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David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 5

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Two Visions Regarding the Cleansing of God's People

A. The vision of the flying scroll.

1. (Zec 5:1-2) What Zechariah saw.

Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll. And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."

a. A flying scroll: In this vision Zechariah sees a scroll flying through the air, apparently open to read because Zechariah can see how large the scroll is.

b. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits: The scroll was approximately 15 by 30 feet. These were the dimensions of the holy place in the tabernacle and of the porch of Solomon's temple.

2. (Zec 5:3-4) What the scroll represents.

Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: 'Every thief shall be expelled,' according to this side of the scroll; and, 'Every perjurer shall be expelled,' according to that side of it." I will send out the curse," says the LORD of hosts; "It shall enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones."

a. Every thief shall be expelled … Every perjurer shall be expelled: This indicates that the text on the scroll contains the Ten Commandments. To steal was to injure your neighbor; to perjure was to dishonor God, because you had sworn in his name.

b. I will send out the curse: The two sins, one from each side of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, represent all of Israel's sin. God will curse the people who commit these sins and their house.

B. Vision of the woman and the basket.

1. (Zec 5:5-8) The woman sitting in the basket.

Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, "Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth." So I asked, "What is it?" And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth." He also said, "This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket"; then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.

a. It is a basket that is going forth: The basket was an ephah, it and the lead disc were units of measurement and symbols of commerce.

i. This is their resemblance throughout the earth: The NIV translates this, "This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land."

b. This is Wickedness! The woman, the basket, and the weight are associated with wickedness. They personify greed, materialism, and dishonesty for profit.

i. The Hebrew word for Wickedness is feminine. This is probably why a woman personifies evil in this vision.

ii. Zechariah prophesied to those who returned from the Babylonian exile. God's people came back from Babylon with a materialism problem, and this vision speaks to this problem.

c. He thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth: God first demonstrates his authority over evil then removes the wickedness from Jerusalem.

2. (Zec 5:9-11) The woman and the basket are returned to Babylon.

Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. So I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they carrying the basket?" And he said to me, "To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base."

a. Where are they carrying the basket? God will cause this evil, materialistic spirit to be returned to its starting-place: Babylon. There it will eventually be destroyed.

b. When it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base: The word for base has the thought of a pedestal for an idol. The storks set the idol of materialism where it belongs.

c. Two women … they had wings like the wings of a stork: This means that the women in Zechariah's vision had big wings, strong enough to take this basket back to Babylon. Some regard these women as agents of evil because storks were unclean animals, but here they seem to do the work of God in sending the wicked woman back to Babylon.

© 2001 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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