John: Hb: Johanan, Ar: Yahya.
John, son of Zechariah: Ar: Yahya ibn Zakariah.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John's mother are relatives.
However, we read of a Johanan in 1 Kings 25:23, 1 Chronicles 3:15, 24, 6:9, 10, Ezra 8:12, etc. In fact, there are 27 instances of the name "Johanan" mentioned in the Old Testament. The Hasmonean Dynasty ruled Palestine in the century before John the Baptist appeared on the scene. Palestine at that time was very Hellenized and Greek became the main language. One of the priest-king of the Hasmonean Dynasty was John Hyrcanus, well attested to in many historical and classical sources. Josephus talks about a John the Essene who served as a general of the rebel force in Timna (Jewish War, 2.125). 1 Maccabees 2:1 tells us of "Mattathias son of John son of Simeon". Mattathias also has a son called John (1 Maccebees 2:2). John's brother, Judas, led the Jews in rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Simon also has a son named John (1 Maccebees 16:19). All these Johns lived before John the Baptist. John was indeed a very common name.
Various translations of this verse bear out clearly this meaning:
"on none by that name have We conferred distinction before."His explanation is that "... for we read of a Johanan ... in Kings 25:23
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