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11 Open your doors, O Lebanon, to judgment.[a] You will be destroyed as though by fire raging through your forests. Weep, O cypress trees, for all the ruined cedars; the tallest and most beautiful of them are fallen. Cry in fear, you oaks of Bashan, as you watch the thickest forests felled. Listen to the wailing of Israel’s leaders—all these evil shepherds—for their wealth is gone. Hear the young lions roaring—the princes are weeping, for their glorious Jordan Valley lies in ruins.

Then said the Lord my God to me, “Go and take a job as shepherd of a flock being fattened for the butcher. This will illustrate the way my people have been bought and slain by wicked leaders, who go unpunished. ‘Thank God, now I am rich!’ say those who have betrayed them—their own shepherds have sold them without mercy. And I won’t spare them either,” says the Lord, “for I will let them fall into the clutches of their own wicked leaders, and they will slay them. They shall turn the land into a wilderness, and I will not protect it from them.”

So I took two shepherd’s staffs, naming one Grace and the other Union, and I fed the flock as I had been told to do. And I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month. But I became impatient with these sheep—this nation—and they hated me too.

So I told them, “I won’t be your shepherd any longer. If you die, you die; if you are killed, I don’t care. Go ahead and destroy yourselves!”

10 And I took my staff called Grace and snapped it in two, showing that I had broken my contract to lead and protect them. 11 That was the end of the agreement. Then those who bought and sold sheep, who were watching, realized that God was telling them something through what I did.

12 And I said to their leaders, “If you like, give me my pay, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.”

So they counted out thirty little silver coins[b] as my wages.

13 And the Lord told me, “Use it to buy a field from the pottery makers[c]—this magnificent sum they value you at!”

So I took the thirty coins and threw them into the Temple for the pottery makers. 14 Then I broke my other staff, “Union,” to show that the bond of unity between Judah and Israel was broken.

15 Then the Lord told me to go again and get a job as a shepherd; this time I was to act the part of a worthless, wicked shepherd.

16 And he said to me, “This illustrates how I will give this nation a shepherd who will not care for the dying ones, nor look after the young, nor heal the broken bones, nor feed the healthy ones, nor carry the lame that cannot walk; instead, he will eat the fat ones, even tearing off their feet. 17 Woe to this worthless shepherd who doesn’t care for the flock. God’s sword will cut his arm and pierce through his right eye; his arm will become useless and his right eye blinded.”


  1. Zechariah 11:1 to judgment, implied.
  2. Zechariah 11:12 thirty little silver coins, the price of a slave; see Exodus 21:32 and Matthew 27:3-9.
  3. Zechariah 11:13 Use it to buy a field from the pottery makers, literally, “Throw it to the pottery makers.”

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