The Leaders of the Holy City[a]
Joshua the High Priest. 1 Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right to accuse him. 2 And the angel of the Lord said to Satan, “May God rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel then said to those who were standing before him, “Remove his filthy garments and clothe him in fine vestments.” 5 He also said, “Place a clean miter on his head.” Therefore, they put a clean miter on his head and clothed him in clean garments, while the angel of the Lord stood by and said, “Behold, I have removed your guilt.”
6 The angel of the Lord then declared to Joshua: 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you walk in my ways and observe my ordinances, you will rule over my house and be in charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access to all those who are standing here.
8 “Therefore listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who are seated here in attendance before you. For they are an omen of things to come. I will now bring in my servant, the Branch. 9 Gaze upon the stone that I have set before Joshua, a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10 On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you will invite each other to come under your vines and your fig trees.”
- Zechariah 3:1 Although they have been set free, the Jews do not enjoy political independence. Zerubbabel, a descendant of David, is only the high commissioner of the king of Persia. The Jews still hope to see him invested with the royal dignity and seated on the throne of David; this is a dream that will soon fade. The high priest Joshua, who had been repatriated with the others, occupies a position of the first importance. Since the people have no real political autonomy, they attach themselves to the high priest, the one leader who can do something about their religious destiny. He is the one who will inherit the royal power, and under his influence the religious aspect of Israel’s life will take precedence over the political. The two visions that follow shed light on this situation.
- Zechariah 3:1 The new garments in which Joshua is robed signify that, after the Exile, he has to be reinstated in his office as high priest of the new temple; at the same time, the garments convey the idea that in his person the entire forgiven people will experience prosperity, each individual (according to the traditional image) under his own vine and his own fig tree. The mysterious rock with seven eyes (v. 9) doubtless symbolizes the coming Messiah, whose knowledge will be complete and who is foretold under the name Branch because he must come from the royal line of David.