Zacharia 12:10 KJV:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
The recurring question among Christians concerns the identity of the individual mentioned by the prophet Zechariah in this verse. It seems logical to inquire about the one who is pierced and referred to as the only firstborn son.
Let’s delve into the Hebrew text more expansively:
8On that day the L-rd shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the weakest of them shall be, on that day, like David. And the house of David shall be like angels, like the angel of the L-rd before them.
|חבַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יָגֵ֚ן ד’ בְּעַד֙ יוֹשֵׁ֣ב יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם וְהָיָ֞ה הַנִּכְשָׁ֥ל בָּהֶ֛ם בַּיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא כְּדָוִ֑יד וּבֵ֚ית דָּוִיד֙ כֵּֽאלֹהִ֔ים כְּמַלְאַ֥ךְ ד’ לִפְנֵיהֶֽם:
9And it shall come to pass on that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come upon Jerusalem.
|טוְהָיָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֑וּא אֲבַקֵּ֗שׁ לְהַשְׁמִיד֙ אֶת־כָּל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם הַבָּאִ֖ים עַל־יְרֽוּשָׁלִָֽם:
10And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplications. And they shall look to me because of those who have been thrust through [with swords], and they shall mourn over it as one mourns over an only son and shall be in bitterness, therefore, as one is embittered over a firstborn son.
|יוְשָׁפַכְתִּי֩ עַל־בֵּ֨ית דָּוִ֜יד וְעַ֣ל | יוֹשֵׁ֣ב יְרֽוּשָׁלַ֗םִ ר֚וּחַ חֵן֙ וְתַ֣חֲנוּנִ֔ים וְהִבִּ֥יטוּ אֵלַ֖י אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָ֑רוּ וְסָֽפְד֣וּ עָלָ֗יו כְּמִסְפֵּד֙ עַל־הַיָּחִ֔יד וְהָמֵ֥ר עָלָ֖יו כְּהָמֵ֥ר עַֽל־הַבְּכֽוֹר:
11On that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddon.
|יאבַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִגְדַּ֚ל הַמִּסְפֵּד֙ בִּיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם כְּמִסְפַּ֥ד הֲדַדְרִמּ֖וֹן בְּבִקְעַ֥ת מְגִדּֽוֹן:
The pivotal question arises: about which day is this being spoken? If we read the opening verses of this chapter, it becomes clear that it will be at the End of Days when Jerusalem becomes the focal point of conflicts and struggles between nations and Israel. The city will be a stumbling block for all who attempt to attack her. The entire chapter underscores that God will protect His city and ensure salvation from her enemies.
However, this salvation will not come without a fierce battle. A great and righteous warrior will fall in this battle—a warrior for whom the people will mourn, reminiscent of the mourning for the beloved King Josiah who died in battle against the Egyptian King Necho in the Valley of Megiddo (the valley associated with the war of Gog and Magog at the End of Days – 2 Chronicles 35:25). The people will be deeply saddened by the fall of this beloved warrior, and as is often the case when people grieve or are in shock from an event, they will turn to God. This turning of hearts to God ensures that God will grant victory to His people.
The confusion among Christians arises because the Christian Bible misquotes this verse in John 19:37, where it is written in the KJV:
“And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
This text does not have people looking at God, who brings salvation, but at the one who is pierced and dies!
It is logical that people in Zechariah’s prophecy would mourn over this fallen warrior. Christians should question why people would mourn if this were someone who had been resurrected from the dead, as there would be no reason to be sad. Did the widowed mother mourn when Elijah resurrected her son at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-23)? Or when Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son from the dead, did his mother mourn following this resurrection? (2 Kings 4:8-37).
Consider that the Eternal One will settle the battle fought over Jerusalem in favor of Israel. Jerusalem will continue to exist, and its inhabitants will dwell safely. This stands in stark contrast to the time the author of the book of John speaks about. In that time, Jerusalem and the Temple were eventually destroyed by the Romans, and the people went into a long exile.
- Biblical Coherence, Context, and the Impact of Misquotations:
Understanding a specific Bible verse necessitates a careful examination of its broader context. The discussion of Zechariah 12:10 serves as an example, demonstrating how interpretation is shaped by preceding verses and the overarching theme of eschatological events. Simultaneously, it highlights the critical importance of contextual reading and comprehension of Biblical passages.
Moreover, this consideration extends to instances where verses from the Tenach are incorporated into the New Testament, as exemplified by Zechariah 12:10, which is inaccurately quoted in the book of John. Therefore, a valuable lesson emerges: it is imperative to consistently verify texts that the New Testament cites from the Tanakh in their original Hebrew context. This underscores the significance of ensuring accuracy and fidelity to the original meanings when interpreting and citing sacred texts.
By Angelique Sijbolts
Lets Get Biblical Volume 1 Part 6 by Rabbi Tovia Singer
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