Zechariah's Visions: The Ephah and the Women

“Then the angel that talked with me…said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.” (Zechariah 5:5-7)

The ephah is a volume measure, similar to a bushel basket (Leviticus 19:36). The woman inside is defined as “wickedness” (Zechariah 5:8). The ephah is lead-sealed (contained) by God Himself and is taken (while contained) to Shinar by two women with wings like a stork (Zechariah 5:9-11).

These two women are difficult to identify. It is possible that they are Aholah and Aholibah described in Ezekiel 23, with Aholah representing Samaria as an adulteress with Assyria and Aholibah substituting for Jerusalem as the adulterous wife of Jehovah. It is also possible that these two women could represent Israel and later the church involvement with the worldly system of Babylon. In either case, these two women enable “wickedness” to be brought to Shinar and allow Babylon to be “established” (Zechariah 5:11). The New Testament counterpart of these events is probably the decadent woman pictured in Revelation 17.

This segment of Zechariah’s visions seems to set the stage for God’s harvest. There is the vision of the scroll of judgment impacting the entire earth; then this basket of “wickedness” that resembles conditions “through all the earth.” And lastly the house in the land of Shinar that is “established” before the four chariots (Zechariah 6) begin their final work. While these prophecies are not pleasant to anticipate, God “hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). HMM III

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