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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Zechariah 5

 

 

Verse 1

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 5

By the flying roll is showed the curse of thieves and of false swearers, Zechariah 5:1-4. By a woman in an ephah, pressed under a weight, and carried away to Shinar, is denoted wickedness, and the judgment of it, Zechariah 5:5-11.

Then, or And, Heb. i.e. after I had seen those comfortable visions, and been instructed in the true meaning of them.

I turned; changed his posture, though the occasion of it be not mentioned, nor the posture into which he put himself.

Lifted up mine eyes; looked up into the air where the vision appeared.

Looked, very diligently, and discerned clearly.

A flying roll; a volume, or book, which in those days were not written as now our books are printed and bound, but were written, as deeds are now, on large or long parchments, and rolled up upon a neat round stick, or else rolled upon themselves; such the roll here seen: much as our large geographical maps are rolled upon rollers, sad lodged in a convenient cavity, so were their books of old. But probably here now the roll was spread out at large, flying in the air swiftly, perhaps with some noise, that might make the prophet look about him.


Verse 2

And he; the angel, Zechariah 4:1,5.

What seest thou, O Zechariah?

The length thereof is twenty cubits; that is, ten yards long; by this it appears the roll was spread out, for had it been rolled up he could not have seen the length, though he did the breadth, five yards.


Verse 3

Then said he; the angel, which instructed the prophet.

This is the curse; this roll or book containeth the curse, the menaced punishment due to sinners, of which too many were still among the Jews.

That goeth forth; that goeth speedily, for it flieth.

Over the face of the whole earth; either the whole land of Judea, or over all the world; wherever these sins are found, this curse will come upon the sinners, unless they repent.

Every one that stealeth: theft is here first mentioned, a sin that had abounded among them, and front which they were not free then; they robbed one another, and they robbed God, they were sacrilegious.

Shall be cut off; shall be punished with an extermination of his house, as well as with cutting off his life.

According to it; according to the just threats of the law.

Every one that sweareth, profanely, or falsely, the perjured person,

shall be cut off too.


Verse 4

I will bring it forth; so exemplarily will I execute this judgment, that it shall appear I do it, my hand, saith God, shall be seen in it.

It shall enter, none shall be able to keep it out, this curse shall come with commission from me,

into the house of the thief, where he laid up that he got by theft, and thought to rejoice in it; or by house understand all his estate and goods, with his family and posterity. The thief; the robbers of God and of their neighbours, and every other notorious transgressor of the precepts of the second table.

And into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: this doth explain that of the third verse, and it is plain that the perjured person is here threatened, every one that dares call God to witness to a falsehood, and imprecate themselves if they speak not truth.

It shall remain; this curse shall be a long curse, it shall stick close to them and theirs, like Gehazi’s leprosy.

In the midst of his house; as in the heart and centre of their house, like a sword in the midst of the bowels, or like a disease that seizeth the heart.

Shall consume it; though it do not destroy suddenly, it shall destroy surely.

With the timber thereof, and the stones thereof; the strength of it, nothing shall remain, as when both timber and stones of a house are consumed and wasted. Such execution shall be done on those, whose name and place shall be blotted out.


Verse 5

Went forth; or went on, proceeded, or, as we read it, went forth from some more retired place, though he do not tell us what it was, or where he was with the prophet when the last vision appeared.

Lift up now thine eyes: now the prophet was come forth with the angel, he is commanded to took up and observe what he seeth going forth from Jerusalem or the temple.


Verse 6

And I said, What is it? Zechariah knew not what this was tie saw, so far was. he from knowing what it meant.

And he, the angel, said,

This is an ephah; the greatest, say some, of measures with the Hebrews, but their corus was much greater: it was a great measure, and many times taken for any measure; when strictly taken, it held some three bushels.

That goeth forth, out of the temple of Jerusalem.

He said moreover; having told the prophet what the thing was, the angel addeth once and above,

This is their resemblance through all the earth; this, how dark soever it may seem to be, is a clear emblem of this people every where. Thus there is a limited time and measure for them; whilst they sin and are filling up the ephah with their sins, they will find that the ephah of wrath is filled up also to be poured out upon them. Or as the Hebrew, This their eye; as the Gallic version, This the eye I have upon them, &c.: i.e. God’s eye observes how they fill their ephah with sin, that he may suitably punish, that his ephah of wrath may fill also.

And I said, What is it? Zechariah knew not what this was tie saw, so far was. he from knowing what it meant.

And he, the angel, said,

This is an ephah; the greatest, say some, of measures with the Hebrews, but their corus was much greater: it was a great measure, and many times taken for any measure; when strictly taken, it held some three bushels.

That goeth forth, out of the temple of Jerusalem.

He said moreover; having told the prophet what the thing was, the angel addeth once and above,

This is their resemblance through all the earth; this, how dark soever it may seem to be, is a clear emblem of this people every where. Thus there is a limited time and measure for them; whilst they sin and are filling up the ephah with their sins, they will find that the ephah of wrath is filled up also to be poured out upon them. Or as the Hebrew, This their eye; as the Gallic version, This the eye I have upon them, &c.: i.e. God’s eye observes how they fill their ephah with sin, that he may suitably punish, that his ephah of wrath may fill also.


Verse 7

Here is another part of this vision.

There was lifted up, either lifted up from out of the ephah, or brought thither to cover it,

a talent of lead; a large piece of lead of a talent weight, large as the mouth of the ephah.

This is a woman; a woman, the third in the vision or emblem.

That sitteth, secure, shameless, and resolved of her way in increasing in sin.


Verse 8

And he said; the angel unfolds the riddle.

This, this woman that sits in the ephah, represents the sinful nation of the Jews, is emblem of their wickedness.

Is wickedness, in the abstract, to express the greatness of the Jews’ wickedness, they will grow up to be most wicked.

He cast it; the angel cast down this woman, wickedness, from the seat she sat on, Zechariah 5:7.

And he east the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof; and now she is down the weight of lead, which she can never lift up, or remove, is laid upon the mouth of the ephah, she is shut up, as in a prison, to suffer the punishment of all her sins. This is their resemblance.


Verse 9

Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came out, from the same place whence the ephah came,

two women: the sinful nation was resembled to a woman, and now, to keep a decorum in the vision, they who are to be God’s executioners, to punish that wicked woman, are called women: it is like enough to be meant of the Romans, a warlike and stout nation.

The wind was in their wings: they are set forth as having wings like the wings of storks, large and strong, and as flying before the wind with great swiftness; so should Divine vengeance swiftly follow and certainly overtake the Jewish nation, when, after their return out of captivity, they shall corrupt themselves, and fill up the measure of their sins.

They lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven; the judgments came thus flying, and so bare away with them those that are to be punished: it is a secret intimation of a future deportation or carrying the Jews into captivity again for sin.


Verse 10

Then, when I saw the ephah, woman imprisoned, and lead too, on the wings of those two women in motion,

said I, Zechariah, Whither, to what place, and how far, do these bear the ephah? not as a nurse carrieth the child, but as criminals are carried to punishment.


Verse 11

The angel gives him an answer fuller than his question, and first tells the prophet what was to be done with it.

To build it a house, not in mercy, but in judgment, as intending the next deportation should not be, as the first, for seventy years, but for ever. they should never return.

In the land of Shinar; of Babylon, whither many of the Jews fled, and so by voluntary exile fulfilled this prophecy; Whither other’s of them were forced by the Romans.

It shall be established, and set there; there they shall be confined without hope of release.

Upon her own base; not on the foundation of God’s promise and covenant, but the base of their sins.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 5:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-5.html. 1685.

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