Zechariah 5:5-8. The angel that talked with me went forth Or rather, went on, as the verb יצא often signifies; (see 2 Chronicles 21:19; Jeremiah 25:32;) and so it may signify at the end of this verse, and in the next, where it occurs again. And I said, What is it? What does this signify, or, what thing is this? And he said, This is an ephah An ephah was a measure containing somewhat less than our bushel, and consequently too small for a woman to sit in; we must therefore understand here a measure, in the form only of an ephah, but of a larger size, which was probably the reason why Zechariah did not know what it was: and being the measure whereby they bought and sold dry things, it seems to have been intended to denote the unjust dealings of the Jews in buying and selling; their fraud, deceit, and extortion in commerce, were sins abounding among them; as they are among that people at this day. He said moreover, This is their resemblance Or, as the LXX. render it, This is their iniquity (reading עונם , instead of עינם ) through all the earth Or, through all the land; that is, by this you may make an estimate of their unjust dealings all over the land. Besides the intimation given by this vision of the ephah, that the dealings of the Jews with each other were unjust, its largeness and its going forth corresponded with the iniquities that prevailed in the land, both as exceeding the ordinary measure, and also as continually increasing, so as already to have arisen to such a pitch as made it necessary to repress them. And behold there was lifted up a talent Or, a huge mass; of lead This seems to have been intended to denote the weight, or severity, of the judgments here threatened. And this is a woman, &c. What thou seest besides, is a woman sitting carelessly upon the ephah, and fearing no evil. So Grotius, “super epha, superba et nihil mali metuens.” That she appeared at first sitting upon the ephah, is evident from what is said in the following words, namely, that the angel cast her into the midst of the ephah; which implies that she was not there before. And he said, This is wickedness This woman denotes wickedness: or, this is iniquity itself, or corruption of heart, the mother or spring of thefts, perjuries, and all kind of crimes. Blayney renders it, This is the wicked one. Public states, or societies, are often represented by women, as the mothers of their people, as we see in the ancient coins. By the same analogy, corrupt societies are expressed by harlots, and women of lewd characters; so here, the corrupt state of the Jews is set forth by a wicked woman. And he cast it Rather, he cast her, into the midst of the ephah So the LXX., ερριψεν αυτην εις μεσον του μετρου . So also the Vulgate. Newcome renders it, He cast her within the ephah, that is, (as he explains it,) “caused her to contract herself within the compass of the vessel, denoting the check given to her further progress.” And he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof That is, of the epah, ne quis esset exitus, says Grotius, that there might be no exit, or way of escape. Or to signify, that when a people have filled up the measure of their iniquities, they sink under the weight of their sins, and cannot escape the judgment of God, and that thus it should fare with the Jewish people.
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