Tomb of Zechariah

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The tomb is attributed to Zechariah Ben Jehoiada (7-9th century BCE), but the building's construction style is dated to first century CE. It is an ancient stone monument adjacent to the Tomb of Benei Hezir that is considered in Jewish tradition to be the tomb of Zechariah ben Jehoiada.


The monument is a monolith—it is completely carved out of the solid rock and does not contain a burial chamber. According to a Jewish tradition, which is first suggested by the 1215 CE writings of Menahem haHebroni, this is the tomb of the priest Zechariah Ben Jehoiada, a figure that the Book of Chronicles records to have been stoned, but there is no documentary evidence as to where he was buried. To the south of the Zechariah's tomb is another unfinished tomb (inspect).

Religious Tradition

circa 10 BCE

The tomb was a site of Jewish prayers, especially in 9th of the month of Av - the day of the destruction of the temple. There were some documented stories that told of prayers for rain on dry winters (such as in years 1651 and 1690) which succeeded and stopped the drought.


circa 10 BCE

The fine masonry and decoration that is visible on the western side, the facade, is only the western side. On the other sides of the tomb the work is extremely rough and unfinished. The style of the construction, which includes Hellenistic details such as Ionic columns, is similar to that of the Tomb of Benei Hezir. Several scholars think that the adjacent Tomb of Benei Hezir and Tomb of Zechariah are near-contemporary with one another; scholars specialising in funerary practices and monuments have ascribed a first-century CE date to the tomb.

circa 10 BCE

Above the crepidoma (inspect) there is a stylobate, upon which there is a decoration of two ionic columns between two half ionic columns and at the corners there are two pilasters. The capitals are of the Ionic order and are decorated with the egg-and-dart decoration. The upper part of the monument is an Egyptian-style cornice upon which sits a pyramid.

circa 10 BCE

It has been proposed that the Tomb of Zechariah is actually the nefesh (a Jewish funerary monument similar to the Greek stele) for the adjacent Tomb of Benei Hezir, which is accessed from a rock-cut passage (inspect) adjacent to the monument, and which states that it has an adjacent magnificent structure, an item not otherwise identified.

circa 10 BCE

An arial view of the Jewish Cemetery with tombs of Absalom, Benei Hazir and Zachariah at the bottom. It is a few meters from the Tomb of Absalom and adjacent to the Tomb of Benei Hezir.

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