[b-hebrew] Tradition of Zechariah's Murder

CS Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 5 15:12:55 EDT 2004

On 4/5/04 11:15 AM, "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org> wrote:

> Edersheim (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol.II p.414 in my
> 1886 edition) refers to the murder of "Zacharias, the son of Baruch" as
> reported by Josephus, War iv. 5.4, Maybe this is the correct Josephus
> reference. But it seems to be to a death in the final siege of Jerusalem.

Looks right:

Here is the ancient WWinston translation:

War.4.5.4. (334) And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of
barely killing men, so they had the impudence of setting up fictitious
tribunals and judicatures for that purpose; (335) and as they intended to
have Zacharias,2 the son of Baruch, one of the most eminent of the citizens,
slain,‹so what provoked them against him was, that hatred of wickedness and
love of liberty which were so eminent in him: he was also a rich man, so
that by taking him off, they did not only hope to seize his effects, but
also to get rid of a man that had great power to destroy them. (336) So they
called together, by a public proclamation, seventy of the principal men of
the populace, for a show, as if they were real judges, while they had no
proper authority. Before these was Zacharias accused of a design to betray
their polity to the Romans, and having traitorously sent to Vespasian for
that purpose. (337) Now there appeared no proof or sign of what he was
accused; but they affirmed themselves that they were well persuaded that so
it was, and desired that such their affirmation might be taken for
sufficient evidence. (338) Now when Zacharias clearly saw that there was no
way remaining for his escape from them, as having been treacherously called
before them, and then put in prison, but not with any intention of a legal
trial, he took great liberty of speech in that despair of life he was under.
Accordingly he stood up, and laughed a their pretended accusation, and in a
few words confuted the crimes laid to his charge; (339) after which he
turned his speech to his accusers, and went over distinctly all their
transgressions of the law, and made heavy lamentations upon the confusion
they had brought public affairs to: (340) in the meantime the zealots grew
tumultuous, and had much ado to abstain from drawing their swords, although
they designed to preserve the appearance and show of judicature to the end.
They were also desirous, on other accounts, to try the judges, whether they
would be mindful of what was just at their own peril. (341) Now the seventy
judges brought in their verdict, that the person accused was not guilty,‹as
choosing rather to die themselves with him, than to have his death laid at
their doors; (342) hereupon there rose a great clamor of the zealots upon
his acquittal, and they all had indignation at the judges, for not
understanding that the authority that was given them was but in jest. (343)
So two of the boldest of them fell upon Zacharias in the middle of the
temple, and slew him; and as he fell down dead they bantered him, and said,
³Thou hast also our verdict, and this will prove a more sure acquittal to
thee than the other.² They also threw him down out of the temple immediately
into the valley beneath it. (344) Moreover, they struck the judges with the
backs of their swords, by way of abuse, and thrust them out of the court of
the temple, and spared their lives with no other design than that, when they
were dispersed among the people in the city, they might become their
messengers, to let them know they were no better than slaves.

***end quote***

Clay Bartholomew 

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