Good morning! Can you believe we only have two days left of the Hebrew Scriptures?? I’m looking forward to working through the gospels and the rest of the New Testament with you starting Saturday (please invite folks now if you think they might like to join in), but for today we finish the book of Zechariah with chapters 10-14.
The writings collected under Zechariah’s name here likely come from generations after the prophet in post-exile Jerusalem who, scholars suggest, wrote the first eight chapters of this book. In contrast, the tone here gets progressively more disillusioned as the chapters go on, until the writer has no hope that temple restoration or the priestly class (priorities of early Zechariah) can accomplish much. Chapter 10, for instance, conveys God’s anger at “the shepherds” and determination to punish “the leaders” for their lack of righteousness. In chapter 11 this Zechariah steps in directly to serve as shepherd, supplanting those who have proven to be false leaders. We also see in these chapters a growing clamor for the “day of the Lord” to set things right. This is where Zechariah ends, with the final chapter referencing future victory by God directly, wiping away all that falls short of the ideal and establishing a perfect new reign.
I’m struck by resonances I’m seeing for the first time with parts of the Jesus story. If I understand this correctly, (Second) Zechariah was paid 30 shekels of silver for services as a leader, yet threw them into the temple treasury—what curious parallels with Judas at the end of Jesus’ life! Likewise, the references to the “pierced one” at the end of chapter 12. Jesus makes direct reference to the section in Zechariah 13 where the shepherd is struck and the flock scattered, at least according to one gospel writer. The months we have spent in the prophets have steeped us in the cataclysmic, even apocalyptic way of understanding the world. It’s fascinating to see that this will still be a dominant Jewish theme a few centuries later in the time of Jesus. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Malachi. Thanks for reading!