Zechariah 13:7
Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, against the man who is My Companion," declares the LORD of Hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn My hand against the little ones.
Sermons
Christ Smitten by the FatherJ. Stratten.Zechariah 13:7
God's Government of the WorldHomilistZechariah 13:7
Jehovah's SwordG. Brooks.Zechariah 13:7
Messiah SmittenR. Winter Hamilton, D. D.Zechariah 13:7
The Character and Sufferings of ChristT. Hannam.Zechariah 13:7
The Character of Christ as the Shepherd of IsraelRobert Elder, A. M.Zechariah 13:7
The Fellow of JehovahG. Brooks.Zechariah 13:7
The Flock ScatteredW. L. Alexander, D. D.Zechariah 13:7
The Passion SermonD. Featly, D. D.Zechariah 13:7
The Shepherd of the Flock SmittenJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Zechariah 13:7
The Solitariness of Christ's DeathZechariah 13:7
The SwordW. Forsyth Zechariah 13:7
The Sword of Jehovah Smiting His ShepherdC. Bradley.Zechariah 13:7
God's Government of the WorldD. Thomas Zechariah 13:7-9


There is here something of heaven and earth. Jehovah speaks. He lays his command on the sword of justice, to awake and "smite." This implies death, and death not of a common sort, but as a judicial act, under the sanction of law. We take the scene to illustrate the tragedy of Calvary (Matthew 26:31; John 16:32). Three questions may be asked.

I. WHO? The rebellious Babylon, Rome, Jerusalem? No. "The man that is my fellow." Who is this? Search, and where can you find such a one? Abraham was God's friend, but not his "fellow." Prophets and kings, martyrs and confessors, all stand aside. None but Christ answers the description. He is the First and the Last and the only One, in human likeness, who could say, "I and my Father are One"

II. WHY? Justice has its reasons. All that God does must be in accordance with eternal right. But here is mystery. The Man who alone was "without sin," holy and perfect - the solitary man, in human form, who was nearest of kin to God himself - to be dealt with as if he were a transgressor, and as if he had done things worthy of death, - this is exceeding strange. The key is in the term "Shepherd." Implies covenant relationship. Substitution of person and of sufferings. The One for the many; the Shepherd for the sheep.

III.. WHAT THEN? We reasonably expect results worthy of such a tragedy. Twofold.

1. Judgment. Not only as to the disciples, but the Jewish people.

2. Mercy. Tender compassion. Gracious interposition. Glorious resolve. "I will turn my hand upon the little ones." Let us note that there is but one alternative - hand or sword. If we pass by God's hand stretched out to save, we must perish by the sword. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." - F.









Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd
We have our Lord's own authority for applying this passage to Himself.

I. THE DESCRIPTION HERE GIVEN US OF HIM. In looking at the terms in which our Lord is here described, we are struck at once with the natural manner in which they bring together His Divine and human nature. This mode of describing Him is of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament. It seems as though the Holy Spirit exulted beforehand in that union of the two natures, which was to be accomplished in His nature, and wished the ancient Church also to foresee and exult in it. In the text, He is described in the same twofold character. He is a man, and yet "the man that is My fellow," saith the Lord of hosts. "My fellow" signifies "my equal," "my companion." It is expressive of our Lord's Divine equality with the Father, and His eternal existence with Him. It intimates exactly what St. John afterwards plainly declared, — "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." But He is man as well as God. Not, however, originally, naturally man, as He was God. Here is an anticipation of a character He afterwards took on Him. And this assumption of our nature was necessary for the work of suffering He had to go through. In this human nature, He is set forth in the text under a third character. He is a shepherd. So called because the charge of His people devolves upon Him; because He performs towards them a shepherd's part, watching over, providing for, and guiding them. He is called God's shepherd, because the flock under His charge is God's flock, a flock committed to Him by God, to be rendered back by Him to God again. Happy they who are fed by Him.

II. THE COMMAND GIVEN BY JEHOVAH. It is couched in figurative and highly poetic language. The Lord places Himself on the throne of a king or magistrate. They who bear these offices have often a sword near them as an emblem of their authority, and if need be, a ready instrument to execute any sentence they may pass on the guilty. Here the Lord describes Himself as suddenly addressing the sword near Him, and calling on it to smite, not the guilty but His own Son, and Him as shepherd.

