While Zacharias ministered at the golden altar of incense in the holy place, it was announced to him by the angel Gabriel that his wife Elisabeth, who was also of a priestly family, now stricken in years, would give birth to a son who was to be called John, and that he would be the forerunner of the long-expected Messiah ( Luke 1:12-17 ). As a punishment for his refusing to believe this message, he was struck dumb and "not able to speak until the day that these things should be performed" (20). Nine months passed away, and Elisabeth's child was born, and when in answer to their inquiry Zacharias wrote on a "writing tablet," "His name is John," his mouth was opened, and he praised God (60-79). The child (John the Baptist), thus "born out of due time," "waxed strong in spirit" ( 1:80 ).
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Zacharias". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".