Zechariah 5


וָאָשׁוּב וָאֶשָּׂא עֵינַי וָאֶרְאֶה וְהִנֵּה מְגִלָּה עָפָה׃   5:1

Zech. 5:1   Then I could turn back and lift my eyes and look, and behold, a flying scroll.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי מָה אַתָּה רֹאֶה וָאֹמַר אֲנִי רֹאֶה מְגִלָּה עָפָה אָרְכָּהּ עֶשְׂרִים בָּאַמָּה וְרָחְבָּהּ עֶשֶׂר בָּאַמָּה׃   5:2

Zech. 5:2   And he said to me, “What are you seeing?”  And I would say, “I am seeing a flying scroll, its length twenty in cubits and its width ten in cubits.”

That’s a giant scroll.  It measures about 30 feet by 20 feet.  Presumably, it is unrolled.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי זֹאת הָאָלָה הַיּוֹצֵאת עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ כִּי כָל־הַגֹּנֵב מִזֶּה כָּמוֹהָ נִקָּה וְכָל־הַנִּשְׁבָּע   5:3          מִזֶּה כָּמוֹהָ נִקָּה׃

Zech. 5:3   And he said to me, “This is the curse going out over the surface of all the earth, for every one stealing from this side like it is purged, and every one swearing from the other side like it is purged.”

The scroll is thought to have been covered on both sides with curses (see Ezek. 2:9 and 10 for Ezekiel’s description of either the same scroll or one similar to it).  The two occurrences of the phrase like it can be placed in three places in the translated statement.  That’s a minor observation, however, because it wouldn’t change their meaning no matter where they are positioned.  But they are presumed to have the scroll as their antecedent, since they and the scroll are  feminine.  However, the term translated as curse is also feminine, so it can be the antecedent as well.  And I believe it is the curse, so stealing like the curse and swearing like the curse is what I’ve assumed to be intended by Zechariah.

הוֹצֵאתִיהָ נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת וּבָאָה אֶל־בֵּית הַגַּנָּב וְאֶל־בֵּית הַנִּשְׁבָּע בִּשְׁמִי לַשָּׁקֶר וְלָנֶה בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ   5:4 וְכִלַּתּוּ וְאֶת־עֵצָיו וְאֶת־אֲבָנָיו׃

Zech. 5:4   “’I cause it to go forth,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and it shall come to the house of the thief and to the house of whoever swears falsely in My name and it shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it and its timbers and its stones.’”

I believe what is intended here is that evil will be removed from Israel.  See the verses following v. 5:7 to the end of the chapter.

וַיֵּצֵא הַמַּלְאָךְ הַדֹּבֵר בִּי וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי שָׂא נָא עֵינֶיךָ וּרְאֵה מָה הַיּוֹצֵאת הַזֹּאת׃   5:5

Zech. 5:5   Then the angel speaking with me went out and said to me, “Now raise your eyes and see what this going forth is.”

וָאֹמַר מַה־הִיא וַיֹּאמֶר זֹאת הָאֵיפָה הַיּוֹצֵאת וַיֹּאמֶר זֹאת עֵינָם בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ׃   5:6

Zech. 5:6   And I would say, “What is it?”  And he said, “This is the measuring receptacle going forth.”  Then he said, “This is their eye throughout the entire earth,”

וְהִנֵּה כִּכַּר עֹפֶרֶת נִשֵּׂאת וְזֹאת אִשָּׁה אַחַת יוֹשֶׁבֶת בְּתוֹךְ הָאֵיפָה׃   5:7

Zech. 5:7   and behold, a round weight of lead was lifting itself up.  “And this is a certain woman sitting in the midst of the receptacle.”

The Hebrew word I translate as measuring receptacle in the preceding verse and as receptacle here and in subsequent verses normally is translated as the ephah, the measure of grain.  Here it is translated by some as simply measure.  As far as I am concerned, the term receptacle matches the meaning better, because of the next verse.

וַיֹּאמֶר זֹאת הָרִשְׁעָה וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אֹתָהּ אֶל־תּוֹךְ הָאֵיפָה וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת־אֶבֶן הָעֹפֶרֶת אֶל־פִּיהָ׃   5:8

Zech. 5:8   Then he said, “This is wickedness.”  And he cast her to the middle of the receptacle and cast the lead stone against its opening.”

וָאֶשָּׂא עֵינַי וָאֵרֶא וְהִנֵּה שְׁתַּיִם נָשִׁים יוֹצְאוֹת וְרוּחַ בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם וְלָהֵנָּה כְנָפַיִם כְּכַנְפֵי הַחֲסִידָה   5:9           וַתִּשֶּׂאנָה אֶת־הָאֵיפָה בֵּין הָאָרֶץ וּבֵין הַשָּׁמָיִם׃

Zech. 5:9   Then I would lift my eyes and look, and behold, two women were coming out, as a wind was on their wings, and theirs were wings like the wings of a stork. and they lifted up the receptacle between earth and heaven.

וָאֹמַר אֶל־הַמַּלְאָךְ הַדֹּבֵר בִּי אָנָה הֵמָּה מוֹלִכוֹת אֶת־הָאֵיפָה׃   5:10

Zech. 5:10   And I would say to the angel speaking with me, “Where are they carrying the receptacle?”

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי לִבְנוֹת־לָה בַיִת בְּאֶרֶץ שִׁנְעָר וְהוּכַן וְהֻנִּיחָה שָּׁם עַל־מְכֻנָתָהּ׃   5:11

Zech. 5:11   And he said to me, “To build for her a house in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, then she shall be placed there upon her resting place.”

Shinar is the ancient poetic name for Babylon.


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