Zechariah 5


The vision of the large flying roll, with the angel's

explanation, 1-4.

The vision of the ephah, and of the woman sitting on it, with

the signification, 5-11.


Verse 1. Behold a flying roll.] This was twenty cubits long, and

ten cubits broad; the prophet saw it expanded, and flying. Itself

was the catalogue of the crimes of the people, and the punishment

threatened by the Lord. Some think the crimes were those of the

Jews; others, those of the Chaldeans. The roll is mentioned in

allusion to those large rolls on which the Jews write the

Pentateuch. One now lying before me is one hundred and

fifty-three feet long, by twenty-one inches wide, written on fine

brown Basle goat-skin; some time since brought from Jerusalem,

supposed to be four hundred years old.

Verse 3. Every one that stealeth-and every one that sweareth] It

seems that the roll was written both on the front and back:

stealing and swearing are supposed to be two general heads of

crimes; the former, comprising sins against men; the latter, sins

against God. It is supposed that the roll contained the sins and

punishments of the Chaldeans.

Verse 4. Into the house of him] Babylon, the house or city of

Nebuchadnezzar, who was a public plunderer, and a most glaring


Verse 6. This is an ephah that goeth forth.] This, among the

Jews, was the ordinary measure of grain. The woman in the ephah is

supposed to represent Judea, which shall be visited for its sins;

the talent of lead on the ephah, within which the woman was

enclosed, the wrath of God, bending down this culprit nation, in

the measure of its sins; for the angel said, "This is wickedness;"

that is, the woman represents the mass of iniquity of this nation.

Verse 9. There came out two women] As the one woman represented

the impiety of the Jewish nation; so these two women who were to

carry the ephah, in which the woman INIQUITY was shut up, under

the weight of a talent of lead, may mean the desperate UNBELIEF of

the Jews in rejecting the Messiah; and that IMPIETY, or universal

corruption of manners, which was the consequence of their

unbelief, and brought down the wrath of God upon them. The

strong wings, like those of a stork, may point out the power and

swiftness with which Judea was carried on to fill up the measure

of her iniquity, and to meet the punishment which she deserved.

Between the earth and the heaven.] Sins against GOD and MAN,

sins which heaven and earth contemplated with horror.

Or the Babylonians and Romans may be intended by the two women

who carried the Jewish ephah to its final punishment. The

Chaldeans ruined Judea before the advent of our Lord; the

Romans, shortly after.

Verse 11. To build it a house in the land of Shinar] The land of

Shinar means Babylon; and Babylon means Rome, in the

Apocalypse. The building the house for the woman imprisoned in the

ephah may signify, that there should be a long captivity under the

Romans, as there was under that of Shinar or Babylon, by which

Rome may here be represented. That house remains to the present

day: the Jewish woman is still in the ephah; it is set on its own

base-continues still as a distinct nation; and the talent of

lead-God's displeasure-is still on the top. O Lord, save thy

people, the remnant of Israel!

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