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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:12

Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Zacharias - was troubled - Or, confounded at his sudden and unexpected appearance; and fear fell upon him, lest this heavenly messenger were come to denounce the judgments of God against a faithless and disobedient people, who had too long and too well merited them.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He was troubled - He was alone, in the presence of God. The appearance of the angel was sudden, unexpected, and therefore fearful.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:12

He was troubled

Terrifying effect of supernatural appearances

Such has usually been the effect of supernatural appearances, even on good men, as is exemplified in Manoah, David, Paul, and others.

1. Man’s weakness is incapable of easily bearing the glory of such appearances.

2. His sinfulness naturally makes him afraid that the heavenly messenger may be sent to him in displeasure. Hence appear the wisdom and goodness of God in employing, as the heralds of gospel salvation, not angels but human beings, whose terror does not make us afraid. If, however, we shall be so wise for ourselves as to receive the gospel, and to take the Lord of angels for our Lord, then we shall be prepared without fear to meet, not one angel, or a few angels, but the whole angelic host, with the Lord at their head--that host from which the ungodly will shrink in dismay, but which the ransomed shall gladly join round about the throne, to the number of ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. (James Foote, M. A.)

Angelic glory awakening fear

It was partly the suddenness, partly the unexpectedness, and partly the glory of the apparition, that affrighted this good man. Glorious and sudden apparitions do affright even the holiest and best of men. We cannot bear the sight and presence of an angel without consternation and fear, in our frail and sinful state. O happy hour when, mortality and sin being taken out of our natures, we shall not only behold the glorified angels without fear, but the glorious God with delight and love I Lord! let me now see Thee by faith, hereafter by sight. (W. Burkitt, M. A.)

Sight rather than faith the cause of fear

He that had wont to live and serve in the presence of the Master, was now astonished at the presence of the servant; so much difference is there betwixt our faith and our senses that the apprehension of the God of spirits by faith goes down sweetly with us, whereas the sensible apprehension of an angel dismays us. Holy Zachary, that had wont to live by faith, thought he should die, when his sense began to be set on work; it was the weakness of him, that served the altar without horror, to be daunted with the face of his fellow-servant. In vain do we look for such ministers of God as are without infirmities when just Zachary was troubled in his devotions with that wherewith he should have been comforted: it was partly the suddenness and partly the glory of the apparition that affrighted him. (Bishop Hall.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:12". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.

Such an attitude of fear and apprehension was altogether natural in the presence of an archangel, such an attitude being invariably manifested by all who ever saw such a being, the lone exception being that of Mary Magdalene who, through her overwhelming grief at the grave of Jesus, seems to have talked with an angel without even realizing it (John 20:11-18).


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when Zacharias saw him,.... The angel; he was troubled, and fear fell upon him; for such appearances of angels were not now so common as formerly: and when they were more usual, generally had such effects on the minds, even of good men; see Judges 6:22.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

Zacharias was troubled — Although he was accustomed to converse with God, yet we see he was thrown into a great consternation, at the appearance of his angelical messenger, nature not being able to sustain the sight. Is it not then an instance of the goodness is well as of the wisdom of God, that the services, which these heavenly spirits render us, are generally invisible?


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And Zacharias was troubled when he saw [him], and fear fell upon him1.

  1. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw [him], and fear fell upon him. As men always are at the sight of heavenly beings (Genesis 3:9,10 Daniel 10:7-12).


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

12.Zacharias was troubled Though God does not appear to his servants for the purpose of terrifying them, yet it is advantageous and even necessary for them to be struck with awe, (Psalms 33:8,) that, amidst their agitation, they may learn to give to God the glory due unto his name, (Psalms 29:2.) Nor does Luke relate only that Zacharias was terrified, but adds that fear fell upon him; intimating that he was so alarmed as to give way to terror. The presence of God fills men with alarm, which not only leads them to reverence, but humbles the pride of the flesh, naturally so insolent that they never submit themselves to God until they have been overcome by violence. Hence, too, we infer that it is only when God is absent, — or, in other words, when they withdraw from his presence, — that they indulge in pride and self-flattery; for if they had God as a Judge before their eyes, they would at once and unavoidably fall prostrate. And if at the sight of an angel, who is but a spark of the Divine light, this happened to Zacharias, on whom the commendation of righteousness is bestowed, what shall become of us miserable creatures, if the majesty of God shall overwhelm us with its brightness? We are taught by the example of the holy fathers that those only are impressed with a lively sense of the Divine presence who shake and tremble at beholding him, and that those are stupid and insensible who hear his voice without alarm.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

Ver. 12. He was troubled] But without cause; he should have been comforted rather, for his sins were covered. How will wicked men stand before Christ?


