1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, so that the fire may devour your cedars.
2 Howl, fir-tree, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty are laid waste. Howl, O oaks of Bashan, for the fortified forest has come down.
3 There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds, for their glory is destroyed. A voice of the roaring of young lions, for the pride of the Jordan is laid waste.
4 Thus says the LORD my God: "Feed the flock of the slaughter, 5 Whose possessors slay them and do not hold themselves guilty. And those who sell them say, 'Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich.' And their own shepherds do not pity them. 6 For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD, "but behold, I will deliver the men each into his neighbor's hand and into the hand of his king. And they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them."
7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs: one I called Beauty and the other I called Union. And I fed the flock. 8 I also cut off three shepherds in one month. My soul was impatient with them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9 Then I said, "I will not feed you. That which dies, let it die. And that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off. And let the rest eat the flesh of each other." 10 And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it apart so that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. 11 And it was broken in that day. And so the poor of the flock who waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD. 12 And I said to them, "If you think good, give me my price, and if not, forbear." So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said to me, "Cast it to the potter, the substantial price at which I was prized by them." And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14 Then I cut apart my other staff, even Union, so that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 And the LORD said to me, "Take for yourself yet again the instruments of a foolish shepherd. 16 For behold, I will raise up a shepherd in the land who shall not visit those who are cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that which is broken, nor feed that which stands still, but he shall eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.
17 "Woe to the idle shepherd who leaves the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye. His arm shall be wholly dried up and his right eye shall be utterly darkened."
John Gill's Chapter Summary
This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of the Jews, and shows the causes and reasons of it; and is concluded with a prediction concerning antichrist. The destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it, is signified by figurative expressions (verses 1-2); which occasions a howling among the shepherds or rulers of Israel, on account of whose cruelty and covetousness the wrath of God came upon them without mercy (verses 3, 5-6); but inasmuch as there were a remnant according to the election of grace among them, named the flock of the slaughter, Christ is called upon to feed them; who undertakes it, and prepares for it (verses 4, 7); but being abhorred by the shepherds, whom he therefore loathed and cut off, he determines to leave the people to utter ruin and destruction (verses 8-9); and, as a token of it, cuts the two staffs apart he had took to feed them with (verses 10-11, 14); and, as an instance of their ingratitude to him, and which is a justification of his conduct toward them, notice is taken of his being valued at and sold for thirty pieces of silver (verses 12-13); but, in the place of these shepherds cut off, it is suggested that another should arise, who is described by his folly, negligence, and cruelty (verses 15-16); to whom a woe is denounced (verse 17).
[v.7] - "Union" - Literally, "Cords," or, "Ropes," or, "Those that bind." From the Pulpit Commentary: "The name is meant to express the union of all the members of the flock, especially that between Israel and Judah (see verse 14)."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-7:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you have hitherto so kindly showed yourself to be our Shepherd, and even our Father, and have carefully provided for our safety,— O grant, that we may not by our ingratitude deprive ourselves of your favors, so as to provoke your extreme vengeance, but on the contrary allow ourselves to be gently ruled by you, and render you due obedience: and as your only-begotten Son has been by you set over us as our only true Shepherd, may we hear his voice, and willingly obey him, so that we may be able to triumph with your Prophet, that your staff is sufficient for us, so as to enable us to walk without fear through the valley of the shadow of death, until we shall at length reach that blessed and eternal rest, which has been obtained for us by the blood of your only Son. Amen.
[v.12] - Quoted in Matthew 27:9.
[v.13a] - "the substantial price" - From John Gill's Exposition: "This is sarcastically said; meaning that it was a very poor price; and showed that they had no notion of the worth and value of Christ, the Pearl of great price."
[v.13b] - Reference, Matthew 27:10.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 8-13:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you cease not, though provoked by our many sins, to discharge the office of a good and most faithful Shepherd, and as you continue in various ways to testify that Christ watches over us as one who has undertaken the care of our safety,— O grant, that we may be touched with the feeling of true repentance, and so profit under your scourges, that by considering your judgments, we may be really humbled under your mighty hand, and so submit to you, that finding us teachable and obedient, you may continue to rule us to the end, until after having been protected from all harms by the pastoral staff of your only-begotten Son, we shall at length reach that blessed rest, which has been procured for us by his blood. Amen.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 14-17:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you have hitherto so patiently endured, not only our sloth and folly, but also our ingratitude and perverseness,— O grant, that we may hereafter render ourselves submissive and obedient to you; and as you have been pleased to set over us the best of shepherds, even your only-begotten Son, cause us willingly to attend to him, and to suffer ourselves to be gently ruled by him; and though you may find in us what may justly provoke your wrath, yet restrain extreme severity, and so correct what is sinful in us, as to continue to the end our Shepherd, until we shall at length, under your guidance, reach your heavenly kingdom; and thus may you keep us in your fold and under the guidance of your pastoral staff, that at length being separated from the goats, we may enjoy that blessed inheritance which has been obtained for us by the blood of your beloved Son. Amen.