Zechariah 11:12-13. And I said unto them Namely, upon parting. The prophet, still personating Christ, or acting as a type of him, reminds the Jews of his concern for their welfare, the care he had taken of them, and the labour he had bestowed on instructing them; and refers it to them whether his services had not deserved some reward, and, if they had, what that reward ought to be; saying, If ye think good, give me my price Or rather, my wages or hire of service, as the word שׂכר undoubtedly signifies; and if not, forbear If you dismiss me without wages I shall be content. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver That is, as is supposed, thirty shekels, of the value of about 2 Samuel 4:0 d. each, which was the price of a slave. This showed how little they regarded him, or his labours; that is, how little value the Jews would put on the ministry of Christ; or on his labours and sufferings for their salvation. For, according to St. Matthew 26:15; Matthew 27:9, this symbolical action was fulfilled when the chief priests and elders of the Jews paid that sum to Judas for betraying Christ to them, and putting his life in their power. And the Lord said unto me Unto the prophet, personating Christ; Cast it unto the potter Hereby intimating that it was a reward only suitable to a potter’s labour, and a price only adequate for such wares as he sold, which were of the meanest value. A goodly price that I was prized at of them Thus the prophet ironically remarks on the high estimation in which he and his services were holden: or rather, God here upbraids the shepherds of his people, who prized the great Shepherd no higher. And I cast them to the potter, &c. Or, cast them into the house of the Lord for the potter: I cast them back into the treasury in the temple, whence afterward they were taken, and laid out in purchasing the potter’s field. This whole transaction, performed by Zechariah in a vision, as Lowth, Doddridge, and many other interpreters suppose, or, as others think, in reality; “was designed to be an exact representation of the several circumstances that should attend the betraying of Christ by Judas, the price the chief priests would put upon him, (to whom, as the governors of the temple, the money was returned,) and the use to which the money would be applied. And this whole prophetic scene was transacted in the single person of Zechariah, just as Ezekiel sustained the type or figure both of the Chaldean army that should besiege Jerusalem, and of the Jews themselves that should be besieged, Ezekiel 4:1-12.” So Lowth, who adds, “This is one of those prophecies whose literal sense is fulfilled in our blessed Saviour, and cannot be applied to any other person but in a very remote or improper sense.” The like instances may be seen Psalms 22:16-18; Psalms 69:21; Hosea 11:1. The Jews themselves have expounded this prophecy of the Messiah. “There can be no doubt,” says Blayney, “that this is the passage referred to Matthew 27:9, though under the name of Jeremiah, (put by mistake of some transcriber of St. Matthew’s gospel,) instead of Zechariah. But a question arises, how the transaction related by the evangelist can be said to be a fulfilling of that which was spoken by the prophet, considering the striking difference in some of the circumstances. In the one case, thirty pieces of silver were given as wages for service; in the other, they were paid as the price of a man’s blood: in the one they were thrown with contempt to the potter; in the other, they were cast down in the temple in a fit of remorse, and taken up by others, who employed them in the purchase of the potter’s field. But notwithstanding these differences, considering that all passed under the special direction of Divine Providence, it is impossible not to conclude, from a review of both transactions, that there was a designed allusion of the one to the other, and not a mere accidental resemblance between them. But the quotation, it is said, is not just: for no such words are to be found in the prophet, which the evangelist hath pretended to cite from him. To this it may be answered, that though not the precise words, the substance of them is given, so that the passages are at least equivalent,” as a collation of them in the original will show: see the note on Matthew 27:9.
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