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Zechariah: Chapter 6

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1And again I looked up and saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot black horses, 3the third chariot white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled gray d Cn: Heb I will remove from you; they were horses. 4Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5The angel answered me, “These are the four winds e Gk: Heb since they were of heaven going out, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. 6The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go toward the west country, f Heb and he and the dappled ones go toward the south country.” 7When the steeds came out, they were impatient to get off and patrol the earth. And he said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth. 8Then he cried out to me, “Lo, those who go toward the north country have set my spirit at rest in the north country.”

9The word of the LORD came to me: 10Collect silver and gold a Ch 2.1 in Heb from the exiles—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11Take the silver and gold and make a crown, b Heb it and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak; 12say to him: Thus says the LORD of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Branch: for he shall branch out in his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. 13It is he that shall build the temple of the LORD; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit upon his throne and rule. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. 14And the crown c Ch 2.5 in Heb shall be in the care of Heldai, d Cn: Heb after glory he Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah e Heb his eye son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the LORD.

15Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Notes:

c Cn: Heb I will remove from you; they were

a Gk: Heb since they were

a Heb and he

a Ch 2.1 in Heb

b Heb it

c Ch 2.5 in Heb

d Cn: Heb after glory he

e Heb his eye

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

1.6–6.15 : The eight visions of Zechariah.

Note the pattern: (a) vision, (b) question about its meaning, (c) angelic interpretation.

6.1–8 : The eighth vision: four chariots.

This vision, the last, has much in common with the first ( 1.7–17 ). In ch 1 , the divine emissaries completed their patrol and returned to deliver a report to their lord; here they go out, not to gather information but, apparently, to initiate God's judgment upon the earth.

1–2 :

Cf. Rev 6.2–8 . Two mountains, in ancient Near Eastern thought, the sun rose from between two mountains at the edge of the world.

5 :

Four winds, i.e., from all directions; Ps 104.3–4; Isa 66.15; Jer 4.13 . Presenting themselves, 1.11n.

8 :

The north country, Babylon, receives special attention; see 2.6n. My spirit at rest, note the contrast with 1.11,15 : When the earth “remains at peace,” the LORD is “angry”; when judgment is unleashed against the earth, the LORD's spirit is at rest.

6.9–15 : The coronation.

This section has difficulties, chiefly the absence of Zerubbabel. In 3.8 , the Davidic term Branch seems to refer to Zerubbabel. In 4.1–14 , two anointed ones, presumably Joshua and Zerubbabel, lead the community. In 4.9 , Zerubbabel leads the Temple‐rebuilding efforts. Here, however, Joshua alone is the Branch and Temple‐builder. What happened to Zerubbabel? As textual note b indicates, the Hebrew of v. 11 has the plural crowns. Probably an earlier reference to Zerubbabel has been lost.

15 :

In addition to the contributions of recent arrivals from Babylon (v. 10 ), those who are far off will also join the rebuilding efforts.

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