Zechariah 3:1, 2
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.
1. Et ostendit mihi Iehosuah sacerdotem magnum stantem in conspectu angeli Iehovae, et Satan stantem ad dexteram ejus, ut adversaretur illi.
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?
2. Et dixit Iehova ad Satan, increpet te Iehova, Satan, et increpet (hoc est, iterum increpet) te Iehova, qui elegit Ierusalem: annon hic torris erutus ex igne?
We have said at the beginning that Zechariah was sent for this end -- to encourage weak minds: for it was difficult to entertain hope in the midst of so much confusion. Some, but a small portion of the nation, had returned with the tribe of Judah: and then immediately there arose many enemies by whom the building of the city and of the temple was hindered; and when the faithful viewed all their circumstances, they could hardly entertain any hope of a redemption such as had been promised. Hence Zechariah labored altogether for this end -- to show that the faithful were to look for more than they had reason to expect from the aspect of things at the time, and that they were to direct their eyes and their thoughts to the power of God, which was not as yet manifested, and which indeed God purposely designed not to exercise, in order to try the patience of the people.
This is the subject which he now pursues, when he says, that
He says that Joshua was shown to him. This was done no doubt in a prophetic vision: but yet Zechariah saw nothing by the spirit but what was known even to children. But, as I have already said, we must observe the intentions of the vision, which was, that the faithful might understand that their neighbors were troublesome to them, because Satan turned every stone and tried every experiment to make void the favor of God. And this knowledge was very useful to the Jews, as it is to us at this day. We wonder why so many enemies daily rage against us, and why the whole world burn against us with such implacable hatred; and also why so many intrigues arise, and so many assaults are made, which have not been excited through provocation on our part: but the reason why we wonder is this, -- because we bear not in mind that we are fighting with the devil, the head and prince of the whole world. For were it a fixed principle in our minds, that all the ungodly are influenced by the devil, there would then be nothing new in the fact, that all unitedly rage against us. How so? Because they are moved by the same spirit, and their father is a murderer, even from the beginning. (John 8:44.)
We hence see that the faithful were taught what was extremely necessary, -- that their troubles arose from many nations, because Satan watched for their ruin. And though this vision was given to the Prophet for the sake of his own age, yet it no doubt belongs also to us; for that typical priesthood was a representation of the priesthood of Christ, and Joshua, who was then returned from exile, bore the character of Christ the Son of God. Let us then know that Christ never performs the work of the priesthood, but that Satan stands at his side, that is, devises all means by which he may remove and withdraw Christ from his office. It hence follows, that they are much deceived, who think that they can live idly under the dominion of Christ: for we all have a warfare, for which each is to arm and equip himself. Therefore at this day, which we see the world seized with so much madness, that it assails us, and would wholly consume us, let not our thoughts be fixed on flesh and blood, for Satan is the chief warrior who assails us, and who employs all the rage of the world to destroy us, if possible, on every side. Satan then ever stands at Christ's right hand, so as not to allow him in peace to exercise his priestly office.
Now follows another reason for the prophecy, -- that God interposes and takes the part of his Church against Satan. Hence he says,
"Jehovah rained from God." (Genesis 19:24).
Why did Moses speak thus? Even to show that when God fulminated against Sodom, he did not adopt a common mode of proceeding, but openly showed that it was an unusual and a singular judgment. Thus the expression here is emphatic,
But the rebuke of God is not to be regarded as being only in words, but must be referred to that power by which God subverts and lays prostrate all the attempts of Satan. At the same time he mentions the end for which this rebuke was given; it was, that the Church might continue safe and secure,
But we are at the same time reminded, that we are not to regard what we have deserved in order to gain help from God; for this wholly depends on his gratuitous adoption. Hence, though we are unworthy that God should fight for us, yet his election is sufficient, as he proclaims war against Satan in our behalf. Let us then learn to rely on the gratuitous adoption of God, if we would boldly exult against Satan and all his assaults. It hence follows, that those men who at this day obscure, and seek, as far as they can, to extinguish the doctrine of election, are enemies to the human race; for they strive their utmost to subvert every assurance of salvation.
He at last adds,
1 To retain the alliteration of the Hebrew, the words may be thus rendered -- " and the opponent standing on his right hand to oppose him," or, "the accuser standing on his right hand to accuse him." The word Satan is rendered here and in Job by the Septuagint, "the accuser," or "the devil," oJ diabolov. The station on the right hand was that of the plaintiff, or the accuser, or of the pleader, as Grotius thinks. See Psalm 109:6. The word [
Blayney, as well as Kimchi, thinks that Sanballat is meant by [
2 We may render the words, --
Rebuke thee, Satan, will Jehovah,
Yea, rebuke thee will Jehovah,
Who hath chosen Jerusalem.
Thus Dathius and Blayney render the passage. Adam Clarke and Henderson adopt the notion that Jude 1:9, refers to this vision, taking evidently for just reasons, rejects this opinion. -- Ed.
3 Newcome introduces the word angel at the beginning of the second verse unnecessarily, merely on the authority of the Syriac; for in the preceding visions, "Jehovah" and "the angel of Jehovah" are used indiscriminately. It is impossible not to see that here and in the first chapter a person is mentioned as being Jehovah, and the angel or messenger of Jehovah. See on this subject M'Caul's observations in his translation of Kimchi on Zechariah, from page 9 to 27. -- Ed.
4 "Out of Ur of the Chaldees, out of the Babylonian fiery furnace." -- Ass. Annot.
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