13:7 “Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who is my associate,”
says the Lord who rules over all.
Strike the shepherd that the flock may be scattered; 1
I will turn my hand against the insignificant ones.
13:8 It will happen in all the land, says the Lord,
that two-thirds of the people 2 in it will be cut off and die,
but one-third will be left in it. 3
1 sn Despite the NT use of this text to speak of the scattering of the disciples following Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt 26:31; Mark 14:27), the immediate context of Zechariah suggests that unfaithful shepherds (kings) will be punished by the
2 tn The words “of the people” are supplied in the translation for clarity (cf. NCV, TEV, NLT).
3 sn The fractions mentioned here call to mind the affliction of God’s people described by Ezekiel, though Ezekiel referred to his own times whereas Zechariah is looking forward to a future eschatological age. Ezekiel spoke of cutting his hair at God’s command (Ezek 5:1-4) and then of burning a third of it, striking a third with a sword, and scattering the rest. From this last third a few hairs would survive to become the nucleus of a new Israel. It is this “third” Zechariah speaks of (v. 9), the remnant who will be purified and reclaimed as God’s covenant people.