Seventh Vision: Four Chariots.a 1Again I raised my eyes and saw four chariots* coming out from between two mountains; and the mountains were of bronze. 2The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot black horses, 3the third chariot white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all of them strong horses. 4I asked the angel who spoke with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5The angel answered me, “These are the four winds of the heavens,* which are coming forth after presenting themselves before the LORD of all the earth.b 6The one with the black horses is going toward the land of the north, and the white horses go toward the west, and the dappled ones go toward the land of the south.” 7These strong horses went out, eager to set about patrolling the earth, for he said, “Go, patrol the earth!” So they patrolled the earth. 8Then he cried out to me and said, “See, those who go forth to the land of the north provide rest for my spirit in the land of the north.”*
The Crowning. 9Then the word of the LORD came to me: 10Take from the exiles—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah—and go the same day to the house of Josiah, son of Zephaniah. (These had come from Babylon.) 11You will take silver and gold, and make crowns;* place one on the head of Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12And say to him: Thus says the LORD of hosts: There is a man whose name is Branch* c—and from his place he will branch out and he will build the temple of the LORD. 13He will build the temple of the LORD, and taking up the royal insignia, he will sit as ruler upon his throne. The priest will be at his right hand, and between the two of them there will be peaceful understanding.* d 14The other crown will be in the temple of the LORD as a gracious reminder to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and the son of Zephaniah. 15And they who are from afar will come and build the temple of the LORD, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you truly obey the LORD your God.e
* [6:1] Four chariots: vehicles with horses of four different colors (vv. 2–3) represent God’s presence throughout the world and correspond to the four horses of 1:7–11.
* [6:5] Four winds of the heavens: four compass directions and therefore the whole world.
* [6:8] Land of the north: the enemy (cf. 2:10). This emphasis on the land of the north refers to the fact that God will deal with Israel’s foes and order will be re-established.
* [6:11] Crowns: two crowns made of precious metals and representing two high offices (compare the symbolism of the two olive trees in 4:14). One crown is for the high priest Joshua, who, with the governor Zerubbabel, was one of the recognized rulers of the Persian province of Judah. The other crown would have been for a royal ruler, a Davidic descendant. Zerubbabel was a Davidide but could not be king because the Persians would not allow such autonomy. The second crown was thus put in storage in the Temple (v. 14) for the crowning of a future king, or “branch” (see 3:8), from the house of David.
* [6:12] Branch: future Davidic ruler. See note on 3:8.
* [6:13] Peaceful understanding: harmonious rule of both the high priest and the king.