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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:13

But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thy prayer is heard - This probably refers,

    1st, to the frequent prayers which he had offered to God for a son; and

2dly, to those which he had offered for the deliverance and consolation of Israel.

They are all heard - thou shalt have a son, and Israel shall be saved. If fervent faithful prayers be not immediately answered, they should not be considered as lost; all such are heard by the Lord, are registered in heaven, and shall be answered in the most effectual way, and in the best time. Answers to prayer are to be received by faith; but faith should not only accompany prayer while offered on earth, but follow it all its way to the throne of grace, and stay with it before the throne till dismissed with its answer to the waiting soul.

Thou shalt call his name John - For the proper exposition of this name, see on Mark 1:4; (note).


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thy prayer is heard - That is, thy prayer for offspring. This, among the Jews, was an object of intense desire. No prospect was more gloomy to them than that of dying childless, so that their “name should perish.” Special pains, therefore, had been taken in the law to keep up the names of families by requiring a man to marry his brother‘s wife, Deuteronomy 25:5.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:13

But the angel said unto him, Fear not

Human life on earth known in heaven

From the speech of Gabriel it is clear that human life, in its beginning’, course, purpose, and destiny, is known in heaven before it is manifested on earth.
This is not the case with exceptional men only, but with all men. This should throw a joyous solemnity around life. Human life is intended to be the realization of a heavenly plan. Inquire what it is, accept it with all thankfulness or submis
sion, as the case may be, and live in God. John was to be as conspicuous amongst men as a mountain is conspicuous amongst the lowlands. But did not God make the valleys as well as the hills? In great lives we only see the lines of Divine movement and purpose more clearly because of their apparent exaggeration; in humbler lives the lines are all there. This communication made by Gabriel suggests two inquiries.

1. Has every life a guardian angel?

2. Is every life reported in heaven by the angelic watcher? (Dr. Parker.)

Light will arise in due time

The barrenness necessitated the annunciation. The annunciation transfigured the barrenness. Is it not often exactly thus with trying and bitter and “reproach” bringing experiences of the believer? We are denied what we fain would have; we have what we would fain have been denied. We feel ourselves of those who “walk in the darkness,” and have “no light.” Well! do we “trust” in the Lord, and “stay ourselves upon God”? If only we do, sooner or later, I am satisfied increasingly, “light will arise.” It may not come when we wished it, nor as we wished it, but come it does. (A. B. Grosart, LL. D,)

Consider the exquisite connexion of the whole, the gradually-attained climax of the Divine message from the lips of the angel from before the throne. The messenger of joy begins with the mention of the accepted prayer, promises a son, gives him a high name, foretells for him a distinguished office. But the greatest tidings are yet to come: the longed-for coming of the Messiah, whose forerunner this child is to be. To quote Pfenninger: “How tenderly interwoven, how intimately connected, the Divine with the human story I It is one of the chief perfections of a drama that all its occurrences should essentially hang together; that none of them should appear extraneous or isolated; and where are these conditions better observed than in the Divine narratives of Holy Writ? The grandest, Divinest story in the world blended at its first most human commencement with the human heart-history of a childless wedded pair, who pray to God for a son.” This is certainly true, although the prayer here referred to can hardly have been confined to such a petition. The heavenly message, however, retrospectively includes former prayers, and has three separate clauses--first, the birth of a son to Zacharias; last, the coming of the Lord Himself; and as connecting link between the two, the announcement that this son shall make ready the way of this very Lord. (Rudolph Stier)

The “Fear-nots” of the Bible

The “Fear-nots” of the Bible provide an all-sufficient vade-necum for the timid and distressed. There is no apprehension possible to man which has not its complementary reassuring promise in God’s Word. (Anon.)

Long-offered prayers

The prayer of Zacharias was most probably an old prayer, going back many years, ere Elisabeth was old. But apparently unanswered prayers are not disregarded prayers. Old, very old prayers often and often bring down blessings unexpected. (A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)

The Bible abounds in assurances that all faithful earnest prayer will be heard, cannot but be heard. And Christian experience proves the truth of the Divine assurance. Let us rejoice

Disappointed and weary suppliant, fear not, thy prayer is heard. And to know that it is heard is to know that in God’s good way and time it shall be answered. (Anon.)

