Zechariah – Chapter 5

Flying Scrolls, Weights, Measures and Storks' Wings

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Zechariah looked up and he saw a flying scroll (or perhaps a folded scroll). The angel asked what he saw and Zechariah replied a flying (folded) scroll twenty cubits by ten cubits. (If the word “afah” means folded, then unfolded it would measure twenty cubits by twenty cubits) The angel told him that this represents the curse that would come upon those who steal and those who swear falsely. Those who did so prior to this time have already paid for their sins through the destruction and exile. This curse will be the punishment of thieves and those who swear falsely from this point forward. It will come into their homes and destroy not only them but their very houses.

The angel told Zechariah to look and see what was coming. Zechariah saw an ephah (a type of measure) coming forward. The angel told him that this represents the punishments of those who look over the land to see what they could obtain though robbery and oppression. Next, Zechariah saw a weight of lead being lifted. There was a women sitting in the ephah and the angel told him that this women represents the personification Risha, Evil. The angel put her in the ephah and put the lead weight in her mouth. Next, Zechariah saw two women (angels?) coming forward with wings like those of a stork. (The Radak says these women represent the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in exile.) The women took the ephah and flew with it to the land of Shinar where they were to place it on a base. (Shinar is Babylonia and Rashi says that the base is the population of Jews that were exiled there. After the destruction of the second Temple, it was the scholars of the exile who would write the more authoritative Babylonian Talmud.) In any event, this prophecy is very difficult to decipher.

Download Audio File