1. A person mentioned in Mt 23:35; Lu 11:51, and most probably designating the son of the high-priest Jehoida, or Barachias, who was stoned to death by order of king Joash for publicly rebuking the king, his court and the people for their growing corruption, 2Ch 24:20-22. Some suppose the prophet Zechariah to be intended; but history gives no account of his death. Others refer it to a Zacharias the son of Baruch, who was put to death just before the destruction of Jerusalem; but it seems unnatural and unnecessary to suppose that Christ here spoke prophetically.
2. A priest belonging to the eighth course or class, called that of Abia, 1Ch 24, the husband of Elisabeth, and father of John the Baptist. His residence, when not on duty, was in the hill-country south of Jerusalem. He is known to us by his pious and blameless life; his vision of Gabriel in the temple, promising him a son in his old age; his hesitancy in believing, for which he was visited by a temporary dumbness; his miraculous restoration at the circumcision of his son; and his noble and prophetic song of praise, Lu 1:5-25,57-59.
(1.) A priest of the course of Abia, the eighth of the twenty-four courses into which the priests had been originally divided by David (1Ch 23:1-19). Only four of these courses or "families" of the priests returned from the Exile (Ezr 2:36-39); but they were then re-distributed under the old designations. The priests served at the temple twice each year, and only for a week each time. Zacharias's time had come for this service. During this period his home would be one of the chambers set apart for the priests on the sides of the temple ground. The offering of incense was one of the most solemn parts of the daily worship of the temple, and lots were drawn each day to determine who should have this great honour, an honour which no priest could enjoy more than once during his lifetime.
While Zacharias ministered at the golden altar of incense in the holy place, it was announced to him by the angel Gabriel that his wife Elisabeth, who was also of a priestly family, now stricken in years, would give birth to a son who was to be called John, and that he would be the forerunner of the long-expected Messiah (Lu 1:12-17). As a punishment for his refusing to believe this message, he was struck dumb and "not able to speak until the day that these things should be performed" (Lu 1:20). Nine months passed away, and Elisabeth's child was born, and when in answer to their inquiry Zacharias wrote on a "writing tablet," "His name is John," his mouth was opened, and he praised God (60-79). The child (John the Baptist), thus "born out of due time," "waxed strong in spirit" (1:80).
(2.) The "son of Barachias," mentioned as having been slain between the temple and the altar (Mt 23:35; Lu 11:51). "Barachias" here may be another name for Jehoiada, as some think. (See Zechariah.)
1. Father of John the Baptist. (Lu 1:5). (See JOHN THE BAPTIST.) Of the course of Abia or Abijah, eighth of the 24 (1Ch 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: Re 8:3-4; Ps 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 Ps 116:10; 2Co 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 (Lu 1:45,38).
Faith (dictating the name for his son given by the angel: Lu 1:13,63-64) 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 (2Co 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. (Lu 1:68-80; Isa 12:1-3; Zec 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 (Da 7:8; 8:9-14,11; 12:1-3).
2. Son of Barachias (Mt 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 (2Ch 23:14; 24:20-22,25). 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 (Re 6:9-11; Lu 18:7), so Stephen's prayer is the gospel loving side of it (Ac 7:60). Though Urijah was slain subsequently to Zacharias (Jer 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 Lu 11:51, perhaps the words in Matthew were a marginal gloss, confusing this Zacharias with Zechariah the prophet, son of Berechiah.
1. Son of Barachias, who was slain between the temple and the altar. Mt 23:35; Lu 11:51. This probably refers to Zecharias the son of Jehoiada, who was thus slain by order of the king. '/2-Chronicles/24/20'>2Ch 24:20-22; 'son' in one of the places may signify 'grandson.' As the Book of Chronicles closes the Hebrew Bible, this assassination of a righteous man may well be deemed the last as that of Abel was the first.
2. Priest of the course of Abia, and father of John the Baptist. Because of his unbelief he was dumb until the child was born. When his son was circumcised, his voice was restored, and being full of the Holy Ghost he praised God and prophesied. His friends proposed the same name for his son; but he objected, and the babe was named John, as directed by the angel. Luke 1.
(Greek form of Zechariah).
1. Father of John the Baptist.
etc. He was a priest of the course of Abia. the eighth of the twenty-four courses who ministered at the temple in turn. He probably lived at Hebron. His wife's name was Elisabeth. John was born to them in their old age, and the promise of this son was communicated to Zacharias by an angel while he was offering incense and praying in the temple.
2. Son of Barachias, who, our Lord says, was slain by the Jews between the altar and the temple.
Mt 23:35; Lu 11:54
There has been much dispute who this Zacharias was. Many of the Greek fathers have maintained that the father of John the Baptist is the person to whom our Lord alludes but there can be little or no doubt that the allusion is to Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada,
and he may have been called "the son" of Barachias from his grandfather. (B.C. 838.) He is mentioned as being the martyr last recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures (as Abel was the first) -d Chronicles being the last book in their canon.