Zechariah – Chapter 3

Say Tin

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d showed Zechariah a vision of Joshua the Kohein Gadol (High Priest) standing before an angel with prosecuting angel nearby to accuse him. G-d reprimanded the prosecuting angel saying that He chose Jerusalem and that Joshua the Kohein Gadol was pulled from the fire (referring to an incident related in Sanhedrin 93a). Joshua the Kohein Gadol was wearing filthy garments, representative of sins. (The Talmud says that his sons married non-Jewish women.) The angel instructed the dirty clothes to be removed from Joshua and be replaced with clean clothes and a pure cap placed on his head, saying to Joshua, “I have removed your sin from you.”

The angel instructed Joshua saying, “Thus says G-d: If you walk My ways and follow My instructions, then you will judge over My Temple and guard My courtyards.” Joshua was told that he and his companions (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the Book of Daniel) are holy men, worthy of having miracles performed for them. G-d will send His servant, the “sprout” or “shoot” of David (Moshiach, the Messiah). G-d has placed before Joshua the cornerstone of the second Temple, whose foundation had already begun to be laid. People will look at it and open their eyes seven times as wide when they see it. G-d will thwart the plans of those who are trying to stop the construction of the second Temple and He will remove the sin of the land in one day. (Rashi says he does not know what day that is.) When the Temple is completed, the people will live in peace under their vines and trees.

The accusing angel in this chapter is called the Satan (pronounced sah-tahn, not say-tin). It is the Satan’s first appearance in the Bible, preceding his better known role in Iyov (the Book of Job). The Satan is not a “devil” in Jewish thought, nor does he rule over Hell; he is merely an angel whose job is to serve as a prosecutor.

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