Zechariah 11:12,13 – Thirty Pieces of Silver

Zechariah 11:12
I said to them, “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
Zechariah 11:13
Yahweh said to me, “Throw it to the potter, the handsome price that I was valued at by them!” I took the thirty pieces of silver, and threw them to the potter, in the house of Yahweh. — World English.

According to many trinitarians and some others, Zechariah offers convincing proof that Jesus is Jehovah. One states: “In the passage beginning with Zechariah 11:4, “the LORD my God” said, “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” It is claimed that in Zechariah 11:13, God says that 30 pieces of silver was paid for for him, but it is claimed that New Testament shows that thirty pieces of silver were paid for Jesus (Matthew 26:15; 27:3,9), and thus this comparison of scriptures is offered as proof that Jesus is Yahweh.

Let us break this down so as to ascertian who is speaking in Zechariah’s prophecy.

Zechariah 11:4
Thus says Yahweh my [Zechariah’s] God: “Feed the flock of slaughter.”

Zechariah is instructed by Yahweh to feed the flock that was to be sold for slaughter.

Zechairah 11:12
I [Zechariah] said to them [the shepherds of Israel and Judah], “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my [Zechariah’s] wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Yahweh said to me [Zechariah], “Throw it to the potter, the handsome price that I [Yahweh] was valued at by them!” I [Zechariah] took the thirty pieces of silver, and threw them to the potter, in the house of Yahweh. — World English

This scripture is often vaguely used to support the trinity doctrine, although there is nothing there about three persons in one God. Since Jesus was priced at 30 pieces of silver, and since Yahweh here says, “I was valued at by them,” they conclude that Jesus is here called Yahweh, and evidently this is supposed to give support to the trinitarian philosophy of three persons in one God. Let us look at this closer.

The above is all part of a prophetic dramatization. which has its fulfillment in the New Testament days. In the context the prophet takes two shepherd’s staves, named Beauty and Bands, and breaking them, shows the cessation of God’s pastoral relationship toward Israel. The staff, Beauty, depicts the cessation of his covenant with them, while Bands indicates the deterioration of the relationship between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern monarchy of Judah. The prophecy of the potter’s field is a part of the former. It was this act, brought about by the treachery of Judas, that marked the termination of the law relationship to “them that believed”. — Colossians 2:14; Romans 10:4.

It was Zechariah, as Yahweh’s prophet, and thus the representative of Yahweh, who is depicted as asking for wages from the shepherds of Israel. The shepherds of Israel measured out for Zechariah thirty pieces of silver, for the care of the flocks. (Zechariah 2:7) The thirty pieces of silver was the price which, by the Mosaic law, a man was condemned to pay if his ox should gore a servant (Exodus 21:32), which, evidently fell far short of the price that would actually be due to for such care. In other words, the shepherds of Israel failed to pay the proper wages due for the job done, but instead insulted the prophet of Yahweh by paying the price of a gored bond-servant. By valuing the prophet of Yahweh as such, they were, in effect, valuing Yahweh in the same way.

Of course, all of this was done to provide a prophetic dramatization. The price paid to Judas for Jesus, the sacrifice for all mankind, was paid for out of the temple-money, destined for the purchase of sacrifices. He who “took on himself the form [outward appearance] of a slave”, in likeness of sinful flesh, (Philippians 2:7; Romans 8:3,21) was sold at the legal price of a bond-servant. Since Jesus was a prophet who had come in the name of Yahweh (Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Psalm 118:26; Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Mark 11:9; Luke 13:35; 19:38; John 12:13; Acts 3:17-26), this is also considered as being done to the God and Father of Jesus. — John 5:23; 15:23; See also: Matthew 10:40; 25:40; 18:5; Mark 9:37,48; John 13:20.

If in the prophetic drama of Zechariah, the price valued is fulfilled in Jesus, and if this would prove that Jesus is Yahweh, we would need to consider the rest of the prophecy in the same manner. In the prophecy, it is Zechariah, representing Yahweh, who asks for the wages — “give me my wages”. In the fulfillment, however, who actually asked for the wages? Matthew records it was Judas: “What are you willing to give me, and I will deliver him to you?” (Matthew 26:15, World English) According to the reasoning often presented in trying to prove that Jesus is Yahweh through use of Zechariah 1:12,13, this would, in effect, prove that Judas is Yahweh.

Additionally, Matthew 27:5 says of Judas, “He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary…” Since in the fulfillment it was Judas who actually threw the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, should we then conclude that Judas is Zechariah, or if Zechariah represented Jesus (as some commentators claim), should we conclude that Judas is Jesus? No, for the prophetic drama does not have actual person-for-person correspondences, but rather prophetically depicts the events to occur.

However, actions are often attributed to Yahweh even though Yahweh himself does not carry out the actions. For instance, we read in Exodus 7:17 where Yahweh says He Himself will smite the waters with the rod in His own hand. Yet, it was Aaron that held the rod (Exodus 7:19,20). Should we conclude from this that Aaron is also Yahweh? And we read in Exodus 12:51 that Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and in Deuteronomy 32:12, we read that Yahweh alone led Israel. However, we also read that “Moses led Israel” (Exodus 15:22) Does this mean that Moses is Yahweh?

Despite the claims, there is nothing in Zechariah 11 that offers any proof that Jesus is his God. There is certainly nothing anywhere in Zechariah, or anyplace else in the Bible, about a triune God, or that Jesus is a person of such a God.

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