|Faith Strengthened||Chapter 37||Part 1|
Zechariah 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts; smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones."
According to the opinion of the Christians, the prophet meant Jesus by the "man who is my fellow," and the disciples of Jesus by the expression, "smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered." This assertion rests on what we read in Mark 14:27.
Refutation.—The explanation given by the Christians to the above passage, is devoid of truth. the context to which the above verse belongs, relates exclusively to the downfall of the Kings of Palestine and to the dispersion of Israel. Simultaneously with that event the destruction of idolaters was to take place, and the righteous alone were to be saved from utter annihilation. The command given to the sword to "smite the shepherd who is my fellow," merely signifies that those Kings shall be punished who oppress the Jews, and who, in their delusion, believe they are doing a godly work in persecuting a religious people, and, in their inordinate conceit, imagine that they are the vicars and associates of the Almighty, whereas in the minds of those men the serpent of temptation whispers, as it did to our first parents, "And ye shall be like unto God, knowing good and evil."
This conceit we have met with among the rulers in Asia and Africa, where enlightenment has made less rapid strides than in Europe; and on that account humiliation is most needful to the uninstructed in order to teach them to know the littleness of pride and the superiority of meekness. "Smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered." This passage indicates that the rulers of the Gentiles, who boast of their iniquitous government, shall be overthrown; and, from their fall, the deliverance of Israel will arise. there are many shepherds that must be struck prior to Israel's entire deliverance; for, unlike the ancient captivity in Egypt, the Jews are now scattered throughout numerous states and kingdoms. The return of our people to the inheritance of their fathers will, therefore, not take place in one collected body, but in numerous detached hosts. The term וּתְפוּצֶיןָ of the above passage occurs also in the form of a noun in Isaiah 11:12, "and he shall gather the dispersed (נְפֻצוֹת) of Judah." "And I will turn my hand against the little ones." This passage likewise alludes to the subdued and powerless princes who shall be visited with humiliation according to their demerits. The Almighty will lend his help to those who have been the victims of malice. The inhabitants of the earth shall be awfully roused from their delusion, obeying the call of Isaiah, who says (chapter 34:1-2), "come near, ye nations, and listen, for the Lord will execute judgment on the cruel persecutors of his people."