ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 5.
The Flying Roll and the Woman in the Ephah.
THE VISION OF THE FLYING ROLL. — V. 1. Then I turned, after an interval of some time, and lifted up mine eyes and looked, and behold a flying roll, a book-scroll, or parchment, of great size, or consisting of many large leaves fastened together. V. 2. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll, a parchment loose or unrolled moving through the air; the length thereof is twenty cubits and the breadth thereof ten cubits, the dimensions approximately ten yards by five yards. V. 3. Then said he unto me, without waiting for a question on the part of the prophet, This Is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth, as written on the roll; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it, and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it, that is, the sinners who refuse to repent, who persist in their wickedness, must be cut off and removed; the holiness of God cannot rule in any other way. V. 4. I will bring it forth, namely, the curse and the judgment in agreement with it, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by My name, these two classes of sinners being named as representatives of all unrepentant transgressors; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, lodging there, dwelling there permanently, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof, not leaving a vestige of it. These words are properly expressive of the curse and of the punishment of God upon every form of deliberate transgression. The Lord is like a consuming fire upon everything that is called sin.
The Vision of the Woman in the Ephah.
V. 5. Then the angel that talked with me, who acted as the interpreter of all these visions, went forth, so that there was a pause in the revelations of the Lord, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes and see what is this that goeth forth, appearing before his eyes, something that he should observe very closely. V. 6. And I said, What is it? for Zechariah evidently did not recognize the object at once. And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth, the ephah being a dry measure corresponding roughly to our peck. The object in the vision was evidently a receptacle having the shape of an ephah, and the ephah was chosen because it was often called the measure of unrighteousness and of deceit. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth, literally, ‘This their eye in all the land,” that is, this is the object of their gaze, all eyes are centered upon it. V. 7. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead, a great round piece, weighing about a hundred pounds; and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah, the female personification of wickedness held within the ephah by the great weight. V. 8. And he said, This is wickedness, false doctrine, godlessness personified. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah, thus preventing her escape; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof, this acting as a cover keeping her shut up within the measure. V. 9. Then lifted I up mine eyes and looked, fascinated by a further wonderful thing that happened, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings, aiding them in their movement forward as they carried the ephah; for they had wings like the wings of a stork; and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven, carrying it along very quickly, away from the Holy Land. V. 10. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? V. 11. And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar, typical from olden times as the land of rebellion against the Lord, Gen. 11, 1-9; and it shall be established and set there upon her own base. In the land of Babylon, representative of the ungodly world, wickedness was to have its place, to he forever excluded from the kingdom of the Lord. The congregation of the Lord is the holy Christian Church, and for that reason the Lord will brook no open wickedness in its midst. Willful and unrepentant sinners must be excluded from the communion of saints. Note: There may be a special reason for comparing the essence of all wickedness with a woman; for so also the great harlot of the Book of Revelation is described, the kingdom of Antichrist being the climax and summary of all godless doctrine.