Zechariah 12:10 has a clause which says:

וְהִבִּ֥יטוּ אֵלַ֖י אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָ֑רוּ

This is translated on the Chabad website as:

And they shall look to me because of those who have been thrust through

This translation seems to make sense contextually. But I am having difficulty with the words 'because of'. I just don't see them in the Hebrew.

How to best translate this verse? Are there any other similar examples where we need to add the words 'because of' to make the translation work? How do we justify adding the words 'because of'?


3 Answers 3


As I read this, it is Zerubbabel, a descendant of David, to whom the prophecy refers (not G-d). So I prefer this configuration:

so that, when they look on him 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 first-born. (Revised Standard Version)

Both Zechariah and Haggai had great hope in Zerubbabel, who was literally of the House of David (vs. 10). However, by this point, Zerubbabel seems to have been in trouble. We don't know what actually happened to him, but he may have been killed after the Samaritans complained he was a threat to the Persian agenda:

this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. We make known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River. (Ezra 4)

If so, then the RSV's rendition is preferable to the Chabad version, even though Christians also use it.


Artscroll Tanach - They will Look towards Me because of those whom they have stabbed

After studying the context more I would say:

"they will look onto Me concerning who they have stabbed and they will mourn for him"

I realised from verse 4 G-d will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication.

This is the source for the moshiach ben yosef.

And there is the famous pasuk isaiah 59.20 "And a redeemer will come unto Zion, and to those who repent of transgression in Jacob, says the L-rd"

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Natan and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 3:26

Almost all the rishonim clearly have a slightly different pasuq than our printed editions, as do some Masoretic manuscripts. Either "והביטו אליו אשר דקרו" (some manuscripts, R. Yosef Kara, Ibn Ezra second commentary, RaDaK, talmid Isaiah di Trani, Benjamin b. Judah) or "והביטו אל אשר דקרו" (some other manuscripts). Almost every Bavli manuscript and the early printings of Sukkah 52a have one of these two versions. This translates much more easily, to "they will look at the one they pierced."

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