Zechariah 13:7
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
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Zechariah 13:7-9. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd — Here “the prophet goes back to the great subject of prophecy, the Messiah, after having foretold some events posterior to his appearance; and he then proceeds to other events subsequent to that grand epocha in the history of the Jews, and of mankind; some near it, and some remote.” — Newcome. That the sufferings and death of Christ are here predicted, is certain from Christ’s having applied this prophecy to himself, a few hours before he was apprehended in order to be put to death, as St. Matthew (Matthew 26:31) and St. Mark (Mark 14:27) inform us, where, foretelling to his disciples that they should all be offended because of him that night, he added, For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and his applying it so directly to himself and his disciples, is as much as if he had said, in direct terms, that this was a prediction of what should happen to himself and them; so that it seems an entire perversion of the passage to apply it to any other subject. He alone, strictly speaking, was and is God’s shepherd and the man, his fellow, or friend, or very near to him, as Houbigant renders עמית, and as it certainly properly signifies, no thing or person being so near and dear to God as his beloved Son; the consequence of whose crucifixion was the scattering for a time of his disciples. And I will turn my hand upon the little ones — Houbigant reads, instead of smite, I will smite the shepherd; but I will turn, or bring back, my hand upon the little ones: that is, upon that third part of the people, which was to be tried as gold in the furnace. This is that part which, it is said, Zechariah 13:9, shall call on the name of the Lord: whence it is justly inferred that the two other parts of the Jewish nation, which were to perish, were those Jews who received not the gospel, and who were slain by the Romans: for it is said of the third part, They shall call on my name, in opposition to the two parts who should be cut off and die, Zechariah 13:8. But, even of that third, many Jews, who had believed the gospel, fell away, as when gold or silver is tried, much dross is found among it. So that the number of Jews who should continue in the faith of the gospel is left very small; which the event sufficiently proves, as we learn from the Acts of the Apostles: see Houbigant. Upon the whole we learn from these verses, as Dr. Sharpe observes, the following particulars: “That the shepherd, called the fellow of God, was to be smitten; the sheep were to be scattered; two parts of all that inhabited the land were to be cut off, and die; a third only left, which was to be brought through the fire, refined as silver, and tried as gold. Then it follows, Zechariah 13:9, They shall call, &c. The like events happened under the gospel: the shepherd was smitten, the sheep were scattered, they were to endure severe trials, and their faith was to be more precious than gold tried with fire. To the Jews, our Saviour said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see me until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Our Saviour here foretels the desolation and destruction of Jerusalem; and, instead of comforting the Jews with the prospect of a third temple, and the restoration of bloody sacrifices, in some future age, or advent of the Messiah, he expressly declares they shall see him no more, till they shall acknowledge him by saying, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” — Dr. Sharpe’s 2d Argument, p. 356.

13:7-9 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.Awake, O sword - So Jeremiah apostrophises the sword, "O thou sword of the Lord, when wilt thou be quiet?" Jeremiah 47:6. The prophets express what "will be," by a command that it should be; "Make the heart of this people heavy" Isaiah 6:10. But by this command he signifies that human malice, acting freely, could do no more than His "Hand and" His "counsel determined before to be done" Acts 4:28. The envy and hatred of Satan, the blind fury of the chief priests, the contempt of Herod, the guilty cowardice of Pilate, freely accomplished that Death, which God had before decreed for the salvation of the world. The meaning then is, (Ribera), "the sword shall be aroused against My Shepherd, that is, I will allow Him to be smitten by the Jews. But by 'the sword' he designates death, persecution, wounding etc. as above, the 'sword upon his right arm' Zechariah 11:17, and, where the passion of Christ is spoken of, 'Deliver my soul from the sword' Psalm 22:20. So also, 'All the sinners of the people shall die by the sword' Amos 9:10," (Jerome), "which cannot be taken literally; for many sinners perish by shipwreck, poison, drowning, fire." Amos then "so spake, because many died by war, yet not all by the sword, but others by pestilence and famine, all which he includes under 'the sword' Amos 9:10. This smiting began, when the Lord was taken, and His sheep began to be scattered; but the prophecy which, before, was being gradually fulfilled, was fully fulfilled in His death, and the apostles were dispersed till the day of the Resurrection at eventide."

