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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Zechariah 3

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. III.

Under the type of Joshua, the restoration of the church and Christ the Branch are promised.

Before Christ 519.


Verse 1

Zechariah 3:1. And he shewed me Joshua, &c.— We have here the fourth vision. Zechariah relates in this chapter, that he saw the high-priest Joshua or Jesus the son of Josedech, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan accusing him; of which accusation Joshua was acquitted, and was raised to honour; when God tells him that he was going to bring forth the Branch, that is, the Messiah, and that he should be as a stone upon which there were seven eyes or fountains. See the notes on Zechariah 3:9. Joshua the high-priest stands here for the whole Jewish people. The reader is to consider that what is related here passed in vision. Satan is said to stand at the right hand of Joshua, to resist him; that is, to be his accuser, as he is called, Revelation 12:10. So here he is represented as aggravating the faults of Joshua, the representative of the body of the Jews, in order to prevail upon God not to suffer them to proceed in the building of the temple, but to continue them still under the power of their adversaries. It was the custom in the ancient courts of judicature, for the accuser to stand at the right hand of the accused. See Jude 1:9 and Job 1.


Verse 2

Zechariah 3:2. Is not this a brand, &c.— "Is not this small remnant returned from captivity, miraculously rescued from utter destruction, like a brand plucked out of the fire; and can it be thought that the Almighty will not preserve them?" See Amos 4:11. Instead of, Rebuke thee, in the imperative, Houbigant reads in the future, Will rebuke or restrain thee.


Verse 4

Zechariah 3:4. Take away the filthy garments, &c.— These filthy garments denote the sins and pollution of the people, whose representative Joshua was; and the taking them away denotes God's pardoning the public and national sins of the Jews, and his restoring them to his favour and protection. The Jews used to change their garments under any public calamity; which calamity being over, they expressed the change of their condition, and the greatness of their joy, by clothing themselves in garments adapted to their circumstances. See Calmet.


Verse 5

Zechariah 3:5. And I said, &c.— And I command that they set, &c.


Verse 7

Zechariah 3:7. And I will give thee places to walk And thou shalt have by me free access to those that stand by; namely the angels. See chap. Zechariah 4:10. The allusion is to those walks which were in the temple; such as Christ walked in, John 10:23 and the pavement in Ezekiel's temple, Ezekiel 40:17-18. Peters supposes that this is a promise made to Joshua, that if he discharged his office with fidelity God would hereafter give him a place in heaven, among the blessed angels, his attendants. See his Dissertation on Job, p. 292.


Verse 8

Zechariah 3:8. For they are men wondered at Men of wonder, is a Hebraism for signifying, or typical men; men portending future things, or proposed to others for signs and types; [ τερατοσκοποι, LXX.] as men of blood, and men of mercy, are put for bloody and merciful men. Joshua being distinguished as one of these typical persons, when the prophet, directing God's word to him, who was in no sense the branch that they expected, adds, Behold my servant the Branch, it was hardly possible that they should misconstrue his words, or fancy that Joshua was principally intended in the prophesy. It appears that they did not; for their Targum, both here and chap. Zechariah 6:12 reads, Behold the man, whose name is the Messiah; and the Branch is numbered among the several names of the Messiah by the ancient Jews. See Isaiah 4:2 and Jeremiah 23:5. Zerubbabel was probably one of Joshua's assessors, whom Zechariah calls men of wonder, or typical men: however, in the following chapter he is proposed as a type of the Messiah; as he is also Haggai 2:21.


Verse 9

Zechariah 3:9. That I have laid before Joshua It seems as if the prophet saw in his vision a stone or rock set before Joshua with seven ( עינים ainaiim) fountains springing out of it, which God says were opened by himself.

Seven eyes עין aiin, signifies a fountain, as well as an eye; and there seems to be a plain allusion here to the rock which Moses smote in the wilderness, and brought waters out of it for the refreshment of the people of God; and that rock, says St. Paul, was Christ; 1 Corinthians 10:4.; in speaking of which transaction the Psalmist says, He opened ( פתח patach) the rock, and the waters gushed out; Psalms 105:41. Observe, the same verb in the original is used there as here: Behold, I open the opening, or door thereof, that is, the hole or orifice through which the fountains shall flow. Again it is said, Isaiah 41:18. I will open rivers in high places; where also the same verb is used. And it is said chap. Zechariah 13:1. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. For what purpose? For sin and for uncleanness. This was spoken of the Gospel times; and in like manner it is here said of the same, And I will remove, or take away, the iniquity of the land in one day. There cannot surely remain a doubt of what is intended, nor that עינים ainaiim must signify fountains of living waters issuing from Christ. The living waters are the doctrines of the Gospel, and the fountains the dispensers of them, the apostles and evangelists, who are said to be fellow-workers with Christ, and therefore aptly represented by the companions of Joshua. The number seven is frequently used in Scripture to denote multitudes. 1 Samuel 2:5. Jeremiah 15:9, &c. &c. See Dr. Blaney.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Joshua the high-priest is here in vision shewn to Zechariah as standing before the Lord, the angel of the covenant; and he appears the representative of the priesthood and people to whom he ministered, who were defiled with guilt, and enslaved by corruption; from both of which God here, in the person of Joshua, promises to deliver them, if they would return unto him.

