Family Study: Zechariah 11


Zechariah 11:4-14 Breakdown |

4 The Lord my God says this: “Shepherd the flock set aside for slaughter.

Why did Zechariah predict that the Romans would burn the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.? Verses 1-3 recorded the effect. Verses 4-14 recorded the cause.

Jehovah commissioned Zechariah to act out the role of a shepherd. He was acting out a role which would later be fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah. Jesus was called the Good Shepherd in John 10:11 and 14.

Zechariah was to feed the flock which was raised to be slaughtered. The Jews who rejected the teachings of the Good Shepherd were to be slaughtered by the Romans in 70 A.D.

5 Those who buy them slaughter them and are not held guilty; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich.’ Their own shepherds have no compassion for them.

This flock to be slaughtered was abandoned by man. Those who slaughtered the sheep were the Romans. They had no concern for the sheep.

The rich ones were the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were selling out the flock to become rich. They had no concern for the sheep.

6 Indeed, I will no longer have compassion on the people of the land,” says the Lord, “but instead I will turn every last person over to his neighbor and his king. They will devastate the land, and I will not deliver it from them.”

The flock was also abandoned by God. This flock had rejected their True Shepherd, so God no longer had compassion for the flock.

God would turn the Jews over to their neighbor. The Jews were involved in a civil war between 66-70 A.D. This greatly weakened their forces.

God would turn them over to the king. The king was the Caesar of Rome. During the trial of Jesus, the Jews exclaimed that they had no king except Caesar. Therefore, Jesus was rejected as King and Caesar was accepted as king. Caesar slaughtered his sheep in Jerusalem. Over one million were killed and 100,000 were taken into slavery.

7 So I began to shepherd the flock destined for slaughter, the most afflicted of all the flock. Then I took two staffs, calling one “Pleasantness” and the other “Binders,” and I tended the flock.

Zechariah continued in his role as shepherd. Zechariah took the poorest of the flock. He made two staffs to protect the poor of the flock from the Romans. The first staff was called “Pleasantness” or “Graciousness.” Zechariah would use this staff as a weapon to protect the poor flock from the beasts of the field. The Book of Daniel reported the Gentile nations as beasts. Babylon was the lion. Persia was the bear. Greece was the leopard. Rome was a terrible beast which could not be identified.

The second staff was called “Binders.” It was used gently to keep the flock together as one. The shepherd would nudge a sheep with this staff to encourage it to return back to the flock. Jesus the Shepherd would protect the messianic Jews from the temple destruction of 70 A.D.

8 Next I eradicated the three shepherds in one month, for I ran out of patience with them and, indeed, they detested me as well.

The shepherds were the religious leaders who were supposed to be feeding the sheep. These three shepherds were most likely the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. Jesus ran out of patience with these three religious groups. They loathed the True Shepherd as well. These three groups led the nation in rejecting the True Shepherd.

9 I then said, “I will not shepherd you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be eradicated, let it be eradicated. As for those who survive, let them eat each other’s flesh!”

After the three shepherds accused the True Shepherd of being demon possessed, the True Shepherd refused to feed the flock for slaughter. Instead, He spoke to them in parables that they could not understand. He fed only the believing Remnant within Israel.

10 Then I took my staff “Pleasantness” and cut it in two to annul my covenant that I had made with all the people.

The breaking of the Shepherd’s staff meant that the True Shepherd would no longer protect the sheep for slaughter against the beasts. The beasts were the Gentile nations of the world who wanted to devour the sheep. Rome, the beast, devoured Israel, the sheep. Jesus predicted this event in Luke 19:41-44 and 21:24.

When the Jewish shepherds accused the True Shepherd of being demon possessed, the True Shepherd refused to feed the flock for slaughter in four different ways.

First, before Matthew 12, miracles were performed to prove to the entire flock that Jesus was the Messiah. After Matthew 12, miracles were used to train the disciples for their Acts ministries.

Second, before Matthew 12, Jesus performed miracles for the benefit of the entire flock. After Matthew 12, Jesus performed miracles only for individual messianic believers.

Third, before Matthew 12, He and the disciples proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah. After Matthew 12, Jesus told His disciples not to proclaim that He was the Messiah.

Fourth, after Matthew 12, Jesus taught the entire flock lessons that they could understand. After Matthew 12, he taught the entire flock in parables that they could not understand, yet He explained the true meaning of these parables to His elected sheep. This was a fulfillment of Zechariah 11:9-10.

11 So it was annulled that very day, and then the most afflicted of the flock who kept faith with me knew that that was the word of the Lord.

The afflicted of the flock were the messianic believers during the days of Jesus. When the Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem, the messianic believers remembered the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21. When soldiers surrounded Jerusalem, it was to be destroyed. The messianic believers were told in the prophecy by Jesus to leave the city. When the Romans ran out of supplies and retreated temporarily from the siege, the messianic Jews went to the town of Pella and waited out the siege.

12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, pay me my wages, but if not, forget it.” So they weighed out my payment—thirty pieces of silver.

Zechariah asked the leaders of Israel to evaluate his monetary worth. They gave him 30 pieces of silver, which was the value of a dead slave. The Jewish leaders insulted Zechariah, just as the future religious leaders insulted Jesus. Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, but the three shepherds placed His value at the price of a dead slave gored by an ox.

13 The Lord then said to me, “Throw to the potter that exorbitant sum at which they valued me!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the temple of the Lord.

Zechariah is using prophetic sarcasm. The “exorbitant sum” means that the nation of Israel only valued their Messiah as worth thirty pieces of silver, which was the Mosaic Law price of a dead slave gored by an ox. This would be like having God as your waiter. He serves you a gourmet meal with extraordinary service, but he is only left a penny tip! Zechariah took the three pieces of silver and threw it out into the potter’s field. This is exactly what Judas would do 400 years later.

14 Then I cut the second staff “Binders” in two in order to annul the covenant of brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

The binders was a second shepherd staff which kept the flock together. The shepherd would use this staff to nudge his sheep to stay together in the flock. Zechariah broke this staff, meaning that the True Shepherd would no longer keep the flock together. Israel entered a civil war from 66-70 A.D. This civil war weakened Israel so much that Rome was able to defeat them in 70 A.D. and burn their temple to the ground. This act scattered the sheep into all of the Gentile nations.

For additional studies this week, listen to Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Zechariah sermons/studies:

Download the whole PDF to print here:

Zechariah 11 Family Study Packet
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