Zechariah 11 – “Israel’s Worthless Leaders”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Zechariah laments the ravaged landscape and condemns the wicked “shepherds” of Israel.

II. Photo
Zechariah laments: “Throw open your gates, O Lebanon, and let fire consume your cedars!” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses
3: Hark, the wailing of the shepherds, For their rich pastures are ravaged; Hark, the roaring of the great beasts, For the jungle of the Jordan is ravaged.
4-5: Thus said my God the LORD: Tend the sheep meant for slaughter, whose buyers will slaughter them with impunity, whose seller will say, “Praised be the LORD! I’ll get rich,” and whose shepherd will not pity them.
6: For I will pity the inhabitants of the land no more — declares the LORD — but I will place every man at the mercy of every other man and at the mercy of his king; they shall break the country to bits, and I will not rescue it from their hands.
7: So I tended the sheep meant for slaughter, for those poor men of the sheep. I got two staffs, one of which I named Favor and the other Unity, and I proceeded to tend the sheep.
10:  Taking my staff Favor, I cleft it in two, so as to annul the covenant I had made with all the peoples;
14: Then I cleft in two my second staff, Unity, in order to annul the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
17: Oh, the worthless shepherd Who abandons the flock! Let a sword descend upon his arm And upon his right eye! His arm shall shrivel up; His right eye shall go blind.

IV. Outline

1-3. Lament for the landscape
4-6. Oracle: Condemning the pastoral economy
7-17. Metaphor: Condemnation of Israel’s “shepherds”
    7. Zechariah’s two staffs: “pleasantness” and “unity”   
    8-9. Zechariah sends off the shepherds
    10-11. Zechariah breaks the staff of pleasantness
    12-13. The shepherds pay Zechariah who pays the temple
    14. Zechariah grabs the staff of unity to destroy it
    15-16. Metaphor: God tells Zechariah to dress like a crazed shepherd
    17. Curse for the wicked shepherd

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.wpclipart.com/weather/weather_scenes/forest_fire.png