Daily Devotional Tuesday 11th April 2023

by William Moody

Zechariah 11

The Flock Doomed to Slaughter

11:1   Open your doors, O Lebanon,
    that the 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!
  The sound of the wail of the shepherds,
    for their glory is ruined!
  The sound of the roar of the lions,
    for the thicket of the Jordan is ruined!

Thus said the LORD my God: “Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slaughter them and go unpunished, and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, I have become rich,’ and their own shepherds have no pity on them. For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of this land, declares the LORD. Behold, I will cause each of them to fall into the hand of his neighbor, and each into the hand of his king, and they shall crush the land, and I will deliver none from their hand.”

So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. So 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 who are left devour the flesh of one another.” 10 And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD. 12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter. 14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

15 Then the LORD said to me, “Take once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.

17   “Woe to my worthless shepherd,
    who deserts the flock!
  May the sword strike his arm
    and his right eye!
  Let his arm be wholly withered,
    his right eye utterly blinded!”


Zechariah is being asked to play the part of an unfaithful shepherd to a flock that is doomed to destruction (v4-5). This is to show the unfaithfulness of the shepherds that Israel had but also the unfaithfulness of the people.

The shepherds wailed not because of the people’s suffering or sin but over forests and pastures being destroyed (v1-3). Their focus and motives were wrong and not what the Lord was looking in a shepherd.

Zechariah in the role of a shepherd takes two staffs, one called favour and the other called union (v7). This speaks of how God’s favour and them being united to the Lord go hand in hand.

Due to the unfaithfulness of the people both staffs are broken which speaks of the people being discarded by the Lord (v9-11, 14). We rejoice that the Lord is patient with His people, but we must never allow this faithfulness to make us complacent about sin.

The payment of the shepherd with 30 pieces of silver which were then thrown into the temple and given to the potter (v12-13), has to point to Judas Iscariot. Judas betrayed Jesus, gave up his role as a shepherd for 30 pieces of silver. This was then thrown back into the temple and used to buy the potter’s field. Remember this is being prophesied about 550 years before it happened. God knows everything.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.