Zechariah Chapter Eleven

The Prophet Zechariah presents a fascinating scenario regarding the rebellion of Israel, the rejection of the Messiah, Jesus, and the final result. This chapter is obscure and difficult to understand, but when you look at it in this perspective, all the pieces seem to fall into place.

The first part, verses 1 through 3, speaks of the Lord’s punishment of the land. It sounds much like Israel, and surrounding countries, today. The forests and pleasant pastures are gone, stricken by centuries of drought.

Following in verses 4 through 11 the Lord tells of the destruction of His two staffs, Beauty and Bands. The first, Beauty, no’am (Strong’s H5278), means kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favor. The Lord was cutting off His favor upon Israel. This section speaks of the slaughter of the Lord’s flock, and that He will not have pity on the inhabitants of the land. This most assuredly describes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Verse 9 foretells the sad situation in besieged Jerusalem where starving mothers ate their children.

Confirmation of this is found in the obscure phrase “three shepherds also I cut off in one month.” (verse 8) Just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, the evil Roman Emperor Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. He was replaced by three men (national shepherds) in quick succession; Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

Why did the Lord destroy Jerusalem? The reason is given in verses 12 through 14. “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” Israel rejected the Son of God. When Pilate proclaimed that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus, the Jews made a remarkable statement; “His blood be on us, and on our children.” The Lord acknowledged their words, and their children have suffered persecution down through the centuries even until today.

Then the Lord broke the second staff, Bands. This word chabal (Strong’s H2254) means to bind. The Lord was cutting the binding between Himself and the Jews. Let me quickly add that the Lord has made unilateral promises to Abraham and his descendants. God does not go back on His word. Paul makes it clear that Israel is still in the Lord’s Plan in Romans 11:1-32.

In the last three verses of this chapter, the Lord foretells a future, worthless shepherd. He describes this shepherd as good for nothing, worthless; 'eliyl (Strong’s H457). This shepherd will not take care of the flock, but will only care for himself. The worthless shepherd is destined for the sword, which will injure his right arm and destroy his right eye. This worthless shepherd is probably the man referred to as the Anti-Christ.

The person we call the Anti-Christ is called a beast in the Revelation. He is symbolically described in the Revelation as having seven heads, and one of the heads seemed to have had a fatal wound (prophesied in Zechariah 11:17?), which caused the people of the world to wonder. (Revelation 13:3)

Zechariah provides us with a quick overview of Israel’s rebellion, the destruction of Jerusalem and the future worthless shepherd in the seventeen verses of chapter eleven. While the interpretation of this chapter is the author’s, the pieces do seem to fit. May the Lord always be praised for the wonder of what is in His Word!

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