“All the Righteous Blood Shed Upon the Earth From Abel to Zacharias” — an Attempted Resolution

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“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 Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” (Matthew 23:35)

“50That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;* 51From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:51)

[* Generation (the Greek word gen-eh-a [hard g as in guess]), from genos [hard g; short o as in hop] here is to be understood according to its primary meaning, “gene, offspring, stock, generation (in terms of progeny, not time).  Christ was not saying that a specific group of cohorts born in the same several decades were responsible for all the righteous blood shed upon the earth—but He he was indicting the Edomite-pharisees and exposing their descent from Canaan and Cain.  See my, What Was the Mark that God Placed on Cain?  While indeed, it was the formerly godly Joash, King of Judah who reprehensibly turned from the true path to utter wickedness, who gave the order, it is possible that those who brazenly carried out his orders—even entering the Temple to the Holy Place (half way to the Holy of Holies), which was forbidden except for the priests... those who carried out his orders may quite possibly have been aliens who had no place being in the land of Israel.  Wicked King Saul himself found an eager servant in the Edomite Doeg, who returned and slaughtered the priests of Nob, after Sauls own soldiers—in godly disobedience to a godless order—refused to obey him.  Christ Himself said, “It must needs be that offences come into the world, but woe unto him by whom they come”.  As we see, fittingly, Joash himself is later wounded in war, and while convalescing on his bed, he was murdered by an Ammonite and a Moabite—who had no business being in the land of Israel, let alone in the king’s court.  God created “vessels of wrath” for a reason—and true to that purpose, their nature spurs them on to rightfully deserve God’s Wrath by the evil they commit.]

Joash was godly for as long as the High Priest Jehoiada was there to guide him—what a powerful influence this godly priest must have been!  However, after Jehoiada died, Joash not only defected, but became utterly evil and followed the wicked in worshipping false gods, erecting pagan shrines, burning incense to false gods, etc.

“20And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, ‘Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the Commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, He hath also forsaken you’.  21And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the Court of the House of the LORD.  22Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son.  And when he [Zechariah] died, he said, ‘Yahweh look upon it, and require it’.” (II Chronicles 24)

[* That is, “May Yahweh see / observe and tread down”, that is avenge him.  Neither “it” is in the Hebrew text.

Here we have a very reprehensible and shameful end of a great king of Judah.  Joash, as an infant had actually been spared from being murdered by his own grandmother, the evil Queen Athaliah (daughter of Ahab, King of Israel, but not the daughter of Jezebel).  The High Priest Jehoiada [“Yahweh knows”] was married to a woman of the royal family: Jehoshabeath / Jehosheba [“Yahweh swears {Himself}*” (that is, Covenants or Promises) or “Yahweh’s Oath*”].  She saved the life of her nephew, Joash, as an infant, having stolen and hid him, as Athaliah, in a rage, was murdering all of the heirs to the throne (and thought that she had succeeded).  Jehoshabeath and Jehoiada then raised him in secret for 6 years.  For more details and the rest of the story, see a previous Rumination (article) of mine, — Understanding the Invasion and the Death of Christendom, September 29, 2018.

* The word oath / swear, in Hebrew, literally means, “to seven oneself”.  Seven in Scripture represents Spiritual Perfection [hence the Sabbath, the Seventh Day—commanded throughout all our generations forever].  Compare to the name Elisabeth / Elisheba, which means “God’s Oath” or “Oath of God” or “God swears Himself”.  The Hebrew for God / “Almighty” is the word Eyl [the root of Eloah, the singular form of the word for “Deity / God”, from which the “majestic plural” is derived, Elohiym].

II Chronicles 24 continues:

“26And these are they that conspired against him [the injured King Joash]; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.”

While it is possible that this was not a racial Ammonite and a racial Moabite, but an Israelite or Hebrew born in those lands.*  However, due to their deed, it seems likely they were indeed racial.  Several centuries later after the remnant returned, Nehemiah confirmed this Commandment of God (13:1)—God’s Commandments don’t have expiration dates on them.  Those who think they do don’t understand morality or God’s Nature or even the simple words of Christ that He did not come to abolish the Law and that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Law—and they in blindness and indifference add to the national sin debt; and like a rotting tooth in someones jaw, one bad tooth leads to the decay of the others—so being “soft” (that is, rebellious) concerning any presumed “lesser” law of God, leads to violation of the greater ones also, as time passes and people become desensitized to immorality and continue to become more and more apostate.

* Ruth was not a racial Moabitess, but was born in Moab whence many Israelites fled during a time of famine in Israel; even as Solomon’s wife, mother of Rehoboam was not a racial Ammonitess, otherwise, every single king of Israel would have been illegitimate by God’s very Command; even as would have been the case had Ruth been a Moabitess.  See my book, S.T.E. Commentary on Ruth.]

“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the Word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,” (Zechariah 1:1)

Here, there seems to be a clear discrepancy.  However, the discrepancy may lie with our lack of understanding and misinterpretation, rather than any scribal textual error.  Zechariah the prophet, prophecied c.486 b.c. (traditional date c.520 b.c.) and Zechariah, the priest, was murdered in the last year of Joash, King of Judah, c.814 b.c., (according to my future chart, Coordinated Chronological Table of the Judges, Prophets, High Priests, and Kings of Israel (Together with the Contemporary Kings of Pagan Nations) From The Exodus to the Return of the Exiles and the Rebuilding of the Temple (and beyond); spanning over 1016 years of history).  Likewise, Zechariah (author of the prophetic book) was a prophet, as was his father Berechiah, as was his father, Iddo.  Zechariah, whom Joash basely had murdered, was a priest, son of Jehoiada the High Priest.  He succeeded Amariah as High Priest, so there is a good chance that Amariah was his father.

