Luke 1:7
And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
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(7) Well stricken in years.—Literally, far advanced in their days.

Luke 1:7. And they had no child — The providence of God so ordering it, that the birth of John the Baptist might be the more remarkable, and might excite the greater attention; because that Elisabeth was barren — Even when in the flower of her age. And they both were now well stricken in years — Here, then, was a double obstacle in the way of their having children, both the natural barrenness of Elisabeth, and the old age of them both; and, consequently, a double proof of the supernatural agency of God in the birth of John, evidently showing him to be a person miraculously sent by God. It is worthy of observation here, that many eminent persons under the patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, were born of mothers that had been long barren, as Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, and here John the Baptist, to render their birth the more extraordinary, and the blessing of it the more valuable in the eyes of their parents; and to show, that when God keeps his people waiting long for a particular mercy, he is sometimes pleased to recompense them for their patience, by doubling the worth of it when it is given.

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.Well stricken in years - Old or advanced in life, so as to render the prospect of having children hopeless. 7. So with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Elkanah and Hannah, Manoah and his wife. Amongst all earthly blessings, there is nothing we more desire than children, in whom we have a kind of perpetuity, living in our species and in our posterity when we are dead in nature. But as God, for our trial, doth often deny us other good things which are the great objects of our desires, so he doth often deny his own people this great blessing. Sometimes he withholdeth it a long time from those to whom he at length giveth it. Barrenness in Israel was a reproach: see Luke 1:25, and 1 Samuel 1:6. There was a promise to Abraham of a plentiful seed; hence, amongst the Jews, she that was barren hardly thought herself, or was judged by others, a genuine daughter of Abraham. Both Zacharias and Elisabeth

were now well stricken in years. God chooseth this woman, naturally barren, and now aged also, to be the mother of John the Baptist, therein working a double miracle; and it is observable in holy writ, that when God denied to any women children for some long time, and then opened their wombs, they were the mothers of some eminent persons, whom God made great use of. Thus it was with Sarah, Rachel, the wife of Manoah, Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:1-28, and this Elisabeth.

And they had no child,.... Son or daughter: and which was accounted a great infelicity: but this was not owing to the judgment of God upon them for any sins they had been guilty of, as the above character of them shows: and it had been the case of some righteous pairs before them for a great while, as Abraham and Sarah, Manoah, and his wile, Elkanah and Hannah:

because that Elizabeth was barren; so that it was peculiarly her case, and not Zacharias's: and though God had promised the people of Israel that there should be no male nor female barren among them, Deuteronomy 7:14 yet there were instances and exceptions to this general rule, as before mentioned, when it was the pleasure of God to make himself known, and magnify his power in the extraordinary conception and birth of any person; and therefore, though barrenness was reckoned a reproach to a person, there was, in this case, a particular hand of God, to answer a special purpose: the signs of sterility are, according to the Jews (b), when a woman had not breasts as other women have, her voice gross, so that it could not be discerned, whether it was a man's or a woman's, &c,

and they both were now well stricken in years; which made the conception and birth of John the more extraordinary, and even miraculous, and so the belief of it the more difficult; see Genesis 17:17 It may be literally rendered, "they had proceeded", or had far advanced "in their days": it is an "Hebraism", and answers to, in Genesis 18:11 where the Septuagint render it by the same phrase as here. The Mahometan writers Beidavi and Jallallo'din say (c) that Zacharias was "ninety nine" years of age, and his wife "eighty nine",

(b) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 80. 2. Maimon. & Bartenora. in Misn. Yebamot, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 2. sect. 6. (c) In Koran, c. 3.

And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
Luke 1:7. καὶ οὐκ ἦν, etc.: childless, a calamity from the Jewish point of view, and also a fact hard to reconcile with the character of the pair, for the Lord loveth the righteous, and, according to O. T. views, He showed His love by granting prosperity, and, among other blessings, children (Psalms 128).—καθότι: a good Attic word: in Lk.’s writings only in N. T. = seeing, inasmuch as.—προβεβηκότες ἐν τ. ἡμ.: “advanced in days,” Hebraistic for the classic “advanced in age” (τὴν ἡλικίαν) or years (τοῖς ἔτεσιν): childless, and now no hope of children.

7. And they had no child] This was regarded as a heavy misfortune because it cut off all hope of the birth of the Messiah in that family. It was also regarded as often involving a moral reproach, and as being a punishment for sin. See Genesis 11:30; Genesis 18:11; Genesis 30:1-23; Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14; Jdg 13:2-3; 1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Samuel 1:27; Isaiah 47:9.

well stricken in years] A priest apparently might minister until any age, but Levites were partially superannuated at 50 (Numbers 3:1-39; Numbers 3:4; Numbers 8:25).

Luke 1:7. Καὶ, and) They no longer now had any hope of offspring, owing to a twofold cause [their age and Elizabeth’s barrenness]: Luke 1:18; Luke 1:36 (comp. Romans 4:19); and perhaps they were now not even seeking for [desiring] offspring.—προβεβηκότες, far advanced) A sweet description of the old age of the godly, which looks to the blissful goal [προβεβ. implying progress towards it].

Verse 7. - And they had no child. This, as is well known, was a heavy calamity in a Hebrew home. In the childless house there was no hope of the long looked-for Messiah being born in it. It was not unfrequently looked on as a mark of the Divine displeasure, possibly as the punishment of some grave sin. Luke 1:7Well stricken (προβεβηκότες)

Lit., advanced. Wyc., had gone far in their days.

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