Encouragement to Joshua (3:1-10)
Zechariah then has a vision in which he sees Satan accuse the high priest Joshua (and therefore the people he represents) of being unclean. Because of their long exile in idolatrous Babylon, they are no longer fit to enter God’s presence. In other words, Satan is hinting that the people are wasting their time building the temple. Since they are unclean, no sacrifices that they offer there will be acceptable to God (3:1; see also v. 3).
God replies that he has not cast off his chosen people. Their time of exile in Babylon has been his punishment on them because of their sin, but now he has saved them. He has snatched them from the hand of their enemies, brought them back to their land and cleansed their sin. Now he is going to set up the temple and its priesthood for them once again (2-5).
Joshua and his fellow priests are warned to be faithful to God in carrying out their duties in the new temple that God will put in their care. Joshua will then be able to enter the presence of God without fear of Satan’s accusations (6-7). The reestablishment of the Israelite priesthood is a further sign to assure the people that their Messiah will come (8. For the significance of the messianic title ‘the Branch’ see commentary on 6:12-13). A specially engraved stone is to be set in the temple as a reminder of what the Messiah will do. He will cleanse the land of sin and bring in a new era of contentment and prosperity (9- 10).