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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Zechariah 13



Verse 1

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

In that day - connected with the close of Zechariah 12:1-14. The mourning penitents are here comforted.

There shall be a fountain opened. It has been long opened, but then first it shall be so "to the house of David" (representing all Israel), after their long and weary wanderings. Like Hagar in the wilderness, they remain ignorant of the refreshment near them, until God "opens their eyes" (Genesis 21:19). (Moore.) It is not the fountain, but their eyes that need to be opened. It shall be a "fountain" ever flowing: not a laver, needing constantly to be replenished with water, such as stood between the tabernacle and altar (Exodus 30:18).

For sin and for uncleanness - i:e., for judicial guilt and moral impurity. Thus justification and sanctification are implied in this verse as both flowing from the blood of Christ, not from ceremonial sacrifices (1 Corinthians 1:30; Hebrews 9:13-14; 1 John 1:7 : cf. Ezekiel 36:25). "Sin" in Hebrew [ chaTaa't (Hebrew #2403), from chaaTaa' (Hebrew #2398)] is literally a missing the mark or way.

Verse 2

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered. Such are the consequences of pardon; not indolence, but the extirpation of sin.

Names of the idols. Their very names were not to be mentioned: thus the Jews, instead of Mephi-baal, said Mephi-bosheth (bosheth meaning a contemptible thing), (Exodus 23:13; Deuteronomy 12:3; Psalms 16:4), The "idols" [ haa`atsabiym (Hebrew #6091)] here answer to the Seraphim in Zechariah 10:2 (margin), where the are associated with "the diviners" [haqowcmiym]. Malachi (Malachi 3:5), too, speaks of the "sorcerers [m

Verse 3

And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

When any shall yet prophesy ... his father and his mother ... shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord. The form of phraseology here is drawn from Deuteronomy 13:6-10; Deuteronomy 18:20. The substantial truth expressed is, that false prophecy shall be utterly abolished. If it were possible for it again to start up, the very parents of the false prophet would not let parental affection interfere, but would be the first to thrust him through. Love to Christ must be paramount to the tenderest of natural ties (Matthew 10:37). Much as the godly love their children, they love God and His honour more.

Verse 4

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:

The prophets shall be ashamed - of the false prophecies which they have uttered in times past, and which the event has confuted.

Neither shall they wear a rough garment - sackcloth. The badge of a prophet (2 Kings 1:8; Isaiah 20:2), to mark their frugality alike in food and attire. Such as Elijah and his antitype, John the Baptist, wore (Matthew 3:4); also, to be consonant to the mournful warnings which they delivered.

To deceive. It is not the dress that is here condemned, but the purpose of deception for which it was worn-namely, to conceal wolves under sheep's clothing (Calvin). The monkish hair-shirt of Popery, worn to inspire the multitude with the impression of superior sanctity, shall be then cast aside.

Verse 5-6

But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an farmer - the detection of one of the false prophets dramatically represented. He is seized by some zealous vindicator of the law, and in fear cries out "I am no prophet."

For Prayer of Manasseh 1:-1 :e., one. The Hebrew may mean Adam - i:e., our first parent was my pattern from my youth; I followed his agricultural (or pastoral, or both) occupations.

Taught me to keep cattle from my youth. As "keeping cattle" is not the same as to be "an farmer," and it would be no proof that a man was "an farmer" to say, "I was taught to keep cattle from my youth;" translate [ hiqnaniy (Hebrew #7069)], rather, 'Has used (or 'appropriated') me as a servant'-namely, in husbandry. [ Qaanaah (Hebrew #7069), to acquire gain: whence hiqnaah, to employ one to acquire gain: to force a man to be one's field servant] (Maurer), However, husbandry and keeping cattle might be regarded as jointly the occupation of the person questioned: then Amos 7:14, "herdman" ("I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer (or cultivator) of sycamore fruit"), will accord with the English version. A Hebrew kindred word [ miqneh (Hebrew #4735)] means cattle. Both occupations, the respondent implies, are inconsistent with my being a "prophet."

Verse 6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? The interrogator still suspects him: "If so, if you have never pretended to be a prophet, whence come those wounds?" The Hebrew [ beeyn (Hebrew #996) yaadeykaa (Hebrew #3027)] is rather, 'between thine hands.' The hands were naturally held up to ward off the blows, and so were "thrust through" (Zechariah 13:3) "between" the bones of the hand. Stoning was the usual punishment; "thrusting through" was also a fit retribution on one who tried to "thrust Israel away" from the Lord (Deuteronomy 13:10); and perfects the type of Messiah, condemned as a false prophet, and pierced with "wounds between his hands." Thus the transition to the direct prophecy of Him (Zechariah 13:7) is natural, which it would not be if He were not indirectly and in type alluded to here first.

Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends - an implied admission that he had pretended to prophecy, and that his friends had wounded him for it in zeal for God (Zechariah 13:3). The Holy Spirit in Zechariah alludes indirectly to Messiah, the antitype, wounded by those whom He came to befriend, who ought to have been His "friends," who were His kinsmen (cf. Zechariah 13:3, as to the false prophet's friends, with Mark 3:21, "His friend [margin, 'kinsmen,' hoi (Greek #3588) par' (Greek #3844) autou (Greek #847)] went out to lay hold on Him," John 7:5; "His own," John 1:11; the Jews, "of whom as concerning the flesh, he came," Romans 9:5), but who "pierced" and "wounded" Him by the agency of the Romans (Zechariah 12:10).

Verse 7

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) `

Verse 8-9

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.

In all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off ... but the third shall be left. Two-thirds of the Jewish nation were to perish in the Roman wars, and a third to survive (Henderson). Probably, from the context (Zechariah 14:2-9), which has never yet been fulfilled, the destruction of the two-thirds [ piy (Hebrew #6310) sh


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 13:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

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