Translated from the Syriac text published by Agnes Smith Lewis, ed., Apocrypha Syriaca (Studia Sinaitica 11; London: C. J. Clay and Sons, 1902), 19-22.
Now when Herod realized that the Magi had mocked him, he became enraged. He dispatched assassins and ordered them to kill every child who was two years old or younger, (a span) of time in accordance with what the Magi had informed him. When Miriam heard that the children were being killed, she became afraid, and she took the boy, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and placed him in a cattle manger. Elizabeth also, when she heard that John was being sought, took him, climbed the mountain with him, and looked (for a place) where she might hide him. Then Elizabeth lamented, and addressed the mountain: ‘O mountain of God! Receive a mother and her son!’ Elizabeth was unable to climb any farther. Suddenly the mountain opened up and received her, and a bright light provided illumination for them inside the mountain because the Angel of the Lord was with them, protecting them.
Herod was searching for John, and he sent guardsmen to Zechariah in the Temple and said to him: ‘Where have you hidden your son?’ Zechariah answered them, saying: ‘I am a servant of God and have been constantly in the Temple of the Lord! I have no idea where my son is!’ The guardsmen returned and reported all these things to him. Herod was enraged and thought, ‘His son is destined to become king over Israel!’ He (again) dispatched the guardsmen (to Zechariah) and said to him: ‘Tell us truthfully where your son is; are you not aware that your life (lit. blood) is in my hands?!’ The guardsmen went back and said all these things to him. He said: ‘May the Lord witness that you have shed my blood! The Lord will receive my spirit, for you have shed innocent blood which has committed no offense before the gates of the Temple of the Lord!’
No one was aware how Zechariah had been killed, nor did the children of Israel know how he had been slain. At the time of salutation, the priests came, but the blessing of Zechariah did not meet them as usual. The priests were standing and waiting for Zechariah in order to ask for his (continued) health with prayer and to offer praise to the Most High. As he continued to tarry, they all became concerned and one of them ventured to enter the Temple. He noticed by the side of the altar of the Lord (some) blood which had spilled and coagulated, and a voice became audible which said: ‘Zechariah has been murdered! His blood will not wash away until the avenger comes!’
When he heard these words, he became frightened and came outside and informed the priests about the thing he had seen and heard. They then ventured (to enter) and they saw what was by the side of the porch of the Temple. They all broke into a wail and ripped their clothing from top to bottom. They could not find his body: they found only his blood which had become hard, like a stone, and they were afraid. They came out (and) made it known that Zechariah had been killed. When all the rest of the people heard, they mourned and wept for three days and three nights.
After three days and three nights, the priests thought about whom they should appoint as priest in the place of Zechariah. The lot of Simon came up: he was the one to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not taste death until he saw the Messiah of the Lord in bodily form.