|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, that as soon as the days of his ministration,.... In the order of the course, which might be three, four, five, or six days, according to the number of the heads of the house of their fathers in the course; See Gill on Luke 1:5.
were accomplished: for though he was deaf and dumb, he was not hereby disqualified for service. Deafness and dumbness excused persons from various duties (s) but did not disqualify priests: a Levite, if he had lost his voice, was disqualified, but not a priest; (t) the reason was this, because it was one part of the work of the Levites to sing, and therefore could not perform it without a voice; but such was the work of the priests, that though deaf and dumb, they could discharge it; as cleansing the altar, trimming the lamps, carrying the parts to the altar, laying them upon it, and burning them, or offering any sacrifice, burning incense, &c. which was the business of Zacharias; which when he had fulfilled, he departed to his own house; which was not at Jerusalem, but in the hill country, in a city of Judah there; see Luke 1:39.
(s) Misn. Trumot, c. 1. sect. 1, 2. Chagiga, c. 1. sect. 1.((t) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Cholin, c. 1. sect. 6.
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