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ever in common. The word
of itself, no more signifies
calamity, than gin. Ps. 71: 7. If this had been assumed as the
subjective sensation produced by it. This was seen by Cocceius : "Viri portenti sunt illi, in quibus mirum aliquid, vel insolitum fit, quo excitentur homines ad cogitandum de promissionibus meis."
We now proceed to the illustration of particulars. By the companions of Joshua, who, with him, are summoned to attend, are to be understood his colleagues, the priests of an inferior rank. This appears, 1. from the object of the whole prophecy. Joshua is spoken of throughout, not as a private person, but as a high priest. He appears as occupied with the functions of his office; he is addressed even in this verse emphatically as a high priest. When, therefore, his companions are here spoken of, they cannot be such as were connected with him in any other relation, but only his colleagues in the priestly office. 2. The addition, "who sit before thee," leads to the same conclusion. This designates, not, as Michaelis erroneously supposes, the relation of the teacher to his pupils, but rather that of a president in a college to his associates, and, generally, that of a person of higher rank to his inferiors; comp. Ezek. 8:1, Num. 3:4, 1 Sam. 3:1. The verb is the terminus technicus, for designating the sessions of public officers, comp. e. g. Exod. 18: 13. Such sessions of the priests, when the high priest presided, were not unfrequent, comp. Lightfoot, on Mat. 26: 3. Lond. p. 517. The expression taken from these sessions was then in a general way transferred to the relation of the high priest to the priests as his subordinates. As here the priests are designated as companions of the high priest, so are they, Ez. 3:2, as his brethren; "then stood up Joshua and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel and his brethren." 2, which has been variously misunderstood, gives the reason why Joshua and his companions are summoned to attend. They must hear the promise of the Messiah with peculiar attention, because as his types they stand to him in a more intimate relation, because their order will be glorified through him, since he perfectly realizes the idea of it. Much difficulty has been occasioned to the interpreters by p, inasmuch as it appears to refer exclusively to the companions of Joshua, while he himself, as the head, most completely typified the Messiah. This difficulty is removed by the remark, that the prophet makes a sudden transition from the second person to the third, as if he had said, "Joshua and his companions should hear; for they are," &c. This is evident from v. 9, where the discourse is concerning Joshua in the third person. Examples of a similar transition are very frequent, comp.
e. g. Zeph. 2: 12, "also ye Cushites, slain of my sword are they" (D). Ezek. 28: 22, "Behold, I come upon thee, Sidon, and glorify myself in thee, and they shall experience, that I am the Lord, when I in her," &c. Jer. 74. The second shows the reason, wherefore Joshua and his colleagues are in. This lies in the appearing of the antitype. For if this is not real, then the type also ceases. This antitype, the Messiah, is designated by a twofold appellation. First, my servant, as Is. 42: 1, 49: 3, 5, 50: 10, 52: 13, 53:11, Ezek. 34:23, 24. Then П, sprout. This latter name designates the early obscurity of the Messiah; he will not resemble a proud tree, but a sprout, which gradually grows up and becomes a tree. This appears from the comparison of the parallel passages already collected, p. 5, &c. Among these, Zechariah, to judge according to his relation to these prophets elsewhere, in all probability had before his eyes especially those of Jeremiah (23: 5, 33: 15.) and Ezekiel. It is unnecessary to suppose, with several interpreters, that sprout here stands for sprout of David. The expression rather designates, in general, the early obscurity of the Messiah, not as Is. 11: 1, especially his origin from the fallen family of David, which is indeed a necessary consequence of the former. The assertion of Quenstedt is erroneous; 66 germen est nomen originis et filiationis,— semper respectum habet ad id, cujus est germen." In Is. 53: 2, also, without respect to his descent, in order to designate his original obscurity, the Messiah is called a tender shoot, par in opposition to a stately tree. Calvin: "comparat Christum surculo, quia de nihilo, ut ita dicam oriri visus est, propterea quod principium ejus contemptibile fuit. Quid enim obtinuit excellentiæ Christus in mundo, quum natus est, quomodo auspicatus est regnum suum? et quomodo initiatus est suo sacerdotio?" The Seventy render ny by avaτoln, which, however, they have not employed, as several interpreters erroneously suppose, in the sense of "a rising light," but, as Jerome, on chap. 6:12, rightly perceived, in that of a sprout. In this sense they employ avatoλň (Toũ άyçoũ) Ez. 16:7, 17: 10; the verb Пy is alternately rendered by them ἀνατέλλειν; ἐξανατέλλειν, φυεῖν, ἀναφυεῖν, and βλαστάνειν, Jer. 33: 15. They translate nnx by Blaoròs, as does Symm. also, 23: 5, by Blάornua, (comp. Mark exercitt. misc., p. 160 sq.) That by "the servant of the Lord, Branch," the Messiah was intended, was the prevailing opinion of the older Jews. The Chaldee paraphrases
