5 Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.” 6 So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, “It is a basket that is going forth.” He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth: 7 Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”; 8 then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.
The seventh vision exhibited a woman confined in a basket. This woman represented the wickedness of religion in the land of Babylon. This nation would become the center of evil where they worshiped a particular woman as an idol.
Then the angel [interpreting angel] who talked with me came out and said to me [Zechariah], “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.”
The interpreting angel asked Zechariah what he saw. Because the prophet had his eyes open, this was no dream but a vision.
So I asked, “What is it?” And he said, “It is a basket [ephah] that is going forth.”
The woman in the basket was on the way to Babylon. The word “basket” is the Hebrew word for ephah, which is a little larger than a bushel (1.5 bushels], the largest dry measurement for business. The “basket” represents wickedness that has come to full measure and is ready for judgment.
He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth:
The returning remnant from Babylon was guilty of covetousness. They put the desire for material things above God. Nehemiah dealt with them about this because they were lending money at high interest rates (usury).
Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket”;
The lead cover kept the woman inside the basket. Wickedness could not escape judgment.
then he said, “This is Wickedness [lawlessness]!”
The Hebrew here refers to wickedness in general. The woman was wickedness personified. The idea is the embodiment of evil. This may refer to “Babylon the Great” of the book of Revelation (Re 17:3-5). In the immediate context, wickedness symbolized the iniquity of Judah; that is, her devolution into idolatry.
And he [interpreting angel] thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth [opening].
The angel shoved the woman down into the basket with a lead cover over it. At the time, lead was the heaviest of known metals. The basket became a prison for the woman. The heavy metal confined the woman to the basket.
Religion apart from the God of the Bible is idolatry.
Christians must be careful to remove any heretical religion from Christian doctrine because religion is idolatry. Any form of nonbiblical religion must be removed from churches. The book of Revelation assaults the ecumenical religious system (Re 17-18) in a way that shows us how the church today, too, is not accepting the exclusive message of Christianity. The Tribulation period will be a time of extensive religion, a religion imposed on the world.
The “woman” of our passage represents all apostate religious movements from the time of Babylon to the last days. The woman of Revelation 17:3-17 is a portrayal of religious Babylon.