Zechariah 4


The prophet, overpowered by his last vision, is roused by the

angel to behold another, 1;

intended also to assure the Jews of the success of Joshua and

Zerubbabel in building the temple, and surmounting every

obstacle in the way; till at length, by the good providence of

God, it should be finished, amidst the joyful acclamations of

the spectators, 2-10.

The angel's explanation of the golden candlestick, and of the

two olive trees, 11-14.


Verse 1. The angel-came again, and waked me] Abp. Newcome

considers this vision as represented on the same night, Zec 1:8,

with the preceding ones. See the latter part of Zec 4:10,

compared with Zec 3:9. After some interval the prophet,

overpowered with the vision which had been presented to him, was

awakened from his prophetic trance as from a sleep.

Verse 2. A candlestick all of gold] This candlestick is formed

in some measure after that of the sanctuary, Ex 25:31, 32: but in

that of the sanctuary there was no bowl, nor seven pipes, nor

seven lamps, nor the two olive trees. The two olive trees were

to supply the bowl with oil; the bowl was to communicate the oil

to the seven pipes; and the seven pipes were to supply the seven

lamps. In general, the candlestick, its bowl, pipes, lamps, and

olive trees, are emblems of the pure service of God, and the

grace and salvation to be enjoyed by his true worshippers. The

candlestick may, however, represent the whole Jewish state,

ecclesiastical and civil; the oil, producing the light, the

grace and mercy of God; and the two olive trees, the source of

infinite love, whence that grace proceeds. The pipes may signify

all means of grace; and the seven lamps, the perfection and

abundance of the light and salvation provided. Some may take them

in the following way:-1. The olive trees, the Divine goodness,

yield the oil from the olive berry, which is its fruit. 2. From

each comes a pipe to convey the oil to the bowl. 3. This oil is

collected in the bowl, which is supposed to represent Jesus, the

great Mediator, through whom alone all grace and mercy descend to

man. 4. The seven pipes, the various means of grace-reading,

hearing, prayer, sacraments, &c.-through which Christ dispenses

his grace and blessing to his followers. 5. The seven lamps-the

Spirit of God in its plentitude of graces, gifts, and light,

dispensed to the Christian Church.

Verse 6. This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel] This

prince was in a trying situation, and he needed especial

encouragement from God; and here it is:

Not by might, (of thy own,) nor by power, (authority from

others,) but by my Spirit-the providence, authority, power, and

energy of the Most High. In this way shall my temple be built; in

this way shall my Church be raised and preserved. No secular arm,

no human prudence, no earthly policy, no suits at law, shall ever

be used for the founding, extension, and preservation of my

Church. But the spirit of the world says, "These are all means to

which as we must have recourse; otherwise the cause of God may be

ruined." Satan, thou liest!

Verse 7. O great mountain?] The hinderances which were thrown in

the way; the regal prohibition to discontinue the building of the


Before Zerubbabel-a plain] The sovereign power of God shall

remove them. March on, Zerubbabel; all shall be made plain and

smooth before thee. I have given thee the work to do, and I will

remove all hinderances out of thy way.

He shall bring forth the headstone] As he has laid the

foundation stone, so shall he put on the headstone: as he has

begun the building, so shall he finish it!

With shoutings] The universal acclamation of the people.

Grace, grace unto it.] How beautiful is this structure! May the

favour of God ever rest upon it, and be manifested in it!

Verse 10. Who hath despised the day of small things?] The

poverty, weakness, and unbefriended state of the Jews. It was

said, "What do these feeble Jews?" "Will they build," &c.? No. But

God will build by them, and perfect his building too.

And shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel] He is

master builder under God, the grand architect.

Those seven-are the eyes of the Lord] Either referring to his

particular and especial providence; or to those ministering

spirits, whom he has employed in behalf of the Jews, to dispense

the blessings of that providence. See the reading in the margin.

Verse 11. What are these two olive trees] See on Zec 4:2.

Verse 12. What be these two olive branches] That is, two boughs

laden with branches of olive berries.

Verse 14. These are the two anointed ones] Joshua, the high

priest; and Zerubbabel the governor. These are anointed-appointed

by the Lord; and stand by him, the one to minister in the

ecclesiastical, the other in the civil state.

Probably we may not be able to comprehend the whole of this

hieroglyphical vision; for even the interpreting angel does not

choose to answer the questions relative to this, which were put to

him by the prophet. See Zec 4:4, 11. But though the

particulars are hard to be understood; yet the general meaning

has, I hope, been given.

Copyright information for Clarke