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Zechariah - Chapter 11

Zechariah - Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

1Open your doors, O Lebanon, and let the fire consume your cedars.   אפְּתַ֥ח לְבָנ֖וֹן דְּלָתֶ֑יךָ וְתֹאכַ֥ל אֵ֖שׁ בַּֽאֲרָזֶֽיךָ:
Open your doors, O Lebanon: Jonathan renders: O peoples, open your gates.  
2Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, for the mighty ones have been spoiled. Wail, O oaks of the Bashan, for the fortified forest has gone down.   בהֵילֵ֚ל בְּרוֹשׁ֙ כִּי־נָ֣פַל אֶ֔רֶז אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַדִּירִ֖ם שֻׁדָּ֑דוּ הֵילִ֙ילוּ֙ אַלּוֹנֵ֣י בָשָׁ֔ן כִּ֥י יָרַ֖ד יַ֥עַר הַבָּצִֽיר (כתיב הַבָּצִֽור) :
Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen: [The cedar,] which is bigger than the cypress, [has fallen]. Howl, O rulers, for the kings of the nations have fallen.  
Wail, O oaks of the Bashan: Kesnes or chesnes in Old French, chenes in Modern French.  
for… has gone down: For it has been broken. Similar to [this expression] is (Isa. 32:19), “And He shall hail down the breaking of the forest.”  
the fortified forest: The fortified forest, the strong walled cities.  
3Hearken [to] the wailing of the shepherds, for their glory has been spoiled. Hearken [to] the roar of the young lions, for the pride of the Jordan has been spoiled.   גקוֹל יִֽלְלַ֣ת הָֽרֹעִ֔ים כִּ֥י שֻׁדְּדָ֖ה אַדַּרְתָּ֑ם קוֹל שַֽׁאֲגַ֣ת כְּפִירִ֔ים כִּ֥י שֻׁדַּ֖ד גְּא֥וֹן הַיַּרְדֵּֽן:
the shepherds: The kings.  
for their glory: אַדַּרְתָּם  
the roar of the young lions: The princes shall weep.  
for the pride of the Jordan has been spoiled: The pride of the Jordan, which is the place of the young lions and the old lions. Our Sages (Yoma 39b) explained “Open your doors, O Lebanon,” as the prophet prophesying about the destruction of the Second Temple; that forty years prior to the destruction, the doors of the Temple proper would open by themselves. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai rebuked them. He said, “Temple, how long will you terrify yourself? I know that you will eventually be destroyed. Zechariah the son of Iddo has already prophesied concerning you: 'Open your doors, O Lebanon, etc.’”  
4So said the Lord, my God: Tend the flock of slaughter,   דכֹּ֥ה אָמַ֖ר יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֑י רְעֵ֖ה אֶת־צֹ֥אן הַֽהֲרֵגָֽה:
Tend the flock of slaughter: Prepare shepherds for them; i.e., prophesy concerning their leaders who are destined to lead them from now on.  
the flock of slaughter: Israel, whose shepherds slew them and devoured them.  
5whose buyers shall slay them and not be guilty; and whose sellers shall say, "Blessed be the Lord, for I have become wealthy"; and whose shepherds shall not have pity on them.   האֲשֶׁ֨ר קֹֽנֵיהֶ֚ן יַֽהַרְגֻן֙ וְלֹ֣א יֶאְשָׁ֔מוּ וּמֹֽכְרֵיהֶ֣ן יֹאמַ֔ר בָּר֥וּךְ יְהֹוָ֖ה וַאעְשִׁ֑ר וְרֹ֣עֵיהֶ֔ם לֹ֥א יַחְמ֖וֹל עֲלֵיהֶֽן:
and not be guilty: The kings of the nations among whom I will exile them; this one sells them, and the buyer slays them, without feeling (lit., “and he does not put to his heart”) that there should be guilt in the matter. The seller boasts.  
Blessed be the Lord: Who delivered them into my hand, and behold! I am wealthy.  
for I have become wealthy: And behold! I am wealthy.  
