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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 4

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-14

The Fifth Vision

The prophet’s thoughts now turn to the civil ruler Zerubbabel. The purpose of the fifth vision is to encourage him in the difficult task of rebuilding the Temple,

1-5, 11-14. The golden candlestick (i.e. the returned exiles) receives its supply of oil (i.e. the divine grace) through two channels (’pipes,’ Zechariah 4:12), viz. the spiritual and the temporal leaders, Joshua and Zerubbabel, through whose united efforts the prosperity of the nation would be accomplished. These are the two olive trees.

6-10 is an encouraging address to Zerubbabel; weak though he is, yet by the help of God’s Holy Spirit he will finish the great work.

1. And waked me] The visions evidently occurred in the night, but so vivid were they that Zechariah seemed to awake.

2. A candlestick all of gold] In the first Temple ten candles gave light (1 Kings 7:49, but see Exodus 25:31).

Bowl] holding the main supply of oil. From it a pipe flowed to each lamp. RV reads, ’seven pipes to each of the lamps,’ but LXX and Vulgate reading, followed in AV, is probably correct.

3. The lamps are supplied from a perennial and inexhaustible source, viz. two olive trees.

6. Zerubbabel] son of Shealtiel, but called in 1 Chronicles 3:19 son of Pedaiah, was governor (’pehah,’ as Haggai calls him) of Judah in the time of Haggai and Zechariah. Shealtiel was a son of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, so that Zerubbabel was of royal blood. He returned from exile, probably in 538 b.c., along with his uncle Sheshbazzar, who was the first governor of Judah after the return. He probably succeeded his uncle as governor some time in 522-520 b.c. He is recognised by Zechariah as the civil head of Jerusalem, and as such is encouraged to proceed with the work of rebuilding the Temple. Of his ultimate fate nothing is known.

6. It is clear that Zechariah 4:6 does not give the answer to the question asked in Zechariah 4:4 consequently most modern scholars place the section 10b-14 after 6a, thus: ’Then he answered and spoke unto me saying, Those seven, they are the eyes,’ etc. This makes a most excellent connexion. The seven lamps are symbols of the eyes of the Lord watching continually. And the question concerning the two olive trees follows naturally.

12. The v. seems to be simply an unnecessary repetition of Zechariah 4:11, and modern scholars omit it.

14. The two anointed ones] lit. ’two sons of oil.’ These are Joshua and Zerubbabel, priest and king, both anointed, both receiving all their grace and power from God.

6b-10a. These vv. come naturally at the end of the completed vision: so scholars place the section after Zechariah 4:14, and read: ’This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts,’ etc. God’s Spirit is sufficient; obstacles apparently insurmountable will disappear. Zerubbabel will bring forth the copestone, and complete the Temple amid joyful acclamations.

7. Grace unto it] i.e. May God bless it.

10. Scornful doubters shall, by this success, be put to shame. They shall see Zerubbabel moving the plumb-line to test the completed walls.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 4". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/zechariah-4.html. 1909.
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