And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver.
And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them.
And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah.Zechariah 11:12-13 ASV
“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver.”
The KJV here uses the word “price” instead of hire, and that is preferable, although the word used is actually “hire.”
Although the word in Zechariah 11:12 actually means, advantage arising from labor, wages, only one amount is spoken of in both verses; and it is far better to honor the AV rendition, despite the fact of two different words being used.
The word “price,” used in the next verse clarifies what is really meant here.
“So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver …”
See at the end of Zechariah 11:13 for a minute examination of the significant fulfillment of this complex prophecy. The amount of money here is very revealing.
Exodus 21:32 has this: If the ox gore a man-servant or a maid-servant, there shall be given to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
This was only half the value of a freeman. A freeman is valued, more or less, at sixty shekels, but a slave at thirty.
Note too, that a dead or severely-injured slave was so valued.
Exodus 21:32 means “gored to death,” affirming that the amount here was the price of a slave gored to death.
This is doubtless correct and casts an extremely sinister shadow over the whole transaction.
True, Jesus was not yet dead when the Pharisees determined to pay Judas exactly thirty pieces of silver; but then they fully intended to kill him as soon as possible, overlooking the parallel fact that God’s law required the “ox” to be stoned after such an incident!
Although the brilliant company of false shepherds who bought Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, fully determined to be the “ox” that would gore him to death, they sealed at the same time their own fate.
“If ye think good … and if not forbear …” Haggling over the price is indicated by this. It really makes no difference whether Judas or the evil shepherds finally determined the amount, the evil shepherds certainly approved and paid for it.
Nor is there any problem with the fact that in Zechariah, the type of Jesus is the one who consummates the “deal,” while in the gospels it was Judas.
Judas was the servant of Jesus; and the Master is credited with the deeds of his servants (John 4:1,2); and, in addition to that, on the very night of the betrayal Jesus commanded Judas, “What thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).
“So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver …” Coinage was certainly known at the time of Christ’s betrayal; but, as indicated here, the old device of weighing the amount was followed (Matthew 26:15), “And they weighed him thirty pieces of silver.”
“And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah.”
Here again the prevalent misunderstanding of the critics finds a stumbling block in the fact that here Jehovah cast the money unto the potter, whereas, in the New Testament it was Judas who did it.
See under Zechariah 11:12, above. It was indeed God who cast that money to the potter; and the same thing is true of a number of other actions accredited in the New Testament to many of the persons engaged in the dark drama of Calvary.
It was God who spoke a prophecy through the evil high priest (John 12:51,52)
Well indeed might the prophet have said, “I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them unto the potter, in the house of the Lord,” thus ascribing the action to God.
How futile are the screams of the critics who cannot identify this potter! There might not have been any.
Zechariah was speaking, through the power of the Holy Ghost, of an incident that would not occur until centuries had rolled by.
If one wishes to find the potter let him turn to Matthew 27:7 and to Acts 1:17-19.
Having already eliminated the glorious fulfillment of this passage from any consideration, it occurs to the critic that the text here should read differently: It is pretty generally agreed that the text needs emendation!
The command addressed to the Shepherd should read, `put it in the treasury’!
Most commentators try to make out that “cast it unto the potter” is some kind of proverbial expression, such as “throw it to the dogs,” “to the bats and moles,” etc.; but we do not believe any such proverb ever existed, nor have we ever heard or seen it used.
Men will not find “the potter” in this passage but in the disposition of the money that Judas hurled at the feet of the priest.
How can a Christian commentator say, No satisfactory explanation of the reference to the potter has been advanced?
Have such exegetes never heard of predictive prophecy?
Well, that is positively what we have in this passage.
If it is objected that the money in this passage was not actually “blood money,” such has no bearing on the matter; because in the event being typically presented here, it was “blood money.”
The thing that puzzles some students of this passage is that there was no “potter” who can be identified as associated in any manner with the Jewish temple.
How then could Zechariah have recognized the potter and have thrown the money to him?
Although no man has the answer to that question, we do have Zechariah’s inspired statement that he did it!
Therefore, he either already knew what God meant, or God revealed it to him at the moment of his obedience. “How” this was done is of of no concern whatever.
Matthew’s referral of this passage to the prophecy of Jeremiah is a puzzle. We are sure that the reason for it would be clear if we had all of the facts.
Believers in the inspiration of the Scriptures reject the theory that … it was due to a lapse of memory on Matthew’s part.
Different groups of Old Testament writings were named among the Jews according to the first book of the roll. Zechariah happened to be in the book, or roll, in which Jeremiah was the first book.
It remains one of the mysteries of the New Testament which we cannot explain; but some other things are clear enough.
The Good Shepherd of this chapter, according to a recent review, was Hyrcanus, the son of Joseph who may have been paid to leave Jerusalem but at a price so small that he threw it into the treasury in disgust!
To which it should be stated that such a piddling and insignificant incident as that simply cannot be dignified with enough importance to justify a prophet of God foretelling the event centuries ahead of time.
With some, it is a question of taking “any explanation except the true one.”
A SUMMARY OF THIS PROPHECY
This prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot for thirty pieces of silver is one of the most remarkable in the Bible.
It is not a single prophecy, merely, but a whole constellation of prophecies. Note:
- The Good Shepherd himself shall be bought and sold. This is a unique reference to Christ and cannot be applied to any other.
- The Shepherd himself makes the “deal,” which Jesus did in the person of his servant, Judas.
- The amount of money was the price of a slave “gored to death” by an ox, indicating that those who paid it considered the Lord to be already dead (as was the case, in their purpose).
- The amount of money would be “weighed out,” a fact Matthew took pains to relate (Matthew 17:15).
- The money would be cast unto the potter in the house of the Lord. This occurred when Judas, remorse stricken, flung the money at the feet of the High Priest in the temple.
- That it would also be to the “potter” was fulfilled when the evil shepherds, reluctant to put blood money in the treasury, bought a field from a potter (See Acts 1:17-19).
- Observe what was here revealed about that 30 pieces of silver:
The amount would be weighed (to Judas).
He would throw it into the house of the Lord.
Those hypocrites were unwilling to put it in the treasury.
So they put it into the purchase of the potter’s field.
There is not another example of tracing the exact money through four separate transactions in the entire history of the ancient Roman empire!
In addition to all of the above, which any one can easily see and understand, we have the additional testimony of the sacred historians Matthew and Luke who affirm the truth of all of this, and who unhesitatingly applied the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy exactly as we have here.
We hold their testimony to be incontrovertible, true, inviolate, inspired and certain.
It is a big order which the critics have accepted in their efforts to get Christ out of Zechariah 11.