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Zechariah 1:7--6:15

Context
The Introduction to the Visions

1:7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month Shebat, in Darius’ second year, 1  the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo, as follows:

The Content of the First Vision

1:8 I was attentive that night and saw a man seated 2  on a red horse that stood among some myrtle trees 3  in the ravine. Behind him were red, sorrel, 4  and white horses.

The Interpretation of the First Vision

1:9 Then I asked one nearby, “What are these, sir?” The angelic messenger 5  who replied to me said, “I will show you what these are.” 1:10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees spoke up and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk about 6  on the earth.” 1:11 The riders then agreed with the angel of the Lord, 7  who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been walking about on the earth, and now everything is at rest and quiet.” 1:12 The angel of the Lord then asked, “Lord who rules over all, 8  how long before you have compassion on Jerusalem 9  and the other cities of Judah which you have been so angry with for these seventy years?” 10  1:13 The Lord then addressed good, comforting words to the angelic messenger who was speaking to me. 1:14 Turning to me, the messenger then said, “Cry out that the Lord who rules over all says, ‘I am very much moved 11  for Jerusalem and for Zion. 1:15 But I am greatly displeased with the nations that take my grace for granted. 12  I was a little displeased with them, but they have only made things worse for themselves.

The Oracle of Response

1:16 “‘Therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘I have become compassionate 13  toward Jerusalem 14  and will rebuild my temple 15  in it,’ says the Lord who rules over all. ‘Once more a surveyor’s measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.’ 1:17 Speak up again with the message of the Lord who rules over all: ‘My cities will once more overflow with prosperity, and once more the Lord will comfort Zion and validate his choice of Jerusalem.’”

Vision Two: The Four Horns

1:18 (2:1) 16  Once again I looked and this time I saw four horns. 1:19 So I asked the angelic messenger 17  who spoke with me, “What are these?” He replied, “These are the horns 18  that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 19  1:20 Next the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 20  1:21 I asked, “What are these going to do?” He answered, “These horns are the ones that have scattered Judah so that there is no one to be seen. 21  But the blacksmiths have come to terrify Judah’s enemies 22  and cut off the horns of the nations that have thrust themselves against the land of Judah in order to scatter its people.” 23 

Vision Three: The Surveyor

2:1 (2:5) I looked again, and there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2:2 I asked, “Where are you going?” He replied, “To measure Jerusalem 24  in order to determine its width and its length.” 2:3 At this point the angelic messenger 25  who spoke to me went out, and another messenger came to meet him 2:4 and said to him, “Hurry, speak to this young man 26  as follows: ‘Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls 27  because of the multitude of people and animals there. 2:5 But I (the Lord says) will be a wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem 28  and the source of glory in her midst.’”

2:6 “You there! 29  Flee from the northland!” says the Lord, “for like the four winds of heaven 30  I have scattered you,” says the Lord. 2:7 “Escape, Zion, you who live among the Babylonians!” 31  2:8 For the Lord who rules over all says to me that for his own glory 32  he has sent me to the nations that plundered you – for anyone who touches you touches the pupil 33  of his 34  eye. 2:9 “I am about to punish them 35  in such a way,” he says, “that they will be looted by their own slaves.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me.

2:10 “Sing out and be happy, Zion my daughter! 36  For look, I have come; I will settle in your midst,” says the Lord. 2:11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on the day of salvation, 37  and they will also be my 38  people. Indeed, I will settle in the midst of you all.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. 2:12 The Lord will take possession of 39  Judah as his portion in the holy land and he will choose Jerusalem once again. 2:13 Be silent in the Lord’s presence, all people everywhere, 40  for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place. 41 

Vision Four: The Priest

3:1 Next I saw Joshua the high priest 42  standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan 43  standing at his right hand to accuse him. 3:2 The Lord 44  said to Satan, “May the Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, 45  rebuke you! Isn’t this man like a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 3:3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes 46  as he stood there before the angel. 3:4 The angel 47  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 48  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 49  and work according to my requirements, you will be able to preside over my temple 50  and attend to my courtyards, and I will allow you to come and go among these others who are standing by you. 3:8 Listen now, Joshua the high priest, both you and your colleagues who are sitting before you, all of you 51  are a symbol that I am about to introduce my servant, the Branch. 52  3:9 As for the stone 53  I have set before Joshua – on the one stone there are seven eyes. 54  I am about to engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘to the effect that I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 55  3:10 In that day,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘everyone will invite his friend to fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree.’” 56 

Vision Five: The Menorah

4:1 The angelic messenger 57  who had been speaking with me then returned and woke me, as a person is wakened from sleep. 4:2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, 58  “I see a menorah of pure gold with a receptacle at the top and seven lamps, with fourteen pipes going to the lamps. 4:3 There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the receptacle and the other on the left.” 59  4:4 Then I asked the messenger who spoke with me, “What are these, 60  sir?” 4:5 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” So I responded, “No, sir.” 4:6 Therefore he told me, “These signify the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ 61  says the Lord who rules over all.”

Oracle of Response

4:7 “What are you, you great mountain? 62  Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple 63  capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ 64  because of this.” 4:8 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me as follows: 4:9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this temple, 65  and his hands will complete it.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. 4:10 For who dares make light of small beginnings? These seven eyes 66  will joyfully look on the tin tablet 67  in Zerubbabel’s hand. (These are the eyes of the Lord, which constantly range across the whole earth.)

4:11 Next I asked the messenger, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the menorah?” 4:12 Before he could reply I asked again, “What are these two extensions 68  of the olive trees, which are emptying out the golden oil through the two golden pipes?” 4:13 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” And I said, “No, sir.” 4:14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones 69  who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Vision Six: The Flying Scroll

5:1 Then I turned to look, and there was a flying scroll! 5:2 Someone asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a flying scroll thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.” 70  5:3 The speaker went on to say, “This is a curse 71  traveling across the whole earth. For example, according to the curse whoever steals 72  will be removed from the community; or on the other hand (according to the curse) whoever swears falsely will suffer the same fate.” 5:4 “I will send it out,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and it will enter the house of the thief and of the person who swears falsely in my name. It will land in the middle of his house and destroy both timber and stones.”

Vision Seven: The Ephah

5:5 After this the angelic messenger 73  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 74  that is moving away from here.” Moreover, he said, “This is their ‘eye’ 75  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 76  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 77  for her in the land of Babylonia. 78  When it is finished, she will be placed there in her own residence.”

Vision Eight: The Chariots

6:1 Once more I looked, and this time I saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains of bronze. 79  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. 80  6:4 Then I asked the angelic messenger 81  who was speaking with me, “What are these, sir?” 6:5 The messenger replied, “These are the four spirits 82  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 83  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 84  peace about the northland.” 85 

A Concluding Oracle

6:9 The word of the Lord came to me as follows: 6:10 “Choose some people 86  from among the exiles, namely, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, all of whom have come from Babylon, and when you have done so go to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 87  6:11 Then take some silver and gold to make a crown 88  and set it on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 6:12 Then say to him, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “Look – here is the man whose name is Branch, 89  who will sprout up from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 6:13 Indeed, he will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed in splendor, sitting as king on his throne. Moreover, there will be a priest 90  with him on his throne and they will see eye to eye on everything. 6:14 The crown will then be turned over to Helem, 91  Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen 92  son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 6:15 Then those who are far away 93  will come and build the temple of the Lord so that you may know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. This will all come to pass if you completely obey the voice of the Lord your God.”’”

1 sn The twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month…in Darius’ second year was February 15, 519 b.c.

2 tn Heb “riding,” but since this verb in English is usually associated with horses in motion rather than standing still, the translation uses “seated.” Cf. NAB “the driver of a red horse.”

3 tc The LXX presupposes הֶהָרִים (heharim, “mountains”) rather than the MT הַהֲדַסִּים (hahadassim, “myrtles”), probably because of reference to the ravine. The MT reading is preferred and is followed by most English versions.

4 sn The Hebrew שְׂרֻקִּים (sÿruqqim) means “red” (cf. NIV, NCV, NLT “brown”). English translations such as “speckled” (KJV) or “dappled” (TEV) are based on the reading of the LXX (ψαροί) that attempts to bring the color of this horse into conformity with those described in Zech 6:2-3. However, since these are two different and unrelated visions, this is a methodological fallacy.

5 tn Heb “messenger” or “angel” (מַלְאָךְ, malakh). This being appears to serve as an interpreter to the prophet (cf. vv. 13, 14).

6 sn The stem used here (Hitpael) with the verb “walk” (הָלַךְ, halakh) suggests the exercise of dominion (cf. Gen 13:17; Job 1:7; 2:2-3; Ezek 28:14; Zech 6:7). The Lord is here about to claim sovereignty over the nations. Cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT “to patrol”; TEV “to go and inspect.”

7 sn The angel of the Lord is a special being who throughout the OT represents God himself and on occasion almost approaches divine hypostatization or incarnation (cf. Gen 18:2, 13, 17, 22; Exod 23:20-21; Josh 5:13-15; Judg 6:11-24; 13:2-20).

8 sn Note that here the angel of the Lord is clearly distinct from the Lord who rules over all himself.

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

10 sn The seventy years refers to the predicted period of Babylonian exile, a period with flexible beginning and ending points depending on the particular circumstances in view (cf. Jer 25:1; 28:1; 29:10; Dan 9:2). Here the end of the seventy years appears to be marked by the completion of the temple in 516 b.c., exactly seventy years after its destruction in 586.

11 tn Heb “jealous for” (so KJV, ASV); NIV, NRSV “very jealous for”; CEV “very protective of.” The meaning is that Jerusalem/Zion is the special object of God’s grace and purposes. This results in his unusual protection of his people, a protection not accorded others with whom he does not have such a close relationship.

12 tn Or “the nations that are at ease” (so ASV, NRSV). The Hebrew word in question is שַׁאֲנָן (shaanan) which has the idea of a careless, even arrogant attitude (see BDB 983 s.v. שַׁאֲנָן); cf. NAB “the complacent nations.” Here it suggests that the nations take for granted that God will never punish them just because he hasn't already done so. Thus they presume on the grace and patience of the Lord. The translation attempts to bring out this nuance rather than the more neutral renderings of TEV “nations that enjoy quiet and peace” or NLT “enjoy peace and security.”

13 tn Heb “I have turned.” This suggests that the Lord has responded to the “turning” (i.e., repentance) of the people (v. 6) and now, with great love and forgiveness, allows construction of the temple to proceed.

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

15 tn Heb “house.”

16 sn This marks the beginning of ch. 2 in the Hebrew text. Beginning with 1:18, the verse numbers through 2:13 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 1:18 ET = 2:1 HT, 1:19 ET = 2:2 HT, 1:20 ET = 2:3 HT, 1:21 ET = 2:4 HT, 2:1 ET = 2:5 HT, etc., through 2:13 ET = 2:17 HT. From 3:1 the verse numbers in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible are again the same.

17 tn See the note on the expression “angelic messenger” in v. 9.

18 sn An animal’s horn is a common OT metaphor for military power (Pss 18:2; 75:10; Jer 48:25; Mic 4:13). The fact that there are four horns here (as well as four blacksmiths, v. 20) shows a correspondence to the four horses of v. 8 which go to four parts of the world, i.e., the whole world.

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

20 tn Heb “craftsmen” (so NASB, NIV; KJV “carpenters”), a generic term which can mean “metalworker, smith, armorer” (HALOT 358 s.v. חָרָשׁ). “Blacksmiths” was chosen for the present translation because of its relative familiarity among contemporary English readers.

sn The horns are perhaps made of iron, the strongest of all metals known to the ancient Near Eastern world, since military activity is implied in the context. Only blacksmiths can cut the horns off. If the horns represent oppressive nations, the blacksmiths must represent deliverers whom the Lord raises up, kings like Cyrus of Persia (cf. Isa 54:16).

21 tn Heb “so that no man lifts up his head.”

22 tn Heb “terrify them”; the referent (Judah’s enemies) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23 tn Heb “to scatter it.” The word “people” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

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

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

26 sn That is, to Zechariah.

27 tn Heb “Jerusalem will dwell as open regions (פְּרָזוֹת, pÿrazot)”; cf. NAB “in open country”; CEV “won’t have any boundaries.” The population will be so large as to spill beyond the ancient and normal enclosures. The people need not fear, however, for the Lord will be an invisible but strong wall (v. 5).

28 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Jerusalem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

29 sn These are the scattered Jews of eschatological times (as the expression four winds of heaven makes clear) and not those of Zechariah’s time who have, for the most part, already returned by 520 b.c. This theme continues and is reinforced in vv. 10-13.

30 tn Or “of the sky.” The same Hebrew term, שָׁמַיִם (shamayim), may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

31 tn Heb “live in [or “with” (cf. NASB), i.e., “among”] the daughter of Babylon” (so NIV; NAB “dwell in daughter Babylon”).

32 tn Heb “After glory has he sent me” (similar KJV, NASB). What is clearly in view is the role of Zechariah who, by faithful proclamation of the message, will glorify the Lord.

