Scroll with curses

Scroll with curses April 20, 2010

Zechariah’s flying scroll is written with curses.  Another place where curses are written down is Numbers 5, the jealousy test for a woman suspected of adultery.  The verb “cut off” or “purged” ( naqah ) in Zechariah 5:3 is also used in Numbers 5, to describe the status of the woman who has passed the jealousy test: She is “free” of guilt (Numbers 5:19) and “free” to bear children (5:28).

Zechariah’s flying scroll is a jealousy test.  It flies over the face of the land, enters the houses of thieves and those who swear falsely.  It will expose their unfaithfulness, cause a swelling of the belly and a withering of the thing, and will bring curses to the house.

Recognizing that Numbers 5 is in the background helps to link the two visions of Zechariah 5.  First, the scroll with curses enters houses, exposes infidelity; then the woman Wickedness, exposed by the jealousy test, is sent away.

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