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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 13:7

"Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd - This is generally understood of Jesus Christ. The sword is that of Divine justice which seemed to have been long asleep, and should long ago have struck either Man, or his Substitute, the Messiah. Jesus is here called God's Shepherd, because he had appointed him to feed and govern, as well as to save, the whole lost world. This is a prosopopoeia, and the address to the sword is very poetic. There is a fine passage in Aeschylus to the same effect: -

Ξενος δε κληροις επινωμᾳ,��<-144 �Χαλυβος Σκυθων αποικας,�Κτεανων χρηματοδαιτας�Πικρος, ωμοφρων σιδαρος,�Χθονα ναιειν διαπηλας�Ὁποσαν αν και φθιμενοισι κατεχειν,�Των μεγαλων πεδιων αμοιροιςπ,

Aeschyl. Sept. cont. Hebrews 733.

"The rude barbarian, from the mines

Of Scythia, o'er the lots presides;

Ruthless to each his share assigns,

And the contested realm divides:

To each allots no wider a domain

Than, on the cold earth as they lie,

Their breathless bodies occupy,

Regardless of an ampler reign:

Such narrow compass does the sword -

A cruel umpire - their high claims afford."


The man that is my Fellow - עמיתי גבר ועל veal geber amithi, "upon the strong man," or "the hero that is with Me;" my neighbor. "The Word was God, and the Word was With God;" John 1:1. "I and my Father are One;" John 10:30.

Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered - This is quoted by our Lord, Matthew 26:31, in relation to his disciples, who should be scattered on his crucifixion: and they were so; for every one, giving up all for lost, went to his own house.

And I will turn mine hand upon the little ones - I will take care of the little flock, and preserve them from Jewish malice and Gentile persecution. And so this little flock was most wondrously preserved, and has been increasing from year to year from that time to the present day.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Awake, O sword - So Jeremiah apostrophises the sword, “O thou sword of the Lord, when wilt thou be quiet?” Jeremiah 47:6. The prophets express what “will be,” by a command that it should be; “Make the heart of this people heavy” Isaiah 6:10. But by this command he signifies that human malice, acting freely, could do no more than His “Hand and” His “counsel determined before to be done” Acts 4:28. The envy and hatred of Satan, the blind fury of the chief priests, the contempt of Herod, the guilty cowardice of Pilate, freely accomplished that Death, which God had before decreed for the salvation of the world. The meaning then is, (Ribera), “the sword shall be aroused against My Shepherd, that is, I will allow Him to be smitten by the Jews. But by ‹the sword‘ he designates death, persecution, wounding etc. as above, the ‹sword upon his right arm‘ Zechariah 11:17, and, where the passion of Christ is spoken of, ‹Deliver my soul from the sword‘ Psalm 22:20. So also, ‹All the sinners of the people shall die by the sword‘ Amos 9:10,” (Jerome), “which cannot be taken literally; for many sinners perish by shipwreck, poison, drowning, fire.” Amos then “so spake, because many died by war, yet not all by the sword, but others by pestilence and famine, all which he includes under ‹the sword‘ Amos 9:10. This smiting began, when the Lord was taken, and His sheep began to be scattered; but the prophecy which, before, was being gradually fulfilled, was fully fulfilled in His death, and the apostles were dispersed till the day of the Resurrection at eventide.”

Against the Man, My Fellow - that is, One united by community of nature. A little before, God had spoken of Himself as priced at “the thirty pieces of silver,” yet as breaking the covenant which He had made with all nations for His people; as “pierced through, yet as pouring the spirit of grace and supplication” on those who pierced Him, that they should mourn their deed, and as, thereon, ever cleansing them from sin. As Man, God was sold, was pierced.: “God, in flesh, not working with aught intervening as in the prophets, but having taken to Him a Manhood connatural with Himself and made one, and through His flesh akin to us, drawing up to Him all humanity. What was the manner of the Godhead in flesh? As fire in iron, not transitively but by communication. For the fire does not dart into the iron, but remains there and communicates to it of its own virtue, not impaired by the communication, yet filling wholly its recipient.”

The bold language of the Fathers only expressed the actuality of the Incarnation. Since the Manhood was taken into God, and in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and God and Man were one Christ. then was it all true language. His Body was “the Body of God”; His flesh “the flesh of the Word”; and it was lawful to speak of “the flesh of the Deity”, of “the Passion of the Word”, “the Passion of Christ, my God”, “the Passion of God”, “God dead and buried”, “God suffered”, “murderers of God”, “the Godhead dwelt in the flesh bodily, which is all one with saying that, being God, He had a proper body, and using this as an instrument, He became Man for our sakes, and, because of this, things proper to the flesh are said to be His, since He was in it, as hunger, thirst, suffering, fatigue and the like, of which the flesh is capable, while the works proper to the Word Himself as raising the dead and restoring the blind, He did through His own Body,” is but a continuance of the language of Zechariah, since He who was sold, was priced, was Almighty God. Jesus being God and Man, the sufferings of His Humanity were the sufferings of God, although, as God, He could not suffer.

Now, conversely, God speaks of the Shepherd who was slain, as “My Fellow,” united in Nature with Himself, although not the Manhood of Jesus which suffered, but the Godhead, united with It in one Person, was Consubstantial with Himself. The name might perhaps be most nearly represented by “connatural.”: “When then the title is employed of the relation of an individual to God, it is clear that that individual can be no mere man, Jut must be one, united with God by unity of Being. The Akin of the Lord is no, other than He who said in the Gospel “I and My Father are One” John 10:30, and who is designated as “the Only-Begotten Son, who is in the Bosom of the Father” John 1:18. The word, it seems, was especially chosen, as being used in the Pentateuch, only in the laws against injuring a fellow-man. The prophet thereby gives prominence to the seeming contradiction between the command of the Lord, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,” and those Of His own law, whereby no one is to injure his fellow.

He thus points out the greatness of that end, for the sake of which the Lord regards not that relation, whose image among men He commanded to be kept holy. He speaks after the manner of people. He calls attention to the greatness of that sacrifice, whereby He “spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all” Romans 8:32. The word ‹Man‘ forms a sort of contrast with “My Fellow.” He whom the sword is to reach must unite the Human Nature with the divine.” Jews too have seen that the words, “My Fellow,” imply an equality with God; only since they own not Him, who was God and Man, they must interpret it of a false claim on the part of man, overlooking that it is given Him by God.

And I will turn My hand o upon the little ones - Doing to them as He had done to the Shepherd. So our Lord forewarned them: “If they have persecuted Me they will also persecute you” John 15:20: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me, before it hated you” John 15:18: “Ye shall be hated of all men for My name‘s sake” Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:17: “they will deliver you up to the councils and scourge you in the synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My name‘s sake” (Matthew 10:17-18; add Luke 21:12): “they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all men for My name‘s sake” Matthew 24:9; and to the Scribes and Pharisees, “I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes, and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues and persecute them from city to city, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth” Matthew 23:34-35.

The little ones - As Jeremiah speaks of “the least of the flock” Jeremiah 49:20, and the Lord said, “fear not, little flock” Luke 12:32, little and weak in itself but mighty in Him and in His grace. Three centuries of persecution, alike in the Roman empire and beyond it in Persia, fulfilled the prophet‘s words and deepened the foundation of the Church and cemented its fabric.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Zechariah 13:7

Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd

The sword of Jehovah smiting His Shepherd

We have our Lord’s own authority for applying this passage to Himself.

I. The description here given us of Him. In looking at the terms in which our Lord is here described, we are struck at once with the natural manner in which they bring together His Divine and human nature. This mode of describing Him is of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament. It seems as though the Holy Spirit exulted beforehand in that union of the two natures, which was to be accomplished in His nature, and wished the ancient Church also to foresee and exult in it. In the text, He is described in the same twofold character. He is a man, and yet “the man that is My fellow,” saith the Lord of hosts. “My fellow” signifies “my equal,” “my companion.” It is expressive of our Lord’s Divine equality with the Father, and His eternal existence with Him. It intimates exactly what St. John afterwards plainly declared,--“The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But He is man as well as God. Not, however, originally, naturally man, as He was God. Here is an anticipation of a character He afterwards took on Him. And this assumption of our nature was necessary for the work of suffering He had to go through. In this human nature, He is set forth in the text under a third character. He is a shepherd. So called because the charge of His people devolves upon Him; because He performs towards them a shepherd’s part, watching over, providing for, and guiding them. He is called God’s shepherd, because the flock under His charge is God’s flock, a flock committed to Him by God, to be rendered back by Him to God again. Happy they who are fed by Him.

II. the command given by Jehovah. It is couched in figurative and highly poetic language. The Lord places Himself on the throne of a king or magistrate. They who bear these offices have often a sword near them as an emblem of their authority, and if need be, a ready instrument to execute any sentence they may pass on the guilty. Here the Lord describes Himself as suddenly addressing the sword near Him, and calling on it to smite, not the guilty but His own Son, and Him as shepherd.

1. We see in it that the sufferings of our Lord were divinely appointed. The persecuting Jews indeed were willing agents in all they did against Him. They did it voluntarily; yet they did “whatsoever God’s hand and God’s counsel had determined before to be done.”

2. Here, too, we see that the sufferings of our Lord were most severe. Man can inflict much misery, but his power is limited. When God calls off our attention from man as the author of our Lord’s sufferings, and directs it to Himself, we feel at once that our Lord must be a most severe sufferer. The language of the text conveys this idea forcibly. It is sword--not a scourge or a rack. It is “smite”; strike hard. Mark the word “awake.” It implies that, up to this hour, the sword of Jehovah had been sleeping. Now it is to awake, to rise up in its vigour and majesty. It is to strike in the greatness of its strength.

3. The text represents our Lord’s sufferings as surprising. Against whom? The very Being of all others, whom we should have expected Him to shield from every sword. The Being who is the nearest and dearest to Him, the man that is His fellow. To add to our surprise, the Lord seems to afflict Him, not reluctantly, but willingly; yea, more than willingly, almost eagerly. He is well-pleased in this thing for “His righteousness’ sake.”

III. The consequences which are to follow the execution of this coward.

1. The shepherd is to be smitten, and the sheep, frightened at the violence done to Him, are to be scattered.

2. The smiting of this shepherd is to be followed by a signal interposition of Jehovah in behalf of the scattered sheep. “I will turn My hand upon the little ones.” This term represents to us the feeble and helpless condition of our Lord’s followers at the time of His crucifixion. These timid disciples of our Lord were strangely kept together, in spite of their unbelief and fears, after His crucifixion, and sheltered from every danger. And we know what the early Church soon became. It was a wonder in the world, itself doing wonders.

Look at the practical purposes to which we may turn this text.

1. To strengthen our faith in Holy Scripture. I do not allude to the predictions we find in it, which were afterwards so exactly fulfilled. I refer rather to that beautiful harmony of thoughts and expression, which exists between this verse of the Old Testament, and another passage of the New. (Compare the passage John 10:1-42.)

2. The fearful evil of sin. There are moments when we cannot read this text without an inward shudder--it exhibits the great Jehovah to us in a character so awful, and in an attitude so dismaying. He is represented as an offended Judge, calling for, and eager for the sacrifice of His own dear Son. Evidently, the evil of sin is a reality; the Divine justice is a reality; the inflexible unbending character of God’s law is a reality; his determination to punish every breach of it, everywhere throughout His wide universe, is a reality. The cross of Jesus Christ proclaims all these things to be most solemn realities.

3. The perfect safety of all who are indeed resting for safety on our crucified Lord. You have nothing to fear from this awful God. In the greatness of Him whom He here commands to be smitten for you, you may see the sufficiency, the completeness, and more than that,--the grandeur and glory of the atonement He has made for sins. (C. Bradley.)

Jehovah’s sword

I. The commission given to Jehovah’s sword.

1. Whom was it to smite?

2. In whose hand was it to inflict the stroke?

II. The grounds and reasons of this commission.

1. To show His indignation against sin.

2. To reconcile justice with mercy in the salvation of sinners.

III. The effects and consequences of it.

1. The immediate effect was the scattering of our Lord’s disciples.

2. The ultimate effect was their restoration and recovery. (G. Brooks.)

The Passion sermon

It is the observation of SS. Austine and Gregorie, that the four beasts mentioned by St. John mystically represent the four main acts of Christ, or works of man’s redemption, His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension. I have to do with a prophecy somewhat dark before the light of the Gospel shone upon it. “Awake, O Sword,” etc.

I. The speaker, “the Lord of hosts.”

II. The speech. “O Sword.” As all the creatures are God’s soldiers, so when He employeth them against man they are called His swords. When the Lord is pleased to execute His wrath He never wanteth instruments or means. Of the blow here threatened, God Himself is the Author. God never awaketh His sword to smite, but for sin. In this shepherd there was no sin of His own. “Against My Shepherd.” Popish writers say that a shepherd should have three things, a scrip, a hook, and a whistle. This Shepherd is the good, the universal Shepherd. Daniel says,--The Messias shall be slain, but not for Himself, “God hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” The first and main cause of the Shepherd’s slaughter is, our sins. “The man.” Hebrews have four words for man--Adam, red earth; Enesh, a man of sorrow; Ish, a man of a noble spirit; Geber, a strong man. “My fellow,” for in Him the Godhead dwelleth bodily: and yet a man. God’s fellow to offer an infinite sacrifice for all mankind, and a man that He might be Himself the sacrifice killed by the sword that is now awake to smite Him. Consider this, and tremble, ye that forget God. The Shepherd is smitten; if you look to it in time, it may be for you; if not, a worse disaster remaineth for you than befell these sheep. (D. Featly, D. D.)

The character and sufferings of Christ

I. The character of Christ, as here represented.

1. God’s Shepherd (Psalms 23:1). Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20). Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). The term shepherd is relative, and refers to His followers, whom He calls His sheep (John 10:16). It expresses His tender care over them, which is always proportioned to their peculiar trials, temptations, etc. (Isaiah 40:11). He expresses also His love to them, infinitely surpassing the love of the sons of men. He died for the sheep (John 10:15).

2. God’s fellow--His equal. They are one in essence, intimately and essentially one. They are one in power, When on earth the Son did the works His Father did. One in honour and glory. His sacrifice was voluntary. As Jehovah’s equal, He had an absolute right and propriety in Himself, and could lay down His life, and take it up again, when He pleased (John 10:17-18).

II. The awful mandate here given against God’s Shepherd and God’s Fellow. “Awake, O Sword, smite the Shepherd!” The command proceeds from the Eternal Father, whose justice demanded the death of our Lord (Isaiah 53:10). Divine justice had no demands on Christ, simply considered as the Son of God; only when viewed as our voluntary substitute.

1. The principal scenes of sorrow were in the Garden of Gethsemane.

2. Also in the hall of judgment.

3. Calvary was the place that witnessed the dreadful deed.

III. The effect to be produced. “The sheep shall be scattered.”

1. By the sheep are meant the disciples of our Lord.

2. Jesus foretold that His disciples would forsake Him. It was fully accomplished (Matthew 26:56).

IV. Behold the tender compassion of a gracious God. He promises to turn His hand upon the little ones. Little ones who at that time had but little knowledge of human nature, little faith, and little courage. See God’s gracious dealings with the apostles and disciples of Christ. Thus He will deal also with all the faithful followers of Christ. Improvement.

1. Behold in this awful transaction the displeasure of God against sin.

2. As Divine justice is fully satisfied by the tremendous sufferings of Jesus Christ, here we behold sufficient ground for a sinner’s hope of pardon. Jesus hath died; the sinner may be forgiven (Romans 3:25). (T. Hannam.)

The character of Christ as the Shepherd of Israel

That this text contains clear and remarkable revelation of the Saviour no one of spiritual discernment can hesitate to believe. It is one of the clearest of those prophetic testimonies which declared to the Church beforehand “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”

I. The description here given of the Saviour.

1. My Shepherd. What precise view of the Saviour’s place and character is this expression intended to convey? The expression significantly points to His mediatorial character and work. It reminds us that a people have been committed to His hands--that He has graciously undertaken on their behalf and that, in the whole matter of their salvation, He is their head, representative, surety. Whatever is affirmed in the text concerning Him is affirmed in this view of His character and work. The ideas suggested by this title as to the benefits derived by His people from the exercise of His mediatorial offices are full of interest and comfort to the children of God. Why is He designated “My Shepherd”? Because He was appointed and commissioned by the Father, in the counsels of eternity, to execute this office.

2. The man. Believers, in their zealous regard for the glory and honour of the Divine Redeemer, sometimes lose the comfort to be derived from a believing contemplation of the man “Christ Jesus.” The righteousness wrought out was wrought out in the nature of man.

3. The fellow of Jehovah. The equal of Jehovah. “God was manifest in the flesh.” This is the crowning of truth in the doctrine of salvation.

II. The view of God’s dealings. Our thoughts are directed to the immediate infliction of the Father’s wrath. He pierced Him even to the soul, till the sword of infinite justice was satisfied with blood. Learn--

1. Every word in the text is comforting and instructive to the sheep of Christ.

2. There is precious light in this subject for awakened and trembling sinners.

3. There is here a lesson of solemn warning to careless sinners. (Robert Elder, A. M.)

Messiah smitten

We know what was the transaction in which this prophecy was fulfilled; we know the awful epoch which that transaction bears. We hasten to no imaginary scene, but to a true historic one--to an actual time in the calendar of the world’s ages.

I. The character of the victim. We perceive in His character--

1. Manhood, “found in fashion as a man.” Man, as never man otherwise could be. Man by a most astonishing process of condescension and self-diminution.

2. Mediation is included. As the shepherd guards his flock, and perils his own life for its rescue and deliverance, so we are considered as entrusted to the hands of Christ, that He may ward off every danger from us to which we are exposed. How far reaching is His sympathy! How touching is His care.

3. Co-equality is supposed. If He be the associate and compeer of the Lord of hosts, then it may suggest the emulation of His honours, the expression of His glories, the assimilation of His deeds, and the concentration of His affections.

II. The peculiarity of the action. The “sword” is the emblem of state, of authority, of power, of justice, or retributive execution.

1. This person is the subject of Divine complacency.

2. This person was the object of the Divine infliction.

The sword is not the weapon of correction, of momentary chastening; it is the instrument of vengeance and of wrath. The same personage is the subject of Divine complacency and of Divine infliction. How is it explained? Christ is without sin. He is relatively liable for certain penalties, to which He subjects Himself voluntarily and solely. Substitution is the simplifying principle of all. We cannot place the doctrine of atonement on any other than the vicarious principle. See then--

The Shepherd of the flock smitten

Observe that it is God the Eternal Father who gives the decree for the smiting of the Shepherd. “Saith the Lord of hosts.” We have no sympathy with the unguarded language of those who speak of God as an avenging deity, whose wrath can be appeased and propitiated only by offerings of blood. Love is a thing that cannot be bribed. God’s love needed not thus to be purchased. That love was the primal cause of all blessing to His creatures. The manifestation, however, of love on the part of a great moral Governor must be compatible with the exercise of His moral perfections. God’s justice, holiness, righteousness must be upheld inviolate. While mercy and truth go before His face, justice and judgment must continue the habitation of His throne. As the Omnipotent, God could do anything. So far as power is concerned, He could easily have dispensed with any medium of atonement. But what God, as the Omnipotent, could do, God, as the holy, just, righteous, true, could not do. He could not promulgate laws and leave the transgressor to mock them with impunity. Was there, then, in the case of guilty man, any possible method by which the honour of God’s name and character and throne could be preserved intact, and yet the transgressor be saved? Reason is silent here. The principle of substitution--the innocent suffering for the guilty--is one undreamt of in earthly philosophy. The Shepherd has been smitten. The Divine honour has been upholden. Mercy and truth have been betrothed before the altar of Calvary; God hath joined them together for the salvation of the human race, and that marriage covenant never can be disannulled. Justice is now equally interested with love in the rescue of the fallen. (J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

Christ smitten by the Father

I. The person to be smitten.

1. He is Jehovah’s fellow. He is in equality with God.

2. He is man. His humanity--His manhood--are as distinctly affirmed as His Deity and His equality with God.

3. The title given to Him as the Son of man--the Shepherd.

II. The sword which is to wake against Him.

1. What is this sword? It is the sword of Divine justice.

2. What are we to understand by its awakenings? Every manifestation of God in punishing sin is as nothing compared with the manifestation in Christ’s sufferings.

3. Who demands this sword, who calls for its awakening? “The Lord of hosts.” The crucifixion as much as the exaltation of Christ was “the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

4. What was the sword to awaken to? It was to smite unto death.

III. The reasons why it was said, “awake, o sword, against the victim.” It was to make manifest Divine justice, that there should be no connivance with the enormity of sin.

IV. The effects which followed. “The sheep were scattered.” But they were brought back again from their dispersion. (J. Stratten.)

The fellow of Jehovah

I. The terms in which our Lord is described.

1. The man that is the fellow of Jehovah.

2. Jehovah’s Shepherd.

II. The command given in reference to Him.

1. It relates to sufferings divinely appointed.

2. It relates to sufferings most severe.

3. It relates to sufferings most surprising.

III. The consequences which are to follow the execution of this command.

1. The dispersion of the sheep.

2. A signal interposition in their behalf. (G. Brooks.)

The solitariness of Christ’s death

Four things to consider.

1. The commission given to the sword by the Lord of hosts.

2. The person against whom it is commissioned.

3. The dismal effect of that stroke; and

4. The gracious mitigation of it. Doctrine--That Christ’s dearest friends forsook and left Him alone in the time of His greatest distress and danger.

3. The grounds and reasons of this scattering. God’s suspending wonted influences and aids of grace from them. They would not have done so had there been influences of power, zeal, and love from heaven upon them. But how, then, should Christ have “trodden the wine press alone”? As God permitted it, and withheld usual aid from them, so the efficacy of that temptation was great, yea, much greater than ordinary. As they were weaker than they used to be, so the temptation was stronger than any they had yet met withal. It is called, “Their hour and the power of darkness.” That which concurred to their shameful relapse, as a special cause of it, was the remaining corruptions that were in their hearts yet unmortified.

4. The issue and event of this sad apostasy. It ended far better than it began. They were scattered for a time, but the Lord turned His hand upon them to gather them. Peter repents of his perfidious denial, and never denied Him more. All the rest like wise returned to Christ, and never forsook Him any more. And though they forsook Christ, Christ never forsook them.


1. Self-confidence is a sin too incident to the best of men. Little reason have the best of saints to depend upon their inherent grace, let their stock be as large as it will. Shall we be self-confident after such instances of human frailty?

2. A resolved adherence to God and duty, though left alone, without company, or encouragement, is Christ-like, and truly excellent.

3. Though believers are not privileged from backslidings, yet they are secured from final apostasy and ruin.

4. How sad a thing it is for the best of men to be left to their own carnal fears in the day of temptation.

5. How much a man may differ from himself, according as the Lord is with him or withdrawn from him.

6. The best of men know not their own strength till they come to the trial.

7. The holiest of men have no reason either to repine or despond, though God should at once strip them of all their outward and inward comforts together. (John Flavel.)

The flock scattered

I. The person here represented is smitten by the sword of divine justice. This is none other than the Messiah, the Christ. To Him alone can the language here used to describe the object of the smiting apply. No other being but He is at once man and the fellow of Jehovah, the Lord of hosts; and He alone is the Shepherd whom God promised to set over His people Israel to feed them as a flock.

II. The stroke inflicted on Him. This was the deadly stroke of Divine justice. The sword had long slept in its scabbard, but when the fitting time arrived God summoned the sword to awake and do execution on the appointed victim. There is but one event to which the command here given can be understood as pointing--the slaying of Him who, as God’s Shepherd, laid down His life for the sheep. Wherefore was He thus smitten? Because, though Himself sinless, He bore the sins of others. The flock had gone astray, and incurred the penalty of apostasy, and He, the Shepherd, had come to give His life for theirs.

III. The consequence to the flock of this smiting of the Shepherd. It was twofold. The sheep were to be scattered, but God was to turn back His hand over the humble and meek ones of His flock. The former of these applied to the dispersion of His disciples as consequent on His crucifixion; the other was realised when the Lord, having been raised from the dead, showed Himself to individuals and to groups of them. But though preserved and rescued, Christ’s little flock would not escape all trouble and suffering. God would bring them through the fire, and refine and purify them in the furnace of affliction. (W. L. Alexander, D. D.)

God’s government of the world

I. As bringing penal ruin upon many.

1. The destruction of their leader. In the Bible language political religious leaders are represented as shepherds. It was applied to Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). The person defined is represented as “the man that is my fellow.” Dr. Keil’s rendering is, “the man who is my neighbour”; and Dr. Henderson’s, “the man who is united to me.” Who is this man? On this question there are different opinions. “Calion thought it was Zechariah himself, as representative of all the prophets, and that the prophecy referred only indirectly to Christ. Grotius, Eichhorn, Bauer, and Jahne apply it to Judas Maccabeus, Ewald to Pehak, Hitzig to the pretended prophets spoken of in the preceding verses.” The expression “my fellow” does not necessarily mean one who is equal in nature and character, but rather one who has the fellowship of interests and aims. Evangelical writers, however, apply the language to Christ without much critical examination and without hesitation. They do this mainly on the ground that Christ Himself quotes the passage on the night in which He was betrayed, as an illustration of what was immediately awaiting Him (Matthew 26:31). He does not say that the prophecy referred to Him, but merely that the passage was about being illustrated in His history. The shepherd was to be smitten, and the sheep scattered. This, indeed, is a common fact in the history of the world; when the leader is gone the fold is scattered. Our point is that God often brings sufferings on a people by striking down their leader. There are few greater calamities that can befall a people than when nations lose their shepherds and leaders, or when churches lose their pastors. Even when families lose their heads the loss is incalculable. Here is--

2. The dispersion of the flock. This comes to most communities when the true leader is taken away. The removal of a leader in a family, a parent, often leads to a scattering of the children. The scattering is a great evil. Unity is strength and harmony; division is weakness and disorder. When communities are broken up and dispersed the various members often place themselves in antagonism with each other, and rivalries, jealousies, and envyings run riot.

3. The ruin of multitudes. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.” Probably this refers primarily to the destruction of two-thirds of the inhabitants of Judea by the Roman arms, and the famine or the pestilence and other destructive influences which are the usual concomitants of all wars. Thus the afflictions of the great majority of the human race here represented as the two-thirds of a community come upon them as the retribution of justice--the Divine sword here invoked. They are not disciplinary, but penal. “They are cut off and die.” Here we have God’s government of the world.

II. Bringing remedial discipline to a few. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined,” etc. The very calamities which were penal, and utterly ruinous to two-thirds of that population, were morally disciplinary and improving to the remaining third. In the one case they were the strokes of the “sword” of justice. In the other the calamities were but fire in the “pot of the refiner.” These by the purifying, influence of trials--

1. Pray and are heard. Shall call on My name, and I will hear them.

2. Are accepted of God as His people.

They acknowledge their relationship. “I will say it is My people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God.” Conclusion. This doctrine stands out in sublime prominence--that afflictions which are penal and destructive to the many are remedial and merciful to the few. (Homilist.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Zechariah 13:7". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith Jehovah of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones."

Here we are on solid ground. Christ said to the apostles on the occasion of his Passion: "All ye shall be offended in me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad" (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27). It is the proximity of this certain prophecy of Christ to Zechariah 13:6, above, which lends some credibility to the understanding of a prophecy of our Lord there; also, there is the oft-repeated indication that this entire section is Messianic.

"Awake, O sword ..." Pre-eminently, the sword was a symbol of the Roman Empire, indicating that Christ would be put to death by that power. This also shows that it was by God's design, at his instigation, and with his full consent that the dark scenes of Calvary occurred. Peter spoke of it thus:

"Him (Christ), being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay" (Acts 2:23).

The fact that God indeed put Christ to death for all men, that they might be saved is clear throughout the Bible. It is inherent in John 3:16, in the declaration that God "set him forth" to be the propitiation (Romans 3:25), that the Almighty "Laid upon him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6), etc., etc. It is also plain in this verse, where the commandment of God is, "Smite the Shepherd." Such a profound truth, however, did not and could not absolve wicked participants in the crucifixion of their rightful blame.

"Against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow ..." The word here rendered "man that is my fellow" "implies one united to another by the possession of common nature, rights, and privileges. God could speak only of One ... that is, of him who could say, `I and the Father are one.'"[16]

"My Shepherd ..." is a phrase added to forbid any confusion of this Person with the evil shepherd of Zechariah 11:16. "These additional words are given to distinguish `my shepherd' from `that shepherd.'"[17] Despite such a precaution, however, the critics have proceeded to move these verses under the passage about the false shepherd in Zechariah 11:16f, in their violent Scissors and Paste job on this prophecy, with the evident purpose of identifying Christ as a "false shepherd." Gailey, for example, wrote:

"This verse continues the theme of Zechariah 11:17! A sword is called to strike the shepherd. Is the victim the worthless shepherd of Zechariah 11:17? ... appropriately, Jesus applied the reference to himself![18]

Rarely does even the most violent criticism of the word of God reach the level of that seen in Gailey's statement above.

"My shepherd ..." Of course, "The shepherd of Jehovah whom the sword is to strike is no other than the Messiah, who is also identified with Jehovah in Zechariah 12:10."[19] "There is no stronger statement in the Old Testament regarding the unimpeachable deity of Israel's Messiah, the Son of God."[20]

"And I will turn my hand upon the little ones ..." "This indicated his gathering the little ones together and His protecting the weak."[21] This gathering of the "scattered" first took place when Christ gathered and regrouped the Twelve before assigning to them the Great Commission.

"And the sheep shall be scattered ..." The first application of this, as indicated by Jesus' quotation, regarded his immediate disciples, the apostles; but there was also a greater dimension of the same truth.

Christ was the Shepherd, the Good Shepherd of Israel; and the loss of Christ as their Shepherd condemned all the flock of Israel (secular) to the prolonged, worldwide scattering which took place soon after his crucifixion, and which is still visible in the separated families of the old Israel all over the world; nor has the state of Israel (1948) made much difference in this; there are still more Jews in New York than in Jerusalem.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,.... Not Judas Maccabeus, slain in battle by BacchisF23Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 12. c. 11. sect. 2. , as Grotius fancies; but Christ, Jehovah's Shepherd; for these are the words of Jehovah the Father, concerning his Son, whom he calls "my Shepherd"; because he has a property in him, as well as in the flock; and he was chosen, called, set up, and sent as such by him; on whom he laid the straying of all the sheep; and who as such died and rose again, and is accountable to his divine Father for the flock committed to him: by "the sword" awoke against him are meant either the sorrows and afflictions of Christ, which, like a sword, pierced through his soul; or the violent death he was put to, being stricken and cut off for the transgressions of his people; or the Jews, who were the instruments of it; so wicked men are called, Psalm 17:13 or rather the glittering sword of justice, which was drawn against him, and sheathed in him; which is called upon to "awake", it seeming as though it was asleep; it having been a long time since the first sin of Adam was committed, in which all his posterity was concerned, and for which satisfaction to divine justice must be made; and longer still since Christ became a surety, and engaged to do it; moreover, it was a great while since it was promised that he should come, and be smitten and wounded for sin; and, after he was come into the world, it was some time before the orders were given to this sword to awake against him:

even against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; the human nature of Christ is signified by "the man"; not that he was really man before his incarnation, only in the purpose and covenant of God; and he often appearing in a human form; and the Scripture speaking of things future as present; though here it regards him in the days of his flesh, and as suffering: his divine nature is expressed by being "the fellow" of the Lord of hosts; not only being near to him in place and affection, but his equal, being truly a divine Person; of the same nature, glory, and majesty, with himF24עמית "socius, proximus; speciatim tribuitur Messiae, qui patri caelesti est conjunctissimus et intimus, cum sit ejusdem numero essentiae, gloriae, ac majestatis cum eo". Stockius, p. 794. , though distinct from him; and so fit to be the Shepherd of the flock:

smite the Shepherd; the order is given to the sword of justice, by the Lord of hosts, to smite the Messiah, the Shepherd, even unto death: this was according to his purpose; was his will of command; agreeable to his mind; what he took a kind of pleasure in, and in which he had a hand himself; for it is rendered "I will smite", Matthew 26:31,

and the sheep shall be scattered; particularly the apostles, who, upon the seizure of Christ, were scattered from him, and one another, whereby this prophecy was fulfilled, Matthew 26:31,

and I will turn my hand upon the little ones; the same with the sheep, the disciples of ChristF25So Stockius, p. 912. ; yea, all that Christ died for, and to whom God is gracious for his sake; even all the little ones that believe in him; who are few in number, little in their own sight, and contemptible in the eyes of the world; pusillanimous, fearful, and of little faith, as the apostles of Christ were at the time he died: on these the Lord turned his hand; not his chastising hand, though that is sometimes on the saints; much less his hand of justice, which was laid on Christ, and it would have been unjust to have laid it on sinner and surety both; but his hand of grace and mercy, power and protection; which was upon the apostles in their ministrations, succeeding them to the conversion of sinners, and preserving them from their enemies; and all the elect are saved in consequence of the death of Christ, and redemption by him. Aben Ezra says this prophecy refers to the great wars which shall be in all the earth in the times of Messiah ben Joseph; but they regard the times of Christ the son of David, who is already come. The Targum is,

"be revealed, O sword, against the king, and against the ruler his companion, who is like unto him;'

and Jarchi interprets it of the king of Moab; and Aben Ezra of every king of the nations that shall in the above times reign over the earth, who thinks himself to be as God; which sense Kimchi approves of, and observes, that the "little ones" are governors and princes, who are less than kings: and another Jewish writerF26R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 37. p. 310. 311. says the sense is, awake, O sword, against the king of Ishmael, who is called the king of the Turks (the grand seignior), that rules over Asia and Africa; which are more than three fourths of the world, and the greater part of the Jewish nation are in captivity under his hand; him God calls his Shepherd, because he hath given into his hand to feed his flock in their captivity, and this flock is the nation of Israel; and he is called the man his fellow, because he thinks himself, through the pride and haughtiness of his heart, to be as God; and upon the ruin of this prince, he supposes, will be the deliverance of the Jews, who, being scattered into several parts, will, in separate bodies, return to their own land: and by the "little ones" he thinks are meant the kings of the nations of Edom, or of the Roman nations, which are the lesser pastors of the sheep. Manasseh ben IsraelF1De Resurrect. Mort. l. 3. c. 5. sect. 5. p. 290. makes mention of the same exposition of the passage, but is of opinion that the words are rather to be understood of the pope of Rome, who calls himself a pastor, and next to God, and his vicar on earth; and against him and those like to him, inferior in power, God will make war. But much more agreeable, and very remarkable, are the words of R. Samuel MarochianusF2Apud Burkium in loc. e Mullero. , who, writing of the coming of the Messiah, says,

"I fear, O my Lord, that that which Zechariah the prophet said, "I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered", was fulfilled when we smote the Shepherd of those little ones and holy apostles.'

Moreover, it may be observed, that the word for "little ones" sometimes signifies great ones, as Mr. PocockF3Not. Miscell. in Port. Mosis, c. 2. p. 18. has observed, and particularly in this text; which, according to the sense some give of it, mentioned by R. Tanchum, is, "I will turn mine hand upon the illustrious and the princes", and not "upon the little ones", as commonly understood; and which he takes to be the best of the expositions adduced: and with this agree the several oriental versions; some copies of the Septuagint read, "upon the shepherds"; and so the Arabic version; and the Syriac version renders it, "the superiors"; and so may very well be applied to the apostles of Christ, who were in the highest office in the church, and shepherds of the flock; on whom, after the death of Christ, God turned his hand of power, which was upon them, and was with them in their ministrations, making them successful wherever they went; and also his hand of providence was upon them, protecting and preserving them, until they had done the work they were sent about. After this prophecy concerning the Messiah, occasionally inserted here, the prophet returns to his prediction of the state of the church, and what shall befall it in the latter day.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Awake, O sword, against my i shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand upon the little ones.

(i) The Prophet warns the Jews, that before this great comfort under Christ would come, there would be a horrible dissipation among the people: for their governors and pastors would be destroyed, and the people would be as scattered sheep. And the evangelist applies this to Christ, because he was the head of all pastors; (Matthew 26:31).

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Expounded by Christ as referring to Himself (Matthew 26:31, Matthew 26:32). Thus it is a resumption of the prophecy of His betrayal (Zechariah 11:4, Zechariah 11:10, Zechariah 11:13, Zechariah 11:14), and the subsequent punishment of the Jews. It explains the mystery why He, who came to be a blessing, was cut off while bestowing the blessing. God regards sin in such a fearful light that He spared not His own co-equal Son in the one Godhead, when that Son bore the sinner‘s guilt.

Awake — Compare a similar address to the sword of justice personified (Jeremiah 46:6, Jeremiah 46:7). For “smite” (imperative), Matthew 26:31 has “I will smite.” The act of the sword, it is thus implied, is God‘s act. So the prophecy in Isaiah 6:9, “Hear ye,” is imperative; the fulfillment as declared by Jesus is future (Matthew 13:14), “ye shall hear.”

sword — the symbol of judicial power, the highest exercise of which is to take away the life of the condemned (Psalm 17:13; Romans 13:4). Not merely a show, or expression, of justice (as Socinians think) is distinctly implied here, but an actual execution of it on Messiah the shepherd, the substitute for the sheep, by God as judge. Yet God in this shows His love as gloriously as His justice. For God calls Messiah “My shepherd,” that is, provided (Revelation 13:8) for sinners by My love to them, and ever the object of My love, though judicially smitten (Isaiah 53:4) for their sins (Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 59:16).

man that is my fellow — literally, “the man of my union.” The Hebrew for “man” is “a mighty man,” one peculiarly man in his noblest ideal. “My fellow,” that is, “my associate.” “My equal” ([De Wette]; a remarkable admission from a Rationalist). “My nearest kinsman” [Hengstenberg], (John 10:30; John 14:10, John 14:11; Philemon 2:6).

sheep shall be scattered — The scattering of Christ‘s disciples on His apprehension was the partial fulfillment (Matthew 26:31), a pledge of the dispersion of the Jewish nation (once the Lord‘s sheep, Psalm 100:3) consequent on their crucifixion of Him. The Jews, though “scattered,” are still the Lord‘s “sheep,” awaiting their being “gathered” by Him (Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 40:11).

I will turn … hand upon … little ones — that is, I will interpose in favor of (compare the phrase in a good sense, Isaiah 1:25) “the little ones,” namely, the humble followers of Christ from the Jewish Church, despised by the world: “the poor of the flock” (Zechariah 11:7, Zechariah 11:11); comforted after His crucifixion at the resurrection (John 20:17-20); saved again by a special interposition from the destruction of Jerusalem, having retired to Pella when Cestius Gallus so unaccountably withdrew from Jerusalem. Ever since there has been a Jewish “remnant” of “the little ones … according to the election of grace.” The hand of Jehovah was laid in wrath on the Shepherd that His hand might be turned in grace upon the little ones.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

O sword — Afflictions, persecutions, and the cross.

My shepherd — Who is my faithful shepherd, and will lay down his life for my sheep.

My fellow — This speaks Christ; man with us, and God with his father, God-man in one person.

The shepherd — This great and good shepherd.

Turn mine hand — God will turn his hand in favour, and for protection will keep the new, and weak disciples.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

It was pleasant and delightful to hear what the Prophet said at the beginning of the chapter, for he promised that a fountain would be opened, by which the Jews might cleanse away all their filth, and that God, having been reconciled, would be bountiful to them. As then he had promised so blessed and happy a state, what he had said before might have been so taken, even by the true and faithful servants of God, as though the condition of the Church were to be after that time free from every trouble and inconvenience; hence Zechariah anticipates such a conclusion, and shows that the happy state which he had promised was not to be so looked for, as it though the faithful were to be free from every affliction, for God would in the meantime severely try his Church. Though then God had promised to be bountiful to his Church, he yet shows that many troubles would be mixed up with its prosperity in order that the faithful might prepare themselves to endure all things.

This discourse may indeed appear abrupt, but its different parts harmonise well together, for God so regulates his benefits which he bestows on his Church in this world, as ever to try it in various ways. What is here said was especially necessary, since very grievous afflictions were nigh at hand: for, as it is evident from history, that nation was on the borders of despair when the coming of Christ approached. This then is the reason why the Prophet seems at the first view to join together things so contrary. For what he has hitherto promised tended to prepare the faithful to bear all things patiently, inasmuch as deliverance was nigh. But in the meantime it was needful that they should be expressly encouraged to persevere, lest they should succumb under the extreme evils which were not far distant.

The sum of the whole is, that before the Lord would cleanse his Church and bring it back to perfect order, very grievous calamities were to intervene, for a dreadful disorder there must be when God smites the very shepherds; and the apostrophe, when God addresses the sword, a thing void of reason, is very emphatical. It is much more striking than if he had said, “A sword shall be raised against my shepherds and against my ministers, so that the flock shall be dispersed.” But the metaphor, as I said, is much more expressive, when God directs his words to the sword itself; Awake, watch, O sword, — how? against my shepherd

Most of our interpreters confine this passage to the person of Christ, because in Matthew 26:31, this sentence is quoted,

“Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:”

but this is no solid reason; for what is said of a single shepherd ought probably to be extended to the whole order. When God says in Deuteronomy 18:15,

“A prophet will I raise up from the midst of you,”

though mention is indeed made of one Prophet only, yet God includes all the Prophets; as though he had said, “I will never deprive you of the doctrine of salvation, but in every age will I show that I care for you, for my Prophets shall be ever present, by whose mouth I shall make it known that I am near you.” This passage is quoted as referring to Christ, and very suitably, because all the Prophets spoke by his Spirit, and at length he himself appeared, and by his mouth the heavenly Father spoke familiarly with us, and fully explained his whole mind, as it is said in the first chapter to the Hebrews

“In various ways and often did God speak formerly to the fathers by the Prophets, but now in these last times by his only-begotten Son.”

As then Christ possesses a supremacy among the Prophets, and hence rightly applied to him are the words of Moses; so also as he is the head and prince of shepherds, this pre-eminence justly belongs to him. But what is said by the Prophet is however to be viewed as a general truth. In short, God threatens the people, and declares that there would be a dreadful disorder; for they would be deprived of their shepherds, so that there would be no government among them, or one in great confusion.

The word עמית, omit, is rendered by some, kindred, (contribulis — one of the same tribe,) by others, kinsman, (consanguineus — one of the same blood,) and by others, one connected, (co-haerens ,) that is, with God; and they have considered that this passage cannot be understood of any but of Christ alone: but they have taken up, as I have said, a false principle. The Greek version has citizen ( τὸν πολίτην,) and some render it, as Theodotion, kindred (sumfulon — one of the same tribe.) Jerome prefers the rendering, one connected or united with me (cohaerentem mihi .) (175) The word, according to the Hebrews, means an associate, a neighbor, or a friend, or one in any way connected with us. God, I have no doubt, distinguished pastors with this title, because he gave a representation at himself by then to the people; and the more eminent any one is, the nearer, we know, he is to God: and hence kings and judges, and such as exercise authority, are called his sons. So also pastors are called his associates, for they spend their labor in building up the Church. He is the chief Pastor, but he employs his ministers to carry on his work. This is the reason why they are called the associates of God, that is, on account of the connection between them, for they are co-workers with God, as Paul also teaches us. In short, the Prophet calls pastors the associates of God in the same sense in which Paul calls them fellow-workers. ( συνεργους , 1 Corinthians 3:9.)

Having said that the sword was permitted, nay, commanded, to rise against the shepherd, he immediately adds, that the sheep were dispersed. We then see that in these words is set forth a calamity that was to be feared, and which the people were not able to escape, in order that the faithful might not be too much disheartened, as though God would disappoint them, but that they might stand firm amidst grievous troubles and violent commotions. Since then this disorder was nigh, Zechariah bids the faithful to continue firm and patiently, and quietly hope, until God showed himself again propitious to them, and those evidences of his favor appeared of which he had before spoken. We now see what the design of the Prophet was. But we must especially notice, that it is a sure presage of the people’s ruin and destruction when pastors are taken from them; for when God intends to keep us safe, he employs this instrumentality, that is, he raises up faithful teachers, who rule in his name; and he rules them by his Spirit, and fits them for their rank and station: but when he strikes them, he not only forsakes the people, but also shows that he is the avenger of wickedness, so that the people themselves are destroyed. This is the import of the Prophet’s words.

But this, as I have already observed, was fulfilled in Christ; for he accommodated the passage to himself when his disciples fled from him. Though they were but a small flock, being very few in number, yet they were scattered and put to flight. In that case then, as in a mirror, appeared how truly it had been said by Zechariah, that the scattering is nigh when a pastor is smitten.

By the word sword, he means affliction; for though Christ was not slain by a sword, yet crucifixion and violent death are fitly designated by the word sword.

It follows at the end of the verse, And I will turn my hand to the little ones. Some consider that the little ones would be exposed to many evils, because the Lord would ever hold his rod in his hand to chastise them. But the Prophet, I have no doubt, meant what is far different, — that God would show mercy to them, when the body of the people had been as it were torn into many parts. For all the godly might have been wholly dejected when their shepherds were taken away, and when the people were become like a straying flock. God then comes to their aid, and testifies that his hand would be extended over the miserable and the poor ones, who had been almost overwhelmed by a mass of evils.

This passage is also very serviceable to us in the present state of the Church: for we see how God has lately cut off many pastors, so that what is called the Church is become like a mutilated body. We also see that God often deprives of good and faithful pastors those who have abused his truth, or with impious contempt rejected it. We might then in this case be terrified and cast off all hope of salvation, were we not to remember what Zechariah teaches us here, even that though the Church were contemptible in the world, and though the faithful were few in number, and all of them exposed to calamities, yet God’s hand will be over them, so as to gather for himself again a Church from the torn members. This is the import of the whole. It follows —

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

That what is here said refers to the person of Christ, we can need no other authority than Christ himself, See Matthew 26:31. And when we enter into the several things contained in it, nothing can be more decisive in proof, that none but God himself could have dictated this scripture, and none but God himself could have brought about the accomplishment of it. Here is a solemn call for a sword to awake; as if it had been long sleeping and inactive. And if we consider the flaming sword, placed after the fall at the east of the garden of Eden, as here called upon, we must allow it had been long in that state. For as none could enter there but Christ, and he only by blood, so now in its execution, it might well be called an awakening. I humbly conceive, that this might be the sword spoken of. For though I am inclined to believe, that the cherubim and flaming sword, placed at the entrance of Eden, were placed there to point to Christ, the Tree of Life, and not to keep sinners from Christ; yet I am equally persuaded, that Christ only could enter as our forerunner. It was his province, and his only, to open this new and living way by his blood, Genesis 3:24; Hebrews 10:19-20. The next striking passage in this verse, is the glorious person against whom this sword was called upon to awake; namely, my Shepherd: not the sheep, but the Shepherd; and not simply any one Shepherd, but one particular Shepherd, even Jehovah's Shepherd. Sweet thought by the way, and I beg the Reader not to overlook it; Jehovah's Shepherd is also the believer's Shepherd! David called Christ so; the Lord, said he, is my Shepherd. And, Reader! is he not your's, and mine also? Then learn to say as David did. See Ps 23, every word of it. But to go on. This Shepherd is also said to be the Man; not a Man, simply as such, or any Man, but one identical Man; the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. Reader! pause over the wonderful expressions, and mark them well. This Shepherd is a true, real, and proper Man, in his human nature. And he is no less in his divine nature, fellow to the Lord of Hosts. Can anything be more plain? Can anything be more blessed. Oh! my soul, I would say, (as Deborah did in her holy triumphs, and as I feel my whole soul fully grounded in the eternal truth;) O, my soul, thou hast trodden down strength; for so doth every faithful believer, whom God the Spirit hath given to believe, amidst the infidelity of the awful day in which we live, Judges 5:21. Here then is Jehovah the Father calling upon the sword to awake against Christ. For if Christ will be a surety, a sacrifice, then must this glorious Messiah be cut off; though not for himself. Daniel 9:26. And this being done, Jehovah promiseth, that though when the Shepherd is smitten, the sheep shall be scattered, yet he wilt turn his hand upon the little ones; that is, Jehovah undertakes that all the blessed consequences of his redemption shall follow to his Church and people. God the Father engageth so to do. Sweet thought to the poor, weak, and feeble little ones of Christ's fold. See those sweet promises to that amount, Ezekiel 34:11-16; John 10:15; Joh_10:28-29.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https: 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Ver. 7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd] A powerful expression, containing a commission given out to the sword by way of apostrophe.