Against the Man, My Fellow - that is, One united by community of nature. A little before, God had spoken of Himself as priced at "the thirty pieces of silver," yet as breaking the covenant which He had made with all nations for His people; as "pierced through, yet as pouring the spirit of grace and supplication" on those who pierced Him, that they should mourn their deed, and as, thereon, ever cleansing them from sin. As Man, God was sold, was pierced. : "God, in flesh, not working with aught intervening as in the prophets, but having taken to Him a Manhood connatural with Himself and made one, and through His flesh akin to us, drawing up to Him all humanity. What was the manner of the Godhead in flesh? As fire in iron, not transitively but by communication. For the fire does not dart into the iron, but remains there and communicates to it of its own virtue, not impaired by the communication, yet filling wholly its recipient."

The bold language of the Fathers only expressed the actuality of the Incarnation. Since the Manhood was taken into God, and in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and God and Man were one Christ. then was it all true language. His Body was "the Body of God" ; His flesh "the flesh of the Word" ; and it was lawful to speak of "the flesh of the Deity" , of "the Passion of the Word" , "the Passion of Christ, my God" , "the Passion of God" , "God dead and buried" , "God suffered" , "murderers of God" , "the Godhead dwelt in the flesh bodily, which is all one with saying that, being God, He had a proper body, and using this as an instrument, He became Man for our sakes, and, because of this, things proper to the flesh are said to be His, since He was in it, as hunger, thirst, suffering, fatigue and the like, of which the flesh is capable, while the works proper to the Word Himself as raising the dead and restoring the blind, He did through His own Body," is but a continuance of the language of Zechariah, since He who was sold, was priced, was Almighty God. Jesus being God and Man, the sufferings of His Humanity were the sufferings of God, although, as God, He could not suffer.

Now, conversely, God speaks of the Shepherd who was slain, as "My Fellow," united in Nature with Himself, although not the Manhood of Jesus which suffered, but the Godhead, united with It in one Person, was Consubstantial with Himself. The name might perhaps be most nearly represented by "connatural." : "When then the title is employed of the relation of an individual to God, it is clear that that individual can be no mere man, Jut must be one, united with God by unity of Being. The Akin of the Lord is no, other than He who said in the Gospel "I and My Father are One" John 10:30, and who is designated as "the Only-Begotten Son, who is in the Bosom of the Father" John 1:18. The word, it seems, was especially chosen, as being used in the Pentateuch, only in the laws against injuring a fellow-man. The prophet thereby gives prominence to the seeming contradiction between the command of the Lord, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd," and those Of His own law, whereby no one is to injure his fellow.

He thus points out the greatness of that end, for the sake of which the Lord regards not that relation, whose image among men He commanded to be kept holy. He speaks after the manner of people. He calls attention to the greatness of that sacrifice, whereby He "spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all" Romans 8:32. The word 'Man' forms a sort of contrast with "My Fellow." He whom the sword is to reach must unite the Human Nature with the divine." Jews too have seen that the words, "My Fellow," imply an equality with God; only since they own not Him, who was God and Man, they must interpret it of a false claim on the part of man , overlooking that it is given Him by God.

And I will turn My hand o upon the little ones - Doing to them as He had done to the Shepherd. So our Lord forewarned them: "If they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you" John 15:20 : "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me, before it hated you" John 15:18 : "Ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake" Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17 : "they will deliver you up to the councils and scourge you in the synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My name's sake" (Matthew 10:17-18; add Luke 21:12): "they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake" Matthew 24:9; and to the Scribes and Pharisees, "I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes, and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth" Matthew 23:34-35.

The little ones - As Jeremiah speaks of "the least of the flock" Jeremiah 49:20, and the Lord said, "fear not, little flock" Luke 12:32, little and weak in itself but mighty in Him and in His grace. Three centuries of persecution, alike in the Roman empire and beyond it in Persia, fulfilled the prophet's words and deepened the foundation of the Church and cemented its fabric.

7. Expounded by Christ as referring to Himself (Mt 26:31, 32). Thus it is a resumption of the prophecy of His betrayal (Zec 11:4, 10, 13, 14), and the subsequent punishment of the Jews. It explains the mystery why He, who came to be a blessing, was cut off while bestowing the blessing. God regards sin in such a fearful light that He spared not His own co-equal Son in the one Godhead, when that Son bore the sinner's guilt.

