Translation of the critical edition of the ‘oriental recension’ published by Su-Min Ri, La caverne des trésors: Les deux recensions syriaques (CSCO 486, scrip. syri t. 207; Louvain: E. Peeters, 1987), 388-90.
Then Herod investigated the Magi, and when he learned that they had returned to their homeland, he became greatly enraged. He immediately dispatched (orders) to kill all the children and infants of Bethlehem and throughout all the villages in its vicinity. But when they passed among all the corpses, they did not find John, the son of Zechariah. <He> thought: ‘It is surely the son of Zechariah who will become king of Israel,’ because he had heard of the incident of Zechariah being addressed by an angel. Now convinced about John, he sent word to Zechariah and said to him that they should bring John to him. Zechariah replied: ‘I am a priest and have been serving in the Temple of the Lord! I do not know where the boy and his mother are.’ On account of this he was killed between the vestibule (?) and the altar. Then Elizabeth took John and fled.