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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 13:5

but he will say, `I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.'

Adam Clarke Commentary

But he shall say, I am no prophet - This must be the case of a false prophet or diviner, who had been obliged to give up his infamous practice, and become even a laborer in the land. But having been known to be such, he is questioned by the people to see if he still were addicted in heart to the same practices. He declares he is no prophet, neither true nor false; that he is now a husbandman, and was brought up a herdsman.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/zechariah-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And he shall say - Repudiating his former claims, “I am a husbandman:” for a man hath taught me from my youth.” There was no room then for his having been a false prophet, since he had had from his youth one simple unlettered occupation, as Amos said truly of himself; “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet‘s son: but I was an herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit” Amos 7:14. The prophet does not approve the lie, any more than our Lord did the injustice of the “unjust steward.” Our Lord contrasted the wisdom “in their generation” of a bad man for his ends, with the unwisdom of “the children of light,” who took no pains to secure their God. Zechariah pictures vividly, how people would anyhow rid themselves of all suspicion of false prophesying.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/zechariah-13.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondman from my youth."

We construe this verse as an elaboration of the discomfiture of the false prophets, resulting in their shame, and even in denial (as here) of any connection with the discredited and rejected institution of the pagan prophets. Such a position had once been a lucrative and respected calling, but no longer. When forced out of the temples, they would pretend that they had never been associated with them.


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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 13:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/zechariah-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But he shall say, I am no prophet,.... That he is not of the Romish clergy, or of any of their religious orders, having laid aside his habit:

I am an husbandman; he shall put on the habit of a husbandman, and work for his bread; for he will not be able to support himself, as before, with the sale of pardons and indulgences, and by praying souls out of purgatory; for no man hereafter will buy of his merchandise, Revelation 18:11 and he will be ashamed of his former calling and traffic, and will not own that he was ever concerned therein; but will affirm that he was never of the Romish clergy, but always a layman, and employed in husbandry:

for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth; he will say he was brought up to husbandry, or in some mechanic business, from his youth, and never was in any convent or monastery, or of any religious order: it may be rendered, "for man made me to work from my youth"F21הקנני "fecerunt me operari", Noldius; "homo operari fecit me", De Dieu, Burkius. ; and is not to be restrained to keeping cattle, or any particular employment.


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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 13:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/zechariah-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But he shall say, I [am] no g prophet, I [am] a farmer; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

(g) They will confess their former ignorance, and be content to labour for their living.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/zechariah-13.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

He describes repentance in this verse more fully. When Paul wished to exhort the faithful to newness of life, he said,

“Let him who has stolen, steal no more; but rather work with his own hands, that he may relieve the wants of others.”
(
Ephesians 4:18.)

Paul notices two parts of repentance, — that thieves are to refrain from acts of dishonesty and wrong, — and that they ought to labor in order to aid others and relieve their wants. So also Zechariah mentions these two particulars, — that false prophets will give up their office, — and that they will then spend their labor in doing what is right and just, supporting themselves in a lawful and innocent manner, and affording aid to their brethren.

Having spoken already of the former part, he repeats the same thing again, I am not a prophet. It is then the first thing in repentance, when they who had been previously the servants of Satan in the work of deception, cease to deal in falsehoods, and thus put an end to their errors. Now follows the progress, — that they who lived before in idleness and in pleasures under the pretext of sanctity, willingly devote themselves to labor, and continue no longer idle and gluttonous as before, but seek to support themselves by just and lawful employment. It would not then have been enough for him to say, I am no prophet, had he not added, I am an husbandman; that is, I am prepared to labor, that I may support myself and aid my brethren.

A half reformation might probably succeed with many at this day. Were many monks sure that a rich mess would continue to them in their cloisters, and were also the milted bishops and abbots made certain that nothing of their gain and profit would be lost to them, they would easily grant a free course to the gospel. But the second part of reformation is very hard, which requires toil and labor: in this case the stomach has no ears, according to the old proverb. And yet we see what the Prophet says, — that those are they who truly and from the heart repent, who not only abstain from impostures, but who are also ready to get their own living, acknowledging that they had before defrauded the poor, and procured their support by rapine and fraud.

