Joshua (high priest)

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The High Priest Joshua, or Yehoshua (from the Hebrew), refers to Zechariah 3:1:

And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Messianic prefigurement

Joshua the high priest is identified to be the son of Josedech' (or Jehozadak) in Zec. 6:11, upon whose head God commanded that silver and gold crowns be set. This is seen by Christians to correlate to Rev. 19:12:

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment,

The high priest wore a crown above the miter (Zec_3:5; Lev_8:9). Messiah shall wear many crowns, one surmounting the other (Rev_19:12). It was a thing before unknown in the Levitical priesthood that the same person should wear at once the crown of a king and that of a high priest (Psa_110:4; Heb_5:10). Messiah shall be revealed fully in this twofold dignity when He shall “restore the kingdom to Israel” (Act_1:6).[1]

Henry notes:

Jesus is the same name, and it signifies Saviour; and they were both figures of him that was to come, our chief captain and our chief priest.[2]

Zechariah 6:12 and 13 are seen as further relating to the Mesiah:

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Adam Clarke comments,

Behold the man whose name is The Branch! - I cannot think that Zerubbabel is here intended; indeed, he is not so much as mentioned in Zec_3:8. Joshua and his companions are called anshey mopheth, figurative or typical men; the crowning therefore of Joshua in this place, and calling him the Branch, was most probably in reference to that glorious person, the Messiah, of whom he was the type or figure. The Chaldee has, “whose name is my Messiah,” or Christ.
And he shall grow up out of his place - That is, out of David’s root, tribe, and family.
And he shall build the temple of the Lord - This cannot refer to the building of the temple then in hand, for Zerubbabel was its builder: but to that temple, the Christian Church, that was typified by it; for Zerubbabel is not named here, and only Joshua or Jesus (the name is the same) is the person who is to be crowned and to build this spiritual temple.[3]

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown add, in part:

Behold, the man — namely, shall arise. Pilate unconsciously spake God’s will concerning Him, “Behold the man”. (Joh_19:5) The sense here is, “Behold in Joshua a remarkable shadowing forth of Messiah.” It is not for his own sake that the crown is placed on him, but as type of Messiah about to be at once king and priest. Joshua could not individually be crowned king, not being of the royal line of David, but only in his representative character.
Branch — (See on Zec_3:8; Isa_4:2; Jer_23:5; Jer_33:15).
He shall grow up out of his place — retaining the image of a “Branch”; “He shall sprout up from His place,...” Moore makes it refer to His growing lowly in His place of obscurity, “as a tender plant and a root out of a dry ground” (Isa_53:2), for thirty years unknown except as the son of a carpenter. The idea in a Branch is that Christ’s glory is growing, not yet fully manifested as a full-grown tree. Therefore men reject Him now.
build the temple — The promise of the future true building of the spiritual temple by Messiah... (Mat_16:18; 1Co_3:17; 2Co_6:16; Eph_2:20-22; Heb_3:3)


  1. Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
  2. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
  3. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible