Zechariah 11:10
And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 11:10-11. And I took my staff, even Beauty — Or, pleasantness, or delight. See note on Zechariah 11:7 : emblematical, as of God’s favour, gentleness, or kindness to his people, and of the honour and privilege which they possessed in his oracles, instituted worship, and temple; so especially of God’s covenant with them, and all the blessings of it. And cut it asunder — To signify that, as they had rejected God and his favour, and refused to comply with the terms of his covenant, so that God had now annulled it, and rendered it utterly void. That I might break my covenant — This, in some measure, illustrates what is meant by the staff Beauty. While it was unbroken, the covenant between God and the Jews was whole and unbroken. And it is to be observed, Christ calls it his covenant, for he was the mediator of it: namely, to bring us to God in repentance, faith, and holy obedience; and to reconcile God to us in mercy and grace. Which I had made with all the people — Hebrew, כל עמים, literally, all people, that is, all the tribes of Israel; and all other people that, by being proselyted to their religion, were incorporated into their nation. The Jewish Church is thus represented as being now stripped of all its glory, its crown profaned and cast to the ground, and all its honour laid in the dust, God being departed from it, and resolved no more to own it for his church. When Christ told the Jews that the kingdom of God should be taken from them, and given to another people, then he broke the staff of Beauty, Matthew 21:43. And it was broken in that day, though Jerusalem and the Jewish people were spared yet forty years longer; and though the great men did not, or would not, understand Christ’s words uttered on that occasion as a divine sentence, but thought to put it by with a cold, God forbid, Luke 20:16. Yet the poor of the flock, that waited upon him — Namely, who knew the Messiah, believed in him, observed his doctrine, miracles, and life, and obeyed him; who understood with what authority he spoke, and could distinguish the voice of their shepherd from that of a stranger; knew that he was the word of the Lord — Saw and acknowledged God in all this, trembled at his word, and were confident that it would not fall to the ground.11:4-14 Christ came into this world for judgment to the Jewish church and nation, which were wretchedly corrupt and degenerate. Those have their minds wofully blinded, who do ill, and justify themselves in it; but God will not hold those guiltless who hold themselves so. How can we go to God to beg a blessing on unlawful methods of getting wealth, or to return thanks for success in them? There was a general decay of religion among them, and they regarded it not. The Good Shepherd would feed his flock, but his attention would chiefly be directed to the poor. As an emblem, the prophet seems to have taken two staves; Beauty, denoted the privileges of the Jewish nation, in their national covenant; the other he called Bands, denoting the harmony which hitherto united them as the flock of God. But they chose to cleave to false teachers. The carnal mind and the friendship of the world are enmity to God; and God hates all the workers of iniquity: it is easy to foresee what this will end in. The prophet demanded wages, or a reward, and received thirty pieces of silver. By Divine direction he cast it to the potter, as in disdain for the smallness of the sum. This shadowed forth the bargain of Judas to betray Christ, and the final method of applying it. Nothing ruins a people so certainly, as weakening the brotherhood among them. This follows the dissolving of the covenant between God and them: when sin abounds, love waxes cold, and civil contests follow. No wonder if those fall out among themselves, who have provoked God to fall out with them. Wilful contempt of Christ is the great cause of men's ruin. And if professors rightly valued Christ, they would not contend about little matters.And I took my staff Beauty, and cut it asunder - Not, as aforetime, did He chasten His people, retaining His relation to them: for such chastening is an austere form of love. By breaking the staff of His tender love, He signified that this relation was at an end.

That I might dissolve My covenant which I had made with all the people - Rather, "with all the peoples," that is, with all nations. Often as it is said of Israel, that they brake the covenant of God Leviticus 26:15; Deuteronomy 31:16, Deuteronomy 31:20; Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 11:10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 16:59; Ezekiel 44:7, it is spoken of God, only to deny that He would break it (Leviticus 26:44; Judges 2:1, and, strongly, Jeremiah 33:20-21), or in prayer that He would not Jeremiah 14:21. Here it is not absolutely the covenant with His whole people, which He brake; it is rather, so to speak, a covenant with the nations in favor of Israel, allowing thus much and forbidding more, with regard to His people. So God had said of the times of Christ; "In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of the heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground" (Hosea 2:18, (20, Hebrew)); and, "I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land" Ezekiel 34:25; and in Job "thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of' the field shall be at peace with thee" Job 5:23. This covenant He willed to annihilate. He would no more interpose, as He had before said, "I will not deliver from their hand" Zechariah 11:6. whoever would might do, what they would, as the Romans first, and well nigh all nations since, have inflicted on the Jews, what they willed; and Mohammedans too have requited to them their contumely to Jesus.

10. covenant which I made with all the people—The covenant made with the whole nation is to hold good no more except to the elect remnant. This is the force of the clause, not as Maurer, and others translate. The covenant which I made with all the nations (not to hurt My elect people, Ho 2:18). But the Hebrew is the term for the elect people (Ammim), not that for the Gentile nations (Goiim). The Hebrew plural expresses the great numbers of the Israelite people formerly (1Ki 4:20). The article is, in the Hebrew, all the or those peoples. His cutting asunder the staff "Beauty," implies the setting aside of the outward symbols of the Jews distinguishing excellency above the Gentiles (see on [1188]Zec 11:7) as God's own people. And I took my staff, even Beauty; which I gave that name to, which was the beauty and glory of them, the covenant of God with all the blessings of it, his presence with them, his love to them, and his protection of them, and his blessing on them.

That I might break my covenant; signify and declare that they had rejected God and his favour, and refused his covenant, and that now God would hold it for nulled, and not obligatory to him. This somewhat illustrates the staff Beauty, which while unbroken the covenant between God and the Jews was whole and unbroken; and it is to be noted, Christ calls it his covenant, for he was the Mediator of it, to bring us to God in duty and holy walking, and to reconcile God to us in mercy and grace, which is the most beautiful and sweetest object we can see.

Which I had made with all the people: here again

all the people, that is, the generality, in distinction to the poor and meek, the little remnant, with whom the covenant stood firm, though the body of the nation were rejected and cast off, for God nor Christ have either of them ever cast away his people whom he foreknew, Romans 11:1,2. And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder,.... Signifying that he dropped his pastoral care of them: the Gospel indeed, which is meant by the staff "Beauty", cannot be made void; it will have its designed effect; it is the everlasting Gospel, and will endure; its blessings, promises, doctrines, ordinances, and ministers, shall continue, till all the elect are gathered in, even unto the second coming of Christ: but then it may be removed from one place to another; it may be taken from one people, and given to another; and which is generally owing to contempt of it, unfruitfulness under it, and indifference to it; and this is the case here, it designs the taking away of the Gospel from the Jews, who despised it, and the carrying of it into the Gentile world; see Matthew 21:43,

that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people; not the covenant of works, that was made with all mankind in Adam; that was broke, not by the Lord, but by man; and was broke before the Gospel was published; nor the covenant of grace, for this was not made with all the people, nor can it be broken; but the Mosaic economy, the Sinai covenant, called the old covenant, which gradually vanished away: it was of right abolished at the death of Christ; when the Gospel was entirely removed, it more appeared to be so; and this was thoroughly done at the destruction of the city and temple. The last clause may be rendered, "which" covenant "I have made with all the people"; the Gentiles, having promised and given orders to send the Gospel unto them, which was accordingly done.

And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. the people] Lit. the peoples. This may mean either (1) the nations of the earth, in which case the sense will be that the prosperity which the shepherd on assuming office had guaranteed to the flock, and of which his staff “Beauty” was the symbol, was assured to them by a covenant, so to speak, into which he had entered with all nations not to molest them (comp. Hosea 2:18; Job 5:23): or (2) the tribes of Israel, in which sense the word is used Deuteronomy 33:3; Hosea 10:14.Verse 10. - Cut it asunder. The breaking of the staff "Beauty" indicates that God withdraws his grace and protection; he will no longer shield the people from the attack of foes, as the following words express. My covenant which I had made with all the people; rather, with all the peoples. God calls the restriction which he had laid on foreign nations to prevent them from afflicting Israel, "a covenant." Similar "covenants," i.e. restraints imposed by God, are found in Job 5:23; Hosea 2:20 (Hosea 2:18, Authorized Version); Ezekiel 34:25, etc. The restraint being removed, there ensued war, exile, the destruction of the kingdom and theocracy, the subjection of Israel to Gentile nations.
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