Prayer heard though not immediately answered

I can stand in the rooms of my office in New York, and communicate with the men in the fifth story. If I want to speak to the foreman of the printing office, I go and blow the whistle, and talk through the tube. And I know that the message has got up there and that he heard it. I do not see him, and he does not answer back; but I have no doubt that, having received the message, he will attend to my wants. Soft seems to me that sometimes we speak to God in heaven, as it were through an invisible medium. He does not answer immediately, but, nevertheless, we know that He is there, and that, even if we do not conceive of Him, He conceives of us; and we send our thought or prayer up, and let it alone, and do not fret or worry about it. (H. W.Beecher.)

Unanswered prayer accepted

Prayers which are not answered at once, nor, perhaps, for a long time afterwards, may nevertheless be accepted. God’s people are apt to forget this; and that it is with prayer, to borrow an illustration from commercial transactions, as with a bill, which, though accepted, is often not paid till months or years have elapsed. Our heavenly Father knows best what to give; and also how, and where, and when to give it. Were its answer always to follow prayer, as the peal roars upon the flash, I suspect that we would be as ready in spiritual as we are in earthly matters to look only to secondary causes, and forget God’s hand--coming to look upon our prayers as being the cause of the answer, as much as we are in the habit of regarding the flash of lightning, without any reference to God, as the cause of the peal of thunder. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)

And thy wife Elisabeth … John

This promised son is added to a series whose birth has already been miraculously foretold. Isaac, Samson, Samuel. The significant names of both Zacharias [The Lord remembers] and Elisabeth [God of the oath, or covenant] are mentioned by the angel, to point out the rich fulfilment of their prophetic meaning, but the appointed name of this promised son transcends theirs. An era of new and fuller grace begins with him. Later, the name (=the grace of God) receives its special explanation, in that the stern preacher of repentance is found only to lead from grace to grace. John is the last but one of the seven names [Ishmael, Isaac, Solomon, Josiah, Cyrus, John, Jesus] given by God in Holy Scripture to those still unborn, and the seventh name is Jesus. (Rudolf Stier.)

Angelic solicitude

1. Observe how apprehensive this good angel was at Zachary’s surprising fear, and encourages him against it. The holy angels, though they do not express it in words, yet pity our frailties, and suggest comfort to us. The evil angels, if they might, would kill us with terror; the good angels labour together for our tranquility and cheerfulness.

2. The comfortable words spoken by the angel to Zacharias. God sometimes hears our prayers, and bestows His mercies, when we least expect; yea, when we have given over looking for what we asked. 3: The name which the angel directed Zachary to give his son: John, which signifies gracious; because he was to open the kingdom of grace, and to preach the grace of the gospel through Jesus Christ. The giving of significant names to children has been an ancient and pious practice; names which either carried a remembrance of duty or of mercy in them. (W. Burkitt, M. A,)

Acceptable prayer defined

Prayer is the offering of our sincere desires to God. It involves a sense of our unworthiness and necessities.

1. Penitence (Psalms 51:17).

2. Faith (Hebrews 11:6).

3. Sincerity (Jeremiah 29:13).

4. Fervency (James v 16).

5. Love (1 Timothy 2:8).

6. Delight in God (Isaiah 25:9).

7. Perseverance (Ephesians 6:18).

8. Humble submission to God’s will (Micah 7:7).

9. In the name of Christ (Ephesians 3:12).

10. With confession of our sins (1 John 1:9). Jewish prayers were chiefly praise and benedictions. Always answered, but in

God’s sovereign way. (W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

The efficacy of prayer

“Then you have not been modified in any way as to the efficacy of prayer?” asked his visitor. Mr. Spurgeon laughed. “Only in my faith growing far stronger and firmer than ever. It is not a matter of faith with me, but of knowledge, and everyday experience. I am constantly witnessing the most unmistakable instances of answers to prayer. My whole life is made up of them. To me they are so familiar as to cease to excite my surprise; but to many they would seem marvellous, no doubt. Why, I could no more doubt the efficacy of prayer than I could disbelieve in the law of gravitation. The one is as much a fact as the other, constantly verified every day of my life. Elijah, by the brook Cherith, as he received his daily rations from the ravens, could hardly be a more likely subject for scepticism than

I. Look at my Orphanage. To keep it going entails an annual expenditure of about £10,000. Only £1400 is provided for by endowment. The remaining £8000 comes to me regularly in answer to prayer. I do not know where I shall get it from day to day. I ask God for it, and He sends it. Mr. Muller, of Bristol, does the same on a far larger scale, and his experience is the same as mine.” (Pall Mall Gazette.)

