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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 11:4

Thus says the LORD my God, "Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Feed the flock of the slaughter - This people resemble a flock of sheep fattened for the shambles; feed, instruct, this people who are about to be slaughtered.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/zechariah-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thus saith the Lord my God, Feed the flock of the slaughter - The fulfillment of the whole prophecy shows, that the person addressed is the prophet, not in, or for himself, but (as belongs to symbolic prophecy) as representing Another, our Lord. It is addressed, in the first instance, to Zechariah. For Zechariah is bidden, “take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd” Zechariah 11:15, in words addressed to himself, personally; “And the Lord said unto me.” But he who was to represent the foolish shepherd, had represented the True Shepherd, since it is said to him, “Take unto thee yet.” But He, the Shepherd addressed, who does the acts commanded, speaks with the authority of God. He says, “I cut off three shepherds in one month” Zechariah 11:8; “I broke My covenant which I had made with all the peoples” Zechariah 11:10; “the poor of the flock waited upon Me” Zechariah 11:11; “I cut asunder Mine other staff, Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” Zechariah 11:14. But in Zechariah‘s time, no three shepherds were cut off, the covenant made by God was not broken on His part, there was no such visible distinction between those who waited on God, and those who, outwardly too, rejected Him.

Feed the flock of the slaughter - Those who were, even before the end, slain by their evil shepherds whom they followed, and who in the end would be given to the slaughter, as the Psalmist says, “we are counted as sheep for the slaughter” Psalm 44:22, because they would not hear the voice of the True Shepherd, and were not His sheep. They were already, by God‘s judgment, a prey to evil shepherds; and would be so yet more hereafter. As a whole then, they were “sheep of the slaughter.” It is a last Charge given to feed them. As our Lord says, “Last of all, He sent unto them His Son, saying, They will reverence My Son” Matthew 21:37. This failing, nothing remained but that the flock would be given up, as they themselves say, “He will miserably destroy those wicked people, and will let out His vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render Him the fruits in their seasons” Matthew 21:41, that is, our Lord explains it, “The kingdom of heaven shall be taken from them, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Yet a remnant should be saved” Matthew 21:43, for whose sake the larger flock was still to be fed: and, as our Lord, as Man, wept over Jerusalem, whose sentence He pronounced, so He still feeds those who would not turn to Him that they might be saved, and who would in the end be “a flock of slaughter,” “Death their shepherd” Psalm 49:14, since they chose death rather than Life.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/zechariah-11.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Thus said Jehovah my God: Feed the flock of slaughter."

This is a shocking reference to God's people; why are they called "the flock of slaughter"? Certainly, this is one of the most important revelations in the chapter; but the comment of Mitchell misses the whole point of this. He said, "This seems to have been ignored by those who find here a representation of the Good Shepherd."[14] Such a conclusion itself ignores the fact that it was not the Shepherd who delivered the sheep to the slaughter, but the evil shepherds whom Israel preferred to follow instead of the Good. Shepherd. Zechariah was not instructed to lead the sheep to slaughter, but to feed them "The Shepherd depicted by Zechariah can only be the Messiah."[15] The reason they were called "the flock of slaughter" sprang from the fact that slaughter was their irrevocable destiny, just so long as the Jews preferred their own evil shepherds to the True One. Zechariah's instruction here to "Feed the flock" refers to Christ himself coming into the ranks of the Chosen People to instruct and lead them in the paths of righteousness. "Last of All" God sent his Son in the hope of averting their self-motivated dash to destruction. Henry's summation here is helpful:

"The prophet here is made a type of Christ, as Isaiah sometimes was; and these verses show that, "For judgment Christ came into this world" (John 9:39); for judgment upon the Jewish nation, which were at that time hopelessly corrupted. He would have healed them, but they would not."[16]


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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 11:4". "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

Thus saith the Lord my God,.... The Syriac version adds, "to me"; not the Prophet Zechariah, but the Messiah, who calls the Lord his God, as he was man and Mediator, John 20:17 for what follow are the words of God the Father to him, calling upon him, and giving him a commission to

Feed the flock of the slaughter; meaning the people of the Jews in general, to whom Christ was sent as a prophet, to teach and instruct them by the ministry of the word; so "feeding" is interpreted of prophesying, by the Targum and Jarchi: and these are called "the flock of slaughter", because of the cruel usage they met with from their shepherds and owners, mentioned in the next verse Zechariah 11:5; and because they were appointed and given up to ruin and destruction of God, on account of their sins and transgressions; though there was a remnant among them, a little flock, afterwards in this chapter called the poor of the flock Zechariah 11:7, who were the special care of Christ, and were fed by him in a spiritual manner; and may go by this name, because exposed to the cruelties of men, and are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, Romans 8:36 these Christ was called upon by his Father in the council of peace to take care of, which he did; and in the everlasting covenant of grace he agreed to feed them; and in the fulness of time he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who were as sheep without a shepherd; and he fed them with knowledge and with understanding.