1. We see in it that the sufferings of our Lord were divinely appointed. The persecuting Jews indeed were willing agents in all they did against Him. They did it voluntarily; yet they did "whatsoever God's hand and God's counsel had determined before to be done."

2. Here, too, we see that the sufferings of our Lord were most severe. Man can inflict much misery, but his power is limited. When God calls off our attention from man as the author of our Lord's sufferings, and directs it to Himself, we feel at once that our Lord must be a most severe sufferer. The language of the text conveys this idea forcibly. It is sword — not a scourge or a rack. It is "smite"; strike hard. Mark the word "awake." It implies that, up to this hour, the sword of Jehovah had been sleeping. Now it is to awake, to rise up in its vigour and majesty. It is to strike in the greatness of its strength.

3. The text represents our Lord's sufferings as surprising. Against whom? The very Being of all others, whom we should have expected Him to shield from every sword. The Being who is the nearest and dearest to Him, the man that is His fellow. To add to our surprise, the Lord seems to afflict Him, not reluctantly, but willingly; yea, more than willingly, almost eagerly. He is well-pleased in this thing for "His righteousness' sake."

III. THE CONSEQUENCES WHICH ARE TO FOLLOW THE EXECUTION OF THIS COWARD.

1. The shepherd is to be smitten, and the sheep, frightened at the violence done to Him, are to be scattered.

2. The smiting of this shepherd is to be followed by a signal interposition of Jehovah in behalf of the scattered sheep. "I will turn My hand upon the little ones." This term represents to us the feeble and helpless condition of our Lord's followers at the time of HIS crucifixion. These timid disciples of our Lord were strangely kept together, in spite of their unbelief and fears, after His crucifixion, and sheltered from every danger. And we know what the early Church soon became. It was a wonder in the world, itself doing wonders.Look at the practical purposes to which we may turn this text.

1. To strengthen our faith in Holy Scripture. I do not allude to the predictions we find in it, which were afterwards so exactly fulfilled. I refer rather to that beautiful harmony of thoughts and expression, which exists between this verse of the Old Testament, and another passage of the New. (Compare the passage John 10.)

2. The fearful evil of sin. There are moments when we cannot read this text without an inward shudder — it exhibits the great Jehovah to us in a character so awful, and in an attitude so dismaying. He is represented as an offended Judge, calling for, and eager for the sacrifice of His own dear Son. Evidently, the evil of sin is a reality; the Divine justice is a reality; the inflexible unbending character of God's law is a reality; his determination to punish every breach of it, everywhere throughout His wide universe, is a reality. The cross of Jesus Christ proclaims all these things to be most solemn realities.

3. The perfect safety of all who are indeed resting for safety on our crucified Lord. You have nothing to fear from this awful God. In the greatness of Him whom He here commands to be smitten for you, you may see the sufficiency, the completeness, and more than that, — the grandeur and glory of the atonement He has made for sins.

(C. Bradley.)

I. THE COMMISSION GIVEN TO JEHOVAH'S SWORD.

1. Whom was it to smite?

2. In whose hand was it to inflict the stroke?

II. THE GROUNDS AND REASONS OF THIS COMMISSION.

1. To show His indignation against sin.

2. To reconcile justice with mercy in the salvation of sinners.

III. THE EFFECTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF IT.

1. The immediate effect was the scattering of our Lord's disciples.

2. The ultimate effect was their restoration and recovery.

(G. Brooks.)

It is the observation of SS. Austine and Gregorie, that the four beasts mentioned by St. John mystically represent the four main acts of Christ, or works of man's redemption, His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension. I have to do with a prophecy somewhat dark before the light of the Gospel shone upon it. "Awake, O Sword," etc.

