Elizabeth (biblical figure) bigraphy, stories - Prophets

Elizabeth (biblical figure) : biography

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Saint Elisabeth redirects here. For other saints of this name, see Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth (Greek Ἐλισάβετ) or Elisheba (from the Hebrew אֱלִישֶׁבַע / אֱלִישָׁבַע "My God has sworn"; Standard Hebrew , Tiberian Hebrew ) (Arabic أليصابتAlyassabat). (For other variants on the name see Elizabeth.)

Elisabeth was the mother of John the Baptist and the wife of Zacharias/Zachary, according to the Gospel of Luke.

Biblical narrative

According to the Gospel of Luke, Elisabeth was a daughter of Aaron the high priest (). She and her husband Zacharias were "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (), but childless. While ministering in the temple of the Lord, Zacharias was visited by the angel Gabriel ():

Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Zacharias doubted "whereby" he could know this since both he and his wife were very old. The angel identified himself as Gabriel and said he would be "dumb, and not able to speak" until the words were fulfilled, because he did not believe. When the days of his ministry were complete, he returned to his house ().

Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

According to the account, the angel Gabriel was then sent to Nazareth in Galilee to her "cousin" Mary, then a virgin, espoused to a man called Joseph, and informed her that she would conceive by the Holy Ghost and bring forth a son to be called Jesus. After she was also informed that her "cousin Elisabeth" had begun her sixth month of pregnancy, she travelled to "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah",Compare The says, "This was most probably Hebron, a city of the priests, and situated in the hill country of Judea, (Jos 11:21; 21:11, 13,) about 25 miles south of Jerusalem, and nearly 100 from Nazareth." to visit ().

Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Matthew Henry comments, "Mary knew that Elisabeth was with child, but it does not appear that Elisabeth had been told any thing of her cousin Mary's being designed 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 Elisabeth's blessing, she spoke the words now known as the Magnificat (). Again, Henry notes that "it was here, in Hebron, that circumcision was first instituted", and it was here that the turned Abram's name to Abraham when he gave him the covenant of circumcision.

Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

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