Matthew 23:35
That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) The blood of Zacharias son of Barachias.—A very memorable martyrdom is recorded in 2Chronicles 24:20-22, in which a prophet, named Zechariah, was stoned “in the court of the house of the Lord, at the commandment of the king.” That Zacharias was, however, the son of Jehoiada; and the only “Zechariah the son of Barachias” in the Old Testament, is the minor prophet whose writings occupy the last place but one among the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Of his death we know nothing, and it is not probable, had he been slain in the manner here described, that it would have passed unrecorded. The death of the son of Jehoiada, on the other hand, is not only recorded, as above in 2 Chronicles 24, but had become the subject of popular legends. The blood of the prophet, it was said in the Talmud, would not dry up. It was still bubbling up when Nebuzaradan, the Chaldean commander (Jeremiah 39:9) took the Temple. No sacrifices availed to stay it, not even the blood of thousands of slaughtered priests. Wild as the story is, it shows, as does the so-called tomb of Zacharias, the impression which that death had made on the minds of men, and explains why it was chosen by our Lord as a representative example. The substitution of Barachias for Jehoiada may be accounted for as the mistake of a transcriber, led by the association of the two names, like that of Jeremy for Zechariah in Matthew 27:9 (where see Note). In the Sinaitic MS. the words “son of Barachiah” are omitted, but this betrays the hand of a corrector cutting the knot of the difficulty. The assumptions (1) that Jehoiada may have borne Barachiah as a second name, (2) or that he may have had a son of that name, and been really the grandfather of the martyr, are obviously hypotheses invented for the occasion, without a shadow of evidence. Singularly enough, Josephus (Wars, iv. 5, § 4) recounts the murder of a “Zecharias, the son of Baruch,” i.e., Barachiah, as perpetrated in the Temple by the Zealots just before the destruction of Jerusalem. It is possible that this also may not have been without its weight in so linking the two names together in men’s minds as to mislead the memory as to the parentage of the older prophet. The list of conjectures is not complete unless we add that one of the Apocryphal Gospels (The Protevangelion of James, chap. 16) records the death of Zacharias, the father of the Baptist, as slain by Herod in the Temple, and near the altar, and that some have supposed that he was the son of Barachias referred to.

Between the temple and the altari.e., between the sanctuary (the word is the same as in Matthew 26:61; John 2:19)—the Holy of Holies—and the altar of burnt offerings that stood outside it.

23:34-39 Our Lord declares the miseries the inhabitants of Jerusalem were about to bring upon themselves, but he does not notice the sufferings he was to undergo. A hen gathering her chickens under her wings, is an apt emblem of the Saviour's tender love to those who trust in him, and his faithful care of them. He calls sinners to take refuge under his tender protection, keeps them safe, and nourishes them to eternal life. The present dispersion and unbelief of the Jews, and their future conversion to Christ, were here foretold. Jerusalem and her children had a large share of guilt, and their punishment has been signal. But ere long, deserved vengeance will fall on every church which is Christian in name only. In the mean time the Saviour stands ready to receive all who come to him. There is nothing between sinners and eternal happiness, but their proud and unbelieving unwillingness.That upon you may come ... - That is, the nation is guilty. Your fathers were guilty. You have shown yourselves to be like them. You are about, by killing the Messiah and his messengers, to fill up the iniquity of the land. The patience of God is nearly exhausted, and the nation is about to be visited with signal vengeance. These national crimes deserve national judgments; and the proper judgment for all these crimes are about to come upon you in the destruction of your temple and city.

All the righteous blood - That is, all the judgments due for shedding that blood. God did not hold them guilty for what their fathers had done; but temporal judgments descend on children in consequence of the wickedness of parents, as in the case of drunken and profligate parents. A drunken father wastes the property that his children might have possessed. A gambler reduces his children to poverty and want. An imprudent and foolish parent is the occasion of leading his sons into places of poverty, ignorance, and crime, materially affecting their character and destiny. See the notes at Romans 5:12-19. So of the Jews. The appropriate effects of their fathers' crimes were coming on the nation, and they would suffer.

Upon the earth - Upon the land of "Judea." The word is often used with this limitation. See Matthew 4:8.

Righteous Abel - Slain by Cain, his brother, Genesis 4:8.

