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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.”

Then the angel answered, This is the measure that goes forth, and this is their eye in all the earth. By saying that the measure is their eye, he no doubt means that the ungodly could not thus be carried away at their own pleasure, but that God restrained them whenever it seemed good to him; for they could not escape his sight. For by their eyes he understands passively the power of seeing in God, by which he notices all the sins of the ungodly, that he may check them when he pleases, when they hurry on without restraint. 5959     Respecting this “eye” there are various opinions. Newcome and Blayney follow the Septuagint and the Syriac, and render it, “their iniquity,” [עונם]; the difference being only of a vau instead of a iod; and there is one MS. in which it is so found. Then the sentence would be “This is their iniquity in all the land.” But Castalio, Grotius, Dathius, and Henderson follow the received text, only they give to [עיז] a similar meaning to that of our version, — form, appearance, resemblance, or emblem, that is, what is seen, what the eye observes; and this sense it evidently has in Leviticus 13:55; Numbers 11:7; Proverbs 23:31; Ezekiel 1:4,7,16. “The meaning is,” says Grotius, “that which thou seest symbolizes those things which the Jews have done and which they have suffered.”—Ed.

But that the meaning of the Prophet may be made more clear, let us first see what wickedness means, — whether it is to be taken for those sins which provoked God’s wrath against the Jews, — or whether for those wrongs which heathen enemies had done. The last is the view I prefer, though if we take it for the wickedness which had previously reigned in Judea, the meaning would not be unsuitable. For as wickedness is hateful to God, his vengeance against the Jews could not have ceased except by cleansing them from their sins, and by renewing them by his Spirit. For they had carried on war with him in such a way, that there was no means of pacifying him but by departing from their sins. And whenever God reconciles himself to melt, he at the same time renews them by his Spirit; he not only blots out their sins, as to the guilt, but also regenerates those who were before devoted to sin and the devil, so that he may treat them kindly and paternally.

With regard then to the subject in hand, both views may be suitably adopted. We may consider the meaning to be, — that God would take away iniquity from Judea by cleansing his Church from all defilements, since the Jews could not partake of his blessing except iniquity were driven afar off and banished. As God then designed to be propitious to his people, he justly says, that he would cause wickedness to disappear from the midst of them. Yet the other view, as I have said, is more agreeable to the context, — that wickedness would not be allowed freely to prevail as before; for we know that loose reins had been given to the cruelty of their enemies, inasmuch as the Jews had been exposed to the wrongs of all. As then they had been so immoderately oppressed, God promises that all unjust violence should be driven afar off and made to depart into the land of Shinar, that is, that the Lord would in turn chastise the Babylonians and reward them as they had deserved. The import of the whole is, that God, who had chosen the seed of Abraham, would be propitious to the Jews, so as to put an slid at length to their calamities.

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