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Vision Three: The Surveyor

(2:5) I looked again, and there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?” He replied, “To measure Jerusalem in order to determine its width and its length.” At this point the angelic messenger[a] who spoke to me went out, and another messenger came to meet him and said to him, “Hurry, speak to this young man[b] as follows: ‘Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls[c] because of the multitude of people and animals there. But I,’ the Lord says, ‘will be a wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem[d] and the source of glory in her midst.’”

“You there![e] Flee from the northland!” says the Lord, “for like the four winds of heaven[f] I have scattered you,” says the Lord. “Escape, Zion, you who live among the Babylonians!”[g] For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “For his own glory[h] he has sent me to the nations that plundered you—for anyone who touches you touches the pupil[i] of his[j] eye. Yes, look here, I am about to punish them[k] so that they will be looted by their own slaves.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.

10 “Sing out and be happy, Zion my daughter![l] For look, I have come; I will settle in your midst,” says the Lord. 11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on the day of salvation,[m] and they will also be my[n] people. Indeed, I will settle in the midst of you all. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will take possession of[o] Judah as his portion in the holy land and he will choose Jerusalem once again. 13 Be silent in the Lord’s presence, all people everywhere,[p] for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place.”[q]

Vision Four: The Priest

Next I saw Joshua the high priest[r] standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan[s] standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord[t] said to Satan, “May the Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Isn’t this man like a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes[u] as he stood there before the angel. The angel[v] spoke up to those standing all around, “Remove his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua,[w] “I have freely forgiven your iniquity and will dress you[x] in fine clothing.” Then I spoke up, “Let a clean turban be put on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood nearby. Then the angel of the Lord exhorted Joshua solemnly: “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, ‘If you follow[y] my ways and keep my requirements, you will be able to preside over my temple[z] and attend to my courtyards, and I will allow you to come and go among these others who are standing by you. Listen now, Joshua the high priest, both you and your colleagues who are sitting before you, all of you[aa] are a symbol that I am about to introduce my servant, the Branch.[ab] As for the stone[ac] I have set before Joshua—on the one stone there are seven eyes.[ad] I am about to engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘to the effect that I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.[ae] 10 In that day,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘everyone will invite his friend to fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree.’”[af]