Zacharias, son of Barachias - It is not certainly known who this was. Some have thought that it was the Zecharias whose death is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21. He is there called the son of Jehoiada; but it is known that it was common among the Jews to have two names, as Matthew is called Levi; Lebbeus, Thaddeus; and Simon, Cephas. Others have thought that Jesus referred to Zecharias the prophet, who might have been massacred by the Jews, though no account of his death is recorded. It might have been known by tradition.

Whom ye slew - Whom you, Jews, slew. Whom your nation killed.

Between the temple and the altar - Between the temple, properly so called, and the altar of burnt-offering in the court of the priests. See the plan of the temple. Matthew 21:12.

34. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes—The I here is emphatic: "I am sending," that is, "am about to send." In Lu 11:49 the variation is remarkable: "Therefore also, said the wisdom of God, I will send them," &c. What precisely is meant by "the wisdom of God" here, is somewhat difficult to determine. To us it appears to be simply an announcement of a purpose of the Divine Wisdom, in the high style of ancient prophecy, to send a last set of messengers whom the people would reject, and rejecting, would fill up the cup of their iniquity. But, whereas in Luke it is "I, the Wisdom of God, will send them," in Matthew it is "I, Jesus, am sending them"; language only befitting the one sender of all the prophets, the Lord God of Israel now in the flesh. They are evidently evangelical messengers, but called by the familiar Jewish names of "prophets, wise men, and scribes," whose counterparts were the inspired and gifted servants of the Lord Jesus; for in Luke (Lu 11:49) it is "prophets and apostles."

unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar—As there is no record of any fresh murder answering to this description, probably the allusion is not to any recent murder, but to 2Ch 24:20-22, as the last recorded and most suitable case for illustration. And as Zacharias' last words were, "The Lord require it," so they are here warned that of that generation it should be required.

See Poole on "Matthew 23:36". That upon you may come all the righteous blood,.... Or "the blood of all the righteous men", as the Syriac: Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read; for there is no righteousness in blood, nor any conveyed by it: all men are of one blood, and that is tainted, they that are righteous, are not so naturally, nor by any righteousness of their own, but by the righteousness of Christ: and such were the persons here meant, whose blood being shed in the cause of righteousness, God would revenge; and the punishment for such a crime, and the vengeance of God for it, were to come upon the nation of the Jews by this means, through their crucifying of Christ, and killing, and persecuting his apostles; whereby they would make it manifest, that they approved of, and consented to, what others had done to all the righteous men, whose blood had been

shed upon the earth; whether in Judea, or elsewhere; and continued in the same wicked practices, or committed worse, and so justly incurred the wrath of God to the uttermost; which would quickly come upon them, when the measure of their fathers' sin were filled up by them, from the beginning of time, to the present age: everom the blood of righteous Abel: who was the first person in the world that was killed, and that for righteousness sake too, because his works were righteous, his person being so; not by his works, but through the righteousness and sacrifice of the Messiah, which were to be brought in; in the faith of which he offered up his sacrifice, whereby he obtained a testimony from God, that he was righteous, having respect to his person in Christ, and so to his offering. This epithet of "righteous" seems to be what was commonly given him by the Jews: hence, with a peculiar emphasis, he is called, , "Abel the righteous" (t); as he is also said to be , "the head of them that killed" (u); he being the first man that was slain; for which reason he is mentioned here by Christ; and also, because his blood cried for vengeance, and still continued to do, upon all such persons that should commit the like crime. It is an observation frequently made by the Jews, on those words in Genesis 4:10 "the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me", that "it is not said in the Hebrew text, the blood of thy brother, but the bloods of thy brother; his blood, and the blood of his seed (w); and that from hence may be learned, that the blood of his children, and of his children's children, and of all his offspring, to the end of all generations, that should proceed from him, all stood and cried before the Lord (x).

The Jerusalem Targum paraphrases the words in this remarkable manner,

"the price of the bloods of "the multitude of the righteous", that shall spring from Abel thy brother.

And Onkelos thus,

"the voice of the blood of the seed that shall rise from thy brother, &c.

unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Learned men are very much divided about this person, who he was. Some think our Lord speaks prophetically of Zechariah, the son of Baruch; who, as Josephus says (y), was slain in the middle of the temple, just before the siege of Jerusalem; and who was, as he also relates, a rich man, of an illustrious family, a hater of wickedness, and a friend to liberty: and because, as Abel was the first man that was slain, and this man being killed in the temple, at the close of the Jewish state; and because the words may be rendered, "whom ye shall have slain", therefore he is thought to be intended: but there are several things that do not agree with him, besides its being a narration of a fact, as past, according to the usual rendering of the word: for this Zacharias was the son of Baruch, and not Barachias, which are two different names; he was killed in the middle of the temple, not between the temple and the altar; nor does he appear to be a man of such great character, as to be distinguished in this manner; and besides, his death was what the Jews did not consent to in general, and therefore could not be charged with it; he was acquitted by the sanhedrim of the charge of treachery laid against him, and was assassinated by two zealots. Others have thought that Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, is meant, who is supposed to be murdered by the Jews very lately; and it being a recent action, is mentioned by our Lord: the reason of it is a tradition, which several ancient writers (z) speak of, and is pretended to be this; that there was a place, in the temple appropriated to virgins, and that Mary, the mother of our Lord, after his birth, came and took her place here, as a virgin, when the Jews, knowing her to have a child, objected to it; but Zechariah, who was acquainted with the mystery of the incarnation, ordered her to keep her place, upon which the Jews slew him upon the spot: but this tradition is not to be depended on; nor does it appear that there ever was any such particular place in the temple assigned to virgins; nor that the father of this Zacharias was Barachias; or that the son was slain by the Jews, and in this place. Others have been of opinion, that Zechariah the prophet is designed; and indeed, he is said to be the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, Zechariah 1:1 and the Jewish Targumist speaks of a Zechariah, the son of Iddo, as slain by the Jews in the temple. His words are these (a),

"as ye slew Zechariah, the son of Iddo, the high priest, and faithful prophet, in the house of the sanctuary of the Lord, on the day of atonement; because he reproved you, that ye might not do that evil which is before the Lord.

And him the Jews make to be the same with Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, in Isaiah 8:2 and read Berechiah (b): but the Targumist seems to confound Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, with him; for the prophet Zechariah was not an high priest, Joshua was high priest in his time; nor does it appear from any writings, that he was killed by the Jews; nor is it probable that they would be guilty of such a crime, just upon their return from captivity; and besides, he could not be slain in such a place, because the temple, and altar, were not yet built: it remains, that it must be Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who was slain in the court of the house of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 24:20 who, as Abel was the first, he is the last of the righteous men whose death is related in the Scriptures, and for whose blood vengeance was required, as for Abel's. He was slain in the court of the house of the Lord; and so the Ethiopic version here renders it, in the midst of the holy house. It is often said by the Jewish writer (c), that "R. Joden (sometimes it is R. Jonathan) asked R. Acha, whether they slew Zechariah, in the court of the Israelites, or in the court of the women? he answered him, neither in the court of the Israelites, nor in the court of the women, but in the court of the priests.

And elsewhere they say (d), that they

"slew a priest and a prophet in the sanctuary; this is Zechariah the son of Jehoiada.

Now it should be observed, that the temple, or sanctuary, is sometimes put for the whole sacred building, with all its courts and appurtenances; and sometimes, as in this text, for that part of it that was covered, between which, and the altar of burnt offerings, in the court of the priests, which must he here meant, and not the altar of incense, in the most holy place, was a space of twenty two cubits (e), frequently called, in Jewish writings, the space between the porch and the altar; that is, the porch which led into the temple, and the brazen altar in the court of the priests, which was open to the air, and is the very spot here intended. Now this was a very sacred place, and is mentioned as an aggravation of the sin of the Jews, that they should enter where none but priests might; nor these neither that had any defect in them; and defile it also by shedding innocent blood,

"The court of the Israelites is holier than the court of the women; because those that wanted atonement might not enter there; and a defiled person that entered there, was obliged to be cut off: the court of the priests was holier than that, because the Israelites might not enter there, but in the time of their necessities, for laying on of hands for atonement, for killing and waving: the place between the porch and the altar was holier than that; for such that had any blemishes, or were bareheaded, or had their garments rent, might not enter (f).

Hence they say (g), that "the Israelites committed seven transgressions on that day: they slew a priest, and a prophet, and a judge; and they shed innocent blood, and they blasphemed God, and defiled the court, and it was a sabbath day, and the day of atonement.

continued...

{11} That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of {y} Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

(11) The punishment of those who persecute the gospel, under the pretence of zeal.

(y) Of Joiada, who was also called Barach-jah, that is, blessed of the Lord.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 23:35. Ὃπως ἔλθῃ, κ.τ.λ.] Teleology of the divine decree: in order that all the righteous (innocent) blood (Jonah 1:14; Joel 3:19; Psalm 94:21; 1Ma 1:37) may come upon you, i.e. the punishment for shedding it. Comp. Matthew 27:25. The scribes and Pharisees are regarded as the representatives of the people, and for whom, as their leaders, they are held responsible.

