May 16, 2011

Minor Prophets XCIII: The Shepherd-King Messiah I

We hit Zechariah 10 running. It is repleat with mentions and allusions to Messiah. If we compare Zechariah 10:1-3 with Ezekiel 34's emphasis on "shepherds" we see a similarity Israel in the latter days will be like wandering sheep because their leaders will follow lies instead of God’s truth. There are references in this passage to idols that speak deceitfully (they don’t speak, people do), tell false dreams and give comfort in vain. The diviners are speaking lies, therefore the people are leader astray like sheep without a shepherd. The “shepherd” motif appears to be a royal motif whether it is referring to human or to the divine King. It is a metaphor in ANE culture as it is even mentioned in the Codes of Hammurabi. God will judge these corrupt unqualified leaders. Since the earthly leaders will not care for the flock, the Lord will.

We see the same type of metaphor or comparison in Ezekiel 34 as it is the idea that the LORD will Be Israel’s Shepherd. In Ezekiel the “Son of man” is called to “prophesy against the shepherds of Israel” because there too Ezekiel describes a nation with leaders that are putzes and connivers. “Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves” is a pretty clear statement to these lame “leaders”. There is a judgment of woe upon them.

In Zechariah 10:4 we see messianic references of assorted kinds: a cornerstone, a tent peg, a battle bow and a ruler. They are all references to Messiah. The cornerstone is the stone that is the foundation of all other stones that are aligned to it. The tent peg refers to the one on whom burdens are placed with confidence (so the tent doesn’t collapse). The battle bow is the symbol of the victorious warrior who never loses a battle. Every ruler since David came from the tribe of Judah.

Israel will be gathered from a present worldwide dispersion. God says He will signal for them. The term signal in Hebrew means to whistle or the reed pipe a shepherd uses to gather his flock. This is especially appropriate language to use considering the surrounding text and languages used referring to a Shepherd-King. This re-gathering will also include by redemption and they will multiply. They will remember God. God says He will bring them back. The mentions of Assyria and Egypt are analogous of countries of dispersion. Lebanon and Gilead are to indicate the most northern and eastern extent of their dispersion. God will remove any impediment to their return just as when He originally brought them through sea (Red) and dry land (Sinai).

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