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Zechariah 12:10-13

Context

12:10 “I will pour out on the kingship 1  of David and the population of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication so that they will look to me, 2  the one they have pierced. They will lament for him as one laments for an only son, and there will be a bitter cry for him like the bitter cry for a firstborn. 3  12:11 On that day the lamentation in Jerusalem will be as great as the lamentation at Hadad-Rimmon 4  in the plain of Megiddo. 5  12:12 The land will mourn, clan by clan – the clan of the royal household of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the clan of the family of Nathan 6  by itself and their wives by themselves; 12:13 the clan of the descendants of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; and the clan of the Shimeites 7  by itself and their wives by themselves –

1 tn Or “dynasty”; Heb “house.”

2 tc Because of the difficulty of the concept of the mortal piercing of God, the subject of this clause, and the shift of pronoun from “me” to “him” in the next, many mss read אַלֵי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’aleetasher, “to the one whom,” a reading followed by NAB, NRSV) rather than the MT’s אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר (’elaetasher, “to me whom”). The reasons for such alternatives, however, are clear – they are motivated by scribes who found such statements theologically objectionable – and they should be rejected in favor of the more difficult reading (lectio difficilior) of the MT.

tn Or “on me.”

3 tn The Hebrew term בְּכוֹר (bÿkhor, “firstborn”), translated usually in the LXX by πρωτότοκος (prwtotokos), has unmistakable messianic overtones as the use of the Greek term in the NT to describe Jesus makes clear (cf. Col 1:15, 18). Thus, the idea of God being pierced sets the stage for the fatal wounding of Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God (cf. John 19:37; Rev 1:7). Note that some English translations supply “son” from the context (e.g., NIV, TEV, NLT).

4 tn “Hadad-Rimmon” is a compound of the names of two Canaanite deities, the gods of storm and thunder respectively. The grammar (a subjective genitive) allows, and the problem of comparing Israel’s grief at God’s “wounding” with pagan mourning seems to demand, that this be viewed as a place name, perhaps where Judah lamented the death of good king Josiah (cf. 2 Chr 35:25). However, some translations render this as “for” (NRSV, NCV, TEV, CEV), suggesting a person, while others translate as “of” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT) which is ambiguous.

5 map For location see Map1 D4; Map2 C1; Map4 C2; Map5 F2; Map7 B1.

6 sn By the time of Zechariah the line of descent from David had already been transferred from the Solomon branch to the Nathan branch (the clan of the family of Nathan). Nathan was a son of David (2 Sam 5:14) through whom Jesus eventually came (Luke 3:23-31). Matthew traces Jesus’ ancestry back through Solomon (Matt 1:6-16) but apparently this is to tie Joseph into the Davidic (and thus messianic) line. The “official” descent of Jesus may be viewed as passing through Solomon whereas the “physical” descent came through Nathan.

7 sn The Shimeites were Levites (Exod 6:16-17; Num 3:17-18) who presumably were prominent in the postexilic era. Just as David and Nathan represented the political leadership of the community, so Levi and Shimei represented the religious leadership. All will lament the piercing of the Messiah.



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