We have spent the past two days examining the character of Zechariah, the priest who encountered an angel. Scripture is also concerned about the character of his wife, Elizabeth. How would she react to this news?
Like Zechariah, Elizabeth is described as “righteous” (v. 6). We know that she was “childless” and “very old” (v. 7). Elizabeth was descended from the line of Aaron, the priestly line. Her reputation and lineage were impeccable. She and Zechariah had prayed for God to give them a child, but now the realities of biology had led them to think that God’s answer was no.
Zechariah left the temple, unable to speak, and those who were present realized he had seen a vision. He motioned to them but was unable to explain (v. 22). He returned home, which was probably not far from Jerusalem.
Scripture doesn’t tell us how he conveyed the wonderful, shocking news to his wife, but the text implies that they responded to this news in faith. Elizabeth indeed became pregnant.
As was the custom of the time, Elizabeth kept herself in “seclusion” for five months. This pregnant elderly woman saw her growing belly as an outward sign of God’s favor (v. 25). Indeed, in Scripture, children are a blessing from God (Deut. 28:4; Psalm 128:3). The child growing in her womb was a miraculous answer to her prayers.
Many women throughout the Bible struggled with infertility: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and now Elizabeth. Each prayer was answered, but not always in an expected way. Their stories also reveal something about the tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers.