Tomb of Zechariah ben Yehoyadah in Kidron Valley

Photo of Tomb of Zechariah ben Yehoyadah in Kidron Valley, Jerusalem District
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Tomb of Zechariah ben Yehoyadah

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Modest by today's means, this monument is impressive for what was done and when. It looks much like the mausoleums of today, but this was carved out of a single piece of stone more than two-thousand years ago. The tomb, itself is five meters square, adorned with Ionic columns. There are dozens of tombs in the Kidron valley, but this is the only one crowned by a stone pyramid. Stone is an important medium in the story of Zechariah. He was killed in the Temple Courts of the First Temple, and his blood stain could not be removed. Years after his death when Nebuchadnezzer sacked the temple, the Babylonian general Nevuzradin saw Zechariah's blood stain begin to boil. The priests told him it was an animal's blood, so he had an animal killed to compare. The blood stains did not match, and the priests were forced to tell him Zechariah's story.

To avenge the prophet's death, Nevuzradin assembled the judges of Jerusalem and had them killed, but the blood stain continued to boil. So he assembled the young men and women of Jerusalem and had them killed, but the blood continued to boil. So he asked the blood if it wished all of Jerusalem should be killed, and the blood stopped boiling. The general saw that the death of this single person was avenged by the deaths of many, and that he, himself, had killed thousands. To repent, he quit the army and joined the Jews. Looking inside Zechariah's tomb, you can see it is also stained. It is said that the boiling stain flowed down the Temple Mount to his tomb. For centuries, Zechariah was so revered that people tried to be buried as closely as possible to his tomb. This reverence was reaffirmed in the story of the great drought. Jerusalem's Muslim leaders prayed to Allah for rain to no avail. Then they turned to the Jews and threatened that they had better make it rain. The story continues that the Jews declared a fast, and on the third day made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Zecharaiah. There they prayed and sang psalms, causing the heavens to open up and rain to fall.

Quick Facts

    "And the spirit of God cloaked Zechariah ben Yehoyadah, the priest, and he stood over the people and said to them, 'So sayeth the Lord, "Why have you forsaken the commandments of God, though you do not succeed? Since you have left God, He shall leave you." And the (people) banded together and atoned him at the command of the king in the courtyard of the House of God."

    -Chronicles II 24:20-22

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