Awake—Compare a similar address to the sword of justice personified (Jer 46:6, 7). For "smite" (imperative), Mt 26:31 has "I will smite." The act of the sword, it is thus implied, is God's act. So the prophecy in Isa 6:9, "Hear ye," is imperative; the fulfilment as declared by Jesus is future (Mt 13:14), "ye shall hear."

sword—the symbol of judicial power, the highest exercise of which is to take away the life of the condemned (Ps 17:13; Ro 13:4). Not merely a show, or expression, of justice (as Socinians think) is distinctly implied here, but an actual execution of it on Messiah the shepherd, the substitute for the sheep, by God as judge. Yet God in this shows His love as gloriously as His justice. For God calls Messiah "My shepherd," that is, provided (Re 13:8) for sinners by My love to them, and ever the object of My love, though judicially smitten (Isa 53:4) for their sins (Isa 42:1; 59:16).

man that is my fellow—literally, "the man of my union." The Hebrew for "man" is "a mighty man," one peculiarly man in his noblest ideal. "My fellow," that is, "my associate." "My equal" ([De Wette]; a remarkable admission from a Rationalist). "My nearest kinsman" [Hengstenberg], (Joh 10:30; 14:10, 11; Php 2:6).

sheep shall be scattered—The scattering of Christ's disciples on His apprehension was the partial fulfilment (Mt 26:31), a pledge of the dispersion of the Jewish nation (once the Lord's sheep, Ps 100:3) consequent on their crucifixion of Him. The Jews, though "scattered," are still the Lord's "sheep," awaiting their being "gathered" by Him (Isa 40:9, 11).

I will turn … hand upon … little ones—that is, I will interpose in favor of (compare the phrase in a good sense, Isa 1:25) "the little ones," namely, the humble followers of Christ from the Jewish Church, despised by the world: "the poor of the flock" (Zec 11:7, 11); comforted after His crucifixion at the resurrection (Joh 20:17-20); saved again by a special interposition from the destruction of Jerusalem, having retired to Pella when Cestius Gallus so unaccountably withdrew from Jerusalem. Ever since there has been a Jewish "remnant" of "the little ones … according to the election of grace." The hand of Jehovah was laid in wrath on the Shepherd that His hand might be turned in grace upon the little ones.

Many words are spent by interpreters to show what they think to be the connexion of the words; it is easier to say what are the contents and design of them. It is possible they are subjoined to the former to vindicate Christ from the suspicion of an impostor, though he was wounded, for this his Father did foretell by Zechariah four hundred and ninety years, more or less, beforehand, so that these wounds are not marks of an impostor, but testimonies of his truth, and that he is the Messiah.

Awake: it is God commission, or rather prediction, the imperative put for the future.

O sword; i.e. afflictions, persecutions, and the cross.

Against my shepherd; who is my faithful Shepherd, and will lay down his life for my sheep; who became man, that he might be my servant and die.

My fellow, or my equal, who was ever with me, and my delights, Proverbs 8:30. Man my fellow speaks Christ man with us and God with his Father, God-man in one person. Smite the shepherd; this great and good Shepherd shall be smitten, i.e. die for my sheep, and before he dieth shall suffer much for them.

The sheep shall be scattered; as affrighted, destitute of one to look after them, and which must be partakers in sufferings with their Shepherd.

I will turn mine hand: God will, say some, turn his hand against the little ones, smite them too; but others say this turning the hand is in favour, and for protection; it is a hand turned over them, as if he would keep the blow off them, while others, fitter to bear it, do suffer.

Upon the little ones; new, and therefore weak converts and disciples.

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,.... Not Judas Maccabeus, slain in battle by Bacchis (w), as Grotius fancies; but Christ, Jehovah's Shepherd; for these are the words of Jehovah the Father, concerning his Son, whom he calls "my Shepherd"; because he has a property in him, as well as in the flock; and he was chosen, called, set up, and sent as such by him; on whom he laid the straying of all the sheep; and who as such died and rose again, and is accountable to his divine Father for the flock committed to him: by "the sword" awoke against him are meant either the sorrows and afflictions of Christ, which, like a sword, pierced through his soul; or the violent death he was put to, being stricken and cut off for the transgressions of his people; or the Jews, who were the instruments of it; so wicked men are called, Psalm 17:13 or rather the glittering sword of justice, which was drawn against him, and sheathed in him; which is called upon to "awake", it seeming as though it was asleep; it having been a long time since the first sin of Adam was committed, in which all his posterity was concerned, and for which satisfaction to divine justice must be made; and longer still since Christ became a surety, and engaged to do it; moreover, it was a great while since it was promised that he should come, and be smitten and wounded for sin; and, after he was come into the world, it was some time before the orders were given to this sword to awake against him:

even against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; the human nature of Christ is signified by "the man"; not that he was really man before his incarnation, only in the purpose and covenant of God; and he often appearing in a human form; and the Scripture speaking of things future as present; though here it regards him in the days of his flesh, and as suffering: his divine nature is expressed by being "the fellow" of the Lord of hosts; not only being near to him in place and affection, but his equal, being truly a divine Person; of the same nature, glory, and majesty, with him (x), though distinct from him; and so fit to be the Shepherd of the flock:

smite the Shepherd; the order is given to the sword of justice, by the Lord of hosts, to smite the Messiah, the Shepherd, even unto death: this was according to his purpose; was his will of command; agreeable to his mind; what he took a kind of pleasure in, and in which he had a hand himself; for it is rendered "I will smite", Matthew 26:31,

and the sheep shall be scattered; particularly the apostles, who, upon the seizure of Christ, were scattered from him, and one another, whereby this prophecy was fulfilled, Matthew 26:31,

and I will turn my hand upon the little ones; the same with the sheep, the disciples of Christ (y); yea, all that Christ died for, and to whom God is gracious for his sake; even all the little ones that believe in him; who are few in number, little in their own sight, and contemptible in the eyes of the world; pusillanimous, fearful, and of little faith, as the apostles of Christ were at the time he died: on these the Lord turned his hand; not his chastising hand, though that is sometimes on the saints; much less his hand of justice, which was laid on Christ, and it would have been unjust to have laid it on sinner and surety both; but his hand of grace and mercy, power and protection; which was upon the apostles in their ministrations, succeeding them to the conversion of sinners, and preserving them from their enemies; and all the elect are saved in consequence of the death of Christ, and redemption by him. Aben Ezra says this prophecy refers to the great wars which shall be in all the earth in the times of Messiah ben Joseph; but they regard the times of Christ the son of David, who is already come. The Targum is,

"be revealed, O sword, against the king, and against the ruler his companion, who is like unto him;''

and Jarchi interprets it of the king of Moab; and Aben Ezra of every king of the nations that shall in the above times reign over the earth, who thinks himself to be as God; which sense Kimchi approves of, and observes, that the "little ones" are governors and princes, who are less than kings: and another Jewish writer (z) says the sense is, awake, O sword, against the king of Ishmael, who is called the king of the Turks (the grand seignior), that rules over Asia and Africa; which are more than three fourths of the world, and the greater part of the Jewish nation are in captivity under his hand; him God calls his Shepherd, because he hath given into his hand to feed his flock in their captivity, and this flock is the nation of Israel; and he is called the man his fellow, because he thinks himself, through the pride and haughtiness of his heart, to be as God; and upon the ruin of this prince, he supposes, will be the deliverance of the Jews, who, being scattered into several parts, will, in separate bodies, return to their own land: and by the "little ones" he thinks are meant the kings of the nations of Edom, or of the Roman nations, which are the lesser pastors of the sheep. Manasseh ben Israel (a) makes mention of the same exposition of the passage, but is of opinion that the words are rather to be understood of the pope of Rome, who calls himself a pastor, and next to God, and his vicar on earth; and against him and those like to him, inferior in power, God will make war. But much more agreeable, and very remarkable, are the words of R. Samuel Marochianus (b), who, writing of the coming of the Messiah, says,

"I fear, O my Lord, that that which Zechariah the prophet said, "I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered", was fulfilled when we smote the Shepherd of those little ones and holy apostles.''

Moreover, it may be observed, that the word for "little ones" sometimes signifies great ones, as Mr. Pocock (c) has observed, and particularly in this text; which, according to the sense some give of it, mentioned by R. Tanchum, is, "I will turn mine hand upon the illustrious and the princes", and not "upon the little ones", as commonly understood; and which he takes to be the best of the expositions adduced: and with this agree the several oriental versions; some copies of the Septuagint read, "upon the shepherds"; and so the Arabic version; and the Syriac version renders it, "the superiors"; and so may very well be applied to the apostles of Christ, who were in the highest office in the church, and shepherds of the flock; on whom, after the death of Christ, God turned his hand of power, which was upon them, and was with them in their ministrations, making them successful wherever they went; and also his hand of providence was upon them, protecting and preserving them, until they had done the work they were sent about. After this prophecy concerning the Messiah, occasionally inserted here, the prophet returns to his prediction of the state of the church, and what shall befall it in the latter day.

(w) Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 12. c. 11. sect. 2.((x) "socius, proximus; speciatim tribuitur Messiae, qui patri caelesti est conjunctissimus et intimus, cum sit ejusdem numero essentiae, gloriae, ac majestatis cum eo". Stockius, p. 794. (y) So Stockius, p. 912. (z) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 37. p. 310. 311. (a) De Resurrect. Mort. l. 3. c. 5. sect. 5. p. 290. (b) Apud Burkium in loc. e Mullero. (c) Not. Miscell. in Port. Mosis, c. 2. p. 18.

Awake, O sword, against my {i} shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.

(i) The Prophet warns the Jews, that before this great comfort under Christ would come, there would be a horrible dissipation among the people: for their governors and pastors would be destroyed, and the people would be as scattered sheep. And the evangelist applies this to Christ, because he was the head of all pastors; Mt 26:31.

7. Awake, O sword] We have a similar apostrophe in Jeremiah 47:6.

my shepherd] This may refer primarily to any Jewish king or ruler, for even a heathen king raised up by God to befriend His people is called by Him “My shepherd,” Isaiah 44:28. But it is at the same time a distinct prophecy of Christ. See chap. Zechariah 11:4, note.

my fellow] The word occurs only here and in Leviticus, where it is frequently found (e.g. Leviticus 6:2 [Heb., 5:21]; Leviticus 19:15; Leviticus 19:17), and is usually rendered, “neighbour,” ὁ πλησίον, LXX. In its highest sense it belongs exclusively to the Shepherd who could say, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:26-30.

True to the sound canon of interpretation which he always adopts, Calvin, while fully acknowledging the reference of this passage to Christ and its complete fulfilment in Him, contends that just as the prediction of “a prophet” in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 18:15) embraces the whole prophetical order, as well as “the Prophet” to whom they all gave witness, so here, while the Chief Shepherd is distinctly pointed at, the shepherds of God’s people generally are included, and called His “fellows,” because they are associated with Him in the work of government. “Sicuti ergo Christus primatum obtinet inter prophetas, et ideo bene aptatur ad illum locus Mosis; ita etiam quoniam pastorum est princeps et caput, merito hoc competit in ejus personam. Sed generalis tamen est prophetæ doctrina.… Hæc ratio est cur vocentur socii Dei, propter conjunctionem scilicet, quia sunt co-operarii Dei, quemadmodum Paulus etiam docet (1 Corinthians 3:9). Denique eodem sensu vocat propheta pastores Dei socios, quo Paulus vocat ipsos συνεργούς.” In applying this canon, however, to the prophecies of the O. T. it must be borne in mind that, as the stars grow pale before the rising sun, so as the coming of Christ draws near, typical persons and offices fade more and more out of sight, and the terms and reference of the promises belong more immediately and exclusively to Him.

the sheep shall be scattered] In interpreting this prophecy of His own death and its consequences, our Lord seems to restrict the “sheep” here to the Apostles, of whom we are told that, when He was apprehended, they all “forsook Him and fled” (Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:56). We may say, with Bengel, that “the disciples were the representatives of the whole flock (instar totius gregis) which should afterwards be gathered by them.” But with Zechariah the flock is the Jewish Church, and it is better therefore to regard our Lord’s words as intimating the completeness of the dispersion which the prophet had foretold. Not only the flock at large, which had rejected Him as their shepherd, but even His own sheep, the faithful poor (“the poor of the flock,” chap. Zechariah 11:11; the “little ones” of this verse) shall be scandalized at first and flee away from the Cross.

I will turn mine hand upon] For correction, but in mercy, Zechariah 13:8-9. Comp. Isaiah 1:25, where the phrase is used in the same sense. Stier has some interesting remarks on the reference to this part of the prophecy in our Lord’s promise to His disciples in Matthew 26:32. “The hand and power of God in the risen Shepherd returned from death is turned upon them and gathers them together.”

Zechariah 13:7-9. The purifying chastisement

The smiting of the Shepherd shall lead to the dispersion of the flock, which shall not, however, be universal, Zechariah 13:7; for while two-thirds of it shall perish, one-third shall be spared, Zechariah 13:8, and shall be brought by the refining process of affliction into happy and intimate relationship with God, Zechariah 13:9.

The opening of the section is apparently abrupt, and Ewald and other critics would accordingly transfer these verses to the end of chap. 11. The difficulty cannot satisfactorily be removed by the view (adopted by Mr Wright) that in the preceding verses (2–6) “much more is described than a sound reaction against the pretences of false prophets,” and that “the age is represented as impatient of any such supernatural claims,” a temper of mind, which is held to have been precisely that which led the Jews of that day to reject the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, and so to become the authors of the smiting of the Shepherd. Such a view mars the sequence of the foregoing prophecy, the deliverance, the penitence, the cleansing, the amendment, and moreover it was not because He claimed to be a prophet, nor because they were impatient of any such claim (for they both expected and recognised it, John 1:21; John 6:14; John 9:17; Luke 7:16; Luke 24:19; Matthew 21:4; Matthew 21:6; comp. Matthew 14:5), but because “He made Himself the Son of God” (John 19:7), that the Jews took their part in the smiting of the Shepherd. The true explanation of the apparently abrupt transition is to be found in the fact that this section is rather parallel with, than consecutive upon the earlier section of this burden. (Comp. the parallel series of visions, the seals, the trumpets, the vials, in the Apocalypse.) Having opened the future in the first section up to the great moral reformation of the end, the prophet now turns back again to a point even earlier than that with which that section commenced, and opens it again by a new vista from the smiting of the Shepherd to the same goal of perfect holiness which he had reached before. At the same time he guards against the mistake, which the promises of the earlier section might have fostered, that the goal was to be reached without discipline. “Adhuc bona et jucunda prædixit vates. Ne autem qui hæc legerent in hanc inducerentur opinionem, populi Judaici conditionem futuris temporibus fore immunem ab omni molestia et calamitate, jam annunciat priusquam Jova populum suum repurget atque revocat in perfectum ordinem, gravissimas clades fore intermedias.” Rosenm. At the same time, there may possibly be such a connection of thought between Zechariah 13:6-7, as is suggested by Stier (Reden Jesu, Matthew 26:31). “There is a transition in the parallel of ‘wounds’ and ‘wounded’ of Zechariah 13:6, with the ‘wound’ (‘smite,’ the same root) of Zechariah 13:7, which signifies—In a quite different sense ‘will the true Prophet and Shepherd suffer for the guilt of others: let Himself be smitten by them who hate Him, because He loves them.’ ”

The Second Section. Zechariah 13:7 to Zechariah 14:21The purification and final glory of Israel

This Second Section of the Second Burden and conclusion of the whole Book describes the purifying chastisement that shall come upon the people, Zechariah 13:7-9; the great final conflict and deliverance of Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:1-7; the prosperity of the transformed and renovated city and land, Jehovah being King, 8–11; the destruction of the hostile nations, 12–15, and homage of the residue, 16–19; and the perfect holiness of Jerusalem, as the crown of all, 20, 21.

