Zechariah 11:4-17

The two shepherds

11:4Zechariah will now talk about shepherds. But now he means the rulers who should help their people.

4 This is what the Lord said to me, Zechariah. ‘My people are like sheep. There will be a time when men will buy them. And then they will kill them. But feed them until that time.

5 Those men who buy the sheep will kill them. Nobody will punish them. They will sell them. And they will say, “Thank you Lord, because I am a rich man.” Their own shepherds do not give the sheep any help.’

6 The Lord says, ‘The people in this country were my people, but they are not my people now. I will not go on being kind to them. I myself will give them to their enemies and to foreign kings. The foreign kings will do very bad things to the country, but I will not come to help.’

7 So I was a good shepherd to the sheep that men would soon kill. I took special care of the weakest sheep. Then I took two sticks. And I called one stick ‘Grace’ and I called the other stick ‘Together’. I fed the sheep.

8 In one month, I sent away three shepherds. They did not like me and I was not patient with them.

9 I said to the sheep, ‘I will not be your shepherd and you will die. The sheep that do not die will eat each other.’

10 I took ‘Grace’ which was my first stick. I broke it into two pieces. The Lord's promise to his people finished.

11 On the day that the Lord's promise finished, the weak sheep watched me. They knew that it was the Lord's message.

12 I said to them, ‘You may think that I should have some money for my work. If you do think that, pay me my money. If you do not want to pay me, keep it.’ So they paid me 30 silver coins.

13 The Lord said to me, ‘Throw the 30 silver coins to the man who makes pots in the house of the Lord.’ They thought that I was not worth very much! I took the 30 coins. And I threw them to the man who makes pots. He makes them for the house of the Lord.

14 Then I broke the second stick called ‘Together’. I made the kingdom of Judah separate from the kingdom of Israel. 15 Then the Lord said to me, Zechariah, ‘Take again the tools of a useless shepherd. 16 I have chosen a man to watch the sheep. He will not help the sheep that are dying. He will not look for the sheep that have gone away. He will not help the sick sheep or feed the strong sheep. He will eat the meat of the fat sheep. He will tear off their feet to get all the meat.

17 Bad things will happen to the bad shepherd who leaves his sheep.

His enemy's knife will cut his arm and his right eye.

His arm will become like a dry stick. And his right eye will no longer be able to see anything.’