And they made signs to his father
Who was deaf, as well as dumb; otherwise there would have been no occasion to have signs made to him: and so the word used, in ( Luke 1:20 ) signifies both deaf and dumb. These signs were made by hands or head; for such used to be made to a dumb man. According to the canon F17, a dumb man nods, and (zmrnw) "and is nodded", or "beckoned to": and which beckoning one of the commentators F18 says, is a sign which is expressed either by the hands or head. Such a method as these took with Zacharias, about the name of his son, is directed to in case of a father's deafness, in relation to knowing who is his firstborn; F19
``father that is dumb, they search or examine him in the way they search for divorces; if he makes signs, or writes, that this is his firstborn, lo! this takes the double portion.''How he would have him called;
by what name, Zacharias or John; and they were right in applying to him, to whom it most properly belonged, to give a name to his child.
F17 Misn. Gittin, c. 5. sect 7.
F18 Bartenora in ib.
F19 Maimon. Hitch. Nechalot, c. 2. sect. 15, & 4. 1.