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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Barachiah

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BARACHIAH.Matthew 23:35 (om. א* and; 4 cursives), Luke 11:51 (ins. DSc and 2 cursives). The name occurs in Mt. in a passage, recorded in substantial agreement by Mt. and Lk., in which the Lord declares that the blood of all the prophets (Lk.) or all the righteous blood (Mt.) will be sought from or come upon that generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah. In 2 Chronicles 24:20 ff. is an account of the stoning of Zechariah the son of Jehoiada (LXX Septuagint B has ‘Azariah’ for ‘Zechariah,’ but Lagarde prints ‘Zechariah’) in the court of the house of the Lord. This incident is repeatedly referred to in the later Jewish literature. In the Babylonian Talmud (Sanh. 96b; Gittin, 57b), in the Jerusalem Talmud (Taanith, 69a), and in the Midrashim (e.g. Echa Rabbati, Introd. טו ii. 2; Koheleth iii. 16; Pesikta Rab. Kahana xv.) it is recorded that Nebuzaradan slew many Jews in order to quiet ‘the blood of Zechariah, who is called a prophet’ (Sanh. 96b; Midr. Echa R., Koheleth) with reference to 2 Chronicles 24:19. It seems natural, therefore, to suppose that the Zachariah of the Gospels is the Zechariah of 2 Chronicles. Abel’s was the first murder of a righteous man recorded in the OT, Zechariah’s the last (2 Chron. is the last book of the Hebrew Canon). Abel’s blood cried from the ground (Genesis 4:10). Zechariah when dying said, ‘The Lord look upon it and require it’ (2 Chronicles 24:22).

But how are we to account for Mt.’s ‘son of Barachiah,’ when we should expect ‘son of Jehoiada’? In Isaiah 8:2 we read of Zechariah ‘son of Jeberechiah’ (the LXX Septuagint has ὑιόν βαραχίου), in Zechariah 1:1 of Zechariah the son of Berechiah the son of Iddo (LXX Septuagint, τὸν τοῦ Βαραχίου ὑιὸν Ἀδδώ). The later Jewish tradition identified the two. So the Babylonian Talmud (Makkoth, 24b; cf. Pesikta Rab. Kahana xv., Targum of Lamentations 3:20, Rashi on Isaiah 8:2). Further, there seems to have been a tendency to identify Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo with Zechariah son of Jehoiada, for the Targum of Lamentations 3:20 calls the Zechariah of Chronicles ‘son of Iddo.’ We might therefore suppose that Christ spoke of Zachariah, who was really son of Jehoiada, as son of Barachiah, because the Jewish tradition of His age identified or confused the priest and the prophet; cf. the ‘priest and prophet’ applied to Zechariah son of Jehoiada in Sanh. 97b. In this case the omission of υἱοῦ Βαραχίου from Matthew 23:35 in א* would be due to someone who wondered at the ‘Barachiah’ instead of ‘Jehoiada.’ Or the ‘son of Barachiah’ might be an insertion on the part of the editor of the Gospel, either on the ground of Jewish tradition, or in remembrance of the two LXX Septuagint passages, Isaiah 8:2, Zechariah 1:1. The fact that this editor elsewhere employs LXX Septuagint forms of proper names, as in Ἀσάφ, Ἀμώς (zec 1:8, 10), is in favour of the latter. Or ‘son of Barachiah’ may be a later insertion in the Gospel (so Merx). The insertion of the clause in Western texts in Lk. is due to assimilation to the text of Matthew.

The difficulty of the appearance of ‘Barachiah’ in Mt. has led to other and less probable identifications. Origen (de la Rue, iv. 845) supposed that Zacharias the father of John the Baptist was referred to, and quotes a tradition that this Zacharias was murdered in the temple. Cf. the Protev. Jacobi, 23, 24, which has a different account of the cause of the murder. Others refer to Josephus BJ iv. v. 4, where it is recorded that shortly before the last siege of Jerusalem one Zacharias the son of Baruch or Bariscaeus was murdered in the temple by the Zealots. It is therefore argued that the Evangelist has either blundered by writing ‘of Barachiah’ in reminiscence of this event, when he should have written ‘of Jehoiada,’ or that he is responsible for the whole of the clause in which this phrase occurs, and has put into Christ’s month an anachronistic statement. But, apart from the difference between the βαραχίου of the Gospels and the Βαρούχου or Βάρεις- or Βαρισχαίου of Josephus, the reference to 2 Chron. seems to satisfy the data better. The reckoning from Abel to Zechariah is Jewish in character, the ‘of Barachiah’ may be due to Jewish tradition, and the ‘between the temple and the altar’ is perhaps also due to current Jewish speculation or tradition. In the Jerusalem Talmud (Taanith 69a) the question is raised where Zechariah was killed, with the answer that it was in the court of the priests (cf. also the same tradition in Midr. Koheleth iii. 16, Pesikta R. Kahana xv., Echa, Rabbati, Introd. טו).

Literature.—Lightfoot, Horœ Hebraicœ; Merx. Die vier Evangelien; Wellhausen and Zahn in their commentaries on Matthew.

W. C. Allen.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Barachiah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/b/barachiah.html. 1906-1918.

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