Nazarene Space

What are these Wounds in Your Hands?

By

James Scott Trimm

 

In my recent article “They Have Pierced My Hands and My Feet” I showed conclusively that Ps. 22:17(16) speaks of the crucifixion of Messiah. 

 

In this article I want to address the passage “What are these wounds in the midst of your hands?” (Zech. 13:6). 

 

Now let us look down to Zechariah 13:4-6:

 

4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be brought to shame, every one through his vision, when he prophesies: neither shall they wear a hairy mantle to deceive.
5 And he shall say, I am no prophet. I am a tiller of the ground, for a man purchased me from my youth.
6 And he shall say to him, What are these wounds in the midst of your hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
(Zech. 13:4-6 HRV)

 

In his lets Get Biblical tape set Anti-missionary Tovia Singer admits that this must be speaking of Yeshua of Nazareth.  He says that Yeshua was the only figure in history that would fit this description.  

 

Why would Singer make this admission?  Because he bases his interpretation upon a misleading English translation.

 

In the King James Version this passage reads:

 

5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman;
for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds
in your hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which
I was wounded in the house of my friends.
(Zech. 13:5-6 KJV)

 

In the Hebrew both verse 5 and verse 6 open with exactly the same word/phrase "V'AMAR" meaning "And [he] shall say...". In verse 5 the KJV has "but he shall say" and in verse 6 the same phrase is translated "and one shall say".  The result is to WRONGLY imply that the speaker has shifted at the beginning of verse 6. Thus if we were to use the format of a script we would read:

 

False Prophet: I am no prophet, I am an husbandman;

for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

 

Messianic Judge: What are these wounds in your hands?

 

False Prophet: Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

 

However the HRV correctly translates both phrases the same as follows:

 

5 And he shall say:
"I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground;
for a man purchased me from my youth."
6 And he shall say to him: "What are these wounds
in the midst of your hands? Then he shall answer:
"Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."
(Zech. 13:5-6 HRV)

 

Thus in the HRV the shift in speaker does not occur until verse 6b as follows:

 

False Prophet: I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground;

for a man purchased me from my youth."

What are these wounds in the midst of your hands?

 

Messianic Judge: Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

 

In the KJV the figure with the wounds in the midst of his hands is the false prophet while in the Hebrew it is the Messianic Judge. Thus in the HRV version the passage points back to Zech. 12:10 and the one who is "pierced" and forward to Zech 13:7 where a "shepherd" is smitten and his sheep scatter.

 

Singer’s interpretation is based on a transition in speaker which only occurs in the English and is not even present in the Hebrew.  Once again Singer does not use equal weights and measures.  He bases his interpretations on the Hebrew against the English (which he should) when it benefits him, and then he bases them on the English against the Hebrew when THAT benefits him.

 

Now one may ask, how was this Messianic figure wounded in the midst of his hands in the house of his friends?  The answer is Just a few verses earlier where we read:

 

And I will pour upon the house of David,
and upon the inhabitants of Yerushalayim,
the spirit of grace and of supplication.
And they shall look unto Me, whom they pierced through,
and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son:
and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness
for his firstborn.
(Zech. 12:10 HRV)

 

In the Talmud Rabbi Dosa (who lived around 250 CE) teaches regarding Zech. 12:10:

 

What is the cause of the mourning [of Zech. 12:12]--...
It is well according to him who explains that
the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph,
since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse:
And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,
And they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his
only son. (Zech. 12:10)
(b.Sukkot 52a)

 

In fact the Targum Jonathan to Zechariah also identifies this one being pierced in Zechariah 12:10 as the “Messiah ben Ephraim”. 

 

A key passage should be carefully examined here in the Hebrew:

והביטו אלי את אשר דקרו

“And they shall look toward me whom they pierced.”

