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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 11:8

Then I annihilated the three shepherds in one month, for my soul was impatient with them, and their soul also was weary of me.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Three shepherds also I cut off in one month - Taking this literally, some think the three shepherds mean the three Maccabees, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon; others, the three wicked high priests, Jason, Alcimus, and Menelaus; others, the three last princes of the Asmonean race, Alexander, Hyrcanus, and Antigonus.

Perhaps three orders may be intended:

  1. The priesthood.
  • The dictatorship, including the Scribes, Pharisees, etc.
  • The magistracy, the great sanhedrin, and the smaller councils.
  • These were all annihilated by the Roman conquest.


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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/zechariah-11.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    And I cut off three shepherds in one month - Jerome: “I have read in some one‘s commentary, that the shepherds, cut off in the indignation of the Lord, are to be understood of priests and false prophets and kings of the Jews, who, after the passion of Christ, were all cut off in one time, of whom Jeremiah speaketh, “The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew Me not; the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things which do not profit” Jeremiah 2:8, and again, “As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets” Jeremiah 2:26; and “they said, Come, let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet” Jeremiah 18:18.

    Theodoret: “He speaks of the kings of the Jews, and prophets and priests; for by the three orders they were shepherded.” Cyril: “The true and good Shepherd having been already pointed out, it was right and necessary that the hirelings and false shepherds should be removed, the guides of the Jews in the law. The three shepherds were, I deem, those who exercised the legal priesthood, and those appointed judges of the people, and the interpreters of Scripture, that is, the lawyers. For these too fed Israel. Those who had the glory of the priesthood were of the tribe of Levi only; and of them Malachi says, “The priest‘s lips shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth” Malachi 2:7. But those who received authority to judge were also selected, yet were appointed out of every tribe. In like way the lawyers, who were ever assessors to the judges, and adduced the words of the law in proof of every matter.

    But we shall find that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself expressly pronounced woe on the Pharisees and scribes and lawyers. For He said, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees” Luke 11:44. And when one of the lawyers hereupon answered Him saying, “Master, so saying Thou reproachest us also,” He said, “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers” Luke 11:45-46. These “three Shepherds” then, priests and judges and lawyers owho remained in their own orders and places, until the coming of Christ, were very justly taken away “in one month.” For since “they killed the Prince of life” Acts 3:15, thereby also are they mown down, and that in the month of the first fruits, in which Emmanuel endured to be slain for us. They remained indeed administering Israel, even after the Saviour‘s Cross, through the long-suffering and compassion of Almighty God calling them to repentance; but, in the sentence passed by God, they were taken away, at that time, when they delivered to the Cross the Saviour and Redeemer of all. They were taken away then in one mouth;” Nisan. a.d. 33. The three offices, King, Divine Teacher, Priest, were to be united in Christ: they might have been held under Him: those who rejected them in Him, forfeited them themselves. These then He made to disappear, effaced them from the earth.

    And My soul was straightened - For them oIt is used of the divine grief at the misery of His people. “And their soul abhorred Me, nauseated Me” oKimchi: “When it is said, “Their soul also abhorreth Me,” the meaning is, ‹My soul did not loathe them first, but their soul first despised Me, therefore My Soul abhorred them.‘” The soul which drives away God‘s good Spirit, comes at last to loathe Him and the thought and mention of Him.


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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/zechariah-11.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Zechariah 11:8

    My soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred Me

    A mutual dislike between God and man

    I.
    This mutual moral antagonism is manifestly abnormal. It is not conceivable that the all-wise and all-loving Maker of the universe would create beings whom He would loathe and who would abhor Him. Such an idea is opposed at once to our intuitions and our conclusions. In the pristine state of humanity, God loved man, and man loved God.

    II. This mutual moral antagonism implies wrong on man’s part. For Infinite Purity and Righteousness to loathe the corrupt and the wrong is not only right, but a necessity of the Divine character. He abhorreth sin; it is the “abominable thing” which He hates. This is His glory. But for man to abhor Him, this is the great sin, the fontal sin, the source of all other sins.

    III. This mutual moral antagonism explains the sin and wretchedness of the world. Why does the world abound with falsehoods, dishonesties and oppressions, unchastities, cruelties, and impieties? Because human souls are not in supreme sympathy with the supremely good, because they are at enmity with God, because God loathes sin.

