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Zechariah Chapter 13


Introduction to Chapter 13


Chapter 13, continues where Chapter 12 finished.  In the 12th Chapter we see the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem look on “Me whom they pierced”( Zech 12;10). The nation then begins to mourn and wail for Him, mourning their actions, which resulted in the rejection of Messiah at His first coming.  The first five verses, which follow the 12th chapter, show what follows in the Millennium, during the reign of the Messiah. 

In the Millennium, false prophets will be a thing of the past, and anyone claiming to be a prophet will be a serious event.  Since the knowledge of the Lord is not hidden, there will be no need of prophets. The remembrance of idols, will also be a thing of the past.  Israel as a nation will be exalted above the nations their obedience allows God to fulfill His word. Blessing them above all nations on the earth (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

The sixth verse’s meaning is still debated, does it refer to the Messiah, who was pierced or to a false prophet in the Millennium.  There are arguments on both sides, following the sixth verse, the seventh through the ninth are clearly Messianic in nature.

Jesus quotes from verse 7, after the disciples flee, when solders arrest Jesus. 


Zechariah 13


In that Day…


1 "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

2 "It shall be in that day," says the Lord of hosts, "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.

3 "It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, 'You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.' And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

4 "And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive.

5 "But he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.'


(1 ) In that Day:  In the 12th chapter, this term is used 6 times, referring to the that dayor time when  the Kingdom of Messiah is established on the earth.  That Day corresponds with the judgment of the nations and Israel restoration and blessing.  This section corresponds with the events following the 2nd coming and the establishment of Jerusalem.  According to Daniel, there is a 45-day period, during which the nations are judged, and the Messianic Kingdom established on earth.


11 "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.

12 "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

13 "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days." Daniel 12:11-13

A fountain:  Throughout scripture there is a theme of a fountain, which will be in the city of Jerusalem in the Millennium and the New Jerusalem following the Millennium.  When Jesus was at the well talking to the Samaritan women, he referred to the fountain of Life, which will remove her thirst. 


10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,

14 "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."  John 4:10,13-14


This fountain in Jerusalem will be a picture of God’s Grace, to those dwelling in the Millennium. According to Ezekiel, the fountain will flow from the Throne of God to the Dead Sea bringing life to what is dead. 


1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.

2 He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.

8 Then he said to me: "This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed.

9 "And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.

Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9

The fountain flowing from the Temple, to the Dead Sea will become a river of life, illustrating for ages to come, life flows from the Lord.  In the New Jerusalem, which follows the Millennium, we also see a river or fountain proceeding from the throne.

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  Revelation 22:1-3

(2) Cut off: The Idolatry and false prophets have plagued Israel from the time nation was called out of Egypt. In the time to come, in “That Day”, false prophets and idols will not be permitted, bringing terminal judgment on those who lie in the name of the LORD. (vs.5)

The word used here trkKarath,(cut off) is also used in reference to what takes place when a covenant is establish, to cut the animal in two and to walk between the half’s.  Here proclaims the Idols and false prophets will be eliminated from the land. (Jeremiah 34:18)

Remembered:  Demonic and Idol’s will not be brought to memory, by those who are on the earth, during this period.  The last event, which plagued the earth was the Antichrist who put an image of himself in the  Third temple, demanding the earth to worship his image, this will not be remembered in the Millennium.

Unclean spirits:  At the Second Coming, Satan, the fallen angels, the Antichrist and False prophet will be judged. The Antichrist and False prophet are the first two occupants of the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20).  Satan is cast into the abyss for 1000-years the duration of the Millennium.  During this period, demonic power in the earth will be non-existent.  

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. Revelation 20:1-3 

Satanic and Demonic power will not be an influence on people during the Millennium,  

(3) Any one still prophesies:  Those who are born in the Millennium will still have free choice, the main difference being Satan will not be present in the world to give them his choice.  Just like in Adam’s day, he had the ability to choose or reject, to obey and disobey. So people will in the Millennium, those who prophecy (speaking lies in the name of the Lord), will die according to the laws of Moses. (see Exodus 32:27,28; Deuteronomy 13:6-11; 18:20 33:9)

      False prophets will not be tolerated, a false prophets own parents will punish their child with death in that day, by piercing him through.