αἷμα] “ter hoc dicitur uno hoc versu, magna vi,” Bengel. And it is δίκαιον, because it contains the life (see on Acts 15:20). Comp. Delitzsch, Psych, p. 242.

ἐκχυνόμενον] present, conceived of as a thing going on in the present, Kühner, II. 1, p. 116. A vivid picture, in which we seem to see the blood still actually flowing. On the later form ἐκχύνω for ἐκχέω, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 726.

ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς] according to the canonical narrative (see below).

Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου] refers to 2 Chronicles 24:20, where Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, is said to have been stoned to death by order of King Joash, ἐν αὐλῇ οἴκου κυρίου. Comp. Joseph. Antt. ix. 8. 3. The detail contained in μεταξὺ, κ.τ.λ., renders the narrative more precise, and serves to emphasize the atrocious character of a deed perpetrated, as this was, on so sacred a spot. Since, according to the arrangement of the books in the Hebrew Canon, Genesis stood at the beginning and 2 Chronicles at the end, and since the series here indicated opens with the case of Abel (Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 11:4), so this (2 Chronicles 24:20) is regarded as the last instance of the murder of a prophet, although, chronologically, that of Urijah (Jeremiah 26:23) belongs to a more recent date. The Rabbinical writers likewise point to the murder of this Zacharias as one of a peculiarly deplorable nature; see Targum Lamentations 2:20; Lightfoot on our passage. And how admirably appropriate to the scope of this passage are the words of the dying Zechariah: יֵרֶא יְהֹוָה וְיִדְרשׁ, 2 Chronicles 24:22; comp. with Genesis 4:10! If this latter is the Zacharias referred to in the text, then, inasmuch as the assumption that his father had two names (scholion in Matthaei, Chrysostom, Luther, Beza, Grotius, Elsner, Kanne, bibl. Unters. II. p. 198 ff.) is no less arbitrary than the supposition that υἱοῦ Βαραχ. is a gloss (Wassenbergh, Kuinoel), there must, in any case, be some mistake in the quoting of the father’s name (de Wette, Bleek, Baumgarten-Crusius). It is probable that Jesus Himself did not mention the father’s name at all (Luke 11:51), and that it was introduced into the text from oral tradition, into which an error had crept from confounding the person here in question with the better known prophet of the same name, and whose father was called Barachias (Zechariah 1:1). Comp. Holtzmann, p. 404. This tradition was followed by Matthew; but in the Gospel of the Hebrews the wrong name was carefully avoided, and the correct one, viz. Jehoiada, inserted instead (Hilgenfeld, N. T. extra can. IV. p. 17, 11). According to others, the person referred to is that Zacharias who was murdered at the commencement of the Jewish war, and whose death is thus recorded by Joseph. Bell. iv. 6. 4 : δύο δὲ τῶν τολμηροτάτων (ζηλωτῶν) προσπεσόντες ἐν μεσῷ τῷ ἱερῷ διαφθείρουσι τὸν Ζαχαρίαν υἱὸν τοῦ Βαρούχου. So Hammond, Krebs, Hug, Credner, Einl. I. p. 207, Gfrörer, Baur, Keim. It is the opinion of Hug that Jesus, as speaking prophetically, made use of the future tense, but that Matthew substituted a past tense instead, because when this Gospel was written the murder had already been committed (after the conquest of Gamala). Keim likewise finds in this a hint as to the date of the composition of Matthew. But apart from the fact that the names Barachias and Baruch are not one and the same, and that the reading in the passage just quoted from Josephus is doubtful (Var. Βαρισκαίου), the alleged substitution of the aorist for the future would be so flagrantly preposterous, that a careful writer could scarcely be expected to do anything of the sort. As against this whole hypothesis, see besides Theile in Winer’s neu. krit. Journ. II. p. 405 ff., Kuhn in the Jahrb. d. Theol. I. p. 350 ff. Finally, we may mention, only for the sake of recording them, the ancient opinions (in Chrysostom and Theophylact) that the Zacharias referred to in our passage was either the minor prophet of that name, or the father of the Baptist (see Protevang. Jac. 23). The latter view is that of Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Theophylact, and several others among the Fathers (see Thilo, Praef. p. lxiv. f.); and recently of Müller in the Stud. u. Krit. 1841, p. 673 ff.

μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ, κ.τ.λ.] between the temple proper and the altar of burnt-offerings in the priests’ court.Matthew 23:35. ὅπως ἔλθῃ: divine intention read in the light of result. God sent messengers that they might be killed, and that Israel by killing them might deserve to suffer in the final generation wrath to the uttermost. Vide on Matthew 22:7.—αἴμα, thrice named: “ter hoc dicitur uno hoc versu magna vi,” Bengel.—ἀπὸ τ. ., etc., from the blood of Abel, the first martyr, mentioned in the first book of the Hebrew Bible, to the blood of Zechariah, the prophet named in the last book (2 Chronicles 24:20-22).—υἱοῦ Βαραχίου, the designation of the last but one of the minor prophets, applied here to the other Zechariah, by inadvertence either of the evangelist or of an early copyist.—ὃν ἐφονεύσατε, whom ye (through your spiritual ancestors) slew; fact as stated in 2 Chronicles 24:21.35. from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias] If the reading “son of Barachias” be retained (it is omitted in the Sinaitic MS.) a difficulty arises; for the Zacharias, whose death “in the court of the house of the Lord” is recorded 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, was the son of Jehoiada. The words, however, do not occur in Luke 11:51, and are possibly interpolated. Zechariah the prophet was a son of Barachias: but of his death no record is preserved. Another explanation has been offered. At the commencement of the Jewish War with Vespasian a Zacharias, son of Baruch, was slain in the Temple by two zealots (Jos. B. J. iv. 5. 4). Accordingly many commentators have thought that Jesus spoke prophetically of that event. The coincidence is remarkable, but the explanation is hardly probable.

The space from Abel to Zacharias, son of Jehoiada, covers the whole history of the Jews; for the Jewish Canon, not being arranged in order of time, closed with the second book of Chronicles.

ye slew] The present generation shares in the guilt of that murder.Matthew 23:35. Ἔλθῃ, may come) This is repeated in Matthew 23:36, sc. ἥξει, shall come. Cf. Luke 11:50, etc.—πᾶν, all) especially that of the Messiah Himself. Cf. Luke 13:33.—αἷμα, blood) This word occurs thrice in this one verse with great force.—ἐκχυνόμενον, which is being shed) The present tense is used to show that the blood-shedding was not yet concluded.—ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, on the whole earth) Cf. Genesis 4:11.—Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου, Zacharias the son of Barachias) whose prophecy and death are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22.[1016] The Jews say a great deal about him. See Lightfoot.[1017]—τοῦ Ναοῦ, the Temple) Jesus spake these words in the Temple: in the Temple especial vengeance was to be executed hereafter.

[1016] And who, as Michaelis, in der Einl., etc., T. ii., p. m. 1078,1079, shows at large, is called in the Gospel of the Nazarenes. according to Jerome’s statement, not the Son of Barachias (as it is found in our Greek copies), but the Son of Jehoiada. Indeed it would not be amiss to compare this with what S. R. D. Crusius, Hypomn., p. i. p. 301, suggests, viz., that Jehoiada [= the knowledge of the Lord] received the surname from the Blessed Jehovah, because that he had preserved the house of David, by having stealthily saved Joash from being murdered, and by having subsequently placed him on his father’s throne, after having slain Athaliah, owing to which meritorious deed he was ever after commonly called by this honourable title.—E. B.

[1017] To understand these words of a certain Zacharias, the Song of Solomon of Baruch, a person of proved excellence, who was killed in the midst of the temple (as Josephus records) a short while before its destruction, as Kornmann and others think, we are not bound to the end that the glory of Christ’s Omniscience may be maintained inviolate: for, in fact, this prophecy concerning vengeance impending over that generation, as well as many other prophecies, was proved by its fulfilment. Luke, in the passage in question, is speaking only of Prophets: but the Zacharias of Josephus was not a prophet. Indeed Christ had many reasons for making mention of the former Zacharias above others. It is such personages in this passage (as in Ezekiel 14:14) that are especially referred to and quoted, who have their names recorded in Scripture: and that ancient Zacharias, as in the similar instance of Abel, was accounted by the Jews without dispute as a Saint and Prophet; nay, indeed the guilt incurred in his case was not altogether obliterated from the memory of the Jews.—Harm., p. 472.Verse 35. - That upon you may come (ὅπως ἔλθῃ). This phrase does not express a simple consequence, neither can it mean "in such a way that" - explanations which have been given by some commentators to avoid a seeming difficulty in the final sense; but it is to be translated, as usually, in order that, ut veniat. God, foreseeing the issues of their evil heart, puts in their way occasions which will aid his vengeance and accelerate the time of their punishment. He lets them work out their own destruction by committing an unpardonable sin. He does not force them into this course of conduct; they can resist the opportunity if they will; but he knows they will not do so, and the visitation becomes judgment. To have a man's blood upon one's head is to be held guilty of the crime of murder, and to be liable to make the required atonement for it. So in their blind fury, taking the punishment on themselves, the Jews a little later cried, "His blood been us, and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25). Righteous blood. So in the Old Testament we often find such expressions as "innocent blood" (2 Kings 21:16; 2 Kings 24:4; Jeremiah 26:15); "blood of the just" (Lamentations 4:13); comp. Revelation 6:10 and Revelation 18:24, where it is written that in Babylon "was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all them that were slain upon the earth." Righteous Abel. The first of the murdered, the prototype of the death of Christ and of all good men who have died for truth, religion, and justice (Genesis 4:8; 1 John 3:12). The catalogue of such is long and terrible. Our Lord assigns a period to its dimensions, commencing with the first death mentioned in the Bible, and ending with the murder of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple (τοῦ ναοῦ, the sanctuary) and the altar. Our Lord is speaking of a past event well known to his hearers; but who this Zacharias was is much disputed. Origen mentions a tradition, otherwise entirely unsupported, that Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, was the son of Barachiah, and was murdered in the temple. But the story looks as if it was made to relieve the difficulty of identification; neither, as far as we know, was he a prophet. Zechariah, the minor prophet, was the son of Berechiah; but we read nothing of his being slain in the temple or elsewhere. It is true that Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 4:05. 4) tells how a "Zacharias, son of Baruch," an honourable man, was slain by the zealots in the temple. But this murder took place A.D. , and our Lord could not number it among past crimes, or speak of it as an event familiar to those who heard him. The only other prophet of this name in the Bible is one mentioned in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, as stoned by the people at the command of Joash, in the court of the house of the Lord. "And when he died," it is added, "he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it." This makes his case correspond to that of Abel, the voice of whose blood cried unto God from the ground. He is also the last prophet whose death is recorded in the Old Testament, and the guilt of whose murder, the Jews say, was not purged till the temple was burned under Nebuchadnezzar. It seems to be a kind of proverbial saying which the Lord here uses, equivalent to "from the first murdered saint to the last," taking the arrangement of the Hebrew canon of Scripture, and regarding the Books of Chronicles as the conclusion of Jewish history. This (though it would exclude the murder of other prophets, e.g. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.) would all be plain enough and quite appropriate to the context were it not that the Zechariah thus referred to was the son of Jehoiada, not of Barachias. But there are two solutions of this difficulty suggested; and, allowing either of these, we may confidently assert that the above-named prophet is the personage intended.

(1) The words, "son of Barachias" may be an early interpolation, introduced by a copyist who was thinking of the minor prophet. They are omitted by the first correcter of the Sinaitic Manuscript, are not found in the parallel passage of St. Luke (Luke 11:51), and Jerome remarks that in the 'Gospel of the Nazarenes' was read "son of Joiada."

(2) There may have been family reasons, unknown to us, why Zechariah was thus designated (see the commentators on our Lord's genealogy in St. Luke 3, especially on ver. 23, "son of Hell," ver. 27, "son of Salathiel," and ver. 36, "son of Cainan"). Or Jehoiada may have had two names, as so many Jews had. Indeed, the two appellations are not altogether dissimilar in meaning, Jehoiada signifying "Jehovah knoweth," and Barachiah, "Jehovah blesseth." Or again, Barachiah may have been the father of Zechariah, and Jehoiada the more famous grandfather. It has been suggested (by Morison, in loc.) that one of the monuments recently erected in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem was dedicated to Zacharias. Such a one still bears his name. Hence Christ's allusion is very natural after his statement in ver. 29. The scene of the murder was the open space in the priests' court, between the holy place and the great altar of sacrifice. The sanctity of this spot made the crime abnormally atrocious. Temple (ναοῦ)

Rev., rightly, sanctuary. See on Matthew 4:5. Zechariah was slain between the temple proper and the altar of burnt-offering, in the priests' court.

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