Luke 1:22
And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned to them, and remained speechless.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) A vision.—The word is used as distinguished from “dream,” to imply that what had been witnessed had been seen with the waking sense. The look of awe, the strange gestures, the unwonted silence, all showed that he had come under the influence of some supernatural power.

He beckoned unto them.—The tense implies continued and repeated action.

1:5-25 The father and mother of John the Baptist were sinners as all are, and were justified and saved in the same way as others; but they were eminent for piety and integrity. They had no children, and it could not be expected that Elisabeth should have any in her old age. While Zacharias was burning incense in the temple, the whole multitude of the people were praying without. All the prayers we offer up to God, are acceptable and successful only by Christ's intercession in the temple of God above. We cannot expect an interest therein if we do not pray, and pray with our spirits, and are not earnest in prayer. Nor can we expect that the best of our prayers should gain acceptance, and bring an answer of peace, but through the mediation of Christ, who ever lives, making intercession. The prayers Zacharias often made, received an answer of peace. Prayers of faith are filed in heaven, and are not forgotten. Prayers made when we were young and entering into the world, may be answered when we are old and going out of the world. Mercies are doubly sweet that are given in answer to prayer. Zacharias shall have a son in his old age, who shall be instrumental in the conversion of many souls to God, and preparing them to receive the gospel of Christ. He shall go before Him with courage, zeal, holiness, and a mind dead to earthly interests and pleasures. The disobedient and rebellious would be brought back to the wisdom of their righteous forefathers, or rather, brought to attend to the wisdom of that Just One who was coming among them. Zacharias heard all that the angel said; but his unbelief spake. In striking him dumb, God dealt justly with him, because he had objected against God's word. We may admire the patience of God towards us. God dealt kindly with him, for thus he prevented his speaking any more distrustful, unbelieving words. Thus also God confirmed his faith. If by the rebukes we are under for our sin, we are brought to give the more credit to the word of God, we have no reason to complain. Even real believers are apt to dishonour God by unbelief; and their mouths are stopped in silence and confusion, when otherwise they would have been praising God with joy and gratitude. In God's gracious dealings with us we ought to observe his gracious regards to us. He has looked on us with compassion and favour, and therefore has thus dealt with us.Had seen a vision - The word "vision" means "sight, appearance," or "spectre," and is commonly applied to spirits, or to beings from another world. When he came out of the temple, it is probable that they "suspected" that something of this nature had detained him there, and that, on inquiry of him, he signified by a nod that this was the case. He was unable to speak, and they had no way of "perceiving" it but by such a sign. On the word "vision," see the notes at Isaiah 1:1.

For he beckoned unto them - That is, by beckoning unto them, or by a sign, he informed them of what he had seen.

22. speechless—dumb, and deaf also (see Lu 1:62). See Poole on "Luke 1:21" And when he came out, he could not speak unto them,.... Or deliver the benediction they were waiting for:

and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: which he made them to understand, by the gestures he used: for he beckoned unto them; nodding his head, or by some motions of his hands the Ethiopic version adds, "with his hand": or of his lips; for the signs of a dumb man are distinguished into and (q); the one is a sign which is expressed by the head and hands; and the other is a sign expressed by the lips: hence that rule, (r).

"a dumb man beckons, and is beckoned to; and Ben Bethira says, he moves his lips, and lips are moved to him:

and remained speechless; to the time the angel fixed,

(q) Bartenora in Misa. Gittin, c. 5. sect. 7. (r) Misn. ib.

And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 1:22-23. Ἐπέγνωσαν, ὅτι ὀπτασίαν κ.τ.λ.] by the inference ab effectu ad causam; and very naturally they recognise as the latter an appearance of God or an angel, since, in fact, it was in the sanctuary that the dumbness had come on, and the agitating impression might even cause death, Jdg 6:23, al. In spite of the οὐκ ἠδύνατο λαλῆσαι, Olshausen thinks that this ἐπέγνωσαν does not refer to the silence of Zacharias, but probably to the excitement in his whole appearance, which Bleek also mixes up.

αὐτός, he on his part, corresponding to that which they perceived.

ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς] he was employed in making signs to them (Sir 27:22; Lucian, V. H. 44), namely, that he had seen a vision.

ὡς ἐπλήσθ. κ.τ.λ.] namely, the week in which the class of Abia (see Luke 1:5) had the temple service. On the verb, comp. Luke 1:57; Luke 2:6; Luke 2:21 f.; also Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10εἰς τ. οἶκ. αὐτοῦ] Luke 1:39 f., also Luke 1:56 : εἰς τ. οἶκον αὐτῆς.Luke 1:22. ὀπτασίαν: from his dazed look they inferred that the priest had seen a vision (chap. Luke 24:23, 2 Corinthians 12:1).—διανεύων: making signs all he could do; he could not bless them, e.g., if that was part of his duty for the day, or explain his absence (here only).22. And when he came out] The moment of the priest’s reappearance from before the ever-burning golden candlestick, and the veil which hid the Holiest Place, was one which powerfully affected the Jewish imagination, Sir 50:5-21.

he could not speak unto them] They were waiting in the Court to be dismissed with the usual blessing, which is said to have been usually pronounced by the other priest. Numbers 6:23-26. “Then he” (the High Priest Simon) “went down and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the children of Israel, to give the blessing of the Lord with his lips, and to rejoice in His name. And they bowed themselves down to worship the second time, that they might receive a blessing from the Most High.” Sir 50:20.

a vision] Optasian. Used especially of the most vivid and ‘objective’ appearances, Luke 24:23; Acts 26:19; 2 Corinthians 12:1; Daniel 9:23.

he beckoned unto them] Rather, he was himself making signs to them.

remained speechless] “Credat Judaeus ut loqui possit” (let the Jew believe that he may be able to speak) says St Augustine. Origen, Ambrose, and Isidore, see in the speechless priest vainly endeavouring to bless the people, a fine image of the Law reduced to silence before the first announcement of the Gospel. The scene might stand for an allegorical representation of the thesis so powerfully worked out in the Epistle to the Hebrews (see Hebrews 8:13). Zacharias became dumb, and Saul of Tarsus blind, for a time. “Praeludium legis ceremonialis finiendae Christo veniente.” Bengel.Luke 1:22. Λαλῆσαι, to speak) for instance, to give the blessing. Zacharias, as being dumb, was in the meantime excluded from the exercise of all the functions of a priest. This constitutes the prelude to the termination of the ceremonial law, now that Christ is coming.—ἐπέγνωσαν, they perceived) A benefit thus accompanied the very punishment of Zacharias. Thereby all were stirred up to attention.Verse 22. - When he came out, he could not speak unto them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. Something in the face of the old man, as, unable to speak, he made signs to the congregation, told the awestruck people that the long delay and the loss of speech were owing to no sudden illness which had seized Zacharias. We know that, in the old days of the desert wanderings, the children of Israel could not bear to look on the face of Moses when he came down from the mount after dwelling for a brief space in the light of the glory of the Eternal. Zacharias had been face to face with one whose blessed lot it was to stand for ever in the presence of God. We may well suppose that there lingered on the old man's face, as he left the sanctuary, something which told the beholder of the presence just left. They perceived (ἐπέγνωσαν)

Clearly perceived. See on Matthew 7:16, and Luke 1:4.

He beckoned (ἦν διανεύων)

Better Rev., continued making signs. Again the participle with the finite verb, denoting frequent repetition of the same signs. Wyc., was beckoning.

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