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?

The response of Shemaiah to Jeremiah’s letter (Jer 29:24-29:28)

“Shemaiah of Nehelam

Sent a letter to

All the people

Who are in Jerusalem,

The priest Zephaniah,

The son of Maaseiah,

As well as to all the priests.

Saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Yahweh has made you priest

Instead of the priest Jehoiada.

Thus there may be officers

In the house of Yahweh

To control any madman

Who plays the prophet.

Thus you can put him

In the stocks

With a collar.

Now why have you not rebuked

Jeremiah of Anathoth

Who plays the prophet for you?

He has actually sent to us

In Babylon,

Saying.

‘It will be a long time.

Build houses!

Live in them!

Plant gardens!

Eat what they produce!’”

Apparently this prophet Shemaiah of Nehelam in Babylon was upset at the letter that Jeremiah sent. So he responded with another letter to the priests at Jerusalem, especially Zephaniah, who had the same father as the slain prophet Zedekiah, so that he would have been his brother. He indicated that Zephaniah had replaced Jehoiada as the chief priest. Thus he had the power to control mad men who pretended to be prophets. In particular, he named Jeremiah as this kind of mad man who told them in Babylon to stay there, build houses, live in them, plant gardens, and eat from them. Shemaiah thought that this was a crazy idea.

The defiled priest (Neh 13:28-13:29)

“One of the sons of Jehoiada, son of the high priest Eliashib, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore, I chased him from me.

‘Remember them,

O my God,

Because they have defiled the priesthood

The covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.’”

Nehemiah specifically chased the son of Jehoiada, the grandson of the high priest Eliashib, because he had married a non-Jewish person. It does not say if he inflicted physical punishment on him. Certainly, he had defiled the priesthood. Once again, he has a little prayer to God to remember the covenant about the defilement of the priesthood.

 

King Joash allows idol worship (2 Chr 24:17-24:19)

“Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to King Joash. Then the king listened to them. They abandoned the house of Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. They served the sacred poles and the idols. Wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their guilt. Nevertheless, God sent prophets among them to bring them back to Yahweh. These testified against them. However, they would not listen.”

This is not to found anywhere in the biblical literature, but is consistent with what was going on at that time. There was a continual return to the idols and the sacred poles since this must have been popular with people rather than the worship of Yahweh at the Temple of Jerusalem. However, Yahweh sent prophets to warn them, but they did not listen to his prophets.

 

The repair of the Temple of Yahweh (2 Chr 24:12-24:14)

“King Joash and Jehoiada gave the money to those who had charge of the work of the house of Yahweh. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of Yahweh. They also had workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of Yahweh. So those who were engaged in the work labored. The repairs went forward in their hands. They restored the house of God to its proper condition. In fact, they strengthened it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada. With this money they made utensils for the house of Yahweh, utensils for the service and for the burnt offerings, ladles, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt offerings in the house of Yahweh regularly all the days of Jehoiada.”

This once again is loosely based on 2 Kings, chapter 12. They gave the money to the people who had the oversight of the repairs. They were to pay the workers and materials for this work. Unlike 2 Kings, where there was no money for the basins, gold and silver vessels, or trumpets, here there is plenty of money for the gold and silver vessels of the Temple. There is nothing here about whether they kept a good accounting of the money or not. Finally there is no mention that that the priests got the money from the sin offerings as in 2 Kings.

King Joash restores the Temple (2 Chr 24:4-24:7)

“Some time afterward, King Joash decided to restore the house of Yahweh. He assembled the priests and the Levites. He said to them. ‘Go out to the cities of Judah. Gather money from all Israel to repair the house of your God, year by year. See that you act quickly!’ However, the Levites did not act quickly. So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief. He said to him. ‘Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax levied by Moses, the servant of Yahweh, on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the covenant?’ The children of Queen Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God. They had even used all the dedicated things of the house of Yahweh for the Baals.”

This is loosely based on 2 Kings, chapter 12. This section is kinder and gentler towards the Levites and priests than 2 Kings. King Joash had a special relationship to the priests and the temple because of his early upbringing. Here he wants them to go out all over Judah and get the money to repair the Temple quickly, instead of just from donations. Here there is no mention that he waited 23 years for the Temple to be repaired. Then he summoned his old master the priest Jehoiada with the other priests. Here the explanation for the repair of the Temple is due to the evil Queen Athaliah who let the Baal worshipers ruin the Temple and use the sacred vessels. There is nothing about not taking any more money until the Temple is repaired. Also there is no mention that the priests said that they were not going to repair the Temple.

King Joash (2 Chr 24:1-24:3)

“King Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. He reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. King Joash did what was right in the sight of Yahweh all the days of the priest Jehoiada. Jehoiada got two wives for him. He had sons and daughters.”

This is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 12, except there is nothing about how people were still worshipping and making sacrifices at the high places. This biblical chronicler decided not to mention that. King Joash was 7 when he was crowned king. King Joash ruled for 40 years so that his impact was important. He was a good king because he followed Yahweh as long as the priest Jehoiada was there to guide him. He had been instructed by the priest Jehoiada during his first 7 years. Once again we see the importance of early childhood learning. Zibiah was his mother but we never hear of her otherwise, unlike Athaliah or Jezebel. Notice the priest Jehoiada got him 2 wives.