1 Then I turned, lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a flying scroll. 2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its breadth ten cubits." 3 Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes forth over the face of the whole earth. For everyone who steals shall be cut off as on this side according to it, and everyone who swears shall be cut off as on that side according to it. 4 I will bring it forth," says the LORD of hosts, "and it shall enter into the house of the thief and into the house of him who swears falsely by my name. And it shall remain in the midst of his house and shall consume it with its timber and its stones."
5 Then the angel who talked with me went forth and said to me, "Now lift up your eyes and see what this is that goes forth." 6 And I said, "What is it?" And he said, "This is an ephah that goes forth." He said moreover, "This is their resemblance through all the earth. 7 And behold, there was a talent of lead lifted up. And this is a woman who sits in the midst of the ephah." 8 And he said, "This is wickedness." And he cast it into the midst of the ephah, and he cast the weight of lead upon its mouth. 9 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings, for they had wings like the wings of a stork. And they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. 10 Then I said to the angel who talked with me, "To where do these bear the ephah?" 11 And he said to me, "To build a house in the land of Shinar for it. And it shall be established and set there upon her own base."
John Gill's Chapter Summary
This chapter treats of the judgments of God upon the wicked Jews for their sins and impieties, the measure of which was filled up, and of the execution of them, which are represented in two visions: the first is of a flying scroll, which signifies the curse of God, and is described by its measure, the length being twenty cubits, and the breadth ten; and by the extent of it, it reaching to the whole earth, and particularly to thieves and false swearers, who shall be cut off by it; and by the certainty of its coming into the houses of such, and the utter desolation it should there make (verses 1-4); and the other is the vision of an ephah, and a woman sitting in it, and a talent of lead cast upon the mouth of it, which signified wickedness (verses 5-8); this "ephah" is seen to be lifted up between earth and heaven by two women, who are said to have wings like the wings of storks, and the wind to be in them; and who are said by the angel to carry the "ephah" into the land of Shinar, to build it a house, that it might be established and settled upon its own base (verses 9-11).
[v.6] - "This is their resemblance" - Literally, "This is their eye." From the Pulpit Commentary: "The Authorized Version explains the meaning accurately. 'Eye' is often used for that which is seen, as in Leviticus 13:55, where the Authorized Version has 'color;' and Numbers 11:7, where in reference to the manna we read, 'The eye thereof was as the eye of bdellium' (compare Ezekiel 1:4, 16). So here the meaning is: This ephah and this whole vision represent the wicked in the land. Some take 'the eye' to mean the object of sight, that to which they look. But the ephah was not sent forth for all the people to examine. The LXX. and Syriac, from some variation in the reading, have ἀδικία, 'iniquity,' and some critics have desired to adopt this in the text. But authority and necessity are equally wanting." The Geneva Bible study notes explain this passage like this: "all the wickedness of the ungodly is in God's sight, which he keeps in a measure, and can shut it or open it at his pleasure."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-11:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you threaten us with severe punishment to restrain us from sin, we may regard your judgment, and not abuse your long-suffering in sparing us for a time; and also that, whenever you chastise us, we may seriously consider that we deserve your displeasure, as we have in various ways provoked your wrath: and may we not at the same time despair or be broken down, but learn so to recumb on your mercy as not to doubt but that there will be a seasonable end to our evils, and that you will not only mitigate the rigor of punishment as far as necessary for our comfort, but will also punish our enemies, so that we may know that nothing is better for us, or more desirable, than to be chastised by your hand, not that you may destroy us, but recall us to the way of salvation, until we be at length made capable of receiving that favor which has been laid up for us in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.