    IV. This mutual moral antagonism argues the necessity for a reconciliation. The great want of the world is the reconciliation of man to the character and the friendship of God. Such a reconciliation requires no change on God’s part. His loathing is the loathing of love, love loathing the wrong and the miserable. The change must be on man’s part. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. (Homilist.)

    Divine rejection

    A time comes in the history of incorrigible nations and incorrigible individuals when they are rejected of heaven.

    I. The cause of this lamentable event. “My soul loatheth them.”

    II. The result. The results here are threefold.

    1. The cessation of Divine mercy. “I will not feed you.”

    2. Abandonment to self-ruin. “That that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off.” “The wages of sin is death.” “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

    3. Deliverance to mutual tormentors. “And let the rest eat everyone the flesh of another.” All these results were realised in a material sense in the rejection of the Jewish people. Josephus tells us that in the destruction of Jerusalem, pestilence, famine, and intestine discord ran riot amongst the God-rejected people. These material evils are but faint emblems of the spiritual evils that must be realised by every God-rejected soul.

    III. The sign. “And I took My staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break My convenant which I had made with all the people.” The Divine Shepherd is represented as having two staves, or crooks; ordinary shepherds have only one. Expositors in their interpretation of these staves differ here as in most places elsewhere in this book. Some say they indicate the double care that the Divine Shepherd takes of his people; some, the different methods of treatment pursued by the Almighty Shepherd towards His people; some, that they refer to the house of of Judah and to the house of Israel, indicating that neither was to be left out in the mission of the work of the Good Shepherd; and some, that the one called “Beauty”--which means grace--represents the merciful dispensation, under which the Hebrew people had been placed; and the other staff called “Bands,” the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. One thing seems clear, that the cutting of the staff called “Beauty” asunder was a symbol of their rejection from all future grace and mercy. It may be stated as a general truth, that all heaven-rejected souls have signs of their miserable condition. What are the general signs?

    1. Practical ignorance of God.

    2. Utter subjection to the senses.

    3. Complete devotion to selfish aims.

    4. Insensibility of conscience. (Homilist.)

    Abhorring the name of God

    “For the last ten years I (Gambetta) have made a pledge with myself to entirely avoid introducing the name of God into any speech of mine. You can hardly believe how difficult it has been, but I have succeeded, thank God!” (Dieu merci!) Thus the name so sternly tabooed rose unconsciously to his lips at the very moment when he was congratulating himself on having overcome the habit of using it. (E. D. Pressense.)


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    Bibliography
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Zechariah 11:8". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/zechariah-11.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    "And I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me."

    "The three shepherds ..." We identify these with the three classes of evil shepherds which dominated the life of Israel during the ministry of Christ, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians. Lewis believed that, "No clue to the identity of these persons is available";[20] but Zechariah 11:5 seems definitely to be such a clue. See under that verse, above. It seems clear enough, as Keil affirmed, that, "The persons occurring in this vision are not individuals, but classes of men."[21] Despite the fact of commentators having identified the "three shepherds .... in at least forty different ways,"[22] we strongly feel that none of the identifications we have seen fills the bill so exactly as that we have accepted.

    "In one month ..." Such an expression in any prophecy usually stands for "a little time"; and as Henry stated, after mentioning the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians as a possible identification, "All of them Christ silenced in dispute (Matthew 22) and soon after cut off, in a little time."[23] Mitchell's assertion that Zechariah representing Jehovah in this verse could not possibly have been the one seen, "destroying three other shepherds for the same offence he was instructed to commit,"[24] is merely a case of failure to distinguish between the false shepherds (those destroyed) and the Good Shepherd who "cut them off." Some theologians do not believe that God will ever "cut off" any one, no matter what they do. Evidently the ancient enemies of Jesus spoken of in this verse were of the same opinion. However, the tragic destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70 nevertheless occurred.


