Is there any early manuscript that shows a word translatable as "the one" (3rd person) in Zechariah 12:10?

When looking at Zechariah 12:10, this is how it reads in:

  • New World Translation (NWT)

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and supplication, and they will look to the one whom they pierced,+ and they will wail over him as they would wail over an only son; and they will grieve bitterly over him as they would grieve over a firstborn son

However, other translations, and the most basic sources I can find, read:

  • King James Version (KJV)

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn

(There is no word indicating 'the one whom')

  • Latin Vulgate by Jerome in 382AD

..et effundam super domum David et super habitatores Hierusalem spiritum gratiae et precum et aspicient ad me quem confixerunt et plangent eum planctu quasi super unigenitum et dolebunt super eum ut doleri solet in morte primogeniti

(There is no word indicating 'the one whom')

  • LXX Septuagint — Greek translation of Hebrew in 132BC

καὶ ἐκχεῶ ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Δαυιδ καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς κατοικοῦντας Ιερουσαλημ πνεῦμα χάριτος καὶ οἰκτιρμοῦ καὶ ἐπιβλέψονται πρός [TOWARD] με [ME] ἀνθ’ ὧνκατωρχήσαντο καὶ κόψονται ἐπ’ αὐτὸν κοπετὸν ὡς ἐπ’ ἀγαπητὸν καὶ ὀδυνηθήσονται ὀδύνην ὡς ἐπὶ πρωτοτόκῳ

(No word indicating 'the one whom')

I understand that, assuming Jehovah God—the one speaking, cannot be the one being pierced.1 Therefore some of the later Hebrew manuscripts read “look upon him whom they have pierced”, rather than “look upon me whom they have pierced”, some even claiming that they were 'corrected' and eventually in some manuscripts changed (Although, as quoted by a JW source "the oldest and best Hebrew manuscripts read “me” rather than “him”).

According to this response on another SE, what started from a correction, on the assumption of something that didn't seem right, may have repeated down in history down to a "cannot" conclusion.

Is there any early credible manuscript/source that shows a word translatable as "the one whom"? Based on what I can see and my limited knowledge of the ancient languages shown above, there isn't. I appreciate your help in providing sources that support your answer.

1 A possible Christian interpretation could be that He is speaking of Jesus being pierced on His behalf.

  • 1
    FWIW, the Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version also translate this him/the one who was pierced, presumably for different reasons than the NWT. Dec 10, 2013 at 22:02
  • Bruce, I am aware there are other versions with that wording, as I had pointed out originally "New World Translation (NWT) and others", before an edit was made. However, my question is as to whether or not any word translatable as "the one" (3rd person), is found in any of the manuscripts.
    – Luis
    Dec 11, 2013 at 0:17
  • This is a great question and I wanted to ensure it doesn't attract a lot of spam :)
    – Dan
    Dec 11, 2013 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


Zecharaiah 12:10 is discussed in depth in the Fourth Gospel and the Scriptures: Illuminating the Form and Meaning of Scriptural Citation in John 19:37 by Wm. Randolph Bynum, Published by Brill in Supplements to Novum Testamentum 144 Publication date June 2012. The portion of the verse we are looking at is וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָרוּ in the MT. In Chapter 5 text critical issues are addressed and Bynum writes that אֵלַי could be vocalized differently as ' אֱלַי "to whom" a variant vocalisation in construct form based on the identical consonantal MT'. As far as I can tell this would be the way the Evangelist understood the verse when he wrote in John 19:37. και παλιν ετερα γραφη λεγει "οψονται εις ον εξεκεντησαν." and again another scripture says "They shall look to whom they pierced."

This is perhaps influenced by proto/Theodotian, (I don't have Gottingen so I'll quote from Field) και επιβλεψονται προς με εις ον εξεκεντησαν και κοψονται αυτον. It would not surprise me if the double translation of אלי as "προς με" and "εις ον" is due to a conflation of LXX and p/Theodotian readings.

This is likely also the influence in the NWT, as εις could be read as both a numeral and a preposition.

Hope this helps.

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You are correct. There is no known early credible manuscript/source that shows a word translatable as "the one whom".

Below I have quoted an old Watchtower article that explains Zechariah 12:10.

Watchtower 1953 8/15 p. 511 - Questions From Readers

Zechariah 12:10 states: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Jehovah is the speaker, and it sounds as though he was the one pierced instead of Jesus. Some argue this proves that Jehovah and Jesus are one in a trinity. So how is Zechariah 12:10 to be explained?—R. B., New York.

To avoid what seems to be a piercing of Jehovah some of the later Hebrew manuscripts read “look upon him whom they have pierced”, rather than “look upon me whom they have pierced”. At first these late Jewish manuscripts show this in the Keri, or corrected reading in the margin; but eventually in some manuscripts the change was brought up into the body of the text itself. Rotherham’s translation, on the basis of these late manuscripts, offers in a footnote “him” as an acceptable reading in place of “me”. So does the American Standard Version. Some modern translations, such as Moffatt and An American Translation and Revised Standard Version, use “him” instead of “me” in the main body of the text itself. However, the oldest and best Hebrew manuscripts read “me” rather than “him”.

  • I am no languages expert by any stretch of the imagination but, in my limited knowledge, the oldest evidence I have found is this Dead Sea Scroll transcript (4Q80e)from the Hebrew (thoughtswithaccent.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/…) which, when I compare it to a Hebrew English interlinear (scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/zec12.pdf), I dont see any word that to my knowledge can mean "to him or any 3rd person pronounce. This personal conclusion is what I wanted to verify.
    – Luis
    Dec 11, 2013 at 0:45
  • There is no word there that can mean any 3rd person pronoun. The grammar and the context allow it to be considered as implied.
    – tacosalad
    Dec 11, 2013 at 3:26
  • 2
    Also, @tacosalad I would encourage you to additionally find more support for your argument. Publications put out by religions are often considered to be biased sources. That doesn't mean they are not credible, just that your argument would be even stronger if you also cited a non-JW source for additional support. This is not required, it's just a suggestion so that your answers will be better received here. Check out "What is a good source?"
    – Dan
    Dec 11, 2013 at 15:52
  • I am not an expert, but for me this is more credible because the Watchtower organization is admitting that the 3rd person pronoun is not there. If there were any evidence of it being there then they would have brought that up to support their non-trinitarian belief.
    – tacosalad
    Dec 11, 2013 at 17:25

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