Visions of wickedness being taken away from God’s people
In the first part of this vision, Zechariah sees a scroll flying through the air. The scroll is thirty feet long by ten feet wide. It is noteworthy that this is the same dimensions of the Holy Place in the temple.
Next, the angel explains to Zechariah what he is seeing. This scroll had writing on both sides of it. The first side proclaimed every thief will be banished and on the other side it said everyone who lies will be banished. This was to be a curse over the whole land. This represents the two basic types of sins. First, sins against other humans, and second, the sins that directly dishonor God. Therefore, this would be a representation of all sin.
Next, Zechariah is told to look up, and he sees an ephah (this was a container used for measuring) with a lead disc (a lead disc was used as a form of measurement in commerce during this time period) as a cover. The angel says the ephah was the iniquity of the people throughout the land. Next, the lead disk is raised from the ephah, and a woman sat inside. The angel proclaims the woman is wickedness, and then shoves her back inside the ephah and puts the lead disk back on it. The Hebrew word for wickedness is feminine so many people feel this is why wickedness is personified by a woman in this chapter.
Now what wickedness is being spoken of here? The most likely sins being focused on here are greed and materialism.
– First, there is the imagery of the ephah and the lead disc, both of these are units of measurement and commerce of Zechariah’s day.
– Second, we have already discovered from earlier chapters that the majority of the Jews did not return home from Babylon because they were satisfied with what they had and did not want to risk losing it.
-Third, Haggai already spoke of the returned Jews’ materialism to the point threat they had stopped building the temple to build their homes.
So this vision is pointing to the materialism and greed problem that the Jews were having, and these were the problems that were leading to the two major sins from the first part of the vision.
Now we see how God handles this wickedness. The woman is shoved back down in the basket, and the lead disc is thrown back over the ephah. Then, two women with wings pick up the basket and take it away. Zechariah asks where it was being taken. The angel tells him it is being taken to Babylonia where a house is being built for it, and when it is finished, it will be set in its place. God purges evil from His people. We must make sure we are His people, and not part of the wickedness.