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Zechariah’s vision of the four horns and four craftsmen, by Christoph Weigel

The Four horns and Four carpenters are a vision found in Book of Zechariah, in Zechariah 1:21 in traditional English texts. In Hebrew texts 1:18-21 is numbered 2:1-4. The vision precedes the vision of A Man With a Measuring Line.


Hebrew Bible textEdit

Zechariah 2: 1 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. 2 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 3 And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. 4 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

— TaNaK[1]

In the TalmudEdit

The four craftsmen are discussed in Babylonian Talmud Suk. 52b. Rav Hana bar Bizna attributed to Rav Simeon Hasida the identification of these four craftsmen as Messiah ben David, Messiah ben Joseph, Elijah, and the Righteous Priest.[2] However David Kimchi interpreted the four craftsmen as four kingdoms.[3]

In later interpretationEdit

The imagery of craftsmen is generally considered as "smiths", able to master the four iron horns, as symbolizing nations used as instruments of divine power for the destruction of Israel's enemies.[4][5]


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  2. ^ Alan Avery-Peck The Review of Rabbinic Judaism: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern 9004144846 2005 "B. Suk. 52b: The Four Craftsmen “And the Lord showed me four craftsmen” (Zech. 2.3). ... Rav Hana bar Bizna said in the name of Rav Simeon Hasida: “Messiah ben David, Messiah ben Joseph, Elijah, and the Righteous Priest.” "
  3. ^ David Baron - Zechariah: A Commentary on His Visions and Prophecies 2001 0825499313 p.53 "The following curious passage about the four carpenters or " smiths " is from Kimchi's Commentary : " And the Lord showed me four workmen, . . . in order to cut off the horns — that is to say, each kingdom shall be a carpenter, ..." "
  4. ^ Joyce G. Baldwin Haggai Zechariah and Malachi - Page 73 1988 - And the m Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What 21 The Second Vision. The four horns and the four workmen, i. 18 — 21. (Heb.,ii.i — 4.) The scene changes. The first vision had foretold as certain the punishment of the heathen, ...
  5. ^ Herbert Lockyer All the Parables of the Bible 1963 0310281113 p.107 "(Zechariah 2:1-13) The four carpenters were four smiths or workmen, well able to deal with the four horns. These smiths (R.V. ) symbolize instruments of Divine power for the destruction of alien power and the redemption of God's people."