33 tn Heb “gate” (בָּבָה, bavah) of the eye, that is, pupil. The rendering of this term by KJV as “apple” has created a well-known idiom in the English language, “the apple of his eye” (so ASV, NIV). The pupil is one of the most vulnerable and valuable parts of the body, so for Judah to be considered the “pupil” of the Lord’s eye is to raise her value to an incalculable price (cf. NLT “my most precious possession”).

34 tc A scribal emendation (tiqqun sopherim) has apparently altered an original “my eye” to “his eye” in order to allow the prophet to be the speaker throughout vv. 8-9. This alleviates the problem of the Lord saying, in effect, that he has sent himself on the mission to the nations.

35 tn Heb “I will wave my hand over them” (so NASB); NIV, NRSV “raise my hand against them.”

36 sn This individualizing of Zion as a daughter draws attention to the corporate nature of the covenant community and also to the tenderness with which the Lord regards his chosen people.

37 tn Heb “on that day.” The descriptive phrase “of salvation” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

38 tc The LXX and Syriac have the 3rd person masculine singular suffix in both places (“his people” and “he will settle”; cf. NAB, TEV) in order to avoid the Lord’s speaking of himself in the third person. Such resort is unnecessary, however, in light of the common shifting of person in Hebrew narrative (cf. 3:2).

39 tn Heb “will inherit” (so NIV, NRSV).

40 tn Heb “all flesh”; NAB, NIV “all mankind.”

41 sn The sense here is that God in heaven is about to undertake an occupation of his earthly realm (v. 12) by restoring his people to the promised land.

42 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).

43 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.

44 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.

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

46 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.

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

48 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.”

49 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).

50 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.

51 tn Heb “these men.” The cleansing of Joshua and his elevation to enhanced leadership as a priest signify the coming of the messianic age.

52 sn The collocation of servant and branch gives double significance to the messianic meaning of the passage (cf. Isa 41:8, 9; 42:1, 19; 43:10; 44:1, 2, 21; Ps 132:17; Jer 23:5; 33:15).

53 sn The stone is also a metaphor for the Messiah, a foundation stone that, at first rejected (Ps 118:22-23; Isa 8:13-15), will become the chief cornerstone of the church (Eph 2:19-22).

54 tn Some understand the Hebrew term עַיִן (’ayin) here to refer to facets (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT) or “faces” (NCV, CEV “seven sides”) of the stone rather than some representation of organs of sight.

sn The seven eyes are symbolic of divine omniscience and universal dominion (cf. Zech 1:10; 4:10; 2 Chr 16:9).

55 sn Inscriptions were common on ancient Near Eastern cornerstones. This inscription speaks of the redemption achieved by the divine resident of the temple, the Messiah, who will in the day of the Lord bring salvation to all Israel (cf. Isa 66:7-9).

56 tn Heb “under the vine and under the fig tree,” with the Hebrew article used twice as a possessive pronoun (cf. NASB “his”). Some English translations render this as second person rather than third (NRSV “your vine”; cf. also NAB, NCV, TEV).

sn The imagery of fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree describes the peaceful dominion of the Lord in the coming messianic age (Mic 4:4; cf. 1 Kgs 4:25).

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

58 tc The present translation (along with most other English versions) follows the reading of the Qere and many ancient versions, “I said,” as opposed to the MT Kethib “he said.”

59 sn The vision apparently describes two olive trees providing olive oil by pipes to a large basin atop the menorah. From this basin two pipes extend to each of the seven lamps of the menorah, for a total of fourteen pipes in all. See vv. 11-12.

60 sn Here these must refer to the lamps, since the identification of the olive trees is left to vv. 11-14.

61 sn It is premature to understand the Spirit here as the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity), though the OT prepares the way for that NT revelation (cf. Gen 1:2; Exod 23:3; 31:3; Num 11:17-29; Judg 3:10; 6:34; 2 Kgs 2:9, 15, 16; Ezek 2:2; 3:12; 11:1, 5).

62 sn In context, the great mountain here must be viewed as a metaphor for the enormous task of rebuilding the temple and establishing the messianic kingdom (cf. TEV “Obstacles as great as mountains”).

63 tn The word “temple” has been supplied in the translation to clarify the referent (cf. NLT “final stone of the Temple”).

64 sn Grace is a fitting response to the idea that it was “not by strength and not by power” but by God’s gracious Spirit that the work could be done (cf. v. 6).

65 tn Heb “house” (so NAB, NRSV).

