A common name in the Bible; between twenty-five to thirty persons are so called. Variant spellings are Zacharias and Zachariah. three persons are mainly identified with this name: 1. the father of John the Baptist; he was married to Elizabeth, a kinswoman of Mary the Virgin (Luke 1:5). He was rendered speechless when he doubted the message of the angel Gabriel that his wife would conceive in her old age (Luke 1:22). At John's circumcision ceremony Zechariah made a prophecy that Israel's Messiah would soon appear and this newborn son of Elizabeth's would "go before the Lord to prepare the way for him" (Luke 1:59-76); 2. a Jewish martyr, son of Jehoiada, in the Old Testament; he was stoned to death for denouncing the faithlessness of the people (II Chronicles 24:20-22). Jesus referred to him when he spoke of the slaughter of the prophets "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah" (Luke 11:50-51); 3. a book in the Old Testament named after the eleventh Minor Prophet. This Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai. Both wrote in the sixth century B.C.