“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
The city is Jerusalem. The king is Jesus (Matthew 21:1-5; Mark 11:1-6; Luke 19:28-35; John 12:14-15). The character of the king: (a) He is just (NKJV), righteous (ESV) in behavior. (b) He is lowly (NKJV), humble (ESV). That is, He is without pomp and arrogance. The purpose of His coming: He has salvation (cf. Luke 19:10). The nature of His entrance: He enters riding a donkey. The ISBE comments, “The humblest peasant owned his own ass. It is associated throughout the Bible with peaceful pursuits (Genesis 42:26-ff; 23:3; 1 Samuel 16:20; 2 Samuel 19:26; Nehemiah 13:15), whereas the horse is referred to in connection with war and armies” (vol. 1, p. 287). Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary says, “being preferred by rulers and great men for peaceful journeys. Horses were reserved for war” (p. 40). Wayne Jackson remarked, “It is very significant that when Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, he came not on a war-horse; rather the ‘Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6) was riding upon the colt of a donkey (Matthew 21:2; John 12:15). No Jewish king since Solomon had officially ridden the donkey, but meekness was an identifying trait of the Messiah” (Background Bible Study, p. 30). Jesus did not enter on a war-horse. He did not force people into submission. He did not attract people with pomp riding in an expensive chariot (modern language – limo, Rolex watches, etc.). He did not enter riding on the backs of men. He was not oppressive. He humbly and peacefully entered.
“Then I said to them ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not refrain.’ so they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘throw it to the potter’ – that princely price set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter” (Zechariah 11:12-13).
Zechariah eleven concerns the work of a good shepherd. He worked with two staffs: (a) one called beauty or grace; (b) the other called bond or unity (Zechariah 11:7, 10, 14). However, the shepherd said, that the flock detested him (Zechariah 11:8 ESV, NIV). He ended his work among them, and asked them to pay him for his labor. They insulted him and the LORD by valuing his work at thirty pieces of silver.
It is Jesus who is the shepherd (Matthew 20:14-16; 27:1-10; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:1-6). He was sold for thirty pieces of silver. Wayne Jackson suggests that this would amount to about $22 to $24, which would be about four month’s wages for the common man (see Background Bible Study, p. 37-38). The amount was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32). How much is He worth to you??
Critics struggle with how to reconcile Matthew 27:9-10 and Zechariah 11:12-13. Matthew says this was spoken by Jeremiah, but the quote seems to come from Zechariah. Eric Lyons in The Anvil Rings, Vol. 2, provides three possible solutions. I’ll mention two: (1) Matthew does not say that Jeremiah wrote this, but that he spoke this. It is possible that Jeremiah orally taught this, but such wasn’t written down [consider Paul’s mention of words from Jesus not recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (Acts 20:35)]. (2) A common practice was to identify quotations by the name of the first book in a group of books clustered by literary genre. Matthew may have been quoting from the prophetic books, the first of which according to Talmudic tradition was Jeremiah (Lyons, p. 206-ff).
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son and grieve for his as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).
The spirit being poured out looks to the day of Pentecost (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:4, 16-17). On this day, there would be mourning for what they had done to the Messiah (cf. Acts 2:36-38). They had pierced him (Zechariah 12:10). They had pierced his hands and his feet (Psalm 22:16). The reference is to the crucifixion.
Side point: crucifixion was not a Jewish means of execution. The Jews commonly executed by: (1) stoning (Leviticus 20:2; 20:27; 24:16; Numbers 14:10; 15:33-36; Deuteronomy 13:6-10; 17:5; 22:21, 24; Joshua 7:16-26; 1 Kings 21:10; Acts 7:54-60). (2) Burning (Genesis 38:24; Leviticus 20:14; 21:9). Note: Burning “is also mentioned as following death by other means (Joshua 7:25). Some believe it was never used except after death. That it was sometimes used as a punishment on living persons among the heathen is shown by Daniel 3” (ISBE, vol. 4, p. 2504). (3) Sword/beheading/saw (Exodus 32:27-28; 1 Samuel 15:33; Matthew 14:10; Mark 6:16, 27-28; Luke 12:46; Acts 12:1-2; Hebrews 11:37. (4) Drowning (Matthew 18:6). Note: The Syrians used this method to execute. Some think that such was practiced among the Jews as well. The point is: The Jews did not crucify. Note: It is true that they hanged criminals on trees (Deuteronomy 21:19-23; Joshua 8:29; 10:26 cf. Genesis 40:19). This was not a means of execution, but was done after death to warn others (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Joshua 10:20 cf. Genesis 40:19). However, according to prophecy this piercing occurs while the one prophesied of was still alive (Psalm 22:16-17). Israel came under Roman control in 63 B.C. They lost their sovereignty in regards to the death penalty (John 18:31). It was only then that crucifixion began to be used among the Jews. This is an amazing prophecy!
The people would mourn. They would regret what they had done in crucifying the Messiah (cf. Acts 2:36-37).
Fountain (A Second Chance)
“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).
“In that day” refers to the day of Pentecost, the day the spirit was poured out (Zechariah 12:10, 11; 13:1). “A fountain shall be opened.” “The term ‘fountain’ (from a Hebrew word meaning ‘dig out’) suggests a source of cleansing that has been deliberately prepared” (Wayne Jackson, Notes from the margin of My Bible, vol. 1, p. 176-ff). God made a way for salvation “O what love matchless love” (song: O What Love by Gene Finley).
Consider the song by William Cowper “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains (song: There is a Fountain). Those who mourned were offered an opportunity for salvation on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-38). You have been provided with that same opportunity. Have you been washed (Acts 22:16 cf. Revelation 1:5; 7:13-14 cf. Romans 6:1-4)?