"...I Will Pour Out..."
From the Jewish Bible: Zechariah 12:10-14
10 “And 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.
11 On that day there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo.
12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart: The family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart.
13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart.
14 All the remaining families-every family apart, and their wives apart.”
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: יאבַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִגְדַּ֚ל הַמִּסְפֵּד֙ בִּיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם כְּמִסְפַּ֥ד הֲדַדְרִמּ֖וֹן בְּבִקְעַ֥ת מְגִדּֽוֹן: יבוְסָֽפְדָ֣ה הָאָ֔רֶץ מִשְׁפָּח֥וֹת מִשְׁפָּח֖וֹת לְבָ֑ד מִשְׁפַּ֨חַת בֵּֽית־דָּוִ֚יד לְבָד֙ וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֣ם לְבָ֔ד מִשְׁפַּ֚חַת בֵּֽית־נָתָן֙ לְבָ֔ד וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֖ם לְבָֽד: יגמִשְׁפַּ֚חַת בֵּֽית־לֵוִי֙ לְבָ֔ד וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֖ם לְבָ֑ד מִשְׁפַּ֚חַת הַשִּׁמְעִי֙ לְבָ֔ד וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֖ם לְבָֽד: ידכֹּ֗ל הַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת֙ הַנִּשְׁאָר֔וֹת מִשְׁפָּחֹ֥ת מִשְׁפָּחֹ֖ת לְבָ֑ד וּנְשֵׁיהֶ֖ם לְבָֽד:
The Christian Bible reference to Zechariah 12:10-14:
“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he who saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that what he saith is true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfill, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced." Gospel of John 19:34-35 (KJV)
"However, one of the soldiers stabbed his side with a spear, and at once blood and water flowed out. The man who saw it has testified about it, and his testimony is true. And he knows that he tells the truth, so you too can trust. For these things happened in order to fulfill this passage of the Tanakh: "Not one of his bones will be broken." And again, another passage says, "They will look at him whom they have pierced." Gospel of John 19:34-35 (JNT - a Messianic Christian Translation by David H. Stern)
If anyone takes any passage of Scripture out of context and changes a word or phrase in it, as John obviously has done, with Psalm 22:16-18; you can make it say anything you want. Therefore, if you are already predisposed in believing that Jesus is the Messiah, or trying to find him in the Tanakh pre-conceptually, then you have no problem obliquely looking at a text and take it totally out of context. Christians tend to see Jesus everywhere in the Tanakh.
If I were to approach passages of Scripture with a preconception, as most Christians do, and had a theological or philosophical narrative to promote (seeing Jesus being cursed by G-d on our behalf throughout the Tanakh) then I could resort to the same man-handling and declare a section of the prophet Zechariah in Chapter 11 verses 15-17 as pointing straight to Jesus as a false Messiah:
“And Adonai said to me, Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not take care of those who are cut off, nor seek the young one, nor heal the broken, nor feed that which stands still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and break their hoof in pieces. woe to my worthless shepherd who forsakes the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall be dried up, and his right eye shall be darkened.”
Since, however, I love and seek out truth for truth's sake and understand from proper usage of the actual Hebrew text these verses do not speak about some future Jew named Jesus. Believe me, if our Torah and the entire Tanakh really pointed to a man named Jesus, Yeshua, Y'hoshua bar Yosef as the Mashiach I would be sitting in the front row of a church pew right now. But they do not point to anyone fitting this man proclaimed by Christians as Mashiach. And if I were as unscrupulous as John (and especially Paul), I would have no problem making an excellent case from these verses, pulled out of context, that Jesus is that false shepherd who has left his sheep defenseless, scattered, hurting, unhealed and broken for the last 2000 years and he had met the exact fate that Adonai said the worthless shepherd in the land would meet, i.e., a violent death.
That is exactly what John (or whoever actually wrote the Gospel bearing his name) did with these unrelated verses from Psalms and Zechariah. He has pulled them out of context, twisted their original meaning, even changed one word in order to forward his agenda. Besides all this, the Torah says a testimony is established out of the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy - Devarim 19:15). Who's word do you want your trust to stand on; Adonai's, Moshe's and the Torah's, or some guy named John and a Roman soldier who just thrust a spear into the side of a fellow Jew?
