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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 3

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-10

The Fourth Vision

Joshua, better known under the later form Jeshua (Ezra 2:2; Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 12:7-8, Nehemiah 12:10, etc.), was the son of Jehozadak, a member of the priestly order. He returned with the Jews from exile, and was prominently associated with Zerubbabel in the erection of the Second Temple. In 1 Esdras and Ecclus. the name appears simply as ’Jesus.’

1-7. Joshua, the high priest, is seen in a vision standing before the angel of God, accused by the adversary of being unworthy, as the sinful representative of a sinful nation, to stand before God in the holy office of high priest. He is, however, acquitted, purified, and given charge of the Temple.

8-10. The promise of Messiah and of peace.

1. And he] the interpreting angel. Satan] The word in the original Hebrew has the definite article, and is thus correctly rendered by RM ’The Adversary.’ In OT. it is used first of a human adversary: see 1 Samuel 29:4; 1 Kings 11:14. Compare also the angel who appears ’as an adversary’ to Balaam (Numbers 22:32). Then, in Zechariah and Job, it is used presumably of an angel, who is permitted to accuse men in God’s presence. How far this ’adversary’ is sanctioned by God, or works in God’s service as one jealous for the right, it is difficult to say. In this chapter he is reproved by God Himself for showing himself too eager to emphasise the sinful nature of Joshua, the high priest and representative of the nation. In 1 Chronicles 21:1 the word ’Satan’ appears as a proper name, and he is represented as the Tempter, cunning, malicious, and opposed to God.

In this passage of Zechariah the motive we assign to Satan is not of much importance. This is a vision. Its purpose is to encourage the desponding Jews. How could they build and consecrate the Temple of God? So feeble and sinful they seemed to themselves; even their best men were polluted: cp. Ezekiel 22:26. By this vision the prophet assures them that their sin is removed, and that Joshua’s priesthood is recognised.

At his right hand] the position of a plaintiff in Jewish law courts: see Psalms 109:6. To resist him] RV ’to be his adversary,’ or accuser—the same word as in Hebrew expresses the noun ’Satan.’

2. Satan is reproved. He would induce God to cast off His people. A brand plucked out of the fire] i.e. something precious rescued from destruction: cp. Amos 4:11. Joshua is the representative of the people who have just been rescued from exile.

3. Filthy garments] symbolical of sin and unfitness for the pure service of God. Probably the sin here signified was the nation’s past idolatry and neglect of the worship of God.

4. God (and He alone can) changes all this, Israel’s sin is taken away: her negligence changed to glorious service.

5. I said] Here the prophet himself seems to intervene in the vision. But a more probable reading is ’he said.’ A fair mitre] lit. ’a clean turban.’ The root of the word indicates that it was made of a long piece of fine linen wound round and round: see Exodus 28:36.

7. God’s solemn charge to Joshua. Judge my house] i.e. regulate the Temple and its services. Places to walk] RV ’a place of access,’ probably to intercede with God for the people: Joshua is to have the right of entrée at the heavenly court. Among these that stand by] the attendant angels.

8. A great Messianic promise. Joshua and his fellow-priests are a sign of God’s favour, which will culminate in the appearance of the Branch or Sprout, i.e. the Messiah King. So also on the stone (Zechariah 3:9) with its seven eyes or facets—the stone prepared to be the headstone of the Temple—God will engrave the name of His Messiah, as a token of national sin forgiven. Men wondered at] men of omen: or perhaps the meaning is that being priests they could interpret symbols or omens; consequently they would know what the Branch signified. Branch] better, ’Sprout.’ The word has no article in Heb. It was well known as a symbol of the Messiah: cp. Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Jeremiah 33:15. The new sprout was to grow from the nearly dead (extinct) stem of David.

9. Seven eyes] symbolising God’s watchful care over His people (see Zechariah 4:10), guarding them against their enemies.

10. In that day] perhaps the day of dedicating the new Temple. Then shall there be peace and prosperity. Call] invite.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 3". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/zechariah-3.html. 1909.
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