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Sixth Vision: The Flying Scroll


Again I looked up and saw a flying scroll. 2And he said to me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.” 3Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land; for everyone who steals shall be cut off according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears falsely shall be cut off according to the writing on the other side. 4I have sent it out, says the L ord of hosts, and it shall enter the house of the thief, and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name; and it shall abide in that house and consume it, both timber and stones.”

Seventh Vision: The Woman in a Basket

5 Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what this is that is coming out.” 6I said, “What is it?” He said, “This is a basket coming out.” And he said, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” 7Then a leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! 8And he said, “This is Wickedness.” So he thrust her back into the basket, and pressed the leaden weight down on its mouth. 9Then I looked up and saw two women coming forward. The wind was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and sky. 10Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?” 11He said to me, “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.”

The Prophet says here that such would be the change of things, that God would in turn afflict the Chaldeans, who had so cruelly treated the chosen people. And this is the reason why I think that iniquity is to be taken for the violent injustice and plunder which heathen enemies had exercised towards the Jews. For when he says that a house would be for iniquity in the land of Shinar, it is as though he had said, “as Judea has been for a long time plundered by enemies, and has been exposed to their outrages, so the Chaldeans in their turn shall be punished, not once, nor for a short time, but perpetually; for God will fix a habitation for wickedness in their land.” We hence see the design of the vision, that is, that when God had mercy on his Church its enemies would have to render an account, and that they would not escape God’s hand, though he had employed them to chastise his people.

He says then, that wickedness was taken away, that a house might be made for it, that is, that it might have a fixed and permanent dwelling in the land of Shinar, which means among the Chaldeans, who had been inveterate enemies to the Jews; and as Babylon was the metropolis of that empire, he includes under it all the ungodly who opposed or persecuted the children of God. Why God represents the measure as carried away by women rather than by men does not appear to me, except it was that the Jews might know that there was no need of any warlike preparations, but that their strongest enemies could be laid prostrate by weak and feeble instruments; and thus under the form of weakness his own power would be made evident. The Prophet saw women with wings, because sudden would be the change, so that in one day, as we shall presently see, wickedness was taken away. By the wings of a stork either celerity or strength is indicated. This is the sum of the whole. 6060     Henry, Marckius, and Scott, and also Newcome, take a different view of this vision, and consider it as symbolizing the final destruction of the Jews by the Romans. The woman, according to them, represents the apostate people, the two women who carried the measure the Roman armies, the land of Shinar the land of their dispersion, so called on account of their first captivity. Henderson regards the vision as symbolic of the banishment of the sin of idolatry from the land of Israel. “In this striking hieroglyphic,” he says, “we are taught how idolatry, with all its accompanying atrocities, was removed from the land of the Hebrews, which it had desecrated, to a country devoted to it, and where it was to commingle with its native elements, never to be reimported into Canaan. How exactly has the prediction been fulfilled! From the time of the captivity to the present, a period of more than 2000 years, the Hebrewpeople have never once lapsed into idolatry!”
   This seems to be the most satisfactory view; and I would adopt the reading of the Septuagint and the Syriac, taking [עונם] to be [עונם], not “their eye,” or, “their appearance,” but “their iniquity,” and I would render verse 8 somewhat different from others, as having been spoken by the angel while he was casting the woman into the ephah. I give the following version of the sixth, seventh, and eighth verses,—


   6. And I said, “What is it?” And he said, “This is an ephah that is going forth:” he said also, “That (pointing to a woman)

   7. is their iniquity through the whole land. And, behold, a talent of lead was lifted up, and a woman was sitting in the midst of the ephah: and he said, “This is the wicked one,” when he cast her into the midst of the ephah, and cast the leaden weight on its mouth.

   “What is it?” signifies here, What does it mean? for the Prophet of course knew it to be an ephah. [זאת] repeated is to be rendered “this” and “that.” See 1 Kings 3:23. The “two women” who carried away the ephah were probably, as Newcome observes, “mere agents in the symbolic vision,” not designed to set forth anything in particular; but Grotius and Henderson think that they designated the Assyrian and the Babylonian powers, through whom idolatry had been removed from the land of Canaan.—Ed.

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