And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
Zechariah saw the Lord come to his people,Israel, Judah and Jerusalem, as a lowly and meek King, bearing salvation, and riding on a foal, the colt of an Ass. He would save them, and restore them to the greatness of God’s intention for the “Kingdom of Priests’. He would deliver them from the heartless Gentile overlords and from the false Shepherds of Israel, who oppressed them and held them in contempt.
But in Zechariah 11, He saw that the nation would reject the good Shepherd, entering into a level of apostasy which would lead them to disown God as King. Five centuries later, the High Priest of Israel told the representative of Rome, Pontius Pilate, “We have no King but Caesar…”.
We see in this passage one of the most mysterious and detailed prophecies in all of scripture.I will unpack this cryptic statement into four sections.
“What is the price you would value me for? “-Zechariah heard the Messiah ask for an appraisal of his worth to the nation.
“So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver…”– Thirty Pieces of silver! Silver one of the Holy metals, prominently featured in the Temple. It represents redemption for it is required in the Law as the the ransom of the first born. This is the price set in the Law of Moses to remit the damage inflicted by an OX which gores a servant- (Exodus 21:32)
“And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the Potter…”This would have been difficult for anyone to work out, what could this mean, to “cast it unto the Potter”?
“…In the House of the LORD.”– Like the above, this would be difficult to work out, How does one “cast it unto the Potter”, and at the same time cast it,”into the house of the LORD”?
Five hundred years would pass, until the prophesied events occurred in minute detail, in the events leading to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.(Matthew 26:14-16)
Notice that this transaction occurred between one of Jesus’ disciples and ‘the Chief Priests” . But after Jesus had been arrested Judas had remorse and tried to return the thirty pieces of silver to the temple,
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.(Zechariah 27 :3-5)
But the Priests had scruples about using ‘blood money’ in a holy place, so they decided together to buy ‘the Potter’s Field” as a burial place for foreign visitors to Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah to the very minutest detail.
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.(Matthew 27:4-7)
Zechariah had already seen the good Shepherd break one of his staffs, “beauty” or “Favor”, thus indicating that the nation of Israel was no longer in the Grace of God. Now the other staff,”Unity” was broken. The nation would be wracked by civil war and division within, as well as Oppression from the Romans without, until Judah was utterly destroyed in 70 ad.
Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.(Zechariah 11:14)
Israel would not allow the Good Shepherd, therefore an “idol Shepherd ” would be given her, yea a series of false Shepherds would arise, most notably Simon Bar Cochba (the “Son of the Star”), a man proclaimed to be the Messiah, but who led the already decimated nation into the final, most devastating revolt in 120 ad.
And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.(Zechariah 11:15-17)
Jesus also would predict this evil Shepherd, when he warned Israel’s leaders,
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.(John 5:43)
What is true of Israel, in a wider sense will soon be true of the whole world, that If you do not receive Christ himself, you must of necessity receive Anti-Christ!