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Open your doors, O Lebanon,

so that fire may devour your cedars!


Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,

for the glorious trees are ruined!

Wail, oaks of Bashan,

for the thick forest has been felled!


Listen, the wail of the shepherds,

for their glory is despoiled!

Listen, the roar of the lions,

for the thickets of the Jordan are destroyed!


Two Kinds of Shepherds

4 Thus said the L ord my God: Be a shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. 5Those who buy them kill them and go unpunished; and those who sell them say, “Blessed be the L ord, for I have become rich”; and their own shepherds have no pity on them. 6For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the earth, says the L ord. I will cause them, every one, to fall each into the hand of a neighbor, and each into the hand of the king; and they shall devastate the earth, and I will deliver no one from their hand.

7 So, on behalf of the sheep merchants, I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. I took two staffs; one I named Favor, the other I named Unity, and I tended the sheep. 8In one month I disposed of the three shepherds, for I had become impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9So I said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die; what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let those that are left devour the flesh of one another!” 10I took my staff Favor and broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep merchants, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the L ord. 12I then said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver. 13Then the L ord said to me, “Throw it into the treasury”—this lordly price at which I was valued by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the L ord. 14Then I broke my second staff Unity, annulling the family ties between Judah and Israel.

15 Then the L ord said to me: Take once more the implements of a worthless shepherd. 16For I am now raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for the perishing, or seek the wandering, or heal the maimed, or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.


Oh, my worthless shepherd,

who deserts the flock!

May the sword strike his arm

and his right eye!

Let his arm be completely withered,

his right eye utterly blinded!


God now adds another crime, by which he discovers the wickedness of the people; for they estimated all the labor he had bestowed at a cry insignificant price. He had before complained of ingratitude; but more fully detected was the iniquity and baseness of the people, when they thus regarded as of no value the inestimable favor of God towards them. What the Prophet then says now is — that God at last tried them so as to know whether his benefits were of any account among the Jews, and that it had been fully found out, that all the labor and toil employed in their behalf, had been ill-spent and wholly lost. That Zechariah now speaks in his own person, and then introduces God as the speaker, makes no difference, as we said yesterday, as to the main subject; for his object is to set forth how shamefully the Jews had abused the favor of God, and how unjustly they had despised it. And yet he speaks as God’s minister; for God not only governed that people himself, but also endued with the power of his Spirit many ministers, who undertook the office of shepherds.

He then says, that he came (and what is said properly belongs to God) to the people and demanded a reward, Give me, he says, a reward; if not, forbear 142142     Drusius gives the sense, “Nihil date — give nothing;” and Jerome, “Aperte renute — openly refuse.” — Ed. He expresses here the highest indignation, as though one upbraided the wickedness and ingratitude of his neighbor and said, “Own my kindness, if you please; if not, let it perish: I care not; I see that you are wholly worthless and altogether unworthy of being so liberally treated: I therefore make no account of thy compensations; but at the same time it behaves thee to consider how much thou art indebted to me.” So now does God in high displeasure speak here: “Give me at least a reward, that I may not have served you for nothing: you have misused my labor, I have borne with many wrongs and annoyances in ruling you; what is to be the compensation for my solicitude and care? I indeed make no account of a reward, for I am not a mercenary.” He then adds, that they gave him thirty silverings 143143     “Rate my labors as a true shepherd. And they rated it contemptuously; thirty pieces of silver being the price of a slave. Exodus 21:32.” — Newcome. He mentions this no doubt as a mean price, intimating, that they wished by such a small sum to compensate for the many and inestimable favors of God; as when one hires a swineherd or a clown, he gives a paltry sum as his wages; so the Jews, as the Prophet says, acted towards God. At the same time by the mean price, a suitable reward only to a clown, he means those frivolous things by which the Jews thought to satisfy God: for we know how diligent they were in performing their ceremonies, as though indeed these were a compensation that was of any value with God! He requires integrity of heart, and he gives himself to us, that he may in return have us as his own. 144144     So Grotius says, “Villa haec merces significat victimas et ritus sine pietate solida, — This means reward signifies victims and ceremonies without real piety.” — Ed. This then was the price of labor which the Lord had deserved. It would have been a suitable reward had the Jews devoted themselves wholly to him in obedience to his word. But what did they do? They sedulously performed ceremonies and other frivolous things. This then was a sordid reward, as though they sought to put him off with the reward of a swineherd.

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