The blood of Abel (Lk 11:51-11:51)

“From the blood

Of Abel

To the blood

Of Zechariah,

Who perished

Between the altar

And the sanctuary.

Yes!

I tell you!

It will be charged

Against this generation.”

 

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said with a solemn proclamation (ναί, λέγω ὑμῖν) that from all the blood of Abel (ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἄβελ) to the blood of Zechariah (ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου), who perished between the altar and the sanctuary (τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου) would be charged against this generation (ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης).  Matthew, chapter 23:35 is similar to this, perhaps a Q source.  Jesus said this bloodshed would be charged to the Pharisees and Scribes from the blood of the righteous Abel (ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἅβελ τοῦ δικαίου) to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah (ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου).  He was murdered between the Temple sanctuary and the sacrificial altar (ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Abel was the brother that Cain killed in Genesis, chapter 4:8.  His just blood would cry out from the ground.  This Zechariah was a little more complicated.  2 Chronicles, chapter 24:20-22, has a Zechariah, the son of the priest Jehoiada who was stoned to death in the Temple courtyard.  As he was dying, he asked God to avenge his death.  However, Zechariah, the son of Barachiah in Zechariah, chapter 1:1, was a 6th century BCE prophet from a priestly family.  Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew Bible and 2 Chronicles was considered the last book of the Hebrew Bible.  Thus, all the innocent blood from the beginning of the world throughout Israelite history would be upon these Pharisees or this generation.  There would be a continuation of this innocent blood with Jesus himself.  How are you responsible for the death of Jesus?

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The innocent blood (Mt 23:35-23:35)

“Upon you

May come

All the righteous blood

Shed on earth.

This included

From the blood

Of the righteous Abel,

To the blood

Of Zechariah,

The son of Barachiah,

Whom you murdered

Between the sanctuary

And the altar.”

 

ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἐκχυννόμενον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἅβελ τοῦ δικαίου ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου, ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου.

 

This is a saying unique to Matthew.  Jesus said to these Pharisees and Scribes that all the righteous blood that was shed on earth would come upon them (ὅπως ἔλθῃ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς πᾶν αἷμα δίκαιον ἐκχυννόμενον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς).  This would be from the blood of the righteous Abel (ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος Ἅβελ τοῦ δικαίου) to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah (ἕως τοῦ αἵματος Ζαχαρίου υἱοῦ Βαραχίου).  He was murdered between the Temple sanctuary and the sacrificial altar (ὃν ἐφονεύσατε μεταξὺ τοῦ ναοῦ καὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου).  Abel was the brother that Cain killed in Genesis, chapter 4:8.  His just blood would cry out from the ground.  This Zechariah was a little more complicated.  2 Chronicles, chapter 24:20-22, has a Zechariah, the son of the priest Jehoiada who was stoned to death in the Temple courtyard.  As he was dying, he asked God to avenge his death.  However, Zechariah, the son of Barachiah in Zechariah, chapter 1:1, was a 6th century BCE prophet from a priestly family.  Genesis was the first book of the Hebrew Bible and 2 Chronicles was considered the last book of the Jewish Bible.  Thus, all the innocent blood from the beginning of the world throughout Israelite history would be upon these Pharisees.  There would be a continuation of this innocent blood with Jesus himself.

Asking Yahweh to help (Ps 79:8-79:10)

“Do not remember against us

The iniquities of our ancestors.

Let your compassion come speedily to meet us.

We are brought very low.

Help us!

O God of our salvation!

For the glory of your name!

Deliver us!

Forgive our sins!

For your name’s sake!

Why should the nations say?

‘Where is their God?’

Let the avenging of the outpoured blood

Of your servants

Be known among the nations

Before our eyes!”

Their ancestor’s iniquities should not cause a problem today. God should not remember them, rather he should have compassion on the present day lowly Israelites. The glory of God’s name should deliver them. Their sins should be forgiven for God’s name. Why should the nations say that their God is gone? He should avenge the outpoured blood on the other nations, right before their eyes.

Simon’s speech in Jerusalem (1 Macc 13:1-13:6)

“Simon heard that Trypho had assembled a large army to invade the land of Judah and destroy it. He saw that the people were trembling and fearful. So he went up to Jerusalem. He gathered the people together. He encouraged them, saying to them.

‘You yourselves know

What great things

My brothers and I

And the house of my father

Have done for the laws and the sanctuary.

You know also the wars

And the difficulties

That my brothers and I have seen.

By reason of this,

All my brothers have perished for the sake of Israel.

I alone am left.

Now, far be it from me

To spare my life

In any time of distress.

I am not better than my brothers.

But I will avenge my nation

And the sanctuary

And your wives and children.

All the nations have gathered together out of hatred to destroy us.’”

Simon, who was the governor of the coastal states, saw how afraid the Israelites were. He knew that Trypho had a large army that was attempting to destroy the people of Judah. He went to Jerusalem to gather the people there in a great assembly. He spoke to the people to encourage them to keep going. He reminded them of what his family had done. His father and all his brothers had died fighting for Judah and the law. He was the only one left, even though he was not better than his brothers. Simon had assumed that Jonathan was dead and not captured. He wanted to avenge all the nations that had attacked the Jewish people. He was going to defend the sanctuary, their wives, and their children.

King Joash kills the son of the priest Jehoiada (2 Chr 24:20-24:22)

“Then the Spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada. He stood above the people and said to them.

‘Thus says God.

Why do you transgress the commandments of Yahweh?

Thus you cannot prosper

Because you have forsaken Yahweh,

He has also forsaken you.’

But they conspired against him. By the command of King Joash they stoned him to death in the court of the house of Yahweh. King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but he killed his son. As he was dying, he said. ‘May Yahweh see and avenge!’”

This section is not found anywhere else in the biblical literature except here. The Spirit of God came on Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada. He began to prophesize in the name of Yahweh. He asked why they had transgressed the commandments of Yahweh. Generally when they say this, the prophets are referring to idolatry and false gods. There was a direct correlation between keeping the commandments and prospering. Here then is the famous phrase, because you have forsaken God, he has forsaken you. There was a revolt and a conspiracy against Zechariah. King Joash, who had been tutored and been given advice by his father Jehoiada, now turned on his son Zechariah. He had him stoned to death. The dying words of Zechariah were that Yahweh might avenge his death. This does not look good for King Joash, who up until his point had been on Yahweh’s good list. It is not clear why King Joash turned on the son of Jehoiada, except that leaders of Judah did not like him.