66 tn Heb “these seven.” Eyes are clearly intended in the ellipsis as v. 10b shows. As in 3:9 the idea is God’s omniscience. He who knows the end from the beginning rejoices at the completion of his purposes.

67 tn This term is traditionally translated “plumb line” (so NASB, NIV, NLT; cf. KJV, NRSV “plummet”), but it is more likely that the Hebrew בְּדִיל (bÿdil) is to be derived not from בָּדַל (badal), “to divide,” but from a root meaning “tin.” This finds support in the ancient Near Eastern custom of placing inscriptions on tin plates in dedicatory foundation deposits.

68 tn The usual meaning of the Hebrew term שְׁבֹּלֶת (shÿbolet) is “ears” (as in ears of grain). Here it probably refers to the produce of the olive trees, i.e., olives. Many English versions render the term as “branches,” but cf. NAB “tufts.”

69 tn The usual word for “anointed (one),” מָשִׁיַח (mashiakh), is not used here but rather בְנֵי־הַיִּצְהָר (vÿne-hayyitshar), literally, “sons of fresh oil.” This is to maintain consistency with the imagery of olive trees. In the immediate context these two olive trees should be identified with Joshua and Zerubbabel, the priest and the governor. Only the high priest and king were anointed for office in the OT and these two were respectively the descendants of Aaron and David.

70 tn Heb “twenty cubits…ten cubits” (so NAB, NRSV). These dimensions (“thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide”) can hardly be referring to the scroll when unrolled since that would be all out of proportion to the normal ratio, in which the scroll would be 10 to 15 times as long as it was wide. More likely, the scroll is 15 feet thick when rolled, a hyperbole expressing the enormous amount and the profound significance of the information it contains.

71 tn The Hebrew word translated “curse” (אָלָה, ’alah) alludes to the covenant sanctions that attend the violation of God’s covenant with Israel (cf. Deut 29:12, 14, 20-21).

72 sn Stealing and swearing falsely (mentioned later in this verse) are sins against mankind and God respectively and are thus violations of the two major parts of the Ten Commandments. These two stipulations (commandments 8 and 3) represent the whole law.

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

74 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.

75 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.

76 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.

77 tn Heb “house” (so NIV, NRSV, CEV).

78 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).

79 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).

80 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.

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

82 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).

83 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).

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

85 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.

86 tn The words “some people” are supplied in the translation. The Hebrew verb translated “choose” (alternatively “take” [NAB, NIV]; “collect” [NRSV, CEV]) has no direct object specified in the text. Some translations supply “silver and gold” (NIV, NRSV) or “an offering” (NASB).

87 sn Except for Joshua (v. 11) none of these individuals is otherwise mentioned and therefore they cannot be further identified.

88 tn Heb “crowns” (so KJV, ASV; also in v. 14). The Hebrew word for “crown” here is עֲטֶרֶת (’ateret), a term never used in the OT for the priestly crown or mitre. Thus, the scene here describes the investing of the priest with royal authority.

89 tn The epithet “Branch” (צֶמַח, tsemakh) derives from the verb used here (יִצְמָח, yitsmakh, “will sprout up”) to describe the rise of the Messiah, already referred to in this manner in Zech 3:8 (cf. Isa 11:1; 53:2; Jer 33:15). In the immediate context this refers to Zerubbabel, but the ultimate referent is Jesus (cf. John 19:5).

90 sn The priest here in the immediate context is Joshua but the fuller and more distant allusion is to the Messiah, a ruling priest. The notion of the ruler as a priest-king was already apparent in David and his successors (Pss 2:2, 6-8; 110:2, 4), and it finds mature expression in David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ, who will combine both offices in his kingship (Heb 5:1-10; 7:1-25).

91 tn “Helem” is probably the same individual as “Heldai” in v. 10. Since the MT and the major ancient versions leave the apparent conflict unresolved it is probably best to view “Helem” as interchangeable with “Heldai” (cf. “Heled” in 1 Chr 11:30 with “Heleb” [2 Sam 23:29] and “Heldai” [1 Chr 27:15]). A number of modern English versions use “Heldai” here (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, NLT).

92 tn Since the “son of Zephaniah” in v. 10 is Josiah, it might be best here to understand “Hen” in its meaning “grace” (חֵן, khen); that is, “Hen” is a nickname for Josiah – “the gracious one.” A number of modern English translations use “Josiah” here (e.g., NCV, NRSV, NLT).

93 sn Those who are far away is probably a reference to later groups of returning exiles under Ezra, Nehemiah, and others.



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