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Zechariah 11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 16, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

Operation Christmas Child – video, explaining, Have Ben share.

The historical background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.

Zechariah lived during the time that the Jews had begun to return from Babylon and rebuild their Temple.

The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the years of 520-518 BC.

One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the amount of prophecy about the coming Messiah.

Except for the prophet Isaiah, there are more prophecies about the Messiah in this book than any other Old Testament book.

We now in section in Zechariah, when he gives a series of prophecies that look far into his future.

We are setting our DeLorean time machine for the time of Jesus.  We are going to be looking at events that would take place roughly between the years AD 30-70.

11:1-3 Devastation

:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars.

:1 Lebanon – “whiteness”

This is the country north of Israel, known for its mountains.

It is also famous for its cedar and cypress trees.

Even though Lebanon was in once sense a separate nation from Israel, it was often connected to Israel since it was the northern border.

When Israel would be invaded by one of the world empires, they would normally come from the north, through Lebanon.
Ezekiel told a parable of Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian forces invading Jerusalem, and he told it with the symbols of an eagle plucking the top part of a cedar in Lebanon and taking it off to a distant land. (Eze. 17:3-4)
(Ezekiel 17:3–4 NKJV) —3 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “A great eagle with large wings and long pinions, Full of feathers of various colors, Came to Lebanon And took from the cedar the highest branch. 4 He cropped off its topmost young twig And carried it to a land of trade; He set it in a city of merchants.

:2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the thick forest has come down.

:2 Bashan – “fruitful”

Bashan is the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee, known today as the Golan Heights.

It is an area in dispute that is claimed by both Israel and Syria.
Israel captured the land from Syria during the Six-Day war of 1967.

:3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.

:3 the sound of roaring lions

After the days when the northern kingdom was taken into captivity, the Jordan River was a place where you would find lions living.

:3 the pride of the Jordan is in ruins

This isn’t referring to the modern country of Jordan, but the river that the country gets its name from.

The Jordan River isn’t a broad open river like the Mississippi River.  It’s quite narrow and in ancient days would be covered up by the oak trees (the pride) growing on the banks.

:3 their glory is in ruins

Lebanon and Bashan were in the north.

The overall picture that Zechariah is painting is that of the Romans sending in their armies from the north and wiping out the nation of Judah, culminating in its destruction in AD 70.

The big question is, Why? What would lead to this destruction?  Stay tuned…

11:4-14 Flocks and Shepherds

:4 Thus says the Lord my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter,

:5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them.

:4 Feed the flock for slaughter

It appears that Zechariah is going to take a couple of side jobs, as shepherds.

With these shepherding jobs, Zechariah will be painting a picture of two different coming shepherds.

The portrait that Zechariah paints first is that of Jesus.

Jesus called himself the “Good Shepherd”.

He came to minister predominantly to the Jews.
He taught them about God, “feeding” the flock.
Yet they were a flock that was headed for slaughter because of their eventual rejection of the Messiah.
(John 1:11 NKJV) He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

:5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt

The people of Israel were going to be led by people who didn’t care about them.

God might be speaking of the Jewish leaders, but He could also be referring to the Romans who controlled the land of Palestine.

:6 For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the Lord. “But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand.”

:6 I will no longer pity the inhabitants

It’s bad enough when the leaders don’t care about the people, but the nation will get to the point where in a sense even God will no longer “pity” them.

This would be because of their own rebellion.

Jesus told a story that illustrated this:

(Matthew 21:33–41 NKJV) —33 “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. 35 And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
The nation of Israel kept rejecting each of the servants that God sent to them.  They would eventually kill God’s Son.
That is why God would no longer pity them.

What a tragedy to find yourself in a position of fighting against God.

You will never win if you try and fight against God.

:6 into the hand of his king

There would be strife among the Jews and God would give them into the hand of foreign rulers, like the Romans.

:7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

:7 I fed the flock for slaughter

Even though this flock was scheduled to be butchered, Zechariah still took care of them.

Even though Jesus knew the Jews would reject Him and hence be scattered as a nation, He still “fed” them.