I. THE SPEAKER, "the Lord of hosts."

II. THE SPEECH. "O Sword." As all the creatures are God's soldiers, so when He employeth them against man they are called His swords. When the Lord is pleased to execute His wrath He never wanteth instruments or means. Of the blow here threatened, God Himself is the Author. God never awaketh His sword to smite, but for sin. In this shepherd there was no sin of His own. "Against My Shepherd." Popish writers say that a shepherd should have three things, a scrip, a hook, and a whistle. This Shepherd is the good, the universal Shepherd. Daniel says, — The Messias shall be slain, but not for Himself, "God hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." The first and main cause of the Shepherd's slaughter is, our sins. "The man." Hebrews have four words for man — Adam, red earth; Enesh, a man of sorrow; Ish, a man of a noble spirit; Geber, a strong man. "My fellow," for in Him the Godhead dwelleth bodily: and yet a man. God's fellow to offer an infinite sacrifice for all mankind, and a man that He might be Himself the sacrifice killed by the sword that is now awake to smite Him. Consider this, and tremble, ye that forget God. The Shepherd is smitten; if you look to it in time, it may be for you; if not, a worse disaster remaineth for you than befell these sheep.

(D. Featly, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, AS HERE REPRESENTED.

1. God's Shepherd (Psalm 23:1). Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20). Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). The term shepherd is relative, and refers to His followers, whom He calls His sheep (John 10:16). It expresses His tender care over them, which is always proportioned to their peculiar trials, temptations, etc. (Isaiah 40:11). He expresses also His love to them, infinitely surpassing the love of the sons of men. He died for the sheep (John 10:15).

2. God's fellow — His equal. They are one in essence, intimately and essentially one. They are one in power, When on earth the Son did the works His Father did. One in honour and glory. His sacrifice was voluntary. As Jehovah's equal, He had an absolute right and propriety in Himself, and could lay down His life, and take it up again, when He pleased (John 10:17, 18).

II. THE AWFUL MANDATE HERE GIVEN AGAINST GOD'S SHEPHERD AND GOD'S FELLOW. "Awake, O Sword, smite the Shepherd!" The command proceeds from the Eternal Father, whose justice demanded the death of our Lord (Isaiah 53:10). Divine justice had no demands on Christ, simply considered as the Son of God; only when viewed as our voluntary substitute.

1. The principal scenes of sorrow were in the Garden of Gethsemane.

2. Also in the hall of judgment.

3. Calvary was the place that witnessed the dreadful deed.

III. THE EFFECT TO BE PRODUCED. "The sheep shall be scattered."

1. By the sheep are meant the disciples of our Lord.

2. Jesus foretold that His disciples would forsake Him. It was fully accomplished (Matthew 26:56).

IV. BEHOLD THE TENDER COMPASSION OF A GRACIOUS GOD. He promises to turn His hand upon the little ones. Little ones who at that time had but little knowledge of human nature, little faith, and little courage. See God's gracious dealings with the apostles and disciples of Christ. Thus He will deal also with all the faithful followers of Christ. Improvement.

1. Behold in this awful transaction the displeasure of God against sin.

2. As Divine justice is fully satisfied by the tremendous sufferings of Jesus Christ, here we behold sufficient ground for a sinner's hope of pardon. Jesus hath died; the sinner may be forgiven (Romans 3:25).

(T. Hannam.)

That this text contains clear and remarkable revelation of the Saviour no one of spiritual discernment can hesitate to believe. It is one of the clearest of those prophetic testimonies which declared to the Church beforehand "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."

I. THE DESCRIPTION HERE GIVEN OF THE SAVIOUR.

1. My Shepherd. What precise view of the Saviour's place and character is this expression intended to convey? The expression significantly points to His mediatorial character and work. It reminds us that a people have been committed to His hands — that He has graciously undertaken on their behalf and that, in the whole matter of their salvation, He is their head, representative, surety. Whatever is affirmed in the text concerning Him is affirmed in this view of His character and work. The ideas suggested by this title as to the benefits derived by His people from the exercise of His mediatorial offices are full of interest and comfort to the children of God. Why is He designated "My Shepherd"? Because He was appointed and commissioned by the Father, in the counsels of eternity, to execute this office.

2. The man. Believers, in their zealous regard for the glory and honour of the Divine Redeemer, sometimes lose the comfort to be derived from a believing contemplation of the man "Christ Jesus." The righteousness wrought out was wrought out in the nature of man.

3. The fellow of Jehovah. The equal of Jehovah. "God was manifest in the flesh." This is the crowning of truth in the doctrine of salvation.