Prayers answered at last

During a long course of years, even to the closing fortnight of his life, in his last sickness, Dr. Judson lamented that all his efforts in behalf of the Jews had been a failure. He was departing from the world saddened with that thought. Then, at last, there came a gleam of light that thrilled his heart with grateful joy. Mrs. Judson was sitting by his side while he was in a state of great languor, with a copy of the Watchman and Reflector in her hand. She read to her husband one of Dr. Hague’s letters from Constantinople. That letter contained some items of information that filled him with wonder. At a meeting of missionaries at Constantinople, Mr. Schauffler stated that a little book had been published in Germany giving an account of Dr. Judson’s life and labours; that it had fallen into the hands of some Jews; and had been the means of their conversion; that a Jew had translated it for a community of Jews on the borders of the Euxine, and that a message had arrived in Constantinople asking that a teacher might be sent to show them the way of life. When Dr. Judson heard this his eyes were filled with tears, a look of almost unearthly solemnity came over him, and, clinging fast to his wife’s hand as if to assure himself of being really in the world, he said, “Love, this frightens me, I do not know what to make of it.” “To make of what? “ said Mrs. Judson. “Why, what you have just been reading, I never was deeply interested in any object, I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything, but it came; at some time--no matter how distant the day--somehow, in some shape, probably the last I should have devised, it came! “ What a testimony was that I It lingered on the lips of the dying Jud-son; it was enbalmed with grateful tears, and is worthy to be transmitted as a legacy to the coming generation. The desire of the righteous shall be granted. Pray and wait. The answer to all true prayer will come. In Judson’s case the news of the answer came before he died, but it was answered long before. So we may know of the results of prayers and toils even while we sojourn here; but if not, what sweet surprises shall await us in the great beyond! (North-Western Christian Advocate.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Fear not ... This was the word of Jesus to his storm-tossed apostles, and the word of the angels to the shepherds when Jesus was born, and it was the last message of the enthroned Christ for all who believe in him (Revelation 1:17).

Thy supplication is heard ... The most natural way to understand this is as a reference to the prayers of this holy couple for a child; and, although his priestly duties of that occasion demanded that he should also have prayed for the coming of the Messiah and the bringing in of the kingdom of God, it certainly appears that his prayer for a child, whether uttered again on that occasion or not, was nevertheless continually in his heart; and it was to THAT PRAYER which the angel referred in this appearance.


Copyright Statement
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 1:13". "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

But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias,.... He calls him by his name; for holy men are known to angels in person, and by name; to whom they are ministering spirits, and for whose good they are concerned; and bid him not be afraid, as the angel also said to the women at Christ's sepulchre, Matthew 28:5 for he saw by his countenance and gestures, that he was greatly surprised and terrified at the sight of him:

for thy prayer is heard; which he had many years ago put up for a son; for it cannot be thought that he had been now praying for one, being in such an advanced age, and having for years past given up all hopes of one, and was even unbelieving, when he was told by the angel he should have one: prayer is sometimes immediately heard, and answered; and sometimes an answer is deferred a long time, to try the faith and patience of the saints, and to discover the more the wisdom, power, and goodness of God: or this may have regard to his present prayer, one branch of which might concern the coming of the Messiah, which was now expecting, and therefore is told, that his prayer was heard; since the angel that appeared to him, brought him the news of the conception and birth of his forerunner:

and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son; who had been always barren, and was called so, Luke 1:7.

And thou shalt call his name John; in Hebrew, "Jochanan", and signifies "gracious": a fit name for one that was filled with the gifts and graces of the Spirit; and was the harbinger of the Messiah, who is full of grace and truth; and the ushered in the Messiah's kingdom, which is a dispensation of grace.


