For, behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua
Not the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel; nor the first and foundation stone of the temple laid by him in the presence of Joshua; but Christ the Stone of Israel, whom the builders refused, the foundation and corner stone of the spiritual building the church: and this was laid before Joshua to build his faith upon, to view his safety and security on it, and to take comfort from it for himself; and to lay it before others, and instruct them in the nature and use of it, for their comfort also. It was prophetically laid before him in the prophecies of Christ, that went before; and typically, when the foundation of the temple was laid, ( Ezra 3:9 Ezra 3:10 ) the temple being a type of the church, and the foundation of it a type of Christ: and this being done by Jehovah, shows that he is the chief builder; that this stone must be an excellent one, that is of his laying; that that building must stand, which this is the foundation of; and that under builders have great encouragement to work; see ( Isaiah 28:16 ) . Vitringa, on the place referred to, interprets Joshua of Isaiah, who prophesied of this stone in the said place, and before whom it was laid by a spirit of prophecy; Isaiah and Joshua being words of the same signification and formation: but Isaiah was no high priest; for there is no room to think that Joshua, in this verse, is another and distinct from Joshua the high priest, in the former: upon one stone [shall be] seven eyes;
meaning either the eyes of Christ himself, which he has, and are in him; for Christ is not only a Living Stone, but a seeing one, even all seeing; he is all eye. This may be an allusion to such stones that have the resemblance of eyes upon them: such a stone is that which Scheuchzer F4 speaks of, and calls "siliculus ommatias", being found in the river Sila; which represents the fore part of the bulb of the eye, and the black pupil of the eye in a snowy white; and, after a small interstice, as surrounded with another black circle; with which may be compared the "achates", in the middle of which is an onyx, resembling an eye, and is therefore named by Velschius F5, "achates ommatias", and "onych ophthalmos". Some stones have on them the figures of the eyes of animals, and have their names from them; as the "oegophthalmos", which is very much like the eye of a goat; and "lycophthalmos", in the middle of which the black is surrounded with white, as the eyes of wolves, and in all respects like unto them; and "hyophthalmos", which bears the likeness of the eyes of swine: and some resemble human eyes; there is one called "triophthalmos", which is bred with the onyx, and represents three eyes of a man together; all which are made mention of by Pliny F6: but here is a stone with seven eyes in it, denoting perfection of sight in him as a divine Person, special oversight of his people, and fulness of grace in him as Mediator; for the fulness of the gifts and graces of the Spirit in him, for the use of his people, is signified by seven eyes, ( Revelation 5:6 ) they may design the omniscience of Christ in general, which reaches to all persons and things, and greatly qualifies him to be the Head of the church, and Judge of the world; and likewise his special knowledge, care, and watchfulness of his own people, from everlasting, in time, at, and before, and after conversion, under all their trials and exercises: or they design the eyes which are looking to him, and are intent on him; and the sense is, that all eyes are upon him: the eyes of God the Father were upon him in the council and covenant of peace, and under the Old Testament, as the surety of his people, to make satisfaction for them; and, when the fulness of time was come, to send him forth; and during his infancy, and throughout his life, to preserve him; and in the whole of his humiliation, sufferings, and death, his eye was on him with pleasure and satisfaction; and when in the grave to raise him up; and now in heaven, for the acceptance of his people: the eyes of the Holy Spirit are on him, to take of his things, and show them to his people: the eyes of angels are upon him, in point of dependence, service, and worship; their eyes were upon him when here on earth, as he ascended to heaven, and now he is there; the eyes of all the saints, under the Old Testament, were upon him, expecting him, and looking to his person, and to his blood and sacrifice, that were to be offered; the eyes of all believers, under the New Testament, in all times and places, are to him for pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation; and the eyes of all, good and bad, will be fastened on him, when he comes a second time, in the clouds of heaven; and the eyes of all the glorified ones will be upon him to all eternity, beholding his glory; to this sense agrees the Targum, which renders the words, "upon one stone, seven eyes look to it". R. Joseph Kimchi interprets these eyes of seven men, Joshua, Ezra, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and the three prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: behold, I will engrave the engraving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts:
