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Zechariah I

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This article concerns the high priest who was summarily executed by order of King Joash of Judah. For his descendant, see Zechariah II. For other characters of this name or variants thereof, see Zechariah (disambiguation).

Zechariah (Hebrew: זכריה, Zeḵaryāh; "Name means::Remembered by YHWH") (ca. 889–m. 870–fl. 840840 BC) was the eighteenth high priest of Israel and perhaps the one who had the briefest career. Sadly, he died by an act of royal murder.


Zechariah's career was probably not longer than three months. As long as his father Jehoiada was alive, King Joash of Judah remained faithful to God. But when Jehoiada died, Joash took the bad advice of his courtiers and allowed his kingdom to fall away from God and to rebuild high places and re-erect Asherah poles (2_Chronicles 24:17-19 ).

Zechariah took exception to this and protested. (2_Chronicles 24:20 ) In retaliation, Joash gave secret orders to several of his courtiers to stone Zechariah to death in the court of the Temple of Jerusalem (2_Chronicles 24:21 ). As he died, he cried,

"May the Lord see and avenge!" - 2_Chronicles 24:22

He would not live to see the Lord's vengeance. Joash suffered a humiliating defeat by a Syrian force, paid them a tribute, and then was murdered in his bed by a conspiracy quite like that which murdered Zechariah.

New Testament reference

When Jesus Christ angrily rebuked a group of Pharisees who had protested when He did not wash his hands at the dinnertable, He told them that God would avenge the murders of the prophets,

"from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God." - Luke 11:51

He might have been speaking of this particular Zechariah, because the altar in question was probably the bronze altar of burnt offerings, which would be in the Temple court. Or He might have been speaking of the named prophet Zechariah who wrote the book that bears his name.[1]

Preceded by
Successor of::Jehoiada
Member of::High priest
Flourit::Abib 3164 AMDied::Tammuz 3164 AM
Succeeded by
Succeeded by::Zadok II


grandson of::Jehoram
grandson of::Amariah
son of::Jehosheba
son of::Jehoiada
Zechariah I
father of::Zadok II
grandfather of::Jerushah
grandfather of::Azariah II
ancestor of::Zechariah II
ancestor of::Abi
ancestor of::Urijah

He was likely born in 889 BC, the son of Jehoiada, his predecessor, and Jehosheba, princess of the House of David. He probably married early, because the Bible gives no reason to suppose that his son, Zadok II, was too young to succeed him at his death.


  1. Constable TL, "Notes on Zechariah," Sonic Light, 2008, p. 1. Accessed February 16, 2009. Requires PDF reader.