Elizabeth's community would have celebrated her having a child after being unable to conceive. On the eighth day, a Jewish circumcision ceremony was scheduled (Lv. 12:3). Although it was customary to name children at birth, John's naming was linked with this date, leading to a public ceremony where those present were surprised that he wasn't named after his father. The father's silence regarding the name choice added to the surprise, but he eventually confirmed it, likely having communicated with Elizabeth through signs or writing. After his confirmation, he was able to speak again and give praise to God.

A Song

The prophecy made by Zechariah regarding John's future ministry is infused with poetic language and shares similarities with Mary's declaration in Luke 1:46, despite neither being officially labeled as a "song." Zechariah praises God for fulfilling the salvation promised to the patriarchs and prophets in the past. In verse 76, he acknowledges that his son John has a significant role in facilitating the realization of God's promises by preparing the way for the Messiah. This prophetic hymn, the 'Benedictus,' echoes Mary's sentiments and is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. Both hymns use language and themes from the Old Testament to praise God for fulfilling his promise to deliver his people through a descendant of David, whom Zechariah recognizes as the coming Messiah. Zechariah also references God's promises to Abraham and interprets Psalm 105:9-11 as a call for holy and righteous living. John's birth narrative is followed by briefly mentioning his upbringing (see 2:40, 52) and his time spent in the wilderness. He remains absent from the story until after the birth of Jesus. It is worth noting the similarities between John's lifestyle and teachings and those of the Jewish sect residing near Qumran, who practiced an austere way of life, regularly performed religious ablutions, and anticipated the arrival of God's salvation.





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