Watchman Willie Martin Archive

Zechariah’s SHEPHERDS

These SHEPHERDS has given one of our people much trouble and he is in a quandary as to what the verses mentioned with them in it means. Well to answer this we will rely on two sources: 1). Clark’s Commentary and 2). Destiny Magazine for May 1965.

Zechariah 11:

1: Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.

2: Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

3: There is a voice of the howling of the SHEPHERDS; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

4: Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;

5: Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own SHEPHERDS pity them not.

6: For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

7: And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.

8: Three SHEPHERDS also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

9: Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.

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.

11: And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.

12: And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

13: And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was priced at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

14: Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15: And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

16: For, 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.

17: Woe 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.

From Clark’s Commentary: The commencement of this chapter relates to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish (the author probably did not know that the Israelites were not jews at the time of the writing of the commentaries) polity, probably by the Babylonians; at least in the first instance, as the fourth verse speaks of the people thus threatened as the prophet’s charge, 1-6. The prophet then gives an account of the manner in which he discharged his office, and the little value that was put on his labors.

And this he does by symbolical actions, a common mode of instruction with the two crocks which the true badges of his pastoral office, (to denote the annulling of God’s covenant with them, and their consequent divisions and dispersions) he is directed to take instruments calculated to hurt and destroy, perhaps an iron crook, scrip, and stones, to express by these symbols the judgments which God was about to inflict on them by wicked rulers and guides, who should first destroy the flock, and in the end be destroyed themselves, 15-17.

Let us now view this prophecy in another light, as we are authorized to do by Scripture, Matthew 27:7. In this view this prophecy is another light, as we are authorized to do by returns made to him by the Jews, when he undertook the office f shepherd in guiding and governing them; how the paltry sum for which Judas betrayed him. Upon which he threatens to destroy their city and temple; and to give them up to the hands of such guides and governors as should have no regard to their welfare.

Verse 1: Open thy doors. O Lebanon I will give Mr. Joseph Mede’s note upon this verse: “That which moveth me more than the rest, is in chapter 11, which contains a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, and a description of the wickedness of the inhabitants, for which God would give them to the sword, and have no more pity upon them. It is expounded of the destruction by Titus; but methinks such a prophecy was nothing seasonable for Zachary’s time, (when the city yet for a great part lay in her ruins, and the temple had not yet recovered hers) nor agreeable to the scope.

Zachary’s commission, who, together with his colleague returned from captivity, to build their temple, and to institute their commonwealth. Was this a fit time to foretell the destruction of both. Zachary too, who was to encourage them? Would not this better befit the desolation by Nebuchadnezzar?” I really think so. See Mr. J. Mede’s lxi. Epistle

Lebanon signifies the temple, because built of materials principally brought from that place.

Verse 2: Howl, fir tree: This seems to point out the fall and destruction of all the mighty men.

Verse 3: Young lions: Princes and rulers. By SHEPHERDS, KINGS OR PRIESTS may be intended.

Verse 4: Feed the flock of the slaughter: This people resemble a flock of sheep FATTENED for the shambles; feed, instruct, this people who are about to be slaughtered.

Verse 5: Whose possessors: Governors and false prophets, SLAY THEM, by leading them to those things that will bring them to destruction.

And they that sell them: Give them up to idolatry; and bless God, strange to tell, that they get SECULAR ADVANTAGE by the establishment of this FALSE RELIGION. (Much the same as is happening today with the false religion known as JudeoChristian)

Verse 6: For I will no more pity: I have determined to deliver them into the hands of the Chaldeans.

Verse 7: And I will feed the flock of slaughter: I showed them what God had revealed to me relative to the evils coming upon the land; and I did this the more especially for the sake of the poor of the flock.

Two staves: Two SHEPHERD’S crooks: One I called BEAUTY; that probably by which they marked the sheep; dipping the end into vermillion, or some red liquid. And this was done when they were to mark every tenth sheep, as it came out of the field when the tithe was to be set apart for the Lord.

The other I called BANDS: Probably that with the hook or crook at the head of it, by which the SHEPHERD was want to catch the sheep by the horns or legs when he wised to bring any to hand.

And I fed the flocks: These two rods show the BEAUTY and UNION of the people, while under God as their SHEPHERD. It was the DELIGHT of God to see them in a state of PEACE and HARMONY.

Verse 8: THREE SHEPHERDS ALSO I CUT OFF IN (one month). Taking this literally, some think the THREE SHEPHERDS mean the three Maccabees, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon; other, the three wicked high priests, Jason, Alcimujs, and Menelous; others, the three last princes of the Asmonean race, Alexander, Hyracanus, and Antigonus.

Perhaps three orders may be intended: 1). The Priesthood. 2). The dictatorship, including the Scribes, Pharisees, etc. 3). The magistracy. These were all annihilated by the Roman conquest.

Verse 9: I will not feed you: I shall instruct you no longer, some of you are appointed to death by famine; others, to be cut off by the sword; and others of you, to such desperation that ye shall destroy one another.

Verse 10: I took my staff: Beauty, and cut it asunder: And thus I showed that I determined no longer to preserve them in their free and glorious state. And thus I brake my covenant with them, which they had broken on their part already.

