Luke 1:18

18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”

Luke 1:18 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 1:18

And Zacharias said unto the angel, whereby shall I know
&c.] Notwithstanding such an appearance of an angel to him, which in those times was not so usual, and this in the holy place; and the things themselves which were told him, and these as the return of prayer; yet he distrusted, and wanted a sign, whereby he might know the truth of them, as the Jews were generally desirous of, and as the father of them was; who expressed himself in much such language, on a certain occasion, as this his son did; see ( Genesis 15:8 ) .

For I am an old man;
at least sixty years of age; for with the Jews, sixty years were reckoned, (hnqzl) , "for old age" F23; and a man of these years, was accounted an old man: and the Jewish Rabbins observe F24, that the word for old age in ( Job 30:2 ) is by "gematry, sixty"; that is, the letters of the word, numerically make so much. The Mahometan writers, as before observed on ( Luke 1:7 ) make him to be ninety nine years of age: he was not discharged from service; the Levites were at fifty, but not the priests; blemishes, as the Jewish writers say F25, made them unfit for service, but years did not: and even the law concerning the Levites, they say F26, only respected the time they carried the sanctuary from place to place, and not future generations; and that they are disqualified neither by blemishes, nor by years, only by voice, for singing of the song; but then they might be among the porters; so that they were not on that account laid aside from all service:

and my wife well stricken in years.
The Mahometan writers, as before, say, she was "eighty nine"; a like objection Abraham made, though he afterwards got over it, and was strong in faith, giving glory to God, believing in his power and faithfulness; see ( Genesis 17:17 ) .


F23 Misn. Abot, c. 5. sect. 21. & Maimon. in ib.
F24 R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 24. 2.
F25 T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 24. 1.
F26 Maimon. Hilch. Cele Hamikdash, c. 3. sect. 8.

Luke 1:18 In-Context

16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.
17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!
20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.”
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