The Doomed Flock
1Open your doors, O Lebanon,
That fire may devour your cedars.
2Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the magnificent trees have been destroyed;
Wail, O oaks of Bashan,
For the inaccessible forest [on the steep mountainside] has come down.
3There is a sound of the shepherds’ wail,
For their splendor (grazing land) is ruined;
There is a sound of the young lions’ roar,
For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.
4Thus says the Lord my God, “Pasture the flock doomed for slaughter, 5whose buyers slay them and go unpunished, and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them nor protect them [from the wolves]. 6For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land,” declares the Lord; “but behold, I will cause the men to fall, each into the hand of another and into the hands of his [foreign] king. And the enemy will strike the land, and I will not rescue the people from their hand.”
7So I [Zechariah] pastured the flock doomed for slaughter, truly [as the name implies] the most miserable of sheep. And I took two [shepherd’s] staffs, the one I called Favor (Grace) and the other I called Union (Bonds); so I pastured the flock. 8Then I eliminated the three [incompetent, unfit] shepherds [the civil rulers, the priests, and the prophets] in one month, for I was impatient with them, and they also were tired of me and despised me. 9So I said, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let the survivors devour one another’s flesh.” 10I took my staff, Favor, and broke it in pieces, breaking the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11So the covenant was broken on that day, and thus the most wretched of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the Lord. 12I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, do not.” So they weighed out #Since the type of coin is not stated, shekels can be assumed. The shekel was the standard wage for a day of labor, and the payment was weighed because the shekel was actually a unit of weight.thirty pieces of silver as my wages. 13#At this point the pre-incarnate Christ intervenes and prophetically refers to the payment given by the religious leaders to Judas for his betrayal (Matt 26:15).Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter [as if to the dogs]—that magnificent sum at which I am valued by them!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord. 14Then I broke my second staff, Union, into pieces to break the brotherhood between Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
15The Lord said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment [of a shepherd, but this time] of a foolish shepherd. 16For behold, I am going to raise up a [false] shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or feed the healthy; but will eat the flesh of the fat ones and tear off their hoofs [to consume everything].
17Woe (judgment is coming) to the worthless and foolish shepherd
Who deserts the flock!
The sword will strike his arm
And his right eye!
His arm shall be totally withered
And his right eye completely blinded.”