Luke 11:47

New Testament

47 Woe to you! You build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. 48 So you testify that you approve of the deeds of your ancestors because they killed the prophets and you build their tombs! 49 For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation.

Lamentations Rabbah 4:13


Seven transgressions were committed by Israel on that day: they killed a priest, a prophet, and a judge, they shed innocent blood, they profaned the Divine Name, they defiled the Temple Court, and all this was done on the Sabbath which was also the Day of Atonement. When Nebuzaradan came up against Israel, the blood began to seethe; so he asked them, ‘What kind of blood is this?’ They replied, ‘The blood of bulls, rams, and lambs which we slay.’ He immediately sent and had some blood of sacrificial animals brought to him, but it did not behave similarly. He said to them, ‘If you tell me, well and good; otherwise I will comb your flesh with iron combs.’ They replied, ‘What shall we say to you? He was a prophet who reproved us, so we rose against him and killed him, and for several years now his blood has not stopped seething.’ He answered, ‘I will appease it.’ They brought before him the men of the Great Sanhedrin and Minor Sanhedrin and slew them until their blood mingled with the blood of Zechariah, to fulfill that which was said, They break all bounds, and blood toucheth blood.

 Notes and References

"... There are two specific incidents of 'prophet' martyrdom described in Hebrew Scriptures: the case of Uriah ben Shemaiah (Jeremiah 26:20-24) and that of Zechariah ben Yehoiada (II Chronicles 24:17-22). Only the latter is mentioned by name in the New Testament writings/yet the appellation 'prophet' sits very loosely upon Zechariah for in the Chronicler's text he is identified solely as 'Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest' (II Chronicles 24:20). However, the early Christians had other Jewish sources upon which to draw. Scattered through Talmudic, apocryphal, and pseudepigraphic literature were Jewish legends of several martyrs who were deemed prophets. These legends did not achieve a significant place in rabbinic theology. Nor were they ever compiled in such a manner as to form the basis for a type of literary tradition comparable to that which developed in early Christian literature. Yet the theme of martyred prophets remained a part of Jewish lore sufficient to warrant inclusion in Midrash Aggadah (Numbers 30:15) compiled by Moshe Hadarshan in the eleventh century ..."

Amaru, Betsy H. The Killing of the Prophets: Unraveling a Midrash (pp. 153-180) Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 54, 1983

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