Zechariah 12:10 – Death Wounds

 

Recognized as a prophecy by both Jewish and Christian authorities alike is Zechariah 12:10 – with a few twists. Within each of their own ranks, there is a debate about the meaning of the verse as well as the translation of one Hebrew word, daqar.

Zech. 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; 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 first-born.”  – Jewish Publication Society

Zech. 12:10 “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 Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” – New King James Version

Setting the historical context, Zechariah authored his prophetic book about the same time as the life of Zerubbabel, grandson of Jeconiah, the last sitting king in the House of David. Zerubbabel had led the Jews from Persia back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Centuries later, this “Second Temple” would be greatly enhanced by King Herod followed by the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth when the Temple played a major role.

An interesting story in itself is a debate among the Rabbis found in the Babylonian Talmud Gemara, Sukkah 52a. Initially the rabbinic discussion was centered on lust – the topic of whether men and women should be separated during worship and mourning services. Rabbi R. Judah expressed that the verse meant the Holy One would slay the Evil Inclination in the presence of both the righteous and the wicked during the Messianic age.

Another faction argued the prophecy was about the death of the Messiah because it led to mourning described to be as deep as a parent for the death of an only son. An inquisitive Rabbi asked why the people were weeping and mourning if the prophecy was really about the death of the Evil Inclination – shouldn’t the people be rejoicing instead? With that question, the dialog switched direction generating a debate around the prophetic nature of Zechariah 12:10 itself:[1]

Sukkah (52a)“What is the cause of the mourning?” 

“R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point.  One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination. “It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son; “but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this [it may be objected] an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?””[2]

Centuries later, the renowned Jewish sage Rabbi Rashi, whose commentary appears in The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, expressed a split opinion. Regarding the specific phrase to “thrust him through,” the Rabbi opined it is a metaphor about Israel saying:  “And they shall look to Me to complain about those of them whom the nations thrust through and slew during their exile.”

On the other side of the issue, the Jewish sage agreed with the rabbinic faction in Sukkah 52a that Zechariah 12:10 refers to the Messiah:[3]

“…as one mourns over an only son: As a man mourns over his only son. And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring to the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was slain.” – Rabbi Rashi[4]

Translations of the Hebrew text word daqar as either “pierced” or “thrust him through” is the difference between the two Jewish and most Christian Bible tranlations. The literal definition of daqar is:  “a prim. root; to pierce, pierce through.”[5]

Jewish Publication Society and Complete Jewish Bible translations each say “thrust him through.” Christian Bible translations translate daqar as “pierced” excepting for few contemporary, sometimes paraphrased Bible translations.

Good News Translation and God’s Word Translation interpret daqar as “stabbed.” The Message and Contemporary English Version each translate the prophecy as piercing with a spear. Another takes the middle road, Bible in Basic English says “wounded by their hands.” [6]

Regardless if daqar is translated as “pierced” or “thrust through,” interpretations of the prophecy do not clearly indicate the manner of how the wound was inflicted, by nails or a weapon? The answer can be found through language analysis.[7]

Nine other times the Hebrew word daqar appears in the texts of the Old Testament or Tanakh including another in Zechariah.[8] In all instances, daqar is used in the context of wounds inflicted by a type of weapon such as a sword or spear. Applying this word usage definition to Zechariah 12:10, the wound was inflicted by means of a type of weapon.

John’s Gospel account of the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth describes how he was both pierced by nails and had a spear thrust into his side when he was crucified.[9] Later, John described the resurrected Jesus who suddenly appeared in a locked room where he invited the doubting Disciple Thomas to touch the healed wounds in his hands and in his side. Accepting the offer, the doubtful Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”[10]

Were the Gospel accounts of the Jerusalem crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth a fulfillment of the Zachariah 12:10 prophecy when the slain Messiah was deeply wounded by means of daqar?

 

Updated October 17, 2022.

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REFERENCES:

