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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Zacharias

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1. Father of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:5). (See JOHN THE BAPTIST.) Of the course of Abia or Abijah, eighth of the 24 (1 Chronicles 24:10); walking with Elizabeth his wife "in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." His lot was to burn incense, the embodiment of prayer (from whence also during the burning of incense the whole people prayed: Revelation 8:3-4; Psalms 141:2), and esteemed so honourable an office that the same person (say the rabbis) was not allowed to discharge it twice. His unbelief ("whereby shall I know this, seeing I am old?" etc.) at the angel' s announcement of John's birth was retributively punished by dumbness (contrast Psalms 116:10; 2 Corinthians 4:13), a warning to Israel whose representative he was of the consequences of unbelief if the nation should reject the gospel just coming; just as Mary on the contrary was an example of the blessedness which would flow if they believed (Luke 1:45; Luke 1:38).

Faith (dictating the name for his son given by the angel: Luke 1:13; Luke 1:63-64) opened his mouth, as faith shall cause Israel in the last days to confess her Lord, and the veil on her heart shall be taken away (2 Corinthians 3:15-16). Then followed his song of thanksgiving under the Holy Spirit, as Israel shall sing when turned to the Lord according to "the oath which He sware to our father Abraham," etc. (Luke 1:68-80; Isaiah 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10,) "The horn of salvation in the house of David" contrasts beautifully with "the little horn" or antichrist destroying Israel before Messiah shall appear for Israel's help (Daniel 7:8; Daniel 8:9-14; Daniel 8:11; Daniel 12:1-3).

2. Son of Barachias (Matthew 23:35). The same as the sire of Jehoiada; Joash ungratefully forgetting that he owed his throne to Jehoiada slew Zacharias for his faithful reproof: "Why transgress ye the commandments of Jehovah, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken Jehovah, He hath also forsaken you." By Joash's command they stoned Zacharias "in the court of the house of Jehovah!" And to it the tradition may be due which assigns the tomb in the valley of Jehoshaphat to Zacharias. Contrast Jehoiada's reverent care not to slay Athaliah in the temple precincts (2 Chronicles 23:14; 2 Chronicles 24:20-22; 2 Chronicles 24:25). Joash slew other "sons" of Jehoiada besides Zacharias.

"The Lord look upon it and requite it" was the martyr's dying sentence, which Jesus refers to as about to be executed on Israel; "that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar," i.e. in the interior court of the priests, in which was the altar of burnt offerings. As Zacharias' prayer for vengeance is the judicial side of God's word by His prophets (Revelation 6:9-11; Luke 18:7), so Stephen's prayer is the gospel loving side of it (Acts 7:60). Though Urijah was slain subsequently to Zacharias (Jeremiah 26:23), yet Zacharias is the last as the canon was arranged, Chronicles standing in it last; Christ names Zacharias as the last and Abel as the first martyr in the Scripture canon. Barachias may have been a second name of Jehoiada, meaning "the blessed," because he preserved David's house in the person of Joash from the murderous Athaliah, slew her, and restored the rightful king. However, as "son of Barachias" does not occur in Luke 11:51, perhaps the words in Matthew were a marginal gloss, confusing this Zacharias with Zechariah the prophet, son of Berechiah.


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Zacharias'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/z/zacharias.html. 1949.

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