behold I bring my servant the "הא אנא מיתי ית עבדי משיחא דיתגלי
Messiah, who will be revealed." In Echa Rabbati, Branch is cited among the names of the Messiah. In the Christian church also, this view was always predominant. Some of the fathers, nevertheless, (Theodoret on the passage, and probably, so far as can be ascertained from his obscure expressions, Eusebius, demonstr. 1. 4, c. 70,) found here Zerubbabel, led astray by a misapprehension of the words, "he will build my temple," in the parallel passage, chap. 6: 13. For another reason, an earnest desire to set aside, as much as possible, references to the Messiah, this interpretation has found favor with some later Jewish critics, and with Grotius. Its refutation need not detain us long. A still stronger objection than that which is commonly and justly urged against it, that ny is a constant designation of the Messiah, and as such, occurs particularly in Jeremiah, the exemplar of Zechariah; that here a future person is promised, while Zerubbabel had already long been active in the new colony, is, that by it the whole object of the prophecy is defeated. Why does Zerubbabel appear in a prophecy which is occupied throughout with the priesthood? How can his appearing be announced especially to them, as peculiarly honorable and joyful for them, how can it be contrasted as a higher blessing with the inferior one, the divine confirmation of their office granted to them before? In what relation were the priests types of Zerubbabel? In what sense could the removal of the sins of the land in one day, (comp. v. 9,) be attributed to him? It now only remains to answer the question, in what sense the priests are here called types of the Messiah. It is impossible it should be any thing else than what constitutes the characteristic of their office. For that regard was had to the office, but not the person of Joshua, is evident from the circumstance that his colleagues were associated with him. The characteristic of the priestly office consisted, however, in the mediation between God and the people, and this in accordance with the circumstances of the latter, was exercised chiefly in procuring forgiveness of sins by sacrifice and intercession. The Messiah, therefore, can be represented as the antitype of the priesthood only so far as he should perfectly accomplish the mediation and deliverance from sin, which was but imperfectly accomplished by it. This is further confirmed by the following arguments. 1. We have already seen, that the people, troubled concerning the forgiveness of their sins, are consoled in what precedes by the assurance, that, notwithstanding their transgressions, the Lord would not reject the priesthood. When,
therefore, hitherto the priesthood has been solely considered only in reference to the deliverance of the people from sin, and when Joshua has appeared as occupied in procuring it, how can it be thought otherwise, than that the antitypical high priest here promised is contrasted with the typical, only in reference to the perfect deliverance from sin to be effected through him? 2. The Lord promises, v. 9, expressly, that he will remove the sins of the whole land through his servant. 3. Forgiveness of sin is a constant characteristic mark of the Messianic time, (comp. Vol. I. p. 199.) Zechariah, chap. 13: 1, exhibits, as the chief blessing to be imparted to those who should look upon him who was pierced, that a fountain should be opened for them for all impurities and sins. But this passage derives the clearest light from Is. 53, where the Messiah is represented, at the same time, as the true sacrifice, and as the true high priest. As the latter, he sprinkles many nations (52:15); he presents a sin offering (53: 10); he makes intercession for sinners, (v. 12.) The only difference between the two passages is, that here the method is, not as it is there, pointed out, whereby the true high priest shall effect the removal of sin. Finally, the Messiah appears as a high priest also in Ps. 110.
V. 9. "For behold, the stone, which I have laid before Joshua, upon this one stone shall seven eyes be directed; behold, I will hew it out saith the Lord of hosts and remove the sin of the land in one day." shows, that this verse 'must be the reason of the proposition immediately before; "for I bring my servant, Branch," in like manner as the first ', in v. 8, and the second, must be respectively that of "hear," and "they are types." Appearances were altogether against the manifestation of the Messiah; the miserable condition of the new colony seemed to cut off all prospect of the fulfilment of such splendid promises, comp. 4:10. The Lord, therefore, the Almighty (Jehovah of hosts), by pointing to his lively concern for the best good of the Theocracy, as the ground of these blessings, withdraws the attention from the outward appearance. That the seven eyes must not be regarded as belonging to the stone, but as directed to it, scarcely needs a proof, as is generally confessed by modern interpreters. It is sufficient even to refer to chap. 4: 10, where the seven eyes of the Lord are designated as those, which look on the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, and are cited as having been already mentioned in what had preceded. The eye of God is not seldom employed to designate the Divine Providence.