Zechariah 11:10 - 11
ESV - 10 And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
As I read this passage, the covenant being referred to here is not the covenant related to God making the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (Israel) His chosen people from whom the Messiah would come, or to God's election of Israel with relation to events of the end times. Rather, it refers to a covenant that God made with all other nations of the earth to protect (or "favor", as one of Zechariah's staffs was called) Israel by restraining or preventing those other nations from destroying Israel as a nation. The breaking of this covenant had already been partially fulfilled by the dissolution of the "Union" (the name of the other staff that Zechariah was holding, and that he also broke) of Israel by being partitioned into Judah and Israel; then by the captivities to which Judah and Israel were subjected; and would be finally fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, after Jesus had come, and salvation had been made available to the Gentiles.
The book of Zechariah is perhaps the most difficult to interpret of all the prophetic texts. The whole of Chapter 11 seems to refer to the time of Christ, the new Christian religion, and the subsequent dispersal of the Jews. The first 9 verses refer to the time under the Romans before Christ, when the priesthood was morally at an all-time low point, and the Jewish people were taking advantage of each other in order to maintain themselves. In my opinion verse 10 does not terminate the covenant made through Moses since it was everlasting, being of blood. The staff Favor, which God broke, was the covenant made by Nehemiah (Neh 9-10) which pertained to the re-entry of the Jews from Babylon into their own land. As a result, the Jews were once more scattered when their rebellion against Rome was defeated (66-73 AD). "All the peoples" refers to the different sects within Judaism at the time, pharisees, sadducees, zealots, essenes, etc., some mutually opposed to each other. Verses 12-14 refer to the betrayal of Christ by Judas for 30 pieces of silver, and the inevitable separation of Christianity from Judaism. The "brotherhood between Judah and Israel" refers to the physical sons of Judah being able to obtain the righteousness of Israel through repentance of sin under Mosaic law. "Israel" in this sense isn't about genealogy, but about the spiritual truth of righteousness and holiness in front of God. Only in "Israel" is this possible. When the Jews rejected Christ, any hope for righteousness through Mosaic animal sacrifice ceased. As a result, Christians were grafted into the tree of spiritual Israel, and the Jews continuing to adhere to Mosaic sacrificial laws were left out. Verses 15-17 seems to refer to the time of the failed revolt of Simon Bar Kochba, 132-135 AD, perhaps also including a reference to Rabbi Akiva, a very prominent teacher who supported the revolt.
The word "all peoples" In Zec. 11:10 (that speaks of a breaking of covenant) is "ha am mim" in Hebrew. Almost without exception its use is to speak of all people/nations and not just Israel. In that context my thoughts are that the covenant could possibly refer to a un-mentioned covenant that existed prior to the call of Abraham and Israel, or possibly the Covenant with Noah. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 speaks of the day when he chose Israel as his people and his dis-inheriting of the nations. God plan is now to bless all nations through Israel. "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders[a] of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage." Duet. 32 alludes to this covenant with all people by pointing out that until he specifically chose Israel, his rule was over all nations and people. But all people completely rejected God and followed other Gods. So from Genesis 1 to 11 - all people/nations are in view; From Genesis 12 onward in the OT, Israel is the main focus. The staff "Favour" that is broken and then "Union" could then be a history lesson of how all people (A covenant of Favour with all people was broken) and the covenant with 12 tribes (Union) of Israel was broken. Agreed it is difficult to understand, but the use of the word ha am mim (all people) in the Bible as referring to non Israelites makes me look for a meaning in that context. It also fits into the broader message of Zechariah that both Israel and all nations return to the LORD. Zec. 8:23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”. Zechariah is then very missional in focus and climaxes with wonderful prophecy of Jesus the Messiah in the chapters 12-14. The focus of the whole New Testament, once the Messiah comes, is back to both Israel and all nations. Ephesians 2:14-16 "For he (Jesus) himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility."
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.