II. THE VIEW OF GOD'S DEALINGS. Our thoughts are directed to the immediate infliction of the Father's wrath. He pierced Him even to the soul, till the sword of infinite justice was satisfied with blood. Learn —

1. Every word in the text is comforting and instructive to the sheep of Christ.

2. There is precious light in this subject for awakened and trembling sinners.

3. There is here a lesson of solemn warning to careless sinners.

(Robert Elder, A. M.)

We know what was the transaction in which this prophecy was fulfilled; we know the awful epoch which that transaction bears. We hasten to no imaginary scene, but to a true historic one — to an actual time in the calendar of the world's ages.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE VICTIM. We perceive in His character —

1. Manhood, "found in fashion as a man." Man, as never man otherwise could be. Man by a most astonishing process of condescension and self-diminution.

2. Mediation is included. As the shepherd guards his flock, and perils his own life for its rescue and deliverance, so we are considered as entrusted to the hands of Christ, that He may ward off every danger from us to which we are exposed. How far reaching is His sympathy! How touching is His care.

3. Co-equality is supposed. If He be the associate and compeer of the Lord of hosts, then it may suggest the emulation of His honours, the expression of His glories, the assimilation of His deeds, and the concentration of His affections.

II. THE PECULIARITY OF THE ACTION. The "sword" is the emblem of state, of authority, of power, of justice, or retributive execution.

1. This person is the subject of Divine complacency.

2. This person was the object of the Divine infliction.The sword is not the weapon of correction, of momentary chastening; it is the instrument of vengeance and of wrath. The same personage is the subject of Divine complacency and of Divine infliction. How is it explained? Christ is without sin. He is relatively liable for certain penalties, to which He subjects Himself voluntarily and solely. Substitution is the simplifying principle of all. We cannot place the doctrine of atonement on any other than the vicarious principle. See then —

(1)The necessity for the atonement.

(2)Mark the nature of justice.

(3)Learn what is sin.

(4)We see what is the great concert and covenant between the Father and the Son.

(5)What must be the position of the unbeliever who rejects the atonement of Christ, to whom all this is as strange things, an idle dream?

(R. Winter Hamilton, D. D.)

Observe that it is God the Eternal Father who gives the decree for the smiting of the Shepherd. "Saith the Lord of hosts." We have no sympathy with the unguarded language of those who speak of God as an avenging deity, whose wrath can be appeased and propitiated only by offerings of blood. Love is a thing that cannot be bribed. God's love needed not thus to be purchased. That love was the primal cause of all blessing to His creatures. The manifestation, however, of love on the part of a great moral Governor must be compatible with the exercise of His moral perfections. God's justice, holiness, righteousness must be upheld inviolate. While mercy and truth go before His face, justice and judgment must continue the habitation of His throne. As the Omnipotent, God could do anything. So far as power is concerned, He could easily have dispensed with any medium of atonement. But what God, as the Omnipotent, could do, God, as the holy, just, righteous, true, could not do. He could not promulgate laws and leave the transgressor to mock them with impunity. Was there, then, in the case of guilty man, any possible method by which the honour of God's name and character and throne could be preserved intact, and yet the transgressor be saved? Reason is silent here. The principle of substitution — the innocent suffering for the guilty — is one undreamt of in earthly philosophy. The Shepherd has been smitten. The Divine honour has been upholden. Mercy and truth have been betrothed before the altar of Calvary; God hath joined them together for the salvation of the human race, and that marriage covenant never can be disannulled. Justice is now equally interested with love in the rescue of the fallen.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

I. THE PERSON TO BE SMITTEN.

1. He is Jehovah's fellow. He is in equality with God.

2. He is man. His humanity — His manhood — are as distinctly affirmed as His Deity and His equality with God.

3. The title given to Him as the Son of man — the Shepherd.

II. THE SWORD WHICH IS TO WAKE AGAINST HIM.

1. What is this sword? It is the sword of Divine justice.

2. What are we to understand by its awakenings? Every manifestation of God in punishing sin is as nothing compared with the manifestation in Christ's sufferings.

3. Who demands this sword, who calls for its awakening? "The Lord of hosts." The crucifixion as much as the exaltation of Christ was "the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."

4. What was the sword to awaken to? It was to smite unto death.

III. THE REASONS WHY IT WAS SAID, "AWAKE, O SWORD, AGAINST THE VICTIM." It was to make manifest Divine justice, that there should be no connivance with the enormity of sin.

