Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Four Winds of Heaven: Bible Comment on Zechariah 6 with an Arab Proverb

Daily Readings
Sirach 13:1-24, II Kings 6:24-7:20, Zechariah 6, Jeremiah 27

Daily Text: Zechariah 6

Four Winds of Heaven
The final vision in this prophet’s writing is found in Zechariah 6, that of the four horses—the four winds of heaven. Only the Black horses and their chariot go northwards and set God’s spirit at rest. Babylon, Persia the great powers evidently are meant. As a result there is the migration South of the Judahites returning from Exile. In the second part of the chapter some of them and their significance is sketched out.

Three men bring gifts of silver and gold in verse 10. From these Zechariah is instructed to make crowns, presumably, two of them. One of them is for Joshua, the high priest. Immediately, following verse 11 is another oracular envelope in which the prophet declares that a man whose name is Branch (Zerubbabel) is present. The other crown is obviously for him. He shall build the Temple and bear royal honor. There shall be a priest beside him (Joshua) and between the two there will be a peaceful understanding. There are a number of ways to interpret this passage, but none seems to be as consistent with the language and with the previous visions as is the one above.

With this vision Zechariah completes his contribution via visions to the ordering of the rebuilt city of Judah, the holy city and capital, Jerusalem.

Arabian Proverb
Indeterminate Date

The fleetest of horses is the chestnut,
the most enduring the bay,
the most spirited the black,
and the most blessed the white.

[528:142
from Ensminger, Horses and Horsemanship, 1977, 100.]

Collect for the Day
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but he sword of righteousness, and no strength known but the strength of love. We pray thee so mightily to shed and spread abroad thy Spirit, that all peoples and ranks may be gathered under one banner, of the Prince of Peace; as children of one God and Father of all; to whom be dominion and glory now and for ever. Amen.

[286:198 Eric Milner-White, 1884-1964]

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