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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 11:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/zechariah-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) Which being now destined to be slain, were delivered as out of the lion's mouth.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "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

The prophet here proceeds to show the cause of the destruction just foretold, namely, the rejection of Messiah.

flock of … slaughter — (Psalm 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 (Acts 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 (Zechariah 11:4); and Himself says (Zechariah 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 (Zechariah 11:6, Zechariah 11:8). The typical breaking of the staff, performed in vision by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:10), is fulfilled in His breaking the covenant with Judah. It is He who was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12, Zechariah 11:13).


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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 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/zechariah-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

My God — God the father speaks to Christ.

Of the slaughter — Appointed to the slaughter. The Jews, during four hundred and fifty years, were a flock of slaughter to the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and afterwards the Romans.


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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 11:4". "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 is given a reason why God purposed to deal so severely with his people — even because their obstinacy deserved no pardon. As then in the beginning of the chapter the Prophet threatened ruin to the Jews, so now he reminds them that their punishment was nigh, and that they could not be more gently treated, because their wickedness was wholly incurable. We now perceive the design of the Prophet; but he charges the Jews especially with ingratitude, because they responded so basely and shamefully to the singular benefits of God.

He says first, that he was bidden to feed the flock destined to the slaughter (132) Now the Prophet does not here relate simply what command he had received from God, but teaches us in general that God had ever performed the office of a good and faithful shepherd towards the Jews. The Prophet then assumes the character of all the shepherds, as though he had said, “There is no reason why this people should plead their ignorance, or attempt to disguise their own fault by other names and various pretences; for God has ever offered them a shepherd, and sent also ministers to guide and rule them: it is not to be ascribed to God that this people has not enjoyed prosperity and happiness.” There is now no need of spending much labor about this verse, as interpreters have done who confine what is here said to Christ alone, as one who had received this office from the Father; for we shall see from the passage itself that the Prophet’s words are by them forcibly wrested from their meaning.

Let it then be borne in mind, that his special object is to show — that God had ever been ready to rule this people, so that he could not have been accused by them of not having done what could have been possibly looked for or expected from a good shepherd. If any one objects and says, that this could have been said in other words, the plain answer is — that God’s perpetual care in his government had been fully shown; for he had not only himself performed the duties and office of a shepherd, but had also at all times set over them ministers, who performed faithfully their work. Since God then had so constantly and sedulously watched over the safety of the people, we see that their ingratitude was wholly proved. And by calling it the flock of slaughter, a reference is made to the time of the Prophet; for the Jews were then as though they had been snatched from the jaws of wolves, having been delivered from exile. They were then as dead sheep, whom the Lord had rescued; and we also know to how many troubles and dangers they had been constantly exposed. And hence appeared more clearly the goodness of God; for he was pleased nevertheless to exercise care over his flock. Then the Prophet enlarges here on God’s favor, because he had not despised his sheep though given up to the slaughter. The words might indeed be extended farther, as though the Prophet referred to what had already taken place, and they might thus be applied to many ages; but it seems to me more probable, that he mentions here what belonged to that age. Zechariah then teaches us why God was constrained to adopt extreme severity, even because he had tried all things that might have healed the people, and yet lost all his labor: when their wickedness became wholly incurable, despair as it were at length constrained God to exercise the severity mentioned here. This is, as I think, the meaning of the Prophet.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/zechariah-11.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Zechariah 11:4 Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;

Ver. 4. Thus saith the Lord my God; Feed the flock of slaughter] So lately pulled out of the jaws of those lions, Zechariah 11:3 cf. Amos 3:12, and yet destined to destruction by the Romans, those Raptores Orbis robbers of the world, (their former preservation being but a reservation to future mischief), for their desperate obstinace and incorrigibility.

