(1) It was said by the angel beforehand of John the Baptist, "Many shall rejoice at his birth"; and when he was born Elisabeth said, "Thus hath the Lord done unto me .... to take away my reproach among men" (Luke 1:14,25). Among the ancient Hebrews barrenness was a "reproach" and the birth of a child, of a son especially, an occasion for rejoicing.
(2) This, no doubt, was due in part to the Messianic hope inspired and sustained by prophecy (see Genesis 3:15, where it was foretold that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head; and subsequent prophecies too numerous to mention). Cases in point worth studying are found in Genesis 4:1, where Eve rejoices over the birth of her firstborn and cries, "I have gotten a man with the help of Yahweh"; and 1 Samuel 1:20, where Hannah exults over her firstborn, calling his name "Samuel," "because," she says, "I have asked him of Yahweh."
(3) The marvelous passage in Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," must have intensified the longing and hope of every devout Jewish maiden to be a mother, if mayhap, under God, she might be the mother of Messiah--Immanuel! (Compare Matthew 1:22,23; Luke 1:13 f.)
George B. Eager
These files are public domain.