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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ZECHARIAH 11
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    CHAPTER 11

    Zec 11:1-17. DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE AND JEWISH POLITY FOR THE REJECTION OF MESSIAH.

    1. Open thy doors, O Lebanon--that is, the temple so called, as being constructed of cedars of Lebanon, or as being lofty and conspicuous like that mountain (compare Eze 17:3; Hab 2:17). Forty years before the destruction of the temple, the tract called "Massecheth Joma" states, its doors of their own accord opened, and Rabbi Johanan in alarm said, I know that thy desolation is impending according to Zechariah's prophecy. CALVIN supposes Lebanon to refer to Judea, described by its north boundary: "Lebanon," the route by which the Romans, according to JOSEPHUS, gradually advanced towards Jerusalem. MOORE, from HENGSTENBERG, refers the passage to the civil war which caused the calling in of the Romans, who, like a storm sweeping through the land from Lebanon, deprived Judea of its independence. Thus the passage forms a fit introduction to the prediction as to Messiah born when Judea became a Roman province. But the weight of authority is for the former view.

    2. fir tree . . . cedar--if even the cedars (the highest in the state) are not spared, how much less the fir trees (the lowest)!
    - forest of . . . vintage--As the vines are stripped of their grapes in the vintage (compare Joe 3:13), so the forest of Lebanon "is come down," stripped of all its beauty. Rather, "the fortified" or "inaccessible forest" [MAURER]; that is, Jerusalem dense with houses as a thick forest is with trees, and "fortified" with a wall around. Compare Mic 3:12, where its desolate state is described as a forest.

    3. shepherds--the Jewish rulers.
    - their glory--their wealth and magnificence; or that of the temple, "their glory" (Mr 13:1; Lu 21:5).
    - young lions--the princes, so described on account of their cruel rapacity.
    - pride of Jordan--its thickly wooded banks, the lair of "lions" (Jer 12:5; 49:19). Image for Judea "spoiled" of the magnificence of its rulers ("the young lions"). The valley of the Jordan forms a deeper gash than any on the earth. The land at Lake Merom is on a level with the Mediterranean Sea; at the Sea of Tiberias it falls six hundred fifty feet below that level, and to double that depression at the Dead Sea, that is, in all, 1950 feet below the Mediterranean; in twenty miles' interval there is a fall of from three thousand to four thousand feet.

    4. The prophet here proceeds to show the cause of the destruction just foretold, namely, the rejection of Messiah.
    - flock of . . . slaughter-- (Ps 44:22). God's people doomed to slaughter by the Romans. Zechariah here represents typically Messiah, and performs in vision the actions enjoined: hence the language is in part appropriate to him, but mainly to the Antitype, Messiah. A million and a half perished in the Jewish war, and one million one hundred thousand at the fall of Jerusalem. "Feed" implies that the Jews could not plead ignorance of God's will to execute their sin. Zechariah and the other prophets had by God's appointment "fed" them (Ac 20:28) with the word of God, teaching and warning them to escape from coming wrath by repentance: the type of Messiah, the chief Shepherd, who receives the commission of the Father, with whom He is one (Zec 11:4); and Himself says (Zec 11:7), "I will feed the flock of slaughter." Zechariah did not live to "feed" literally the "flock of slaughter"; Messiah alone "fed" those who, because of their rejection of Him, were condemned to slaughter. Jehovah-Messiah is the speaker. It is He who threatens to inflict the punishments (Zec 11:6, 8). The typical breaking of the staff, performed in vision by Zechariah (Zec 11:10), is fulfilled in His breaking the covenant with Judah. It is He who was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zec 11:12, 13).

    5. possessors--The buyers [MAURER], their Roman oppressors, contrasted with "they that sell men." The instruments of God's righteous judgment, and therefore "not holding themselves guilty" (Jer 50:7). It is meant that they might use this plea, not that they actually used it. Judah's adversaries felt no compunction in destroying them; and God in righteous wrath against Judah allowed it.
    - they that sell them--(Compare Zec 11:12). The rulers of Judah, who by their avaricious rapacity and selfishness (Joh 11:48, 50) virtually sold their country to Rome. Their covetousness brought on Judea God's visitation by Rome. The climax of this was the sale of the innocent Messiah for thirty pieces of silver. They thought that Jesus was thus sold and their selfish interest secured by the delivery of Him to the Romans for crucifixion; but it was themselves and their country that they thus sold to the Roman possessors."
    - I am rich--by selling the sheep (De 29:19; Ho 12:8). In short-sighted selfishness they thought they had gained their object, covetous self-aggrandizement (Lu 16:14), and hypocritically "thanked" God for their wicked gain (compare Lu 18:11).
    - say . . . pity--In Hebrew it is singular: that is, each of those that sell them saith: Not one of their own shepherds pitieth them. An emphatical mode of expression by which each individual is represented as doing, or not doing, the action of the verb [HENDERSON]. HENGSTENBERG refers the singular verbs to JEHOVAH, the true actor; the wicked shepherds being His unconscious instruments. Compare Zec 11:6, For I will no more pity, with the Hebrew "pitieth not" here.

