1:7 But they did not have a child, because Elizabeth was barren, 1 and they were both very old. 2
1 sn Elizabeth was barren. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth are regarded by Luke as righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly (v. 6). With this language, reminiscent of various passages in the OT, Luke is probably drawing implicit comparisons to the age and barrenness of such famous OT personalities as Abraham and Sarah (see, e.g., Gen 18:9-15), the mother of Samson (Judg 13:2-5), and Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-20). And, as it was in the case of these OT saints, so it is with Elizabeth: After much anguish and seeking the Lord, she too is going to have a son in her barrenness. In that day it was a great reproach to be childless, for children were a sign of God’s blessing (cf. Gen 1:28; Lev 20:20-21; Pss 127 and 128; Jer 22:30). As the dawn of salvation draws near, however, God will change this elderly couple’s grief into great joy and grant them the one desire time had rendered impossible.
2 tn Grk “were both advanced in days” (an idiom for old age).
3 tn Grk “behold.”
4 tn Some translations render the word συγγενίς (sungeni") as “cousin” (so Phillips) but the term is not necessarily this specific.
5 tn Or “has conceived.”
6 tn Grk “and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.” Yet another note on Elizabeth’s loss of reproach also becomes a sign of the truth of the angel’s declaration.