Innocent Blood

& LOY Commentary 13 Comments

How well-read was Jesus? The LOY segment entitled Innocent Blood probes the possibility that Jesus read and quoted a no-longer-extant Second Temple-period Jewish literary work that warned against violent religious extremism.

(Matt. 23:34-36; Luke 11:49-51)

(Huck 154, 210; Aland 194, 284; Crook 224, 321)[1]

Updated: 27 May 2022

לְפִיכָךְ אַף חָכְמַת אֱלֹהִים אָמְרָה אֶשְׁלַח בָּהֶם נְבִיאִים וּשְׁלִיחִים וַחֲכָמִים וְסוֹפְרִים מֵהֶם יַהֲרֹגוּ מֵהֶם יִרְדֹּפוּ וְיִדָּרֵשׁ כָּל דָּם נָקִי שָׁפוּךְ עַל הָאָרֶץ מִיַּד הַדּוֹר הַזֶּה מִדַּם הֶבֶל וְעַד דַּם זְכַרְיָה הָאוֹבֵד בֵּין הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּבֵין הַבַּיִת אָמֵן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר לָכֶם יִדָּרֵשׁ מִיַּד הַדּוֹר הַזֶּה

“Thus Lady Wisdom herself declared, ‘I will send them prophets and emissaries, sages and scribes. They will kill the former and harry the latter. Therefore, this generation will have to answer for all the innocent blood poured out on the holy land, from the murder of Hevel down to that of Zecharyah, who died between the altar and the Temple.’

“Alas, what Lady Wisdom said is also true of you! God will demand from this generation all the innocent blood ever poured out because you will not repent.[2]

A reproduction of our reconstruction in an ancient Hebrew script. Font, based on the Isaiah Scroll from Qumran (1QIsaa), created by Kris Udd.


To view the reconstructed text of Innocent Blood click on the link below:

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In Innocent Blood Jesus indicated that the threat to his generation was as real and as serious as the threat that had loomed over the generation of the Babylonian exile prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus’ generation was liable to suffer the same fate as the generation of the exile because his generation was guilty of the same sins as that earlier generation: resorting to violence as a solution to its problems. Therefore, what the Wisdom of God had declared concerning the generation of the Babylonian exile would also prove true for Jesus’ generation: from “this generation” God would demand all the innocent blood ever poured out on the earth.

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  • [1] For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’”
  • [2] This translation is a dynamic rendition of our reconstruction of the conjectured Hebrew source that stands behind the Greek of the Synoptic Gospels. It is not a translation of the Greek text of a canonical source.
  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). Joshua continued his studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree in 2005. After seminary…
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