Elizabeth part 1

by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Elizabeth part 1
Elizabeth was obedient to God's commands throughout her life.

Biblical narrative. According to the Gospel of Luke chapter 1, Elizabeth was "of the daughters of Aaron." She and her husband Zachariah were "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (1:5–7), but childless. ... "

ELIZABETH "MY GOD HAS SWORN"
HEBREW Elišévaʿ / Elišáva

Born 1st Century BC
Died 1st Century BC (Or Early AD)
Venerated In Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Anglican Church
Lutheran Church
Islam

Canonized
Pre-Congregation

Feast
November 5 (Roman Catholic, Lutheran)
September 5 (Eastern Orthodox, Anglican)
Patronage
HEBREW Pregnant Women
Elišévaʿ / Elišáva


Biblical Narrative (cont.)
According to the Gospel of Luke chapter 1, Elizabeth was "of the daughters of Aaron." She and her husband Zachariah were "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (1:5–7) …but childless.
While he was in the Temple of the Lord (1:8–12), Zacharias was visited by the angel Gabriel: nevertheless, the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born." — Luke 1:13–15
The angel told Zacharias that he would be "dumb, and not able to speak" until the words were fulfilled because he did not believe. Zacharias doubted he could believe this since he and his wife were old past average childbearing age. According to the Gospel of Luke, she was past average childbearing age when she conceived and gave birth to John.
When the days of his ministry were complete, Zacharias returned to his house (Luke 1:16–23).
After this, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and, for five months, remained in seclusion. "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days, he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people." — Luke 1:24–25.
Mary, a virgin, betrothed to a man called Joseph after being informed by an angel who told her that she would conceive by the Holy Spirit and bring forth a son called Jesus. She was also informed that her "relative Elizabeth" had begun her sixth month of pregnancy. Soon afterward, Mary traveled to "a town in the hill country of Judah" to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:26–40). According to the account, later, the angel Gabriel was also sent to Nazareth in Galilee to visit Mary. Luke 1:36.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" — Luke 1:41–45
Matthew Henry comments, "Mary knew that Elizabeth was with child, but it does not appear that Elizabeth had been told anything of her relative Mary's being intended for the mother of the Messiah; and therefore what knowledge she appears to have had of it must have come by a revelation, which would be a great encouragement to Mary." After Mary heard Elizabeth's blessing, she spoke the words now known as the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55).
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father, Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."
They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."
Then they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment, he wrote, "His name is John." Immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. — Luke 1:56–64
That is the last mention of Elizabeth, who is not mentioned in any other chapter in the Bible. The chapter continues with the prophecy of Zacharias (known as the Benedictus) and ends with the note that John "grew, and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts" until his ministry to Israel began; so it is unknown how long Elizabeth and her husband lived after that (Luke 1:65–80).
Since the Medieval era, Elizabeth's greeting, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb," has formed the second part of the Hail Mary prayer.
Apocrypha
Elizabeth is mentioned in several books of the Apocrypha, most prominently in the Protevangelion of James. The birth of her son and the subsequent murder of her husband is chronicled.
Sainthood. Elizabeth is revered as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church on November 5, and in the Orthodox and Anglican traditions on September 5, on the same day with her husband, Zacharias/Zechariah. She is commemorated as a matriarch in the Calendar of Saints (September 5) of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and Zacharias is commemorated as a prophet.
Elizabeth (Arabic: ألصبا, romanized: 'Iṣhbā), the wife of Zakaria, the mother of Yahya, is an honored woman in Islam. Although Zachariah himself is frequently mentioned by name in the Qur'an, Elizabeth, while not mentioned by name, is revered as a wise, pious, and believing person who, like her relative Mary, was exalted by God to a high station. She lived in the household of Imran and is said to have been a descendant of the prophet and priest Harun. Zachariah and his wife were both devout and steadfast in their duties. They were, however, both ancient, and they had no son. Therefore, Zachariah would frequently pray to God for a son. This was out of the desire to have a son and because the great Jesus Christ wanted someone to carry on the Temple services of prayer and continue preaching the Lord's message before his death. God cured Elizabeth's barrenness and granted Zachariah a son, Yahya (John the Baptist), who became a prophet. God thus granted the couple's wishes because of their faith, trust, and love for God. In the Qur'an, God speaks of Zachariah, his wife, and John and describes the three as being humble servants of the LORD: So We listened to him: and We granted him John: We cured his wife's (Barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in emulation (imitation) of good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence and humble themselves before Us.
In Sunni Islamic reports of al-Tabari and al-Masudi, Elizabeth is said to have been a daughter of Imran and, thus, a sister of Mary. In other accounts, Elizabeth is said to be a daughter of Fakudh and a sister of Imran's wife, Hannah. Therefore, their children, Jesus (Isa) and John (Yahya), are believed to have been cousins.
In Shia hadith, she is named Hannah and is identified as a sister of Mary's mother, Hannah. Abu Basir recorded that Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, the great-grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, had stated: "Hannah, the wife of Imran, and Hannah, the wife of Zechariah, were sisters. He says that Mary was born from Hannah, and John was born from Hannah. Mary gave birth to Jesus, and he was the son of the daughter of John's aunt. John was the son of the aunt of Mary, and the aunt of one's mother is like one's aunt.
While pregnant with the future John the Baptist, she gave shelter to her young cousin Mary of Nazareth. Mary, pregnant with Jesus and unmarried, may have been fleeing from her family's anger. When the women met, each knew that they and their children would be a significant part of God's plan.
Elizabeth has a son John, Luke 1:67-80
A few months later (after Mary's visit), Elizabeth bore the son she had always hoped for. She named him 'John.' He was circumcised, and Zechariah regained his speech and hearing.
Elizabeth becomes pregnant; Luke 1:5-25
First, Luke outlined Elizabeth's family background (see Elizabeth in Luke's Gospel). She was descended from a long line of priests – Luke made this clear right at the beginning of his Gospel because he wanted to say, loud and clear, that John and Jesus both came from a respectable, well-connected family.
Reconstruction of the regalia worn by the Jewish high priest
He began by pointing out that not one but both John's parents came from a priestly family and that Elizabeth's father was a priest – this is what is meant by 'daughter of Aaron.'
What was her problem?
Despite her impeccable family background, Elizabeth was barren. In those days, childlessness was not just a misfortune; it was a disgrace (see Genesis 16:4, 11; 29:32; 30:1, 1 Samuel 1:5-6, 11, 2:5, 7-8).
However, this could hardly be so in Elizabeth's case since her reputation was blameless. Instead, there had to be some other reason.
Could it be that, like the great foremother Sarah (Genesis 18:11) and the childless Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2), she remained barren because God had a more excellent plan for her?


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