And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.…
The visions of Zechariah were intended to encourage the rebuilding of the temple. The resumption and successful prosecution of the work upon the temple devolved not less upon the ecclesiastical than upon the civil power. Zerubbabel and Joshua must cooperate. The former was ready; the latter needed to be extricated from the Slough of Despond.
1. At the opening of the vision the prophet saw Joshua standing to be judged before the Angel of God.
(1) And he was clothed in filthy garments. The best of human kind is not perfect. The contrition of Joshua was, therefore, becoming in him, and all the more because of his official position. Before the all-searching eyes his garments were mere shreds and tatters. And therein he was indeed a just representative of the people.
(2) Satan stood at his right hand to resist (i.e., accuse) him. There is no lack of accusers. God's people are always at the bar of judgment, and alas, they have little enough to say for themselves. Guilty is the plea.
2. Next in the vision the Lord Himself appeared to vindicate Joshua. He stands as the champion of His people; His ear is ever open to their cry. He is the champion of all the weak and humble.
(1) In this instance He rebuked Satan; not because there was no truth in His charge that Joshua was unworthy to minister at God's altar, or have part in the rebuilding of the temple, but because of other considerations, which made his accusations null and void.
(2) The Lord having rebuked Satan, said to His own attendant angels: "Take away from Joshua his filthy garments." Thus does He unclothe His people of their filthy rags, and make them worthy to minister before Him. He is a great forgiver. Thus the Lord encouraged Joshua, and qualified him, despite his personal unworthiness, to offer sacrifices and join with Zerubbabel in the rebuilding of the temple. And thus does He stand at the heavenly tribunal as the vindicator of the least of His little ones.
3. Then, in the vision, the prophet saw Joshua arrayed in garments white and clean. "I will clothe thee with change of raiment." Nor was this enough. "Let them set a fair mitre upon his head." Thus was he encouraged to exercise anew and with increased diligence the functions of his priestly office.
4. The vision closes with the words of a solemn compact or covenant, for the sealing of Joshua's restoration to service. The promise of perpetual blessing is conditioned on patient continuance in well-doing. To him that hath shall be given. A covenant would scarcely be a covenant were there no stone of remembrance. Here the stone had seven eyes in it. "Branch" interprets it. Under this title the Messiah was frequently mentioned. Thus the name of Christ Himself is set as the seal of His covenant with Joshua and his people.
(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.