6For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land, says the Lord. And behold! I will deliver the men, each one into his neighbor's hand and into his king's hand. And they shall crush the land, and I will not save [them] from their hand[s].   וכִּ֠י לֹ֣א אֶחְמ֥וֹל ע֛וֹד עַל־יֹֽשְׁבֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֑ה וְהִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֜י מַמְצִ֣יא אֶת־הָאָדָ֗ם אִ֚ישׁ בְּיַד־רֵעֵ֙הוּ֙ וּבְיַ֣ד מַלְכּ֔וֹ וְכִתְּתוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְלֹ֥א אַצִּ֖יל מִיָּדָֽם:
7And I tended the flock of slaughter; indeed, the poor of the flock. And I took for Myself two staffs; one I called Pleasantness, and one I called Destroyers; and I tended the flock.   זוָֽאֶרְעֶה֙ אֶת־צֹ֣אן הַֽהֲרֵגָ֔ה לָכֵ֖ן עֲנִיֵּ֣י הַצֹּ֑אן וָֽאֶקַּח־לִ֞י שְׁנֵ֣י מַקְל֗וֹת לְאַחַ֞ד קָרָ֚אתִי נֹ֙עַם֙ וּלְאַחַד֙ קָרָ֣אתִי חֹֽבְלִ֔ים וָֽאֶרְעֶ֖ה אֶת־הַצֹּֽאן:
And I tended the flock of slaughter: All these are the words of the Holy One, blessed be He, to the prophet: And I tended them in the early days.  
indeed, the poor of the flock: Indeed, they were the poor of the flock when I began to tend them.  
and I took for Myself two staffs: At the end of a period of time, I divided them into two kingdoms because of their iniquity.  
one I called Pleasantness: Jeroboam promised to lead them gently.  
and one I called Destoyers: Rehoboam told [his kingdom] that he would flog them with scorpions (I Kings 12:11). [Zechariah] calls their rulers staffs because it is customary to lead flocks with staffs.  
8I cut off the three shepherds in one month, I could not tolerate them; moreover, they were too much for Me.   חוָֽאַכְחִ֛ד אֶת־שְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת הָֽרֹעִ֖ים בְּיֶ֣רַח אֶחָ֑ד וַתִּקְצַ֚ר נַפְשִׁי֙ בָּהֶ֔ם וְגַם־נַפְשָׁ֖ם בָּֽחֲלָ֥ה בִֽי:
I cut off the three shepherds in one month: They corrupted their ways until I rejected them, and I slew all three shepherds in one month. Jehu slew the entire house of Ahab, and the house of Ahaziah the king of Judah, and his brothers, and all the seed of the kingdom of David; and Athaliah slew the rest, save Joash, who hid (II Kings 10, 11).  
I could not tolerate them: “My soul was short with them” I rejected them. And every expression of shortness of soul denotes a distressful or disgusting matter, that a person’s thoughts cannot tolerate. His heart and his reigns are too short to contain it, as Elihu said (Job 32:18), “The spirit of my innards constrains me.”  
moreover, they were too much for Me: Their memory was too big for My innards, and it filled My spirit and constrained My reins. The word בָּחֲלָה was explained by our Sages in tractate Niddah (47a) as an expression of largeness. The Sages depicted the development of a woman with a metaphor: פַּגָּה, unripe figs; בֹּחַל, larger figs, and צֶמֶל, completely ripe figs. She is compared to unripe figs when she is still a child; she is compared to larger figs in the days of her youth, when she is already bigger. They brought this verse as proof of their words.  
9And I said, "I will not tend you. That which dies-let it die; and that which is cut off-let it be cut off. And the survivors shall eat, each one her neighbor's flesh.   טוָֽאֹמַ֕ר לֹ֥א אֶרְעֶ֖ה אֶתְכֶ֑ם הַמֵּתָ֣ה תָמ֗וּת וְהַנִּכְחֶ֙דֶת֙ תִּכָּחֵ֔ד וְהַ֨נִּשְׁאָר֔וֹת תֹּאכַ֕לְנָה אִשָּׁ֖ה אֶת־בְּשַׂ֥ר רְעוּתָֽהּ:
And I said, “I will not tend you…”: I said in those days, “I will cast them from before Me,” and they shall be free and subject to spoil.  
10And I took My [first] staff, [called] Pleasantness and I cut it off to nullify My convenant that I [had] formed with all the peoples.   יוָֽאֶקַּ֚ח אֶת־מַקְלִי֙ אֶת־נֹ֔עַם וָֽאֶגְדַּ֖ע אֹת֑וֹ לְהָפֵיר֙ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר כָּרַ֖תִּי אֶת־כָּל־הָֽעַמִּֽים:
And I took My [first] staff, [called] Pleasantness: I broke the power of the kings of Israel in the days of Jehoahaz the son of Jehu - to the extent that the king of Aram destroyed them and made them like dust to trample (II Kings 13:7) - and in the days of Hoshea the son of Elah, when I delivered them into the hands of Sennacherib and he exiled them (ibid. 17:6).  
to nullify My covenant that I [had] formed with all the peoples: To show them that because they betrayed Me, I nullified My covenant that I formed with all the peoples concerning them, that the [peoples] not harm them. For, on that condition I gave them the Torah, that if they keep it, they will be free from the kingdoms; that no nation or tongue shall rule over them. And do not be surprised if Scripture speaks of their salvation from the hands of the enemy as forming a covenant with the enemy, for we find a similar verse (Hosea 2:20): “And I will make a covenant for them on that day with the beasts of the field, etc.”  