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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 1:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

thy prayer is heard — doubtless for offspring, which by some presentiment he even yet had not despaired of.

John — the same as “Johanan,” so frequent in the Old Testament, meaning “Jehovah‘s gracious gift.”


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Fear not. This first celestial message at the dawning of the New Testament dispensation is one of cheer.

Thy prayer is heard. The childless old priest had prayed for offspring.

Shalt call his name John. That is, "the God-given."


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

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Is heard (εισηκουστηeisēkousthē). First aorist passive indicative. A sort of timeless aorist, “was heard” when made, and so “is heard” now. Probably the prayer was for a son in spite of the great age of Elisabeth, though the Messianic redemption is possible also.

John (ΙωανηνIōanēn). The word means that God is gracious. The mention of the name should have helped Zacharias to believe. The message of the angel (Luke 1:13-17) takes on a metrical form when turned into Hebrew (Ragg) and it is a prose poem in Greek and English like Luke 1:30-33, Luke 1:35-37, Luke 1:42-45, Luke 1:46-55, Luke 1:68-70; Luke 2:10-12, Luke 2:14, Luke 2:29-32, Luke 2:34-35. Certainly Luke has preserved the earliest Christian hymns in their oldest sources. He is the first critic of the sources of the Gospels and a scholarly one.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Is heard ( εἰσηκούσθη )

If we render the aorist literally, was heard, we avoid the question as to what prayer is referred to. The reference is to the prayer for offspring, which, owing to His extreme years, Zacharias had probably ceased to offer, and which he certainly would not be preferring in that public and solemn service. Hence the aorist is appropriate, referring back to the past acts of prayer. “That prayer, which thou no longer offerest,was heard.”

John

Meaning God is favorable, or Jehovah showeth grace.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Thy prayer is heard — Let us observe with pleasure, that the prayers of pious worshippers come up with acceptance before God; to whom no costly perfume is so sweet, as the fragrancy of an upright heart. An answer of peace was here returned, when the case seemed to be most helpless. Let us wait patiently for the Lord, and leave to his own wisdom the time and manner wherein he will appear for us.

Thou shalt call his name John — John signifies the grace or favour of Jehovah. A name well suiting the person, who was afterward so highly in favour with God, and endued with abundance of grace; and who opened a way to the most glorious dispensation of grace in the Messiah's kingdom. And so Zacharias's former prayers for a child, and the prayer which he, as the representative of the people, was probably offering at this very time, for the appearing of the Messiah, were remarkably answered in the birth of his forerunner.


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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 1:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

But the angel said unto him, Fear not1, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John2.

  1. Fear not. These are the first words of the gospel which began at that hour to unfold itself. Also see .

  2. Thou shalt call his name John. This name means "the Lord is gracious", or "the Lord is merciful".


Copyright Statement
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 1:13". "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

13.Fear not, Zacharias The glory of God, it ought to be observed, is not so appalling to the saints as to swallow them up entirely with dread, but only to cast them down from a foolish confidence, that they may behold him with humility. As soon, therefore, as God has abased the pride of the flesh in those who believe in him, he stretches out his hand to raise them up. He acts differently towards the reprobate; for at whatever time they are dragged before the tribunal of God, they are overwhelmed by absolute despair: and thus does God justly reward their vain delights, in which they give themselves up to the intoxicating antonness of sin. We ought, therefore, to accept this consolation, with which the angel soothes Zacharias, that we have no reason to fear, when God is gracious to us. For they are greatly mistaken who, in order to enjoy peace, hide themselves from the face of God, whereas we ought to acquaint ourselves with him and be at peace, (Job 22:21.)

Thy prayer is heard Zacharias may seem to have acted an improper part, and inconsistent with the nature of his office, if, on entering the Holy Place in the name of all the people, he prayed as a private man that he might obtain offspring; for, when the priest sustained a public character, he ought, in forgetfulness as it were of himself, to offer prayers for the general welfare of the Church. If we say that there was no absurdity in Zacharias, after performing the chief part of the prayer, devoting the second part of it to private meditations about himself, the reply will not be without weight. But it is hardly probable that Zacharias did, at that time, pray to obtain a son, of which he had despaired on account of his wife’s advanced age; nor indeed can any precise moment be drawn from the words of the angel. I interpret it, therefore, simply that his prayer was at length heard, which he had poured out before God for a long period. That the desire of having children, if it be not excessive, is consistent with piety and holiness, may be gathered from Scripture, which assigns to it not the lowest place among the blessings of God.

Thou shalt call his name John The name was given, I think, to the Baptist in order to heighten the authority of his office. יהוהנן, (1 Chronicles 3:15,) for which the Greeks employ ᾿Ιωάννης, signifies in Hebrew the grace of the Lord Many suppose that the son of Zacharias was so called, because he was beloved of God. I rather think that it was intended to recommend not the grace which God bestowed upon him as a private individual, but that grace which his mission would bring to all. The force and weight of the name are increased by its date; for it was before he was born that God inscribed on him this token of his favor.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angel

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4")


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Luke 1:13". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/luke-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Ver. 13. For thy prayer is heard] Both for a son, and for a Saviour.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:13. Thy prayer is heard; We cannot imagine that this holy man, at so advanced an age, and on such an occasion, would pray for the pregnancy of his wife, who was very old. The priests in this office considered themselves as the mouth of the people, and made the welfare of the nation the subject of their prayers. Wherefore, since it is reasonable to suppose that Zacharias now interceded for the coming of the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, we may consider the angel's words as having a reference to such a prayer, thus: "The Messiah, for whose coming thou prayedst, is about to be born; for thy wife shall bring forth his forerunner." Some indeed are of opinion, that those prayers are meant which Zacharias may have put up for offspring when he and his wife were young; yet the time and place of the vision give reason to believe that the object of it was a matter of more general concernment. It was the office of the father to name the child, as appears from Luke 1:62. John, in the Hebrew tongue, signifies The grace of God. Hence it was fitly given to the Messiah's forerunner, who was sent to proclaim the immediateaccomplishmentofGod'smercifulintentionstowardsmen,theexpectation of which had been raised in them by all the preceding dispensations of religion. Αγαλλιασις, which we render gladness, in the next verse, properly answers to the word exultation or leaping for joy. See 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 4:13 and Matthew 5:12.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". 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

Observe here, 1. How apprehensive this good angel was of Zacharias's surprising fear, and encourages him against it. The holy angels, though they do not express it in words, yet they pity our frailties, and suggest comfort to us. The evil angels if they might, would kill us with terror; the good angels labour altogether for our tranquility and cheerfulness. The angel said unto him, Fear not.

Observe, 2. The comfortable words spoken unto Zacharias; Thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son. No doubt Zacharias and Elizabeth had often prayed for a child, and now God sends them one when they least expected it.

Learn hence, that sometimes God gives in a mercy to us, when we least expect it; yea, when we have given over looking for it. No doubt it was the case here, Zachary and Elizabeth being both well stricken in age.

Observe, 3. The name which the angel directed Zacharias to give his son: Thou shalt call his name John, which signifies gracious; because he was to open the kingdom of grace, and to preach the grace of the gospel through Jesus Christ. The giving of significant names to children, has been an ancient and pious practice; names which either carried a remembrance of duty or of mercy in them.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] He had then prayed for a son—but as appears below, long since—for he now had ceased to look for an answer to his prayer. Many Commentators (Aug(6), Thl., Euth., Grot., &c.) have thought his prayer was for the salvation of Israel by the appearance of the Messiah: but the former view appears more probable.

ἰωάννην = יְהוֹחָנָן, ἰωανάν LXX, 1 Chronicles 3:24;— ἰωνά, 4 Kings 25:23;— ἰωάνης, 2 Chronicles 28:12;—= ‘God is favourable.’