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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 11:8". "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

    Three shepherds also I cut off in one month,.... Not Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, as is suggested in the TalmudF5T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 9. 1. ; nor David, Adonijah, and Joab, who died in the space of a month; nor the three kings, Jehoash, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, who died by the hand of their enemies in a very little time; which is the sense of some, as Abendana observes; nor the three last prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, according to Aben Ezra; nor the three Maccabees, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon, as Abarbinel; rather the three sects among the Jews, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, instead of which last some put the Herodians; and others the Scribes; though some are of opinion that the three sanhedrim or courts of judicature among the Jews are designed; but it seems best of all to interpret them of the three orders of magistrates among them, princes, prophets, and priests; and the "cutting" them "off" may denote the cessation of civil government, the sealing up of vision and prophecy, and the putting an end to sacrifice; which is much better than to interpret them of the three Roman emperors who succeeded Nero; that is, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, who were put to death by their own subjects, within the space of a year and some daysF6Calmet's Dictionary, in the word "Shepherds". ; and which is a term of time that can not well be thought to be expressed by a month; which either signifies in general a small space of time; or, if a certain month is meant, either it designs the month Nisan, in which Christ suffered, when of right sacrifice should have ceased, as well as then prophecy was sealed up, and there was no more of it among the Jews, nor any civil government in their hands: or else the month Ab, in which the city of Jerusalem was burnt; and so an end was put in fact to all the above offices there. It may be that a month of years is intended, as in Revelation 11:2 and so Abarbinel here interprets it; though he applies it to the times of the Maccabees; but it may respect the thirty years, or thereabout, which were between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem, within which compass of time the above events were actually and manifestly fulfilled:

    and my soul loathed them; because they did not perform the duties of their office; the civil magistrate did not govern according to the laws of God; the prophets did not teach sound doctrine; and the priests did not do their service aright, nor teach the people the use and end of sacrifices, and in them direct to the Messiah, as they should have done: wherefore Christ expressed his dislike of them by words in his ministry, particularly in Matthew chapter twenty three, Matthew 23:1 and by deeds, causing vengeance to come upon them to the entire removal of them: or, "my soul was shortened", or "contracted in them", or "towards them"F7ותקצר נפשי בהם "et abbreviata est anima mea in eis", Montanus, Cocceius, Burkius; "coarctata est", Calvin; "contractabatur, vel contrahetsese", Vatablus; "contracta est", Drusius, Grotius. ; his affections were lessened towards them; he loathed their ways and works, which were not good; and he rejected and cast them off as his people, and wrote a "loammi" on them; took away his Gospel from them, and abolished their civil and church state:

    and their soul also abhorred me; which is the reason of the former; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

    "and my Word cast them away, because their soul abhorred my worship;'

    all ranks and orders of men among the Jews had Christ in abhorrence; they abhorred his person, his name, his miracles, his doctrines, his ordinances, and his people; this they did because of his mean appearance; and because of his inveighing against their traditions, superstitions, and immoralities; and this appeared by their contemptuous rejection of him as the Messiah; by their crucifixion of him; and by persecuting his disciples and followers.


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    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/zechariah-11.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

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

    (m) By which he shows his care and diligence that he would not allow them to have evil rulers, so that they would consider his great love.

    (n) Meaning, the people, because they would not acknowledge these great benefits of God.


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    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "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

    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 (Hosea 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 (2 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 6:12). The same Hebrew as in Numbers 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.


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

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    At the beginning of the verse the Prophet continues the same subject, that God spared no pains in ruling the people, but patiently bore with many grievances; for it is the duty of every good and careful husband man to inspect often his flock, and to change his shepherd, when he finds him idle and inattentive to his duties. God then shows that he had exercised the greatest vigilance, for in one month he had rejected three shepherds, that is, he had within a short space of time often made choice of new shepherds, and substituted them for others, for one month is to be taken here for a short time, and the three shepherds signify many, indefinitely. When a husband man neglects his own flock, he may be deceived all the year round, should he meet with a thief or an inactive and worthless man. Since then God says, that he had changed his shepherds often in one month, he intimates what I have already said, that he took the greatest care of his flock, for he loved it, and omitted nothing necessary to defend it. (138) And this circumstance especially aggravated the sin of the Jews, for they did not respond to so great a care on God’s part; no, not when they saw that he watched night and day for their safety.

    Now the latter part of the verse is a complaint, for God begins to set forth how base had been the wickedness and ingratitude of the people, With weariness, he says, has my soul been affected by them, and their soul has hated me (139) He speaks not now of the shepherds, and they are mistaken who so read the passage, as though God had repudiated the shepherds, because his soul w as wearied with them: on the contrary, he turns his discourse to the whole people, and begins to show how wicked they had been, who having been favored with so many benefits, could not yet endure the best of shepherds. Hence he says, that his soul had been straitened by them, for he found no room made for his favors. Paul also, treating on this subject, expostulates with the Corinthians, and says, that he was ready to pour forth his heart and to open widely his mouth, but they themselves were straitened, and he felt himself these straitenings in his own heart. (2 Corinthians 6:11.) So also God complains here and says, that he was straitened by the Jews; for he found that his blessings were not rightly received, but as it were hindered, so great was the wickedness of the people.

    He expresses more clearly at the end that he was despised by them, They also have hated me. Now it was a contempt in no way excusable, when the Jews would not acknowledge how kindly and bountifully God had treated them. We now perceive the Prophet’s design: after having related how kindly God had condescended to rule the people, he now says that this labor had produced no fruit, for the door for God’s favors had been closed up. It afterwards follows-

    My soul loathed them, and their soul also rejected me. —Henderson

    The first verb means grieved, vexed, or wearied, and not loathed. See Numbers 21:23 : Jude 10:16. “Wearied was my soul with them.” The verb in the next clause is only found here, and rendered “roared,” [ επωροντο ], by the Septuagint, (see Jeremiah 12:7,) and “despised,” by the Targum. It is said, that the word in the Talmud is used in the sense of despising and hating, and this idea suits this place, “and their soul also hast despised me.” — Ed.


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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/zechariah-11.html. 1840-57.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Zechariah 11:8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

    Ver. 8. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month] That is, in a short time I took away and displaced, even by the heathen princes, many proud princes and priests; such as were Menelaus, Jason, the Aristobuli, Hircani, Annas, Caiaphas, and others: or, I removed those three sorts of shepherds of the old law, viz. princes, prophets, and priests. Thus Theodoret and Vatablus. Diodati understands the text of the three chief empires that had tyrannized over the people, Zechariah 11:6; Zechariah 11:3; Zechariah 11:12; Zechariah 11:10. Namely, the Chaldean, Persian, and Grecian empire, which were destroyed by the Son of God, Daniel 2:45. But they do best, in mine opinion, that by these three shepherds understand those three sects among the Jews at Christ’s coming in the flesh, viz. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes; whereof, though the Pharisees were the best, and most exact for the outward observation of the law, yet are they in the Gospel, for their putid hypocrisy, first sharply taxed by our Saviour (after the Baptist), and then plainly rejected, and even sent to hell by a chain shot of eight links of woes, Matthew 23:13-16; Matthew 23:23; Matthew 23:25; Matthew 23:27; Matthew 23:29

    And my soul loathed them] Or, was taken off from them, or, was straitened for them; because I saw that they received my grace in vain, and considered not my care for their good. Theodotion and Symmachus render it, Anima mea exanimata est, I am dispirited, as it were, and even disheartened to do any more for them.

    And their soul also abhorred me] And so they became God haters ( θεοστυγεις), as Romans 1:30, and therefore hateful to God ( στυγητοι), Titus 3:3, hateful as hell (so the word imports), yea, more and worse, for hell is but an effect of God’s justice, but wickedness is a breach of his law. The prophet here seemeth to allude to those murmurers in the wilderness, that disdainfully cried out, Our soul loatheth this light bread, Numbers 21:5. Let God’s servants take heed how they hang loose toward him; and lest, by disuse and discontinuance of a duty, there grow upon them an alienation of affection, a secret disrelishing and nauseating at that which we ought most deeply to affect and duly to perform. Surely, as loathing of meat and difficulty of breathing are two symptoms of a sick body, so are carelessness of hearing and irksomeness of praying two sure signs of a sick soul.


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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/zechariah-11.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Zechariah 11:8. Three shepherds also—in one month The great Shepherd, the Messiah, goes on to speak, agreeably to the ancient custom, of hiring shepherds for a month. The priests were frequently changed among the Jews during the latter part of their polity or commonwealth; whence the priesthood became venal, or was disposed of at the will of the Romans; and to such priests the latter part of the verse is justly applicable.


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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/zechariah-11.html. 1801-1803.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 1256

    THE MUTUAL ABHORRENCE BETWEEN GOD AND SINNERS

    Zechariah 11:8. My soul lothed them; and their soul also abhorred me.

    THE judgments of God that from time to time are inflicted on mankind are standing proofs that man has offended his Maker, and that God is displeased with his creatures. In this view they are continually represented in the Scriptures; and in this light the prophet taught his hearers to consider them. God had determined to “abolish that covenant which he had made with his people,” and to destroy the Jewish polity, the sacred part of which he called “Beauty,” and the civil “Bands.” He speaks of himself as having already cut off (or perhaps, in prophetic language, as determined to cut off) three shepherds, the princes, the prophets, and the priests, in one month; and assigns as a reason for it, that there was a mutual abhorrence between himself and them; and that consequently there was abundant reason for the judgments he denounced against them.

