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Zechariah 13:6 speaks of a man wounded in the house of friends. Taken by itself, I would immediately interpret this as a Messianic reference.

However, the context is the cessation of prophecy (verse 4), and the man is identified as a farmer and apparently a slave laborer (verse 5). How does that fit the Messiah, the greatest of the prophets? And what would that be about being sold to toil in tilling the ground?

Then again, if it is not Messianic, who is the injured man, and why was he hurt at the house of his friends? Also, the context immediately following is clearly about the suffering of the Messiah (verse 7):

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.

Would the viewpoint of the original hearers have offered us any clues on how this is to be solved? How do we reconcile these tensions?

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2 Answers

I use this verse and its context to teach a bad use of verses and context. If this verse is used for Jesus being slain on the cross then we would have to make an almost impossible connection between the false prophets and Jesus, something that seems to tie a knot in our hermeneutical stomach.

It is so important to observe that the verse has a connection with the context. In verse 1 and 2 we see that God will cleanse from idolatry and false prophets. This will be accepted by the Jews as the law of God to such a extent that NO false prophets will be allowed to prophecy. If any do make prophetic announcements the people will automatically identify it as a lie and proceed to judge. This would cause prophets to "hide" their prophetic identifications. The cloak made of animal hair was a clear outfit for the prophet, John the Baptist used this also as a visual sign of his "job".

The false prophet will then hide from his followers by saying that the scars in his hands are caused by the hard work on the farm - keep in mind he is trying to save his life since he is a false prophet. He is then confronted with the evidence of his trait, scars on his hands. This was evidence enough to show that he was a false prophet. If you recall Elijah's confrontation with false prophets on Mount Carmel, the false prophets would cut themselves to sacrifice their blood and get their god's attention - apparently a much practiced ritual by false prophet. These are the scars on his hands.

I find this impossible to connect to Christ and hope my explanation is worthy of interpretation.

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Very interesting! Thank you! –  Kazark Sep 17 '13 at 17:00
This is an excellent answer assuming everything you've presented is true. Do you have any reliable sources for this information? As it stands many of your assertions are unsupported. –  Daи Sep 17 '13 at 19:49
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The key for understanding this section is that from verses 1-6 the prophecy deals with cleansing sin which includes banishing ‘the names of the idols’ and 'false prophets'. In fact the false prophets should be killed even by ‘their own parents” who will ‘stab the one who prophesies’ (v3). This was the rule under the laws of Moses. (Deuteronomy 13:9) The idea presented is that the false prophet seems to repent. Just as in the case of a rebellious child, stoning would not be practiced if after some discipline the child repents. Possibly after receiving a beating a false prophet could repent and be spared from the death penalty. The false prophet has repented, because he is still alive and he even attributes his wounds to his ‘friends’. In fact, he decides juts to go back to simple 'farming' now that his old highly esteemed religious career is over.

‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.' (NIV Zechariah 13:6)

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (NIV Proverbs 27:6)

It is with this in mind that the scripture then turns to a different type of prophet, with different types of wounds, and refers to his being 'struck' and the sheep being 'scattered' as further prophesied by our Lord in Mathew 26:31.

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