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Zechariah 5:5-11

Context
Vision Seven: The Ephah

5:5 After this the angelic messenger 1  who had been speaking to me went out and said, “Look, see what is leaving.” 5:6 I asked, “What is it?” And he replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain 2  that is moving away from here.” Moreover, he said, “This is their ‘eye’ 3  throughout all the earth.” 5:7 Then a round lead cover was raised up, revealing a woman sitting inside the basket. 5:8 He then said, “This woman represents wickedness,” and he pushed her down into the basket and placed the lead cover on top. 5:9 Then I looked again and saw two women 4  going forth with the wind in their wings (they had wings like those of a stork) and they lifted up the basket between the earth and the sky. 5:10 I asked the messenger who was speaking to me, “Where are they taking the basket?” 5:11 He replied, “To build a temple 5  for her in the land of Babylonia. 6  When it is finished, she will be placed there in her own residence.”

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

2 tn Heb “[This is] the ephah.” An ephah was a liquid or solid measure of about a bushel (five gallons or just under twenty liters). By metonymy it refers here to a measuring container (probably a basket) of that quantity.

3 tc The LXX and Syriac read עֲוֹנָם (’avonam, “their iniquity,” so NRSV; NIV similar) for the MT עֵינָם (’enam, “their eye”), a reading that is consistent with the identification of the woman in v. 8 as wickedness, but one that is unnecessary. In 4:10 the “eye” represented divine omniscience and power; here it represents the demonic counterfeit.

4 sn Here two women appear as the agents of the Lord because the whole scene is feminine in nature. The Hebrew word for “wickedness” in v. 8 (רִשְׁעָה) is grammatically feminine, so feminine imagery is appropriate throughout.

5 tn Heb “house” (so NIV, NRSV, CEV).

6 sn The land of Babylonia (Heb “the land of Shinar”) is another name for Sumer and Akkad, where Babylon was located (Gen 10:10). Babylon throughout the Bible symbolizes the focus of anti-God sentiment and activity (Gen 11:4; 14:1; Isa 13–14; 47:1-3; Jer 50–51; Rev 14:8; 17:1, 5, 18; 18:21).



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