13:8 It will happen in all the land, says the Lord,
that two-thirds of the people 1 in it will be cut off and die,
but one-third will be left in it. 2
13:9 Then I will bring the remaining third into the fire;
I will refine them like silver is refined
and will test them like gold is tested.
They will call on my name and I will answer;
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” 3
1 tn The words “of the people” are supplied in the translation for clarity (cf. NCV, TEV, NLT).
2 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.
3 sn The expression I will say ‘It is my people,’ and they will say ‘the