Two Offices, Four Officers, Or One Sordid Event In Zechariah 12:10-14? -- By: Dean R. Ulrich

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 72:2 (Fall 2010)
Article: Two Offices, Four Officers, Or One Sordid Event In Zechariah 12:10-14?
Author: Dean R. Ulrich


Two Offices, Four Officers, Or One Sordid Event In Zechariah 12:10-14?

Dean R. Ulrich

Dean R. Ulrich is Professor of Old Testament at China Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Hebrew text of Zech 12:10-14 presents an interpretive challenge to its readers. If vv. 12-13 mention the mourning of the clans of David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei, v. 10 gives the cause of the mourning. Along with the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the clans of David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei mourn the death of the one that they have pierced (את אשר־דקרו).1 The person pierced is further identified by the first person pronoun me (עליו) and the third person pronoun him (עליו). The evident, if not also shocking, antecedent of both pronouns is Yahweh, who in 12:2-9 has spoken in both first and third person through his prophet Zechariah.2 If the wording of the Hebrew text is taken at face value, Yahweh dies at the hands of his covenant people, especially David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei. The descendants of these men grieve over what their fathers have done. The sorrow, however, is not limited to these prominent families. The whole nation bears responsibility and so joins the leading families in lamenting not only a moment of political intrigue but also a history of covenantal failure.

Three questions arise about Zech 12:10-14. First, who are David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei? Second, why are they mentioned here? To state the second question more strongly, why are they said to have participated in the death of Yahweh? Third, how does Zech 12:10-14 fit into the larger context of the book, especially chs. 9-14 which have a heightened interest in leadership (both God-dishonoring and God-honoring)? This article will attempt to answer these questions.

I. The Identities Of The Persons Named In Zechariah 12:12-13

The answer to the second question about why David, Nathan, Levi, and Shimei are mentioned in Zech 12:12-13 depends on the answer to the first

question about who these people are or, perhaps better, what these names represent. The identity of Dav...

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