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Zechariah


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(Heb. Zekaryah', זְכִרְיָה , remembered of Jehovah; occasionally [1 Chronicles 5:7; 1 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 24:25; 1 Chronicles 26:2; 1 Chronicles 26:1; 1 Chronicles 26:14; 1 Chronicles 27:21; 2 Chronicles 20:14; 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 26:5; 2 Chronicles 29:13; 2 Chronicles 35:8] in the prolonged form Zekarya'hu, זְכִרַיָהוּ; Sept., N.T., and Josephus, Ζαχαρίας ), the name of many Hebrews, besides Zacharias (q.v.), the father of John the Baptist.

1. (Sept. Ζακχούρ v.r. Ζαχχούρ .) Ninth named of the ten sons of Jehiel, the father or founder of Gibeon (1 Chronicles 9:37). B.C. cir. 1618. In 1 Chronicles 8:31 he is called ZACHER (See ZACHER) (q.v.).

2. Son of Meshelemiah, or Shelemiah, a Korhite, and keeper of the north gate of the tabernacle of the congregation (1 Chronicles 9:21) in the arrangement of the porters in the reign of David. B.C. 1043. In 1 Chronicles 26:2; 1 Chronicles 26:14, he is described. as "one counseling with understanding."

3. A Levite in the Temple band as arranged by David, appointed to play "with psalteries on Alamoth" (1 Chronicles 15:20; comp. 16:5). He was of the second order of Levites (1 Chronicles 15:18), a porter or gate-keeper, and may possibly be the same as the preceding or the following.

4. One of the priests who blew with the trumpets in the procession which accompanied the ark from the house of Obed-edom (1 Chronicles 15:24). B.C. 1043.

5. Son of Isshiahi or Jesiah, a Kohathite Levite descended from Uzziel (1 Chronicles 24:25). B.C. 1043. 6. Fourth son of Hosah of the children of Merari (1 Chronicles 26:11). B.C. 1043.

7. (Sept. Ζαδαίας v.r. Ζαβδίας.) A Manassite, whose son Iddo was chief of his tribe in Gilead in the reign of David (1 Chronicles 27:21). B.C. 1014.

8. The son of Benaiah and father of Jahaziel, which last was a Gershonite Levite in the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:14). B.C. ante 912.

9. Third named of the five princes of Judah in the reign of Jehoshaphat who were sent with priests and Levites to teach the people the law of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 17:7). B.C. 910.

10. Fourth named of the seven sons of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 21:2). B.C. 887.

11. (Sept. Αζαρίας .) Son of the high-priest Jehoiada, in the reign of Joash, king of Judah (2 Chronicles 24:20), and therefore the king's cousin. B.C. 838. After the death of Jehoiada, Zechariah probably succeeded to his office, and in attempting to check the reaction in favor of idolatry which immediately followed, he fell a victim to a conspiracy formed against him by the king, and was stoned with stones in the court of the Temple. His dying cry was not that of the first Christian martyr, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge" (Acts 7:60), but, "The Lord look upon it, and require it" (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). The memory of this unrighteous deed lasted long in Jewish tradition. In the Jerusalem Talmud (Taanith, fol. 69, quoted by Lightfoot, Temple Service, ch. 36) there is a legend told of eighty thousand young priests who were slain by Nebuzaradan for the blood of Zechariah, and the evident hold which the story had taken upon the minds of the people renders it probable that "Zacharias son of Barachias," who was slain between the Temple and the altar (Matthew 23:35), is the same with Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, and that the name of Barachias as his father crept into the text from a marginal gloss, the writer confusing this Zechariah either with Zechariah the prophet, who was the son of Berechiah, or with another Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah (Isaiah 8:2). See Castens, De Zacharita Berechice Filio (Lips. 1720); Huth, Ccedes Abelis et Zachariae (Erlang. 1756); and the Stud. u. Krit. 1841, 2, 673. (See ZACHARIAS).

12. A prophet in the reign of Uzziah who appears to have acted as the king's counselor, but of whom nothing is known (2 Chronicles 26:5). B.C. 807. The chronicler in describing him makes use of a most remarkable and unique expression "Zechariah, who understood the seeing of God," or, as our A.V. has it, "who had understanding in the visions of God" (comp. Daniel 1:17). As no such term is ever employed elsewhere in the description of any prophet, it has been questioned whether the reading of the received text is the true one. The Sept., Targum, Syriac, Arabic, Pashi, and Kimchi, with many of Kennicott's MSS., read ביראת, "in the fear of," for בראות, and their reading is most probably the correct one. Smith.

