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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 11:15

The LORD said to me, "Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The instruments of a foolish shepherd - Such as a bag without bread, a scrip without measure, and a staff without a hook, etc., things that were needless or of no use; to point out to the Jewish pastors, who took no care of the flock, but devoured them, or ruled them with force and with cruelty.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/zechariah-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Take to thee yet the instrument - o

Of a foolish shepherd - Osorius: “Yet He had enacted one tragedy, in which he clearly set forth the future guilt of Judas; now another is set forth, the accumulated scoffing through antichrist. For as Paul said, because they receive not the Spirit of truth, the Allrighteous Judge shall send them a spirit of “delusion, that they should believe a lie” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11. He calls him a foolish shepherd, for since the extremest folly consists in the extremest wickedness, he will be the most foolish, who reached the highest impiety, and this he will do by arrogating to himself divinity and claiming divine honors 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

This is the only action, which the prophet had to enact or to relate. If it was a visible act, the instrument might be a staff which should bruise, an instrument which should bear a semblance to that of the good shepherd, but which should be perncious. Cyril: “Good shepherds, who understood their business, had slight staves, that, if there should be occasion to strike, the stricken sheep might not be bruised; but one who understandeth not, beats them with thicker clubs.” Or it may mean also, whatever he would use for the hurtful treatment of the sheep, such as he proceeds to speak of. He is spoken of as, in fact, foolishly sinful: for sin is the only real folly, and all real folly has sin mingled in it. The short-lived wisdom of the foolish shepherd for his own ends should also be his destruction.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/zechariah-11.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"And Jehovah said unto me, Take unto thee yet again the instruments of a foolish shepherd."

We are not told what the instruments of a foolish shepherd were; but this statement is made to change the subject of the prophecy from that of the Good Shepherd to the evil shepherds who were so soon to be "cut off."

"Foolish shepherd ..." It is not important to identify the person meant by this. It means any worthless leader that God's people follow when they reject their true King. Significantly, Israel cried out upon the occasion of their formal rejection of Christ and said, "We have no king but Caesar." The wretched history of the reprobate emperors of Rome is comment enough upon how "foolish" such "shepherds" were. This passage "foreshadows the terrible afflictions of the Jews following their rejection of the Messiah."[38]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/zechariah-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the Lord said unto me,.... The Prophet Zechariah:

Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd; the meaning is, that the prophet should put on the habit of a shepherd, and take a scrip and staff in his hands, and represent a foolish shepherd, hereafter described.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/zechariah-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the LORD said to me, Take to thee yet r the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

(r) Signifying that they should have a certain type of regiment and outward show of government: but in effect it would be nothing, for they would be wolves, and devouring beasts instead of shepherds.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/zechariah-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

yet — “take again”; as in Zechariah 11:7 previously he had taken other implements.

instruments — the accoutrements, namely, the shepherd‘s crook and staff, wallet, etc. Assume the character of a bad (“foolish” in Scripture is synonymous with wicked, Psalm 14:1) shepherd, as before thou assumedst that of a good shepherd. Since the Jews would not have Messiah, “the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), they were given up to Rome, heathen and papal, both alike their persecutor, especially the latter, and shall be again to Antichrist, the “man of sin,” the instrument of judgment by Christ‘s permission. Antichrist will first make a covenant with them as their ruler, but then will break it, and they shall feel the iron yoke of his tyranny as the false Messiah, because they rejected the light yoke of the true Messiah (Daniel 11:35-38; Daniel 12:1; Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). But at last he is to perish utterly (Zechariah 11:17), and the elect remnant of Judah and Israel is to be saved gloriously.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/zechariah-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Take unto thee — O Zechariah, personate a shepherd quite different from him thou hast represented.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/zechariah-11.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Here the Prophet teaches us, that when God shall renounce the care of his people there will be some weak form of government; but it is evident that God would no longer perform the office of a shepherd; as though he had said, that the people would be so deserted, that they would yet think themselves to be still under the protection of God, as we see to be the case among the Papists, who proudly make a boasting of this kind — “The Church is never forsaken by God.” Though the truth of God has been long ago completely buried, they yet hold that it is still the true Church, a Church filled with impious superstitions! As then the Papists glory in the title only, and are content with it, so the Jews, we know, boasted of their privileges; and these were their weapons when they sought to oppose and contend with the Apostles — “What! are not we the heritage of God? has he not promised that his sanctuary would be perpetual among us? is not the sacerdotal unction a sure and infallible proof of his favor?” As then the Jews made use of these foolish boastings against the Apostles, so also at this day the Papists hide all infamy under the title of Church. The same thing Zechariah here means by saying that he by God’s command took the instrument of a foolish shepherd (148)

