the Second Week of Advent
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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
The Bible mentions about thirty people who had the name Zechariah. Many of these were priests, prophets or rulers.
Of the rulers named Zechariah, one was a king of Israel. He was the fifth king of the dynasty of Jehu, and with his murder in 752 BC, Jehu’s dynasty ended as bloodily as it had begun (2 Kings 15:8-12).
The most important of the prophets named Zechariah was the man whose book is part of the Old Testament. He lived in Jerusalem during the period after the Jews’ return from captivity and, with Haggai, he roused the people to get on with the job of rebuilding the temple (Ezra 5:1-2; Ezra 6:14-15; Zechariah 1:1; see ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF).
Of the priests named Zechariah, the best known in Old Testament times was the man who rebuked King Joash and the people of Jerusalem for their idolatry. By command of the king, the leaders of Jerusalem murdered him. In a divine judgment on the murderers, the leaders of Jerusalem were killed in an enemy invasion and the king was assassinated by two of his palace officials (in 796 BC; 2 Chronicles 24:17-26; Luke 11:49-51).
Another priest named Zechariah lived in New Testament times. This man was the father of John the Baptist. For many years he and his wife had not been able to have children, even though they had prayed earnestly and lived righteously before God. One day, while Zechariah was on duty in the temple, an angel from God told him that in answer to their prayers, God was about to give them a son. This son, whom they were to name John, was to be the forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:5-17).
Zechariah could hardly believe the good news and wanted a sign to confirm it. The sign he received was also a penalty for his unbelief: he was made dumb till the baby was born (Luke 1:18-23; Luke 1:57-66). Upon regaining his speech, Zechariah immediately began to praise God. His first words of praise were for the promised Messiah (Luke 1:67-75). He then offered praise for his son John, who would prepare the people for the Messiah’s arrival by calling them to repentance (Luke 1:76-79).
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Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Zechariah'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​bbd/​z/zechariah.html. 2004.