13. (Sept. Ζαχαρία ) A chief of the Reubenites at the time of the captivity by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chronicles 5, 7). B.C. cir. 740.

14. The father of Abijah, or Abi, Hezekiah's mother (2 Chronicles 29:1); mentioned also in 2 Kings 18:2 (Sept. Ζαγχαῖος , A. V. "Zachariah"). B.C. ante 726.

15. Second named of the "sons" of Asaph the minstrel, who in the reign of Hezekiah took part with other Levites in the purification of the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:13). B.C. 726.

16. The son of Jeberechiah, who was taken by the prophet Isaiah as one of the "faithful witnesses to record," when he wrote concerning Maher-shalal- hash-baz (Isaiah 8:2). B.C. 723. He was not the same as Zechariah the prophet, who lived in the time of Uzziah and died before that king, but he may have been the Levite of that name who in the reign of Hezekiah assisted in the purification of the Temple (2 Chronicles 29:13). As Zechariah the prophet is called the son of Berechiah, with which Jeberechiah is all but identical, Bertholdt (Einleit. 4:1722, 1727) conjectured that some of the prophecies attributed to him, at any rate ch. 9-11, were really the production of Zechariah, the contemporary of Isaiah, and were appended to the volume of the later prophet of the same name (Gesenius, Der Proph. Jesaia, 1, 327). Another conjecture is that Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah is the same as Zechariah the father of Abijah, the queen of Ahaz (Poli Synopsis, ad loc.); the witnesses summoned by Isaiah being thus men of the highest ecclesiastical and civil rank.

17. The son of Jeroboam II, being the fourteenth king of Israel, and the last of the house of Jehu. There is a difficulty about the date of his reign. We are told that Amaziah ascended the throne of Judah in the second year of Joash king of Israel, and reigned 29 years (2 Kings 14:1-2). He was succeeded by Uzziah or Azariah in the 27th year of Jeroboam II, the successor of Joash (2 Kings 15:1), and Uzziah reigned 52 years. On the other hand, Joash king of Israel reigned 16 years (2 Kings 13:10), was succeeded by Jeroboam, who reigned 41 years (2 Kings 14:23), and he by Zechariah, who came to the throne in the 38th year of Uzziah king of Judah (2 Kings 15:8). Thus we have (1) from the accession of Amaziah to the 38th of Uzziah 29+38=67 years; but (2) from the second year of Joash to the accession of Zechariah (or at least to the death of Jeroboam) we have 15+41 =56 years. Further, the accession of Uzziah, placed in the 27th year of Jeroboam, according to the above reckoning, occurred in the 15th. This latter synchronism is confirmed, and that with the 27th year of Jeroboam contradicted, by 2 Kings 14:17, which tells us that Amaziah king of Judah survived Joash king of Israel by 15 years. Most chronologers assume an interregnum of 11 years between Jeroboam's death and Zechariah's accession, during which the, kingdom was suffering from the anarchy of a disputed succession, but this does not solve the difference between 2 Kings 14:17 and 2 Kings 15:1. We are reduced to understand the number 27 in 2 Kings 15:1 as referring to the years of Jeroboam's viceroyship on the occasion of his father's war with Syria (2 Kings 13:14-25). (See CHRONOLOGY).

Josephus (Ant. 9:10, 3) places Uzziah's accession in the 14th year of Jeroboam, a variation of a year in these synchronisms being unavoidable, since the Hebrew annalists in giving their dates do not reckon fractions of years. But in any case we must place Zechariah's accession early in B.C. 770. His reign lasted only six months. He was killed in a conspiracy of which Shallum (q.v.) was the head, and by which the prophecy in 10:30 was accomplished. We are told that during his brief term of power he did evil, and kept up the calf-worship inherited from the first Jeroboam, which his father had maintained in regal splendor at Bethel (Amos 7:13). (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF).

