Thirty silver coins
Zechariah 11: They paid me an insulting sum, counting out thirty silver coins.
I confess I’m lost as I read this passage. Up till now, Zechariah has been the encouraging prophet, cheering the people on as they rebuild the Temple. With its negative tone, this prophecy seems out of place and sounds more like something Ezekiel or Jeremiah might have said and done. Indeed, there are no time markers in the text and it doesn’t necessarily have to chronologically follow what comes before. I don’t know whether or not this message is intended to have great meaning to Zechariah’s contemporaries. However, the thirty pieces of silver really gets our attention. This sum is the amount that’s paid for the betrayal of Jesus. Without making a serious attempt at dealing with this passage as a scholar, here’s the picture as I see it. Zechariah’s directed to take a job as the shepherd for a flock that’s marked for slaughter. Apparently, he has some authority and soon fires the other shepherds who are care nothing for the sheep. However, even though he leads the sheep with their best interests in mind, they rebel against him. Zechariah quits his job and demands his salary and is paid what he thinks of as an insulting wage of thirty silver coins — about three month’s wages. He then throws the money into the poor box. As a reader who can simply turn the pages of the Bible to the story of Jesus, this passage makes all kinds of sense. Here’s the Good Shepherd who comes to lovingly care for a people doomed for destruction. Jesus longs to gather the people of Israel to himself and to lovingly care for them. However, they rebel against him and he’s betrayed for thirty silver coins. Here we have a remarkable statement of prophecy given over 500 years before its fulfillment.
Take Away: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
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