ZECHARIAH - CHAPTER 11 - Beauty and Bands Print E-mail


The Shepherd of Beauty and Bands

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

September 17, 2019

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


As I begin Chapter 11 of Zechariah, I wonder how I ever had the courage to think I could teach Zechariah.  I am not sure I thought I could, I felt the Holy Spirit’s leading. 


Without doubt this chapter is one of the most elusive in the OT.  While a number of details are difficult to specify with any certainty, a number of main items are clear.


 The flock is Israel.  Zechariah is prophesying to those who returned to Jerusalem after the 70-year exile in Babylon.  However, the application extends beyond the people of Israel and beyond the time setting of the words themselves unto Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and on toward the many antichrists who will persecute Christians and Jews; onto the man who will be the antichrist.   


Again we see Zechariah as the prophet of the Messiah.  The LORD is the Shepherd whose staffs of Beauty and Bands either blesses His people, or brings judgment.  Jesus is again presented in the person of the New Covenant. 


The shepherds are the leaders of God’s people, and the prophet himself is pressed into service as the shepherd of the Lord’s choice. 


The passage is mainly allegorical.


Certain parts of the passage are to be found repeated in the life and experience of Jesus.  If the reader is willing, lessons, however unpalatable, are here which have relevance for those who occupy positions of pastoral leadership in the church as the new Israel, the New Jerusalem which is from above. 


The standard of Godly leadership and the perils of bad leadership are matters which all too easily are glossed over when we are unwilling to listen.  


Zech. 11:3-5: There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.

Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.


The pride of Jordan was the great oaks which grew on the banks of the river and are here metaphorical of shepherds.  The howling of shepherds is due to their vanity of religion because of the pride of their egos.  We see a lot of that these days.  The voice of roaring young lions is the arrogance of those without wisdom.


Verse 3 is the LORD’s command to Zechariah.  The prophet is commanded to take a personal hand in the welfare of the flock marked for slaughter.


The raising of sheep for slaughter is a picture dramatically presented in metaphor to demonstrate the devastating corruption to which the people were exposed. God commanded the Gentile oppressors to feed the flock of Israel whom they had slain, sold into slavery and not pitied at all---even becoming rich through selling them, and not considering they had done wrong.


The rulers of Israel did not have any more pity on the flock than the Gentile overlords who oppressed them. 


 Zech. 11:6 - For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, says  the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.


The Lord says he will not deliver those who have not had pity.   He has often said to his people, “I will deliver them.”  This verse is prophetic of the coming captivity of Israel ---this time of the Romans after the slaying of the Messiah.  This passage speaks of the first advent of Jesus Christ.  Even before the full restoration of the nation in the days of the return from Babylon, God is revealing a second dispersion. 

The betrayal of one man to another is a fulfillment of Jesus’ words:

Mat 24:10 - And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Offense, betrayal, brother and neighbor fighting each other whether in churches or a nation, is a judgment.  We must deem one another precious.  The walls of hate and prejudice must be leaped over. 

The meaning is clear; the bad shepherds have been exploiting their position and have used their privileged occupation for trading in sheep for personal gain. 

Zech.11:7 - And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.

The symbol of the authority of the good shepherd is His staff.  Tending the flock is principally concerned with the bestowing of the benefits of the favor of God which serves in turn to promote harmonious relationships among the sheep.  The bad shepherds neither had divine approval nor saw their charges living in peace and safety.

Two staffs---the shepherd’s crook or staff, and his club.  One I called Beauty (graciousness) and the other Bands (union).  I took them with Me when I led the flock to feed them in the fields.

Verse 7 is a metaphorical picture of the Good Shepherd lovingly carrying for his flock.  

Zech.11:8 - Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.


It is to be concluded these were actual shepherds who were removed by God.  The LORD sets people into office and the LORD removes them.  Some of the commentaries offer possibilities: Jason, Menelaus and Aleimus (2 Macc. 4:1).  They were removed because of bribery.  Dake proposes the three last princes of the Asmonean line---John, Simeon, and Eleazar, who died in a brief period during the war with the Romans.


I never want to have the soul of the LORD loath me…I fear the LORD and I desire to please Him.


Zech. 11:9 - Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dies let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.


This has to be the greatest abandonment and judgment from God that man would eat another man’s flesh.


This happened in the remnant left in Jerusalem in the siege.  They were so starved they ate one another.  This also happened in 1847 in the U.S. when the Donnar Party was caught in a deadly blizzard.


Unchecked Copy BoxZech. 11:10 -11:  And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.  And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.


The Messiah is pictured here as taking His staff, even Beauty and breaking it, signifying the breaking or abolishment of the Old Covenant made with Moses and all the people.  Nothing is clearer in scripture than the fact of the complete fulfillment of the Law of Moses so that the New Covenant was sealed by the Blood of Jesus Christ.


The law of Moses was fulfilled, and it came to an end with Christ on the cross.  It literally came to an end in one day, as prophesied here.  The faithful few who were waiting upon the LORD knew when the covenant was broken in one day that it was the word of the Lord as prophesied by Zechariah.


Zech. 11:12 -13: And I said unto them, If you 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 priced at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.


The LORD prophesied the sale of  Messiah by apostate Israel for 30 pieces of silver.  Zechariah was given the Word of the Lord that the thirty pieces of silver would purchase a plot in a potter’s field to bury Judas.


Zech. 11:14 - Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.


After the rejection of the Messiah, the abolishment of the Old Covenant, and its fulfillment, the LORD cut asunder the staff called Bands (union).  The meaning of this was that the united nation of Judah and Ephraim would be dispersed again.  It came to pass in A.D. 70 when the 12 tribes were again scattered among the nations.


Deut. 28:64 - Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone.


The fact that Judah and Israel were together again as one nation after the captivities to Babylon and Assyria, and that this brotherhood was to be broken again in the second dispersion, reveals the 12 tribes have not been lost.  God fully recognized the entire nation as being in the land in one brotherhood after the captivity, and prophesied He would scatter them again for the sin of selling and crucifying His son.


The Prophet Zechariah was given the awesome word of the LORD to prophesy the betrayal of Jesus and the destiny of the betrayer.  Now he was given the prophesy of a description of the spirit of the anti-Christ perhaps in many ungodly rulers who have persecuted the Jews and Christians;  or perhaps the one evil ruler yet to come,  the anti-Christ, The shepherd here represents an evil ruler:


Zech, 11:15 -17:  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 stands still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.  Woe to the idol shepherd that leaves 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.


Not only will the antichrist set himself up to be worshipped as God, but an image will be made of him to be set up as an idol to worship.


The sword will make his right arm and right eye useless.  His arm shall be totally dried up and his eye made blind.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church


Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of F. J. Dake Annotated Reference Bible and F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary.



Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.




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