Verses 7-9. - § 4. For the smiting of the good Shepherd Israel is punished, passes through much tribulation, by which it is refined, and in the end (though reduced to a mere remnant) is saved. Verse 7. - Awake, O sword. Zechariah proceeds to show the course of the purification of the people. The mention of the false prophet and the shameful wounds in his flesh leads him to the contrast of the true Prophet and the effects of his "piercing." The abruptness of the commencement of the verse is dramatic, and gives no sufficient cause for supposing that this paragraph ought to be transferred (as Ewald and others desire) to the end of ch. 11. (For a similar apostrophe, comp. Jeremiah 47:6.) It is introduced here to show that all that happened to the Shepherd was done after the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; and as if the sword could never have dared to act thus except it were permitted by the Divine will. The "sword" represents any kind of instrument that inflicts death (comp. Exodus 5:21; 2 Samuel 12:9; Isaiah 27:1). My Shepherd. The Shepherd of Jehovah, who is speaking. He is the good Shepherd, the Representative of Jehovah, mentioned in Zechariah 11:4, etc., the Messiah, who is identified with Jehovah in Zechariah 12:10. The Septuagint has, τοὺς ποιμένας μου, "my shepherds" (Vatican), as if no particular person was indicated, but rather all the leaders of the people of God; but the next clause seems to render the reference definite. The man that is my fellow. The word rendered "man" means rather "mighty man;" that rendered "fellow" occurs often in Leviticus, but nowhere else (Leviticus 5:21; 6:2; 19:11, 15, 17, etc.), and is usually translated "neighbour;" it implies one united to another by the possession of common nature, rights, and privileges. God could speak only of One thus associated with himself, that is, of him who could say, "I and my Father are One" (John 10:30). The term is variously translated by the versions. Septuagint, Ανδρα = πολίτην μου: Aquila, Ανδρα σύμφυλον μου: Vulgate, Virum cohaerentem mihi. That the Shepherd is Messiah is proved by Christ's application of the following clause to himself (Matthew 26:31). Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. When Christ was apprehended, all the disciples forsook him and fled (Matthew 26:56); and what they did was done by others. Even the faithful few were scandalized at the cross The command, "Smite the Shepherd," like the apostrophe, "Awake, O sword," shows that it was God's purpose that was being there executed (see John 19:11; Acts 2:23). It is also thus intimated that the dispersion of the Jews, and their denationalizing, were results of this rejection and smiting of the Shepherd. This dispersion is farther explained in vers. 8, 9, where it is shown that to some it will be ruin, to others salvation. I will turn mine hand. "To turn," or "bring back the hand over," is used in a good and a bad sense (comp. Isaiah 1:25; Amos 1:8). There is a promise of comfort in the use of the phrase here. God's hand shall cover and protect some, while he punishes the others. Those thus protected are called the little ones, the humble and meek. This recalls Christ's words to his disciples, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Zechariah 13:7Zechariah 13:7. "Arise, O sword, over my shepherd, and over the man who is my neighbour, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts: smite the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered; and I will bring back my hand over the little ones. Zechariah 13:8. And it will come to pass in all the land, is the saying of Jehovah; two parts therein shall be cut off, shall die, and the third remains therein. Zechariah 13:9. And the third will I bring into the fire, and melt them as silver is melted, and will refine them as gold is refined: it will call upon my name, and I will answer it; I say, It is my people; and it will say, Jehovah my God." The summons addressed to the sword, to awake and smite, is a poetical turn to express the thought that the smiting takes place with or according to the will of God. For similar personification of the sword, see Jeremiah 47:6. רעי is the shepherd of Jehovah, since the summons comes from Jehovah. In what sense the person to be smitten is called the shepherd of Jehovah, we may see from the clause על־גּבר עמיתי. The word עמית, which only occurs in the Pentateuch and in Zechariah, who has taken it thence, is only used as a synonym of אח (cf. Leviticus 25:15) in the concrete sense of the nearest one. And this is the meaning which it has in the passage before us, where the construct state expresses the relation of apposition, as for example in אישׁ חסידך (Deuteronomy 33:8; cf. Ewald, 287, e), the man who is my nearest one. The shepherd of Jehovah, whom Jehovah describes as a man who is His next one (neighbour), cannot of course be a bad shepherd, who is displeasing to Jehovah, and destroys the flock, or the foolish shepherd mentioned in Zechariah 11:15-17, as Grotius, Umbr., Ebrard, Ewald, Hitzig, and others suppose; for the expression "man who is my nearest one" implies much more than unity or community of vocation, or that he had to feed the flock like Jehovah. No owner of a flock or lord of a flock would call a hired or purchased shepherd his ‛âmı̄th. And so God would not apply this epithet to any godly or ungodly man whom He might have appointed shepherd over a nation. The idea of nearest one (or fellow) involves not only similarity in vocation, but community of physical or spiritual descent, according to which he whom God calls His neighbour cannot be a mere man, but can only be one who participates in the divine nature, or is essentially divine. The shepherd of Jehovah, whom the sword is to smite, is therefore no other than the Messiah, who is also identified with Jehovah in Zechariah 12:10; or the good shepherd, who says of Himself, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). The masculine form הך in the summons addressed to the sword, although חרב itself is feminine, may be accounted for from the personification of the sword; compare Genesis 4:7, where sin (חטּאת, fem.) is personified as a wild beast, and construed as a masculine. The sword is merely introduced as a weapon used for killing, without there being any intention of defining the mode of death more precisely. The smiting of the shepherd is also mentioned here simply for the purpose of depicting the consequences that would follow with regard to the flock. The thought is therefore merely this: Jehovah will scatter Israel or His nation by smiting the shepherd; that is to say, He will give it up to the misery and destruction to which a flock without a shepherd is exposed. We cannot infer from this that the shepherd himself is to blame; nor does the circumstance that the smiting of the shepherd is represented as the execution of a divine command, necessarily imply that the death of the shepherd proceeds directly from God. According to the biblical view, God also works, and does that which is done by man in accordance with His counsel and will, and even that which is effected through the sin of men. Thus in Isaiah 53:10 the mortal sufferings of the Messiah are described as inflicted upon Him by God, although He had given up His soul to death to bear the sin of the people. In the prophecy before us, the slaying of the shepherd is only referred to so far as it brings a grievous calamity upon Israel; and the fact is passed over, that Israel has brought this calamity upon itself by its ingratitude towards the shepherd (cf. Zechariah 11:8, Zechariah 11:12). The flock, which will be dispersed in consequence of the slaying of the shepherd, is the covenant nation, i.e., neither the human race nor the Christian church as such, but the flock which the shepherd in Zechariah 11:4. had to feed. At the same time, Jehovah will not entirely withdraw His hand from the scattered flock, but "bring it back over the small ones." The phrase השׁיב יד על, to bring back the hand over a person (see at 2 Samuel 8:3), i.e., make him the object of his active care once more, is used to express the employment of the hand upon a person either for judgment or salvation. It occurs in the latter sense in Isaiah 1:25 in relation to the grace which the Lord will manifest towards Jerusalem, by purifying it from its dross; and it is used here in the same sense, as Zechariah 13:8, Zechariah 13:9 clearly show, according to which the dispersion to be inflicted upon Israel will only be the cause of ruin to the greater portion of the nation, whereas it will bring salvation to the remnant.