    The prophet, thoughout this chapter, personates the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom a part of it was very remarkably fulfilled, and to whom it is expressly applied in the New Testament [Note: ver. 11, 12. with Matthew 27:9-10.]. But it is simply to the words before us that we would now draw your attention: and we will take occasion from them to shew,

    I. What a deep-rooted enmity subsists between God and sinners—

    View it, where it first commenced:

    1. On man’s part—

    [Ungodly men neither seek to please God [Note: Job 35:10.], nor are at all grieved at having displeased him [Note: Jeremiah 8:6.]: they like not to speak, hear, or even think of him [Note: Psalms 10:4.]; they cannot endure (a melancholy proof of their aversion to him!) to be with him alone [Note: As men can meet their bitterest enemy in a crowd, but would be uneasy to be left alone with him; so the ungodly can meet God in his house, but cannot bear to commune with him in their secret chamber.]; they hate every thing in proportion as it exhibits God to them, or would lead them to God [Note: Hence faithful ministers, and godly people, and searching discourses, yea, and the Bible itself, are neglected and despised.]; they even wish there were no God [Note: Psalms 14:1. This is a wish. The words, “there is,” are not in the original.]; yea, when God actually put himself into their power, they sold him at the price of a slave, and crucified and slew him [Note: ver. 11, 12. with Matthew 27:9-10.].

    What abundant proof is here, that “the carnal mind is enmity against God [Note: Romans 8:7.]!” And what an evidence of that abhorrence in which, according to the Scriptures, our adorable Saviour was to be held [Note: Isaiah 49:7.]!]

    2. On God’s part—

    [Towards penitent sinners (as we shall have occasion to shew) God is reconciled: but, while they continue obstinate in their sins, he “lothes them,” nor can even look upon them without the utmost abhorrence [Note: Habakkuk 1:13.]. He will not vouchsafe them the smallest taste of those blessings which he imparts to others in the richest abundance [Note: Compare Psalms 119:165. with Isaiah 57:21 and 1 Peter 1:8. with Proverbs 14:10.]: he gives them up into the hands of their greatest enemies, to Satan and their own hearts’ lusts [Note: 2 Timothy 2:26. Psalms 81:12. Romans 1:24; Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28.]; he prepares his instruments of vengeance against the time when they shall have filled up the measure of their iniquities [Note: Psalms 7:12-13. Deuteronomy 32:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:35; Deuteronomy 32:41-42. He even kindles with his own breath the fire that is to consume them. Isaiah 30:33.]; he even comforts himself with the prospect of pouring out his wrath upon them to the uttermost [Note: Isaiah 1:24. Ezekiel 21:15; Ezekiel 5:13.].

    What awful evidences are these of the truth in question! what proofs that he even lothes and abhors all the workers of iniquity [Note: Psalms 5:5; Psalms 10:3.]!]

    But, notwithstanding this mutual enmity, the Gospel shews us,

    II. How it may be turned into mutual love—

    There is, in truth, but one way in which reconciliation can be effected between God and sinners. Yet we may not unprofitably divide it into two heads:

    1. Repentance towards God—

    [This can never purchase our peace with God; yet is it absolutely necessary to prepare our minds for the reception of his favour. And wherever it manifests itself in deed and in truth, God will instantly put away his anger, and embrace the sinner in the arms of his mercy [Note: Jeremiah 3:13. Isaiah 55:7. Psalms 51:17. Luke 15:20. Jeremiah 31:20.] — — —]

    2. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ—

    [It is this which unites us unto Christ, and gives us an interest in all that he has done and suffered on our behalf. If his hand were stretched forth, to plunge his sword into the bosom of any one amongst us, the very first act of faith should make it fall from his hands, and induce him to return it instantly to its scabbard [Note: John 3:16; John 6:37. Acts 13:39. Isaiah 1:18. Acts 16:30.] — — — Nor would he from that moment account any expression of his love too great for us [Note: Jeremiah 32:41. Zephaniah 3:17.] — — —]

    Nor is God only reconciled to us by these means, but we also are reconciled to him—

    [It is in this view that the Scriptures most generally represent our return to God [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:20. Colossians 1:21.]. And it is certain that from the very instant we repent and believe in Christ, our enmity against God is slain, and we delight in him as much as ever we once abhorred him. We love to hear and think and speak of him, and to maintain the closest fellowship with him: we love all who love him, and that too in proportion as they resemble him: and every thing that can discover him to us, or draw us nearer unto him, is on that very account unspeakably precious to our souls. As for the Saviour, who was sold for the price of the meanest slave, and who was once altogether despised by us, his name is as music in our ears; and the whole world is as dung in comparison of him [Note: Philippians 3:8.].]

