Zechariah 13:7-9 . Awake, O sword, against my shepherd Here “the prophet goes back to the great subject of prophecy, the Messiah, after having foretold some events posterior to his appearance; and he then proceeds to other events subsequent to that grand epocha in the history of the Jews, and of mankind; some near it, and some remote.” Newcome. That the sufferings and death of Christ are here predicted, is certain from Christ’s having applied this prophecy to himself, a few hours before he was apprehended in order to be put to death, as St. Matthew ( Mat 26:31 ) and St. Mark ( Mar 14:27 ) inform us, where, foretelling to his disciples that they should all be offended because of him that night, he added, For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and his applying it so directly to himself and his disciples, is as much as if he had said, in direct terms, that this was a prediction of what should happen to himself and them; so that it seems an entire perversion of the passage to apply it to any other subject. He alone, strictly speaking, was and is God’s shepherd and the man, his fellow, or friend, or very near to him, as Houbigant renders עמית , and as it certainly properly signifies, no thing or person being so near and dear to God as his beloved Son; the consequence of whose crucifixion was the scattering for a time of his disciples. And I will turn my hand upon the little ones Houbigant reads, instead of smite, I will smite the shepherd; but I will turn, or bring back, my hand upon the little ones: that is, upon that third part of the people, which was to be tried as gold in the furnace. This is that part which, it is said, Zechariah 13:9, shall call on the name of the Lord: whence it is justly inferred that the two other parts of the Jewish nation, which were to perish, were those Jews who received not the gospel, and who were slain by the Romans: for it is said of the third part, They shall call on my name, in opposition to the two parts who should be cut off and die, Zechariah 13:8. But, even of that third, many Jews, who had believed the gospel, fell away, as when gold or silver is tried, much dross is found among it. So that the number of Jews who should continue in the faith of the gospel is left very small; which the event sufficiently proves, as we learn from the Acts of the Apostles: see Houbigant. Upon the whole we learn from these verses, as Dr. Sharpe observes, the following particulars: “That the shepherd, called the fellow of God, was to be smitten; the sheep were to be scattered; two parts of all that inhabited the land were to be cut off, and die; a third only left, which was to be brought through the fire, refined as silver, and tried as gold. Then it follows, Zechariah 13:9, They shall call, &c. The like events happened under the gospel: the shepherd was smitten, the sheep were scattered, they were to endure severe trials, and their faith was to be more precious than gold tried with fire. To the Jews, our Saviour said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, ye shall not see me until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Our Saviour here foretels the desolation and destruction of Jerusalem; and, instead of comforting the Jews with the prospect of a third temple, and the restoration of bloody sacrifices, in some future age, or advent of the Messiah, he expressly declares they shall see him no more, till they shall acknowledge him by saying, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Dr. Sharpe’s 2d Argument, p. 356.
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