Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire can burn up your cedars! Weep, juniper, because the cedar has fallen, the majestic trees are ruined! Weep, oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has been cut down! Listen to the howls of the shepherds, for their pastureland* is destroyed. Listen to the roars of the young lions, for their Jordan habitat is ruined.
This is what the Lord my God says: Become a shepherd of the flock marked for slaughter. Those who buy them kill them and don't feel guilty; those who sell them say, “Praise the Lord! Now I'm rich!” Even their shepherds don't care about them. For I will no longer care about the people of the Land, declares the Lord. I am going to make them victims of each other, and of the king. They will devastate the earth and I won't help anyone get away from them.
So I became a shepherd of the flock marked for slaughter by the sheep merchants. Then I took two staffs, one named Grace, the other named Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I dismissed three shepherds. I became impatient with them§, and they also hated me. Then I said, “I will not be your shepherd.* If the sheep die, they die. Let those that are to perish, perish. Let those who are left eat each other!”
10 Then I took my staff called Grace and broke it, breaking the agreement I had made with all the peoples. 11 It was broken on that day, and the sheep merchants who were watching me knew that it was a message from the Lord. 12 I told them, “If you want to pay me my wages, then do so. If not, then don't.” So they paid me my wagesthirty pieces of silver. 13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw the money to the treasury,” this measly sum they thought I was worth! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the treasury of the Lord's Temple.
14 Then I broke my second staff called Union, breaking the family union between Judah and Israel. 15 The Lord told me, Get the things you use as a shepherd, a useless shepherd. 16 For I am placing a shepherd in charge of the land who won't care for those who are dying, or look for the lost,§ or heal the injured, or feed the healthy. Instead he will eat the meat from the fattest sheep. He even tears their hooves off.* 17 What disaster is coming to this useless shepherd who abandons the flock! The sword will strike his arm and his right eye. His arm will wither away and his right eye will become completely blind.
* 11:3 Literally, “glory.” The parallel with the second line of the verse indicates something in the natural world. 11:3 “Jordan habitat”: literally, “majesty of Jordan.” 11:7 Reading the text as “sheep merchants” rather than “oppressed sheep.” § 11:8 Scholars are divided as to who “them” refers to. Some take it to mean the three shepherds, others the sheep, and still others the sheep merchants. * 11:9 Clearly Zechariah is now speaking to the sheep merchants for whom he was working as a shepherd (11:7) 11:10 Since there is no record of an agreement, or “covenant,” with any other nation, it is presumed that “peoples” here refers to the Israelites. 11:13 Or “to the potter.” However, since “of the Lord's Temple” is mentioned later in the verse, this seems a more likely scenario. § 11:16 Or “the young.” * 11:16 Perhaps illustrating the extent of cruelty to the animals.