(4) ashamed of his vision:  The temptation to be a prophet will also be present in the age to come.  Speaking for the Lord, gives the speaker (Prophet) power, because if you disobey his words, you are disobeying God’s word.  This fear give the false prophet power.

      In the day to come, those who are tempted by their dreams or their desire to speak for the Lord will be ashamed of their actions.

(5)he will say: The role of the prophet is to relay the Words of the Lord to the listener, implying a separation from God.  In the Millennium, God’s presence will be visible in Jerusalem and the knowledge of Him will be like the omnipresent like the ocean. There will be no need for a prophet to speak to humanity on God’s behalf.

      People will reject any implication of prophecy, today to be a “True” prophet is an honor, in the day to come, (that day) it will be a shame. 

Wounded in the house of friends


6 "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'

(6) Say to him: One of the more controversial verses in the 13th chapter is verse 6. The debate over its meaning involves whether verse 6 amplifies verses 2-5 or 7 to 9.  If the meaning is connected to the four previous verse, some see this person who is pierced as a false prophet who was pierced or wounded by those in his own house, for example, his parents (verse 5).

Matthew Henry, the 16th century commentator writes regarding this verse, 

He shall acknowledge those to be his friends who by a severe discipline were instrumental to bring him to a sight of his error, v. 6. When he who with the greatest assurance had asserted himself so lately to be a prophet suddenly drops his claims, and says, I am no prophet, every body will be surprised at it, and some will ask, "What are these wounds, or marks of stripes, in thy hands? how camest thou by them? Hast thou not been examined by scourging? And is not that it that has brought thee to thyself?’’ (Vexatio dat intellectum—Vexation sharpens the intellect.) "Hast thou not been beaten into this acknowledgment? Was it not the rod and reproof that gave thee this wisdom?’’ And he shall own, "Yes, it was; these are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends, who bound me, and used me hardly and severely, as a distracted man, and so brought me to my senses.’’ By this it appears that those parents of the false prophet thatthrust him through (v. 3) did not do it till they had first tried to reclaim him by correction, and he would not be reclaimed; for so was the law concerning a disobedient son—his parents must first have chastened him in vain before they were allowed to bring him forth to be stoned, Deu. 21:18, 19. But here is another who was reduced by stripes, and so prevented the capital punishment; and he had the sense and honesty to own that they were his friends, his real friends, who thus wounded him, that they might reclaim him; for faithful are the wounds of a friend, Prov. 27:6. Some good interpreters, observing how soon this comes after the mention of Christ’s being pierced, think that these are the words of that great prophet, not of the false prophet spoken of before. Christ was wounded in his hands, when they were nailed to the cross, and, after his resurrection, he had the marks of these wounds; and here he tells how he came by them; he received them as a false prophet, for the chief priests called him a deceiver, and upon that account would have him crucified; but he received them in the house of his friends—the Jews, who should have been his friends; for he came to his own, and, though they were his bitter enemies, yet he was pleased to call them his friends, as he did Judas (Friend, wherefore hast thou come?) because they forwarded his sufferings for him; as he called Peter Satan—an adversary, because he dissuaded him from them.

The problem with the view this applies to the false prophet is demonstrated in the fact the false prophet is still alive, in verse 3 we read the parents say to the false prophet you shall not live.  Now why is he then permitted to live, responding, “which I was wounded in the house of my friends”. 

 Wounds: The word in Hebrew also implies the wounds was unto death, as if the person would be killed and come back to life.  Two separate Hebrew words are used,  hkkmMakkah meaning blow, wound or slaughter.  The one replies, by saying it is the wounds or (hknNakah), which I received in the house of my friends.   To be consistent with the previous four verses, the individual could not reply if he was killed by his parents.

House of my friends:  The meaning fits more properly as applying to the Good Shepherd, who is God Himself, who comes to His flock. (Zechariah 10;3). God the Good shepherd is valued at 30 pieces of silver, and the money is thrown into the Lord’s house. 