    We subjoin a word,

    1. Of caution—

    [We may suppose that, because our enmity against God is the ground and reason of his aversion to us, our love to him is the ground and reason of his love to us. No: if we love him, it is because he first loved us [Note: 1 John 4:19.]. Were it not that he of his own mere mercy vouchsafed to send us his grace, we never should have our enmity to him in the smallest degree abated. We must therefore take nothing but shame to ourselves; and give nothing but glory unto him. We must confess that our hatred of him was altogether without a cause [Note: John 15:25.]; whereas his aversion to us was just and merited. On the other hand, his love to us is free and sovereign; whereas ours is the tardy, forced, and disproportioned fruit of his victorious grace.]

    2. Of encouragement—

    [“The wicked man is lothesome [Note: Proverbs 13:5.]:” but how lothesome soever he be, he need not fear but that God is ready to receive him to the arms of mercy [Note: If instead of continuing the contest we apply to God through Christ, our peace with him shall soon be made. Isaiah 27:4-5.] — — — Let this be contemplated by all, till a lively hope is begotten in their hearts, and they are constrained to say, I will no more “abhor the Holy One, and the Just [Note: Acts 3:14.],” but will turn to him, and love, and serve, and glorify him, with my whole heart.]


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    Bibliography
    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/zechariah-11.html. 1832.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Three, put for many, a definite for an indefinite number.

    Shepherds, negligent or greatly faulty.

    I cut off; put out of office, or, by discovering their faults, made them lie hid and conceal themselves. In one month; in a little time.

    My soul loathed them; hated their treachery and idleness.

    Their soul also abhorred me: disgraced and turned out, they hated him; in which these shepherds had too many of the Jews that sided with them, and that bore a hatred to the true Shepherd and to his impartial executing severity on the wicked shepherds.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-11.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    8. In the carrying out of his commission the shepherd met opposition, but he overcame it.

    Three shepherds… I cut off — R.V., “the three shepherds.” Who are these shepherds? Are they foreigners or native rulers? If native rulers, who are they? The shepherds of Zechariah 10:3, are foreign oppressors, but the shepherds of Zechariah 11:5, are native rulers; since the latter is in the more immediate context it seems best to take the three shepherds of this verse to be native rulers. The defenders of the pre-exilic date see here a reference to the assassination of the successors of Jeroboam II, Zechariah, Shallum, and a “third pretender” (2 Kings 15:13-15). On the other hand, those who favor a late postexilic date think of the frequent changes in the high-priestly office during the years immediately preceding the Maccabean uprising. Marti thinks of Lysimachus, who was killed by a mob about 171 B.C. (2 Maccabees 4:22); Jason, who was driven from the office in 170 and found an ignominious end in exile (2 Maccabees 5:10); and Menelaus, who became high priest again in 170 and lost his office in 168, when the Jehovah cult was temporarily discontinued in the temple, and who died a violent death in Beroea in Syria in 163 (2 Maccabees 13:3-8). Reference has been made to the difficulty involved in assigning the prophecy to so late a date (p. 589); certainty seems impossible.

    In one month — Not to be understood literally. It is equivalent to in a short space of time. At any rate, we know of no crisis in Jewish history when three rulers, either foreign or native, either kings or high-priests, were cut off during one month.

    8b might be interpreted as supplying the reason why the good shepherd cut off the three shepherds. If so, the transition from Zechariah 11:8 to Zechariah 11:9 would be very abrupt; hence it seems better to make a full stop after “in one month” and connect 8b with Zechariah 11:9. With great zeal the shepherd entered upon his task, but the flock failed to appreciate his efforts.

    And — R.V., “for”; better, but.

    My soul loathed them — R.V., “was weary of them.” The shepherd grew weary of the unappreciative flock; to it refers the pronoun them and not to the shepherds.

