Zechariah 12:10

“- and they will look to me concerning the one who was  pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they  shall be in bitterness over him as one is in bitterness over a firstborn.”

The missionary  interpretation of this section of the verse has Jesus as the “one who was  pierced” and the mourning described, is the Jewish embarrassment upon  discovering that their rejection of him was unjustified.

This interpretation fails for several reasons. Firstly,  the mourning is described as the mourning for a lost child, and not as a cry of  shame. (For a scriptural description of an admission of shame, see Micha 7:7-17.)

Secondly, the missionary interpretation ignores the  context of the verse. The chapter in Zechariah in which this verse is found,  speaks of the siege of Jerusalem.  The prophet describes how the nations will besiege Jerusalem, but they will not succeed. The  prophet describes how a Jewish contingent in the besieging army will do battle  against the nations that have come to besiege Jerusalem. The Jewish warriors will succeed,  and the nations besieging Jerusalem  will be destroyed. In this context, there will be a great mourning for the “one  who was pierced.”

The Talmud (Succah 52a)  understands that this verse is a reference to the death of a Messiah from the  tribe of Joseph. This leader who successfully led the  Jewish people in battle against their enemies, will fall at the hands of the  nations. At the time of the ultimate victory (under the leadership of Messiah  from the lineage of David) the people will mourn for the loss of their former  leader. They fact that their leader had died in battle will generate a spirit  of repentance and turning back to God. Thus the prophet declares in the name of  God that the people will look to me (God) on account of the one that was  pierced.

This is obviously parallel to the first events of David’s  monarchy. The first activity that David engaged in as King of his people, was to mourn for Saul. In fact the only two people  in scripture who died through piercing, and were mourned, are Saul and the  unspecified person in this verse in Zechariah. Although David (and his  descendant the Messiah) is the ultimate leader chosen by God to guide the  nation, the Davidic Kings recognize the sacrifice of the leaders that preceded  them and that laid the groundwork for their kingship. Their first act as leader  of their people is to mourn for the those who suffered  and died before they reached that ultimate victory.