Daily Word

Flying scroll | Zechariah 5:1-4 (NLT)

1 I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air. 2 “What do you see?” the angel asked. “I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”

3 Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4 And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”

Zechariah 5:1-4 (NLT)

Context reminder

Let’s remember the context. The Jews had returned from captivity to Jerusalem by God’s grace, had started rebuilding the temple with excitement and celebration, but then stopped when they faced persecution. They got distracted and focused on their own houses. 

Guilt identified

Added to this sin of losing focus in favor of their own homes, this passage points out their sin in general as commandments broken. Sins of the guilty were written on a giant scroll which flew for everyone to see; none could plead ignorance.

Representative wrongs

The two broken commandments listed represented sins against man in general (the eighth commandment – Exod. 20:15) and sins against God (swear in God’s name, the third commandment – Exod. 20:7). This writing style is called “synecdoche”, a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa.

Punishment pronounced

The punishment will be banishment from the land; purged away (NASB), cleaned out (ESV). Part of the purging would be the destruction of their homes – which they had been focusing on rather than the temple rebuilding. “In spite of the glorious promises of the future just revealed in the previous visions, the Israelites needed to realize that sin would still bring inevitable divine punishment on them. They needed to remain pure so they could avoid the Lord’s curses and enjoy His promised blessings (cf. 2 Cor. 7:1). They were still under the Mosaic Law, including the Decalogue.” (Plano Bible Chapel) We also can benefit from heeding this warning.

Image from Believe Trust.com

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