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:13. ΄ὴ φοβοῦ, fear not) This is the first address from heaven in the opening dawn [aurora] of the New Testament, which is most charmingly described by Luke. The fact is here sweetly set before us; then we are led by rugged and severe paths to a most delightful issue. Such is also the case in the Apocalypse subsequently.— εἰσηκούσθη, has been hearkened to [granted]) This is to speak to the heart. [Zacharias in heart desired, though he no longer spoke.] Acts 10:4.— δέησίς σου, thy prayers) He had sought offspring in former days. [For he did not himself any longer cherish the expectation of the fulfilment of his desire.—V. g.]— ἰωάννην, John) The name, John, was prescribed: the name of Mary was not prescribed.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Although the great God useth so to show himself to the best of his own people, as to imprint upon them a sacred awe of his majesty, yet he never suffereth the souls of his people to sink under those apprehensions. The first words the angel saith to Zacharias are,

Fear not, Zacharias. I am no bad messenger to thee, but a good messenger from God, to tell thee

thy prayer is heard. This is good news to any soul. But of what prayer the angel here speaketh is a little further question, for it follows,

and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son. It is believed that the priest, while he burned incense, did offer up prayers, but that he had now offered up prayers to God for issue is not so probable, considering that both he and Elisabeth were well stricken in years, and probably past children. Some therefore think that those words, and thy wife Elisabeth, & c., are given him only as a sign that his prayers were heard; and added to signify that, as a further mercy to him than what he asked, Elisabeth should conceive. Nor do I see any reason why we should restrain the prayer mentioned to the prayer he had now made, and not expound it of those many prayers which Zacharias had before made, which though God had delayed to answer, yet the angel assures him should now be answered with relation to issue.

And thou shalt call his name John, which is the same with Johanan in the Hebrew, and signifies gracious. The angel directed Joseph to call Christ’s name Jesus, because he was to save his people from their sins; and he directeth Zacharias to call his son’s name John, because he was to open the kingdom of grace, and to preach the grace of the gospel, through Jesus Christ.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

John; the meaning of this word is, the grace of the Lord, or Jehovah is gracious.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

13. ΄ὴ φοβοῦ. The first utterance of the Dawn of the Gospel. St Luke begins with this angelic encouragement, and ends with the Apostles ‘blessing and praising God;’ see the beautiful remarks of Bengel ad loc.

εἰσηκούσθη ἡ δέησίς σου. ‘Thy supplication was heard.’ Δέησις implies a special prayer, and with the aorist verb shews that Zacharias had been just praying either to have a son, or at least that the days of the Messiah might come.

Ἰωάννην. Jehochanan, ‘the favour of Jehovah’ (comp. Genesis 17:19). It is the same name as Johanan, and in various forms was not uncommon, 1 Chronicles 3:24; 1 Chronicles 28:12, &c. Compare the German name Gotthold.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:13". "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

‘But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias: because your supplication is heard, and your wife Elisabeth will bear you a son, and you will call his name John.” ’

During his offering of the incense Zacharias would have prayed on behalf of all the people, a prayer for the deliverance of Israel. And now the angel, for such it was, knowing his thoughts, spoke gently to him. He told him not to be afraid, for he was not there to cause him harm, but to bring him good news from the presence of God. The good news was that God had heard his prayers, and that His deliverance was about to come to Israel, and not only that but that his wife too was to be involved in it and was to bear a son. And he was to be called Yo-annen, ‘the Lord is gracious’, for through him God was going to act graciously.

The angel replies in poetic and chiastic form, which we will first give in full:

a “And you will have joy and gladness,

a And many will rejoice at his birth.

a For he will be great in the sight of the Lord,

a And he will drink no wine nor strong drink,

b And he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

c And many of the children of Israel will he turn to the Lord their God.

b And he will go before his face in the spirit and power of Elijah,

a To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,

a And the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the righteous,

a To make ready for the Lord,

a A people prepared.”

Central to the chiasmus in ‘c’ is that he will turn many of his people to the Lord His God, for that is why he is to be born. Surrounding that central purpose in ‘b’ and parallel is that it will be by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit and power of Elijah. He will be the Mainspring of his activity. And in ‘a’ we have the rejoicing at the coming of the herald and a description of his potential, and in the parallel what he will accomplish through that potential.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. Thy prayer is heard—The angel attests his reality as a true supernatural being by showing that he knew what Zacharias’s prayer had long been, as well as by the splendour of his person. His prayer had, doubtless, once been for a posterity that his name might not die in Israel. But that hope declining as his age advanced, his later desire had been for the “consolation of Israel.” And at the present moment the prayers of Israel are ascending “for the people of God,” as Grotius says; “and, if Josephus and Philo are to be believed, for the salvation of the world.” Both currents of Zacharias’s prayer are heard. The posterity and the consolation are at hand.

