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Go to Bible: Zechariah 13
“to cleanse them from sin and from uncleanness.” The Hebrew is literally, “for sin and for uncleanness,” but that abrupt Hebrew is not clear to most readers, letting them know that the purpose of the spring is to provide living water that is cleansing.(top)
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“wounds between your hands.” It is unclear exactly what this refers to, so it has been interpreted different ways. For example, “on your chest” (HCSB); “on your back” (ESV); “on your body” (NIV). “Between your hands” would be naturally historical, because the testimony from ancient cultures was that the hands and arms were often slashed. The question would be an honest one in the context, because the false prophets sometimes slashed themselves to try to make their prayers more powerful (cp. 1 Kings 18:28). It seems like the person is avoiding the true answer that he received the wounds as a part of pagan worship, and instead is perhaps saying that they were scars from childhood chastisement from parents or teachers, who in fact were often that hard on children, although it would not be tolerated today.(top)
“Awake, sword, against my shepherd.” The prophecy in Zechariah takes a dramatic turn in Zechariah 13:7. In the earlier verses we have seen the sin of Israel and the leaders, and see that it must be cleansed. Now we see how, the substitutionary death of God’s “shepherd,” the “man” who is close to him, the Messiah. Jesus understood this verse to apply to him, and knew both that he would be smitten and his flock would be scattered (Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:27). This verse is one of a number of verses in the Old Testament that show the Messiah would be a “man” close to God.
Here the sword is personified as if it had a mind of its own. For more on the figure of speech personification, see commentary on Proverbs 1:20.(top)
“two thirds.” The Hebrew is more literally, “two parts,” but here it refers to two thirds.
“die.” The Hebrew verb gava (#01478 גָּוַע) refers to dying and is fundamentally synonymous with the verb “die” muth (#04191 מָוֹת), although it can infer a violent death (see commentary on Gen. 25:8, “breathed his last”).(top)
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