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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:7

But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Both were now well stricken in years - By the order of God, sterility and old age both met in the person of Elisabeth, to render the birth of a son (humanly speaking) impossible. This was an exact parallel to the case of Sarah and Abraham, Genesis 11:30; Genesis 17:17. Christ must (by the miraculous power of God) be born of a virgin: whatever was connected with, or referred to, his incarnation must be miraculous and impressive. Isaac was his grand type, and therefore must be born miraculously - contrary to the common course and rule of nature: Abraham was a hundred years of age, Sarah was ninety, Genesis 17:17, and it had Ceased to be with Sarah After The Manner Of Women, Genesis 18:11, and therefore, from her age and state, the birth of a child must, according to nature, have been impossible; and it was thus; that it might be miraculous. John the Baptist was to be the forerunner of Christ; his birth, like that of Isaac, must be miraculous, because, like the other, it was to be a representation of the birth of Christ; therefore his parents were both far advanced in years, and besides, Elisabeth was naturally barren. The birth of these three extraordinary persons was announced nearly in the same way. God himself foretells the birth of Isaac, Genesis 17:16. The angel of the Lord announces the birth of John the Baptist, Luke 1:13; and six months after, the angel Gabriel, the same angel, proclaims to Mary the birth of Christ! Man is naturally an inconsiderate and incredulous creature: he must have extraordinary things to arrest and fix his attention; and he requires well-attested miracles from God, to bespeak and confirm his faith. Every person who has properly considered the nature of man must see that the whole of natural religion, so termed, is little else than a disbelief of all religion.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Well stricken in years - Old or advanced in life, so as to render the prospect of having children hopeless.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:7

And they had no child

Virtue rewarded after long trial

Observe here--

I.
This holy pair, Zacharias and Elisabeth, were fruitful in holy obedience, but barren in children; a fruitful soul and a barren womb are consistent, and often meet together. This religious couple made no less progress in virtue than in age, and yet their virtue did not make their age fruitful.

II. Elisabeth was barren in the flower of her age, but much more so in old age. Here was a double obstacle, and consequently a double instance of Divine power in the birth of John the Baptist, showing him to be a prophet very extraordinary, and miraculously sent by God.

III. When Almighty God in old time did long delay to give the blessing of children to holy women, He rewarded their expectation with the birth of some eminent and extraordinary person. Thus Sarah, after long barrenness, brought forth an Isaac; Rebecca, a Jacob; Rachel, a Joseph; Hannah, a Samuel; and Elisabeth, St. John Baptist. When God makes His people wait long for a particular mercy, if He sees it good for them, He gives it at last with a double reward for their expectation. (W. Burkitt, M. A.)

Opposite wonders in the conception of Christ and of John

A just soul and a barren womb may well agree together. Among the Jews barrenness was not a defect only, but a reproach; yet, while this good woman was fruitful of holy obedience, she was barren of children; as John, who was miraculously conceived by man, was a fit forerunner of Him that was conceived by the Holy Ghost, so a barren matron was meet to make way for a virgin. (Bishop Hall.)

Here was desolation without murmuring. Blessings long withheld are more intensely prized. (W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

The society of children

We are all brought nearer to Christ through childhood. Dr. Arnold used to say that no one could continue long in a healthy religious state unless his heart was kept tender by mingling with children, or by frequent intercourse with the poor and the suffering.

The grief of being childless

But, notwithstanding all the satisfaction and inward peace of innocent and godly lives, in spite of the natural pride they, doubtless, felt in the consideration that must have been shown them, as born of a priestly ancestry, stretching back through fifteen hundred years, and though they must have had round them the comforts of a modest competency, there was a secret grief in the heart of both. Elisabeth had no child, and what this meant to a Hebrew wife it is hard for us to fancy. Rachel’s words, “Give me children, or else I die,” were the burden of every childless woman’s heart in Israel. The birth of a child was the removal of a reproach. Hannah’s prayer for a son was that of all Jewish wives in the same position. To have no child was regarded as a heavy punishment from the hand of God. How bitter the thought that his name should perish was for a Jew to bear, was seen in the law which required that a childless widow should be, forthwith, married by a dead husband’s brother, that children might be raised up to preserve the memory of the childless man, by being accounted his. Nor was it enough that one brother of a number acted thus: in the imaginary instance given by the Sadducees to our Lord, seven brothers, in succession, took a dead brother’s wife, for this object. The birth of a child was therefore a special blessing, as a security that the name of his father “should not be cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place,” and that it should not be “put out of Israel.” Ancient nations, generally, seem to have had this feeling, and it is still so strong among Orientals, that after the birth of a first-born son, a father and a mother are no longer known by their own names, but as the father and mother of the child. There was, besides, a higher thought of possible relations, however distant, to the great-expected Messiah, by the birth of children; but Zacharias and Elisabeth had reason enough to sorrow at their childless home, even on the humbler ground of natural sentiments. They had grieved over their misfortune, and had made it the burden of many prayers, but years passed, and they had both grown elderly, and yet no child had been vouchsafed them. (Dr. Geikie.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:7". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were well stricken in years.

