Daily Word

Potter’s field | Zechariah 11:12-14 (ESV)

12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. 14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Zechariah 11:12-14 (ESV)

Prophecy of Messiah

This is a clear prophecy about Messiah’s first coming. Here, Zechzariah is playing the role of Messiah. As mentioned earlier, I don’t think he actually became a shepherd. God spoke through this role-play. So, when he writes, “I said to them”, I think it was Messiah “speaking” through this prophecy.

What am I worth?

Messiah asks Israel, “what am I worth to you”? Consider how the Lord had brought Israel into existance, had saved them so many times, brought them out of slavery, shown grace upon grace and constantly forgiven them. Remember how He had blessed them abundantly with riches and power at different points in their history. Now they reject Him (yesterday) and worse, they devalue Him to that of a slave who had been gored by a beast and almost useless – thirty pieces of silver! 

Give it to the potter further signified the devaluation of the Messiah. Being a potter was a dirty job (spiritually also). It was “cast” into the temple, indicating no value.

What did He expect?

What payment was He expecting? Their love. But, as JFB commentary says, “They withheld that which He sought as His only reward, their love; yet He will not force them, but leave His cause with God (Isa 49:4, 5).” But remember, this is Messiah speaking through Zechariah (see note) and setting up the prophecy to be fulfilled in Jesus.

Break Union

Zechariah breaks the second symbolic staff, Union, to show the division between Judah (southern kingdom) and Israel in the north. They indeed split prior to this – with King Rehoboam (c. 930-913 B.C), but this is likely prophesied when Rome conquered Israel in AD 70. 

An Application

I like what enduringword.com offers as an application for us regarding the money to betray Jesus: “His purchase price – went to buy a potter’s field (Matthew 27:7). A potter’s field was a piece of useless land where the potter threw his broken, damaged, and rejected pots. Jesus really did purchase the potter’s field – the place where broken, rejected, and useless people like us are scattered.”


Note:  Matthew 27:9 attributes this prophecy to Jeremiah, not Zechariah. See enduringword.com for options for how to understand this.

Image from Pxfuel.com

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