Zechariah 11

Zechariah 11  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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Zechariah 11
Messiah begins to cite His commission under the God of Israel, telling us that He had come forth to find the sheep of Israel, for that they were in an evil case, from their possessors, their vendors, and their shepherds— that is, from such as the Romans, the Herods, and the Pharisees.
He then tells us that He took two stalls, in order to fulfill this His commission. And these staffs were significant or symbolic. Moses, in other days, had his rod, Messiah now had His staffs. They signified strength and beauty; for Christ had to impart each of these to Israel, to establish and adorn them, to secure and dignify them. The inhabitants of the land, the great body of the Jewish people, are found to disappoint His service as much as any, so that He has still to separate “the poor of the flock” from the general “flock of slaughter.”
His first service is then told us. After thus taking up the flock of Israel, (as He does in the earlier chapters of Matthew) He cuts off three of the shepherds whom He found in the land. This we see in Matthew 22 The Pharisees, the Herodians, and the Sadducees, religious heads of the people, being then silenced in controversy with the Lord Jesus.
Having done this, Messiah disclaims them, breaking His staff, “Beauty,” as we see Him doing in Matthew 23; withdrawing Himself, which was the taking away of their beauty from them; for they lose their glory when they lose Him. They were but a crownless head without Him; and that being so, all is gone for the present.
He then tells us that “the poor of the flock” waited on Him as “the word of the Lord”; and this we see, in perfect order and place, in Matthew 24:2525Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:25).
And then, He anticipates the scene of His betrayal and death, as in Matthew 26-27. And this is followed here by the Prophet, as we know it has been historically, by the disruption of Israel. The other staff, “Bands,” is broken. (The Godhead, the Jehovah-ship, as I may speak of Jesus, is fully set out in Zechariah 11:1313And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. (Zechariah 11:13). it was Jehovah who was priced at 30 pieces of silver.)
A remarkable anticipation of Christ’s ministry, all this is. But this being the history of the true Shepherd, the good Shepherd, at the hand of the flock, we then get the history of the flock at the hand of the foolish shepherd, the idol-shepherd. This is retribution, as many other Scriptures let us know that the raising up of Antichrist will be in judgment upon Israel for their rejection of God’s Christ, their own Messiah. This is future. (See Zech. 11:15-1715And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. 16For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. 17Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (Zechariah 11:15‑17).)
The foolish shepherd, thus raised up in judgment or retribution on Israel, because of their rejection of Messiah, may remind us of Saul. He treated the flock very much as this foolish shepherd is to treat them (1 Sam. 8); and he was given to the people, because they had rejected the Lord in the person of His servant Samuel; we may read Ezekiel 34 in this connection also. But I must add—that, though the good and true Shepherd was at first refused, and in retribution the foolish shepherd is to be raised up still, at the end, on the mountains of Israel, and beside the rivers of Israel, the flock shall again lie down and feed under the care of their Shepherd-king, the true David, who will guide them by the skilfulness of His hand, and feed them according to the integrity of His heart. All Scripture tells this.