In Zechariah 11:8, God says "In one month I got rid of the three shepherds." (NIV)

It sounds like its intended to refer to three historical figures who were all removed from their position in one month. But who? Or possibly the "three" and the "one" are symbolic figures of something, but I don't grasp what. Who are the three shepherds?

  • Good question - the standard commentaries are just as confused as I am.
    – Dottard
    Jun 15, 2020 at 4:59

2 Answers 2


Who are the three shepherds of Zechariah 11:8?

In Zechariah 11:8, God says "In one month I got rid of the three shepherds." (NIV)

The scriptures do not tell us who the three shepherds were cut off during Zechariah's time as shepherd of God's flock (Zech. 11:7), it is obvious that Zecharaiah had the authority to get rid of them.

The prophecy foreshadowed Jesus whom God his Father send to shepherd his flock of Israel. The rulers of God's people mistreated the people, Jesus felt compassion for them.

Matthew 9:36 (NASB)

" Seeing the [a]people, He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd".

The three shepherds Jesus eradicated were 1/ the Pharisees, 2/ the Sadducees, and 3/ the Herodians.

Recommend reading Matthew 22:15-46 NASB


The Pharisees and the Herodians.

Matthew 22:15-16 NASB . Then the Pharisees went and [a]plotted together how they might trap Him [b]in what He said. 16 And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and [c]defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.

The Sadducees.

Matthew 22:23-24 NASB. On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24 asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.’


I would agree largely with Ozzie Ozzie. Rather than focusing on one verse, it's better to take Zech 11:8 in context. I would also say, you don't figure this sort of stuff out without the help of the people God is using now. Matt 24:45-47

Zech 11 Vss 12-13 allow us to place this firmly in the time of Jesus. To value the second most powerful person in the Universe with the price of a slave is indeed most insulting. All Jewish interpretations can therefore be ignored, as they wouldn't acknowledge Jesus as Messiah.

Verse 11:8 indeed refers to The Sadducees, Pharisees, & party followers of Herod. It is notable that whereas they followed Herod, Herod had no trouble in abandoning them to their fate.

The staff called Pleasantness referred to God's way of dealing with his people. His relations with them until that time. The staff called 'Union' represented his covenant with them. Instead he instituted the New Covenant.

We see the responsibility of the shepherds when we realize they led the Jews away from the Messiah into the hands eventually of General Titus, who conquered the city of Jerusalem. His Father Vespasian had conquered from the North southwards, while at the same time as the Zealots who had taken Masada by trickery were raiding and looting Northwards, driving all into Jerusalem.

Again in 132-135, the religious leaders backed the wrong horse, Simon bar Khoba, who initially had some success. Christians were persecuted when they refused conscription. But more Romans came back, laying the country waste. This time the Romans dismantled Jerusalem entirely (under Hadrian) spread the Jews out like butter through the empire to avoid depressing the slave market anywhere. They were all sold into slavery. Jews were forbidden to enter Jerusalem on pain of death.

  • I just would like to offer this as the way I read the respective part: The staff called Pleasantness/Attractiveness (as in Carrot) is Christ and the staff called Measure/Stick is whoever was standing behind the Old Testament. They both were thrown away and the Old Testament was removed with the Stick going away and the division between Judea and Jerusalem with the Carrot going away.
    – grammaplow
    Jan 8, 2023 at 4:39

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