Matthew 23:34–35—Did Jesus make a mistake in referring to Zechariah the son of Jehoiada rather than to Zechariah the son of Berechiah?

Problem: Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees that the guilt of all the righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah will fall on them. Concerning Zechariah, Jesus said he was killed between the sanctuary and the altar. Some conclude that the Zechariah referred to by Christ is the son of Jehoiada (2 Chron. 24:20–22).

Solution: The Zechariah referred to has to be the son of Berechiah. This Zechariah is one of the minor prophets, and his father is listed as Berechiah (Zech. 1:1). He would be the most likely candidate because the other Zechariah (son of Jehoiada) died about 800 b.c. If one thinks Christ referred to this Zechariah, then the time span from Abel to this Zechariah would not cover the OT period, which extended to 400 b.c. Abel to Zechariah the son of Berechiah would make a much better sweep of the OT period than would the period from Abel to Zechariah the son of Jehoiada. Since many Zechariahs are mentioned in the OT, it would not be too difficult to imagine two Zechariahs dying from similar circumstances.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.