Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son.
Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her His great mercy,a and they rejoiced with her.
When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father.
But his mother responded, "No! He will be called John."
Then they said to her, "None of your relatives has that name."
So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called.
He asked for a writing tablet and wrote: HIS NAME IS JOHN And they were all amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue [set free], and he began to speak, praising God.
Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard about [him] took [it] to heart, saying, "What then will this child become?" For, indeed, the Lord's hand was with him.
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,b because He has visited and provided redemption for His people.
He has raised up a hornc of salvationd for us in the house of His servant David,
just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets in ancient times;
salvation from our enemies and from the clutchese of those who hate us.
He has dealt mercifully with our fathers and remembered His holy covenant-
the oath that He swore to our father Abraham. He has given us the privilege,
since we have been rescued from our enemies' clutches,f to serve Him without fear
in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days.
And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,g77
to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God's merciful compassion, the Dawnh from on highi will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death,j to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.