:7 in particular the poor of the flock

When John the Baptist sent messengers to ask Jesus if He was indeed the Messiah, Jesus responded,

(Matthew 11:5 NKJV) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Jesus didn’t preach to kings, but to fishermen and common people.
Even though Jesus also fed people with “loaves and fishes”, He mainly fed people with God’s Word.

:7 I took for myself two staffs

staffsmaqqel – rod, staff

David used two different but similar words when he wrote,

(Psalm 23:4 NKJV) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
rodshebet – rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, sceptre, tribe
staffmishenah – support (of every kind), staff

The staff was part of a shepherd’s tools.  It was what he used to shepherd his flock.

A staff might be used to beat off predators of the flock.
A staff might be used to guide sheep or keep them from hurting each other.

:7 Beauty … Bonds

beautyno’am – kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, favor

This word carries the idea of “comfort” or even “grace”.
Naomi gets her name from this word.

bondschabal – to bind

The picture is of uniting people.

It seems that the idea is that Zechariah will guide this flock by bringing them grace and binding them together.


The Shepherd’s Tools

The tools of a good shepherd (or, “leader”) are “grace” and “unity”.
Grace is all about giving, and Jesus said,
(John 10:11 NKJV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

A good shepherd is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his flock. Jesus did that for us, we ought to do that for others.

We are to show “grace” to one another.

(Ephesians 4:32 NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

The Greek word translated “forgiving” is literally “gracing”.  We need to be gracious to each other in the same way that Jesus is gracious to us.

We can see a touch of the unity when Jesus prayed,
(John 17:21 NKJV) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Somehow our “unity” sends a clear message to the world that Jesus is God’s Son.

When we learn to get along and maintain “unity” or a “bond” with others in a healthy way, it’s something that God delights in.

(Psalm 133:1–3 NKJV) —1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.

Oil and dew are pictures of God’s Spirit and refreshment.

Unity is a difficult thing to maintain.  Sometimes sheep can bite each other.  A leader needs tools to separate some of the sheep for the sake of unity.

:8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

:8 I dismissed the three shepherds

As Zechariah is shepherding the flock, there are three other individuals doing the same.

But they are not caring for the flock, and so Zechariah fires them.

There is a lot of disagreement as to what this prophecy means.

Some see it as three classes of leaders in Jesus’ day – kings, priests, and prophets.
Others suggest it might mean individuals – such as Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas.

The point is that God would dismiss these bad leaders.

:9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.”

:9 eat each other’s flesh

With the rejection of the Messiah, the nation would die away as God ceased to be their shepherd.

Forty years after Jesus’ rejection, the nation was conquered by the Romans and scattered to the wind. There was cannibalism involved in the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70.

:10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples.

:10 Beauty, and cut it in two

Zechariah symbolized this by breaking that staff labeled “beauty” or “grace”.

The breaking of Zechariah’s staff named “beauty” or “grace” was fulfilled when the Jews rejected the Messiah and His grace.

:10 the covenant … with all the peoples

With the rejection of the Messiah, God’s covenant to protect Israel from the rest of the nations of the world was removed, and they would be scattered.

Jesus knew this was coming.  At the end of His ministry …

(Luke 19:41–44 NKJV) —41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

As we’ve seen many times, God’s rejection of the Jews would not be a permanent thing.

God promised that in the last days that the nation of Israel would be brought back into the land and restored as a nation.
God still has things for Israel to do.  God is not finished with Israel. (Hos. 2:23)
(Hosea 2:23 NKJV) —23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ”

:11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord.

:11 the poor of the flock … knew

The “poor of the flock” were Jesus’ disciples.

When the disciples saw these things happening, they realized the Scriptures were being fulfilled.

:12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

:12 give me my wages

The Shepherd has had it and asks the “sheep” for his last paycheck.

:12 thirty pieces of silver

The shepherd says that they don’t have to pay him, but they choose to pay him.

What they pay him is actually worse than if they didn’t pay him.

They pay him 30 pieces of silver.

This was the price of a slave’s life (Ex. 21:32)
(Exodus 21:32 NKJV) If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
The sheep didn’t see this shepherd as their leader, but as their slave.

Does this price sound familiar?

This is how much Judas was paid in order to betray Jesus.
(Matthew 26:15 NKJV) and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.


