Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zechariah 11:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If ye think good, give me my price - "Give me my hire." And we find they rated it contemptuously; thirty pieces of silver being the price of a slave, Exodus 21:32.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give Me My price - God asks of us a return, not having any proportion to His gifts of nature or of grace, but such as we can render. He took the Jews out of the whole human race, made them His own, “a peculiar people,” freed them from “the bondage and the iron furnace of Egypt,” gave them “the land flowing with milk and honey,” fed and guarded them by His Providence, taught them by His prophets. He, the Lord and Creator of all, was willing to have them alone for His inheritance, and, in return, asked them to love Him with their whole heart, and to do what He commanded them. “He sent His servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of the vineyard; and the husbandmen took His servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Last of all, He sent unto them His Son” Matthew 21:34-37, to ask for those fruits, the return for all His bounteous care and His unwearied acts of power and love. o“Give Me,” He would say, “some fruits of piety, and tokens of faith.”

Osorius: “What? Does He speak of a price? Did the Lord of all let out His toil? Did He bargain with those, for whom he expended it for a certain price? He did. He condescended to serve day and night for our salvation and dignity; and as one hired, in view of the reward which He set before Him, to give all His care to adorn and sustain our condition. So He complains by Isaiah, that He had undergone great toil to do away our sins. But what reward did He require? Faith and the will of a faithful heart, that thereby we might attain the gift of righteousness, and might in holy works pant after everlasting glory. For He needeth not our goods; but He so bestoweth on us all things, as to esteem His labor amply paid, if He see us enjoy His gifts. But tie so asketh for this as a reward, as to leave us free, either by faith and the love due, to embrace His benefits, or faithlessly to reject it. This is His meaning, when He saith,”

And if not, forbear - God does not force our free-will, or constrain our service. He places life and death before us, and bids us choose life. By His grace alone we can choose Him; but we can refuse His grace and Himself. “Thou shalt say unto them,” He says to Ezekiel, “Thus saith the Lord God, He that heareth, let him hear, and he that forbeareth, let him forbear” (Ezekiel 3:27; add Ezekiel 2:5, Ezekiel 2:7; Ezekiel 3:11). This was said to them, as a people, the last offer of grace. It gathered into one all the past. As Elijah had said, “If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him” 1 Kings 18:21; so He bids them, at last to choose openly, whose they would be, to whom they would give their service; and if they would refuse in heart, to refuse in act also. “Forbear,” cease, leave off, abandon; and that forever.

So they weighed for My price thirty pieces of silver - The price of a slave, gored to death by an ox Exodus 21:32. Whence one of themselves says, o“you will find that a freeman is valued, more or less, at 60 shekels, but a slave at thirty.” He then, whom the prophet represented, was to be valued at “thirty pieces of silver.” It was but an increase of the contumely, that this contemptuous price was given, not to Him, but for Him, the Price of His Blood. It was matter of bargain. “Judas said, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?” Matthew 26:15. The high priest, knowingly or unknowingly, fixed on the price, named by Zechariah. As they took into their mouths willingly the blasphemy mentioned in the Psalm; “they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord, that He would deliver Him; let Him deliver Him, seeing that He delighted in Him” Psalm 22:7-8; so perhaps they fixed on the “thirty pieces of silver,” because Zechariah had named them as a sum offered in contumely to him, who offered to be a shepherd and asked for his reward.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ came into this world for judgment to the Jewish church and nation, which were wretchedly corrupt and degenerate. Those have their minds wofully blinded, who do ill, and justify themselves in it; but God will not hold those guiltless who hold themselves so. How can we go to God to beg a blessing on unlawful methods of getting wealth, or to return thanks for success in them? There was a general decay of religion among them, and they regarded it not. The Good Shepherd would feed his flock, but his attention would chiefly be directed to the poor. As an emblem, the prophet seems to have taken two staves; Beauty, denoted the privileges of the Jewish nation, in their national covenant; the other he called Bands, denoting the harmony which hitherto united them as the flock of God. But they chose to cleave to false teachers. The carnal mind and the friendship of the world are enmity to God; and God hates all the workers of iniquity: it is easy to foresee what this will end in. The prophet demanded wages, or a reward, and received thirty pieces of silver. By Divine direction he cast it to the potter, as in disdain for the smallness of the sum. This shadowed forth the bargain of Judas to betray Christ, and the final method of applying it. Nothing ruins a people so certainly, as weakening the brotherhood among them. This follows the dissolving of the covenant between God and them: when sin abounds, love waxes cold, and civil contests follow. No wonder if those fall out among themselves, who have provoked God to fall out with them. Wilful contempt of Christ is the great cause of men's ruin. And if professors rightly valued Christ, they would not contend about little matters.