Luke 1:19

19 The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Luke 1:19 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 1:19

And the angel answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel
The name of an angel well known to Zacharias from Daniel's prophecies, ( Daniel 8:16 ) ( 9:21 ) and is the first time we read of the name of an angel: the Jews say F1, the names of angels came out of Babylon, by the means of the Israelites; and it was there that Daniel became acquainted with this name of Gabriel, and also of Michael. Frequent mention is made of Gabriel in the Jewish writings {b}: were there a particular angel appointed over conception, as the Jews say F3 there is, one would be ready to think it should be Gabriel, since he was sent to declare the conception and birth both of John the Baptist, and of our Lord Jesus Christ: the name of that angel the Jews indeed say F4 is Lilah; but yet the Cabalistic doctors F5 affirm, that that angel is under Gabriel. In what language this angel spoke to Zacharias, and afterwards to Mary, may be a needless inquiry; but since the Syriac language was generally spoken, and understood by the Jews at this time, it is highly reasonable that he spoke to them in that. The Jews have a notion, that none of the ministering angels understand the Syriac language, excepting Gabriel; and he, they say, understood seventy languages {f}. Now the angel, by making mention of his name, puts Zacharias in mind of the prophecy of Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah, which he had from him; and whereas his name signified, "a man of God", or "the power", or "strength of God", or "God is my strength", he suggests unto him, that he ought not to have distrusted his Words, since with God all things are possible: he adds,

that stand in the presence of God;
beholding his face, hearkening to his voice, and ministering to him, and so had this affair immediately from him: and therefore he had no reason to doubt of the accomplishment of it. Gabriel, according to the Jews, is one of the four angels that surround the throne of God: their names are Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel F7.

``Michael they place at his right hand, and Uriel at his left hand, and Gabriel, (wynplm) , before him, (in his presence, as he here says of himself,) over against the kingdom of Judah, and Moses and Aaron, who were in the east (of the camp of Israel); and why is his name called Gabriel? of Judah it is written, ( 1 Chronicles 5:2 ) "for Judah", (rbg) , "prevailed above his brethren"; and of Moses it is written, ( Leviticus 1:1 ) "and God called unto Moses"; and it is written, ( Isaiah 9:6 ) "and shall call his name Wonderful, Counselor, (rwbg la) the mighty God, lo! Gabriel".''

And am sent to speak unto thee, and to show unto thee these glad
wherefore, on account of his name, his office, and his mission, especially the subject of it being welcome news, good tidings, what he said ought to have obtained credit with him. Gabriel was one of the ministering spirits sent to minister to them that were heirs of salvation; his messages were messages of mercy, grace and love; he was not a minister of the wrath and vengeance of God, but of his favour. Agreeably to this the Jews say of him, that his name Gabriel is, by "gematry", or numerically, the same with (Mxr) "merciful" F8: he is called, in the Talmud F9, (tynwqop xwr) "the decisive spirit", and is said to have three names, Piskon, Itmon, and Sigron. He is called Piskon, because he decides, or determines judgment against them that are above; and Itmon, because he stops up the sins of the Israelites; and Sigron, because when he shuts (the gates of judgment) there is none can open again. Hence also they say, that he is the angel that is appointed over water which quenches fire. The Targumist on ( Job 25:2 ) paraphrases the words thus:

``Michael on the right hand, who is over fire; and Gabriel on the left hand, who is over water; and the holy creatures mingle fire and water, and by his dominion and fear, make peace in his heaven of heavens.''


F1 T. Hicros. Rosh Hashana, fol. 56. 4.
F2 Targum Jon. in Exod. xxiv. 10. Targum in Esth. iv. 12. & in Psal. cxxxvii. 8. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 19. 2. Shemot Rabba, fol. 91. 2. Sithre Toro in Zohar in Gen. fol. 65. 3. & 66. 2.
F3 Targum in Job. iii. 3.
F4 T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 16. 2.
F5 Lex. Cabbal. p. 230.
F6 T. Bab. Sota, fol. 33. 1. & Tosephot in Sabbat, fol. 12. 2.
F7 Bernidbar Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 179. 1.
F8 Lex. Cabbal. p. 230.
F9 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 44. 2.

Luke 1:19 In-Context

17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18 Zechariah said to the angel, "How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years."
19 The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur."
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary.