“and I will clothe you with rich clothing.” We must keep in mind that Joshua represents Judah, and thus in Zechariah’s vision when God takes the filthy garments off Joshua and puts “rich clothing” on him, it is representing that God has removed the filth off of Judah and is clothing her in His righteousness, which is “rich clothing” indeed. Furthermore, in Zechariah 3:5, the High Priest gets his turban placed back on his head, which represents the nation of Judah being restored to their position of being a priest to the nations, which, since the Temple was being built in Jerusalem, it would soon be in a position to be. The people of Israel are being positioned to be “the priests of Yahweh,” just as Isaiah foretold (Isa. 61:6).
Obeying God and being clothed in His righteousness is rich clothing indeed! Here we see God’s mercy in that He is always desirous that people would walk in obedience to Him, and He would then clothe them in righteousness. The ultimate righteousness before God comes when we accept His total provision via His Son, Jesus Christ, who is God’s Servant, the Branch (Zech. 3:8).
Here in Zechariah, however, the rich garments and turban are put on Joshua with the same conditions that have always been set by God for His people: they must walk in obedience to God (Zech. 3:7). Sadly, they did not.