John—The God-given. A suitable name for one divinely given in answer to prayer. It is a suitable name, also, for him who, promised by ancient prophecy, was at last bestowed.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The angel appeared to announce God"s answer to Zechariah"s prayer. He told Zechariah not to fear, a fairly common statement in Luke"s Gospel (cf. Luke 1:30; Luke 2:10; Luke 5:10; Luke 8:50; Luke 12:7; Luke 12:32). Zechariah"s prayer may have been a petition (Gr. deesis) for a son that the priest and his barren wife probably offered many times in previous years. However it was probably the petition that Zechariah had just offered as he presented the incense, presumably as he prayed for Israel"s salvation (cf. Daniel 9:20). In either case God"s provision of John was the answer. God named John (Jehochanan, or Jochanan) indicating His sovereign authority (cf. Luke 1:31). John"s name means, "Yahweh is [or has been] gracious."


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:13. For thy prayer is heard. The doubt of Zacharias (Luke 1:18) indicates that he had ceased to pray for a son. The prayer was doubtless a Messianic one, even if he still cherished some hope of a son in his old age. The answer includes both the public and private blessing. The Messiah will appear in his days, and the forerunner promised of old (Malachi 4) shall be his son.

John, ‘God graciously gave.’ Comp. 2 Kings 25:23; 2 Chronicles 17:15; 2 Chronicles 23:1; 2 Chronicles 28:12; Nehemiah 6:18; Nehemiah 12:13; where the Hebrew name occurs in different forms. See on Matthew 1:1.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "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 1:13. δέησις: all prayed at that hour, therefore of course the officiating priest. The prayer of Zechariah was very special— δέησις implies this as compared with προσευχή, vide Trench, Synonyms—and very realistic: for offspring. Beneath the dignity of the occasion, say some interpreters; a very superficial criticism. True to human nature and to O. T. piety, and not unacceptable to God. That the prayer was for offspring appears from the angelic message, objective and subjective corresponding.— γεννήσει, shall bear; originally to beget.— ἰωάννην: the name already mentioned to inspire faith in the reality of the promise: meaning, God is gracious.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-1.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:13. But the angel said, Fear not, &c. — Thus encouraging him with great gentleness of aspect and voice. For thy prayer is heard — I do not come unto thee with a message of terror, but am sent to assure thee, thy prayer is heard, and thy wife shall bear thee a son — “No doubt this good man had often prayed for children; but as he seemed now to have given up all expectations of that kind, it is reasonable to conclude, that these words chiefly relate to his prayers for the deliverance of Israel by the Messiah, whose appearance was then expected by pious persons conversant in the sacred writings, (Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38; Luke 19:11; Luke 23:51;)and the more earnestly desired just at this time, as they suffered so many grievous things by the oppression of the Romans and the tyranny of Herod, which toward the close of his reign grew more and more insupportable.” — Doddridge. The priests, it must be observed, in this office, considered themselves as the mouth of the people, and made the welfare of the nation the subject of their prayers. Therefore, since it is reasonable to suppose that Zacharias now interceded for the coming of the Messiah, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, we may consider the angel’s words as having a reference to such a prayer, thus: “The Messiah, for whose coming thou prayest, is about to be born, for thy wife shall bring forth his forerunner.” We may observe here with pleasure, that the prayers of pious worshippers come up with acceptance before God; to whom no costly perfume is so sweet as the fragrancy of an upright heart. An answer of peace was here returned, when the case seemed to be most helpless. Let us wait patiently for the Lord, and leave to his own wisdom the time and manner wherein he will appear for us. Thou shalt call his name John — John signifies, the grace or favour of Jehovah. A name well suiting the person who was afterward so highly in favour with God, and endued with abundance of grace; and who opened a way to the most glorious dispensation of grace in the Messiah’s kingdom.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Thy prayer is heard. We cannot suppose, as St. Augustine observes, (lib. ii. QQ. Evang. chap i., tom. 3, part 2, p. 249. Ed. Ben.) that he was praying to have children, when his wife was so advanced in years; that he did not think possible; but he was praying for the people, and for the coming of the Messias. See St. John Chrysostom, hom. ii. de incomprehensibili, tom. 1, p. 454. Nov. Ed. Ben. (Witham) --- Zacharias so far despaired of having any offspring that he did not believe the angel, when he made him the promise. When therefore the angel says, thy prayer is heard, we must understand it of the prayer he offered in behalf of the people, to whom salvation and remission of sins were to be brought by Christ. The angel, moreover, told him of the birth of his son, who was to be the precursor of Christ. (St. Augustine) --- The son that is to be born of thee, will shew that thy prayer is heard, when he cries out, behold the Lamb of God. (St. John Chrysostom) --- It is always a mark of singular merit, whenever the Almighty either appoints or changes the name of a man. (Ven. Bede) --- The name of John is derived from the Hebrew word, Jachanan, which frequently occurs in the Old Testament, as 1 Paralipomenon iii. 15. and vi. 9. and xii. 12. &c. and signifies, blessed with grace or divine favour; see also in Isaias xxx. 18, 19.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

