WHO WAS THE FATHER OF THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Read the following four references:
- Ezra 5:1: “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.”
- Ezra 6:14: “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
- Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”
- Zechariah 1:7: “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”
In Ezra, he is known as “Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Zechariah twice refers to himself as “the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.” Some consider this contradictory. Who exactly was Zechariah’s father? Iddo? Or Berechiah? Why does Berechiah not always appear in his appellation?
Until we can eliminate all possibilities of it being right, we should never claim the Bible to be wrong. If we take the position of faith, we will give Scripture the benefit of the doubt. It is correct—whether or not we agree with it, whether or not we understand it. We should take the time to study and see why it is has inconsistencies, contradictions, discrepancies, seeming “errors.” It is much more rewarding to research than to point a critical finger at it! (Unless we really do not have any interest in the truth, and we just want to ridicule the Bible whenever possible!)
We can account for the two variations of Zechariah’s title as follows:
- It seems that Iddo was more famous than Berechiah. While “prophet” is attached to Iddo, it is not applied to Berechiah.
- Berechiah may have died at an early age, having never attained the office of priest or prophet. His name would have been unknown, pointless to mention. In this case, Berechiah would have been Zechariah’s father, and Iddo would have been Zechariah’s grandfather.
- Zechariah alone mentions “Berechiah.” The name is not found outside the Book of Zechariah. Perhaps Zechariah preferred this styling of his name. Similarly, Matthew is called “Levi” and “Levi the son of Alphaeus” outside of his writings (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27) but he himself prefers to be called “Matthew” (Matthew 9:9).
- Berechiah may not have been an actual person. The Hebrew means “knee/blessing of Jehovah.” This would make Berechiah an honorific title of Zechariah. (Here, Iddo would be Zechariah’s father.) For example, we see how the Lord Jesus titled Apostles James and John as follows: “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:…” (Mark 3:17). Surely no man was named “Thunder.” The father of James and John was Zebedee, but Jesus emphasized their ministry by titling them “sons of thunder.” They were pictures of God’s voice thundering the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel.
Here are four possibilities (and there are others not listed) that lead us to conclude the Bible text is correct as concerning Zechariah’s lineage and/or background. The burden of proof lies with the critics, not the Bible believers. We offer our answers to them, now they need to show us where their position is more plausible than ours.
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