With that said let's move on:
The first thing we need to uncover in understanding these passages in Zechariah is their historical setting. In 537 BCE, after the decree of Cyrus, some Jews left Babylon and returned to Israel to begin a Temple rebuilding project. However, after nearly 17 years of obstacles from their troubling neighbors, the rebuilding effort was at a virtual standstill and the Jewish people were under great distress and suffering depression and discouragement. It is at this juncture that a word from HaShem came to two men - Haggai and Zechariah. The purpose of the messages they received was to revitalize the spirits of the despondent Jewish people and spur them on to the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash and Jerusalem. The context of the message of Zechariah in its entirety is one of hope, consolation and a call for the Jewish people to rest their trust in the G-d of our fathers and Him alone.
The end of Zechariah's message reveals Adonai bringing judgment to the nations for their mistreatment of Israel, the deliverance of Jerusalem, the conversion of all the surviving Gentile nations to the belief in and worship of the One and Only true G-d of Israel, Blessed be His Name.
Zechariah's main message can best be summed up in one verse: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, says Adonai of hosts." [4:6-7]
Now let's look at 12:10-14 specifically:
In the Hebrew the words "me" and "him" show that the text is speaking of two separate and distinct subjects. Also the Hebrew "et asher" in verse 10, as elsewhere in Scripture, must be rendered to read, "concerning whom" when addressed to a subject, or "concerning that" when addressed to an object. Therefore, the literal translation of verse 10 would read as follows: I will pour...., and they shall look onto Me concerning whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him..."
Since one cannot literally "pierce" G-d, to what is the verse referring? This verse, along with so many others, reveals the unique relationship that HaShem has forged with His chosen people, Israel. When one touches the "apple (pupil) of G-d's eye" (Deuteronomy 32:10; Zechariah 2:12; Psalm 17:8) they are, from Adonai’s point of view, ramming a stick into His eye. In other words, to molest, attack, ravage, or pierce Israel is to do the very same thing to HaShem; for it is He who has stated: "In all their affliction He was afflicted...." [Isaiah 63:9] By following the laws of Hebrew grammar this keeps the verse consistent with its intent, that of two distinct subjects.
With the correct grammar intact we can now look at the context of the verses in question and adequately determine of whom the verses are speaking. The context of these verses begins in verse 1 of chapter 12 in which Zechariah is prophesying of a time when the gentile nations of the world will gather themselves around tiny Israel and especially Jerusalem in order to destroy it once and for all (the ultimate Final Solution - See also Ezekiel 37-39).
It must be remembered that the Jewish people had just recently been delivered from a 70 year captivity and now they are being told that one day their lives and homeland will meet its ultimate challenge. However, unlike their previous run up against Babylon where they were carried away into exile and defeat, when this last and final rage against them occurs, HaShem Himself will be the defender of Israel and Jerusalem and He will destroy all His enemies. He will pour out a spirit of grace; an upsurge of supplication will move through the lives of the Jewish people as we look to HaShem concerning all those of our people that have collectively (single-collective tense in Hebrew) been killed in battle prior to the coming of Adonai's mighty hand against His and our enemies.
Historically, we know this has not yet taken place on this huge of a scale because HaShem says our mourning over our Jewish dead will be like the mourning that was poured out for King Josiah and his soldiers when they were killed in battle against Egypt (SEE: 2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:222-25) [NOTE: Some Talmudic scholars see the death of Mashiach Ben Yosef and his soldiers in these verses - a much later, but viable, interpretation].
I do not mean to offend but when one views these verses in such a way as they were originally written and intended by the prophet then we are allowed to know and understand the message intended by HaShem through said prophet to his people Israel. Then the "Christianized" and "man-handled" misappropriation of them for the sake of furthering Christian doctrine becomes self-evident.
May the blessing of HaShem rest upon you and the whole House of Israel.