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Verses 4-5

Zechariah 11:4-5. Feed the flock of the slaughter That is, the people, who are so denominated, because they were devoted to ruin by the following mischievous counsels of their false teachers, and the oppressions of their rulers. This command seems to be addressed to Zechariah; but an insuperable objection lies against its being understood as given to him in his own person, because he did not live in such times as are here described; for Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high-priest, it appears, were men of extraordinary piety and virtue; and no doubt the rest of the princes or rulers of the people at this time were good men. We can, therefore, understand it in no other manner, as addressed to Zechariah, than as he typified Christ; and so God commanded him to do that which he had appointed Christ to do, namely, to gather and feed the lost sheep of Israel, which their shepherds scattered and destroyed. Whose possessors slay them Whose governors and teachers are the cause of their destruction. Those are not improperly said to do a thing who are the cause of its being done. And hold themselves not guilty Are not aware of the great guilt of their conduct; or, act as if they thought they might lawfully make merchandise of men’s bodies or souls, for their own lucre or advantage. See 2 Peter 2:3. And they that sell them Who betray their persons, or liberty, or property, for profit; or sell them for slaves to foreigners; or, by their exactions and oppressions, reduce them to such poverty that they are obliged to sell themselves; say, Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich That is, they hypocritically and impiously pretend to return God thanks for having put it in their power to acquire riches by such ungodly practices! And their own shepherds That is, their chief priests, princes, and rulers, as above; pity them not Destroy them without remorse. In Christ’s time, which seems to be here referred to, “the chief priests and the elders, who were the possessors of the flock, by their traditions, the commandments of men, and their impositions on the consciences of the people, were become perfect tyrants, devouring their houses, engrossing their wealth, and fleecing the flock instead of feeding it. The Sadducees, who were Deists, corrupted their judgments; the Pharisees, who were bigots for superstitious observances, corrupted their morals by making void the commandments of God, Matthew 15:6. Thus they slew the sheep of the flock; thus they sold them. They cared not what became of them, so they could but gain their own ends, and serve their own interests.” Henry.

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