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Zechariah 3:1-7

Context
Vision Four: The Priest

3:1 Next I saw Joshua the high priest 1  standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan 2  standing at his right hand to accuse him. 3:2 The Lord 3  said to Satan, “May the Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, 4  rebuke you! Isn’t this man like a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 3:3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes 5  as he stood there before the angel. 3:4 The angel 6  spoke up to those standing all around, “Remove his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have freely forgiven your iniquity and will dress you 7  in fine clothing.” 3:5 Then I spoke up, “Let a clean turban be put on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood nearby. 3:6 Then the angel of the Lord exhorted Joshua solemnly: 3:7 “The Lord who rules over all says, ‘If you live 8  and work according to my requirements, you will be able to preside over my temple 9  and attend to my courtyards, and I will allow you to come and go among these others who are standing by you.

1 sn Joshua the high priest mentioned here is the son of the priest Jehozadak, mentioned also in Hag 1:1 (cf. Ezra 2:2; 3:2, 8; 4:3; 5:2; 10:18; Neh 7:7; 12:1, 7, 10, 26). He also appears to have been the grandfather of the high priest contemporary with Nehemiah ca. 445 b.c. (Neh 12:10).

2 tn The Hebrew term הַשָּׂטָן (hassatan, “the satan”) suggests not so much a personal name (as in almost all English translations) but an epithet, namely, “the adversary.” This evil being is otherwise thus described in Job 1 and 2 and 1 Chr 21:1. In this last passage the article is dropped and “the satan” becomes “Satan,” a personal name.

3 sn The juxtaposition of the messenger of the Lord in v. 1 and the Lord in v. 2 shows that here, at least, they are one and the same. See Zech 1:11, 12 where they are distinguished from each other.

4 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

5 sn The Hebrew word צוֹאִים (tsoim) means “excrement.” This disgusting figure of speech suggests Joshua’s absolute disqualification for priestly service in the flesh, but v. 2 speaks of his having been rescued from that deplorable state by God’s grace. He is like a burning stick pulled out of the fire before it is consumed. This is a picture of cleansing, saving grace.

6 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the angel, cf. v. 1) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn The occurrence of the infinitive absolute here for an expected imperfect 1st person common singular (or even imperative 2nd person masculine plural or preterite 3rd person masculine plural) is well-attested elsewhere. Most English translations render this as 1st person singular (“and I will clothe”), but cf. NAB “Take off…and clothe him.”

8 tn Heb “walk,” a frequent biblical metaphor for lifestyle or conduct; TEV “If you [+ truly CEV] obey.” To “walk” in the ways of the Lord is to live life as he intends (cf. Deut 8:6; 10:12-22; 28:9).

9 sn The statement you will be able to preside over my temple (Heb “house,” a reference to the Jerusalem temple) is a hint of the increasingly important role the high priest played in the postexilic Jewish community, especially in the absence of a monarchy. It also suggests the messianic character of the eschatological priesthood in which the priest would have royal prerogatives.



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