Zechariah chapter 11

Devastation is on the way. Consequences of rejecting the True Shepherd.





VERSE 1. Open your doors, Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars.

fire may devour your cedars. Devastation is on the way.


VERSE 2. Wail, cypress tree, for the cedar has fallen, because the stately ones are destroyed. Wail, you oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest has come down.


VERSE 3. A voice of the wailing of the shepherds! For their glory is destroyed—a voice of the roaring of young lions! For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.

their glory is destroyed. The false shepherds will be destroyed.


VERSE 4. The LORD my God says: “Feed the flock of slaughter.

Feed the flock of slaughter. The LORD God directs Zechariah to feed the flock marked for slaughter.

The “flock” was the nation of Israel. They were designated for slaughter by the evil Roman Empire.


VERSE 5. Their buyers slaughter them and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich;’ and their own shepherds don’t pity them.

their own shepherds don’t pity them. The NAB translation puts it:

Even their own shepherds do not feel for them.

A spiritual shepherd must have heartfelt love for the people. A shepherd who does not feel for the people is a false shepherd.


VERSE 6. For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land,” says the LORD; “but, behold, I will deliver every one of the men into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They will strike the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.”

I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land. This divine withdrawal seemed to stem from the their rejection of their true shepherd. See verses 8 to 13 below.


VERSE 7. So I fed the flock to be slaughtered, especially the oppressed of the flock. I took for myself two staffs. The one I called “Favor” and the other I called “Union”, and I fed the flock.

The one I called “Favor.” This staff represents favor (or beauty, grace, pleasantness).

the other I called “Union”. This staff represents the internal union of Israel and Judah as a nation.


VERSE 8. I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me.

the three shepherds. This likely refers to three kinds of leaders: prophets, priests, and kings.

MSG translation. Within a month I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. I got tired of putting up with them–and they couldn’t stand me.

I got rid of the corrupt shepherds. The LORD God is purifying the people of their false shepherds.

they couldn’t stand me. Corrupt shepherds are not interested in a relationship with the LORD God.

Rather, corrupt shepherds are all about power and political influence.

their soul also loathed me. The Hebrew word for “loathed” is וַתִּקְצַ֤ר (“wat·tiq·ṣar”). It only occurs four times in the Bible.


VERSE 9. Then I said, “I will not feed you. That which dies, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let those who are left eat each other’s flesh.”


VERSE 10. I took my staff Favor and cut it apart, that I might break my covenant that I had made with all the peoples.


VERSE 11. It was broken in that day; and thus the poor of the flock that listened to me knew that it was the LORD’s word.

the poor of the flock that listened to me. They are the Remnant.

The Bible describes a uniquely faithful group of believers called “the remnant.” Are they Jewish or Christians? Now or in the future? Who are they really? Read more »


VERSE 12. I said to them, “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

NAB translation. I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, let it go.” And they counted out my wages, thirty pieces of silver.

thirty pieces of silver. This prophecy is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was sold for 30 pieces of silver.

Matthew 26:15. and said, “What are you willing to give me, that I should deliver him to you?” They weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver.

Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave:

Exodus 21:32. If the bull gores a male servant or a female servant, thirty shekels of silver shall be given to their master, and the ox shall be stoned.


VERSE 13. The LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter—the handsome price that I was valued at by them!” I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter in the LORD’s house.

threw them to the potter. This prophecy is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 27:6. The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, “It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood.”

Matthew 27:7. They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them, to bury strangers in.


VERSE 14. Then I cut apart my other staff, Union, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.




VERSE 15. The LORD said to me, “Take for yourself yet again the equipment of a foolish shepherd.


VERSE 16. For, behold, I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not visit those who are cut off, neither will seek those who are scattered, nor heal that which is broken, nor feed that which is sound; but he will eat the meat of the fat sheep, and will tear their hoofs in pieces.


VERSE 17. Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! The sword will strike his arm and his right eye. His arm will be completely withered, and his right eye will be totally blinded!”

Woe to the worthless shepherd. Woe to the false shepherd!

In the days of the Old Testament, false shepherds were common. And they are common in our day as well.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.