The word כלי, cali, means in Hebrew any kind of instrument. Some regard it to be a bag with holes, but this is an unsuitable interpretation. By instrument, Zechariah, I have no doubt, means the implements of a shepherds by which he proves himself to be in that office. But he calls him at the same time a foolish shepherd, that we may allow that he was a shepherd only in disguise. The term shepherd is given here by way of concession, according to the usual manner of scripture; and we also at this day concede sometimes the name of Church to the Papists; and we farther concede the name of pastors to their milted bishops, but improperly. So also does Zechariah in this place; though he speaks of a shadow and thing of nought, yet he says that there would be shepherds in Judea; and he adds the reason — Because God would thus punish that wicked and ungrateful people: —

This view, which is that of Calvin, removes all difficulties, and affords a proof of the falsity of the opinion advanced by Mede — that this portion of Zechariah belongs to Jeremiah. That the Prophet personates God here, or the Messiah, as the ruler of the Jewish nation, previous to his appearance in the flesh, is evident from the fact that God identifies, as it were, himself with the Prophet. (verse 8 and 10.) God’s dealings with the Jews are symbolized in this vision in a way similar to what is done, as to the history of the Church, in the visions granted to John; the sticks, the breaking of them, the cutting off of three shepherds, the price or reward, and the foolish shepherd, are symbolical, setting forth the various dealings of God with their people, and their conduct towards him. As to the price, the very symbol was afterwards strikingly exemplified in the history of the Messiah. The Prohet is made to represent God in his two characters — as a beneficial ruler, producing order and unity, and as a judicial ruler, employing wicked and cruel tyrants to punish a refractory and rebellious people.

“God commanded him (the Prophet) to perform a real action, and in a waking state, which was to be an intimation and a sign of that which was to happen in God’s dealings with Israel.” Abarbanel, quoted by M‘Caul, in his translation of Kimchi on Zechariah.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/zechariah-11.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

And the Lord

The reference to the Beast is obvious; no other personage of prophecy in any sense meets the description. He who came in His Father's name was rejected: the alternative is one who comes in his own name John 5:43; Revelation 13:4-8.


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Zechariah 11:15". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/zechariah-11.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Zechariah 11:15 And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.

Ver. 15. Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd] And so represent in a type, or figure, the wicked and depraved government, that, for a just punishment of their frowardness and uuthankfulness, I shall set up among this people. "The instruments of a foolish shepherd," that is, of an oppressive and self-seeking magistrate, are not virga et pedum, a rod and a staff, but forcipes et mulctra, shears to clip them and a milk pail to drain them. Lac et lana Milk and fleece are all they look after. Now it is threatened as a heavy curse, Leviticus 26:17, They that hate you shall reign over you; mischievous, malignant princes, such as are described in the next verse. England was once called the Pope’s ass, for bearing his burdens and impositions. An Emperor of Germany said, for the like reason, that the king of France was king of asses, rather than of men ( Rex hominum Hispanus, asinorum Gallus, Regum ego, dixit Maximil.). King John of England’s exactors received from his subjects no less sums of curses than of coin, saith our chronicler. He gathered money, the sinews of war; but lost their affections, the joints of peace. A taxation by the poll, first granted to Edward III, became a precedent to the next reign; and caused therein the first and greatest popular insurrection that ever was seen in this kingdom, saith another of our historians. And what sad effects poll money, ship money, coat and conduct money, and other oppressive practices have lately produced among us, is well known to all. But what a cruel shepherd was that prince mentioned by Melancthon, that when he wanted money would send for such and such a rich subject of his, and require of him what he pleased. If the man denied to bring it, he would knock out first one of his teeth, and then another, threatening to do the like by all the rest, in case the money were not brought in by such a time! Was not this one of those foolish, or rather furious shepherds in the next verse, who do eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces? that shall eat thy fruit, and drink thy milk, as another prophet phraseth it, Ezekiel 25:4. Fisco potius apud multos consulitur quam Christo; attonsioni potius gregis quam attentioni, as Bishop Andrews truly complaineth. And no less justly Mr Bolton. Some follow the administration of justice as a trade only; with an unquenchable and unconscionable desire of gain; which justifieth the common resemblance of ill governors to the bush, whereto while the sheep fleeth for defence in weather, he is sure to lose a good part of his fleece. Hence many that seek to courts of justice to be righted, are so ill handled, that they come to be of Themistocles’ mind; who professed, that if two ways were shown to him, one to hell and the other to the bar, he would choose that which went to hell, and forsake the other.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/zechariah-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Zechariah 11:15. Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd The prophet follows the order of time, that he may foretel the madness and blindness of the shepherds, or of the priests and rulers of the Jewish nation, till the last destruction of Jerusalem; who not only disregarded religion, and the safety of the sheep, but even devoured such of them as were worth devouring; shepherds of nothing; Zechariah 11:17 for so idol-shepherds should be translated;—retaining nothing of the shepherd but the name. The arm of the Jews was dried up from that time when they were no longer able to bear arms, or to defend themselves; as their right eye is darkened to the true knowledge of the Scriptures, which they read as with a veil before them.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/zechariah-11.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Take unto thee, O Zechariah.