11And it was nullified on that day. And the poor of the flock that kept My word knew this, that it was the word of the Lord.   יאוַתֻּפַ֖ר בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא וַיֵּֽדְע֨וּ כֵ֜ן עֲנִיֵּ֚י הַצֹּאן֙ הַשֹּֽׁמְרִ֣ים אֹתִ֔י כִּ֥י דְבַר־יְהֹוָ֖ה הֽוּא:
knew this: The righteous among them who kept My statute understood.  
that it was the word of the Lord: This decree the Holy One, blessed be He, already spoke to us through Moses (Deut. 28:36): “The Lord shall drive you and your king.”  
12And I said to them: "If it pleases you, give [Me] My hire, and if not, forbear." And they weighed out My hire: thirty pieces of silver.   יבוָֽאֹמַ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם אִם־ט֧וֹב בְּעֵֽינֵיכֶ֛ם הָב֥וּ שְׂכָרִ֖י וְאִם־לֹ֣א | חֲדָ֑לוּ וַיִּשְׁקְל֥וּ אֶת־שְׂכָרִ֖י שְׁלֹשִׁ֥ים כָּֽסֶף:
And I said: to the remaining kings of Judah.  
“If it pleases you, give [Me] My hire…”: Fulfill My commandments, and that will be My payment for all the good that I have given you; as they give hire to a shepherd, I will return and tend you.  
and if not, forbear: And I, too, will not do good for you. We find that the Holy One, blessed be He, said similarly to Ezekiel (3:27): “He that hears, let him hear, and he that forbears, let him forbear.”  
And they weighed out My hire, thirty pieces of silver: Jonathan paraphrases: And they performed My will with a few men. There were a few good men among them, such as the craftsmen and the sentries, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Ezekiel. But I do not know how to explain the expression here of thirty pieces of silver exactly, except that כֶּסֶף is an expression of desire. Our Sages, too, explained it this way in Chullin (92a). They brought proof from (Prov. 7:20), “The bundle of the desirable ones He took in His hand.” The thirty they explained in the following manner: There are forty-five righteous men in every generation. They brought proof from (Hosea 3:2), “a חֹמֶר of barley and a לֶתֶ of barley” - fifteen righteous in Babylon and thirty in Eretz Israel. It is said: “And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord in Eretz Israel.” The number thirty is explained by the Midrash Aggadah (Cf. Gen. Rabbah 49:3, Pesikta d’Rav Kahana 88a), that our father Abraham was promised that no generation would have fewer than thirty righteous in men, the number of (Gen. 15:8): “So shall your seed be.” The word יִהְיֶה has the numerical value of thirty.  
13And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the keeper of the treasury, to the stronghold of glory-of which I stripped them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast it into the house of the Lord, to the keeper of the treasury.   יגוַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֵלַ֗י הַשְׁלִיכֵ֙הוּ֙ אֶל־הַיּוֹצֵ֔ר אֶ֣דֶר הַיְקָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָקַ֖רְתִּי מֵֽעֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וָֽאֶקְחָה֙ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים הַכֶּ֔סֶף וָֽאַשְׁלִ֥יךְ אֹת֛וֹ בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־הַיּוֹצֵֽר:
And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the keeper of the treasury: like הָאוֹצֵר, the keeper of the treasury. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, to the prophet: Write, and leave over these and their righteousness to be preserved for the end of the seventy years of the Babylonian exile. The Temple shall be built by them. Now what is the treasury? [Cf. below]  
the stronghold of glory: My Temple, the stronghold of My glory.  
of which I stripped them: of which I stripped them so that they should no longer have glory. The expression יָקַרְתִּי means the removal of glory; the “mem” in מֵעֲלֵיהֶם proves it. It is like (Ps. 52:7), “and He shall uproot you from the land of the living” ; and like (Isa. 10: 33), “lops off the branches.” My explanation is similar to Jonathan’s translation. I have seen many variant versions of the explanation of this prophecy, but I cannot reconcile those with the text.  
