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Zechariah 3:1-7 – Satan

Summary

In the fourth vision, the prophet sees Joshua the high priest facing the angel of the Lord, with Satan at the angel's side accusing Joshua. The Lord rebukes Satan and commands that Joshua's filthy clothes be replaced with clean garments and a clean turban for his head.

Analysis

In Genesis 3:1-5, Eve's tempter is the unnamed "serpent." In Zechariah the word "Satan" appears with a definitive article, ha-satan, and could be translated as "the adversary" or "the accuser." The same term appears in the heavenly scene in Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7, where Satan appears among the heavenly beings. In 1 Samuel 29:4 and 1 Kings 11:14, the word refers to a human adversary. In Numbers 22:32, an angel appears "as an adversary" to Balaam. In 1 Chronicles 21:1 ("Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people"), the word is a proper name and is a tempter against God's will.

Zechariah 3:1-7

Fourth Vision: Joshua and Satan

3Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan* standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the Lord said to Satan,* ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan!* The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?’ 3Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ And to him he said, ‘See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you in festal apparel.’ 5And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him in the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 Then the angel of the Lord assured Joshua, saying 7‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here.

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10 February 2011

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