The Prophet no doubt speaks of impostors, who were then numerous among the Jews; and there were also women who boasted that they were favored with a prophetic spirit; and the true prophets of God had to contend with these sorceresses or wise women, who had ever intruded themselves during a confused state of things, and undertook the office of teaching. As then there were at that time many idlers who lived on superstition, rightly does the Prophet send them away to cultivate the land. So at this day there are many brotherlings who hide their ignorance under their hood, and even all the papal clergy, under the sacred vestment, as they call it; and were they unmasked, it might easily be found out, that they are the most ignorant asses. Now, as the Lord has abundantly discovered their baseness, were they to acknowledge that they have been impostors, what would remain for them, but willingly to do what they are here taught? that is, to become husband men instead of being prophets.

As to the end of the verse, some retain the word Adam; others render it man; and generally the word Adam means man in Scripture. But they who think that Zechariah speaks of the first man, adduce this reason, — that as this necessity of “eating his bread by the sweat of his face” (Genesis 3:9) was imposed on all mankind after the fall, so also all his posterity were thus taught by Adam their first parent; but this interpretation seems too far-fetched. I therefore take the word indefinitely; as though he had said, “I have not been taught by any master, so as to become capable to undertake the prophetic office; but I am acquainted only with agriculture, and have made such progress, that I can feed sheep and oxen; I am indeed by no means fit to take upon me the office of a teacher.” I take the passage simply in this sense.

With regard to the verb הקנני, ekenni, קנה, kene, means to possess, to acquire; but as the word מקנה, mekene, which signifies a flock of sheep or cattle, is derived from this verb, the most learned interpreters are inclined to give this meaning, “Man has taught me to possess sheep and oxen.” I am however disposed to give this rendering, as I have already stated, “Man has taught me to be a shepherd.” (173)

The import of the whole is, — that when God shall discover the ignorance, which would so prevail in the Church, as that the darkness of errors would extinguish as it were all the light of true religion, then they who repent shall become so humble, as to be by no means ashamed to confess their ignorance and to testify that they had been impostors as long as they had under a false pretense assumed the office of prophets. The Spirit of God then requires here this humility from all who had been for a time immersed in the dregs of falsehood, that when they find that they are not fit to teach, they should say, “I have not been in school, I was wholly ignorant, and yet I wished to be accounted a most learned teacher; at that time the stupidity of the people veiled my disgrace: but now the light of truth has shone upon us, which has constrained me to feel ashamed; and therefore I confess that I am not worthy to be heard in the assembly, and I am prepared to employ my hands in labor and toil, that I may gain my living, rather than to deceive men any longer, as I have hitherto done.”

For another man hath possessed me from my youth. —Newcome

For I have been in a state of slavery from my youth. —Henderson

The latter is a very loose paraphrase; the first is the literal rendering; “another” need not be have been put in. “Disclaiming all pretensions to the character of a prophet, he shall profess himself to be no other than a plain laboring man, employed in husbandry business by those whose property he had been, quasi adstrictus glebae , from his youth.” — Blayney.

The line may be rendered, as proposed by Parkhurst,

For man has purchased me in my youth.

Ed.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/zechariah-13.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Zechariah 13:5 But he shall say, I [am] no prophet, I [am] an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

Ver. 5. But he shall say, I am no prophet] Oυκ ειμι μοναχος, I am no monk, no clerk, I am not book learned, was the ignorant man’s plea in Chrysostom’s time, and so it is still to this day; though it serves not his turn. But here the like speech is taken up for a better purpose. Hoc etenim principium est resipiscentiae, saith Calvin here. Here begins their repentance, viz. in a free acknowledgment of their ignorance and utter unfitness for the office they had usurped.

I am no prophet] As for self-respects, that my belly might be filled and my back fitted, Si ventri bene, si lateri (Horat.), I sinfully took upon me to be one, but I am a husbandman, and can better hold the plough than handle a text; feed and follow a flock of sheep than feed the flock of God (that have golden fleeces, precious souls), taking the oversight thereof, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. 1 Peter 5:2

