TLB And the Lord said to Satan, “I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem—I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.”
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In my opinion, the imagery in this verse likens the prior judgments that God had visited on Jerusalem for its sin to a fire. Now that those judgments (including exile in Babylon) were concluded, the remnant that was returning to Judah is being likened in the verse cited in the question to a stick that has been pulled out of that fire, although still burning (that is, suffering from the judgments' effects -- as also indicated by the fact that Joshua the high priest is described in Zechariah's vision as being clothed with filthy garments). However, in recognition of the fact that Jerusalem had sufficiently paid for its prior sin through its sufferings, Joshua is told in Zechariah 3:4-5 that his iniquity has been taken away, and he is clothed with new, clean garments.
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