[1] Sukkah 52a. Halakhah.com. Trans. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. n.d. pp 74-77, footnote #1-3. <http://www.halakhah.com/rst/moed/16b%20-%20Succah%20-%2029b-56b.pdf>
[2] Sukkah 52a, p 75. <http://www.halakhah.com/rst/moed/16b%20-%20Succah%20-%2029b-56b.pdf>
[3] “Rashi (Solomon Bar Isaac).” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13862-solomon-b-isaac-rashi>
[4] The Complete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary. Zechariah 12:10. <https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16216#showrashi=true>
[5] “daqar.” Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d. <http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/1856.html> Benner, Jeff A. Ancient Hebrew Research Center. “Zechariah 12:10 | “Pierced him” or “Pierced me?”” 2022. <https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-verses/zechariah-12-10-pierced-him-or-pierced-me.htm> Benner, Jeff A. Ancient Hebrew Research Center. Zechariah 12:10. image. 2022. <https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-verses/files/landing_zechariah.png
[6] Contemporary English Verson; Good News Translation; God’s Word translation; Zechariah 12:10. BibleHub.com. 2020. <https://biblehub.com/zechariah/12-10.htm>  The Message; Bible in Basic English. Zechariah 12:10. NetBible.org. 2020. <http://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Zec&chapter=12&verse=10>
[7] Sapir, Avinoam. LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation, Inc. n.d. <http://www.lsiscan.com/index.htm>  “SCAN – Scientific Content Analysis (Statement Analysis).” Advanced Polygraph. 2011. <http://www.advancedpolygraph.com.au/scan.htm> “Introduction to Text Analysis: About Text Analysis.”  Duke University | Libraries. 2017. <https://guides.library.duke.edu/text_analysis>  “What Is the Definition of Textual Analysis?” Reference.com. 2018. <https://www.reference.com/education/definition-textual-analysis-a95087916fcb24cb> Pfarrer, Mike “What is content analysis?” University of Georgia | Terry College of Business. 2012. <http://www.terry.uga.edu/management/contentanalysis>
[8] “daqar.” NetBible.org. Hebrew text. <http://classic.net.bible.org/search.php?search=hebrew_strict_index:01856>
[9] John 19. NetBible.org. Greek text. Strong. “nusso <3572>”  CR Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23.
[10] John 20.

Veiled – a Genealogical Fact

 

Anyone who reads the Matthew and Luke Gospel genealogies of Jesus of Nazareth can easily see they are listed differently – Matthew chronologically works forward starting with Abraham, Luke works backward from Jesus of Nazareth all the way to Adam…and the lists are not identical. Thus it leads to a controversy where detractors say the lineage inconsistency proves the inaccuracy of the Gospels.[1]

Variation between the two Gospels occurs with the interim generations between King David  and the birth of Jesus. Matthew and Luke genealogy lists have two names in common sharing ancestors at the end of the Babylonian captivity, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel.[2]

Matthew lists genealogies back to the House of David through Solomon. Luke traces the lineage of Jesus back to David’s son Nathan – a different lineage path. Many experts believe Luke’s lineage is that of Mary assumed by Joseph under Judaic Law covering her inheritance rights as a Jewish female only-child.[3]

Hebrew genealogical records were not just limited to the land of Israel. Jewish historian Josephus wrote they were tracked and recorded by local priests and prophets for all Jews living “at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth…with the utmost accuracy.”[4]

All Jewish genealogies were readily available in the Temple until it was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD, seven decades after the birth of Jesus. The utmost religious importance was placed on Hebrew genealogy for the specific purpose of ensuring the purity of the lineage of the priesthood.[5]

To become the wife of a Priest, a Jewish woman was subjected to the scrutiny of her “genealogy from the ancient tables,” according to Josephus. Proof was required that a female was a Hebrew thus necessitating documented credible lineage history.

Josephus used a historical Hebrew scenario to make his point. After the release of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, 565 priests were disqualified from the priesthood “having married wives whose genealogies they could not produce.”[6]

As a former Priest and Pharisee insider, Josephus pointed to the Jewish lineage records challenging anyone who questioned his own heritage to check the public records that traced his family’s ancestry back 2000 years.[7] That period of years equates to the same time span covering from Jesus back to Abraham.

Jewish sages agree that prophecies define the undisputed requirement the Messiah must be born in the lineage of King David. If Jesus of Nazareth was not born in David’s lineage, he could not be the Messiah.

Archenemies of Jesus, the Jewish leadership, were at ground zero with full access to the Temple’s complete Hebrew genealogical records dating back millennia. If the High Priest Caiaphas or the Jewish leadership had simply demonstrated that Jesus of Nazareth did not have royal legal rights to the House of David, it would have ended any speculation that Jesus is the Messiah.

Talmud Sanhedrin 43a is a tractate that fell victim to the Censor in the Middle Ages. Restored, it strongly infers that Jesus was of royal lineage because he was associated with the government or royalty; therefore, an exception was made for Yeshu (Jesus) from the Jewish Law defining execution for blasphemy or idolatry.[8]

Sanhedrin 43a Gemara

“With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].’” – Soncino Babylonian translation

Rather, Jesus was different, as he had close ties with the government…” – William Davidson translation

Jewish sage Rabbi Maimonides, some 1200 years after the birth of Jesus, produced his renowned work, Mishneh Torah. In it, the Rabbi denounced Jesus as one from the Davidic dynasty who had “aspired” to be the Messiah:[9]

“If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court…”

All Jewish genealogy records were maintained in the Temple meaning these records had to include both Joseph, Mary and the birth of Jesus.[10] Luke records that Joseph and Mary paid a redemption price to a Temple priest for Jesus in compliance with the Law for a firstborn male and as well as for Mary’s own Temple purification sacrifice ritual.[11] Neither event would have been allowed if the family had not been genealogically vetted and approved by Temple officials.