In the English version of 2 Kings 15:10 we read "And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead." And so the Vulg., "percussitque eum palam et interfecit." But in the Sept we find Κεβλαάμ instead of before the people, i.e. Shallum and Keblaam killed Zechariah. The common editions read ἐν Κεβλαάμ meaning that Shallum killed Zechariah in Keblaam; but no place of such a name is known, and there is nothing in the Hebrew to answer to ἐν. The words translated before the people, Κεβλαάμ, palam, are קָבָל עָ . Ewald (Geschichte, 3, 598) maintains that קָבָל never occurs in prose [Is not the objection rather that the word is Chaldee? It occurs repeatedly in Daniel (Daniel 2:31; Daniel 3:3; Daniel 5:1; Daniel 5:5; Daniel 5:10), and also in the Chaldee portions of Ezra (Ezra 4:16; Ezra 6:13)], and that עָם would be = הָעָם if the Latin and English translations were correct. He also observes that in 2 Kings 15:14; 2 Kings 15:25; 2 Kings 15:30, where almost the same expression is used of the deaths of Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah, the words before the people are omitted. Hence he accepts the translation in the Vatican MS. of the Sept., and considers that Kabalam or Κεβλαάμ was a fellow- conspirator or rival of Shallum, of whose subsequent fate we have no information. On the death of Zechariah, Shallum was made king, but after reigning in Samaria for a month only, was in his turn dethroned and killed by. Menahem. To these events Ewald refers the obscure passage in Zechariah 11:8 : "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month, and my soul abhorred them" the three shepherds being Zechariah, Kabalam, and Shallum. This is very ingenious: we must remember, however, that Ewald, like certain English divines (Mede, Hammond, Newcome, Seeker Pyve Smith), thinks that the latter chapters of the prophecies of Zechariah belong to an earlier date than the rest of the book. (See ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF).

18. A Kohathite Levite in the reign of Josiah, who was one of the overseers of the workmen engaged in the restoration of the Temple (2 Chronicles 34:12). B.C. 628.

19. Second named of the three rulers of the Temple in the reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:8). B.C. 628. He was probably, as Bertheau conjectures, "the second priest" (comp. 2 Kings 25:18).

20. Son of Shiloni and father of Joiarib among the descendants of Perez (Nehemiah 11:5). B.C. long ante 536.

21. A priest, son of Pashur and father of Amzi (Nehemiah 11:12). B.C. long ante 536.

22. Son of Amariah and father of Uzziah, of the family of Perez (Nehemiah 11:4). B.C. ante 536.

23. The representative of the priestly family of Iddo in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua (Nehemiah 12:16). B.C. 536. He was possibly the same as Zechariah the prophet the son of Iddo.

24. The eleventh in order of the twelve minor prophets.

1. Of his personal history we know but little. He is called in his prophecy the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo, whereas in the book of Ezra (5:1; 6:14) he is said to have been the son of Iddo. Various attempts have been made to reconcile this discrepancy. Cyril of Alexandria (Pref. Comment. ad Zechariah) supposes that Berechiah was the father of Zechariah according to the flesh, and that Iddo was his instructor, and might be regarded as his spiritual father. Jerome, too, according to some MSS., has in Zechariah 1:1, "filium Barachia, filium Addo,"as if he supposed that Berechiah and Iddo were different names of the same person, and the same mistake occurs in the Sept. τὸν τοῦ Βαραχίου υἱὸν Ἀδδώ. Gesenius (Lex. s.v. בֵּן ) and Rosenmü ller (On Zechariah 1, 1) take בִּר in the passages in Ezra to mean: "grandson," as in Genesis 29:5 Laban is termed "then son," i.e. "grandson," of Nahor. Others, again, have suggested that in the text of Ezra no mention is made of Berechiah, because he was already dead, or because Iddo was the more distinguished person, and the generally recognized head of the family. Knobel thinks that the name of Berechiah has crept into the present text of Zechariah from Isaiah 8:2, where mention is made of a Zechariah "the son of Jeberechiah," which is virtually the same name (Sept. Βαραχίου ) as Berechiah. His theory is that ch. 9-11 of our present book of Zechariah are really the work of the older Zechariah (Isaiah 8:2); that a later scribe finding the two books, one bearing the name of Zechariah the son of Iddo, and the other that of Zechariah the son of Berechiah, united them into one, and at the same time combined the titles of the two, and that hence arose the confusion which at present exists. This, however, is hardly a probable hypothesis. It is surely more natural to suppose, as the prophet himself mentions his father's name, whereas the historical books of Ezra and Nehemiah mention only Iddo, that Berechiah had died early, and that there was now no intervening link between the grandfather and the grandson. The son, in giving his pedigree, does not omit his father's name: the historian passes it over as of one who was but little known or already forgotten. This view is confirmed if we suppose the Iddo here mentioned to have been the Iddo the priest who, in Nehemiah 12:4, is said to have returned from Babylon in company with Zerubbabel and Joshua. He is there said to have had a son Zechariah (Nehemiah 12:16), who was contemporary with Joachim the son of Joshua; and this falls in with the hypothesis that owing to some unexplained cause-perhaps the death of his father Zechariah became the next representative of the family after his grandfather Iddo. Zechariah, according to this view, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel before him, was priest as well as prophet. He seems to have entered upon his office while yet young (נִעִר Zechariah 2:4; comp. Jeremiah 1:6), and must have been born in Babylon, whence he returned with the first caravan of exiles under Zerubbabel and Joshua.

