6. And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
6. Et dicit ad eum, Quid plagae istae inter manus tuas? et dicet, Quia percussus sum in domo amicorum meorum.
Here the Prophet, in order to finish what we explained yesterday, says that such would be the discipline among the new people after having repented, that each in his own house would chastise his sons and relatives: and it is an evidence of perfect zeal, when not only judges perform their office in correcting wickedness, but when also private individuals assist to preserve public order, each according to his power. It is indeed true that the use of the sword is not allowed us, so that the offender may be punished by his neighbor: but as it was always allowed by the law of God, that when the matter did not come before a public tribunal, friends might inflict punishment, Zechariah, alluding to this custom, says, that though they who unjustly claimed the prophetic office and spread abroad false and impious errors, should not be visited with capital punishment, yet such would be their zeal for true religion, that friends would privately chastise such as they found to be of this character.
If any one objects and says, that these two things are inconsistent, -- that false Prophets were punished with death, and that they were only chastised with stripes or scourges. To this I answer, that Zechariah does not speak precisely of the kind and mode of punishment, but says generally, that false teachers, even in the estimation of their parents, were worthy of death; and that if they were treated more gently they should yet suffer such a punishment, that they would through life be mutilated and ever bear scars as proofs of their shame.
We may at the same time gather from the answer what proves true repentance, Say will one, (it is put indefinitely,) or it will be said, What mean these wounds in thine hands? Then he will say, I have been stricken by my friends. The Prophet shows that those who had previously deceived the people would become new men, so as patiently to bear correction; though it might seem hard when the hands are wounded and pierced, yet he says that the punishment, which was in itself severe, would bee counted mild, for they would be endued with such meekness as willingly to bear to be corrected. Some apply this to Christ, because Zechariah has mentioned wounds on the hands; but this is very puerile; for it is quite evident that he speaks here of false teachers, who had for a time falsely pretended God's name. As then they say, that they were friends by whom they were smitten, they acknowledge themselves worthy of such punishment, and they murmur not, nor set up any complaint. It now follows --