 

Although many attempts have been made to translate this passage in other ways, the Hebrew is obvious.  The article את points to the next term אשר דקרו  “whom they have pierced” as receiving the action of the verb והביטו “and they shall look” while the preposition אלי must be understood “toward me” as the final י indicates the first person “me”.

 

Now if we look a few verses down to Zechariah 13:1-3 we see a series of verses that clearly parallel Micah 5:8-14:

 

Zechariah 13:1-3
Micah 5:8-14

1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened, to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, for purification and for sprinkling.

2 And it shall come to pass in that day, says YHWH Tzva’ot, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered. And also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit, to pass out of the land.

3 And it shall come to pass that, when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begot him, shall say unto him, You shall not live, for you speak lies in the Name of YHWH: and his father and his mother that begot him, shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

8 (5:9) Let Your hand be lifted up above Your adversaries, and let all Your enemies be cut off.

9 (5:10) And it shall come to pass in that day, says YHWH, that I will cut off your horses out of the midst of you, and will destroy your chariots.

10 (5:11) And I will cut off the cities of your land, and will throw down all your strongholds,

11 (5:12) And I will cut off witchcrafts out of your hand, and you shall have no more soothsayers.

12 (5:13) And I will cut off your graven images and your pillars out of the midst of you, and you shall no more worship the work of your hands.

13 (5:14) And I will pluck up your Asherim out of the midst of you, and I will destroy your enemies.

14 (5:15) And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations, because they hearkened not.

 

Both passages clearly speak of the coming of Messiah ben David to judge the earth and establish his Messianic Kingdom.  Zechariah then goes on (as just shown) to identify this Messiah as having been wounded in the midst of his hands in the house of his friends (among his own people) followed by:

 

But you, Beit-Lechem Ephrathah,
which are little to be among the thousands of Y’hudah:
out of you, shall one come forth unto Me
that is to be ruler in Yisra’el; whose goings forth
are from of old--from ancient days.
(Micah 5:1 (5:2) HRV) 

 

Awake O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is near unto Me, says YHWH Tzva’ot. Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn My hand upon the little ones.

(Zech 13:7 HRV)

 

Certainly the “shepherd” is the Messiah.  “Smite the shepherd” must refer to his being “wounded in the midst of [his] hands” (Zech. 13:6) when they “pierced” him (Zech. 12:10).

 

Now if we look to Micah 5 to tell us more about this Messianic figure, we reed in the first verse:

 

But you, Beit-Lechem Ephrathah, which are little to be among the thousands of Y’hudah: out of you, shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Yisra’el; whose goings forth are from of old--from ancient days.

(Micah 5:1 (5:2) HRV)

 

Lest we have any doubt that we have correctly identified this figure as speaking of the Messiah, we can see plainly that our forefathers understood this as well, as the Targum to this verse reads:

 

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath,
you who were too small to be numbered
among the thousands of the house of Judah,
from you shall come forth before Me the Messiah,
to exercise dominion over Israel,
he whose name was mentioned from before,
from the days of creation.
(Targum Jonathan; Micah 5:1)

 

The fact that Messiah was to be born at Beit Lechem is also expressed in this story found in the Midrash Rabbah (as well as in the Jerusalem Talmud):

 

A man was plowing when one of his oxen lowed. An Arab    passed by and asked, ‘What are you?’ He replied, ‘I am a Jew.’ The Arab said to him, ‘Unharness your ox and untie your plow [as a sign of mourning].’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because the Temple of the  Jews is destroyed.’ The Jew asked, ‘How do you know this?’ ‘From the lowing of your ox.’ While they were talking the ox lowed again. The Arab said, ‘Harness your ox and tie up your plow, because the deliverer of the Jews is born.’ ‘What is his             name?’ ‘His name is Menachem [Comforter].’ ‘What is his father’s name?’ ‘Chizkiyahu.’ ‘Where do they live?’ He answered, ‘In Birat-’Arba, in Beit-Lechem of Judea.’