It was in the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, that he first publicly discharged his office. B.C. 519. In this he acted in concert with Haggai, who must have been considerably his senior if, as seems not improbable, Haggai had been carried into captivity, and hence had himself been one of those who had seen "the house" of Jehovah "in her first glory" (Haggai 2:3). Both prophets had the same great object before them; both directed all their energies to the building of the second Temple. Haggai seems to have led the way in this work, and then to have left it chiefly in the hands of his younger contemporary. The foundations of the new building had already been laid in the time of Cyrus, but during the reigns of Cambyses and the pseudo Smerdis the work had been broken off through the jealousies of the Samaritans. When, however, Darius Hystaspis ascended the throne (521) things took a more favorable turn. He seems to have been a large-hearted and gracious prince, and to have been well- disposed towards the Jews. Encouraged by the hopes, which his accession held out, the prophets exerted themselves to the utmost to secure the completion of the Temple. From this time, for a space of nearly two years, the prophet's voice was silent, or his words have not been recorded. But in the fourth year of king Darius, in the fourth day of the ninth month, there came a deputation of Jews to the Temple, anxious to know whether the fast-days which had been instituted during the seventy years captivity were still to be observed.

On the one hand, now that the captivity was at an end, and Jerusalem was rising from her ashes such set times of mourning seemed quite out of place. On the other hand, there was still much ground for serious uneasiness; for some time after their return they had suffered severely from drought and famine (Haggai 1:6-11), and who could tell that they would not so suffer again? The hostility of their neighbors had not ceased; they were still regarded with no common jealousy; and large numbers of their brethren had not yet returned from Babylon. It was a question, therefore, that seemed to admit of much debate. It is impossible not to see of how great moment, under such circumstances, and for the discharge of the special duty with which he was entrusted, would be the priestly origin of Zechariah.

Too often the prophet had to stand forth in direct antagonism to the priest. In an age when the service of God had stiffened into formalism, and the priests lips no longer kept knowledge, the prophet was the witness for the truth, which lay beneath the outward ceremonial, and without which the outward ceremonial was worthless. But the thing to be dreaded now was not superstitious formalism, but cold neglect. There was no fear now lest in a gorgeous temple, amid the splendors of an imposing ritual and the smoke of sacrifices ever ascending to heaven, the heart and life of religion should be lost. The fear was all the other way, lest even the body, the outward form and service, should be suffered to decay. The foundations of the Temple had indeed been laid, but that was all (Ezra 5:16). Discouraged by-the opposition which they had encountered at first, the Jewish colony had begun to build, and were not able to finish; and even when the letter came from Darius sanctioning the work, and promising his protection, they showed no hearty disposition to engage in it. At such a time no more fitting instrument could be found to rouse the people, whose heart had grown cold, than one who united to the authority of the prophet the zeal and the traditions of a sacerdotal family. Accordingly, to Zechariah's influence we find the rebuilding of the Temple in a great measure ascribed. "And the elders of the Jews builded," it is said, "and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo" (Ezra 6:14).

It is remarkable that in this juxtaposition of the two names both are not styled prophets-not "Haggai and Zechariah the prophets," but "Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo." Is it an improbable conjecture that Zechariah is designated by his father's (or grandfather's) name, rather than by his office, in order to remind us of his priestly character? Be this as it may, we find other indications of the close union which now subsisted between the priests and the prophets. Various events connected with the taking of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon had led to the institution of solemn fast-days; and we find that when a question arose as to the propriety of observing these fast-days, now that the city and the Temple were rebuilt, the question was referred to "the priests which were in the house of Jehovah, and to the prophets" a recognition not only of the joint authority, but of the harmony subsisting between the two bodies, without parallel in Jewish history. The manner, too, in which Joshua the high-priest is spoken of in this prophecy shows how lively a sympathy Zechariah felt towards him.