Feed them] Saith God to the prophets; for their ordinary shepherds have cast off all care of their good. Tell them what evil will betide them unless they repent; forewarn them "to flee from the wrath to come," Matthew 3:7; to take course that they may "escape all these things that shall come to pass," Luke 21:36. Oh the goodness of God to a nation so shamelessly, so lawlessly wicked! Besides himself, the Shepherd of lsrael, that led Joseph like a flock, Psalms 80:1, and neglected no good office of seeking and feeding them, of handling and healing them, of washing them and watching over them, &c., how careful was he ever to raise them up "seven shepherds, and eight principal men," Micah 5:5, till at length he sent the man Christ Jesus, who is the chief of ten thousand, the "chief Shepherd," as St Peter calls him, 1 Peter 5:4, that one and only Shepherd, as Solomon, Ecclesiastes 12:11, that great Shepherd of the sheep, as Paul, Hebrews 13:20, who came to look up the lost sheep of the house of Israel, whom (to move compassion and affection) he here calleth the sheep of slaughter, until the time prefixed for their total dispersion, by reason of their ingratitude.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/zechariah-11.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Zechariah 11:4. Feed the flock of the slaughter Or the flock prepared for slaughter. That flock is so described in the next verse, as to make it evident that a flock not of sheep, but of men, is meant, and consequently an allegorical shepherd. Zechariah was not only of a priestly family, but one of the chief priests; supposing him to be, as it is most likely he was, the person mentioned Nehemiah 12:16. It belonged therefore to his station and office to take upon himself the guidance and instruction of the people. For, as his contemporary Malachi observes, ch. Zechariah 2:7. The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth. Compare Deuteronomy 30:10; Deuteronomy 33:10. Jeremiah 18:18; Jeremiah 18:23. The people are denominated the flock of slaughter, because they were devoted to ruin by following the mischievous counsels of their false teachers.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". 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

Thus saith the Lord my God; God the Father.

Feed; O Zechariah, feed, comfort, rule: but rather the Father speaks to Christ the Son, and appoints him who is the eternal Shepherd to feed his sheep.

The flock of the slaughter; appointed to the slaughter by different hands, and for different causes. It speaks of the people of the Jews, who were killed by many hands; during four hundred and fifty years they were a flock of slaughter to the Egyptians, Chaldeans, &c.; afterward to the Romans, who ruined their commonwealth, slew their citizens, and burnt their city.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". 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

Yahweh, Zechariah"s God, instructed the prophet to present himself as a shepherd assigned to care for a flock doomed to slaughter. This may mean that the prophet was to act out a parable for his audience. [Note: E. Cashdan, " Zechariah ," in The Twelve Minor Prophets, p314; Unger, p191.] However it seems more likely, in view of what follows, that Zechariah spoke for God, and sometimes as Messiah, as though he were a shepherd. He seems to have been presenting an allegory that was the product of a visionary experience (cf. Jeremiah 1:10; Jeremiah 25:15-38). [Note: Leupold, p207; Feinberg, God Remembers, p201.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/zechariah-11.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/zechariah-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Thus saith = Thus hath said the Lord. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.

Feed = Tend. Zechariah is to represent a good shepherd, and is sent to the People whose rulers destroyed them (verses: Zechariah 11:5, Zechariah 11:16).

of = exposed to, or destined for slaughter. Genitive of Relation App-17. Compare Romans 8:36.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "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

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

Thus saith the Lord my God. The commission is here given by the Father to the Son, "Feed the flock." The prophet here proceeds to show the cause of the destruction just foretold-namely, the rejection of Messiah.

Feed the flock of the slaughter - "the flock of the slaughter" is God's people doomed to slaughter by the Romans. Compare Psalms 44:22, "We are counted as sheep for the slaughter." Zechariah here represents, in his own person, 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 people perished in the Jewish war, and 1,100,000 souls 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 (Acts 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 (Zechariah 11:4, "Feed the flock of the slaughter;") and says Himself, in accordance with His commission (Zechariah 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. Yahweh-Messiah is the real speaker. It is He who threatens to inflict the punishments (Zechariah 11:6; Zechariah 11:8). The typical breaking of the staff, performed in vision by Zechariah (Zechariah 11:10), is fulfilled in His breaking the covenant with Judah. It is He who was sold for 30 pieces of silver, the price cast unto the potter (Zechariah 11:12-13).


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 11:4". "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

(4) Of the slaughter—i.e., which is being slaughtered. (Comp. Zechariah 11:5.)


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/zechariah-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;
Lord
14:5; Isaiah 49:4,5; John 20:17; Ephesians 1:3
Feed
7; Isaiah 40:9-11; Ezekiel 34:23,24; Micah 5:4; Matthew 15:24; 23:37; Luke 19:41-44; John 21:15-17; Romans 15:8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/zechariah-11.html.

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Saturday, June 6th, 2020
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