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Commentary » Zechariah 13:1-Zechariah 13:9 »

National Cleansing For Israel

Do you remember the Lord’s Prayer? Twenty-five percent of Christ’s fifty words have to do with deliverance from evil. What did he say? Matthew 6:13, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” I challenge you to make that petition before God. I challenge yo … More


“That day” (v. 1) refers to the future day of the Lord (14:1). “The house of David (political leaders) and the inhabitants of Jerusalem” include all the people of the land who need cleansing. The terms “sin” and “uncleanness” can refer specifically to idolatry but they probably have a broader reference here to the total sinful condition of the people. The Lord announced His intention to banish the names of the idols from the land (vv. 2-3). He will overcome all factors that detract from His worship and all idolatry will become extinct. Associated with the extinction of idolatry will be the extinguishing of false prophecy, which includes human false prophets and the (superhuman) spirit of impurity, probably to be understood as a personal agency of evil that will inspire false prophets.

This prevalence of justice will cause false prophets to disavow all associations with their prophetic trade. They will forego the deception of wearing a prophet’s garb (v. 4). Some true prophets did wear a garment of hair. Also to avoid detection, the alleged prophets will claim to have been involved in the lifelong occupation of farming (v.5). False prophets will lie about the source of scars on their bodies (v. 6). These scars no doubt will be from self-inflicted wounds associated with idol-worship.

This passage speaks of the smitten Shepherd (v. 7a), the scattered sheep (vv. 7b-8), and the saved remnant (v. 9). Calling on the wielder of the sword to strike the Shepherd, the Lord then indicated the consequences: the sheep will be scattered. In His crucifixion Christ was smitten (Isa. 53:4, 7, 10). His own disciples abandoned Him like scattered sheep (Matt. 26:31, 56). The scattering of the sheep also seems to refer to the scattering of the Jewish nation when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in a.d. 70. At that time two-thirds of the Jewish nation was struck down and perished, but the surviving remnant was restored, for the most part, to their covenant relationship with the Lord.


The Lord Says that there is a day coming when He will get rid of every trace of idol worship, all false prophets and the unclean spirits that inspire them. I look forward to that day.

Zechariah 13:1-9 (English Standard Version)

""On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. "And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness. And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, 'You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.' And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. "On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, but he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.' And if one asks him, 'What are these wounds on your back?' he will say, 'The wounds I received in the house of my friends.' "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

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