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:12. He was troubled, &c.— That is, according to the Hebrew idiom, he was exceedingly afraid. The angel's form was such, as shewed him plainly to be a being of a superior nature. See Judges 13:6. But Zacharias knew not on what errand he was come: no wonder then that he was exceedingly terrified.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

It was partly the suddenness, partly the unexpectedness, and partly the glory, of the apparition, that affrighted this good man. Glorious and sudden apparitions do affright even the holiest and best of men. We cannot bear the sight and presence of an angel without consternation and fear, in this our frail and sinful state. O happy, happy hour! when mortality and sin being taken out of our natures, we shall not only behold the glorified angels without fear, but the glorious God with delight and love. Lord! let me now see thee by faith, hereafter by sight. Sit in alio seculo, non in hoc! visio tua, merces mea. Gerson.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

We are naturally affrighted at sudden and unusual things, but especially at any Divine appearances, whether God himself takes a shape, or authorizes an angel to do it. So was Daniel, Daniel 10:7,8; and Manoah and his wife, Jude 13:20; and Paul, Acts 9:1-18. For though God doth not make these appearances to affright us, yet such is the imbecility of our natures, that we cannot but be shy at them, and start from them; and it is but reasonable that God should by this means both declare his own glory and majesty, and also humble his poor creatures, and make them more impressive, and receptive of his Divine revelations. It is reasonable God should keep and declare his majesty, though we keep and declare our infirmity.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

12. ἐταράχθη. Such is the effect always recorded of these supernatural appearances. See Luke 2:9; Judges 13:22; Daniel 10:7-9; Ezekiel 1:28; Mark 16:8; Revelation 1:17.

ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ' αὐτόν. Comp. Genesis 15:12. The more classic construction would have been αὐτῷ. But as a language becomes older it gets less and less synthetic, and multiplies the epexegetic use of pronouns, prepositions, &c.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell on him.’

Fear and horror gripped his heart. What was this man doing in the sanctuary? The ‘fear’ and ‘trouble’ might have arisen at the thought that this man was defiling the sanctuary by his presence, or it may have been because something emanated from the man which indicated something of the divine, something that did declare his right to be there. But whichever it was, Zacharias was afraid. All his life he had thought of this moment, and he had taken such care over his preparations, and now it was being marred, indeed might even become disastrous. He would remember others before him who had been smitten down because of sacrilege at the moment of the offering of the incense (Leviticus 10:1-2). Was he now also to face such a death?


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12. Fear fell—Wonderful is the fear which curdles the blood of even the bravest of mortals at the thought of meeting a messenger from God, or an apparition from the world of spirits. It seems to indicate that such beings do exist, and that such is their relation to us that their approach, by way of manifestation, must shock the very foundations of our being. So when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and to Manoah, both gave themselves up for dead. Judges 6:12; Judges 6:22; Judges 13:3; Judges 13:22.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:12. Fear fell upon him. This fear was natural, for angelic revelations had not occurred for centuries.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 1:12. ἐταράχθη describes the state of mind generally = perturbed, φόβος specifically. Yet why afraid, seeing in this case, as always, the objective appearance answers to the inward state of mind? This fear of the divine belongs to O. T. piety.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

cause of this fear, was the general sentiment that obtained with the Jews, that they would die immediately on seeing an angel. (Bible de Vence)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

saw. Greek. eidon. App-138.

upon. Greek. epi. App-104. As in Luke 1:35. Not the same word as in Luke 1:58.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled [`discomposed,'] and fear fell upon him. And what wonder? The unseen world is so veiled from us, and so different from ours in its nature and laws, that when in any of its features it breaks in unexpectedly upon mortals, it cannot but startle and appal them, as it did Daniel (Daniel 10:7-8; Daniel 10:17), and the beloved disciple in Patmos (Revelation 1:17). 'He that had wont to live and serve in presence of the Master was now astonished at the presence of the servant. So much difference is there between our faith and our senses, that the apprehension of the presence of the God of spirits by faith goes down sweetly with us, whereas the sensible apprehension of an angel dismays us. Holy Zachary, that had wont to live by faith, thought he should die when his sense began to be set on work. It was the weakness of him that served at the altar without horror, to be daunted with the face of his fellow-servant' (Dr. Hall.)


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) He was troubled.—It lies in the nature of the case that during all the long years of Zachariah’s ministration, he had seen no such manifestation. As far as we may reason from the analogy of other angelic appearances, the outward form was that of a “young man clothed in white linen,” or in “bright apparel” (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5)—a kind of transfigured Levite, as One greater than the angels, when he manifested himself amid the imagery of the Temple, appeared as in the garments of a glorified priesthood (Revelation 1:13).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
he
29; 2:9,10; Judges 6:22; 13:22; Job 4:14,15; Daniel 10:7; Mark 16:5; Acts 10:4; Revelation 1:17

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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