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The new vision, which now presents itself to the prophet is as follows ; he sees a candlestick of pure gold, and on it an oil vessel, out of which the oil flows down into each of the seven lamps of the candlestick through seven tubes. On both sides of the candlestick, and rising above, stand two olive trees. The angelus interpres gives the meaning of this emblem, after he has reminded the prophet of his human weakness, and called his attention to the deep import of the vision by the inquiry : “Knowest thou not what this imports ?” v. 6, 7, also in the expression, "This vision (so far as it was prophetical) is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel ; not by might and not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Who art thou, thou great mountain before Zerubbabel ? Become a plain ! He brings forth the top stone (so is 70891 1387 to be translated, not, with most interpreters, the foundation stone, as this had already been laid many years before, comp. also v. 9, “his hands have founded this house, and his hands will also complete it,"') * with the shouting (of the angels), 'Grace, grace unto it!" Accordingly this is the import of the vision; the affairs of the Theocracy will not be promoted by human power, but by the Spirit of God alone, who animates, protects, sustains it. The immediate object for the accomplishment of which this general truth, at all times valid for the church of God, was here symbolized, was, to impart consolation to the desponding people and their head, and, thereby, energy for a zealous prosecution of the erection of the temple. For of what consequence was it, if whole mountains of difficulties opposed this work, since it did not depend on human power, which indeed was not at hand, but the Lord had taken it wholly upon himself? In this interpretation what is general and what is special appear in their true relation to each other, which has been misunderstood by most interpreters. Let us now see how the symbol and its signification are related to each other. The candlestick is an image of the Theocracy; the tertium comparationis the light, which both possess and radiate into the surrounding darkness, comp. Apoc. 1:20; “ The seven candlesticks are seven churches ;” Luke 12:5, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, &c. That the candlestick is entirely of the most precious metal, of gold, signifies the excellency of the church of God. The two olive trees symbolize the Spirit of God; the oil, which flows from them into the lamps and illuminates them, and causes them to give light, his influences on the church of God. The abundance of tubes, seven for each of the seven lamps, intimates the manifold ways in which the mercy of God flows to his church, as well as its exuberance.
* Unless one chooses, which appears to the author to be better, “he has brought forth the ground stone.” But if, according to the current interpretation, the præter is taken as the præt. propheticum, the explanation given in the text is indispensable.
It is commonly supposed that the prophet in the representation of the symbol has omitted through negligence, and afterwards introduces, v. 11 sq., one circumstance, viz. that in the two olive trees were two boughs full of olives, which, lying in two presses, (so is nis in v. 12, to be explained, as is evident, among other reasons, from 73, which cannot possibly be explained as it has been by many interpreters, by near by,”) conducted the oil to the candlestick. But this omission was rather from design. The mention of this special circumstance would have weakened the impression of the symbol as a whole, and have prevented the insight into its chief meaning. The prophet, therefore, does not direct the attention to this special circumstance, until he has learned and explained the import of the symbol as a whole. He asks, in the first place, v. 11, “What are these two olive trees ?” This question cannot relate generally to the import of the olive trees, for the prophet has already been informed that they symbolize the Spirit of God. It rather concerns only the duality of the olive trees. But before the prophet receives the answer of the angel, he perceives that the duality of the olive trees is not of itself significant, that it has rather been chosen merely on account of the significancy of the duality of the boughs. He asks, therefore, without waiting for the answer, v. 12, correcting himself,
anew, “What the two ears (Kimchi: Comparat ramos olearum cum spicis, quod sicut he granis, sic illi olivis pleni essent) of the olive trees, which are in the two golden presses, import ?” And that he receives from the angelus interpres an answer only to this question, and not to the former, implies that the duality of the olive trees is not of itself significant. He receives for answer, “They are the two children of oil, which stand before the Lord of the whole earth.” 73 with 58, properly " to stand over any one," here signifies rendering service; near the Lord, who sits, stand the servants, comp. Is. 6:1, 2, “ The Lord sat on a high throne. – Seraphim stood over him," at his side, so that they appeared above him as he sat. The question now arises, who are the two children of oil, the
Gesenius, on Isaiah 14: 10, where it ought to have been observed, that upon the entrance of the king of Babylon into Hades, an address to the shades there assembled was as much implied, as in the silent obeisance, with which any one enters into a company.” * The meaning, "to begin the discourse," is the more unsuitable here, since a silent address and supplication of Joshua is already intimated by the immediately preceding," he stood before the Lord." As often as the high priest appeared before the Lord supplication for the forgiveness of sins was implied. Those, who stand before the Lord, or before his angel, are his higher servants, the angels; comp. Is. chap. 6. These, in like manner, as in the passage referred to, shall adorn his inferior servants with the sign of forgiveness, which he only can grant. The infin. waho does not stand precisely for the verbum finitum ; nor is the latter to be regarded by any means as left out. The infin. designates the pure action, without the person, number, or mode; comp. Ewald,.p. 558. But here every thing depended on the action ; the determination of the actors belonged to the foregoing address to them. This was the more properly omitted in the address to Joshua, since it did not appertain to the substance, but to the drapery; as his attention ought to be directed solely to the author of the forgiveness, not to the instruments which he employed as its symbol.
