Zechariah 3


וַיַּרְאֵנִי אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה וְהַשָּׂטָן עֹמֵד עַל־יְמִינוֹ לְשִׂטְנוֹ׃   3:1

Zech. 3:1   And He showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before an angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

Joshua is first mentioned by Haggai (Hagg. 1:1).  Here in this vision, Joshua is thought to be symbolic of the remnant of Israel.  The prosecutor, Satan, who is thought not to be the Satan of Job, but a member of the heavenly court who is an accuser of the guilty (the noun Satan can mean accuser or one in opposition), stands in accusation of Joshua.  The angel, God’s representative, is understood to be the defender of the accused. 

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָן יִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ הַשָּׂטָן וְיִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ הַבֹּחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם הֲלוֹא זֶה אוּד מֻצָּל   3:2    מֵאֵשׁ׃

Zech. 3:2   And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord must rebuke you, Satan, and the Lord, joining with Jerusalem, does rebuke you.  Is not this one a brand snatched from the fire?”

These words are probably being spoken by the angel as God’s representative.  The phrase “a brand snatched from fire,” is thought to be a reference to the remnant of Israel, who were literally and figuratively snatched from the fire.

וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ הָיָה לָבֻשׁ בְּגָדִים צוֹאִים וְעֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הַמַּלְאָךְ׃   3:3

Zech. 3:3   Now Joshua was wearing filthy clothes and standing before the angel.

The filth of Joshua‘s clothes may be a reference to Israel’s sins, or might be symbolic of the clothes having been scorched in the fire.  More likely, it is the former, as is implied in the next verse.

וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הָעֹמְדִימ לְפָנָיו לֵאמֹר הָסִירוּ הַבְּגָדִים הַצֹּאִים מֵעָלָיו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו רְאֵה הֶעֱבַרְתִּי   3:4      מֵעָלֶיךָ עֲוֹנֶךָ וְהַלְבֵּשׁ אֹתְךָ מַחֲלָצֹות׃

Zech. 3:4   And he answered and spoke to those standing before him saying, “Remove the filthy clothes from him.”  Then he said to him, “See, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and array you with festive robes.”

Presumably the festive robes allude to the completion of the Temple.

וָאֹמַר יָשִׂימוּ צָנִיף טָהוֹר עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ וַיָּשִׂימוּ הַצָּנִיף הַטָּהוֹר עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ וַיַּלְבִּשֻׁהוּ בְּגָדִים וּמַלְאַךְ   3:5            יְהוָה עֹמֵד׃

Zech. 3:5   And I would say, “They should place a clean miter upon his head.”  So they placed the clean miter upon his head, and they arrayed him with clothes, as the angel of the Lord was remaining standing.

Zechariah’s suggestion of a clean miter is thought to be representative of his keen desire to see the Temple rebuilt.

וַיָּעַד מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בִּיהוֹשֻׁעַ לֵאמֹר׃   3:6

Zech. 3:6   And the angel of the Lord gave a warning to Joshua saying,

כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם־בִּדְרָכַי תֵּלֵךְ וְאִם אֶת־מִשְׁמַרְתִּי תִשְׁמֹר וְגַם־אַתָּה תָּדִין אֶת־בֵּיתִי וְגַם   3:7 תִּשְׁמֹר אֶת־חֲצֵרָי וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ מַהְלְכִים בֵּין הָעֹמְדִים הָאֵלֶּה׃

Zech. 3:7   “Thus says the Lord of hosts:  ‘If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My charge, and you will also judge My house, and also keep My courts, then I will grant free goings to you among these standing ones.’

The meaning of the last clause of this verse is uncertain.  Some assume it means that Joshua (or the remnant?) will then have access to God’s court and be in communion with Him.  Some believe it refers instead to the future (Messianic) life.  Others think it may mean that Joshua will have supreme authority over the Temple, ranking among God’s angels.

שְׁמַע־נָא יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל אַתָּה וְרֵעֶיךָ הַיֹּשְׁבִים לְפָנֶיךָ כִּי־אַנְשֵׁי מוֹפֵת הֵמָּה כִּי־הִנְנִי מֵבִיא   3:8      אֶת־עַבְדִּי צֶמַח׃

Zech. 3:8   ’Hear now, Joshua, high priest, you and your companions sitting before you, that they are men of portent, for behold, I will be bringing forth My servant, the shoot.’

The shoot is to be understood to mean the Messiah.

כִּי הִנֵּה הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לִפְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ עַל־אֶבֶן אַחַת שִׁבְעָה עֵינָיִם הִנְנִי מְפַתֵּחַ פִּתֻּחָהּ נְאֻם יְהוָה   3:9 צְבָאוֹת וּמַשְׁתִּי אֶת־עֲוֺן הָאָרֶץ־הַהִיא בְּיוֹם אֶחָד׃

Zech. 3:9   ‘For behold the stone I have set before Joshua.  On one stone are seven eyes; behold, I am carving its engraving,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.’

The phrase seven eyes is liberally translated by some others as seven facets.  I use the above translation because it is supported by the next chapter  The significance of this part of the vision is not clear, although Christians attribute to it a good deal of importance.  I’ll have more to say about the eyes in the next chapter.

                                                                                                                                     [Return to Zech. 4:10]

בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת תִּקְרְאוּ אִישׁ לְרֵעֵהוּ אֶל־תַּחַת גֶּפֶן וְאֶל־תַּחַת תְּאֵנָה׃   3:10

Zech. 3:10   ‘In that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘you shall summon, each of you to his neighbor, to the foot of the vine and to the foot of the fig tree.’”

This appears to be a literary allusion to the Messianic age.


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