King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zechariah 11

Destruction to come upon the Jews. (1-3) The Lord’s dealing with the Jews. (4-14) The emblem and curse of a foolish shepherd. (15-17)

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Destruction to come upon the Jews

1 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.

2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

3 There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

The Lord’s dealing with the Jews

4 Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;

5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.

6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.

7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.

8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

9 Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.

10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.

11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.

12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

The emblem and curse of a foolish shepherd

15 And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.

17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Gates. Josephus (Bel. vii. 12.) relates, that the heavy eastern gates flew open at midnight: and the priests officiating at Pentecost, heard a multitude crying, “Let us go hence.” See Tacit. Hist. v. Johanan then declared, “O temple, I know thou wilt so be destroyed,” as Zac. foretold, Open, &c. Kimchi, Lyr. &c. C. — Libanus. So Jerusalem, and more particularly the temple, is called by the prophets, from its height, and from its being built of the cedars of Libanus. Ch. Is. x. 34. Ezec. xvii. S. Jer. — The destruction of both by Titus is predicted. W. — Cedars. Thy princes and chief men. Ch. W.

Ver. 2. Fir and oak may signify the cities and towns of the Jews. — Fenced. Sept. “well planted;” (C.) or “forest, planted all at once.” H. — “The temple was like a fortress.” Tacit.

Ver. 3. Pride, or farther banks, covered with shrubs, among which lions dwelt. Jer. l. 44. C.

Ver. 4. Feed, thou Zacharias; (M.) or the prophet announces what God will do. — Slaughter, whom Herod and his successors, the Zealots, Eleazar, Simon, and John, so cruelly oppressed and brought to ruin. C.

Ver. 6. Hand. This alludes to the last siege of Jerusalem, in which the different factions of the Jews destroyed one another, and they that remained fell into the hands of their king, (that is, of the Roman emperor) of whom they had said, (Jo. xiv. 15.) We have no king but C├Žsar. Ch. — The besieged slew each other daily, so that Vespasian did not hurry. Jos. Bel. v. 2. and vi. 1.

Ver. 7. For this. Christ came to feed his flock. C. — But the Jews would not receive him. H. — Sept. read (C.) locnani, as v. 11, “of slaughter into Chanaan, and I,” &c. H. — Two rods, or shepherds’ staves, meaning the different ways of God’s dealing with his people; the one by sweet means, called the rod of Beauty, the other by bands and punishments, called the Cord. And where both these rods are made of no use or effect by the obstinacy of sinners, the rods are broken, and such sinners are given up to a reprobate sense, as the Jews were. Ch. — The first denotes God’s general providence, as it is most seemly that all should be under him; the second means his particular care of the Jews. W. — God uses both the crook and the whip, employing both severity and tenderness. Now all proves in vain.

Ver. 8. Month. That is, in a very short time. By these three shepherds probably are meant the latter princes and high priests of the Jews, whose reign was short. Ch. — Ismael, Joseph, and Ananus, all obtained the dignity in one year; and as they and their predecessors were actuated by avarice, they could not fail being displeasing to God. Galba, Otho, and Vitellius were likewise cut off in little more than a year, when Vespasian succeeded, and his son took Jerusalem. C. — The Jews pretend that Moses, Aaron, and Mary are here meant. S. Jer. — But what reference can the prophet have to them?

Ver. 9. Not feed. This is the final sentence. God allowed them thirty-seven years to repent, after the death of Christ.

Ver. 10. All people. Hereupon all fell upon the Jews.

Ver. 11. Poor converted to Christ, (C.) who retired to Pella, (Eus. Hist. iv. 5.) as they had been warned of the impending storm. Mat. xxiv. 1. Lu. xxi. 20.

Ver. 12. Pieces. Sicles are usually understood. About fifty-one livres. The Jews bought the life of Christ for this sum; (C.) thirty pieces. W.

Ver. 13. The statuary. The Heb. word signifies also a potter, (Ch.) and this seems to be the true meaning. Mat. xxvii. 3. The prophet is ordered to bring, thus to indicate what should be done by the traitor. C. — Sept. “cast them into the crucible to see if it (the metal) be good, as I have been tried by them.” H.

Ver. 14. Israel. The latter remained obstinate, (C.) while Juda, the real “confessor,” (H.) embraced the gospel. After the destruction of the temple, the Jewish ceremonies were no longer (C.) observed or tolerated in the Church, as they had been, in order that the synagogue might be buried with honour. S. Aug. H. — The Jews are rejected. W.

Ver. 15. A foolish shepherd. This was to represent the foolish, that is, the wicked princes and priests that should rule the people, before their utter destruction. Ch. — Caligula, Claudius, or Nero, monsters of stupidity, may also be meant. To such the Jews preferred to submit: but they soon found out their mistake, when it was too late. Caligula and Nero would be adored in the temple!

Ver. 16. Hoofs, with excessive travelling. C. — They shew no pity, but are wholly intent on their own pleasures. H.

Ver. 17. Shepherd. Sept. “ye who feed foolish things, forsaking,” &c. H. — Heb. “shepherd of nothing.” — Darkened. Caligula was slain, and had not sense to know what was for this real interest. His wife and only daughter were murdered. See Jos. Ant. xix. 1. Suet. — His maxim was, “Let them hate, provided they fear;” and he wished the Romans had “all but one neck,” that he might cut it off. C. — Antichrist, the destroyer, shall perish. W.