either with the names of his elect, which are not only written in the book of the Lamb; but their persons are put into his hands, and engraven there; and are bore upon his shoulders, he having the care and government of them; and are upon his breastplate, and on his heart, he being their representative, and presenting them for a memorial before the Lord; as the names of the tribes of Israel were on the stones, on the shoulders, and on the breastplate of the high priest; in all which Jehovah is concerned: or else with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, like a carved or polished stone; his human body was prepared and formed by him, and his human soul was filled with him; and he, as Mediator, was full of grace and truth; which is one branch of his glory, and draws the eyes of believers to him: or these engravings may intend the sufferings of Christ; the wounds and marks in his flesh; or, the "openings" F7, in his feet, hands, and side, as it may be rendered; the incisions and cuts made there by the nails and spear; which were according to the determination, will, and pleasure of God; according to his purposing and commanding will, which Christ was obedient to; and are pleasing to God, as being the accomplishment of his counsel and covenant; satisfactory to his law and justice; what procured the salvation of his people, and brought glory to him: unless this is rather to be understood of the exaltation and glorification of his human nature in heaven; of his being beautified, adorned, and crowned with glory and honour there, and made the head stone of the corner; and indeed all these things may be included. The allusion seems to be to engraving of stones, either by nature, or by art; some have forms and figures on them, which are not engraven by art, or man's device, but are of God, and by nature; such as those stones before mentioned, that have the resemblance of eyes upon them; and the "achates", which was wore in the ring of Pyrrhus king of Epirus, in which were seen the nine Muses, and Apollo holding a harp; and which were not engraven by art, as Pliny F8 observes; but the spots of nature's own accord were so placed, as that to each Muse its proper ensign was given: others are engraven by the art of men, as the onyx stones, which had the names of the children of Israel on them, wore on the shoulders of the high priest; by which instance it appears, that the art of engraving on precious stones is very ancient, and in which the ancients are said to excel; their engravings on agates, cornelians, and onyx, surpass anything of that kind produced by the moderns. Pyrgoteles, in the times of Alexander, and Dioscorides, under the first Roman emperors, were the most eminent engravers we read of. This art, with other polite arts, was buried under the ruins of the Roman empire, until it was retrieved in Italy at the beginning of the fifteenth century, by two Italians; and from that time has been common enough in Europe F9: but since this stone here was for building, rather the allusion is to the engraving and polishing of corner stones and frontispieces in edifices; and particularly to those costly, curious, and carved stones used and laid in the temple; see ( Mark 13:1 ) ( Luke 21:5 ) or to the first stone laid in the foundation, in which little orbs were engraven, and medals of gold or silver put in them, bearing the name, country, and descent of the builder, and the day, year, and reign in which the structure was begun; which little orbs are thought to be called eyes, because of the orbicular form of the eye F11: so Grotius thinks the engraving of the seven eyes on the stone is here referred to; which stone he takes to be the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, when the foundation of the temple was laid, ( Zechariah 4:10 ) at which time these seven eyes were caused suddenly to appear on it, and is the wonder spoken of, ( Zechariah 3:8 ) : and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day;
not Judea, nor Chaldea, but Immanuel's land, the church and people of God, ( Isaiah 8:8 ) even all the elect and covenant ones, for whom Christ suffered and died, and who are laid upon this stone; their sins Jehovah removed from them to Christ their surety; and Christ, by bearing them, and the punishment of them, took them away; and God removed them, both from him and them, upon his becoming a sacrifice for them; and that wholly out of sight, so as that he never will impute them to them, nor condemn them for them; and this was all done "in one day". Jarchi, upon the text, says,
``I know not what day this is;''but we Christians know it was the day on which Christ suffered and died, and offered himself a sacrifice for sin; by which one offering of himself, once for all, he put away sin for ever; it was all done in one day, ( Hebrews 7:27 ) ( Hebrews 9:26 Hebrews 9:28 ) ( Hebrews 10:10 Hebrews 10:12 Hebrews 10:14 ) on the day he suffered, when he, expiring on the cross, said, "it is finished"; namely, sin, and complete salvation from it.
F4 Specimen. Lithograph. Helvet. Curois. fig. 37. p. 27.
F5 Hecatost. I. Obs. 22. apud ib.
F6 Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 11.
F7 (hxtp xtpm) "aperiens apertionem ejus", Montanus; "aperio", Munster.
F8 Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 1.
F9 Chamber's Dictionary, in the word "Engraving".
F11 Capellus in loc.