1. He appears as a criminal before his great Judge, and his accuser laying heavy charges against him; but he is pardoned. He stood before the angel of the Lord, and Satan at his right hand to resist him, to oppose him in his work, and raise difficulties to discourage him; and none more effectual than the accusations of guilt that he laid against him: but the Lord Jesus Christ is his advocate, his judge is his friend, and said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. Which may be considered as the Redeemer's prayer to his Father, to confound and silence his malicious adversary; or as his declaration what should be, the Lord shall rebuke thee, and avenge this enmity against his believing people; for he hath chosen Jerusalem, and therefore every tongue that riseth in judgment against her, that is to say, his believing people composing his genuine church, of which Jerusalem was a type, he will condemn. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? as Joshua and the people had been, when taken out of their captivity; and as all the people of God are when called out of a state of sin and guilt, in which they were exposed to the wrath of God, and fit fuel for the flames of hell. Note; (1.) None ever stood up zealously for God, at whose right hand Satan did not place himself as an adversary. (2.) They who confidently put their cause in Christ's hands need not fear the accuser of the brethren; they shall be justified from all things. (3.) The best way of answering the devil's accusations is, by looking up to God in prayer, and saying, the Lord rebuke thee, Satan. (4.) Every child of God is a brand plucked from the fire. How often have we stood on the brink of everlasting burnings, and lo! Jesus rescued us from ruin. (5.) The Lord's past mercies, which we have experienced, are an earnest of his present care, if we now believe on him.

2. He appears in filthy garments, as one polluted; and no doubt, as a fallen and of course sinful creature, he had abundant cause to confess his shame. Some suggest that this was on account of the strange wives that the priests had taken, and some of them his own sons, Ezra 10:18 but he seems rather to represent the state of the people in general; however, the Lord is willing and able to cleanse him. The angel looked on him not with anger but compassion, and commanded his attendant ministers to strip off the filthy garments, the meaning of which he explains to his comfort, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee; the guilt of it is pardoned, the power of it subdued. God sanctifies by his Spirit all those whom Jesus hath washed from their sins by his blood, and thus prepares them as a holy priesthood. And I will clothe thee with change of raiment, that he might appear lovely, as before loathsome. And thus does Jesus adorn all his believing people with those graces of his Spirit which make them all-glorious within: and this is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes. Arrayed in priestly robes, Joshua now looks great; for, at the Lord's command, the sacerdotal mitre is set on his head, and the priestly garments for beauty and glory are put upon him: and though, from his former pollution, he might fear that he should be turned out of his office, he is solemnly confirmed in it. The angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, in all the paths of righteousness and truth, prescribed in God's word; and if thou wilt keep my charge, faithful in his sacerdotal office, vigilant, active, laborious; then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, presiding over the temple and its service, and enjoying all the honours and advantages resulting from that high station; and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by, highly respected by his fellow-ministers in the temple, or made a companion of glorified saints and angels at last, as the reward of his fidelity. Note; (1.) The ministers of God have a solemn trust committed to them, and they must look well how they discharge it. (2.) Those who are faithful to Jesus shall be exalted in his better temple, and made to walk with him in white in glory everlasting, for they are worthy.

2nd, The priesthood of Joshua was typical of Christ, the great high-priest of our profession, and from him derived all its efficacy. To him, therefore, Joshua and his fellows are directed to look. Hear now, O Joshua, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men wondered at for their singularity, or their strange deliverance from captivity; or men of a sign, types of the priesthood of Jesus. Note; Christ's genuine disciples are men wondered at by others for their holy ways, which appear strange to a carnal world; and they are a wonder to themselves, when they reflect on God's astonishing grace, and what he has done for their souls.

The promise given to them is, the sending of the expected Messiah, who is described,

1. As the Branch. Behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch; the Branch from the root of Jesse, who should be born in the fulness of time; weak to outward view as a tender rod, yet filling the world with fruit: God's servant, who should fulfil all his pleasure, and perfect the work of redemption whereunto God had appointed him.

2. As the stone, the precious corner-stone of the spiritual temple, and the rock of offence to all who stumble at the word. It is laid before Joshua, that he may build thereon, as the only sure foundation of the sinner's hope. Upon or in one stone shall be seven eyes,* denoting either the perfection of his wisdom and the fulness of his grace to discover and supply all the wants of his believing people; or this may refer to the eyes of all believers, which are directed to him, that out of his fulness they may receive grace for grace; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of Hosts, alluding probably to the engraving and polishing the corners of the temple, and may signify that Christ should be adorned with all gifts and graces for the discharge of his office as Mediator; or it may refer to the prints of the instruments in his flesh by which he suffered; or perhaps to his exaltation after his resurrection, when he was crowned with glory and honour.

* I have here considered the passage agreeably to our common version: but see the critical notes.

3. He shall face all who perseveringly believe in him by one oblation of himself once offered. I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day, even on that day when Jesus completed the great atonement on the cross for the sins of the world.

4. In consequence of this, his faithful people shall enjoy great peace of conscience, and rejoice together in the salvation of God. In that day of Gospel-grace, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine, and under the fig-tree. For, when iniquity is taken away, the soul sits happy under the shadow of Jesus, and invites all around to come and taste how good the Lord is, to join in his ordinances, and maintain sweet communion with him and with each other; a foretaste of that blessed state, where the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep the hearts and minds of the faithful in perfect happiness for ever.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 3:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/zechariah-3.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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