11:8 Next I eradicated the three shepherds in one month, 1 for I ran out of patience with them and, indeed, they detested me as well. 11:9 I then said, “I will not shepherd you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be eradicated, let it be eradicated. As for those who survive, let them eat each other’s flesh!”
11:15 Again the Lord said to me, “Take up once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 2 11:16 Indeed, I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not take heed to the sheep headed to slaughter, will not seek the scattered, and will not heal the injured. 3 Moreover, he will not nourish the one that is healthy but instead will eat the meat of the fat sheep 4 and tear off their hooves.
11:17 Woe to the worthless shepherd
who abandons the flock!
May a sword fall on his arm and his right eye!
May his arm wither completely away,
and his right eye become completely blind!”
1 sn Zechariah is only dramatizing what God had done historically (see the note on the word “cedars” in 11:1). The “one month” probably means just any short period of time in which three kings ruled in succession. Likely candidates are Elah, Zimri, Tibni (1 Kgs 16:8-20); Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem (2 Kgs 15:8-16); or Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah (2 Kgs 24:1–25:7).
2 sn The grammar (e.g., the incipient participle מֵקִים, maqim, “about to raise up,” v. 16) and overall sense of vv. 15-17 give the incident a future orientation. Zechariah once more is role-playing but this time he is a “foolish” shepherd, i.e., one who does not know God and who is opposed to him (cf. Prov 1:7; 15:5; 20:3; 27:22). The individual who best represents this eschatological enemy of God and his people is the Antichrist (cf. Matt 24:5, 24; 2 Thess 2:3-4; 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).
3 tn Heb “the broken” (so KJV, NASB; NRSV “the maimed”).
4 tn Heb “the fat [ones].” Cf. ASV “the fat sheep”; NIV “the choice sheep.”