Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 6

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-8

Vision of Four Chariots (6:1-8)

In the final vision of the series of eight, Zechariah sees four chariots coming from between two mountains; they are sent abroad to patrol the earth, evidently to the four points of the compass, with the exception of the east — the desert region of Arabia from which no threats to the safety and security of Judah were visible in the time of Zechariah. The colors of the horses which drew the chariots are mentioned, but no particular significance can be drawn from these colors, except the observation that Zechariah was one of the relatively rare people whose nocturnal visions include color.

The "mountains of bronze" from between which the chariots issued cannot be identified with any specific spot in or about Jerusalem. Rather they appear to be a part of the prophet’s vision representing barriers between the presence of God and himself.

At the conclusion of the vision, after an interval, the prophet heard the voice of the Lord himself crying, "Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country." Again (as in 2:6) the north country represents Babylon, from which the Jews have been invited to flee and to which personified Wickedness has been banished from Judah. Only in the heart of the Persian Empire — in and around Babylon — has there been any serious unrest (in connection with the accession of Darius to the throne), and now God’s Spirit has rested in that area. This means that the disturbances which God has caused in Babylon in connection with the accession of Darius are now at an end, and the events of the preparatory period seen in the visions are accomplished: the religious and civil government of Jerusalem is established authoritatively in the persons of Joshua and Zerubbabel; evil has been effectively removed from the land; and the world is at peace. The era of blessedness for Jerusalem is apparently just ahead. Something like the Sabbath rest of the days of creation is announced in the final vision of the prophet.

Though God is not visible in any of the visions, his presence is real, and the accomplishment of his purpose is certain. For the contemporaries of Zechariah the voice of God was heard bringing assurance of security in a troubled political situation. For us the record of the visions brings similar assurance of security in the presence of the invisible God and in the certainty of his purpose.

Verses 9-15

Prophetic Preaching to Meet Particular Needs (6:9-8:23)

Instruction Regarding Crown and Temple (6:9-15)

In somewhat more conventional narrative form the Book of Zechariah continues with a word of the Lord concerning the making of a crown. The prophet is directed to take silver and gold from certain exiles who have arrived from Babylon and to go immediately to the house of Josiah, son of Zephaniah. Although four men are named at two points in the narrative (there are problems connected with the names of two of the men in verse 14), no further references to these men appear in Scripture, and the names appear incidental to the narrative here. The significance of the visit to the house of Josiah is not apparent. He was perhaps a craftsman to whom the actual making of the crown was entrusted, or perhaps he had accumulated funds for the furnishing of the Temple and the establishment of the proper worship in Jerusalem.

It is widely held by commentators that in verse 11 , where the prophet was instructed to place the crown on the divinely designated head, the name of Joshua, the high priest, has replaced the name of Zerubbabel, "the Branch." Verse 13 requires a throne for the secular ruler beside which the priest shall stand. Between the two of them "peaceful understanding" shall exist. The whole prophetic utterance seems clearly directed toward "the man whose name is the Branch" (vs. 12), whose work will be the building of the Temple. The over-all picture of the times presented by Haggai and Zechariah indicates that this man, "the Branch," in whom Messianic hopes were then centered, was Zerubbabel. A later scribe, realizing that the expectations were not fulfilled in Zerubbabel, apparently made the change of emphasis which placed the crown on the head of Joshua. .

The Hebrew "crowns" of verses 11 and 14 may be explained either as referring to the multiple linking of circles in the formation of a single crown or as referring to individual crowns for both Zerubbabel and Joshua. The final disposition of the crown (s) directed in verse 14 suggests that no royal prerogatives were actually assumed by Zerubbabel after the ceremony described in the passage — if indeed the ceremony was actually performed by the prophet. The crown was figuratively put upon a shelf, or "tabled," in the language of modem parliamentary procedure.

The final verse of the prophetic word is a promise that far-off Jews (and others?) will come and help build the Temple, if those who hear the prophet’s word are faithful in their obedience to God. The blessings which God promises come to those whose faith manifests itself in obedient service.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Zechariah 6". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/zechariah-6.html.
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