How much is He worth?

What is Jesus worth to you?
Video:  Gospel of John:  John 12:1-8 (starts at 1:49:40)

(John 12:1–8 NKJV) —1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

The perfume that Mary poured out on Jesus was worth 300 denarii, almost a year’s wages.

Matthew records that right after Mary anointed Jesus with oil …

(Matthew 26:14–15 NKJV) —14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

Mary was willing to give 300 denarii to pour oil on Jesus.

Judas was willing to sell Jesus out in order to get 30 pieces of silver.

Giving or getting? Mary wanted to give. Judas was out to “get”. The heart of Jesus is to give, not get.

Do you see Jesus as someone who “owes you”?

Or do you see yourself as being eternally grateful to Him and willing to do anything for Him?

:13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.

:13 princely price

There is a bit of sarcasm in this. (this was a slave’s price)

:13 Throw it to the potter

What an odd statement to make.  I wonder how many times money was thrown “to the potter”.  None that I know of.

This is quite an unusual statement and some of the scholars to backflips trying to understand what it meant to throw the money to the potter.

Yet that’s exactly how the prophecy was fulfilled.  When Judas realized what he had done in betraying Jesus, he took the money back to the chief priests.

(Matthew 27:5–7 NKJV) —5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.


Fulfilled Prophecy

If you are wondering why we spend so much time studying the Bible, it’s because the Bible is a unique book.
This book is divine, having come from God Himself.
There is no other book that speaks of the future with such accuracy over and over again.
(2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Pay attention to this book.

:14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

:14 break the brotherhood

Zechariah is now instructed to break into pieces his second staff named “bonds”.

This is to demonstrate that there will be great internal strife in the nation.

This is exactly what happened in the days leading up to the Romans wiping out the Jewish nation.  The nation broke up into bitter feuding.

One scholar writes (Chambers in Feinberg, pg.211),

“The breaking up of the nation into parties bitterly hostile to each other, was one of the most marked peculiarities of the later Jewish history, and greatly accelerated the ruin of the popular cause in the Roman war.”

There is also a chronological sequence to these events.

The first staff broken was “beauty” or “grace”.
First came the rejection of the grace of Jesus.
The second staff broken was “bonds” or “unity”.
Next came the internal divisions and the Roman war.

11:15-17 The Bad Shepherd

:15 And the Lord said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd.

:15 take for yourself the implements

First Zechariah was to be a picture of a coming “Good” Shepherd.

Now he’s going to switch roles and play the part of a “foolish” shepherd.

:15 a foolish shepherd

Don’t think “foolish” means “stupid”

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foolisheviliy foolish, one who despises wisdom; of one who mocks when guilty

Foolish doesn’t mean “dumb”, it means bad.
This is the antichrist.

Jesus said,

(John 5:43 NKJV) I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
The Jews rejected Jesus at His first coming, but they won’t initially reject the antichrist.

:16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.

:17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

:17 the worthless shepherd

This is a prophecy giving us a glimpse of the antichrist.

Some have suggested that the “arm” withering and the “eye” blinded might be the result of some sort of assassination attempt, which he survives.

Others suggest that these are symbolic of his “strength” (arm) and “intelligence” (eye) having trouble, but ultimately surviving.

John recorded:

(Revelation 13:3 NKJV) And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
(Revelation 13:14 NKJV) And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

:16 raise up a shepherd in the land


Feed or Eat

This chapter contrasts two kinds of shepherds.
One gave His life for the flock.
The other devours the flock.
There are two ways of leading people.
It’s all about how you view your “flock”.

Does your flock exist for your benefit, or do you exist for theirs?

Are you concerned that your flock is healthy and cared for?

Are you concerned that the flock “produces” for you?

I see this contrast in pastors

There are some pastors who are there to serve and feed the flock.

There are other pastors who are only focused on more numbers, more people, more money.

I see this contrast in business

Are you out to wring every last cent out of what your employees can produce to put you over the top?

Are you concerned about the welfare of your employees?

I see this contrast in families

Do you look at your kids as a way of making you look good – their good grades, sports accomplishments, and popularity?

Or are you concerned on how to help your kids thrive?

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What kind of “shepherd” are you?