The Shepherd

7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion," Says the Lord of hosts."Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.

8 And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the Lord, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one- third shall be left in it:

9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.' "

(7) Awake, O Sword:  The picture of the Shepherd Messiah, who is sold for 30-pieces of silver continues in verse 7.  The Lord God permitted the rejection of the Messiah, and His death, Jesus rebuked Peter for trying to stop His arrest. At any time, Jesus could have stopped his own execution, but he choose to die for the sins of humanity.

52 But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

53 "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

54 "How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" Matthew 26:52-54 

My Shepherd: The Shepherd is the rejected Shepherd who is sold and the money is thrown into the Temple.  The Lord takes possession of this Shepherd, calling Him, “My Shepherd”.  The imagery in Zechariah 11, shows the shepherd with two staves feeding the flock.  The Shepherd is rejected and sold.

7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

9 Then I said, "I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh."

10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples.

11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord.

12 Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah 11:7-12

Man who is My Companion: The Shepherd is called the Companion of the LORD. The Hebrew word here istym[`amiyth , meaning relation, neighbor, associate, fellow. Again the deity of the rejected Messiah is again confirmed here, being called the amiyth of the Lord.

Sheep…. Scattered:  Jesus refers to this scripture at his betrayal when the disciples scatter following the arrest of Jesus. Clearly Jesus identifies Himself as the shepherd here, called “My Shepherd”, who is also called “My Companion”. 

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' Matthew 26:30-31

Little ones: This could refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, when the armies of Rome destroy the city and its inhabitants.

(8) Come to pass…in the land: Following the death of Messiah, the Romans killed over 1 million Jews in A.D. 70. Sixty-three years later during the time of Hadrian another 580,000 were killed in A.D. 135, the survivors were scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Jewish people today, are the descendents of these events.

            The nation of Israel, are the descendents of Israel gathered from the nations, brought back into the land of Israel, after a period of desolation. Judgment followed the rejection of the “Shepherd”.  The events here in the 8th and 9th verse, look forward to the end times, when the nation is again persecuted and two thirds die in the days of the Messiah.  The one third left survives to repopulate the earth and know their LORD.

 (9) through the fire: The tribulation is a period of testing, where the nation finds Jesus Christ is their Messiah, the rejected shepherd.  Jewish commentators also understand this period to be Messianic in nature, Rashi [1]makes the following comments about the one-third left.

 And I will bring the third in fire And I will bring the third in straits in the smelting-pot of fire (Jonathan), so that some of the proselytes should bear the birth pang of the Messiah and the war of Gog and Magog with Israel. From there they shall be tested [as to] whether [or not] they are true proselytes. Then, many of those who previously converted to Judaism shall return to their pre-conversion customs and join Gog. We find [this idea] in the Aggadah (Avodah Zarah 3b; Midrash Psalms 2:5, footnote 29).[2]


As Gold is tested: Gold ore is placed in the furnace, and that which is not gold is removed from the Gold, with a pure metal being left behind.  Zechariah compares the remnant of Israel, who survives the tribulation as Gold tried in the furnace. 

            Those who survive will know the Lord, as opposed to those who rejected the Messiah, the Good shepherd.

They will call on my Name:  Before he was crucified, Jesus told the nation (Israel) they would not see Him again until they called upon His name.  This is preciously what the nation does at the end of the Tribulation. They will call out to Jesus their Messiah, He then returns with the saints (Zechariah 14;5) in glory and power. (Matthew 24:30, 25:31)


39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' "  Matthew 23;39


The Believing nation of Israel enters the Millennium to repopulate the earth, along with the rest of the believers who survive the tribulation.  This is the scene in the parable of the sheep and the goats.  

31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

43 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'

44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'

45 "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

46 "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

 Matthew 25:31-46


[1] Rashi is one of the most widely respected Jewish commentators on Bible interpretation.

[2]The Judaica Press Complete Tanach, Rashi commentary on Zechariah