“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.                                          Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.                                                                                                                  And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

The last four verses of Zechariah 13 confront us with some unavoidable truths concerning Israel. The reader is taken from the lows of scattering and judgment to the highs of reception and redemption by their God. This passage transports us from the rejection of their Messiah to their reception of Him, from their disobedience to their obedience. Contained in these verses is the history of Israel in a nutshell, primarily, at least, the period of time since the first century until now. It is a history, from a biblical perspective, that is centered on their God and Messiah.

Four teachings in these verses bring into focus the last 2,000 years of history and, I believe, the near future when Israel goes through “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” Jeremiah 30:7. These verses not only show us the rebellious nature that is intrinsic to all mankind, but the righteousness, faithfulness, and justice of a holy God.

What are these wounds in thine hands?

The question is asked, “What are these wounds in thy hands?” The answer is poignant and heartbreaking – “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” The wounds were delivered in the place where he should have been safe. They were administered in the place of refuge of all people – their house or home. This house is not a building with four walls, but rather a people to whom His coming was promised, the house of Israel.

Who is this one who was wounded in the house of his friends? The broader context establishes this one as the Messiah, the Lord Himself. In Zechariah 12:10 we read of the “piercing” of the one who comes to deliver Israel from her enemies. The verse speaks of the Jewish people looking upon Him whom they have “pierced.” The Him, in context, is Jehovah.

This verse also parallels Psalm 22:16 where we are told, “they pierced my hands and my feet,” speaking of the future crucifixion of the Messiah.

This “wounded one” in verse 6 contrasts with the false prophets of verses 2-5. The wounded one is the cleanser of idolatry. Verse 6 also leads into the “smiting” of verse 7. The shepherd will be “smitten” by the people.

God refers to this one as His shepherd – “my shepherd…saith the LORD.” He is also referred to as “the man that is my fellow.” “Fellow” (ameeth in Hebrew) is used of one who is of the same nature, a brother, an equal, or a neighbor. There are eleven other occurrences of this word in the Old Testament, and they are always used of a man who is a brother Israelite. (Leviticus 6:2 (twice); 18:20; 19:11 [another], 15, 17; 24:19; 25:14 (2x),15,17 [another]). This is the only occurrence of this word outside the book of Leviticus. This shepherd, since he is God’s “fellow,” is one who participates or shares in the Divine nature. E. W. Hengstenberg comments, “When this designation [fellow] is transferred to the relation of an individual to God, he cannot possibly be a mere man, but rather he who is united with the Lord by a mysterious unity of nature…”1

Even Jewish writers have recognized the word refers to one equal with God. Charles Feinberg writes, “Jewish commentators – Abarbanel, Kimchi, and others – interpret this as a false claim made by a mere man but recognize that the word means one equal with God.”2

This question is asked in the context of the second coming of Jesus. Jesus was pierced in His hands and feet, as well as His side (John 19:34). Jesus is God who became man, that He, “God’s fellow,” could be rejected by those who should have received Him. When He returns, the Jewish people will “look unto me whom they have pierced” and ask, “what are these wounds in thine hands?”

The sheep shall be scattered

The Jewish people have been scattered twice in their history. The first dispersion was in 586 B.C. when they were taken into Babylonian captivity. The second was in 70 A.D. when they were scattered around the world. The scattering in this passage is in the context of the “shepherd” being smitten, so this dispersion is the 70 A.D. scattering as Jesus was rejected by Israel in the first century.

Many of the writers of the Old Testament spoke of a world-wide dispersion of the Jewish people. Moses wrote that God would bring back the Jewish people to the land of Israel “from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee,” Deuteronomy 30:3.
Isaiah wrote, in the context of a re-gathering of the Jewish people back to the land, that He, God, “shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,” Isaiah 11:12. Ezekiel prophesied “for I [God] will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land,” Ezekiel 36:24.

This judgment of world-wide dispersion was a direct result of their rejection of their Messiah. “I will turn mine hands upon the little ones” is God’s promise to exercise judgment. He meted out judgment through the Romans in 70 A.D. when the Temple and the nation were destroyed, and the Jewish people were scattered into world-wide captivity.

Two-thirds of Israel dies

“And it shall come to pass…” is now over 1900 years down the road from when the world-wide scattering took place. Make no mistake though. Verses 8 and 9 shall come to pass. Just as God fulfilled verses 6 and 7, so He will fulfill verses 8 and 9.