Verse 11: So the poor of the flock: The pious, who attended to my teaching, saw that this was the word; the design of God.

Verse 12: If ye think good, give me my price: “Give me my hire.” (Zechariah 8:10) And we find they rated it contemptuously; thirty pieces of sliver being the price of a slave. (Exodus 21:32)

Verse 13: And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: Jehovah calls the price of his prophet his own price; and commands that it should not be accepted, but given to a potter, to foreshadow the transaction related. (Matthew 27:7)

“Earthen vessels were used in the temple; and we may suppose that some Levites were employed within the sacred precincts to furnish them. To these, the humblest of his ministers in the temple, God commands that the degrading price should be cast.” This is the substance of the notes on these two verses, given by Abp. Newcome.

We may look at it in another light. Give me my price. Habu sichri, bring my price, or give him my price; that is, Give the money to Judas which you have agreed to give him; for he can neither betray me nor you crucify me, but my own permission. But if not, forbear; take time to consider this bloody business, and in time forbear. For though I permit you to do it, yet remember that the permission does not necessitate you to do it; and the salvation of the world may be effected without this treachery and murder.

See my notes on this place, Matthew 27:9, where I have examined the evidence for the reading of “Zechariah the prophet,” instead of “Jeremiah.”

Verse 14: That I might break the brotherhood: I cannot, say Newcome, explain this passage, without supposing that the kingdom of Israel subsisted when the prophet wrote it; and that either the wars between Judah and Israel are referred to, (see 2 Kings 16:5) or the captivity of the ten tribes, when the brotherly connection between these kingdoms ceased.

Verse 15: The instruments of a foolish SHEPHERD: Such as a bag without bread, a scrip without measure, and a staff without a hook, etc.; things that were needless or of no use; to point out to the pastors, who took no care of the flock, but devoured them, or ruled them with force and with cruelty.

Verse 16: I will raise up a SHEPHERD in the land. Some wicked king; and Newcome supposes Hosea may be meant. Se 2 Kings 17:1-2, and to such an abominable sovereign the prophecy may well apply.

Verse 17: Wo to the idol SHEPHERD: rot in haelil, “the worthless,” or “good for nothing SHEPHERD.” The SHEPHERD in name and office, but not performing the work of one. (See John 10:11)

The sword shall be upon his arm: Punishment shall be executed upon the wicked Jews, and especially their wicked kings and priests. (See verse 15)

Arm: the secular power; right eye; the ecclesiastical state.

His arm shall be clean dried up: The secular power shall be broken, and become utterly inefficient.

His right eye shall be utterly darkened: Prophecy shall be restrained; and the whole state, ecclesiastical and civil, shall be so completely eclipsed, that none of their functions shall be performed. This may refer to the worthless and wicked governor mentioned in the preceding verse.

There are several things in this chapter that are very obscure, and we can hardly say what opinion is right; nor is it at all clear whether they refer to a very early or late period of the Jewish history.

From Destiny The Magazine of National Life, Fifth Issue 1965, Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Massachusetts 01860, pp. 117-118.

God’s Fierce Anger

The concluding verses of the 25th chapter of Jeremiah are very explicit about the eventual results of the steadily intensifying anger of the Lord which will be universally manifested in the Battle of That Great Day. The leaders of the people; called “SHEPHERDS” and “principal of the flock” are the main object of Divine wrath. The “fierceness of the oppressor” will only be matched by the “fierce anger of the Lord” in the day of reckoning.

Through the Psalmist we are told that God will decide who will sit as king upon His Holy Hill of Zion. The decree has been issued by God, favoring His own Son, to whom He will give the heathen for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. Then the royal prerogative is expressed in these words:

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:9)

Jeremiah had referred to their fall as “like a pleasant vessel” (Jeremiah 25:34) and the explanation is given:

“As a fall will break and utterly ruin a precious vessel of crystal or agate, so y0ur overthrow will be to you irreparable ruin.” (Clarke’s Commentary, p. 320)

The Apostle John beheld the carrying out of the Psalmist’s prophecy when He who will be King of kings and lord of lords rides forth triumphantly to make war in the cause of righteousness:

“Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” (Revelation 19:15)

The Psalmist offers solemn advice:

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:10-12)

When the scope and duration of the global conflict that has been drenching the world with blood for more than fifty years are properly evaluated, and the nature of the prize for which the forces of evil are contending is understood, which have been transpiring during this Great Day of God Almighty will be comprehended. The Prophet Ezekiel recounts in detail the outcome of the final Great Battle, when the hordes of Gog move to implement their program for world domination, persisting in their grasp for world power, even to the point of attacking the throne of God. The Lord has decreed:

“I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (the weapons of His indignation). Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself: and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 38:21-23)

It is being inferred here that the nations of the world that survive the coming day of great slaughter will reach the same conclusion drawn by King Nebuchadnezzar after God had dealt with him in judgment. The Babylonian king issued a proclamation:

“I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, ands his kingdom is from generation to generation: and that he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:34-35)

The second result will be of even greater significance:

“So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.” (Ezekiel 39:22)

So the SHEPHERDS are turned against Yahweh and would not feed His Sheep, therefore is Yahweh against them.

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