“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.”

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭13‬:‭7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I also know the context is about false prophets.

And on that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭13‬:‭2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Given that the word man or person who sits next to me in verse 7 refers to a neighbor or someone of kin. Is this sarcasm from God against the false prophet? Or despite the context would actually be referencing Zechariah 12:10?

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭12‬:‭10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  • 2
    I think you need to clarify what your definition of 'sarcasm' is and where you think (and why) it is being employed in the text. (I cannot see any, myself.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Some translations, including the RSV, format vv7-9 as a distinct prophecy (in poetry instead of the preceding prose), and that passage does read well as a separate unit with its own theme.

It is summarising a sequence of catastrophe and restoration similar to the predictions being made before the Fall of Jerusalem in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

v7. The shepherd is the king, who is the one who "stands next to God" in the governing of the land. The sword will strike against the king, so that his people will be scattered. This echoes Micaiah's prophecy against king Ahab in 1 Kings ch22 v17.

v8 As a result, two-thirds of the people will perish while one third survives as a remnant.

v9 The remnant, having been "refined", will return to God.

So I would understand v7 as a warning about what will happen to the king, expressed in the form of a command addressed to whatever instrument the Lord will use against him

  • so how do you think as Christians we should understand this passage? Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 6:35
  • We have the authority of Jesus (Matthew ch26 v31) to regard it as a prophecy about his own death and the scattering of his followers. But God will gather them together at the end and they of course remain his people. Prophets are always speaking in the first instance to the people of their own time, but the Spirit allows us to reapply some of their prophecies to Christ. Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 7:57

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