The experience of this holy couple paralleled that of Abraham and Sarah in that their long and patient prayers for a child had brought no change in their status. However, God had not said, "No"; he had only said, "Wait!" Childlessness was a particularly deplorable state in the thinking of the Jewish people.


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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 1:7". "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 they had no child,.... Son or daughter: and which was accounted a great infelicity: but this was not owing to the judgment of God upon them for any sins they had been guilty of, as the above character of them shows: and it had been the case of some righteous pairs before them for a great while, as Abraham and Sarah, Manoah, and his wile, Elkanah and Hannah:

because that Elizabeth was barren; so that it was peculiarly her case, and not Zacharias's: and though God had promised the people of Israel that there should be no male nor female barren among them, Deuteronomy 7:14 yet there were instances and exceptions to this general rule, as before mentioned, when it was the pleasure of God to make himself known, and magnify his power in the extraordinary conception and birth of any person; and therefore, though barrenness was reckoned a reproach to a person, there was, in this case, a particular hand of God, to answer a special purpose: the signs of sterility are, according to the JewsF2T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 80. 2. Maimon. & Bartenora. in Misn. Yebamot, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. Hilch. Ishot, c. 2. sect. 6. , when a woman had not breasts as other women have, her voice gross, so that it could not be discerned, whether it was a man's or a woman's, &c,

and they both were now well stricken in years; which made the conception and birth of John the more extraordinary, and even miraculous, and so the belief of it the more difficult; see Genesis 17:17 It may be literally rendered, "they had proceeded", or had far advanced "in their days": it is an "Hebraism", and answers to, באים בימים in Genesis 18:11 where the Septuagint render it by the same phrase as here. The Mahometan writers Beidavi and Jallallo'din sayF3In Koran, c. 3. that Zacharias was "ninety nine" years of age, and his wife "eighty nine",


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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 1:7". "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

So with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Elkanah and Hannah, Manoah and his wife.


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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 1:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Because that (κατοτιkathoti). Good Attic word, according to what. Only in Luke and Acts in the N.T. In the papyri.

Well stricken in years (προβεβηκοτες εν ταις ημεραις αυτωνprobebēkotes en tais hēmerais autōn). Wycliff has it right: “Had gone far in their days.” Perfect active participle. See also Luke 1:18.


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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 1:7". "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

Well stricken ( προβεβηκότες )

Lit., advanced. Wyc., had gone far in their days.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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.

The Fourfold Gospel

And they had no child1, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years2.

  1. And they had no child. This fact is a reproach and shame to her, barrenness being considered even a punishment for sin by many.

  2. Because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years. The births of Isaac (Genesis 17:17; Genesis 21:2), Samson, (Judges 13:2,24), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:2,5,20), and the Baptist were all contrary to nature, and were faint foreshadowings of the greater miracle which took place in the birth of our Lord.


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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 1:7". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Stricken; advanced.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

7.And they had no child By an extraordinary purpose of God it was appointed that John should be born out of the common and ordinary course of nature. The same thing happened with Isaac, (Genesis 17:17; Genesis 21:1,) in whom God had determined to give an uncommon and remarkable demonstration of his favor. Elisabeth had been barren in the prime of life, and now she is in old age, which of itself shuts up the womb. By two hinderances, therefore, the Lord gives a twofold, surprising exhibition of his power, in order to testify, by stretching out his hand, as it were, from heaven, that the Prophet was sent by himself, (Malachi 3:1; John 1:6.) He is indeed a mortal man, born of earthly parents; but a supernatural method, so to speak, recommends him strongly as if he had fallen from heaven


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Ver. 7. And they had no child] Which was then held a heavy judgment, as that which rendered them suspected of impiety, since godliness had the promise of increase both within doors and without.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. This holy pair, Zacharias and Elizabeth, were fruitful in holy obedience, but barren in children; a fruitful soul and a barren womb are consistent, and do oft-times meet together. This religious couple made no less progress in virtue than in age, and yet their virtue could not make their age fruitful.

Observe, 2. Elizabeth was barren in the flower of her age, but much more so in old age. Here was a double obstacle, and consequently a double instance of the divine power in the birth of John the Baptist, shewing him to be a prophet very extraordinary, and miraculously sent by God.

