Zechariah urges the leaders of Lebanon and Bashan to lament the destruction of their forested land because the LORD will come to them with judgment.
The LORD commanded Zechariah to care for His covenant people because, like sheep destined for slaughter, they are at the mercy of dishonest merchants and shepherds.
Zechariah cares for the oppressed Judeans using two staffs: one is called Favor and the other Union. He then dismisses the inadequate leaders and renounces his commission to allow the people to receive the fate awaiting them.
The LORD instructs Zechariah to act as a foolish leader who cares nothing for his people to illustrate the wicked behavior of a future leader He will install.
The book of Zechariah begins with a title verse providing information concerning the date, authorship, and source of the revelation. It states that the prophecy occurred in the eighth month of the second year of Darius (vs 1). The biblical material likely dates the prophetic message according to the regnal year of the Persian king because there was no king in Judah during that time. Judah had been conquered by Babylon, which in turn had been taken over by Persia (Daniel 5:30-31).
The term prophet [“nābî” in Hebrew] means “proclaimer” or “forth-teller.” It describes someone who received a call from God to be God’s spokesman. A prophet was God’s emissary. He had a particular calling to see or hear what God was saying, live it out in his life, and proclaim it to the people roundabout. That means the prophet could not speak from his authority and was not free to say what he pleased. Rather, he was to discern what God thought about a given situation, what His attitude was toward the people’s behavior in the past, what He required of them in the present, and how He would act in their favor in the future.
Zechariah 11 begins with the prophet urging the inhabitants of Lebanon and Bashan to lament the devastation of their forested land because they are under divine judgment. Then, the LORD commands Zechariah to lead the returning exiles of Judah because the other leaders do not care for them. In obedience to God’s command, the prophet cares for the Judeans and dismisses the incompetent leaders. However, the people turn on Zechariah, prompting him to renounce his commission, allowing them to get the fate awaiting them. Finally, the LORD asks Zechariah to act as a foolish leader to portray the behavior of a future leader of Judah. The passage’s outline is as follows: