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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Zechariah 6

Verses 1-8


Assurance of final victory (5:1-6:8)

Previously God gave a promise that the Messiah will remove sin from the land (see 3:9b). This will come either through forgiveness (in the case of those who repent) or destruction (in the case of those who continue in their sin). This latter judgment is now pictured in the vision of a huge flying scroll that announces God’s judgment on all those who choose to ignore God’s law. No one has any excuse, because the scroll is large enough for all to read and it flies over the whole land so that all can see it (5:1-3). Whether wrong actions are directed against God or against others, the wrongdoers will not escape judgment (4).
In the past Israel often fell into idolatry, with its accompanying sin of sexual immorality. Therefore, idolatry and everything associated with it must be removed from Israel’s land. In Zechariah’s vision, idolatry is symbolized by a large container, inside which is a woman, probably a prostitute (5-8). The container and its contents are then carried away to the distant land of Babylon. There the woman will be at home among the ungodly idol worshippers awaiting final punishment; but the land of Israel will at last be free of her defiling influence (9-11).
Having cleared the land of sin, God establishes the kingdom of the Messiah with its worldwide authority. This seems to be the meaning of the final vision, which begins with the appearance of four chariots coming out from the stronghold where God dwells (6:1-4). The chariots speed to the four corners of the earth to spread God’s rule throughout the world (5-7). God is particularly pleased to see the nations to the north conquered, for that was the direction from which most of the enemy conquests of Israel came (8).
Israel’s captivity and re-establishment in its land was a foreshadowing of the events pictured in these three visions - the punishment of sinners, the removal of idolatry and the setting up of the Messiah’s kingdom. Restored Israel had turned from its sins, put away idolatry, and was now in the process of establishing a God-centred national life once again through the rebuilding of the temple.

Verses 9-15


The crowning of Joshua (6:9-15)

Just as the setting up of the Messiah’s kingdom will be marked by the crowning of the Messiah as universal king, so the re-establishment of the nation Israel was marked by the crowning of Joshua. The crown was made from gold and silver brought from Babylon by some exiles who had recently arrived in Jerusalem (9-11).
A coronation of the high priest was unusual, but because the restored nation of Israel was still under Persian rule, a coronation of the Davidic prince Zerubbabel may have appeared to be an act of rebellion. But the Persians were not likely to object to a religious ceremony marking the restoration of Israel’s national life and the reconstruction of their temple.

Zechariah’s words, spoken on behalf of God, further indicate that the crown rightly belonged to Zerubbabel; for though the words were addressed to Joshua they applied to Zerubbabel. It was Zerubbabel, not Joshua, who was the ‘branch’ in David’s family tree, the royal descendant entitled to the throne of Israel. Joshua’s rightful place was as the high priest who assisted the civil ruler. The two men, because of the peaceful understanding between them, led the nation in the ways of God. Their joint rule fittingly foreshadowed the rule of the true ‘Branch’, the king-priest Messiah (12-13; cf. 3:8; see also notes on Haggai 2:20-23).

The three recently returned exiles who supplied the gold and silver for the crown were apparently witnesses at the ceremony. The crowning took place in the house of their friend Josiah, and the crown was later placed in the completed temple in Jerusalem. There it was displayed as a memorial to those who gave it and as a symbolic guarantee of greater things to come (14-15).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Zechariah 6". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/zechariah-6.html. 2005.