|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:5-11 In this vision the prophet sees an ephah, something in the shape of a corn measure. This betokened the Jewish nation. They are filling the measure of their iniquity; and when it is full, they shall be delivered into the hands of those to whom God sold them for their sins. The woman sitting in the midst of the ephah represents the sinful church and nation of the Jews, in their latter and corrupt age. Guilt is upon the sinner as a weight of lead, to sink him to the lowest hell. This seems to mean the condemnation of the Jews, after they filled the measure of their iniquities by crucifying Christ and rejecting his gospel. Zechariah sees the ephah, with the woman thus pressed in it, carried away to some far country. This intimates that the Jews should be hurried out of their own land, and forced to dwell in far countries, as they had been in Babylon. There the ephah shall be firmly placed, and their sufferings shall continue far longer than in their late captivity. Blindness is happened unto Israel, and they are settled upon their own unbelief. Let sinners fear to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath; for the more they multiply crimes, the faster the measure fills.
Verse 6. - What is it? The prophet did not clearly discern the object, or his question may mean, "What does it signify?" An ephah; the ephah, as "the curse" (ver. 3). The ephah was the largest of the dry measures in use among the Jews, and was equal to six or seven gallons. It was, of course, too small to contain a woman. The LXX. calls it simply "the measure;" the Vulgate, amphora; and it must be considered as an imaginary vessel of huge size. It may have a tacit reference to dishonest dealings (comp. Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10). This is their resemblance; literally, this is their eye. The Authorized Version explains the meaning accurately. "Eye" is often used for that which is seen, as in Leviticus 13:55, where the Authorized Version has "colour;" and Numbers 11:7, where in reference to the manna we read, "The eve thereof was as the eye of bdellium" (comp. Ezekiel 1:4, 16). So here the meaning is: This ephah and this whole vision represent the wicked in the land. Some take "the eye" to mean the object of sight, that to which they look. But the ephah was not sot forth for all the people to examine. The LXX. and Syriac, from some variation in the reading, have ἀδικία, "iniquity," and some critics have desired to adopt this in the text. But authority and necessity are equally wanting.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I said, What is it?.... After he had lifted up his eyes and seen it, he desires to know both what it was, and what was the meaning of it:
and he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth; which was a measure much in use with the Jews, Exodus 16:36 it is the same with the "bath", and held above seven wine gallons. The Targum interprets this of such who dealt in false measures, whose sin is exposed, and their punishment set forth; but rather it designs the measure of iniquity filling up, either in Judea, particularly in the times of Christ, Matthew 23:32 or in the whole world, and especially in the antichristian states, Revelation 18:5, and
He said moreover, this is their resemblance through all the earth; or "this is their eye" (z); what they are looking at, and intent upon, namely, this ephah; that is, to fill up the measure of their iniquity: or, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it, this ephah, which thou seest, shows that there is an eye upon them which sees their works; and this is the eye of the Lord, which sees and takes notice of all the evil actions of men, not as approving them, but as observing them, and avenging them. Cocceius, by the "ephah", understands an abundance of temporal good things bestowed upon the Christian church in Constantine's time and following, on which the eyes of carnal men were looking.
(z) "haec est oculus eorum", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius, Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. This is their resemblance—literally, "eye" (compare Eze 1:4, 5, 16). Hengstenberg translates, "Their (the people's) eye" was all directed to evil. But English Version is better. "This is the appearance (that is, an image) of the Jews in all the land" (not as English Version, "in all the earth"), that is, of the wicked Jews.
This—Here used of what was within the ephah, not the ephah itself.
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