    Their soul also abhorred me — R.V., “loathed.” The flock came to dislike the shepherd’s strict control.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/zechariah-11.html. 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Zechariah , as God"s representative, did away with three shepherds that had been leading his flock within the first month that he took charge of the sheep. These appear to have been real shepherds and a real month. At least Zechariah"s action prefigured that of Messiah in taking over the leadership of His flock from other leaders of Israel who did not appreciate His leadership. Who these shepherds were or will be has been the subject of much debate. Some commentators identified specific kings, either Jewish or Gentile, who failed the Lord and were set aside before or during the siege of Jerusalem in A.D70. [Note: E.g, Baron, p396 , n1; Ellis, p1045; Mitchell, p307; and Merrill, p293.] History records little about the Jews between350,200 B.C. The three initial fulfillment shepherds could have lived then, but we may have no record of their activities. Other interpreters, including myself, believe the three shepherds refer to three classes of leaders, probably Israel"s elders, chief priests, and scribes (cf. Luke 9:22). [Note: E.g, E. Henderson, The Minor Prophets, p442; Unger, p195; Feinberg, God Remembers, p206; idem, " Zechariah ," p908; and Lindsey, p1565.] The Luke 9:22 reference is particularly significant since there Jesus named these three groups of leaders as those who would reject Him. Unger held that the one month was the time preceding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which sealed the fate of Israel. [Note: Unger, p195.] Another view is that the shepherds represent all of Israel"s unfaithful human leaders. [Note: Baldwin, p183.] Many commentators remarked on the difficulty of this verse, which Baldwin called "probably the most enigmatic in the whole Old Testament." [Note: Ibid, p181.] Over40 different interpretations of it appear in the commentaries.

    It is also difficult to identify the antecedent of "them." Did Zechariah (Messiah) grow weary of the sheep (cf. Isaiah 1:13-14), and did they detest him? Another interpretation sees the antecedent of "them" to be the three groups of leaders (kings). Perhaps "them" refers generally to both the leaders and the sheep.


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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "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 11:8. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month — The prophet may be said to do what God did; either in the punishment of certain false prophets, or of certain wicked governors. Some think, that by these three shepherds were figuratively signified the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the Jews. Christ exposed these as blind guides, and thereby lessened their authority among the people, which contributed very much to the spreading of the gospel. Blayney, who thinks the common translation encumbered with insuperable difficulties, renders the clause, and I set aside the authority of the shepherds in one month. His reasons for this interpretation have certainly considerable weight, but cannot with propriety be introduced here. One argument, however, in favour of it, to which he appeals, may be noticed. It evidently suits that application of the prophecy which most commentators adopt. “Let us now see,” says he, “what happened to him, of whom Zechariah is evidently set forth as the type. Our Saviour’s teaching was in a style so far superior to that of the professed guides of the people in his days, that, stung with jealousy, they exclaimed, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Ye have lost all your wonted influence; behold the world is gone after him, John 12:19. Even so it may be presumed the purity and disinterestedness of Zechariah’s instructions may have gained so far upon the minds of the people as to deprive the corrupt and selfish teachers of that ascendency which they once possessed.” And my soul loathed them Or, was straitened toward them, as the Hebrew, תקצר בהם, may be literally translated, that is, I was straitened in my affections to them. I was less tender toward them than toward the poor of the flock, because they showed themselves to be averse from my person and doctrine. So the Vulgate, contracta est anima mea in eis. The LXX., however, read, βαρυνθησεται η ψυχη μου, my soul shall be burdened; and Bishop Newcome, my soul was grieved at them. The word בחלה, rendered abhorred, in the next clause, does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures, but, according to Bishop Newcome, bears that sense in the Syriac. The LXX. render it, αι ψυκαι αυτων επωρυοντο επεμε, Their souls howled, bellowed, roared, or, raised a horrible outcry against me, an expression strikingly descriptive of the fierce and vehement accusations of the Jewish chief priests, scribes, and elders against Christ, and of the violent, loud, and oft-repeated clamours of the people for his condemnation and crucifixion. Of which see Luke 23:5; Luke 23:10; Luke 23:18-24.


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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/zechariah-11.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    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?


