Luke 1:20
And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
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(20) Behold, thou shalt be dumb.—The question was answered, the demand for a sign granted, but the demand had implied a want of faith, and therefore the sign took the form of a penalty. The vision and the words of the angel, harmonising as they did with all Zechariah’s previous convictions, ought to have been enough for him.

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.Because thou believest not ... - This was both a sign and a judgment - a sign that he had come from God, and that the thing would be fulfilled: and a judgment for not giving credit to what he had said. There is no sin in the sight of God more aggravated than unbelief. When God speaks; man should believe; nor can he that "will not" believe escape punishment. God speaks only truth, and we should believe Him. God speaks only what is for our good, and it is right that we should suffer if we do not credit what He says. 20. dumb—speechless.

not able—deprived of the power of speech (Lu 1:64). He asked a sign, and now he got it.

until the day that these things shall be performed—See on [1534]Lu 1:64.

See Poole on "Luke 1:19"

And behold, thou shalt be dumb, &c. Or "silent; and not able to speak", if he would. Silence is sometimes voluntary; but this was what he could not help;

until the day that these thing shall be performed; which he had said concerning the conception and birth of a son, and the imposition of a name on him; for this dumbness remained upon Zachariah, not only until his wife had conceived, and the child was born, but until the eighth day after, when he was circumcised, and his name was given him the angel directed to: "because thou believest not my words": he was struck both deaf and dumb, as appears from his friends making signs to him, Luke 1:62 which they had no need to have done, could he have heard: he was struck with deafness, because he hearkened not to the angel's words; and with dumbness, because from the unbelief of his heart he objected to them. We learn from hence, what an evil unbelief is, and how much resented by God, and how much it becomes us to take heed, that it prevails not in us: and especially since it easily besets us: "which shall be fulfilled in their season"; first the conception, then the birth; after that the calling him by his name, and in process of time, the doing of his work and office; so that the unbelief Zacharias did not make the faith of God of none effect; for though sometimes the people of God are very unbelieving, yet he abides faithful to his word and promises. Mahomet, in his Alkoran (k), very wrongly makes the angel to say these words to Zacharias,

"thy sign shall be, that thou shalt speak unto no man for three days, otherwise than by gesture.

And elsewhere (l) it is said three nights,

(k) C. 3. p. 40. Ed. Sale. (l) C. 10. p. 249.

And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
Luke 1:20. σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δ. λ., silent and not able to speak; a temporary dumbness the sign asked, a slight penalty; not arbitrary, however, rather the almost natural effect of his state of mind—a kind of prolonged stupefaction resulting from a promise too great to be believed, yet pointing to a boon passionately desired.—ἀνθʼ ὧν: a phrase of Lk. = תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר, because. (Also in 2 Thessalonians 2:10.)

20. thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak] He receives the sign for which he had unfaithfully asked (Matthew 12:38), but it comes in the form of a punishment. This positive and negative way of expressing the same thing is common, especially in Hebrew literature, 2 Samuel 14:5; Exodus 21:11; Isaiah 38:1; Lamentations 3:2, &c.

in their season] “I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life,” Genesis 18:10, i. e. after the usual nine months.

Luke 1:20. Ἰδοὺ, behold) as much as to say, by this thou shalt be made know. An appropriate sign is given to him who asked for a sign, though the sign given was not such as he would have desired.—σιωπῶν, silent) in the matter of fact [actually].—μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι, not able to speak) in the want of the ability to speak [physically]. Comp. [accordingly in his recovery both are specified] Luke 1:64, the mouth and the tongue. For the most part, those to whom a great revelation is vouchsafed, are wont to lose something of their natural power, without however real hurt to them. So Jacob was made lame; but his lameness proved, not a blemish, but a mark of honour to him: so Zacharias here was made dumb: Saul (Paul) was for a time deprived of sight. This dumbness of Zacharias at the same time acted as a spiritual medicine, lest he should too much pride himself on account of the prophecy as to the greatness of his son.—ἄχρι ἧς) Comp. Luke 1:64 [His mouth opened] with Luke 1:13 [Thou shalt call his name John], 63 [When the ‘things’ foretold were ‘performed,’ and Zacharias, ceasing from unbelief, wrote, “His name is John”]. [The day alluded to was the day of John’s circumcision, on which he received his name.—V. g.]—ἀνθ ̓ ὧν, because) Therefore it was, strictly speaking, a punishment.—οὐκ ἐπιστεύσας, thou hast not believed) He did not believe: on this account he was not able to speak.[6]—πληρωθήσονται, shall be fulfilled) It is the event which chiefly produces faith.—εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν, at their own season) their proper season. Comp. at this time [will I come], Romans 9:9. 2 Kings 4:16.

[6] See 2 Corinthians 4:13.—ED. and TRANSL

Luke 1:20Thou shalt be silent (ἔσῃ σιωπῶν)

Lit., thou shalt be being silent. The finite verb and participle denote continuance.

Not able to speak

Showing that the silence would not be voluntary.

My words which (οἵτινες)

The pronoun is qualitative, denoting a class. "My words, which, incredible as they seem to you, are of a kind which shall be fulfilled.

In their season (εἰς τὸν καιρὸν)

The preposition implies exactness: at the completion of the appointed time. The process of fulfilment, beginning now, will go on, εἰς, up to, the appointed time, and at the time will be consummated. Καιρὸν, season, is more specific than χρόνος, time. It is an a appointed, fitting time: the right point of time when circumstances shall concur.

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