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On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

Idolatry Cut Off

2 On that day, says the L ord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more; and also I will remove from the land the prophets and the unclean spirit. 3And if any prophets appear again, their fathers and mothers who bore them will say to them, “You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the L ord”; and their fathers and their mothers who bore them shall pierce them through when they prophesy. 4On that day the prophets will be ashamed, every one, of their visions when they prophesy; they will not put on a hairy mantle in order to deceive, 5but each of them will say, “I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the soil; for the land has been my possession since my youth.” 6And if anyone asks them, “What are these wounds on your chest?” the answer will be “The wounds I received in the house of my friends.”


The Shepherd Struck, the Flock Scattered


“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,

against the man who is my associate,”

says the L ord of hosts.

Strike the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered;

I will turn my hand against the little ones.


In the whole land, says the L ord,

two-thirds shall be cut off and perish,

and one-third shall be left alive.


And I will put this third into the fire,

refine them as one refines silver,

and test them as gold is tested.

They will call on my name,

and I will answer them.

I will say, “They are my people”;

and they will say, “The L ord is our God.”


Here the Prophet, in order to finish what we explained yesterday, says that such would be the discipline among the new people after having repented, that each in his own house would chastise his sons and relatives: and it is an evidence of perfect zeal, when not only judges perform their office in correcting wickedness, but when also private individuals assist to preserve public order, each according to his power. It is indeed true that the use of the sword is not allowed us, so that the offender may be punished by his neighbor: but as it was always allowed by the law of God, that when the matter did not come before a public tribunal, friends might inflict punishment, Zechariah, alluding to this custom, says, that though they who unjustly claimed the prophetic office and spread abroad false and impious errors, should not be visited with capital punishment, yet such would be their zeal for true religion, that friends would privately chastise such as they found to be of this character.

If any one objects and says, that these two things are inconsistent, — that false Prophets were punished with death, and that they were only chastised with stripes or scourges. To this I answer, that Zechariah does not speak precisely of the kind and mode of punishment, but says generally, that false teachers, even in the estimation of their parents, were worthy of death; and that if they were treated more gently they should yet suffer such a punishment, that they would through life be mutilated and ever bear scars as proofs of their shame.

We may at the same time gather from the answer what proves true repentance, Say will one, (it is put indefinitely,) or it will be said, What mean these wounds in thine hands? Then he will say, I have been stricken by my friends. The Prophet shows that those who had previously deceived the people would become new men, so as patiently to bear correction; though it might seem hard when the hands are wounded and pierced, yet he says that the punishment, which was in itself severe, would bee counted mild, for they would be endued with such meekness as willingly to bear to be corrected. Some apply this to Christ, because Zechariah has mentioned wounds on the hands; but this is very puerile; for it is quite evident that he speaks here of false teachers, who had for a time falsely pretended God’s name. As then they say, that they were friends by whom they were smitten, they acknowledge themselves worthy of such punishment, and they murmur not, nor set up any complaint. 174174     This verse may be thus rendered —
   When one shall say to him,
are these wounds in thine hands?”
Then he will say,
“Because I have been smitten at home by my friends,”

   by my lovers, [מאהבי].

   Grotius, Blayney, and Henderson, consider the “wounds” or stripes, punctures or marks, to have been those made in honor of some idol, and ascribed to friends for the purpose of escaping punishment: but the obvious meaning is that stated by Calvin, — that they were the wounds inflicted by the nearest relatives, particularly mentioned in the 3rd verse, “and pierce him shall his father and his mother,” etc. Marckius, Adam Clarke, and Henderson, agree with Calvin in repudiating the notion that this verse is to be understood by Papal expositors: but Henry and Scott refer to the sentiment without condemning or approving it. Both Jerome and Theodoret refer, as it is done here, to the punishment inflicted by the parents; and it is strange that any sound expounder could do otherwise. — Ed.
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