Those who will not open the door to let the King in,
but sell Him for a paltry price,
will sooner or later have to open the door to let ruin in.
(This is the desperate case of Israel in the present age.)
1 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.
2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.
3 ¶ There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.
4 Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;
5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.
6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.
7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.
8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
9 Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
10 ¶ And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 ¶ And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.
16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.
17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
Zechariah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Zechariah 11:1-17 – Beauty and Bands
The times were very dark when Zechariah felt called upon to act as shepherd to Jehovah’s harried flock. Rulers and priests were actuated by selfish greed and mutual antagonism. Three shepherds had already failed. After a brief effort Zechariah renounced the attempt. He broke his staff of Beauty, Zechariah 11:10, as if God’s tender love had withdrawn from its struggle with evil; and when he challenged the people to set a value on his services, they weighed him out thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. Thereupon he broke the other staff, disrupting the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. In the following paragraph, Zechariah 11:15-17, there is an evident reference to the terrible reign of Antiochus whose cruelties led to the heroic uprising of the Maccabees. Five centuries afterwards Jesus was sent to gather the flock with the same result, Matthew 27:9-10. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Zechariah 11:7—I took two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands.
The prophet exercised his office amongst the poor of the land. They gave heed unto him (Zechariah 11:11), and recognized that he spoke the word of the Lord. It always has been so; and such people make the best flock, for pastoral oversight.
One day, the prophet appeared amongst these humble folk with two staves: Beauty, to represent the possible excellence of the people whom God loved; Bands, to denote the unity by which the entire nation should have been bound in one. These twain he broke to show, first, that God would be compelled to choose another people to set forth his praise; and, secondly, that the unity of Israel would be annulled. When his hearers had received these announcements, wrung from his heart, their sole response was to make a collection amongst them in recognition of his pastoral care; and this amounted only to the price of a good bond-servant (Exodus 21:32). What a miserable return for all the prophet’s team and words!
All this was symbolical of our Lord. He longs for the beauty and unity of his Church. But, alas! how bitterly He has been disappointed! How hopelessly He has snapped his staves! How ungraciously his reward has been meted out to Him! (Matthew 26:15). The historical counterpart of this scene was afforded in his closing discourses and final betrayal; and its spiritual counterpart is being enacted day by day. O my soul! hast thou missed the beauty and unity He chose for thee? Hast thou esteemed his service of small account! Art thou like the Pharisees, that use the price of blood for the Potter’s Field? (Matthew 27:6-7, 10). Repent thee, lest the Good Shepherd be compelled to adopt severer methods, and pass thee also through the refining fires. —Our Daily Homily