The instruments; put on the garb and personate once more a shepherd, quite different from him thou hast represented.

Of a foolish shepherd: this foolish people have rejected the wisest and best shepherd; let them see what one they will choose, in seeing what part thou now actest.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-11.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The Lord next directed Zechariah to present himself as a foolish (worthless, Zechariah 11:17, i.e, morally deficient, cf. Proverbs 1:7) shepherd since His flock had rejected the Good Shepherd (cf. Ezekiel 34:3-4).


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/zechariah-11.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Zechariah 11:15. And the Lord said, Take thee yet [or once more] the instruments of a foolish [or unwise] shepherd — The prophet, having hitherto represented the good shepherd, is now directed to assume the dress and equipage of one of a contrary character. As folly in the Scripture is equivalent to wickedness, by a foolish shepherd here may be meant, not only unskilful, but likewise ill-designing governors, or teachers, who should only intend their own advantage, and have no regard for the good of the flock, or people committed to their charge. The instruments of such a shepherd must be suitable to his own disposition and indiscretion, such as a crook armed with iron, which, whenever it was used, would wound the flock; and a scrip, or bag, which contained nothing useful for the sheep, and the like. The prophet here follows the order of time, that he may foretel the madness and blindness of the shepherds; that is, of the priests, rulers, and teachers of the Jewish nation, till the last destruction of Jerusalem; who not only disregarded religion, and the safety and welfare of the sheep, but even devoured such of them as were worth devouring.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/zechariah-11.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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. (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!


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/zechariah-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

instruments = implements.

foolish = worthless. Judah and Israel had rejected these, and later on they rejected Messiah the good Shepherd; hence the threatening in Zechariah 11:16-17.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/zechariah-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd - "take unto thee yet" - i:e., 'take again'; as in Zechariah 11:7 previously he had taken other implements.

The instruments - the accoutrements-namely, the shepherd's crook and staff, wallet, etc. Assume the character of The instruments - the accoutrements-namely, the shepherd's crook and staff, wallet, etc. Assume the character of a bad ("foolish" in Scripture is synonymous with wicked, Psalms 14:1) shepherd, as before thou assumedst that of a good shepherd. Since the Jews would not have Messiah, "the good shepherd (John 10:11), they were given up to Rome, pagan and papal, both alike their persecutor, especially the latter, and shall be again to Antichrist, the "man of sin," the instrument of judgment by Christ's permission. Compare John 5:43, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Antichrist will first make a covenant with them as their ruler, but then will break it, and thee shall feel the iron yoke of his tyranny, as the false Messiah, because they rejected the light yoke of the true Messiah (Daniel 11:35-38; Daniel 12:1; Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). But at last he is to perish utterly (Zechariah 11:17), and the elect remnant of Judah and Israel is to be saved gloriously.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/zechariah-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) Instruments of a foolish shepherd.—It is needless to inquire in what respects, if any, these instruments differed from those of a wise shepherd. The words merely imply that the prophet, having represented the one character, should now personate the other.

Foolish is almost equivalent to “wicked” in Bible language, whether this word be used, or that of Psalms 53:2.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/zechariah-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.
a foolish
Isaiah 6:10-12; Jeremiah 2:26,27; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 13:3; Matthew 15:14; 23:17; Luke 11:40

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/zechariah-11.html.

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