Zechariah 10:2-3 – The word “shepherd” in Scripture referred to a number of different leadership roles: teachers, prophets, priests, judges, rulers, kings, and governors. In Zechariah’s time, the leaders had abused their positions of authority. And the people, being like sheep, were powerless to do anything for themselves. They needed to be rescued, as Ezekiel describes in Ezekiel 34.
Because the shepherds failed to care properly for God’s sheep they went astray just as Ezekiel prophesied. They began to look to idols and witchcraft and other cults that preyed on God’s sheep. The leaders would tell the people to put their trust in diviners, even though they were telling lies and relating false dreams in trying to comfort the people.
Today we have the same thing but many today are trying to rattle God’s people so that they become fearful and lose their trust in God and His word and instead look to these modern day prophets, rather to the Lord and His Word. God often used dreams to communicate with His prophets, and His people; the problem was that they used false dreams spun out of the leaders’ own imaginations! Prophets who used false dreams were castigated by the prophet Jeremiah in no uncertain terms (Jeremiah 23:32;27:9-10).
All of their prophecies were a denial of the revealed will of God as found in His Word. With only unreliable and false sources of leadership, the people were, in effect, leaderless. They had no real shepherd who cared for them or knew what to do. Both Zechariah and Ezekiel spoke how angry God was with them. God Himself would come to care and lead His sheep, which is exactly who Yeshua is Good Shepherd (John 10:1-16). The Lord will fiercely judge the false shepherds.
Zechariah 10:4-5 God’s anger was kindled against the shepherds of Israel who cared for themselves but did not feed His sheep. They became food for the cults because the sheep knew they were ungodly and wanted no part of them. Contrasted with these false shepherds were a faithful leaders whom God would raise up from the “house of Judah” (Zechariah 10:3).
These would be those who would be God would take His bullied sheep and turn them into “His proud horse in battle”. Because of their faith and filling with His Spirit they would become strong in Him and overthrow their oppressive leaders. These new leaders would find their strength in God’s model, the One who is described here as the cornerstone, the tent peg, and the battle bow.
The word “cornerstone” is used in Psalm 118:22 to refer to the Messiah that men rejected, but became the chief cornerstone. A “tent peg” is used to keep a tent taut and secure and Israel is a reference to the dwelling place of Israel, and the Lord is the tent peg who keeps His people taut and secure. A “battle bow” is the symbol of war and is an allusion to the battle of the Lord in the last days (Revelation 6:2).
Together Zechariah 10:3-5 give us the idea that God will empower His people to overthrow all false leaders and oppressors. They will be so skilled as to overcome the trained warriors of Israel’s enemies, both physical and spiritual.
Zechariah 10:6-10 the theme of this section is the wandering sheep being guided home again, to the place where rich pastures might be found. God’s dispersed people would be brought back: the message speaks of redemption. In verse 6: “I will restore them because I have compassion on them.” This is God’s grace as opposed to the false shepherds that ignored or oppressed them. This is where the picture in the New Covenant is rooted.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). God promises to “strengthen the house of Judah, and … save the house of Joseph”. Which will come only when their sin is dealt with in God’s appointed way, by faith in Yeshua. The “house of Judah” represents, the southern kingdom, and the “house of Joseph” stands for the northern ten tribes which broke away in 931 b.c. after Solomon’s death.
God will bring back both houses into the land because of His mercy on them. At this time we don’t know who is of Judah and who Israel is. There is a group of Christians that suggest that Gentiles who come to faith in Yeshua represent Joseph or the Northern Tribes but I don’t agree with their thinking. For more information on this you can check out a paper published by UMJC http://umjc.org/resources-mainmenu-101/documents-mainmenu-110/cat_view/119-theology.
This is a promise that the Jewish people will return not just from the Babylonian exile (as many twentieth-century scholars have taught), but from all over the world, as Zechariah 10:9-10 tell us. This speaks of regathering not just the Jewish people from Babylon but also from the Assyrian captivity that began in 722 b.c. with the fall of Samaria, the capital of the ten Joseph tribes.
The ten lost tribes are not lost to God who has promised to keep His Word to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David concerning the inheritance of the land. The Good Shepherd will somehow call or whistle for his sheep (Judges 5:16). This call involves not only calling them but redeeming them that they might be His holy and sanctified people once again. Though the Lord is the One who will make all this possible, Judah and Israel must first fulfill the prerequisite that they “remember Me” (Zechariah 10:9b).
That is what the Lord had called them to do in Leviticus 26:40-42: It is this kind of confession that will bring life to them and their children as Zechariah 10:9 tells them. In Zechariah 10:10 God names the nations from which He will bring back His people to Israel: “Egypt” and “Assyria.” “Egypt” speaks of bondage (Isaiah 11:11;Hosea 11:1,11;Micah 7:15) and “Assyria” speaks of all the lands north and east of Israel where the captives were taken, including Assyria, Babylon, and Persia.
These were the lands were tens of thousands of Jewish people came from when in the days prior to and after Israel became a modern state. Gilead and Lebanon are part of the boundaries of Israel described in the promised covenant. “Gilead” was primarily the area that is referred to today as the “Golan Heights,” the future Promised Land extends to the Euphrates River through Damascus. Lebanon is north of Israel and included the coastal cities of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut, and Byblos. Somehow all that land will be in Israel’s dominion.
Zechariah 10:11-12 – The NIV has the translation wrong it has a vav consecutive which is a Hebrew tense that links the previous verse with the previous, thus referring to the Lord of Zechariah 10:10 which is how the NASB and KJV translated Zechariah 10:11. The Lord Himself will “pass through the sea [of] affliction, and strike the waves of the sea, as He says in Isaiah 43:2, and Isaiah 11:15.
The image is from the deliverance of Egypt at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10), Just as Israel was brought across the Red sea, so Israel will pass through the waters of tribulation and be saved and her enemies shall be removed only this time they will enter His rest and not be brought once again into the wilderness (Psalm 124:1-5).
Zechariah 10:12 tells us that it isn’t Israel who will accomplish this victory it is the Lord who does it. God supplies the strength they need; they cannot do this by themselves. Contrasted with the false shepherds of Israel, the Good Shepherd will be Israel’s deliverer once again. The first time He came to Israel in humility but when He returns He will come in power.