Zechariah 12

Here comes a new oracle today. Jerusalem and Judah will be the test of other nations – a measure of them. The people of David will feel compassion for those who are broken in the attempt to engage them, but will be as dangerous as fire in a field of dry sheaves, or a pot of fire on a pile of fuel.

I am not up to the task of construing this one in some distant, objective, historico-critical modern frame. I just weep at the tragic moral choices between bad and worse, people who feel passion and compassion, recognizing their role in others’ pain. In any and every time and place, we bear complicity – in this one, more.

The recitation of mourning in separate groups leaves me mourning in mine. Imagine, mourning in gendered groups! Imagine, not purporting to be a professional managing the experience of their clients. God forbid that I return to that vanity.

What do you make of your place in a first world nation built on resource extraction? Do you deny our industrial reliance on an oil producing and consuming economy? If you’re looking for clean choices, you’re not choosing for this world! God forbid we continue to misconstrue our moral agency as we have in recent decades.

Zechariah 12 (NRSV)

1 An Oracle. The word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus says the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the human spirit within:

2See, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of reeling for all the surrounding peoples; it will be against Judah also in the siege against Jerusalem.

3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth shall come together against it.

4On that day, says the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But on the house of Judah I will keep a watchful eye, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

5Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.’

6 On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot on a pile of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

7 And the LORD will give victory to the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be exalted over that of Judah.

8On that day the LORD will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, at their head.

9And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

11On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

12The land shall mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;

13the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.