A truism in the world of investigations is that when information is being intentionally withheld, it strongly suggests the withheld information is damaging.[12] Direct acknowledgement of the lineage of Jesus is rare, practically unspoken – in this case, silence speaks volumes.

What is the likelihood the archenemies of Jesus would have taken full advantage of the opportunity to disqualify Jesus as being the Messiah if they could have only exposed Jesus of Nazareth was not of the royal House of David?

 

Updated October 28, 2022.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Lippard, Jim. The Secular Web. 2004. “The Fabulous Prophecies of the Messiah.”  https://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_lippard/fabulous-prophecies.html> “Contradictions Part 6: Jesus’s Genealogy.” Finding Truth. 2011. <https://findingtruth.info/2011/03/11/contradictions-part-6-jesus-genealogy
[2] Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38.  Dolphin, Lambert.  “The Genealogy from Adam to Jesus Christ” Idolphin.org. 2011. <http://ldolphin.org/2adams.html>  Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.
[3] “Historical Commentary:  The Birth of Jesus.” Producer John Heyman. Film, Event 3. HistoricJesus.com. <http://www.historicjesus.com/3/history.htmlNet.bible.org. Luke 3:23-38 footnotes 69 – 82.  Life Application Bible – New International Version (NIV).  “The Birth of Jesus” (Luke 2:1-20) History and Commentary.” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton Illinois, and Zondervan Publishing House. 1991, 1790.  Ryrie Study Bible.  Ed. Ryrie Charles C.  Trans. New American Standard. 1978. Matthew 1:1 Luke 3:23 Footnotes.  The House of David. Global Empower Media. image. 2012. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_tfUQCGrAsk/UEhE1xBb8ZI/AAAAAAAAH6c/YlnNltTOjcc/s1600/David1.jpg>Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book II, Chapter 4. <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm> Maas, Anthony. “Genealogy of Christ.” Catholic Encyclopedia. 2009. Volume 61909.  <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06410a.htmClarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Luke 3:23.  BibleHub.com.  n.d.  <http://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/luke/3.htm>  Gloag, Paton J. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Edinburgh:  T & T Clark.  1895. “Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels.” Online Books Page. Pages ix, 39. <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008728595>
[4] Josephus, Flavius. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7. The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false> “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia.
[5] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32.  Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7.“Genealogy.”  Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy. “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70> Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Book III, Chapter XII.2.  The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[6] Ezra 2:61-62; Nehemiah 7:63-64. Josephus.  Antiquity of the Jews.  Book XI, Chapter III.10.
[7] Nehemiah 12:23. The Life of Flavius Josephus. #1. CR  footnote “t;
[8] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein, Isidor. “Introduction to the Seder Nezikin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Shachter & Freedman. “Introduction to Sanhedrin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin Chapter VI, Folio 43a. Greenberg, Eric J. “Jesus’ Death Now Debated by Jews.” Jewish Journal. 2003. Reprinted from The Jewish Week.  <http://jewishjournal.com/news/world/8546>
[9] Maimonides, Moses. (aka Rambam.) Mishneh Torah. Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund, Brooklyn, NY:  Sichos in English. “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Kesser.org. n.d. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE> Maimonides. Mishneh Torah. Moznaim Publications. Jewish year 4937 (1177 AD). Trans. Eliyahu Touger.  Chabad.org.  2015. “Sefer Shoftim” > “Melachim uMilchamot.” <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682956/jewish/Mishneh-Torah.htm
[10] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32. “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy>>  “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70>
[11] Luke 2. “First-born, Redemption of.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6138-first-born-redemption-of > Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 7.
[12] “Deception in Research Guidance.” University of Wisconsin-Madison|KnowledgeBase. 2016. <https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=68286> Sapir, Avinoam. LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation, Inc. n.d. <http://www.lsiscan.com/index.htm> “SCAN – Scientific Content Analysis (Statement Analysis).” Advanced Polygraph. 2011. <http://www.advancedpolygraph.com.au/scan.htm> Lesce, Tony. “SCAN:  Deception Detection by Scientific Content Analysis.” LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogations, Inc. 1990. <http://www.lsiscan.com/id37.htm>  Gordon, Nathan J.; Fleisher, William L. Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques. p12.  2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=JuMzKpFu93IC&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=interrogation+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question,+they+just+did&source=bl&ots=V4cf3Z1kjl&sig=NeRLKyFKMRr66SWtUQxbLrByKrY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_2Z3phb_aAhVBgK0KHWMQDOA4FBDoAQgtMAE#v=onepage&q=concealing%20information&f=false> Napier, Michael R. Behavior, Truth and Deception. 2017. “Nonresponsive Subject.” p56. <https://books.google.com/books?id=eEUrDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT95&lpg=PT95&dq=Sapir+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question&source=bl&ots=95gjQFQYg9&sig=gUOEC7Aiq-yFgqUEA4VClHyzNhA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjspeHFkr_aAhVwjK0KHab-DF0Q6AEIRjAC#v=onepage&q=nonresponsive&f=false>