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Zechariah 13:8-9

Context

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 Lord is my God’ is reminiscent of the restoration of Israel predicted by Hosea, who said that those who had been rejected as God’s people would be reclaimed and once more become his sons and daughters (Hos 2:23).



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