Who is the wounded man of Zechariah 13:6?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Zechariah 13:6 is one of the most debated verses in the Book of Zechariah: “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.” Some Bible teachers suggest that this “wounded” man is the Messiah (Jesus Christ). However, most commentators claim that it applies to the false prophet of the earlier verses. Can we shed some light on the subject by looking at the context?

“[3] And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. [4] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: [5] But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.”

The man in verse 6 has wounds in his hands, which he claims he received “in the house of my friends.” Although it is argued that the false prophet was wounded in his pagan religion mutilation practices, this explanation for the wounds seems unlikely. At this author sees it, it does not appear to fit verses 3-5. What makes people—including this author—believe that Zechariah 13:6 refers to Jesus Christ?

The Prophet Zechariah had already stated in chapter 12, verse 10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Israel is converted nationally after seeing Him with His identifying wounds. The Apostle John quotes the verse in Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

John and Zechariah point back to what King David wrote centuries earlier in Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” In John 19:37, we read of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion: “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10 applies not only to the Second Coming, but also the First Coming (Calvary).

It is better to make Zechariah 13:6 refer to Jesus Christ. It really makes no sense for a false prophet to be wounded in his hands—especially in the house of his friends (whatever that would mean?!). However, we know that Jesus Christ was wounded in His hands. Notice what the Apostle John reported.

John 20:24-28: “[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. [26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. [27] Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27 quote this to pertain to Jesus Christ. Hence, Zechariah 13:6 likely points to Messiah as well. The false prophets would be in verses 3-5, but Messiah would be in verses 6-7. It is this author’s personal belief that verse 6 should not be paired with verse 5 but with verse 7. Zechariah 12:10 is one verse about Messiah’s Second Coming and Zechariah 13:6 is another. In between, we have a parenthetical passage (12:11–13:5).

Let us now hear from an opposing view. One commentator says the following: “Considerable discussion also surrounds the identity of the individual who possessed ‘wounds between your arms’ (13:6). Some have identified him with Christ, the wounds supposedly referring to His crucifixion. But Christ could neither have denied that He was a prophet, nor could He have claimed that He was a farmer, or that He was wounded in the house of His friends. Obviously, it is a reference to a false prophet (cf. vv. 4,5) who was wounded in his idolatrous worship. The zeal for the Lord will be so great in the kingdom of Messiah that idolaters will make every attempt to hide their true identity, but their scars will be the telltale evidence of their iniquity.”

We agree with the above quote that Christ would not deny Himself to be a prophet, or claim to be a farmer. However, Christ is not speaking in verses 3-5 anyway. He is speaking in verse 6. That is, the words spoken in verses 3-5 do not automatically disqualify Messiah from speaking in verse 6. We can have a change in speakers between verse 5 and verse 6, and this author believes that to be the case.

The same expositor later wrote: “The phrase [NKJV—wounds between your arms] cannot refer to Messiah, but it is a continuation of the false prophet’s behavior in vv. 4,5. When the false prophet denies any association with pagan practices, others will challenge him to explain the suspicious wounds on his body. False prophets would cut themselves to arouse prophetic ecstasy in idolatrous rites (Lev. 19:28; Deu. 14:1; 1 Ki. 18:28; Jer. 16:6; 48:37), but they will claim the scars represent some attack they suffered from friends.”

Again, although bringing to light some useful insight, this author thinks that the commentator is wrong in suggesting Jesus Christ could not say that He was wounded in the house of friends. The Lord Jesus Christ most definitely could claim that. He came to His own people, the nation Israel, but they did not receive Him. The culmination of their rejection of Him was when they crucified Him on Calvary’s cross. This crucifixion would be the source of the wounds in His hands. The Jews of all people should have accepted Him, for their Hebrew Bible had predicted His coming for many centuries. He was the fulfillment of their Abrahamic Covenant. Alas, they were willing to turn Him over to the pagan Gentiles for a most brutal execution. Read these sermons spoken to Israel during early Acts. This is the Holy Spirit condemning unsaved Israel for not only wounding but actually killing God’s Son!

Acts 2:22-24: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

Acts 3:13-18: “[13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Acts 5:29-31: “[29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. [30] The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [31] Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 7:51-53: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”


Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:6 is totally misconstrued in modern English Bible versions—only making the discussion more confusing. The following (eye-opening!!) sampling of excerpts from popular contemporary translations demonstrates just how dangerous and mystified modern Bible scholarship is. There are great variations of this one verse. It would be downright hilarious, except it is a most serious matter. The precious Word of God has been brutally butchered and—in this author’s view—His only begotten Son has been blasphemed and mocked.

The two most perverted modern English Bible renderings of Zechariah 13:6 will be read first.

The Living Bible: “And if someone asks, ‘Then what are these scars on your chest and your back?’ he will say, ‘I got into a brawl at the home of a friend!’” (Whoever it is, he was fighting and got injured!! Forget trying to put Jesus Christ in this verse—and even the mutilated false prophet with his graphic rituals would not fit here!!)

The Message: “And if someone says, ‘And so where did you get that black eye?’ they’ll say, ‘I ran into a door at a friend’s house.’” (Preposterous!! The man got a black eye after running into a door?!?!?! Stupid!! Nothing of the sort is implied in the Hebrew!!! And, to think this is marketed and purchased under the guise of it being a “Bible!!”)

Wounded (general) — Contemporary English Version: “And if any of them are asked why they are wounded, they will answer, ‘It happened at the house of some friends.’” (Where are the wounds located on the body?! We are not told.)

Wounds in the midst of thy handsDouay-Rheims Catholic Bible 1899: “And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.”

Scars on your chestGod’s Word translation: “When someone asks him, ‘What are these scars on your chest?’ he will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Deep cuts on your bodyNew Century Version: “But someone will ask, ‘What are the deep cuts on your body?’ And each will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Wounds on your bodyNew International Version: “If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’”

Wounds between your armsNew King James Version: “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” (New American Standard Bible and American Standard Version agree.)

Wounds on your chestNew Revised Standard Version: “And if anyone asks them, “What are these wounds on your chest?” the answer will be “The wounds I received in the house of my friends.” (New Living Translation, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New English Translation agree.)

Wounds on your backRevised Standard Version: “And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” (English Standard Version agrees.)

Ritual wounds on your chest and backThe Voice translation: “And if anyone happens to say, ‘How did you get these ritual wounds on your chest and back?’ then the answer will come back—another deception—‘Oh, I received these at my friend’s house.’” (Notice how the translators added an interpretation—the word “ritual” without manuscript support!)

Wounds between your handsNew World Translation (“Jehovah’s Witness” “bible”): “And one must say to him, ‘What are these wounds [on your person] between your hands?’ And he will have to say, ‘Those with which I was struck in the house of my intense lovers.’”

Also see:
» Who are the “three shepherds” of Zechariah 11:8?
» Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?