Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zechariah 3:1-10

Against a lot of commentators that see this as an affirmation of Joshua's intercessory role as high priest, having been cleansed from sin, I wonder if this isn't an affirmation of his role as king within the community at that time. The "Satan" may be a party of accusers sent from Persia because Zeruabbabel has overstepped his authority and Persia has intervened. But Joshua is assured that if he is in any way implicated in Zerubbabel's guilt, the accusations will not stick. I think this particularly makes sense of Joshua's turban (which many commentators seem to think is a royal turban) and his "men of signs" (v.8) who point to the promised Davidic king—the Branch. I take the stone to be full of eyes and to compare with the "eyes" sent from Persia to watch Jerusalem. But Yahweh has his own "eyes" keeping watch and that ensures that he will ultimately remove their guilt.

(I should clarify. I'm open to the thought that the passage leans heavily on Joshua's role as intercessor and couches a lot in terms of his priestly role. But several times the imagery seems "bent" toward a kingly claim—and the sudden mention of the Branch means some commentators try to move it to the next chapter. Rather, this is carefully presented imagery to affirm Joshua's ability to rule while Zerubbabel is apparently absent, while not suggesting he replaces the promised Davidic king.

Obviously, the presence of a "priest-king" would point us toward Jesus. He is ultimately the promised Branch. But also, the imagery of the accuser is taken further in the NT to assure us that no one can bring an accusation against God's chosen people (Rom 8).

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