Zechariah 11

1 Open your doors, Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars. 2 Wail, cypress tree, for the cedar has fallen, because the stately ones are destroyed. Wail, you oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest has come down. 3 A voice of the wailing of the shepherds! For their glory is destroyed: a voice of the roaring of young lions! For the pride of the Jordan is ruined. 4 the LORD my God says: “Feed the flock of slaughter. 5 Their buyers slaughter them, and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich;’ and their own shepherds don’t pity them. 6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the LORD; “but, behold, I will deliver the men everyone into his neighbor’s hand, and into the hand of his king. They will strike the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.” 7 So I fed the flock of slaughter, especially the oppressed of the flock. I took for myself two staffs. The one I called “Favor”, and the other I called “Union”, and I fed the flock. 8 I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. That which dies, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let those who are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 I took my staff Favor, and cut it apart, that I might break my covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 It was broken in that day; and thus the poor of the flock that listened to me knew that it was the LORD’s word. 12 I said to them, “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 The LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, the handsome price that I was valued at by them!” I took the thirty pieces of silver, and threw them to the potter, in the LORD’s house. 14 Then I cut apart my other staff, even Union, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. 15 The LORD said to me, “Take for yourself yet again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For, behold, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who will not visit those who are cut off, neither will seek those who are scattered, nor heal that which is broken, nor feed that which is sound; but he will eat the meat of the fat sheep, and will tear their hoofs in pieces. 17 Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! The sword will be on his arm, and on his right eye. His arm will be completely withered, and his right eye will be totally blinded!”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–3

In figurative expressions, that destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish church and nation, is foretold, which our Lord Jesus, when the time was at hand, prophesied plainly and expressly. How can the fir trees stand, if the cedars fall? The falls of the wise and good into sin, and the falls of the rich and great into trouble, are loud alarms to those every way their inferiors. It is sad with a people, when those who should be as shepherds to them, are as young lions. The pride of Jordan was the thickets on the banks; and when the river overflowed the banks, the lions came up from them roaring. Thus the doom of Jerusalem may alarm other churches.

Verses 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.

Verses 15–17

God, having showed the misery of this people in their being justly left by the Good Shepherd, shows their further misery in being abused by foolish shepherds. The description suits the character Christ gives of the scribes and Pharisees. They never do any thing to support the weak, or comfort the feeble-minded; but seek their own ease, while they are barbarous to the flock. The idol shepherd has the garb and appearance of a shepherd, receives submission, and is supported at much expense; but he leaves the flock to perish through neglect, or leads them to ruin by his example. This suits many in different churches and nations, but the warning had an awful fulfilment in the Jewish teachers. And while such deceive others to their ruin, they will themselves have the deepest condemnation.

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