It’s getting near the end of the year and the completion of our walk through the Bible with the M’Cheyne plan. I found yesterday’s reading enhanced with a few of John Gill’s comments.
A Vision of Joshua the High Priest
Zec 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
standing before the Angel of the Lord; not any created angel, but Christ the Angel of God’s presence, who is called Jehovah, Zec 3:2 is the rebuker of Satan, and the advocate of his people; and who takes away their sins, and clothes them with his righteousness: and “standing before” him does not mean barely being in his sight and presence, but as ministering to him; this being the posture both of angels and men, the servants of the Lord, Dan 7:10, either he was offering sacrifice for the people, or asking counsel of God for them; or rather giving thanks for his and their deliverance from captivity, being as brands taken out of the fire; and praying to be stripped of his filthy garments, and to be clothed with others more decent, and becoming his office; and for help and assistance in the building of the temple, and against those that obstructed him: also he was brought and placed here as a guilty person, charged with sin, and to be tried before him,
Satan standing at his right hand to resist him; either to hinder him in his work of building the temple, by stirring up Sanballat, and other enemies; or rather to accuse him of sin, and bring a charge against him, and get sentence passed upon him; so the accuser used to stand at the right hand of the accused. The Targum paraphrases it,
“and sin standing at his right hand to resist him:”
when the people of God fall into sin, Satan the accuser of the brethren, their avowed enemy, observes it, and accuses them before the Lord, and seeks their condemnation. Maimonides (p) understands this of his standing at the right hand of the angel; but it was not usual for the prosecutor, accuser, or pleader, whether for or against a person arraigned, to stand the right hand of the judge: indeed, in the Jewish sanhedrim, or grand court of judicature, there were two scribes stood before the judges; the one on the right hand, the other on the left; who took down in writing the pleadings in court, and the sentences of those that were acquitted, and of those that were condemned; he on the right hand the former, and the other on the left hand the latter (q). The prince or chief judge of the court sat in the middle; and his deputy, called “Ab Beth Din”, or father of the court, sat at his right hand; and a wise man, a principal one, at his left (r); but it was usual for the pleader, who was called בעל ריב, “Baal Rib”, to stand on the right hand of the party cited into the court, whether he pleaded for or against him (s): and to this custom is the allusion here, and in Psa 106:6 where Satan, who is the accuser of men, and pleads against them, is placed at the right hand, as here; and God, who pleads the cause of his poor people, is also represented as standing on their right hand. The business of Satan here was to accuse, to bring charges, to plead for condemnation, and endeavour to get the sentence of it passed against Joshua; for he was at his right hand, to be an “adversary” to him, as his name (Satan) signifies, which he has from
the word here used; being an enemy to mankind in general, and especially to the people of God, and more especially to persons in sacred public offices; to whom he is αντιδικος, “a court adversary”, as the Apostle Peter calls him, 1Pe 5:8 who appears in open court against them, and charges them in a most spiteful and malicious manner; and is a most, implacable, obstinate, and impudent one, as his name signifies, and the word from whence it is derived (t); though Maimonides (u) thinks the name is derived from שטה, which signifies to decline, or go back from anything; since he, without doubt, makes men to decline from the way of truth to the way of falsehood and error. (Gill)
Zec 3:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
Zec 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
Zec 3:4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
Zec 3:5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.
Zec 3:6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,
Zec 3:7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
Zec 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH; not Zerubbabel, as some interpret it; but the Messiah, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it; and which is the sense of some other Jewish writers. Kimchi, though he interprets the Branch of Zerubbabel, yet observes there are some of their interpreters who explain it of the Messiah; and it is as if it was said, though I bring you this salvation, yet I will bring you a greater salvation than this, at the time I shall bring forth my servant the Branch: and again they interpret it of him, because the name of the Messiah is Menachem, i.e. the Comforter; and which is numerically the same with “Tzemach”, the Branch; and Aben Ezra, who first explains it the same way as Kimchi, yet adds, but many interpreters say this Branch is the Messiah: and he is called Zerubbabel, because he is of his seed, even as he is called David; and David my servant shall be their Prince for ever, Eze 37:25 likewise another Jewish writer, R. Abraham Seba (y), understands it of the Messiah. The heathens used to call their heroes the branches of the gods; the branch of Jupiter, and the branch of Mars, &c. are frequently met with in the poets (z), and perhaps taken from this name of the Messiah; who is the servant of God as Mediator, and became so by being made of a woman, and made under the law; and is a servant of God’s choosing, sending, and rewarding; the chief of whose service lay in the redemption of his people; and who was an obedient, diligent, prudent, and faithful servant. The name of “the Branch” is given him elsewhere, Isa 4:2 and designs his descent as man, and the meanness of it; and yet his fruitfulness in himself, and to his people: the “bringing” him “forth” intends his incarnation; and shows that he existed before, and was with God, and is brought forth by him as an instance of his grace and love to men; and because this was a matter of great moment, and very wonderful, and would certainly be done, and deserved attention, the word “behold” is prefixed to it. The Septuagint render this word by ανατολη, “the rising sun”, or that part of the heavens where the sun rises, the east; and the Vulgate Latin version has “orientem”, “the east”: hence another Zechariah calls the Messiah “the Day spring from on high”, Luk 1:78 and one of his titles is “the Sun of righteousness”, Mal 4:2. The eastern part of the heavens was attributed by the heathens to their gods, and reckoned their seat and abode (a); and from hence the Messiah came, that man from heaven; he was born in the eastern part of the world. Some render the words, in Mic 5:2, “his goings forth are out of the east” (b); and it was from the mount of Olives, which was to the east of Jerusalem, that he went up to heaven; and from the same point of the heavens will he come again, since his feet will stand on that mountain, Act 1:11 he is the Angel said to ascend from the east, Rev 7:2 and perhaps it is owing to this version of the word here, and elsewhere, when used of the Messiah, that he came to be known among the Gentiles by this name; to which it is thought Tacitus (c) has respect, when he says,
“many were persuaded that in the ancient books of the priests were contained a “prophecy”, that at that time “Oriens”, or the east, should prevail;”
that is, such an one should exist, or rule in the world, whose name is “Oriens”, or the rising sun.(Gill)
Zec 3:9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Zec 3:10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine, and under the fig tree; which may be expressive of the desire of gracious souls after the conversion of others; they would have them come under the means of grace; and are desirous that the means might be blessed to them; that they might know Christ, and be partakers of the same grace with them; which arises from a sense they have of the blessings they share in; from a love to immortal souls, and a desire to promote the glory of God; also of the fruitfulness and plenty of the Gospel dispensation; Christ is the true vine, laden with precious fruits; from him saints have all their fruitfulness; they sit under his shadow with delight, and his fruit is sweet unto them; the provisions of his house are very excellent and precious, to which others are invited to partake of: likewise of the fellowship and communion which saints have with each other; they converse in private, join in public worship, and feast together at the Lord’s table; and encourage one another so to do; all which is crowned with the presence of God, and fellowship with him: moreover, the words may suggest that peace and tranquillity enjoyed by believers under the Gospel dispensation, and that safety and security which they have in and through Christ; See Gill on Mic 4:4. (Gill)