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In Eicha (and in Kinnot), there's mention of a "Cohen and Navi" that was killed. Traditionally, this is ascribed to a Navi Zecharia who lived in the time of Yoash who was killed in the Beit Hamikdash.

I am only aware of two original references to the story -- a minor mention in Divrei Hayamim (II 24:20-22), and a story in the Bavli (Sanhedrin 96b) about Nevuzeradan. I was wondering if there were any other sources or takes on this, as this seems quite incomplete (e.g. who exactly Zecharia was, what the reason for his killing was, and why it was deemed so evil that his blood remained boiling for 200 years).

Specifically:

1) There have been many Neviim who were murdered, and yet this is the only one (that we know of) that was given significance by the fact that the blood remained boiling for 200 years. It seems to me there must have been a reason beyond a "kohen and navi" for this to happen.

2) This event was accorded significance by the Rabbis (the fact that the story of Nevuzeradan is brought down in Talmud), and yet we know more about Nevuzeradan than Zecharia . I am looking for any other midrashic sources that can reference either half of the story, or any rabbinical source that examines their importance.

  • The verses in Chronicles seem pretty clear who he was; I'm not sure what else you want to know about him. Why it was so evil seems pretty obvious, no? – Double AA Aug 6 '14 at 17:36
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    1) It's no different from countless other Neviim who were killed. Why out of all of them is this person's blood still bubbling 200 years later? 2) If this story was had some significant importance (as shown by the miracle with his blood), then why aren't there other references to it either in Tanach (i.e. Melachim -- where I would have expected it), or in Talmud. – Nic Aug 6 '14 at 17:45
  • @Nic, might I suggest you edit into the question your motivation for asking it? Comments are ephemeral, and, even while they're here, not everyone who reads your question will read the comments. The more potential answerers know about what's bugging you, the better they can tailor their answers to address your concerns. – msh210 Aug 6 '14 at 23:50
  • ok. I will edit the specifics into the question – Nic Aug 7 '14 at 12:06
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There is no atoning for killing a priest-prophet.

The Talmud in Sanhedrin 7b says that the reason Ahron abided the golden calf is because he reasoned that were he to resist, he would be slaughtered as Hur had been, leaving the people no recourse, citing the verse from Lamentations. At least with the sin of the golden calf there was a possibility of repentance to avert utter catastrophe.

Rashi there explains that the severity of the sin is evident from the slaying of Zechariah son of Jehoiada, also a prophet-priest, who's death caused the destruction of the Temple.

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  • Thanks! This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. It looks like according to Rashi, murdering a "cohen+navi" is enough. I wonder if this threat afforded extra protection to Yirmiyahu (they kept on throwing him in jail, but apparently never really considered killing him). – Nic Aug 7 '14 at 12:27
  • They tried, albeit indirectly: mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et1138.htm – Baby Seal Aug 7 '14 at 13:28
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What makes this particular murder stand out is the ingratitude associated with it. Zechariah's father, Yehoyada, kin Yehoash's mentor, saved his life from Athaliah, and took great measures to set him on the throne. The murder of Zechariah was authorized by Yehoash himself, who was indebted for his own life to Yehoyada and his descendants. The biblical account of Yehoiada's favor can be found In Divrei Hayamim 22:10-23:21. The next perek deals with Yehoash's 40 year rule and the events of that time. The incident in question is recorded in Pesukim 17-22, and Pasuk 25 indicates that the killing of Zechariah was a motive for the conspiracy in which Yehoash was assassinated.

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    Shalom Moshe and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Can you provide some sources for this information? – Y     e     z Aug 8 '14 at 3:33
  • In the Biblical account in Divrei Hayamim B 24:17-22. Note in Pasuk 25 the incident is mentioned as a motive for the conspiracy against Yehoash. – Moshe Segal Aug 8 '14 at 20:40
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The reference is to a kohen and a navi who was killed in the bais hamikdash on Yom Kippur that fell on shabbos, (Yerush. Taanit 4:5). The comments as to the nevua that he was killed for also show the seriousness of it. However, the main aspect is the human blood on the floor of the Bais Hamikdash shows the point of the story. No other navi was killed in a place where the blood would have been as noticed and caused the reaction that it did.

Note that of the thousands of nevi'im during or history only a few are even mentioned. Those that are were because they had a significance that extended beyond their lives. In this case, only the particular situation involved with the churban caused him to be mentioned. Other neviim were not as directly connected.

This at least is part of the explanation given when the kina was being read. I do not know the answer to the second question in your comment. Perhaps because it was only mentioned when it was needed.

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  • That the murder happened in Beit Hamikdash is stated Sanhedrin, and can be inferred from the "beit hashem" part of the pasuk. I was unaware however that the murder happened on Yom Kippur+Shabbos. Do you have a specific reference for this? – Nic Aug 7 '14 at 12:22
  • @Nic linked source in answer. – Baby Seal Aug 7 '14 at 13:40
  • Heh. I was just reading it here: mechon-mamre.org/b/r/r2904.htm – Nic Aug 7 '14 at 13:44

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