Awake] Or, up, as the Septuagint; up and about, thou that hast long lain locked up in the scabbard. Thus the sword is of God’s sending; it is "bathed in heaven," Isaiah 34:5, Ezekiel 14:17, Jeremiah 47:6-7. It is he that awakes it and sets it on work; he commands it, Amos 9:4, and ordereth it, Jeremiah 50:25. Let this patient us under it, as it did Job, Job 1:15; Job 1:17; Job 1:21. Among philosophies the most noted sect for patience was that of the Stoics, who ascribed all to destiny.

O sword] Framea, which seems to come of ρομφαια (the Septuagint’s word here), by putting φ before ρ; or Gladie, which comes a clade, from destruction; like as the Hebrew word Chereb, from desolating and laying waste. Hence the sword is said to "contemn the rod," Ezekiel 21:10; Ezekiel 21:13, that is, all lighter and lesser judgments, which are but its forerunners, and whereof it seems to say, What does this silly rod do here? Will not men stoop? Let me come: I will make them either bend or break; either yield, or I will have their blood.

Against my shepherd] i.e. Saith Calvin, against magistrates and ministers, God’s under shepherds and associates in feeding the flock, labourers together with him, 1 Corinthians 3:9. But because Christ is the great Shepherd, Hebrews 13:20, and "the good Shepherd," John 10:11, Optimus maximus, that is, God’s fellow companion, and yet, suspending his glory, became a man, to seek him out a flock in the wilderness; and afterwards laid down his life for his sheep, John 10:11, underwent the deadly dint of God’s devouring sword put into the hands of those men of God’s hand, Psalms 17:13, who put him to many a little death all his life long, and at length to that cursed and cruel death of the cross: at which time the Shepherd was smitten and the sheep scattered, as this text is most fitly applied, Matthew 26:31; therefore I understand it chiefly of Christ, the chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, who "was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities," &c., Isaiah 53:5. And this not by chance, or malice of his enemies only (though they laid upon him without mercy, nailing him to the tree in the hands and feet, which in all men are the most sensitive parts of the body, as being fullest of nerves and sinews, but in him much more as being of the finest temperature and most exquisite sense), but by the determinate counsel of God, as St Peter shows those kill-Christs, Acts 2:28, and according to the Scriptures, that went before of him, and foretold all his passion, even to the casting of the dice upon his clothes, Psalms 22:1-31, Isaiah 53:1-12, by the reading of which lively description of Christ’s sufferings in that chapter, Johannes Isaac, a Jew, confesseth that he was converted to the faith of Christ, Hoc ego ingenue confiteor, ait ille, caput illud ad fidem Christi me adduxisse. He is called God’s Shepherd, because God anointed and appointed him to that office, putting a charge into his hands, John 10:1-18; John 17:13-21, that he might tend them and tender them, and at length return them up again to his heavenly Father, without loss of any one. He is also called the Man by an excellence, that matchless man the chief of ten thousand; as his mother is called hagnalma, that famous virgin, whom all generations are bound to call blessed. He is Man God, both in one; and is therefore also called God’s fellow, or mate, as being consubstantial to the Father according to the Godhead, and very near akin to him according to the manhood, by reason of the hypostatical union of both natures into one person; the man Christ Jesus.

Smite the shepherd] That that blessed fountain of his blood {mentioned Zechariah 13:1} may be opened, and the flock of God washed and healed and satiated, as the people were at the time when the rock was smitten and so set abroach; and as when God clave a hollow place in the jaw bone of the ass, so that there came water thereout, Samson drank and was revived, 15:19; and as when the alabaster box of ointment was broken all the house was filled with a sweet savour.

And the sheep shall be scattered] Scattered and scattered; shifting for themselves, and leaving Christ to the mercy of his enemies, who seized upon him, as so many carrion kites (a) upon a silly dove. Thomas (who once said, Come, lest us go die with him) disappears and is lost; Peter follows aloof off, but better he had been further off; John (if at least it were he) flees away stark naked for haste; Judas comes nearer to him, but to betray him with a kiss. But is this thy kindness to thy friend? Christ had indented with the enemy beforehand for their security, John 18:8, so that they needed not have retreated so disorderly, and scattered as they did. But "the fear of man bringeth a snare," Proverbs 29:25. Howbeit, man’s badness cannot break off the course of Christ’s goodness. For though they thus unworthily forsake him, and leave him at the worst (as they say), yet I will turn my hand, saith he, upon the little ones, i.e. I will recollect my dispersed flock (how little soever either for number, or respect in the world) and bring back my banished. So soon doth it repent the good Lord concerning his servants. He remembereth not iniquity for ever, saith the prophet, because mercy pleaseth him; and again, "He remembereth us in our low estates; for his mercy endureth for ever," Micah 7:18, Psalms 136:23. He looked back upon Peter when his mouth was now big swollen with oaths and execrations, and set him a weeping bitterly. He called for Thomas after his resurrection, and confirmed his weak faith by a wonderful condescension. He sealed up his love to them all again, restoring them to their ministerial employment; and not so much as once upbraiding them with their base dereliction but only with their unbelief. Lyra and other sense the text thus: I will turn my hand upon the little ones, that is, I will so smite the Shepherd Christ, that not only the sheep shall be scattered, but the little lambs also, even the least and lowest Christians, shall have their share of sufferings, shall feel the weight of my hand, shall pledge the Lord Christ in that cup of afflictions that I have put into his hand shall be conformed to the linage of God’s Son as his co-sufferers, that he may be the firstborn among many brethren, Romans 8:29. And this was fulfilled in the persecutions that followed soon after our Saviour’s death. Eccle sia haeres crucis, saith Luther; and Persecution est Evangelii genius, saith Calvin. Persecution is the black angel that dogs the Church, the red horse that follows the white at the heels. And the comfort is, that God’s holy hand hath special stroke in all those afflictions, that are laid upon his faithful people, "I will turn mine hand."

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



Zechariah 13:7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

THIS is generally thought to be the beginning of a distinct prophecy: yet it seems not only to be connected with, but in a measure to arise out of, the preceding context. The connexion, it is true, is not obvious: but it must be remembered, that this is the way in which some of the most important predictions in all the Scriptures are introduced. Take, for instance, the prophecy that Christ should be born of a pure virgin; a more wonderful event than which is not predicted in all the inspired volume: there was no necessary connexion between that, and the destruction of the ten tribes; nor between that, and the obstinate incredulity of Ahab: yet, on Ahab’s declining to ask a sign that the deliverance promised to Judah should speedily be accomplished, the Lord gave him this sign; “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [Note: Isaiah 7:10-14.].” In that prophecy, the event predicted appeared wholly foreign to the subject that was in hand: but in the prophecy before us it is not so. The chapter begins with a plain declaration, that in due time Christ, by the shedding of his blood upon the cross, should open unto mankind “a fountain to wash them from sin and uncleanness.” It then goes on to say, that by him idolatry should be destroyed; and that both men and women, if tempted to idolatry by their own children, should immediately execute judgment upon them, and thrust them through with a sword or dart [Note: This was agreeable to the law of Moses, Deuteronomy 13:6-10.]: and that so general should be men’s abhorrence of idolatry, that those who had been disposed towards it, and had even marked their bodies in honour of their idols, should deny their having ever felt any disposition towards it, and should ascribe the marks that were on their flesh to some “wounds which they had received, either accidentally, or for some particular purpose, in the house of their friends.”

Then in our text God says, As the false prophet shall be slain by his own father for endeavouring to turn you from God, so shall the true prophet be slain by his father in order to turn you to God: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.”

In discoursing on these words we shall consider,

I. The commission given to Jehovah’s sword—

It is bidden to “awake and smite:” but here two questions arise;

1. Whom was it to smite?

[It was assuredly the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone answers to the character here described. He is the Shepherd of Israel,” appointed to that office by God himself [Note: Psalms 80:1. Ezekiel 34:23.]. He designates himself by that very name, and as the person to be smitten under that very character [Note: John 10:11.]. Moreover, he alone can be called “Jehovahapos;s fellow:” for he was God as well as man [Note: John 1:1.], even the true God [Note: 1 John 5:20.], the mighty God [Note: Isaiah 9:6.], altogether One with the Father himself [Note: John 10:30.], “God over all, blessed for ever;” and, being-God in his own nature, and therefore incapable of suffering, he assumed our nature on purpose that he might suffer [Note: Philippians 2:6-8.].]

2. In whose hand was it to inflict the stroke?

[It was the Father himself who was to wield it, even he who here calls upon it to arise and smite. True it was that men and devils were the more immediate agents [Note: Luke 22:53.]; but they were only instruments in the Father’s hands: “they could have had no power at all against him, if it had not been given them from above.” They were willing agents, no doubt, and executed what their own malignant dispositions dictated: but God overruled their designs for the accomplishment of his own eternal purposes [Note: Acts 2:23; Acts 4:37.]. There was not one thing done by them which had not been foretold; nor one thing predicted, which they did not unwittingly and exactly perform [Note: John 19:28; John 19:30.].

But even without the intervention either of men or devils, the Father himself smote him. What was it but a sense of God’s wrath upon his soul that made him sweat great drops of blood in the garden? It was the Father himself who put that bitter cup into his hands. Upon the cross too, when Jesus uttered no complaints respecting inferior agents, he bitterly bewailed the hidings of his Father’s face: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Thus was verified that awful prediction of the prophet, “It pleased the Lord, even Jehovah himself, to bruise him [Note: Isaiah 53:10.].”]