[Inquire if interested.  This is the companion to my full-color, huge wall-chart / poster, A Coordinated Chronological Table of the Patriarchs: From Adam to the 12 Tribes of Israel and the death of Moses... From Creation to the Exodus... [Covering 26 generations and 2,553 years of history, with around 3,000 co-ordinated dates.] which has been ready for several years.  Once enough people are interested in the second chart, I will spend the 40-80 hours to double check all the dates and have it printed.  It is 98% done, other than a complete proofing.]

The Pulpit Commentary (1892) [which is Arminianist leaning and weak on God’s Sovereignty] under Matthew 23:35 records:

“Ver. 35. — That upon you may come...  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; 24:4;  Jeremiah 26:15); “blood of the just” (Lamentations 4:13); comp. Revelation 6:10 and 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.”

[* It was not the Israelites of the House of Judah who thus cried out, but the vessels of wrath, the tares sown in among the wheat, the Edomite imposters who had hidden themselves, scattered in among the crowd, who cried out more vehemently for Christ’s crucifiction.  Note mine.  R.A.B.]

“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 (... 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.,’ [“Wars”] 4:5. 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. 68, and our Lord could not number it among past crimes, or speak of it as an event familiar to those who heard him. [Brackets mine.  R.A.B.]

“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.

[* In our English Bible, Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament, but in the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles is the last book (and I and II Chronicles were one book).  Note mine.  R.A.B.]

“(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.”

However, while The Pulpit alludes to it, it does not mention it outright; in fact, it mentions “idiom” in a different context.  “Son of” in genealogies or such discussion does not always mean “son” but can mean “grandson, great-grandson”, even as father can mean “grandfather” or a much more-distant ancestor.  Such as when kings of Judah, generations later, were said to have “walked in all the ways of David their father”.  “Fore-father” is the intended meaning.  However, when Christ is called the “Son of David” it often has a different level of meaning, as we shall discuss below.

Thus a 3rd possibility would be that the term “son of Barachias” is not a genealogical indicator, but a figure of speech, such as Christ is called “Son of man” and Judas called, “son of perdition”.  This figure of speech indicates that the person was the epitome, the highest-possible representative in that class—the arch-type or super-type.  Christ, as a man, was the highest type of what man was supposed to be, had Adamkind not fallen from Grace.  Judas was the most-reprehensible example of someone who was damned to Hell—for having betrayed the spotless Lamb of God to be slaughtered unjustly.  Ezekiel is also repeatedly called, “son of man”, due to his special prophetic role and the revelations revealed to him.  Berachiah means, “Blessing of Yah” or “Yah blessed”.  Technically, it means “knee of Yah”.  It seems that this could, therefore, also mean, “submitted to Yah”—which, of course, would then result in blessing.  Jehoiada died at the age of 130!  Certainly that would qualify for blessing.  No on in Scripture, even centuries earlier, is recorded to have lived so long (and David died at the age of 70 and is said to have died in ripe old age).  Eli, the prophet / priest, lived to be 98.  He died prematurely, being obese, he fell over backwards in his chair and broke his neck, upon hearing that his sons had died in battle and the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines.  But 98 is still a far cry from 130.  To find anyone in Scripture who lived to that age, one has to go back  nearly 1,000 years to the sons of Jacob.  Joseph, who lived as a prince, in the lap of luxury for most of his life, lived only to 110; likewise, Moses, who lived only to 120.  Jacob lived to 147 (about 768 years before the death of Jehoiada).  Levi lived to 137 and his son Kohath lived to 133 (II Chronicles 24:15).  [All these dates and ages are clearly shown on my Patriarch’s Chart.]  Jehoiada directed Joash to cleanse the Lord’s Temple of all paganism, idolatry, and abominations, put to death the Israelites who had served as priests for false gods, destroy and defile their altars and high places, etc., and repaired the House of the Lord where it had been damaged or decayed—and Jehoiada had Joash and the people make a special Covenant to the Lord, to follow and obey Him! —which is interesting, in light of the name of Jehoiada’s wife.  Thus, it could easily be understood that Jehoiada, in his day, was the epitome of a person submitted to and blessed by Yahweh—and Jehoiada was buried in the sepulchure of the Kings of Judah to so honor him...!

There are many such idioms in both Hebrew and Greek, or “Hebraisms” and “Hellenisms”.  “Son of ____” referring to the epitome, is similar to our English expression such as, “This is going to be ‘the-mother-of-all battles”.  But there is another idiom using the phrase “son of” in a diminutive form.  The phrase for “half-shekel” is literally, “son of the shekel”.  Thus, it is quite possible that numerous idioms are falsely interpreted literally, when they are figurative; though they are correctly translated.

While Jehoiada’s martyred son Zechariah could have had a grandfather named Berachiah, that seems rather nonsensical—to mention a “nobody” whom Scripture does not even mention, instead of mentioning Jehoiada, who to the priesthood was as David was to the monarchy.