  1. Zechariah 2:3 tn See the note on the expression “angelic messenger” in 1:9.
  2. Zechariah 2:4 sn That is, to Zechariah.
  3. Zechariah 2:4 tn Heb “Jerusalem will dwell as open regions (פְּרָזוֹת, perazot)”; cf. NAB “in open country”; CEV “won’t have any boundaries.” The population will be so large as to spill beyond the ancient and normal enclosures. The people need not fear, however, for the Lord will be an invisible but strong wall (v. 5).
  4. Zechariah 2:5 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Jerusalem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  5. Zechariah 2:6 sn These are the scattered Jews of eschatological times (as the expression four winds of heaven makes clear) and not those of Zechariah’s time who have, for the most part, already returned by 520 b.c. This theme continues and is reinforced in vv. 10-13.
  6. Zechariah 2:6 tn Or “of the sky.” The same Hebrew term, שָׁמַיִם (shamayim), may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.
  7. Zechariah 2:7 tn Heb “live in [or “with” (cf. NASB), i.e., “among”] the daughter of Babylon” (so NIV; NAB “dwell in daughter Babylon”).
  8. Zechariah 2:8 tn Heb “After glory has he sent me” (similar KJV, NASB). What is clearly in view is the role of Zechariah who, by faithful proclamation of the message, will glorify the Lord.
  9. Zechariah 2:8 tn Heb “gate” (בָּבָה, bavah) of the eye, that is, pupil. The rendering of this term by KJV as “apple” has created a well-known idiom in the English language, “the apple of his eye” (so ASV, NIV). The pupil is one of the most vulnerable and valuable parts of the body, so for Judah to be considered the “pupil” of the Lord’s eye is to raise her value to an incalculable price (cf. NLT “my most precious possession”).
  10. Zechariah 2:8 tc A scribal emendation (tiqqun sopherim) has apparently altered an original “my eye” to “his eye” in order to allow the prophet to be the speaker throughout vv. 8-9. This alleviates the problem of the Lord saying, in effect, that he has sent himself on the mission to the nations.
  11. Zechariah 2:9 tn Heb “I will wave my hand over them” (so NASB); NIV, NRSV “raise my hand against them.”
  12. Zechariah 2:10 sn This individualizing of Zion as a daughter draws attention to the corporate nature of the covenant community and also to the tenderness with which the Lord regards his chosen people.
  13. Zechariah 2:11 tn Heb “on that day.” The descriptive phrase “of salvation” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  14. Zechariah 2:11 tc The LXX and Syriac have the third person masculine singular suffix in both places (“his people” and “he will settle”; cf. NAB, TEV) in order to avoid the Lord’s speaking of himself in the third person. Such resort is unnecessary, however, in light of the common shifting of person in Hebrew narrative (cf. 3:2).
  15. Zechariah 2:12 tn Heb “will inherit” (so NIV, NRSV).
  16. Zechariah 2:13 tn Heb “all flesh”; NAB, NIV “all mankind.”
  17. Zechariah 2:13 sn The sense here is that God in heaven is about to undertake an occupation of his earthly realm (v. 12) by restoring his people to the promised land.
  18. Zechariah 3:1 sn Joshua the high priest mentioned here is the son of the priest Jehozadak, mentioned also in Hag 1:1 (cf. Ezra 2:2; 3:2, 8; 4:3; 5:2; 10:18; Neh 7:7; 12:1, 7, 10, 26). He also appears to have been the grandfather of the high priest contemporary with Nehemiah ca. 445 b.c. (Neh 12:10).
  19. Zechariah 3:1 tn The Hebrew term הַשָּׂטָן (hassatan, “the satan”) suggests not so much a personal name (as in almost all English translations) but an epithet, namely, “the adversary.” This evil being is also described this way in Job 1 and 2 and possibly 1 Chr 21:1.
  20. Zechariah 3:2 sn The juxtaposition of the messenger of the Lord in v. 1 and the Lord in v. 2 shows that here, at least, they are one and the same. See Zech 1:11, 12 where they are distinguished from each other.
  21. Zechariah 3:3 sn The Hebrew word צוֹאִים (tsoʾim) means “excrement.” This disgusting figure of speech suggests Joshua’s absolute disqualification for priestly service in the flesh, but v. 2 speaks of his having been rescued from that deplorable state by God’s grace. He is like a burning stick pulled out of the fire before it is consumed. This is a picture of cleansing, saving grace.
  22. Zechariah 3:4 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (the angel, cf. v. 1) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  23. Zechariah 3:4 tn Heb “to him”; the referent (Joshua) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  24. Zechariah 3:4 tn The occurrence of the infinitive absolute here for an expected imperfect first person common singular (or even imperative second person masculine plural or preterite third person masculine plural) is well-attested elsewhere. Most English translations render this as first person singular (“and I will clothe”), but cf. NAB “Take off…and clothe him.”
  25. Zechariah 3:7 tn Heb “walk,” a frequent biblical metaphor for lifestyle or conduct; TEV “If you [+ truly CEV] obey.” To “walk” in the ways of the Lord is to live life as he intends (cf. Deut 8:6; 10:12-22; 28:9).
  26. Zechariah 3:7 sn The statement you will be able to preside over my temple (Heb “house,” a reference to the Jerusalem temple) is a hint of the increasingly important role the high priest played in the postexilic Jewish community, especially in the absence of a monarchy. It also suggests the messianic character of the eschatological priesthood in which the priest would have royal prerogatives.
  27. Zechariah 3:8 tn Heb “these men.” The cleansing of Joshua and his elevation to enhanced leadership as a priest signify the coming of the messianic age.
  28. Zechariah 3:8 sn The collocation of servant and branch gives double significance to the messianic meaning of the passage (cf. Isa 41:8, 9; 42:1, 19; 43:10; 44:1, 2, 21; Ps 132:17; Jer 23:5; 33:15).
  29. Zechariah 3:9 sn The stone is also a metaphor for the Messiah, a foundation stone that, at first rejected (Ps 118:22-23; Isa 8:13-15), will become the chief cornerstone of the church (Eph 2:19-22).
  30. Zechariah 3:9 tn Some understand the Hebrew term עַיִן (ʿayin) here to refer to facets (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT) or “faces” (NCV, CEV “seven sides”) of the stone rather than some representation of organs of The seven eyes are symbolic of divine omniscience and universal dominion (cf. Zech 1:10; 4:10; 2 Chr 16:9).
  31. Zechariah 3:9 sn Inscriptions were common on ancient Near Eastern cornerstones. This inscription speaks of the redemption achieved by the divine resident of the temple, the Messiah, who will in the day of the Lord bring salvation to all Israel (cf. Isa 66:7-9).
  32. Zechariah 3:10 tn Heb “under the vine and under the fig tree,” with the Hebrew article used twice as a possessive pronoun (cf. NASB “his”). Some English translations render this as second person rather than third (NRSV “your vine”; cf. also NAB, NCV, TEV).sn The imagery of fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree describes the peaceful dominion of the Lord in the coming messianic age (Mic 4:4; cf. 1 Kgs 4:25).