Let us next inquire into,

II. The grounds and reasons of this commission—

It was the Father’s purpose to exercise mercy towards our fallen race: but he would do it in a way that should be consistent with his own perfections. Hence he gave us his only-begotten Son to be our substitute and surety: and against him, when standing in that capacity, he called forth the sword;

1. To shew his indignation against sin—

[We presume not to say what God might have done, if it had pleased him: but we are sure that “it became him, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings [Note: Hebrews 2:11.].” As the Moral Governor of the Universe, it became him to vindicate the honour of his broken law, and to mark his utter abhorrence of iniquity: and this he did more strongly and effectually in smiting his only-begotten Son, than if he had smitten the whole human race. As for the children of men, they are but worms of the earth, far inferior to the angels that fell: but Christ was his co-equal, co-eternal Son, his fellow, his equal. O what an evil must sin be, when God would not suffer it to pass unpunished even in the person of his own Son, on whom it was found only by imputation! We may be well assured, that, on whomsoever it be found in the last day, it will be visited with “wrath to the uttermost.”]

2. To reconcile justice with mercy in the salvation of sinners—

[Had sin been pardoned without any atonement, the claims of justice must have been superseded. But God would not exalt mercy at the expense of justice; and therefore he devised a way of satisfying the demands of justice, whilst he listened with complacency to the voice of mercy. “He laid our iniquities upon” his only dear Son, and exacted of him the debt which had been incurred by us: and that debt he paid to the uttermost farthing; so that justice itself has nothing more to require of us, provided only we plead what Christ has done and suffered in our behalf. Thus has God become “a just God and a Saviour,” or, as St. Paul expresses it, he is “just, and yet the justifier of them that believe in Jesus.”]

Such being the reasons for this mysterious commission, we proceed to notice,

III. The effects and consequences of it—

The immediate effect was the scattering of our Lord’s disciples—

[One would have thought that our Lord’s more intimate disciples, who for above three years had heard all his discourses, and seen all his miracles, would have firmly adhered to him, even to the end; more especially as they had promised, in the most solemn manner, to follow him, even unto death: but God, who knew what was in man, foretold that they would shamefully desert him in the hour of trial: yea, our Lord himself forewarned his disciples that they would forsake him, and thereby fulfil the prophecy in our text [Note: Matthew 26:31.]: and the event, alas! corresponded with these predictions: the “Shepherd being smitten, the sheep were immediately scattered abroad;” “they all forsook him and fled [Note: Matthew 26:56.].” What a poignancy must this circumstance have given to all the other wounds inflicted on our Lord! Where were all the myriads whom he had miraculously healed? Where were those whom he had raised from the dead? Were they all afraid to own him? Was not so much as one found to stand forth in his defence, or even to speak a word in his behalf? No: all were panic-struck and mute. Hear how our blessed Lord himself complains of this, as a bitter aggravation of his sorrows [Note: Psalms 69:20; Psalms 142:4.] — — — But utter dereliction, unmitigated sorrows, were our desert; and he, as our substitute, endured it all in our behalf.]

The ultimate effect was their restoration and recovery—

[This is intimated in the last clause of our text. By “turning his hand upon his little ones,” is meant, that he would accomplish upon them all his merciful designs, recovering them from their fears, and restoring them to the Divine favour [Note: Compare Isaiah 1:25.]. This he did as soon as ever he was risen from the dead: he did not even except Peter, who had so shamefully denied him with oaths and curses [Note: Mark 16:7. John 20:17.]. On the day of Pentecost he so “strengthened his little ones,” that they were henceforth no more intimidated, but boldly confessed him before all the rulers of their nation, and braved death in all its most tremendous forms, for the honour of his name. Similar effects were instantly produced on thousands of his followers: and to this hour is the same divine energy communicated to the feeblest of his people: though but “a little flock,” they fear not the threats of any adversaries, because they know that it “is the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom;” and, that they shall be “more than conquerors through Him that loved them.”

Such were intended to be the effects of our Redeemer’s death: “He suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God:” and to God he will bring us; so that “of those whom the Father hath given him, not one shall be lost.”]


Let us take occasion from this prophecy,

1. To admire the love of God the Father—

[When God called to his sword to “awake and smite,” whom should we suppose to be the objects of his vengeance? Should we not conclude of course that we were to be the monuments of his wrath? we, towards whom he had so long exercised forbearance, and who had so obstinately persisted in our rebellion? Yes, methinks God would say, “Sword, go and smite those my incorrigible enemies; go and smite them to their inmost soul.” But, behold, he sends his Son, “his fellow,” and directs the sword to execute vengeance upon him, as our substitute! We wonder not so much that the Jews should cry out, “Spare not this man, but Barabbas:” but that Jehovah should give his direction to his sword, “Spare not my dear Son, my fellow, but Barabbas,” is truly wonderful. Yet this, in effect, he did say: ‘Spare the vilest of the human race, even though they be robbers and murderers; but “smite my Son, my fellow,” and spare not him, in order that thou mayest spare them.’ O wondrous love! Who can estimate it? What tongue can utter it? What imagination can conceive it? Well is it said, “God so loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son:” but the heights and depths of that love are unsearchable, either by men or angels.]

2. To follow the steps of the good Shepherd—

[Jesus, Jehovah’s fellow, is our shepherd; and we, as sheep of his pasture, are under his protection. Let us then, however weak in ourselves, despise the threats of all our enemies. Let us never for a moment indulge the fear of man, or entertain a thought of forsaking him who has laid down his life for us. Let us consider our obligations to him: let us consider them, till we feel our whole souls inflamed with love to him; and, under the constraining influence of his love, let us “follow him without the camp, bearing his reproach,” and “rejoicing, if we are counted worthy to suffer shame, or even death itself, for his sake.” Let us “know in whom we have believed;” and say with David, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want;” nor “will I fear what man can do unto me.”]

3. To seek the effectual influence of his grace—

[What shall we not be able to do, if “he turn his hand upon us for good?” Could Paul say, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthened me?” so then may we say. He was by nature no stronger than the weakest amongst us: and the weakest of us, by grace, may be as strong as he: “Christ’s strength shall be perfected in our weakness,” as it was in his. Let our eyes then be unto Jesus; that, as he has been “the author, so also he may be the finisher, of our faith.” Let our expectations from him be enlarged: and, whatever our difficulties be, let us remember, that “our Redeemer is mighty,” is almighty; and that he has pledged himself to us, that “none shall ever pluck us out of his hands.”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Many words are spent by interpreters to show what they think to be the connexion of the words; it is easier to say what are the contents and design of them. It is possible they are subjoined to the former to vindicate Christ from the suspicion of an impostor, though he was wounded, for this his Father did foretell by Zechariah four hundred and ninety years, more or less, beforehand, so that these wounds are not marks of an impostor, but testimonies of his truth, and that he is the Messiah.

Awake: it is God commission, or rather prediction, the imperative put for the future.

O sword; i.e. afflictions, persecutions, and the cross.

Against my shepherd; who is my faithful Shepherd, and will lay down his life for my sheep; who became man, that he might be my servant and die.

My fellow, or my equal, who was ever with me, and my delights, Proverbs 8:30. Man my fellow speaks Christ man with us and God with his Father, God-man in one person. Smite the shepherd; this great and good Shepherd shall be smitten, i.e. die for my sheep, and before he dieth shall suffer much for them.

The sheep shall be scattered; as affrighted, destitute of one to look after them, and which must be partakers in sufferings with their Shepherd.

I will turn mine hand: God will, say some, turn his hand against the little ones, smite them too; but others say this turning the hand is in favour, and for protection; it is a hand turned over them, as if he would keep the blow off them, while others, fitter to bear it, do suffer.

Upon the little ones; new, and therefore weak converts and disciples.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7. Jehovah is the speaker, who summons the sword (Zechariah 11:17) to awake and smite the foolish shepherd (Zechariah 11:15).

My shepherd — The foolish shepherd may be called the shepherd of Jehovah, because he was appointed by him. Those who retain the verses in their present position connect the phrase with him of Zechariah 12:10 (see there), but the other interpretation is preferable.

The man that is my fellow — The expression of intimacy is not strange, if the foolish shepherd was a high priest (see on Zechariah 11:15), for as such he would stand in a peculiarly close relation to Jehovah (compare Zechariah 3:7); and this would also be true if he was not an ecclesiastical but a civil ruler. The foolish shepherd will be punished because he ill-treated the flock, and the flock will suffer because it rejected the good shepherd (Zechariah 11:4-14).

Shall be scattered — Because they will be without a shepherd (compare Nahum 3:18).

I will turn mine hand upon the little ones — Better, against; for this is not a promise of help but the continuation of the threat. Little ones refers not to the shepherd boys, but to the lambs; the provocation has been so great that he cannot spare even the young of the flock (compare Isaiah 9:17).

Zechariah 13:8-9 expand the announcement of Zechariah 13:7. In the judgment to come two parts of the flock shall be cut off; only one part shall escape; but even this third part is not ready to enjoy the presence and favor of Jehovah; it needs purification (compare Jeremiah 9:7; Isaiah 6:13).

Fire — Since fire is used for the purification of metals, it becomes a symbol of every means of purification, in this case of affliction and judgment (Isaiah 4:4; compare Isaiah 1:25 ff.). The purification accomplished, the purified remnant (see on Amos 5:15) will enjoy closest fellowship with Jehovah.

I will hear them — When they pray (compare Psalms 50:15; Psalms 34:15-17). For the rest of the verse see on Hosea 2:23.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Zechariah now returned in a poem to the subject of the Shepherd that he had mentioned in chapter11. He also returned to the time when Israel would be scattered among the nations because of her rejection of the Good Shepherd.

Almighty Yahweh personified a sword, the instrument of violent death, which he commanded to execute His Shepherd, the royal Good Shepherd of Zechariah 11:4-14. This is a figure of speech called apostrophe: a direct address to an impersonal object as if it were a person. Yahweh further described this Shepherd as the man who was very close to Him, even His Associate.

"The expression "who stands next to me" is used elsewhere only in Leviticus (e.g. Leviticus 6:2; Leviticus 18:12) to mean "near neighbour"; similarly the shepherd is one who dwells side by side with the Lord, His equal." [Note: Baldwin, pp197-98. Cf. John 1:1-2; 14:9.]

"There is no stronger statement in the OT regarding the unimpeachable deity of Israel"s Messiah, the Son of God." [Note: Feinberg, " Zechariah ," p910.]

In Zechariah 11:17 it was the worthless shepherd whom the Lord would strike, but here it is the Good Shepherd. The one doing the striking is evidently God Himself since "strike" is masculine in the Hebrew text and agrees with "the LORD of hosts." If Song of Solomon , Zechariah presented Messiah"s death as God"s activity (cf. Isaiah 53:10; Acts 2:23) as well as Israel"s ( Zechariah 12:10-14).

The striking (death) of the Shepherd would result in the scattering of the Shepherd"s sheep (i.e, Israel, Zechariah 11:4-14). The Lord Jesus quoted this part of the verse, claiming the role of the Shepherd, when he anticipated the scattering of His disciples following His death (cf. Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:27; Mark 14:50).

The last line of the verse is capable of two different interpretations both of which came to pass. Perhaps a double entendre was intended. God Himself would scatter even the young sheep and would extend mercy to them (cf. Mark 13:19; Mark 13:24; Luke 2:35; Revelation 11:3-10). New Testament scholar R. T. France believed that this passage influenced the thinking of Jesus, regarding His shepherd role, more than any other shepherd passage in the Old Testament. [Note: R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament: His Application of Old Testament Passages to Himself and His Mission, pp103-4 , 107-9.]

"The divine witness to the death and deity of the prophesied Messiah makes this verse one of the most significant in the entire Old Testament." [Note: Unger, p232.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sword. This address rouses attention. (Calmet) --- The sword implies all the torments which Christ endured. (Worthington) --- He explains this of himself; only instead of strike, he says I will strike, (Matthew xxvi. 31.) as the sword was directed by God. (Haydock) --- Patris voluntate percussus est. (St. Jerome) --- Cleaveth. Hebrew hamithi, "my amiable one;" (Haydock) "of the same tribe with me;" (Aquila) "of my people." (Symmachus) St. Jerome observes, that Septuagint and Theodotion have read v for the last i, and render "his neighbour," or citizen. Yet some editions of the Septuagint retain "my fellow-citizen." (Haydock) --- Little ones. Septuagint, Arabic, &c., "shepherds," (Calmet) which "many ill apply to the Jewish princes." (St. Jerome) --- Tsoharim means also "the little," Micheas v. 2. Christ takes care of his little flock, (Luke xii. 32.; Haydock) and is always one with the Father, John viii. 29., and x. 30. (Calmet) --- He recalled the flying apostles, and gave them courage. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Awake, &c. This verse stands wholly unconnected, unless we regard it as looking back from the yet future glory to the time of His rejection, when Isaiah 53:5-10 was fillfilled. Compare Zechariah 11:16, Zechariah 11:17.

Man = mighty One. Hebrew. g eber, App-14.

Fellow. Of none but Messiah could Jehovah say this.

smite the Shepherd. Quoted of Messiah by Messiah, in Matthew 26:31. Mark 14:27 showing that the words cannot possibly refer to any "high priest" as alleged.

turn Mine hand upon: i.e. for care and protection.

little = feeble of the Rock. Compare John 18:8.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Awake. O sword, against my Shepherd ... smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

Expounded by Christ as referring to Himself (Matthew 26:31-32). What is expressed by the prophet imperatively, "Smite," is expressed as an assertion by the Lord in quoting it, "I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." For when God, "by his determinate counsel," delivered up Jesus to be smitten, He Himself smote Him. Thus Jesus' form of quotation is the divine commentary on the prophecy. The act of the sword, and of the guilty men who wielded it against Jesus, though they knew it not, and are therefore responsible for the awful sin, is God's act (Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28). Thus it is a resumption of the prophecy of His betrayal (Zechariah 11:4; Zechariah 11:10; Zechariah 11:13-14), and the subsequent punishment of the Jews. It explains the mystery why He, who came to be a blessing, was cut off while bestowing the blessing. God regards sin in such a fearful light that He spared not His own co-equal Son in the one Godhead, when that Son bore the sinners guilt.

Awake. Compare a similar address to the sword of justice personified (Jeremiah 47:6-7). So the prophecy, Isaiah 6:9, "Hear ye," is imperative; the fulfillment, as declared by Jesus, is future (Matthew 13:14), "ye shall hear."

Sword - the symbol of judicial power, the highest exercise of which is to take away the life of the condemned (Romans 13:4). "The wicked" are often made unconsciously to be "a sword of God's" (Psalms 17:13). Not merely a show or expression of justice (as Socinians think) is implied here, but an actual execution of it on Messiah the Shepherd, the substitute for the sheep, by God as judge. Yet God in this shows His love as gloriously as His justice. For God calls Messiah "my shepherd" - i:e., provided "from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8) for sinners, by my love to them, and ever the object of my love (Isaiah 59:16), though judicially "smitten of God" (Isaiah 53:4) for their sins.

And against the man that is my fellow - literally, the man of my union [ geber (Hebrew #1397) `

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) My shepherd.—Unless we are to consider that these verses ought to be transferred to the end of Zechariah 11 (see Notes there), we must take this expression as a title of honour.

Fellow.—This word, except here, occurs only in Leviticus. It means either neighbour, fellow, or, according to others, neighbourly relationship, fellowship. Perhaps the “foolish shepherd” (Zechariah 11:15) could hardly be called by the Lord “the man of my fellowship.” If so, this argument is conclusive for the retention of this passage in its present position. Other arguments in the same direction are that the mention of the “third part” (Zechariah 13:8) is very similar to the mention of “half of the city” (Zechariah 14:2), and that the use of hââretz in the sense of “the land” (Zechariah 13:8) is parallel with Zechariah 14:9, rather than with Zechariah 11:6; but it must not be forgotten that, as far as the word itself is concerned, it may in all these passages mean “the land,” or in all “the earth.” It is only possible to decide on its meaning according to one’s own view of the context.

Wicked men are the Lord’s sword (Psalms 17:13); through them was to be executed His determinate counsel (Acts 2:23). The smiting of the shepherd was on account of the sin of the flock. The shepherd, then, must be understood to be He whom they are before represented as having insulted and rejected (Zechariah 11:12). Part of this verse is quoted by our Lord (Matthew 26:31).

I will turn mine hand—viz., in merciful chastisement. (Comp. Isaiah 1:25.)

The little ones.—The word occurs only here in this form. It means perhaps the humble and patient, and so denotes those who are called afterwards “the third part” (Zechariah 13:9).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
O sword
Deuteronomy 32:41,42; Isaiah 27:1; Jeremiah 47:6; Ezekiel 21:4,5,9,10,28
my shepherd
11:4,7; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23,24; 37:24; Micah 5:2,4; John 10:10-18; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4
the man
Isaiah 9:6; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Hosea 12:3-5; Matthew 1:23; 11:27; John 1:1,2; 5:17,18; John 5:23; 8:58; 10:30,38; 14:1,9-11,23; 16:15; 17:21-23; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:6-12; Revelation 1:8,11,17; 2:23; 21:6; 22:13-16
Isaiah 53:4-10; Daniel 9:24-26; John 1:29; 3:14-17; Acts 2:23; 4:26-28; Romans 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:6-10; 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:19,20; Hebrews 10:5-10; 1 Peter 1:18-20; 2:24,25; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 4:9,10; Revelation 13:8
the sheep
Matthew 26:31,56; Mark 14:27,50; John 16:32
I will turn
11:7,11; Matthew 10:42; 18:10,11,14; Luke 12:32; 17:2; John 18:8,9

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Zechariah 13:7

"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is my fellow, says the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 13:7

Would we see, feel, and realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin, it is not by viewing the lightnings and hearing the thunders of Sinai"s fiery top, but in seeing the agony and bloody sweat, and hearing the groans and cries of the suffering Son of God, as made sin for us, in the garden and upon the cross. To look upon him whom we have pierced will fill heart and eyes with godly sorrow for sin, and a holy mourning for and over a martyred, injured Lord. To see, by the eye of faith, as revealed to the soul by the power of God, the darling Son of God bound, scourged, buffeted, spit upon, mocked, and then, as the climax of cruel scorn and infernal cruelty, crucified between two thieves—this believing sight of the sufferings of Christ, will melt the hardest heart into contrition and compunction.

But when we see, by the eye of faith, that this was the smallest part of his sufferings, that there were depths of soul trouble and of intolerable distress and agony from the hand of God as a consuming fire, as of inflexible justice and righteous indignation against sin wherever and in whomever found, and that our blessed Lord had to endure the wrath of God until he was poured out like water, and his soft, tender heart in the flames of indignation became like wax, melted within him ( Psalm 22:14)—then we can in some measure conceive what he undertook in becoming a sin offering.

For as all the sins of his people were put upon him, the wrath of God due to them fell upon him. Separation from God, under a sense of his terrible displeasure, and that on account of sin, that abominable thing which his holy soul hates—is not this hell? This, then, was the hell experienced by the suffering Redeemer when the Lord laid on him the iniquities of us all ( Isaiah 53:6).

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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:7". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https:

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