unto = to. Greek. pros. App-104. Not the same word as in Luke 1:26.

not. Greek. me. App-105. As in verses: Luke 1:20, Luke 1:30, not as in verses: Luke 1:20, Luke 1:22, Luke 1:34.

for = because.

prayer = a definite petition.

is heard = was heard: i.e. not now, or recently. Evidently the prayer for offspring, which was now no longer offered.

bear thee = bring forth to thee.

John = Jehovah sheweth favour.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "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

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not. Thus by two familiar endeared, exhilarating words, was the silence of four centuries broken, and thus unexpectedly, yet all noiselessly, was the curtain of a stupendous and enduring Economy in this world's history at once drawn up! And was it not worth all the terror which Zacharias experienced to be greeted with so gladsome a salutation! It is God's prerogative, indeed, to dispel our fears - "Thou drewest near (sings Jeremiah) in the day that I called upon Thee; Thou saidst, Fear not" (Lamentations 3:57) - but angels, we see, are privileged to convey the message from heaven; nay, all who have themselves been divinely cheered are bidden "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not" (Isaiah 35:4).

Zacharias! How sweet is it to hear the name of this lowly mortal man sounded forth by an exalted messenger from the very presence-chamber of the Most High! Does it not bring vividly before us the nearness of heaven to earth, God's intimate knowledge of those who serve Him here below, and the tender interest which He takes in them?

For thy prayer is heard - doubtless for offspring, which, by some presentiment, perhaps, he had even until now been kept from quite despairing of.

And thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John , [ Yowchaanaan (Hebrew #3076), Y


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

Don't be afraid, Zechariah. The angel brings a message of hope! God has heard your prayer. They felt it was a disgrace to be childless, and had prayed continually for a child. You are to name him John. John means "God-given."


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) Thy prayer is heard.—The words imply a prayer on the part of Zacharias, not that he might have a son (that hope appears to have died out long before), but that the Kingdom of God might come. Praying for this he receives more than he asks, and the long yearning of his soul for a son who might bear his part in that Kingdom is at last realised.

Thou shalt call his name John.—The English monosyllable represents the Greek Joannes, the Hebrew Jochanan. The name appears as belonging to the men of various tribes (1 Chronicles 3:15; Ezra 8:12; Jeremiah 41:11). As the meaning of the Hebrew word is “Jehovah is gracious,” the announcement of the name was in itself a pledge of the outpouring of the grace of God.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Fear
24:36-40; Judges 6:23; Daniel 10:12; Matthew 28:5; Mark 16:6
thy prayer
Genesis 25:21; 1 Samuel 1:20-23; Psalms 118:21; Acts 10:31
and they
Genesis 17:10; 18:14; Judges 13:3-5; 1 Samuel 2:21; 2 Kings 4:16,17; Psalms 113:9; Psalms 127:3-5
thou
60-63; 2:21; Genesis 17:19; Isaiah 8:3; Hosea 1:4,6,9,10; Matthew 1:21

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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