Zechariah 5:1-3 (NKJV)

Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll. And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."

Zechariah saw a flying scroll that was twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.

Then he said to me, "This [is] the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: 'Every thief shall be expelled,' according to this side of the scroll; and, 'Every perjurer shall be expelled,' according to that side of it."

Now he is told that the scroll is the curse that goes over the whole earth and it cuts off thieves and perjurers according to "this side of it" and "that side of it".

Since we are given the measurements of "this and that side" of it,

1) Is there any significance in these measurements?

2) if yes, why are these measurements significant? Is there some numerological message?


Apparently the dimensions are similar to the Holy Place of the Tabernacle (Ex 26:1 ff) and to the porch of Solomon’s temple (1 K. 6:3). Perhaps an allusion to the Torah? Some commentators argue that the numbers are given to suggest the fact that the scroll is large and flying over the whole land so that all can see it and everyone can read it (Smith, J. E., The Minor Prophets (Zec 5:1-2), College Press, Joplin, Mo., 1992; also Fleming, D. C., Concise Bible commentary. Also published under title: The AMG concise Bible commentary, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tenn., 1994, p. 371). So there is not excuse. Interesting enough, the LXX is using here gr. δρέπανον, which is rather "a sickle". Christian commentators from an early age were making allusion to this in their discourse. So for instance Augustine, talking about a Roman consul Regulus. Regulus is given here as an example of someone who, even if pagan and completely ignoring both Jewish and Christian principles, still was able to adopt a wise standing by simply using his common sense. Augustine is saying that: "He [Regulus] had learned nothing about the sickle of Zechariah [lat. Zachariae falx]" (Ep CXXV to Alypius,3). In a like manner,Chrysostom is talking about this "flying sickle" as a sign of a God's judgment (Hom.Matth 3:7.4). Now, scroll or sickle, it seems that the meaning is related to God’s judgment on all those who choose to ignore God’s law.

  • Where you note "Some commentators argue" please add a reference or citation. Thanks. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Dec 18 '17 at 11:56
  • Thanks Constantine. For someone new to this site, this is a very good answer. +1 – user20490 Dec 18 '17 at 13:19
  • The scroll isn't flying over the whole land but the "whole earth". Yet it has the measurements of the holy place. Does it mean that the judgement is meted out against gentiles using the measure (or standard) that applies to those who were under the mosaic covenant. – user20490 Dec 18 '17 at 13:22
  • Yes of course, sorry: for "Some commentators argue" please see for instance Smith, J. E., The Minor Prophets (Zec 5:1-2), College Press, Joplin, Mo., 1992 – Constantin Jinga Dec 18 '17 at 15:57
  • To <user20490>: Yes indeed, difficult to say if heb."כָל־הָאָ֑רֶץ" is for "whole land" or "whole earth", isn't it. In LXX there is gr. "πάσης τῆς γῆς". Same ambiguity. Another ambiguity is in 5:3: should we translate heb. אָלָה, as “curse” or as "oath" - as in Deut 29:12 or various other places? Yet this last ambiguity could be of some help. {to be continued} – Constantin Jinga Dec 18 '17 at 17:47

If you wrote 40 letters per cubit then you would have enough room for a Torah with 5% to spare for margins. If you wrote twice as small (in each direction), you would have enough room for the whole tanakh.

Whatever it is it seems about the write size to write a bible on.

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