14And I cut off my second staff, the Destroyers, to nullify the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.   ידוָֽאֶגְדַּע֙ אֶת־מַקְלִ֣י הַשֵּׁנִ֔י אֵ֖ת הַחֹֽבְלִ֑ים לְהָפֵר֙ אֶת־הָאַֽחֲוָ֔ה בֵּ֥ין יְהוּדָ֖ה וּבֵ֥ין יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
And I cut off My second staff: I exiled Zedekiah.  
the destroyers: The wicked of his generation, for he was righteous, but his generation was wicked.  
to nullify the brotherhood: that the Judahites and the Benjamites were joined in brorherhood, and that they adhered to the abominations of the kings of Israel.  
15And the Lord said to me; Take for yourself still another thing, the instrument of a foolish shepherd.   טווַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֵלָ֑י ע֣וֹד קַח־לְךָ֔ כְּלִ֖י רֹעֶ֥ה אֱוִלִֽי:
Take for yourself, etc.: This is what He said to him above: Tend the flock of slaughter (verse 4). This is a sign that I am destined to deliver the generation of the destruction of this Second Temple into the hands of Esau.  
16For, behold! I am setting up a shepherd in the land. Those that are cut off he shall not remember; the foolish ones he shall not seek. The lame he shall not heal; the one that can stand he shall not bear. And the flesh of the fat one he shall eat, and their hoofs he shall break.   טזכִּ֣י הִנֵּה־אָֽנֹכִי֩ מֵקִ֨ים רֹעֶ֜ה בָּאָ֗רֶץ הַנִּכְחָד֚וֹת לֹֽא־יִפְקֹד֙ הַנַּ֣עַר לֹֽא־יְבַקֵּ֔שׁ וְהַנִּשְׁבֶּ֖רֶת לֹ֣א יְרַפֵּ֑א הַנִּצָּבָה֙ לֹ֣א יְכַלְכֵּ֔ל וּבְשַׂ֚ר הַבְּרִיאָה֙ יֹֽאכַ֔ל וּפַרְסֵיהֶ֖ן יְפָרֵֽק:
Those that are cut off: The shepherd will not remember to seek the lost ones.  
the foolish ones he shall not seek: Jonathan renders: Those that wandered off he shall not seek. The word הַנַּעַר means the foolish ones that do not know to enter the fold.  
the one that can stand: The one that has a little strength to stand on its feet and requires help, [the one that needs] to be led slowly. Menahem (Machbereth p. 148) explained: and the swollen one, as in (Num. 5:22), “to cause the belly to swell.”  
he shall not bear: Jonathan renders. he shall not bear. It is the custom of the shepherd to carry the lambs in his bosom.  
And the flesh of the fat one he shall eat: He will finish the money of the wealthy.  
and their hoofs he shall break: until they are finished. Daniel (7:7) stated a figure similar to this: “It devoured and broke in pieces, and the residue it trampled with its foot.”  
17Ho, worthless shepherd, who abandons the flock! A sword is on his arm and his right eye; his arm shall wither, and his right eye shall dim.   יזה֣וֹי רֹעִ֚י הָֽאֱלִיל֙ עֹֽזְבִ֣י הַצֹּ֔אן חֶ֥רֶב עַל־זְרוֹע֖וֹ וְעַל־עֵ֣ין יְמִינ֑וֹ זְרֹעוֹ֙ יָב֣וֹשׁ תִּיבָ֔שׁ וְעֵ֥ין יְמִינ֖וֹ כָּהֹ֥ה תִכְהֶֽה:
Ho: There is reason to cry out concerning this.  
worthless shepherd: a shepherd of nought. א ֶלִיל, is an expression of אַל, naught; he is not a shepherd. [There is also] (in Job 13:4) “worthless physicians.” רֹעִי The “yud” is superfluous; it is instead of a “he,” as “who abandons the flock”; (Deut. 33:16) who dwells (שׁכְנִי) in the bramble “; and (Micha 7:14) ” who dwells alone.  
who abandons the flock: Who leaves them free for anyone who comes to beat, to slay, and to spoil.  
A sword is on his arm and his right eye: And that shepherd carries a slaughtering knife in his hand to slaughter the fat and the healthy, upon which he cast his right eye to know who are the wealthy, to spoil and finish their property  
his arm shall wither: In the future (as in Ezek. 25:14), “I will wreak My vengeance, etc.” The commentators, however, interpreted this as a reference to Zedekiah, an allusion to (II Kings 25:7), “and they blinded Zedekiah’s eyes.” But it is impossible to reconcile “Behold! I am setting up a shepherd in the land” as referring to Zedekiah, for seventy years had already passed after him.  
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