    6. Jehovah, in vengeance for their rejection of Messiah, gave them over to intestine feuds and Roman rule. The Zealots and other factious Jews expelled and slew one another by turns at the last invasion by Rome.
    - his king--Vespasian or Titus: they themselves (Joh 19:15) had said, unconsciously realizing Zechariah's words, identifying Rome's king with Judah's ("his") king, "We have no king but Cæsar." God took them at their word, and gave them the Roman king, who "smote (literally, 'dashed in pieces') their land," breaking up their polity, when they rejected their true King who would have saved them.

    7. And--rather, "Accordingly": implying the motive cause which led Messiah to assume the office, namely, the will of the Father (Zec 11:4, 5), who pitied the sheep without any true shepherd.
    - I will feed--"I fed" [CALVIN], which comes to the same thing, as the past tense must in Zechariah's time have referred to the event of Messiah's advent then future: the prophets often speaking of the future in vision as already present. It was not My fault, Jehovah implies, that these sheep were not fed; the fault rests solely with you, because ye rejected the grace of God [CALVIN].
    - even you, O poor of the flock--rather, "in order that (I might feed, that is, save) the poor (humble; compare Zec 11:11; Zep 3:12; Mt 5:3) of the flock"; literally, not you, but, "therefore (I will feed)" [MOORE]. See Margin, "Verily the poor." It is for the sake of the believing remnant that Messiah took charge of the flock, though He would have saved all, if they would have come to Him. They would not come; therefore, as a nation, they are "the flock of (that is, doomed to) slaughter."
    - I took . . . two staves--that is, shepherds' staves or rods (Ps 23:4). Symbolizing His assumption of the pastor's office.
    - Beauty--The Jews' peculiar excellency above other nations (De 4:7), God's special manifestation to them (Ps 147:19, 20), the glory of the temple ("the beauty of holiness," Ps 29:2; compare Ps 27:4; 90:17; 2Ch 20:21), the "pleasantness" of their land (Ge 49:15; Da 8:9; 11:16), "the glorious land."
    - Bands--implying the bond of "brotherhood" between Judah and Israel. "Bands," in Ps 119:61, Margin, is used for confederate companies: The Easterns in making a confederacy often tie a cord or band as a symbol of it, and untie it when they dissolve the confederacy [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU]. Messiah would have joined Judah and Israel in the bonds of a common faith and common laws (Zec 11:14), but they would not; therefore in just retribution He broke "His covenant which He had made with all the people." Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes, and Pompey were all kept from marring utterly the distinctive "beauty" and "brotherhood" of Judah and Israel, which subsisted more or less so long as the temple stood. But when Jehovah brake the staves, not even Titus could save the temple from his own Roman soldiery, nor was Jurian able to restore it.

    8. Three shepherds . . . I cut off--literally, "to cause to disappear," to destroy so as not to leave a vestige of them. The three shepherds whom Messiah removes are John, Simon, and Eleazar, three leaders of factions in the Jewish war [DRUSIUS]. Or, as Messiah, the Antitype, was at once prophet, priest, and king, so He by the destruction of the Jewish polity destroyed these three orders for the unbelief of both the rulers and people [MOORE]. If they had accepted Messiah, they would have had all three combined in Him, and would have been themselves spiritually prophets, priests, and kings to God. Refusing Him, they lost all three, in every sense.
    - one month--a brief and fixed space of time (Ho 5:7). Probably alluding to the last period of the siege of Jerusalem, when all authority within the city was at an end [HENDERSON].
    - loathed them--literally, "was straitened" as to them; instead of being enlarged towards them in love (2Co 6:11, 12). The same Hebrew as in Nu 21:4, Margin. No room was left by them for the grace of God, as His favors were rejected [CALVIN]. The mutual distaste that existed between the holy Messiah and the guilty Jews is implied.

    9. Then said I--at last when all means of saving the nation had been used in vain (Joh 8:24).
    - I will not--that is, no more feed you. The last rejection of the Jews is foretold, of which the former under Nebuchadnezzar, similarly described, was the type (Jer 15:1-3; 34:17; 43:11; Eze 6:12). Perish those who are doomed to perish, since they reject Him who would have saved them! Let them rush on to their own ruin, since they will have it so.
    - eat . . . flesh of another--Let them madly perish by mutual discords. JOSEPHUS attests the fulfilment of this prophecy of threefold calamity: pestilence and famine ("dieth . . . die"), war ("cut off . . . cut off"), intestine discord ("eat . . . one . . . another").

    10. covenant which I made with all the people--The covenant made with the whole nation is to hold good no more except to the elect remnant. This is the force of the clause, not as MAURER, and others translate. The covenant which I made with all the %%%

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