Joshua the high priest before the angel of Jehovah; accused by
Satan, but justified by Jehovah through Messiah the coming
1. Joshua as high priest
or the elect people, put on its trial, and "plucked" narrowly "out of
the fire." His attitude, "standing before the Lord," is that of a high
priest ministering before the altar erected previously to the building
of the temple
(Ezr 3:2, 3, 6;
Yet, in this position, by reason of his own and his people's sins, he
is represented as on his and their trial
he showed me--"He" is the interpreting angel. Jerusalem's
(Joshua's) "filthy garments"
are its sins which had hitherto brought down God's judgments. The
"change of raiment" implies its restoration to God's favor. Satan
suggested to the Jews that so consciously polluted a priesthood and
people could offer no acceptable sacrifice to God, and therefore they
might as well desist from the building of the temple. Zechariah
encourages them by showing that their demerit does not disqualify them
for the work, as they are accepted in the righteousness of another,
their great High Priest, the Branch
a scion of their own royal line of David
The full accomplishment of Israel's justification and of Satan the
accuser's being "rebuked" finally, is yet future
wherein "Jerusalem," as here, is shown to be meant primarily, though
including the whole Church in general (compare
Satan--the Hebrew term meaning "adversary" in a law court: as
devil is the Greek term, meaning accuser. Messiah, on the
other hand, is "advocate" for His people in the court of heaven's
standing at his right hand--the usual position of a
prosecutor or accuser in court, as the left hand was the
position of the defendant
The "angel of the Lord" took the same position just before another high
priest was about to beget the forerunner of Messiah
who supplants Satan from his place as accuser. Some hence explain
as referring to this passage: "the body of Moses" being thus the
Jewish Church, for which Satan contended as his by reason of its
sins; just as the "body of Christ" is the Christian Church.
plainly speaks of the literal body of Moses, the resurrection of which
at the transfiguration Satan seems to have opposed on the ground of
Moses' error at Meribah; the same divine rebuke, "the Lord rebuke
thee," checked Satan in contending for judgment against Moses' body, as
checked him when demanding judgment against the Jewish Church, to which
Moses' body corresponds.
2. the Lord--JEHOVAH, hereby identified
with the "angel of the Lord (Jehovah)"
rebuke thee--twice repeated to express the certainty of Satan's
accusations and machinations against Jerusalem being frustrated. Instead
of lengthened argument, Jehovah silences Satan by the one plea,
namely, God's choice.
(Ro 9:16; 11:5).
The conclusive answer. If the issue rested on Jerusalem's merit or
demerit, condemnation must be the award; but Jehovah's "choice"
rebuts Satan's charge against Jerusalem
(Zec 1:17; 2:12;
Ro 8:33, 34, 37),
represented by Joshua (compare in the great atonement,
&c.), not that she may continue in sin, but be freed from it
brand plucked out of . . . fire--
Herein God implies that His acquittal of Jerusalem is not that He does
not recognize her sin
(Zec 3:3, 4, 9),
but that having punished her people for it with a seventy years'
captivity, He on the ground of His electing love has delivered
her from the fiery ordeal; and when once He has begun a deliverance, as
in this case, He will perfect it
3. filthy garments--symbol of sin
Isa 4:4; 64:6);
proving that it is not on the ground of His people's righteousness that
He accepts them. Here primarily the "filthy garments" represent the
abject state temporally of the priesthood and people at the return from
Babylon. Yet he "stood before the angel." Abject as he was, he was
before Jehovah's eye, who graciously accepts His people's
services, though mixed with sin and infirmity.
4. those that stood before him--the ministering angels (compare the
Take away the filthy garments--In
it is "remove the iniquity of that land"; therefore Joshua
represents the land.
from him--literally, "from upon him"; pressing upon him as an
change of raiment--festal robes of the high priest, most costly and
gorgeous; symbol of Messiah's imputed righteousness
The restoration of the glory of the priesthood is implied: first,
partially, at the completion of the second temple; fully realized in
the great High Priest Jesus, whose name is identical with
the Representative of Israel, the "kingdom of priests"
once clad in the filthy garments of our vileness, but being the chosen
of the Father
(Isa 42:1; 44:1; 49:1-3),
He hath by death ceased from sin, and in garments of glory entered the
heavenly holy place as our High Priest
(Heb 8:1; 9:24).
Then, as the consequence
realized in the Church generally
and in Israel in particular
Isa 3:6; 66:21).
