Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zechariah 11:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Three shepherds also I cut off in one month - Taking this literally, some think the three shepherds mean the three Maccabees, Judas, Jonathan, and Simon; others, the three wicked high priests, Jason, Alcimus, and Menelaus; others, the three last princes of the Asmonean race, Alexander, Hyrcanus, and Antigonus.

Perhaps three orders may be intended:

  1. The priesthood.
  • The dictatorship, including the Scribes, Pharisees, etc.
  • The magistracy, the great sanhedrin, and the smaller councils.
  • These were all annihilated by the Roman conquest.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    And I cut off three shepherds in one month - Jerome: “I have read in some one‘s commentary, that the shepherds, cut off in the indignation of the Lord, are to be understood of priests and false prophets and kings of the Jews, who, after the passion of Christ, were all cut off in one time, of whom Jeremiah speaketh, “The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew Me not; the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things which do not profit” Jeremiah 2:8, and again, “As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets” Jeremiah 2:26; and “they said, Come, let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet” Jeremiah 18:18.

    Theodoret: “He speaks of the kings of the Jews, and prophets and priests; for by the three orders they were shepherded.” Cyril: “The true and good Shepherd having been already pointed out, it was right and necessary that the hirelings and false shepherds should be removed, the guides of the Jews in the law. The three shepherds were, I deem, those who exercised the legal priesthood, and those appointed judges of the people, and the interpreters of Scripture, that is, the lawyers. For these too fed Israel. Those who had the glory of the priesthood were of the tribe of Levi only; and of them Malachi says, “The priest‘s lips shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth” Malachi 2:7. But those who received authority to judge were also selected, yet were appointed out of every tribe. In like way the lawyers, who were ever assessors to the judges, and adduced the words of the law in proof of every matter.

    But we shall find that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself expressly pronounced woe on the Pharisees and scribes and lawyers. For He said, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees” Luke 11:44. And when one of the lawyers hereupon answered Him saying, “Master, so saying Thou reproachest us also,” He said, “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers” Luke 11:45-46. These “three Shepherds” then, priests and judges and lawyers owho remained in their own orders and places, until the coming of Christ, were very justly taken away “in one month.” For since “they killed the Prince of life” Acts 3:15, thereby also are they mown down, and that in the month of the first fruits, in which Emmanuel endured to be slain for us. They remained indeed administering Israel, even after the Saviour‘s Cross, through the long-suffering and compassion of Almighty God calling them to repentance; but, in the sentence passed by God, they were taken away, at that time, when they delivered to the Cross the Saviour and Redeemer of all. They were taken away then in one mouth;” Nisan. a.d. 33. The three offices, King, Divine Teacher, Priest, were to be united in Christ: they might have been held under Him: those who rejected them in Him, forfeited them themselves. These then He made to disappear, effaced them from the earth.

    And My soul was straightened - For them oIt is used of the divine grief at the misery of His people. “And their soul abhorred Me, nauseated Me” oKimchi: “When it is said, “Their soul also abhorreth Me,” the meaning is, ‹My soul did not loathe them first, but their soul first despised Me, therefore My Soul abhorred them.‘” The soul which drives away God‘s good Spirit, comes at last to loathe Him and the thought and mention of Him.

    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.