Today, I am reading and commenting on Zechariah 11-14.
Usually when I read the various shepherd metaphors in the Bible I clearly understand why the writer is using that particular metaphor. However, today I do not really understand why Zechariah is using the metaphor of a shepherd and sheep. For that matter I am not sure I understand the message which Zechariah is conveying, but I will write what I see the message as being. Zechariah seems to me to be saying that everyone is seeking to satisfy their desires, no one is seeking to promote the good of everyone. The various leaders were merely in it for themselves. The “buyers” sought to consume the sheep. The “sellers” sought to profit from the sheep. Even the shepherds, whose job it was to care for the sheep, sought only their own interest and did not care for the sheep. The sheep themselves were out to take advantage of each other and expressed disdain for the only shepherd who tried to lead them to their best interest.
Zechariah finishes his writing with prophecies of God’s redemption of the people of Israel. When that day comes, God will not use the elites to bring about victory. Victory will begin with the common man. God will do this to show that the “elites” are not better than the common man. All are on common ground as the people of God. When Zechariah wrote these prophecies he believed them to be about the Jewish people, and that may indeed be the case. However, there are elements here, and in other similar Old Testament prophecies, which suggest that these prophecies apply to all who choose to worship and obey God. In either case, a key part of this prophecy is that those too whom it applies mourn for the One “whom they have pierced.” This is a clear reference to Jesus and His death. One thing it also makes clear is that part of salvation is accepting our share in the guilt of His suffering and death. Recognizing our guilt is a requisite step in receiving the cleansing from sin and impurity which God offers us.