Vision Six: The Flying Scroll

1 Then I turned to look, and there was a flying scroll! 2 Someone asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a flying scroll thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.”1 3 The speaker went on to say, “This is a curse2 traveling across the whole earth. For example, according to the curse whoever steals3 will be removed from the community; or on the other hand (according to the curse) whoever swears falsely will suffer the same fate.” 4 I will send it out,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and it will enter the house of the thief and of the person who swears falsely in my name. It will land in the middle of his house and destroy both timber and stones.”

Vision Seven: The Ephah

5 After this the angelic messenger4 who had been speaking to me went out and said, “Look, see what is leaving.” 6 I asked, “What is it?” And he replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain5 that is moving away from here.” Moreover, he said, “This is their ‘eye6 throughout all the earth.” 7 Then a round lead cover was raised up, revealing a woman sitting inside the basket. 8 He then said, “This woman represents wickedness,” and he pushed her down into the basket and placed the lead cover on top. 9 Then I looked again and saw two women7 going forth with the wind in their wings (they had wings like those of a stork) and they lifted up the basket between the earth and the sky. 10 I asked the messenger who was speaking to me, “Where are they taking the basket? 11 He replied, “To build a temple8 for her in the land of Babylonia.9 When it is finished, she will be placed there in her own residence.”

1tn Heb “twenty cubits…ten cubits” (so NAB, NRSV). These dimensions (“thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide”) can hardly be referring to the scroll when unrolled since that would be all out of proportion to the normal ratio, in which the scroll would be 10 to 15 times as long as it was wide. More likely, the scroll is 15 feet thick when rolled, a hyperbole expressing the enormous amount and the profound significance of the information it contains. 2tn The Hebrew word translated “curse” (אָלָה, ’alah) alludes to the covenant sanctions that attend the violation of God’s covenant with Israel (cf. Deut 29:12, 14, 20-21). 3sn Stealing and swearing falsely (mentioned later in this verse) are sins against mankind and God respectively and are thus violations of the two major parts of the Ten Commandments. These two stipulations (commandments 8 and 3) represent the whole law. 4tn See the note on the expression “angelic messenger” in 1:9. 5tn Heb “[This is] the ephah.” An ephah was a liquid or solid measure of about a bushel (five gallons or just under twenty liters). By metonymy it refers here to a measuring container (probably a basket) of that quantity. 6tc The LXX and Syriac read עֲוֹנָם (’avonam, “their iniquity,” so NRSV; NIV similar) for the MT עֵינָם (’enam, “their eye”), a reading that is consistent with the identification of the woman in v. 8 as wickedness, but one that is unnecessary. In 4:10 the “eye” represented divine omniscience and power; here it represents the demonic counterfeit. 7sn Here two women appear as the agents of the Lord because the whole scene is feminine in nature. The Hebrew word for “wickedness” in v. 8 (רִשְׁעָה) is grammatically feminine, so feminine imagery is appropriate throughout. 8tn Heb “house” (so NIV, NRSV, CEV). 9sn The land of Babylonia (Heb “the land of Shinar”) is another name for Sumer and Akkad, where Babylon was located (Gen 10:10). Babylon throughout the Bible symbolizes the focus of anti-God sentiment and activity (Gen 11:4; 14:1; Isa 13–14; 47:1-3; Jer 50–51; Rev 14:8; 17:1, 5, 18; 18:21).