This time of “refining” is the time period known as Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27), or the seven-year Tribulation period. God will “…purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD,” Ezekiel 20:38.

In the Holocaust one-third of world Jewry died at the diabolic hands of the Nazi regime. The coming Tribulation period will see two-thirds of world Jewry die. Much of this will be done by the satanic reign of the anti-Christ (Revelation 12).

The increase in world-wide anti-Semitism today is a harbinger of things to come. A report by the World Jewish Congress in April 2013, titled, US government report highlights rise in anti-Semitism, wrote in part, “According to a recently released report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, 2012 saw a ‘considerable escalation in anti-Semitic manifestations, particularly violent acts against Jews” worldwide, constituting a 30-percent increase over 2011. There were 686 acts of violence and vandalism last year, including “273 attacks on persons of all ages; in addition, 190 synagogues, cemeteries and monuments were desecrated, and over 200 private and public properties damaged, the Kantor Center report said.’”

The Tribulation period is God’s judgment on an idolatrous, wicked, sinful world. All nations will be judged by a holy God. In considering the Seal, Trumpet, and Vial judgments of the Tribulation period (Revelation 6 – 16), it is possible that 99+% of the world population dies.

Israel also will be disciplined (judged) during the coming Tribulation period. Two-thirds of world Jewry will perish in this time period.

“Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished,” Jeremiah 30:11.

One of the purposes of the Tribulation period is to prepare Israel to receive her Messiah. They will receive Jesus, at this time, as the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

They shall call on my name

The closing of this chapter brings a message of hope for the beleaguered nation. Israel has always had a remnant, Romans 11:5, which have believed in Jehovah. These are Jewish people who have put aside the traditions of men and the shackles of religion, and embraced the God of Israel, and His Messiah, in faith, trusting Him and Him alone. At the end of the coming Tribulation period one-third of Jewry will receive the Messiah the nation rejected some 2,000 years earlier.

When this one-third of world Jewry accepts the Lord at the end of the Tribulation period, two basic things happen as mentioned in this text. The LORD will become their God and Savior, and they will become His people. This relationship is more than national, however; it is the relationship of a Heavenly Father with a spiritually new-born child. It is each of the remnant individually receiving Jesus as their Messiah and Savior, Zechariah 12:10-14.
The terminology used in Zechariah 13:9, “I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” is identical to the language in Exodus 6:7 which is used of the 4th cup of juice, the cup of Acceptance, partaken at the Passover meal and named after the “I wills” of Exodus 6:7. The only difference is that in Exodus 6:7 it is in the future tense, and here it is in the present tense. This is why Jesus said at the last supper, actually a Passover Seder, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine [the 4th cup of Acceptance], until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom,” Matthew 26:29. This cup demands Israel accept Jesus as their Savior and Messiah, and it is then that God will accept them. This happens at the end of the Tribulation period and is what verse nine in Zechariah 13 is speaking of.


Hasidic Jews to this day consider themselves the true remnant of the nation, the ones among Jewry who have honored God and His Torah. They look at followers of Reform and Conservative Judaism as compromisers and essentially infidels. Jewish believers in Jesus are looked upon in even a worse light – polytheists who have embraced a pagan god.
Isaiah gives us an enlightening insight into who the true remnant of Israel is.

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.”

Jewish people will persecute Jewish people in the name of Jehovah???!!! Jewish people will be cast out by their brethren in Jehovah’s name???!!! This is not done by Jewish believers in Jesus to their Jewish brethren!!! But this has been done since the first century (read the book of Acts) and continues today with ultra-orthodox Jews persecuting Jewish believers in Jesus and, when they are in Israel, attempting to “cast them out” of the nation.
The true remnant of Israel is Jewish people who “tremble at His word.” Jewish believers in Jesus are the ones that reject extra-biblical writings such as the Talmud, and only accept the Word of God. They are the true remnant. The LORD will appear to the joy of Jewish believers in Jesus, but to their, (ultra-Orthodox Jews who persecute us), shame.

Whether you are Jewish or Gentile, if you are willing to reject extra-biblical writings, and embrace the Word of God alone, you will see that Jesus is Savior, Lord, and Messiah. If you “call on the name of the Lord,” you will be saved from your sins, and when He appears it will be to your joy.

What are you waiting for?

End Notes
1. Hengstenberg, E.W., Christology of the Old Testament, Pg. 373, Kregel, 1979
2. Feinberg, Charles, God Remembers: Zechariah, Pg. 246, Multnomah Press