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
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.
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
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.