Zechariah 3 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 517)

Zechariah 4New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 4

Fourth Vision: The Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees. Then the angel who spoke with me returned and aroused me, like one awakened from sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a lampstand[a] all of gold, with a bowl on top of it. There are seven lamps on it, with seven spouts on each of the lamps that are on top of it. And beside it are two olive trees,[b] one on the right of the bowl and one to its left.” Then I said to the angel who spoke with me, “What are these things, my lord?” And the angel who spoke with me replied, “Do you not know what these things are?” I said, “No, my lord.”

An Oracle. Then he said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, and not by power, but by my spirit,[c] says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain?[d] Before Zerubbabel you become a plain. He will bring forth the first stone amid shouts of ‘Favor, favor be upon it!’”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this house, and his hands will finish it. Thus you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has scorned such a day of small things will rejoice to see the capstone[e] in the hand of Zerubbabel.

Resumption of the Vision: Explanation of Lamps and Trees. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord that range over the whole earth.” 11 I then asked him, “What are these two olive trees, on the right of the lampstand and on its left?” 12 A second time I asked, “What are the two streams from the olive trees that pour out golden oil through two taps of gold?” 13 He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I answered, “No, my lord.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones[f] who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Footnotes:

  1. 4:2 Lampstand: receptacle for lamps and one of the furnishings of the main room of the Temple. This visionary object does not correspond to the biblical descriptions of the menorah in either the tabernacle (Ex 25:31–40) or the Solomonic Temple (1 Kgs 7:49) but rather has properties of both. Seven lamps…seven spouts: seven lamps, each with seven pinched wick holes. Such objects were part of the repertoire of cultic vessels throughout the Old Testament period. Here they symbolize God’s eyes, i.e., divine omniscience; see v. 10.
  2. 4:3 Olive trees: visionary image that picks up the botanical language describing the Israelite cultic lampstands, with the olive trees specifically connoting fertility, permanence, and righteousness.
  3. 4:6 Not by might…my spirit: one of the most quoted verses from the Old Testament, particularly in Jewish tradition, which connects it with the theme of Hanukkah, sometimes called the Festival of Lights.
  4. 4:7 Great mountain: part of symbolic imagery for the Temple on Mount Zion, as embodiment of the cosmic mountain where heaven and earth connect. Plain: leveled ground serving as the foundation area for the construction of the Temple, and symbolizing the foundation of the cosmos. First stone: foundation stone of a major public building. Such stones were laid with great ceremony in foundation rituals when monumental buildings were newly built or rebuilt in the biblical world.
  5. 4:10 Capstone: topmost stone of a structure, which finishes the construction. This translation is based on the context. Other translations read: “stone of distinction,” “plummet,” “tin-stone.”
  6. 4:14 Two anointed ones: two leadership positions in the ideal restored nation. The concept of a state headed by both priestly and political leaders harks back to premonarchic traditions (Aaron and Moses) and finds an echo in the two messianic figures—a Davidic and a levitical messiah—in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in apocryphal literature. See also the two crowns of 6:11–14.
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Zechariah 3 (Taipo Bible Reading Marathon Day 517)

Zechariah 3New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

Prophetic Vision: Joshua the High Priest. Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, while the adversary[a] stood at his right side to accuse him. And the angel of theLord said to the adversary, “May the Lord rebuke you, O adversary; may the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

[b]Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clad in filthy garments.Then the angel said to those standing before him, “Remove his filthy garments.” And to him he said, “Look, I have taken your guilt from you,and I am clothing you in stately robes.” Then he said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” And they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the garments while the angel of the Lord was standing by. Then the angel of the Lord charged Joshua: “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you walk in my ways and carry out my charge, you will administer my house and watch over my courts;[c] and I will give you access to those standing here.”

Supplementary Oracle. “Hear, O Joshua, high priest! You and your associates who sit before you! For they are signs of things to come![d] I will surely bring my servant the Branch. Look at the stone that I have placed before Joshua. On this one stone with seven facets[e] I will engrave its inscription—oracle of the Lord of hosts—and I will take away the guilt of that land in one day. 10 On that day—oracle of the Lord of hosts—you will invite one another under your vines and fig trees.”

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Adversary: Hebrew satan, here, the prosecuting attorney, a figure in the Lord’s heavenly courtroom. Cf. Jb 1:6–2:7. Later tradition understands this figure to be Satan.
  2. 3:3–4 The filthy garments of Joshua symbolized the guilt of the Israelite people who have become unclean by going into exile. The angel of the Lord purifies the high priest by the removal of his garments.
  3. 3:7 If you walk…watch over my courts: four components of priestly activity: (1) following God’s commandments and teaching them to the people, (2) carrying out cultic functions, (3) participating in the judicial system in certain difficult cases, and (4) administering the laborers and lands in the Temple’s domain.
  4. 3:8 Signs of things to come: the restoration of the priesthood is a sign of the expected restoration of the Davidic line. The Branch: a tree metaphor for the expected future ruler as a descendant of the Davidic dynasty. This imagery also appears in Is 11:1, 10; Jer 23:5; 33:15; and Zec 6:12.
  5. 3:9 Stone with seven facets: represents both the precious stones that were part of the high priest’s apparel and the building stone (see 4:7, 10) that initiated a major construction project. The seven facets (or “eyes”) indicate the totality of its role as an instrument of God’s vigilance and action. Inscription: can refer both to words engraved on the high priest’s apparel (Ex 28:9, 11) and to words chiseled on a cornerstone.