For man taught me to keep cattle from my youth] q.d. Shepherdy and husbandry I have been ever trained up to, and can better therefore skill of than of preaching, which is certainly Ars artium et scientia scientiarum, the art of arts, the science of sciences, as one said; whereunto Melancthon addeth that it is the misery of miseries. And of the same mind was his colleague, Luther, when he said, A householder’s pains is great, a magistrate’s greater, but a minister’s greatest of all; and afterward added, that if it were lawful to him to leave his calling, he could with more ease and pleasure dig for his living, or do any other hard labour, than undergo a pastoral charge. The mystery thereof is not an idle man’s occupation, an easy trade, as some fondly conceit. The sweat of the brow is nothing to that of the brain; besides dangers on every hand for the work’s sake, and armies of cares, that give neither rest nor respite, but are ready to overwhelm a man, επισυστασις, 2 Corinthians 11:28, agmen subinde irruens (Illyr.). This made Luther affirm that a minister labours more in a day many times than a husbandman doth in a month. Let no man, therefore, in taking up the ministry, dream of a delicacy; neither let slow bellies either invade it or hold it (as Popish asses and some impudent Alastores today do) to pick a living out of it. It was an honest complaint of a Popish writer, We, saith he, handle the Scripture, tantum ut nos pascat et vestiat, only that it may feed us and clothe us. And Cardinal Cajetan, not without cause, cries out, that those among them that should have been the salt of the earth had lost their savour; and were good for little else but looking after the rites and revenues of the Church (Com. in Matthew 5:1-48). Now for such as these that serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies, that, like body lice, live upon other men’s sweat, or, like rats and mice, do no more but devour victuals and run squeaking up and down, good is the counsel of the apostle, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth," Ephesians 4:28; let him earn it before he eat it, 2 Thessalonians 3:10. This is hard to persuade those abbey lubbers, that live at ease in cloisters, feeding on the fat and drinking of the sweet; and those idol shepherds, that feed themselves and not the flock. O Monachi vestri stomachi. Erasmus truly told the Elector of Saxony that Luther, by meddling with the Pope’s triple crown and with the monks’ fat paunches, had procured himself so great ill-will among them. One of them brake out in a sermon into these angry words: If I had Luther here I would tear out his throat with my teeth; and then make no doubt with the same bloody teeth to eat my maker at the Eucharist. How much better were it for such false prophets with "quietness to work and eat their own bread," 2 Thessalonians 3:14, than to drink the blood of other men with their lives (as David spake in another case, 1 Chronicles 11:19), yea, with their souls, which perish by their insufficiency and gastrimargy! Sed venter non habet aures. But the belly hath no ears. Ease slayeth the foolish. Non minus difficulter a deliciis abstrahimur, quam canis ab uncto corio, among other scandals and lets of the Jews’ conversion this is not the least, that they must quit their goods to the Christian. And the reason is, for that in baptism they renounce the devil and all his works, part whereof (say the Papists among whom they live) are the Jews’ goods; being gotten either of themselves or of their ancestors by usury. Now this is such cold comfort to men of their metal, that they have little mind to turn Christian; and as little doubtless have such as, with these in the text, have got their living by lying; and through covetousness with feigned words made merchandise or prize of men’s precious souls, to return to the hard labour of husbandry or any other lawful but painful employment; yet this was done both in Wycliffe’s days by many friars that fell to him, and embraced his opinions, and in the reformation by Luther, many monks and nuns betook themselves to honest trades, renouncing their Popish vows and orders; yea, Scultetus reporteth that at Augsburg, in Germany, by the powerful preaching of Dr John Speiser, A. D. 1523, some harlots forsook the public stews, and married to honest men, lived chastely, and were great painstakering persons.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/zechariah-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This verse is this reclaimed man’s recantation, or renunciation of his former course, and his solemn promise to take up his own calling, and become a plain honest man, and live upon his labour, to which he was trained up from his youth, and is sorry he ever left it.

This verse is this reclaimed man’s recantation, or renunciation of his former course, and his solemn promise to take up his own calling, and become a plain honest man, and live upon his labour, to which he was trained up from his youth, and is sorry he ever left it.


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

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-13.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Husbandman. Worldly occupations were incompatible with the office of prophets, 3 Kings xix 20., and Amos vii. 15., and Matthew iv. 20. The (Calmet) false (Haydock) prophets will become so odious, that people will excuse themselves from taking up the calling. --- Example. I am condemned like him to labour, Genesis iii. 17. Septuagint, "a man begot me." Hebrew, "taught, or bought me, (Calmet) or caused me to work." (De Dieu)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/zechariah-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man. Hebrew. adam. App-14.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/zechariah-13.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Taught . . . cattle.—Better, acquired, or bought me. He pretends to be a purchased slave, kept hard at work, and therefore as having no time for professing inspiration. His meaning is very different from that of Amos 7:14.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/zechariah-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
I am no
Amos 7:14; Acts 19:17-20

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/zechariah-13.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 6th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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