Zechariah 11:1-3 Had to check the commentaries for the context. Reminded that Zechariah has just prophesied of the coming of the Messiah and what He will accomplish. Now he moves to the reaction of Israel to Jesus. He started his book with admonition to rebuild the temple. Here he tells that it will also eventually be destroyed. Mentions of cedars, oaks, forests, and pride of the Jordan are considered to be references to the temple, built with supplies from Lebanon with the oaks and lesser trees representing the priests and support personnel and the Jordan area the rest of the nation. Romans will come in and destroy everything. Shepherds would be the religious rulers who had been given the responsibility of taking care of the spiritual condition of the nation.
4 “…the LORD my God…”
Interesting that he said my God, not just the LORD God or God almighty. Made it personal.
5 “…owners slaughter them and feel no guilt…shepherds do not pity them…They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand”
Religious leaders of Jesus’s day were not concerned with the condition of the people, but only in their own comfort and position. Jesus Himself mentioned this several times. They wanted the best places at feasts and the high esteem of everyone else. They weren’t concerned that they had to lie to obtain it. This pride and self indulgence caused them to be blind to the arrival of the Messiah and their rejection of Him. Self was more important. God allowed the Romans to march through and destroy everything.
7 “…in particular the poor of the flock…”
Jesus came to save that which was lost. He cared about the lowest and least cared for among the people.
7 “…took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds…”
Through this section, God has Zechariah play the part of the Messiah. He will be the shepherd who cares for the sheep. He makes the two shepherd’s staffs with their two names. Beauty represents the Messiah’s care for the people and Bonds the idea of the united kingdom under the Messiah. Both will be broken.
8 “I dismissed the three shepherds…My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me”
Christ dismissed the religious rulers of the day. He had no respect for them, and they hated Him.
10 “…Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant…”
His care and protection of the nation was withdrawn because of their rejection of Him. This allowed the Romans to destroy them in 70 AD.
11 “…the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD”
Those who trusted Christ knew what was coming since He told them. Part of the section in Matthew 24. They recognized it when it happened.
12-13 “…they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver…the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’…I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter”
Can’t miss the prophetic word here. Priests gave Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray Christ. When he tried to give it back and they wouldn’t take it, he threw it down in the temple. The priests bought the potter’s field with it.
14 “…I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel”
Christ would have united all of Israel, spiritually speaking, along with the rest of the world. But their rejection caused a split between those who believed in Christ and those who did not. The nation as a whole rejected Him which led to their destruction by the Romans.
15-16 “…the implements of a foolish shepherd…I will raise up a shepherd in the land…”
Commentaries somewhat agree that he is now showing what will happen to Israel due to their rejection. Either continued religious leaders who don’t care for the people, or the Romans who will disperse the people to the nations. One note in a commentary I found interesting. It used the phrase in the land to assume that the Antichrist will be a Jew. Perhaps this is where that idea originated. I heard this years ago. Statement was made that Antichrist would need to be a Jew because the Jews would not accept someone who claimed to be the Messiah unless He was a Jew. But the scriptures don’t say they accept him as the Messiah. He makes a covenant with them, probably for protection, but that is as a civil ruler, not the Messiah. Antichrist will probably be hailed as one who saves the world from chaos and confusion, but I doubt the idea of the true Messiah comes out. Only the heathen will be left at that point, and they aren’t looking for the Messiah, just someone to bring peace.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.