Chapter 1 – The Birth of Jesus
Act 1 – Prophecy About John
Scene 2 – Elizabeth Becomes Pregnant with John
Judean hill country, Judea summer / 7 BCE
- After these days Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth became pregnant,
- and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace from among men.”
This very short Scene of only two verses is the continuation of the narrative from the Gospel of Luke in the last commentary (Scene 111) as it continues the story after the priest Zacharias has returned home from his tour of service in the Temple in Jerusalem.
It is assumed that either immediately or soon after returning to his wife Elizabeth, whom he has not seen for at least two weeks, Zacharias would try and couple with her to produce the baby that had been promised to him by the angel Gabriel. Most likely Zacharias slept with his wife as soon as he returned home, as he had been told by the angel Gabriel in the last Scene, that because he had doubted the words of the angel, he would be unable to speak “until the day when these things take place.” Either way, soon after his return home, Zacharias’ wife, Elizabeth, becomes pregnant with child.
During a five month period of “seclusion”, when Elizabeth isolated herself in her home and away from everyone, she gives an interesting statement, which many have taken to mean that she was publicly disgraced until now, at her advanced age, by being childless.
When the command has been given by God to “Be fruitful and multiply…” (Genesis 1:28) being barren is generally a cause for shame, and children were seen as a blessing from God, and considered a sign of God’s favor.
It is interesting to note that there are at least seven women mentioned in the Bible as being barren. Of them, six eventually conceived, and a few, like Elizabeth, became pregnant in their old age. Of course, any time that a couple is childless, it could also be the fault of the male, but in this case the Scripture says, “…because Elizabeth was barren…” (Luke 1:7)
While one woman (Michal – the daughter of Saul who loved David) remained childless by choice, the other six who bore children all gave birth to a male child. And each of these boys would become very important figures who would all play a crucial role in the development of the nation of Israel.
Some of these barren women include Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and one generation later, Rebekah, the wife of their miracle son Isaac. Without either of these two remarkable births the Jewish nation might not have been, or at least, things might have turned out very differently…
Of course it is God that seals and opens the wombs of these women. Looking at those who were barren, and the sons who were eventually born to them, it is clear that God used barren women and the miracle of their children to further His purpose. It is also apparent therefore, that being barren may in fact be a huge blessing from God. And also, that if you are childless, continue to pray to God that he might give you children, as He did to Elizabeth.
Children are always a blessing from God, and Elizabeth clearly acknowledges that the Lord has, “…looked with favor,…” upon her (Luke 1:25).
Through her child, this miracle son that would be born, the Jewish nation, and the entire world, would be blessed.