|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 8. - This is wickedness. This woman is the personification of wickedness. It is very common to find backsliding Israel represented as a faithless and adulterous woman (comp. Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Hosea 2:5; and the parable of the two women in Ezekiel 23.). He cast it; her - the woman. As the woman rose, or tried to rise, from the ephah, the angel flung her down into it. It is possible, as some commentators suppose, that the ephah into which wickedness is thrust represents the measure of iniquity which, being reached, constrains God to punish (see Genesis 15:16, where the dispossession of the Amorites is postponed till their iniquity is full). The weight of lead; literally, as the LXX., the stone of lead; Vulgate, massam plumbeam. This is the cover of the ephah, that which is called the "talent of lead" in the preceding verse. This heavy cover the angel cast upon the mouth of the ephah, in order to confine the woman therein (comp. Genesis 29:2, which passage may explain why the cover is called "a stone"). Dr. Wright and some other commentators, referring the passage to theft and perjury alone, consider that the woman held in her hand the leaden weight with which she weighed her gains, and was sitting in the ephah which she used in her traffic; so that she represents dishonesty in the matter of weight and measure. She is punished by the means of the instruments she had used unrighteously; the weight is dashed upon her lying mouth, and the ephah, her throne, is made the vehicle that carries her out of the land. But it seems a mistake to confine the iniquity mentioned to the two special sins of theft and perjury; nor would the talent and the ephah be natural instruments of stealing and false swearing; and the point of the vision is not the punishment of wickedness, but its expulsion from the land. It is true that the pronominal suffix in the mouth thereof is feminine, and that the LXX. makes it refer to the woman, τὸ στόμα αὐτῆς. But it may equally refer to ephah, which is also feminine.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said, This is wickedness,.... A representation of wicked men, who are wickedness itself, as their inward part is, Psalm 5:9 and particularly of the wicked one, the man of sin and son of perdition, the Roman antichrist and apocalyptic beast; who, though he is called by this title, "his Holiness", his true and proper name is "wickedness"; , that wicked lawless one, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 yea, wickedness itself, being extremely wicked, a sink of sin and of all abominations, Revelation 17:5.
And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; that is, wickedness; that it might be kept within bounds, and not exceed its measure to be filled up: this seems to denote some restraint on sinners, that they may not be able to go all the lengths they would; and some rebuke upon them, that they might not lift up their heads with impunity; and some check upon them, and their furious rage towards the people of God; and also the putting of an utter end to sin and sinners, and particularly the followers of antichrist; see Psalm 104:35.
And he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof; either upon the mouth of the woman, or of the ephah; and, be it which it will, it was done to keep the woman within the ephah, and press her down there; and intends the judgments of God upon sinners; and shows that there is no escaping divine vengeance; that it falls heavy where it lights, and sinks to the lowest hell; and that it will continue, being laid on by the firm, unchangeable, and irrevocable decree of God. Cocceius understands this of the Saracens and Turks, and the barbarous nations, being cast into the Roman empire, to restrain the antichristian tyranny; but it seems better to apply it to the utter destruction of antichrist, signified by a millstone cast into the sea and sunk there, never to rise more; see Revelation 18:21 and with it compare Exodus 15:10.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. wickedness—literally, "the wickedness": implying wickedness in its peculiar development. Compare "the man of sin," 2Th 2:3.
cast it—that is, her, Wickedness, who had moved more freely while the heavy lid was partially lifted off.
weight—literally, "stone," that is, round mass.
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