IV. THE EFFECTS WHICH FOLLOWED. "The sheep were scattered." But they were brought back again from their dispersion.

(J. Stratten.)

I. THE TERMS IN WHICH OUR LORD IS DESCRIBED.

1. The man that is the fellow of Jehovah.

2. Jehovah's Shepherd.

II. THE COMMAND GIVEN IN REFERENCE TO HIM.

1. It relates to sufferings divinely appointed.

2. It relates to sufferings most severe.

3. It relates to sufferings most surprising.

III. THE CONSEQUENCES WHICH ARE TO FOLLOW THE EXECUTION OF THIS COMMAND.

1. The dispersion of the sheep.

2. A signal interposition in their behalf.

(G. Brooks.)

Four things to consider.

1. The commission given to the sword by the Lord of hosts.

2. The person against whom it is commissioned.

3. The dismal effect of that stroke; and

4. The gracious mitigation of it. Doctrine — That Christ's dearest friends forsook and left Him alone in the time of His greatest distress and danger.(1) Who were the sheep that were scattered from their Shepherd, and left Him alone? They were those precious elect souls that He had gathered to Himself, who had long followed Him, and dearly loved Him, and were dearly beloved by Him. They had faithfully continued with Him in His temptations. They were resolved so to do.(2) But were they as good as their word? Did they stick faithfully to Him? Theirs was not a total and final apostasy, only a temporary lapse. It was a very sinful and sad relapse; for it was against the very articles of agreement, which they had sealed to Christ at their first admission to His service. So it was unfaithfulness. It was against the very principles of grace implanted by Christ in their hearts. They were holy, sanctified persons, in whom dwelt the love and fear of God. By these they were strongly inclined to adhere to Christ in the time of His sufferings, as appears by those honest resolves they had made in the ease. Their grace strongly inclined them to their duty; their corruptions swayed them the contrary way. It was much against the honour of their Lord and Master. By this their sinful flight they exposed the Lord Jesus to the contempt and scorn of His enemies. As it was against Christ's honour, so it was against their own solemn promise made to Him before His apprehension, to live and die with Him. They break promise with Christ. It was against Christ's heart-melting expostulations with them, which should have abode in their hearts while they lived. It was against a late direful example presented to them in the fall of Judas. In him, as in a glass, they might see how fearful a thing it is to apostatise from Christ. It was against the law of love, which should have knit them closer to Christ, and to one another. This their departure from Christ was accompanied with some offence at Christ.

3. The grounds and reasons of this scattering. God's suspending wonted influences and aids of grace from them. They would not have done so had there been influences of power, zeal, and love from heaven upon them. But how, then, should Christ have "trodden the wine press alone"? As God permitted it, and withheld usual aid from them, so the efficacy of that temptation was great, yea, much greater than ordinary. As they were weaker than they used to be, so the temptation was stronger than any they had yet met withal. It is called, "Their hour and the power of darkness." That which concurred to their shameful relapse, as a special cause of it, was the remaining corruptions that were in their hearts yet unmortified.

4. The issue and event of this sad apostasy. It ended far better than it began. They were scattered for a time, but the Lord turned His hand upon them to gather them. Peter repents of his perfidious denial, and never denied Him more. All the rest like wise returned to Christ, and never forsook Him any more. And though they forsook Christ, Christ never forsook them.Inference —

1. Self-confidence is a sin too incident to the best of men. Little reason have the best of saints to depend upon their inherent grace, let their stock be as large as it will. Shall we be self-confident after such instances of human frailty?

2. A resolved adherence to God and duty, though left alone, without company, or encouragement, is Christ-like, and truly excellent.

3. Though believers are not privileged from backslidings, yet they are secured from final apostasy and ruin.

4. How sad a thing it is for the best of men to be left to their own carnal fears in the day of temptation.

5. How much a man may differ from himself, according as the Lord is with him or withdrawn from him.

6. The best of men know not their own strength till they come to the trial.

7. The holiest of men have no reason either to repine or despond, though God should at once strip them of all their outward and inward comforts together.

( John Flavel.)

