|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 7. - There was lifted up a talent of lead. As the prophet gazed, the leaden cover of the ephah was raised, so that the contents became visible. The word rendered "talent" (kikkar) denotes a circle. It is used in Genesis 13:10, 12, for the tract of country of which the Jordan was the centre, and in 1 Samuel 2:36 for a round loaf. Here it means a disc or circular plate which formed the cover of the round shaped ephah. In the next verse it is called, "the weight of lead." And this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah; and there was a woman sitting, etc. When the leaden lid was raised one woman (mulier una, γυνὴ μία) was seen in the measure. She is called "one," as uniting and concentrating in her person all sinners and all sins.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead,.... By the angel; since he is afterwards said to cast it upon the mouth of the "ephah". A cicar, or talent of silver, with the Jews, was equal to three thousand shekels, as may be gathered from Exodus 38:24 and weighed a hundred and twenty five pounds (a); or, as others, a hundred and twenty (b), and, according to the more exact account of Dr. Arbuthnot, a hundred and thirteen pounds, ten ounces, one pennyweight, and ten and two seventh grains of our Troy weight. A Babylonish talent, according to Aelianus (c), weighed seventy two Attic pounds; and an Attic mina, or pound, weighed a hundred drachmas; so that it was of the weight of seven thousand two hundred such drachmas. An Alexandrian talent was equal to twelve thousand Attic drachmas; and these the same with a hundred and twenty five Roman libras or pounds; which talent is supposed to be the same with that of Moses. The Roman talent contained seventy two Italic minas, which were the same with the Roman libras (d). But since the Hebrew word "cicar" signifies anything plain, and what is extended like a cake, as Arias Montanus observes (e), it may here intend a plate of lead, which was laid over the mouth of the "ephah", as a lid unto it; though indeed it is afterwards called , "a stone of lead", and so seems to design a weight.
And this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah; who, in Zechariah 5:8, is called "wickedness"; and here represented by a "woman", because, say some, the woman was first in the transgression; or rather because sin is flattering and deceitful, and draws into the commission of it, and so to ruin: and this woman, wickedness, intends wicked men; all the wicked among the Jews, and even all the wicked of the world; who sit in the "ephah", very active and busy in filling up the measure of their sins, and where they sit with great pleasure and delight; very openly and visibly declare their sin, as Sodom, and hide it not; in a very proud and haughty manner, with great boldness and impudence, and in great security, without any concern about a future state, promising themselves impunity here and hereafter. This woman is a very lively emblem of the whore of Rome, sitting as a queen upon many waters; ruling over kings and princes; living deliciously, and in great ease and pleasure filling up the measure of her sins. Kimchi interprets this woman of the ten tribes, who wickedly departed from God, and were as one kingdom.
(a) Epiphanius de Mensuris & Ponderibus. (b) Hebraei apud Buxtorf. Lex. Heb. in rad. (c) Var. Hist. l. 1. c. 22. (d) See Prideaux's Preface to Connexion, &c. vol. 1. p. 18, 19, &c. (e) Ephron, sive de Siclo, prope finem.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. lifted up—The cover is lifted off the ephah to let the prophet see the female personification of "wickedness" within, about to be removed from Judea. The cover being "of lead," implies that the "woman" cannot escape from the ponderous load which presses her down.
talent—literally, "a round piece": hence a talent, a weight of one hundred twenty-five pounds troy.
woman—for comparison of "wickedness" to a woman, Pr 2:16; 5:3, 4. In personifying abstract terms, the feminine is used, as the idea of giving birth to life is associated with woman.
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