[b-hebrew] Zech 1:19,21

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 20 09:27:33 EDT 2007

Dear Steve,
>>> [Steve Miller] I think the 4 workmen are the 4 workmen revealed in the
>>> remaining chapters of Zechariah:
>>> 1. the builder in 6:12-13
>>> 2. the lowly king in 9:9
>>> 3. the shepherd in 11:4-14 & 13:7
>>> 4. the servant of the ground in 13:5
>>> Another possibility is the measurer in 2:5 (2:1), but I think that is an
>>> angel.
>>> A theme throughout Zechariah is that God defeats the mighty by humble
>> device
>>> (4:6). All 4 workmen are the Messiah, each from a different point of
>> view,
>>> as in the 4 gospels.i
>> HH: I find these kinds of comments uncontrolled subjectivism. I have
>> never had any of these thoughts and don't think a natural reading of the
>> texts implies them. The four workmen are seen together. Thus the reader
>> expects them to be four different agents, not the same person depicted
>> four ways.
> [Steve Miller] Harold, thanks for responding. I am using the Bible to
> interpret the Bible, and Zechariah to interpret Zechariah. I hate
> subjectivism in interpreting the Bible, and always desire to limit myself to
> what the Bible says.

HH: You are limiting your subjectivism to the Bible, but it is still 
subjectivism. It is uncontrolled because it posits interpretations that 
run contrary to what the text says.

>  The New Testament explains the Old. Without the New
> Testament explanation, many Old Testament passages cannot be understood.
> However, the New Testament explanations of the Old still can be defended
> purely from the Old Testament. Not because they are the most
> straight-forward interpretations that a natural reading would give, but
> because no other possible explanation fits.
> Take Zech 11:8 "And I caused the three shepherds to perish in one month; and
> My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred Me."
> According to the most straight-forward reading of this Scripture, the 3
> shepherds are 3 individuals, whom the Shepherd sent from God destroyed. 
> But the 3 shepherds were not 3 individual leaders, but 3 groups who were the
> leaders of the nation (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; Psalm
> 118:22-23). And the Shepherd did not straight-forwardly destroy anyone.
> These leaders caused themselves to perish by abhorring the Shepherd.

HH: This is another example of subjectivism, even more extreme perhaps. 
There is no reason to think that God did not destroy three shepherds, 
who naturally would be three individuals. The text does not say: "three 
groups of shepherds." You have no real warrant for jumping to such an 
unlikely conclusion. A "shepherd" is not equivalent to a group of 
shepherds and would not symbolize that. The term "month" could be used 
for a relatively short period of time, and the three shepherds could 
refer to three of the final leaders of Judah before the Babylonian 
captivity and the end of the kings. There was a lot of quick succession 
of rulers in both the northern and southern kingdoms before their downfall.
> Isa 6:9-10 And he said, Go; and thou shalt say unto this people, Hearing ye
> shall hear and shall not understand, and seeing ye shall see and shall not
> perceive.
> 10  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and blind
> their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and
> understand with their heart, and be converted, and healed.
> Some prophesies are written in such a way that they cannot be understood by
> a superficial reading. But the prophesies are not ambiguous. Only one
> interpretation works when put to the test.

HH: Well, yours doesn't seem to work for the same reason that the other 
one doesn't. They are both contrary to the use of language and common 
sense.  I have never heard this interpretation before, a sign that it is 
not the only one that can work.
> I've read your previous post, and in it you do not give an answer as to what
> the 4 workmen are. You say they might be angels, or they might be nations,
> or they might be kings. They may have already come, or they may be coming in
> the future. 
> I seek to understand God's word better than that. 

HH: Well, try to understand it better. I don't have time for a full 
length investigation. But it is along those lines, not yours, which 
contradict what the text says, in both cases.  You can't violate what 
the text says in the way you do and hope to be right. It is just 
subjectivism. It is four workmen, not one person in four roles. It is 
three shepherds, not three groups of shepherds.

Harold Holmyard

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