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Verse 8

Zechariah 11:8. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month The prophet may be said to do what God did; either in the punishment of certain false prophets, or of certain wicked governors. Some think, that by these three shepherds were figuratively signified the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the Jews. Christ exposed these as blind guides, and thereby lessened their authority among the people, which contributed very much to the spreading of the gospel. Blayney, who thinks the common translation encumbered with insuperable difficulties, renders the clause, and I set aside the authority of the shepherds in one month. His reasons for this interpretation have certainly considerable weight, but cannot with propriety be introduced here. One argument, however, in favour of it, to which he appeals, may be noticed. It evidently suits that application of the prophecy which most commentators adopt. “Let us now see,” says he, “what happened to him, of whom Zechariah is evidently set forth as the type. Our Saviour’s teaching was in a style so far superior to that of the professed guides of the people in his days, that, stung with jealousy, they exclaimed, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Ye have lost all your wonted influence; behold the world is gone after him, John 12:19. Even so it may be presumed the purity and disinterestedness of Zechariah’s instructions may have gained so far upon the minds of the people as to deprive the corrupt and selfish teachers of that ascendency which they once possessed.” And my soul loathed them Or, was straitened toward them, as the Hebrew, תקצר בהם , may be literally translated, that is, I was straitened in my affections to them. I was less tender toward them than toward the poor of the flock, because they showed themselves to be averse from my person and doctrine. So the Vulgate, contracta est anima mea in eis. The LXX., however, read, βαρυνθησεται η ψυχη μου , my soul shall be burdened; and Bishop Newcome, my soul was grieved at them. The word בחלה , rendered abhorred, in the next clause, does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures, but, according to Bishop Newcome, bears that sense in the Syriac. The LXX. render it, αι ψυκαι αυτων επωρυοντο επεμε , Their souls howled, bellowed, roared, or, raised a horrible outcry against me, an expression strikingly descriptive of the fierce and vehement accusations of the Jewish chief priests, scribes, and elders against Christ, and of the violent, loud, and oft-repeated clamours of the people for his condemnation and crucifixion. Of which see Luke 23:5; Luke 23:10; Luke 23:18-24.

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