Zechariah 13:8 and Zechariah 13:9 add the real explanation of the bringing back of the hand over the small ones. צערים (lit., a participle of צער, which only occurs here) is synonymous with צעיר or צעור (Jeremiah 14:3; Jeremiah 48:4, chethib), the small ones in a figurative sense, the miserable ones, those who are called עניּי הצּאן in Zechariah 11:7. It naturally follows from this, that the צערים are not identical with the whole flock, but simply form a small portion of it, viz., "the poor and righteous in the nation, who suffer injustice" (Hitzig). "The assertion that the flock is to be scattered, but that God will bring back His hand to the small ones, evidently implies that the small ones are included as one portion of the entire flock, for which God will prepare a different fate from that of the larger whole which is about to be dispersed" (Kliefoth).

On the fulfilment of this verse, we read in Matthew 26:31-32, and Mark 14:27, that the bringing back of the hand of the Lord over the small ones was realized first of all in the case of the apostles. After the institution of the Lord's Supper, Christ told His disciples that that same night they would all be offended because of Him; for it was written, "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee." The quotation is made freely from the original text, the address to the sword being resolved into its actual meaning, "I will smite." The offending of the disciples took place when Jesus was taken prisoner, and they all fled. This flight was a prelude to the dispersion of the flock at the death of the shepherd. But the Lord soon brought back His hand over the disciples. The promise, "But after my resurrection I will go before you into Galilee," is a practical exposition of the bringing back of the hand over the small ones, which shows that the expression is to be understood here in a good sense, and that it began to be fulfilled in the whole of the nation of Israel, to which we shall afterwards return. This more general sense of the words is placed beyond the reach of doubt by Zechariah 13:8 and Zechariah 13:9; for Zechariah 13:8 depicts the misery which the dispersion of the flock brings upon Israel, and Zechariah 13:9 shows how the bringing back of the hand upon the small ones will be realized in the remnant of the nation. The dispersion of the flock will deliver two-thirds of the nation in the whole land to death, so that only one-third will remain alive. כּל־הארץ is not the whole earth, but the whole of the holy land, as in Zechariah 14:9-10; and הארץ, in Zechariah 12:12, the land in which the flock, fed by the shepherds of the Lord, i.e., the nation of Israel, dwells. פּי־שׁנים is taken from Deuteronomy 21:17, as in 2 Kings 2:9; it is used there for the double portion inherited by the first-born. That it is used here to signify two-thirds, is evident from the remaining השּׁלישׁית. "The whole of the Jewish nation," says Hengstenberg, "is introduced here, as an inheritance left by the shepherd who has been put to death, which inheritance is divided into three parts, death claiming the privileges of the first-born, and so receiving two portions, and life one, - a division similar to that which David made in the case of the Moabites (2 Samuel 8:2)." יגועוּ is added to יכּרתוּ, to define יכּרת more precisely, as signifying not merely a cutting off from the land by transportation (cf. Zechariah 14:2), but a cutting off from life (Koehler). גּוע, exspirare, is applied both to natural and violent death (for the latter meaning, compare Genesis 7:21; Joshua 22:20). The remaining third is also to be refined through severe afflictions, to purify it from everything of a sinful nature, and make it into a truly holy nation of God. For the figure of melting and refining, compare Isaiah 1:25; Isaiah 48:10; Jeremiah 9:6; Malachi 3:3; Psalm 66:10. For the expression in Zechariah 13:9, compare Isaiah 65:24; and for the thought of the whole verse, Zechariah 8:8, Hosea 2:23, Jeremiah 24:7; Jeremiah 30:22. The cutting off of the two-thirds of Israel commenced in the Jewish war under Vespasian and Titus, and in the war for the suppression of the rebellion led by the pseudo-Messiah Bar Cochba. It is not to be restricted to these events, however, but was continued in the persecutions of the Jews with fire and sword in the following centuries. The refinement of the remaining third cannot be taken as referring to the sufferings of the Jewish nation during the whole period of its present dispersion, as C. B. Michaelis supposes, nor generally to the tribulations which are necessary in order to enter into the kingdom of God, to the seven conflicts which the true Israel existing in the Christian church has to sustain, first with the two-thirds, and then and more especially with the heathen (Zechariah 12:1-9, Zechariah 12:14). For whilst Hengstenberg very properly objects to the view of Michaelis, on the ground that in that case the unbelieving portion of Judaism would be regarded as the legitimate and sole continuation of Israel; it may also be argued, in opposition to the exclusive reference in the third to the Christian church, that it is irreconcilable with the perpetuation of the Jews, and the unanimous entrance of all Israel into the kingdom of Christ, as taught by the Apostle Paul. Both views contain elements of truth, which must be combined, as we shall presently show.

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