We continue with the poetry of the oracle Zechariah 9-11, and I leave you to review the choices about placing the writer in time and space. Where is the reader- not just for the first scrolls, but for the copies among the Dead Sea
Better that I situate myself socially: over-schooled in my young adulthood, provoked to deep hermeneutical suspicion about the experts and prophets and shepherds of our ruling class, which did and does exist. Rejecting academic and bureaucratic vocations, I claim a pastoral and parochial one. How do you read this invitation yourself?
Must this be read as political Zionism? Of course not! God forbid! In the midst of such poetry, read by goyim like us, we’re provoked to share our bitterness about teraphim and diviners of our generation, giving people the false consolation they want. Throw the bums out!
In our own ages of despair and depression, what might give us again a ‘warrior’s heart’, lift our spirits and shape a shared movement? Let’s start with not being rejected, but shown compassion. Might we regain pride, and become militant, without becoming vain, or violent?
Zechariah 10 (NRSV)
1 Ask rain from the LORD in the season of the spring rain, from the LORD who makes the storm-clouds, who gives showers of rain to you,* the vegetation in the field to everyone.
2 For the teraphim utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; the dreamers tell false dreams, and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer for lack of a shepherd.
3 My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;* for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his proud warhorse.
4 Out of them shall come the cornerstone, out of them the tent-peg, out of them the battle-bow, out of them every commander.
5 Together they shall be like warriors in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight, for the LORD is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.
6 I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them; for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.
7 Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and rejoice, their hearts shall exult in the LORD.
8 I will signal for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as numerous as they were before.
9 Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and they shall rear their children and return.
10 I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria; I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, until there is no room for them.
11 They shall pass through the sea of distress, and the waves of the sea shall be struck down, and all the depths of the Nile dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart.
12 I will make them strong in the LORD, and they shall walk in his name, says the LORD.