Later traditions assume, what is indeed very probable, that Zechariah took personally an active part in providing for the liturgical service of the Temple. He and Haggai are both said to have composed psalms with this view. According to the Sept., Psalm 137:145; according to the Peshito, 125, 126; according to the Vulg., 111, are psalms of Haggai and Zechariah. The triumphant "hallelujah," with which many of them open, was supposed to be characteristic of those psalms which were first chanted in the second Temple, and came with an emphasis of meaning from the lips of those who had been restored to their native land The allusions, moreover, with which these psalms abound, as well as their place in the Psalter, leave us in no doubt as to the time when they were composed, and lend confirmation to the tradition respecting their authorship. If the later Jewish accounts (the Talmudic tract Megillah, 17:2; 18:1; Rashi ad Baba Bathra, 15:1) may be trusted, Zechariah, as well as Haggai, was a member of the great synagogue. The patristic notices of the prophet are worth nothing. According to these, he exercised his prophetic office in Chaldea, and wrought many miracles there; returned to Jerusalem at an advanced age, where he discharged the duties of the priesthood, and where he died and was buried by the side of Haggai (Pseudepiph. De Proph. c. 21; Dorotheus, p. 144; Isidorus, c. 51).

2. The genuine writings of Zechariah help us but little in our estimation of his character. Some faint traces, however, we may observe in them of his education in Babylon. Less free and independent than he would have been had his feet trodden from childhood the soil.

"Where each old poetic mountain Inspiration breathed around,"

he leans avowedly on the authority of the older prophets, and copies their expressions. Jeremiah especially seems to have been his favorite, and hence the Jewish saying that "the spirit of Jeremiah dwelt in Zechariah." But in what may be called the peculiarities of his prophecy he approaches more nearly to Ezekiel and Daniel. Like them, he delights in visions; like them, he uses symbols and allegories rather than the bold figures and metaphors which lend so much force and beauty to the writings of the earlier prophets; like them, he beholds angels ministering before' Jehovah and fulfilling his behests on the earth. He is the only one of the prophets who speaks of Satan. That some of these peculiarities are owing to his Chaldean education can hardly be doubted. It is at least remarkable that both Ezekiel and Daniel, who must have been influenced by the same associations, should in some of these respects so closely resemble Zechariah, widely as they differ from him in others.

Even in the form of the visions a careful criticism might perhaps discover some traces of the prophet's early training. Possibly the "valley of myrtles" in the first vision may have been suggested by Chaldaea rather than by Palestine. At any rate, it is a curious fact that myrtles are rarely mentioned in the history of the Jews before the Exile. They are found, besides this passage of Zechariah, in Isaiah 41:19; Isaiah 55:13, and in Nehemiah 8:15. The forms of trial in the third vision, where Joshua the high-priest is arraigned, seem borrowed from the practice of Persian rather than Jewish courts of law. The filthy garments in which Joshua appears are those which the accused must assume when brought to trial. The white robe put upon him is the caftan or robe of honor, which to this day in the East is put upon the minister of state who has been acquitted of the charges laid against him. The vision of the woman in the Ephah is also Oriental in its character. Ewald refers to a very similar vision in Tod's Rajasthan, 2, 688. Finally, the chariots issuing from between two mountains of brass must have been suggested, there can scarcely be any doubt, by some Persian symbolism. (See ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF).

25. The leader of the one hundred and fifty "sons" of Pharosh who returned with Ezra (Ezra 8:3). B.C. 459.

26. The leader of the twenty-eight "sons" of Bebai, who came up from Babylon with Ezra (Ezra 8:11). B.C. 459,

27. One of the chiefs of the people whom Ezra summoned in council at the river Ahava, before the second caravan returned from Babylon (Ezra 8:16). B.C. 459. He stood at Ezra's left hand when he expounded the law to the people (Nehemiah 8:4).

28. (Sept. Ζαχαρία .) One of the family of Elam, who had married a foreign wife after the Captivity (Ezra 10:26). B.C. 458.

29. One of the priests, son of Jonathan, who blew with the trumpets at the dedication of the city wall by Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:35; Nehemiah 12:41). B.C. 446.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zechariah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/z/zechariah.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Saturday, October 31st, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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