The second broken staff of union (Zech 11:14-11:14)

“Then I broke

My second staff,

Union.

This annulled

The family ties

Between Judah and Israel.”

Zechariah broke the 2nd staff named unity to indicate that the family ties between northern Israel and southern Judah were broken.  Perhaps, this was the final break between the northern Israelites or Samaritans and the southern Judeans of Judah.  Sometime in the 4th century BCE, the northern Samaritans built a temple at Mount Gerizim that opposed worship in southern Jerusalem.

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The two staffs (Zech 11:7-11:7)

“So,

On behalf of the sheep merchants,

I became

The shepherd

Of the flock doomed to slaughter.

I took two staffs.

One, I named Favor.

The other, I named Unity.

I tended the sheep.”

Zechariah was going to be the good shepherd.  He was going to take over the flock of doomed sheep.  He had two staffs.  One was called favor or grace, while the other was called unity or unifier.  Thus, he would tend these sheep with his two staffs of grace and unity, instead of the ordinary single stick.

The great fraternal life (Ps 133:1-133:3)

A song of ascents.

“How very good it is!

How pleasant it is!

Kindred brothers live together in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head.

It runs down upon the beard.

It runs down on the beard of Aaron.

It runs down over the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon.

It falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there Yahweh has commanded his blessing,

Life forevermore.”

Psalm 133 is another very short psalm in this series of pilgrimage songs on the ascent to Jerusalem. This wisdom song emphasizes the value of brothers living together in unity. This was like the holy oil that one puts on one’s head. As in the ceremony for the consecration of the Levitical priests, it runs down as on the beard of Aaron and over the collar of his robes. This good fraternal life is like the dew from the mountains of Hermon in Syria. Here the dew falls on Mount Zion. From Mount Zion, Yahweh gives his blessings of life forever. Thus this very short psalm concludes with everlasting life.