7“Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

8In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.

9This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Zechariah 13:7-9 NIV

In verse 7, the sheep are said that they "will be scattered", yet, in the end, "one-third will be left in it". So does the scattering of sheep refer to the two-thirds that "will be struck down" or all of the sheep?

My question is, essentially, when this prophecy is fulfilled (or was), do the sheep leave the place that is "the whole land" or do they stay in there?

2 Answers 2


Zech 13:7 is quoted by three of the Gospel writers in Matt 26:56, Mark 14;50 and John 16:32. It appears this part of the prophecy was fulfilled during Jesus' arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Zech 13:9 is alluded to in 1 Peter 1:7 as being fulfilled in the last days as part of the events before Jesus returns.

The two thirds that are struck are stated to perish (ie, be killed or die) and only one third remain in the land. It is this last third that endure trials as gold is refined in the fire.

  • But then how come Zechariah doesn't include a separation between the time of the shepherd being struck down and being refined like fire? Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 20:51
  • I do not know - however, it is possible that "being struck" was the means of separation.
    – user25930
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 0:05

Two thirds killed, refers to those given to the sword/death including Jesus apostles, just as Jesus had said they would fall away/stumble/fall down because of him. In Jeremiah 17:5 and Psalms 146:3, is a warning given to them not to put their trust in man (Jesus). They have to trust in God alone. So those who worshipped Jesus and waited for Jesus to save them, they were given to sword.

One third remains, refers to the remnants of Israel (Isaiah 65:8) They are those who call on God's name alone (not jesus)

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