4 “This is what Jehovah my God has said, ‘Shepherd the flock [meant] for the killing, 5 the buyers of which proceed to kill [them] although they are not held guilty. And those who are selling them say: “May Jehovah be blessed, while I shall gain riches.” And their own shepherds do not show any compassion upon them.’
6 “‘For I shall show compassion no more upon the inhabitants of the land,’ is the utterance of Jehovah. ‘So here I am causing mankind to find themselves, each one in the hand of his companion and in the hand of his king; and they will certainly crush to pieces the land, and I shall do no delivering out of their hand.’”
7 And I proceeded to shepherd the flock [meant] for the killing, in YOUR behalf, O afflicted ones of the flock. So I took for myself two staffs. The one I called Pleasantness, and the other I called Union, and I went shepherding the flock. 8 And I finally effaced three shepherds in one lunar month, as my soul gradually became impatient with them, and also their own soul felt a loathing toward me. 9 At length I said: “I shall not keep shepherding YOU. The one that is dying, let her die. And the one that is being effaced, let her be effaced. And as for the ones left remaining, let them devour, each one the flesh of her companion.” 10 So I took my staff Pleasantness and cut it to pieces, in order to break my covenant that I had concluded with all the peoples. 11 And it came to be broken in that day, and the afflicted ones of the flock who were watching me got to know in this way that it was the word of Jehovah.
12 Then I said to them: “If it is good in YOUR eyes, give [me] my wages; but if not, refrain.” And they proceeded to pay my wages, thirty pieces of silver.
13 At that, Jehovah said to me: “Throw it to the treasury—the majestic value with which I have been valued from their standpoint.” Accordingly I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the treasury at the house of Jehovah.
14 Then I cut in pieces my second staff, the Union, in order to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
Sheeplike people were “the flock meant for the killing” in that governmental shepherds were exploiting them. With one staff called “Pleasantness” and the other “Union,” Zechariah acted like a shepherd carrying a staff to guide the flock and a rod to ward off beasts. (Psalm 23:4) He foreshadowed Jesus, who was sent to be a spiritual shepherd but was rejected by the Jews. As Zechariah broke the staff Pleasantness, God quit dealing pleasantly with the Jews, breaking his covenant with them. And as Zechariah broke the staff Union, God’s canceling of the Law covenant with Israel left the Jews without a theocratic bond of union. Their religious disunity worked out disastrously for them with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E.