(Midrash Rabbah to Lamentations, Section 51 (on Lamentations 1:16)) (see also j.Ber. 5a)

 

The Tanak makes it clear that Messiah is to be born in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem), killed by being pierced and wounded in his hands among his own people, his followers would then scatter and be disoriented by this event.  Clearly this is the same figure spoke of in Ps. 22:17(16) who says “they have pierced my hands and my feet”.  And Tovia Singer admits this figure with the wounds in the midst of his hands is Yeshua.  In fact this figure, who is clearly the Messiah, could only be Yeshua of Nazareth.

 

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Views: 604

Comment by carltonh on March 18, 2012 at 4:33pm

I've long understood Zech 13 as an argument for "Christian deism" for lack of a better word in its tie to 1 Corinthians 13:8. These passages say prophecy, unclean spirits, speaking in tongues, (supernatural) knowledge will cease. I realize your article here doesn't address this perspective one way or another, though I know those influenced by Pentacostalism strongly disagree with me.  (And everybody hates me using the phrase Christian deism.)

Zech. 13 implies this will happen in the time/generation of Messiah. 1 Cor. 8 doesn't say when, only to expect it when the "perfect" has come and so these supernatural interferences in the world ("the partial" of 1 Cor. 8:10).  Jesus granted supernatural gifts to his apostles (his own generation) and they were able to pass it on through laying on hands. There is no Biblical statement nor history that those receivers could also pass it on.  So we might presume that, at most, the cutting off of the supernatural happened maybe one generation after Messiah.

And that coincidentally ties in to the best explanation of "the perfect" of 1 Cor. 8:  The completion and closing of all scriptural canon, which happened about a generation after Messiah, completed by those of His generation.

Now, we may automatically presume those who claim to supernaturally heal the sick, resurrect the dead, believe in current demon possessions, etc. are charlatans who have not heeded the Zech. 13 prejudgment of them to be false prophets.,

Comment by Mikha El on March 18, 2012 at 9:22pm

Excellent article Rabbi Trimm. Perhaps Rabbi Singer will someday get around to giving us his rebuttal or perhaps his notification of conversion.

Comment by James Trimm on March 18, 2012 at 11:05pm

Job 24:11 within their walls (or "in the midst of their walls")

Prov. 26 13  within the streets (or "in the midst of the streets")

Comment by Erik Adoniqam on March 19, 2012 at 2:56am

I've studied this before. The interpretation referring to one's back is historically attested, especially in light of the fact that the Hebrew uses the preposition בין. In quoting this passage, the Babylonian Talmud Makkot 22b applies the passage thusly:

R. JUDAH SAYS: FORTY [LASHES] IN FULL. AND WHERE IS THE ADDITIONAL LASH APPLIED? BETWEEN THE SHOULDERS. Said R. Isaac: What is R. Judah's reason? — It is written, And one shall say, what are these wounds between thine hands? Then he shall answer, I was beaten in the house of my friends. And the Rabbis [what say they to this]? — That [say they] is written in reference to the [punishment of] school children.

Dr. Michael Brown also is of the opinion that this passage (Zech. 13:6) actually has nothing to do with Yeshua, but is a typical knee-jerk Christian eisegesis that comes about as a result of apparently similar motifs {מכות + יד  = Jesus!!}. The matter is certainly debatable though.

Comment by beryl etanah on March 22, 2012 at 11:28am

for two counts the passage cannot apply to Messiah:

1. לא נביא אנכי --to the contrary Yeshua claimed He is greater than John the baptizer;

2. איש-עבד אדמה אנכי  --to the contrary He was not a farmer, He was a carpenter;

 

and for the third count IT MUST NOT BE HIM:

for it says וגם את-הנביאים ואת-רוח הטמאה אעביר מן-הארץ  --how would that fit to him ?

don't wonder, anti-missionaries just appear more and more ignorant of tanakh each time they speak. and Tovia Singer is one of them.

 

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