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Zechariah 6:1-8

Context
Vision Eight: The Chariots

6:1 Once more I looked, and this time I saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains of bronze. 1  6:2 Harnessed to the first chariot were red horses, to the second black horses, 6:3 to the third white horses, and to the fourth spotted horses, all of them strong. 2  6:4 Then I asked the angelic messenger 3  who was speaking with me, “What are these, sir?” 6:5 The messenger replied, “These are the four spirits 4  of heaven that have been presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. 6:6 The chariot with the black horses is going to the north country and the white ones are going after them, but the spotted ones are going to the south country. 6:7 All these strong ones 5  are scattering; they have sought permission to go and walk about over the earth.” The Lord had said, “Go! Walk about over the earth!” So they are doing so. 6:8 Then he cried out to me, “Look! The ones going to the northland have brought me 6  peace about the northland.” 7 

1 tn Heb “two mountains, and the mountains [were] mountains of bronze.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn Bronze, a hard, almost impenetrable metal, is an apt figure to speak of the obstacles standing in the way of the accomplishment of God’s purposes for the postexilic Jewish community (cf. 4:7). The cleft between the two from which the chariots emerge might be related to the eschatological triumph of the Lord who will return to the Mount of Olives and divide it into two mountains, one on the north and the other on the south (cf. Zech 14:1-8; Ezek 47:1-12).

2 tc For the MT reading אֲמֻצִּים (’amutsim, “strong”) Aquila and Syriac presuppose אֲדֻמִּים (’adummim, “red”), thus giving the red horse an assignment and eliminating the problem of a fifth, “spotted” horse. The fourth would be a mottled red horse according to this view. There is, however, no manuscript support for this interpretation.

3 tn See the note on the expression “angelic messenger” in 1:9.

4 tn The Hebrew term translated “spirit” here may also be translated “wind” or “breath” depending on the context (cf. ASV, NRSV, CEV “the four winds of heaven”; NAB similar).

5 tn The present translation takes אֲמֻצִּים (’amutsim, “strong”) to be a descriptive of all the horses – white, black, red, and spotted (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT).

6 tn Heb “my spirit.” The subject appears to be the Lord who exclaims here that the horsemen have accomplished their task of bringing peace.

7 sn The immediate referent of peace about the northland is to the peace brought by Persia’s conquest of Babylonia, a peace that allowed the restoration of the Jewish people (cf. 2 Chr 36:22-23; Isa 44:28; 45:1-2). However, there is also an eschatological dimension, referring to a time when there will be perfect and universal peace.



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