Zacharias xi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Gates. Josephus (Jewish Wars 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 Tacitus, History v. Johanan then declared, “O temple, I know thou wilt so be destroyed,” as Zacharias foretold, Open, &c. (Kimchi; Lyranus; &c.) (Calmet) — 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. (Challoner) (Isaias x. 34., and Ezechiel xvii.) (St. Jerome) — The destruction of both by Titus is predicted. (Worthington) — Cedars. Thy princes and chief men. (Challoner; Worthington)

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

Ver. 3. Pride, or farther banks, covered with shrubs, among which lions dwelt, Jeremias l. 44. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Feed, thou Zacharias; (Menochius) 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. (Calmet)

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, (John xiv. 15.) We have no king but C├Žsar. (Challoner) — The besieged slew each other daily, so that Vespasian did not hurry. (Josephus, Jewish Wars v. 2., and vi. 1.)

Ver. 7. For this. Christ came to feed his flock. (Calmet) — But the Jews would not receive him. (Haydock) — Septuagint read (Calmet) locnani, as [in] ver. 11, “of slaughter into Chanaan, and I,” &c. (Haydock) — 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. (Challoner) — 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. (Worthington) — 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. (Challoner) — 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. (Calmet) — The Jews pretend that Moses, Aaron, and Mary[Miriam] are here meant. (St. Jerome) — 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, (Calmet) who retired to Pella, (Eusebius, Church History iv. 5.) as they had been warned of the impending storm, Matthew xxiv. 1., and Luke xxi. 20.

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

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

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

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 desolation. (Challoner) — 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. (Calmet) — They shew no pity, but are wholly intent on their own pleasures. (Haydock)

Ver. 17. Shepherd. Septuagint, “ye who feed foolish things, forsaking,” &c. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “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 Josephus, Antiquities xix. 1. (Suetonius) — 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. (Calmet) — Antichrist, the destroyer, shall perish. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. God’s dealings with the Jews, and their reprobation.

1 Open thy gates, O Libanus, and let fire devour thy cedars.

2 Howl, thou fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen, for the mighty are laid waste: howl, ye oaks of Basan, because the fenced forest is cut down.

3 The voice of the howling of the shepherds, because their glory is laid waste: the voice of the roaring of the lions, because the pride of the Jordan is spoiled.

4 Thus saith the Lord, my God: Feed the flock of the slaughter.

5 Which they that possessed, slew, and repented not, and they sold them, saying: Blessed be the Lord, we are become rich: and their shepherds spared them not.

6 And I will no more spare the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: behold, I will deliver the men, every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall destroy the land, and I will not deliver it out of their hand.

7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter for this, O ye poor of the flock. And I took unto me two rods, one I called Beauty, and the other I called a Cord: and I fed the flock.

8 And I cut off three shepherds in one month, and my soul was straitened in their regard: for their soul also varied in my regard.

9 And I said: I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die: and that which is cut off, let it be cut off: and let the rest devour every one the flesh of his neighbour.

10 And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people.

11 And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord.

12 And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. *And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver; and I cast them into the house of the Lord, to the statuary.

14 And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel.

15 And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

16 For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs.

17 O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.



12: Matthew xxvii. 9.