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Zechariah 11:8

8. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

8. Et rejeci tres pastores mense uno; et taedio affecta est (ad verbum coarctata est) anima mea in ipsis; atque etiam anima eorum me abominata est.


At the beginning of the verse the Prophet continues the same subject, that God spared no pains in ruling the people, but patiently bore with many grievances; for it is the duty of every good and careful husband man to inspect often his flock, and to change his shepherd, when he finds him idle and inattentive to his duties. God then shows that he had exercised the greatest vigilance, for in one month he had rejected three shepherds, that is, he had within a short space of time often made choice of new shepherds, and substituted them for others, for one month is to be taken here for a short time, and the three shepherds signify many, indefinitely. When a husband man neglects his own flock, he may be deceived all the year round, should he meet with a thief or an inactive and worthless man. Since then God says, that he had changed his shepherds often in one month, he intimates what I have already said, that he took the greatest care of his flock, for he loved it, and omitted nothing necessary to defend it. 138138     This is a more satisfactory explanation than what has been by many offered; for most have made the attempt to fix on some three shepherds, either before or after this time. Jerome mentions Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; others have referred to the three sons of Josiah, to the three Maccabean brethren, and to the three last of the Asmonean princes. Cyril names the priests, civil rulers, and lawyers or scribes; and this is the explanation which Henderson prefers, and also Scott and Adam Clarke. Newcome has given no option. Blayney prefers another rendering, “and I set aside the authority of the shepherds,” but this cannot be admitted. The view given by Calvin is the most reasonable, and comports with the character of what was conveyed by vision. — Ed. And this circumstance especially aggravated the sin of the Jews, for they did not respond to so great a care on God’s part; no, not when they saw that he watched night and day for their safety.

Now the latter part of the verse is a complaint, for God begins to set forth how base had been the wickedness and ingratitude of the people, With weariness, he says, has my soul been affected by them, and their soul has hated me 139139     My soul was grieved at them, and their soul also loathed me.—Newcome.
   My soul loathed them, and their soul also rejected me.—Henderson

   The first verb means grieved, vexed, or wearied, and not loathed. See Numbers 21:23: Judges 10:16; 16:16. “Wearied was my soul with them.” The verb in the next clause is only found here, and rendered “roared,” [επωροντο], by the Septuagint, (see Jeremiah 12:7,) and “despised,” by the Targum. It is said, that the word in the Talmud is used in the sense of despising and hating, and this idea suits this place, “and their soul also hast despised me.” — Ed.
He speaks not now of the shepherds, and they are mistaken who so read the passage, as though God had repudiated the shepherds, because his soul w as wearied with them: on the contrary, he turns his discourse to the whole people, and begins to show how wicked they had been, who having been favored with so many benefits, could not yet endure the best of shepherds. Hence he says, that his soul had been straitened by them, for he found no room made for his favors. Paul also, treating on this subject, expostulates with the Corinthians, and says, that he was ready to pour forth his heart and to open widely his mouth, but they themselves were straitened, and he felt himself these straitenings in his own heart. (2 Corinthians 6:11.) So also God complains here and says, that he was straitened by the Jews; for he found that his blessings were not rightly received, but as it were hindered, so great was the wickedness of the people.

He expresses more clearly at the end that he was despised by them, They also have hated me. Now it was a contempt in no way excusable, when the Jews would not acknowledge how kindly and bountifully God had treated them. We now perceive the Prophet’s design: after having related how kindly God had condescended to rule the people, he now says that this labor had produced no fruit, for the door for God’s favors had been closed up. It afterwards follows-

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