5. And I said--Here the prophet, rejoicing at the change of
raiment so far made, interposes to ask for the crowning assurance that
the priesthood would be fully restored, namely, the putting the
miter or priestly turban on Joshua: its fair color
symbolizing the official purity of the order restored. He does not
command, but prays; not "Set," but "Let them set." Vulgate and
Syriac version read it, "He then said," which is the
easier reading; but the very difficulty of the present Hebrew
reading makes it less likely to come from a modern corrector of the
angel of . . . Lord stood by--the Divine Angel had
been sitting (the posture of a judge,
now He "stands" to see that Zechariah's prayer be executed, and then to
give the charge
(Zec 3:6, 7).
6. protested--proceeded solemnly to declare. A forensic term for
an affirmation on oath
(Heb 6:17, 18).
God thus solemnly states the end for which the priesthood is restored
to the people, His own glory in their obedience and pure worship, and
their consequent promotion to heavenly honor.
7. God's choice of Jerusalem
was unto its sanctification
hence the charge here which connects the promised blessing with
my charge--the ordinances, ritual and moral
(Nu 3:28, 31, 32, 38;
judge my house--Thou shalt long preside over the temple ceremonial
as high priest
Or, rule over My house, that is, My people
We know from
that the priest judged cases. He was not only to obey the Mosaic
institute himself, but to see that it was obeyed by others. God's
people are similarly to exercise judgment hereafter, as the reward of
their present faithfulness
(Da 7:18, 22;
by virtue of their royal priesthood
keep my courts--guard My house from profanation.
places to walk--free ingress and egress
1Ki 3:7; 15:17),
so that thou mayest go through these ministering angels who stand by
(Zec 4:14; 6:5;
into His presence, discharging thy priestly function. In
the same Hebrew word is used of a walk before the
priests' chambers in the future temple. Zechariah probably refers here
to such a walk or way; Thou shalt not merely walk among
priests like thyself, as in the old temple walks, but among the
very angels as thine associates.
translates, "I will give thee guides (from) among these," &c.
But there is no "from" in the Hebrew; English Version is
therefore better. Priests are called angels or "messengers"
they are therefore thought worthy to be associated with heavenly
angels. So these latter are present at the assemblies of true Christian
8. Hear--On account of the magnitude of what He is about to say, He
at once demands solemn attention.
thy fellows that sit before thee--thy subordinate colleagues in the
priesthood; not that they were actually then sitting before him; but
their usual posture in consultations was on chairs or benches before
him, while he sat on an elevated seat as their president.
they are--From speaking to Joshua He passes to speaking
of him and them, in the third person, to the attendant angels
men wondered at--Hebrew, "men of wonder," that is, having a typical
(Isa 8:18; 20:3;
Eze 12:11; 24:24).
Joshua the high priest typifies Messiah, as Joshua's "fellows" typify
believers whom Messiah admits to share His Priesthood
This, its typical character, then, is a pledge to assure the desponding
Jews that the priesthood shall be preserved till the great Antitype
comes. There may be also an indirect reproof of the unbelief of the
multitude who "wonder" at God's servants and even at God's Son
Isa 8:18; 53:1,
behold--marking the greatness of what follows.
my servant--the characteristic title of Messiah
49:3; 50:10; 52:13; 53:11;
Eze 34:23, 24).
the Branch--Messiah, a tender branch from the almost extinct royal
line of David
Isa 4:2; 11:1;
Jer 23:5; 33:15).
where for "day spring," "branch" may be substituted
however, favors English Version). The reference cannot be to
Zerubbabel (as GROTIUS thinks), for he was
then in the full discharge of his office, whereas "the Branch" here is
regarded as future.
9. For--expressing the ground for encouragement to the Jews in building
the temple: I (Jehovah) have laid the (foundation) stone as the chief
architect, before (in the presence of) Joshua, by "the hand of
so that your labor in building shall not be vain. Antitypically, the
(foundation) stone alluded to is Christ, before called "the Branch."
Lest any should think from that term that His kingdom is weak, He now
calls it "the stone," because of its solidity and strength whereby it
is to be the foundation of the Church, and shall crush all the world
1Pe 2:6, 7).
The angel pointing to the chief stone lying before Him, intimates that
a deeper mystery than the material temple is symbolized. MOORE thinks the "stone" is the Jewish Church,
which Jehovah engages watchfully to guard. The temple, rather,
is that symbolically. But the antitype of