V. 5. “ And I said ; Let them place on him, moreover, a clean turban; and they placed on him a clean turban, and put on him garments, and the angel of the Lord was still present.” — The prophet, hitherto only a silent spectator and narrator, emboldened by love towards his people, here suddenly comes forward as one of the actors. Calvin ; “ Consilium prophete, sacerdotem ita fuisse. ornatum splendidis vestibus, ut tamen nondum omni ex parte constaret dignitas ; ideo cupit propheta adjungi etiam mundam cidarin, vel tiaram.”,
Several interpreters suppose, that, by the bestowing of clean garments upon the high priest, the forgiveness of his sin, so far as he was a representative of the people, was signified ;; by the putting on of the clean head-dress, on the contrary, the confirmation of his office. But this supposition is clearly erroneous, since the clean turban must symbolize the same as the clean garments. Moreover, it could not then be explained why the putting on of the turban precedes that of the garments, an argument which cannot be set aside by the ungrammatical explanation of Kimchi and others; " they placed on him the head-band after they had put on him his garments,” in which the fut. with vav convers. is changed into precisely its opposite, a pluperfect. The true interpretation is rather as follows. The prophet designs to express the thought, that the Lord imparts to the high priest, and through him to the people, entire purity before him. This thought he thus symbolizes. The Lord gives merely the command to put clean garments upon Joshua. But, before this was accomplished, the prophet prays that the unclean part of the clothing of the high priest, of which nothing had been said in the command, might also be removed. His prayer is heard, and Joshua is now clothed anew from head to foot (hence the putting on of the turban precedes). The expression," and the angel of the Lord stood,” is well explained by Michaelis; “ritum tanquam herus imperans, probans et præsentia sua ornans." That the angel of the Lord remains present during the whole action, and does not, satisfied perhaps with the command, commit the execution solely to his servants, is a proof of his high esteem and his tender concern for his people.
* The true interpretation was seen by Vitringa, on Zechariah 1 : 11; "Ad animum vocari velim, in omni casu, in quo vox ,731 vel &roxgirsolos usurpatur in exordio orationis vel narrationis absque antecedente interrogatione, semper interrogationem tacitam 'supponi, perinde ac in libr. sacr., ubi incipiunt a copula et, licet nihil aliud præcesserit, semper supponitur aliquid antecedens, cum quo historia vel oratio tacita cogitatione connectitur."
V. 7." And the angel of the Lord testified to Joshua and said.
V. 8. “ Thus saith the Lord; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my commandments, thou shalt judge my house and guard my courts, and I will give thee guides among these my servants.” The cleansing of the high priest from sin, and of the people through him, is here followed by his confirmation in his office, including also a promise for the people, since the high priest was the mediator between God and them, and since the people could not be rejected, so long as the high priest in his official character remained acceptable to God. The opposite of what is here promised had taken place in the times of the Babylonish exile; comp. Is. 43: 27, 28: “ Thy first father, (the high priest, as is evident from the parallelism, and from v. 28,) has sinned, and thy mediators have transgressed ; therefore I profane the princes of the sanctuary and give Jacob to the curse.” The judging or ruling of the house of God, signifies supremam curam rerum sacrarum. The guarding of the courts of
42 : 16,
the Lord, implies the obligation resting upon the high priest carefully to keep away every thing idolatrous and ungodly, first from the outward temple, comp. 2 Chron. 19:11, 23:18, Jer. 29: 26, then from the church of God, of which the temple was the central point. Here this appears, not as a duty, but as a reward, inasmuch as activity in promoting the kingdom of God is the highest honor and mercy which God can grant to a sinful mortal. In the words, "I give thee guides among those who stand there,” the Lord promises to his inferior the aid of his higher servants. One can scarcely conceive, how this simple sentence should have been so frequently misunderstood. Diphop is a Chaldee form of a participle in Hiph. instead of the usual d'30519. Hiph. in the sense to guide, e. g. Is.
“I lead the blind by a way which they know not.” The explanation of Michaelis (Suppl. 557, 558,) “ Dabo tibi ministerium inter eos, qui hic stant, angelos mihi ministrantes,” in which pushop is taken as plural of the noun bon, is liable to the objection, that the noun never occurs in the sense munus here attributed to it; and, besides, the reception of an earthly servant of God into the heavenly choir is an idea foreign to the whole Old Testament. We may be permitted to pass over other interpretations still more untenable.
V. 8. “ Yet hear, O Joshua, high priest, thou and thy companions, who sit before thee ; for ye are types; for behold! I bring my servant Branch.” The connexion with the foregoing is thus aptly given by Kimchi; “Dicit, quamvis adducam nunc vobis hanc salutem, adhuc adducam vobis salutem majorem, quam hanc, tempore, quo adducam servum meum Zemach.” We here, in the first place, institute an inquiry respecting the word naiz. It is commonly supposed, that the original meaning of this word is demonstratio, ostensio; we, on the contrary, affirm it to be that of astonishment and wonder, and, indeed, for the following reasons. 1. It is favored by the Arabic öjl, nox, first, every thing that excites wonder, JSC, then specially a calamity, which by its greatness awakens wonder and astonishment, (comp. Is. 52: 14,) är solu (Schultens on Job, p. 423); neither of these senses can be derived, if demonstratio is assumed as the ground meaning. The assertion of Gesenius (Thes. s. v. nox) that in wil is not radical, is erroneous.
2 it on the combination of the