We start off this week with Zechariah 11
Chapter 11 is about judgement. Firstly judgement towards the nations (Lebanon and Jordan mentioned specifically here) and then (as we will see) judgement on Israel.
v1: ‘Open your doors’ is a warning to Lebanon about judgement coming and the need to get ready for it.
· The cedar trees were the pride and glory of Lebanon – their best of the best. They symbolize resilience, immortality, strength and elevation. See 1 Kings 5
· Fire is an end time judgement (Gen 9:11, 2 Peter 3:3-7)
v2: Cypress/Fir trees were second best compared to the cedar (Many scholars see these trees as reference to the leadership in Lebanon)
· If the number 1 tree has fallen it is just a matter of time before the other trees fall. The demise of the cedar (the strongest) instils fear and lamentation in those who are of less stature.
· Bashan -near the Golan Heights area. Was known for its thick forests and rich pastures.
v3: ‘Shepherds’ in Scripture often refer to leaders. This verse is speaking about the leaders of Jordan.
· The lions are usually able to defend themselves, but they cannot defend themselves against the judgement of G-d. Here they are crying out/lamenting because of the judgement of G-d.
Note: Rabbinical commentators say that Jordan and Lebanon receive the judgment of G-d because of how they afflicted Israel. They were countries that did not live under the truth of G-d and therefore are going to be judged for that.
v4: These next few verses speak of G-d’s judgement toward Israel (mainly to the leaders…how the leaders lead, and the judgement they receive, impacts the people. These leaders in Israel are not tending the flock, the people. They are not teaching the truths of G-d)
· “My G-d” – this prophecy makes us (those who have a personal relationship with G-d) aware of His view of the things going on (seeing things from G-d’s perspective)
· Flock – the people
· Slaughter – the people are suffering greatly because of improper leadership.
v5: The owners/those who buy the Jewish people – ie the nations that the Jewish people go to- kill them/don’t treat them correctly.
· The sellers – the leadership in Israel. They think because they are becoming wealthy from what they are doing that it is G-d’s blessing upon them and their actions.
v6: Improper leadership leads to conflict.
· “I will not deliver/rescue”- G-d allows hardships and problems for His people but that has always been temporary (even 2000yrs is temporary in light of eternity) before G-d has in fact gone in to heal that situation (see Exodus 32:14 and Amos 7:1-6)
v7: The shepherd who takes over is seen as being G-d Himself (Ezekiel 34)
· Two staffs – G-d makes a distinction between two types of people (Like when Yeshua made a distinction between the sheep and the goats – Matt 25:31-46
· Beauty – It is speaking about those who are appropriate before G-d (Those who want to serve Him, walk with Him, etc)
· Bonds/Bandits – those who practice terrorism.
v8: These three shepherds could be the high priest, the elders and the Sanhedrin. These were leaders at the time of the destruction of the temple (AD 70).They did not exist again after that.
· Those three leaders were sick of the truth of G-d and G-d became tired of them.
v9: The spiritual condition and rebellion of Israel toward G-d caused Him to take His hands off them. This would cause Israel to realize how far she was from G-d and of her need for repentance.
· “Eat each other” – unrighteous behavior, society turned upside down, chaos.
v10: Cut it in two – This word literally means to make a stump. The use of this term should give us hope, because we are told that from the stump of Jesse (the house of David) comes forth a twig/new life – which is Messiah (Is 11:1-9).
· Break the covenant – He is talking here about the covenant He made with Israel. However, when the covenant with Israel is affected so is the covenant to the nations. In Gen 12:3 the covenant that G-d made with Israel is inextricably tied to the nations. When Israel is affected so are all the nations of the world.
v11: “On that day” – a term that refers to judgement day.
· The poor of the flock: G-d has allowed Israel to go through many times of suffering (up to and including today). Yet, throughout the generations, G-d has always spoken to the afflicted ones of the flock telling them what is taking place and revealing to them what He is doing and why He is doing it.
v12: (We usually think of this verse in light of Matt 26:14-15 and Matt 27:3-5).
· G-d is speaking to the leadership of Israel here. They had a choice – they could either step aside and let Yeshua (Messiah) take over- in which case they could keep the money, or they could treat G-d as a hired hand, pay Him what they thought He was worth/deserved and then suffer the consequences of their choice.
· They chose the latter They undervalued G-d, placing His worth at 30 pieces of silver, as they were unwilling to stand down and accept Yeshua as their leader.
· The number 30 is very important in Judaism as it is a period of mourning. The price relates to Yeshua’s death.
v13: The (price they) set on me – This is how much value they placed on Messiah, what they considered Him to be worth.
· Threw them – Judas concluded that his actions had been wrong but by then it was too late (Matt 27:3-10)
v14: In the same way the first staff was cut into a stump so too was the second.
· A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25) – Israel was fractured and went into exile. (That stump does allude to a future hope though… a future revival of Israel)
v15-16: Foolish leaders, who basically only care for themselves, have been over Israel since that time – leaders that listen to the nations and not to G-d (up to and even including this present day)
v17: The antichrist is the final leader who will afflict the Jewish people and rule from Jerusalem in the last days (Dan 11:45). This final verse in chapter 11 promises that he is going to receive his due, his punishment.
Note: When G-d’s judgment falls, Israel is going to be brought to repentance. They are going to realize that they cannot trust in the leadership of man but need to be those who repent and embrace the truths of G-d. In doing so they are going to be made ready for the coming of Messiah Yeshua!