In this amazing prediction of the events of the first century it refers to the death of the Shepherd of his People (Messiah, son of David) arranged by God, after which he will turn his attention to the sheep [the Jews] in a great unprecedented slaughter of judgment, followed by the creation of the "Israel of God", his elect that will "call upon his name" and "be heard":

[Zec 13:7-9 KJV] 7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] [my fellow]4, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.

In verse 9 he identifies the subset that he elects, hears and refines as his "People".

The word that Zechariah uses to refer to the messiah in Hebrew, is:


Why does the LORD use the term for "neighbor, associate, fellow" to identify the messiah in this passage?


This is how the LXX translates it:

πολίτης (politēs), citizen; fellow citizen. Cognate words: κωμόπολις, Νεάπολις, πόλις, πολιτάρχης, πολιτεία, πολίτευμα, πολιτεύομαι, συμπολίτης. Heb. equiv. fr. LXX: רֵעַ (5×), עַם (1×), עָמִית (1×)

Cross-references: 11.68 (6) citizen Lk 15:15; 19:14; Ac 21:39; 1Cl 55.1; Diog 5.5; fellow citizen Heb 8:11

(2011). The Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Logos Bible Software.

The same word is used in Luke 15, when the prodigal "joined himself to a citizen of that country".

It is also used in "To the Hebrews":

[Heb 8:11 KJV] 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

So why this interesting adjective to describe the messiah in this prophecy concerning the time of the messiah?

  • The Prophet Zechariah calls Him my shepherd and my fellow man. Later on, the Lord Himself chimes in, and calls Him the shepherd; not my, since the Almighty is obviously not one of His sheep.
    – Lucian
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 5:37
  • I see where you are going with that but doesn't the text insist that it is YVHV speaking?: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, the man who is my partner,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn against the lambs.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 11:29
  • Perhaps the middle part of the sentence applies to both of its sides. Or perhaps only to the former. Or maybe only to the latter.
    – Lucian
    Commented Dec 22, 2018 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


Ok, here is the LXX of Zec_13:7
Ῥομφαία, ἐξεγέρθητι ἐπὶ τοὺς ποιμένας μου καὶ ἐπ᾿ ἄνδρα πολίτην μου, λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ· πολίτην μου
In Hebrew the equivalent is: עמיתי is the tense in which this word is prefixed or suffixed. This is the common word for nieghbor as translated in the KJV Lev 18:20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's (LXX. πλησιον) wife, to defile thyself with her. as well as "another" Lev 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another (LXX. πλησιον). Yet in this text it is referencing a 'fellow citizen' in Israel's common law, thus 'another' means 'neighbor', in the sense a neighbor is especially in Moses' Law a fellow-citizen; Being from the Root עמ which is the word best associated with "People", that is a common people, which our word of focus is referencing עמיתי , the suffixed י makes it unquestionable that this is 'my fellow' as the letter י indicates.

In Greek the choice is more understandable to the English student because it the word POLITEN / πολίτην and used the way we use polite only in the sense of a 'common politeness' as referenced in the two examples in Lev 18:20 (πλησιον) and 19:11 (πλησιον), those actions either endorsed or forbidden are 'politically correct' in an Israelite society as commanded by YHWH GOD, and needed for proper love towards ones neighbor.

So, to the question, Why does the LORD use the term for "neighbor, associate, fellow" to identify the messiah in this passage?

In Zecharia it self in order to define why the prophet said πολίτην μου is best contained in the context beginning in: Zec 8:3 Thus saith the Lord; I will return to Sion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a true city (πολις) , and the mountain of the Lord Almighty a holy mountain. Coupled throughout the statement in Zec 13:9...I will prove them as gold is proved: they shall call upon my name, and I will hear them, and say, This is my people (עמי) : and they shall say, The Lord is my God.

So either in Greek or Hebrew it is a fascinating part of the Biblical testimony!

You could as well from a post-revelation perspective insert the Ideas of a 'citizenship' that exists in heaven where YHWH resides, and from which the incarnate WORD was to come. The revelation of the meaning of this text is a foreshadow of the fellowship that exists in heaven of which Paul speaks: Php 3:20 For of us the citizenship (πολιτευμα) in the heavens exists, of which also we await a deliverer -- the Lord Jesus Christ...

But from a more pure exegetical approach that satisfies the Hebrew עמיתי and Greek πολίτην, the former answer from Zech 8:3 and Zech 13:9 meets context and language well.


You would have to look at this scripture as to "Was He speaking of the Shepherd and a friend, or is it just referring to the Shepherd alone and also calling Him My friend, or my companion?". If He was referring also to a separate friend, I would assume then John the Baptist who was beheaded.Otherwise I would assume that it was speaking of the Shepherd, also calling Him "MY friend" or "my companion." It is spelled very similar to "Ami" which means "My people". There is not enough information written afterwards to make a determination. It then speaks of the Shepherd and the people. (sheep)

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