The Hebrew
word that is translated "nation" in the NIV (or
"people" in the KJV) is not the same Hebrew word that is
translated as "nations", as in, God will destroy the Gentile
nations, that you read in the rest of Zechariah. Actually, I
believe the word "people" is a better translation and also
reflects the meaning of the context. God made covenant with the
Jews, not with the Gentile nations.
12 is easy to figure out. Someone
says that if you think best to give me my pay, fine, if not, that’s
fine too. That’ s my
paraphrase. So they gave him
thirty pieces of silver. This
clearly is a direct reference to Judas being paid thirty pieces of
silver to hand Jesus over to the Jews.
There’s no debate over that.
Yet why is this verse stuck right here, right after the shepherd,
that’s Jesus, says He will break the covenant with Israel. Well, that’s easy to
answer. Judas was part of
the whole event that surrounded the breaking of this covenant. It was
the ultimate in the deal between the shepherds of
13 speaks of “the handsome price at which they price me.”
To both Judas and the Jewish leadership, Jesus was worth thirty
pieces of silver. This was
the going rate for a second class, poor in health slave.
It wasn’t much. They
did not place a very high price on Jesus.
13 says throw the money to the potter in the temple, the house of God.
In the New Testament we see when Judas came to his senses and
realized that he had done a very bad thing, he was sorry for what he
did, so he took the money back to the Jewish leaders.
They could not legally take it for temple use because of their
law. They would not take it,
so Judas threw it onto the floor before them.
How accurate of a prophecy can you get?
But where does the potter come in.
We know that sense the money couldn’t be spent on the operation
of the temple, and the Jewish leaders did
not want to waste the money, they took the money and bout a field
from a potter for the burial of people who had no other place to be
verse 14 we see that Zechariah took the other staff in his hand called
is the second of the two staffs that were broken.
We saw the staff called
Favour broken in verse 10. We
also saw that these staffs represented the covenant God made with His
people. God took away His
Favour from Israel, and He also took away the union that could only come from Him. I
believe the finality of the covenant being revoked, as it said in verse
10 came in 70 A. D. when
verses 15 and 16 God tells Zechariah to take up the tools of the foolish
shepherd. At this point
Zechariah is to act out the deeds of this foolish shepherd who does not
have the flocks interest in mind. He
is out for himself. Futurists
see this foolish shepherd as the anti-christ in the Great Tribulation.
verse 17 we see how God feels about this false shepherd.
He says, “ woe, to the worthless shepherd who deserts the
flock.”. At this point we
need to understand that Israel
will view the anti-christ as their shepherd, as their Messiah, because
he makes a covenant with them that is supposed to unite
then says that may a sword strike this shepherds right eye and blind
him, and also strike his arm and cause it to wither.
Some see the mentioning here of his right eye and arm as being
symbolic of the anti-Christ’s power and authority he has over the Jews
and the world. Others see
this as being a specific prophecy concerning the man’s right eye and
arm. In the book of
Revelation we see that the anti-christ receives a mortal blow to his
body and is resurrected. Some
see these words prophesying that event.