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/zechariah-11.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    cut off = sent off. They are unnamed.

    soul, Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "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

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

    Three shepherds also I cut off , [ waa'akchid (Hebrew #3582)] - 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 the last three princes of the Asmonean line, who died in a short space of time by a violent death (Tirinus) - namely, Hyrcanus, Alexander, and Antigonus; the last was conquered by Herod and the Romans, and was put to death by the common executioner, 34 BC, when Judea passed from under princes of its own to be under aliens. 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 prophet, priests, and kings to God. Refusing Him, they lost all three in every sense. I incline, however, to Tirinus' view, as there is no allusion to the priesthood in the term "shepherds," and the fall of the Asmoneans marked the epoch of Judah's virtually losing her independence.

    In one month - a brief and fixed space of time (Hosea 5:7). Probably alluding to the last period of the siege of Jerusalem, when all authority within the city was at an end (Henderson, but see the previous note). It is not likely, as some fancy, that a month of years - i:e., 30 years, on the year-day theory-is meant.

    And my soul loathed them - literally [ watiqtsar (Hebrew #7114)], was straitened as to them; instead of being enlarged toward them in love (2 Corinthians 6:11-12). The same Hebrew as in Numbers 21:4, margin. No room was left by them for the grace of God, as His favours were rejected (Calvin).

    And their soul also abhorred me - the mutual distaste that through the nation's unbelief resulted between the holy Messiah and the guilty Jews is implied.


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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "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

    (8) The effect of the prophet’s (i.e., God’s) feeding the flock is that He “cut off three shepherds in one month.” As in Ezekiel and Daniel (Ezekiel 4:4-6; Daniel 9:24-27, &c.), the space of time mentioned here seems to be symbolical; and taking a day for a year, one month will mean about thirty years. Some take “one month” to mean “a short time.” This interpretation will also agree with our view of the case. Some, again, take each day to represent seven years—so that thirty days would be two hundred and ten years—and explain the three shepherds as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Macedonian Empires, which lasted two hundred and fifteen years, from the captivity to Babylon up to the death of Alexander the Great. But no instance can be cited in which a prophetic day is equivalent to seven years. “The three shepherds” may be, then (according to the view which we have adopted with regard to the expression “one month”), the Syro-Grecian kings (B.C. 172-141)—Antiochus Epiphanes (who died miserably in Persia), Antiochus Eupator (put to death by Demetrius I.), and Demetrius I. (overthrown by Alexander Balus). As specimens of attempts to find for the passage an historical reference, taking the expression “one month” literally, the following may be cited:—Cyril considers that kings, priests, and prophets are meant; and Pusey, “priests, judges, and lawyers,” who, having “delivered to the cross the Saviour, were all taken away in one month, Nisan, A.D. 33.” But the rejection of the good shepherd is spoken of by the prophet as posterior to the cutting off of the shepherds. Maurer would interpret the three shepherds of Zechariah (son of Jeroboam II.), his murderer, Shallum, who reigned but a month, and of a third unknown usurper, whose downfall speedily took place. But Shallum was certainly murdered by Menahem (2 Kings 15:10-14), and there is no room for a third unknown usurper. Hitzig would avoid the difficulty by rendering “I removed the three shepherds which were in one month” (in support of which construction he refers, and rightly, to such passages as Exodus 34:31; Isaiah 23:17; Ezekiel 26:20), and takes them to be the kings Zechariah, Shallum, and Menahem, who in about the space of one month sat upon the throne of Israel. But the difficulty is really not so obviated. Shallum reigned actually “a month of days” (2 Kings 15:13), and the events referred to occupied much longer.

    Them.—The sheep, not the shepherds. In spite of what He did for them, they abhorred Him. Though, at first sight, it would seem more natural to refer the pronoun to “the shepherds,” we are precluded from so doing by the consideration that the fact that God loathed the shepherds, and they abhorred Him—shepherds whom He had cut off for the good of His flock—would be no reason for His refusing any more to feed the flock (Zechariah 11:9); whereas the flock’s disregard of all His loving-kindness towards them would afford good cause for His so doing.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/zechariah-11.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
    in
    Hosea 5:7; Matthew 23:34-36; 24:50,51
    and my
    Leviticus 26:11,30,44; Deuteronomy 32:19; Psalms 5:5; 78:9; 106:40; Jeremiah 12:8; 14:21; Hosea 9:15; Hebrews 10:38
    lothed them
    Heb. was straitened for them.
    Isaiah 49:7; Luke 12:50; 19:14; John 7:7; 15:18,23-25

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/zechariah-11.html.

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