The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 5


1 Then I raised my eyes again and saw a scroll flying.


"What do you see?" he asked me. I answered, "I see a scroll flying; it is twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide."


Then he said to me: "This is the curse which is to go forth over the whole earth; in accordance with it shall every thief be swept away, and in accordance with it shall every perjurer be expelled from here.


I will send it forth, says the LORD of hosts, and it shall come into the house of the thief, or into the house of him who perjures himself with my name; it shall lodge within his house, consuming it, timber and stones."


2 Then the angel who spoke with me came forward and said to me, "Raise your eyes and see what this is that comes forth."


"What is it?" I asked. And he answered, "This is a bushel container coming. This is their guilt in all the land."


Then a leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting inside the bushel.


"This is Wickedness," he said; and he thrust her inside the bushel, pushing the leaden cover into the opening.


Then I raised my eyes and saw two women coming forth with a wind ruffling their wings, for they had wings like the wings of a stork. As they lifted up the bushel into the air,


I said to the angel who spoke with me, "Where are they taking the bushel?"


He replied, "To build a temple for it in the land of Shinar; when the temple is ready, they will deposit it there in its place."



1 [1-4] The enormous scroll, thirty feet by fifteen (the dimensions in length and breadth of the portico of Solomon's temple, 1 Kings 6:3), contains a list of maledictions on sinners, similar to that in Deut 27:15-26. The thief and the perjurer represent all sinners, who are expelled from the holy community.

2 [5-11] The woman sealed in the bushel container is a figure of the general corruption of the people of Judah. She is removed from the Holy Land and transported to Shinar, that is, Babylonia, where a dwelling is being prepared for her; this is a symbol of the reign of Wickedness in pagan lands, contrasted with the reign of holiness in the Lord's dwelling on Mount Zion.

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