I. THE PERSON HERE REPRESENTED IS SMITTEN BY THE SWORD OF DIVINE JUSTICE. This is none other than the Messiah, the Christ. To Him alone can the language here used to describe the object of the smiting apply. No other being but He is at once man and the fellow of Jehovah, the Lord of hosts; and He alone is the Shepherd whom God promised to set over His people Israel to feed them as a flock.

II. THE STROKE INFLICTED ON HIM. This was the deadly stroke of Divine justice. The sword had long slept in its scabbard, but when the fitting time arrived God summoned the sword to awake and do execution on the appointed victim. There is but one event to which the command here given can be understood as pointing — the slaying of Him who, as God's Shepherd, laid down His life for the sheep. Wherefore was He thus smitten? Because, though Himself sinless, He bore the sins of others. The flock had gone astray, and incurred the penalty of apostasy, and He, the Shepherd, had come to give His life for theirs.

III. THE CONSEQUENCE TO THE FLOCK OF THIS SMITING OF THE SHEPHERD. It was twofold. The sheep were to be scattered, but God was to turn back His hand over the humble and meek ones of His flock. The former of these applied to the dispersion of His disciples as consequent on His crucifixion; the other was realised when the Lord, having been raised from the dead, showed Himself to individuals and to groups of them. But though preserved and rescued, Christ's little flock would not escape all trouble and suffering. God would bring them through the fire, and refine and purify them in the furnace of affliction.

(W. L. Alexander, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. AS BRINGING PENAL RUIN UPON MANY.

1. The destruction of their leader. In the Bible language political religious leaders are represented as shepherds. It was applied to Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). The person defined is represented as "the man that is my fellow." Dr. Keil's rendering is, "the man who is my neighbour"; and Dr. Henderson's, "the man who is united to me." Who is this man? On this question there are different opinions. "Calion thought it was Zechariah himself, as representative of all the prophets, and that the prophecy referred only indirectly to Christ. Grotius, Eichhorn, Bauer, and Jahne apply it to Judas Maccabeus, Ewald to Pehak, Hitzig to the pretended prophets spoken of in the preceding verses." The expression "my fellow" does not necessarily mean one who is equal in nature and character, but rather one who has the fellowship of interests and aims. Evangelical writers, however, apply the language to Christ without much critical examination and without hesitation. They do this mainly on the ground that Christ Himself quotes the passage on the night in which He was betrayed, as an illustration of what was immediately awaiting Him (Matthew 26:31). He does not say that the prophecy referred to Him, but merely that the passage was about being illustrated in His history. The shepherd was to be smitten, and the sheep scattered. This, indeed, is a common fact in the history of the world; when the leader is gone the fold is scattered. Our point is that God often brings sufferings on a people by striking down their leader. There are few greater calamities that can befall a people than when nations lose their shepherds and leaders, or when churches lose their pastors. Even when families lose their heads the loss is incalculable. Here is —

2. The dispersion of the flock. This comes to most communities when the true leader is taken away. The removal of a leader in a family, a parent, often leads to a scattering of the children. The scattering is a great evil. Unity is strength and harmony; division is weakness and disorder. When communities are broken up and dispersed the various members often place themselves in antagonism with each other, and rivalries, jealousies, and envyings run riot.

3. The ruin of multitudes. "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein." Probably this refers primarily to the destruction of two-thirds of the inhabitants of Judea by the Roman arms, and the famine or the pestilence and other destructive influences which are the usual concomitants of all wars. Thus the afflictions of the great majority of the human race here represented as the two-thirds of a community come upon them as the retribution of justice — the Divine sword here invoked. They are not disciplinary, but penal. "They are cut off and die." Here we have God's government of the world.

II. BRINGING REMEDIAL DISCIPLINE TO A FEW. "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined," etc. The very calamities which were penal, and utterly ruinous to two-thirds of that population, were morally disciplinary and improving to the remaining third. In the one case they were the strokes of the "sword" of justice. In the other the calamities were but fire in the "pot of the refiner." These by the purifying, influence of trials —

1. Pray and are heard. Shall call on My name, and I will hear them.

2. Are accepted of God as His people.They acknowledge their relationship. "I will say it is My people, and they shall say, the Lord is my God." Conclusion. This doctrine stands out in sublime prominence — that afflictions which are penal and destructive to the many are remedial and merciful to the few.

(Homilist.)

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