Observe, 3. That when Almighty God in old times did long delay to give the blessing of children to holy women, he rewarded their expectaiton with the birth of some eminent and extraordinary person; thus Sarah after long barrenness, brought forth an Isaac; Rebecca, a Jacob; Rachel, a Joseph; Hannah, a Samuel; and Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist. When God makes his people wait long for a particular mercy, he gives it in at last with a double reward of their expectation.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". 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

7.] προβαίνειν is only found in the classics in this sense with τήν or κατὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν, or τῇ ἡλικίᾳ.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". 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 1:7. καὶ, and) They no longer now had any hope of offspring, owing to a twofold cause [their age and Elizabeth’s barrenness]: Luke 1:18; Luke 1:36 (comp. Romans 4:19); and perhaps they were now not even seeking for [desiring] offspring.— προβεβηκότες, far advanced) A sweet description of the old age of the godly, which looks to the blissful goal [ προβεβ. implying progress towards it].


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". 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

Amongst all earthly blessings, there is nothing we more desire than children, in whom we have a kind of perpetuity, living in our species and in our posterity when we are dead in nature. But as God, for our trial, doth often deny us other good things which are the great objects of our desires, so he doth often deny his own people this great blessing. Sometimes he withholdeth it a long time from those to whom he at length giveth it. Barrenness in Israel was a reproach: see Luke 1:25, and 1 Samuel 1:6. There was a promise to Abraham of a plentiful seed; hence, amongst the Jews, she that was barren hardly thought herself, or was judged by others, a genuine daughter of Abraham. Both Zacharias and Elisabeth

were now well stricken in years. God chooseth this woman, naturally barren, and now aged also, to be the mother of John the Baptist, therein working a double miracle; and it is observable in holy writ, that when God denied to any women children for some long time, and then opened their wombs, they were the mothers of some eminent persons, whom God made great use of. Thus it was with Sarah, Rachel, the wife of Manoah, Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:1-28, and this Elisabeth.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:7". 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

7. καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον. This was regarded as a heavy misfortune, because it cut off all hope of the birth of the Messiah in that family. It was also regarded as often involving a moral reproach, and as being a punishment for sin. See Genesis 11:30; Genesis 18:11; Genesis 30:1-23; Exodus 23:26; Deuteronomy 7:14; Judges 13:2-3; 1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Samuel 1:27; Isaiah 47:9.

καθότι. This word in the N. T. is used only by St Luke 19:9; Acts 2:24. Classically it is better written καθ' ὅ τι.

προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις. A Hebraism for baîm bayamîm Genesis 18:11, &c. The classical phrase would be τῇ ἡλικίᾳ or τὴν ἡλικίαν or τοῖς ἔτεσιν. A priest apparently might minister until any age, but Levites were partially superannuated at 50 (Numbers 3:1-39; Numbers 3:4; Numbers 8:25).


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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 they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.’

But there was one respect in which they were not seen as the salt of the earth. For Elizabeth was barren, and they had grown old together childless. This would have seemed to many a contradiction to what they were, for to be childless would be seen by many as a reproach on her, and a hint of something lacking in her response to God. It would certainly be to her a deep sadness of heart, and she must often have wondered what she had done to deserve this fate. It is almost impossible for us now to conceive quite what a grief of heart it was, or to recognise the stigma that this lack brought on this godly couple. People would look at them both and shake their heads. The Rabbis would silently condemn them. To them a childless couple were under God’s heavy disapproval. But in her ‘reproach’ little did she know what God had planned for her. She was to bear a son, and he would be the greatest of all the prophets, the preparer of the way for the Messiah, the expected deliverer of Israel.

When we become discouraged in our service for God, or when we seek to pass judgment on what God is doing in the short term, we would do well to remember Elisabeth. She waited long for her vindication, but when it came, what a vindication!


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Elizabeth"s condition was identical to Sarah"s ( Genesis 17:16-17; cf. 1 Samuel 1:5-11). Her childless state embarrassed her (cf. Luke 1:25), and her advanced age removed the hope of bearing children from her. Whenever the Old Testament said a woman had no child it also recorded that God gave her one later. [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p53.] Therefore this statement prepares the reader for a miracle.

Priests were not disqualified from serving in the temple by age, but only by infirmity. [Note: Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1:135.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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 1:7. Well stricken in years (Greek, ‘advanced in their days’). A translation in quaint old English of the Hebrew phrase used in Genesis 18:11. See that passage, which presents the similar case of Abraham and Sarah.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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 1:7. καὶ οὐκ ἦν, etc.: childless, a calamity from the Jewish point of view, and also a fact hard to reconcile with the character of the pair, for the Lord loveth the righteous, and, according to O. T. views, He showed His love by granting prosperity, and, among other blessings, children (Psalms 128).— καθότι: a good Attic word: in Lk.’s writings only in N. T. = seeing, inasmuch as.— προβεβηκότες ἐν τ. ἡμ.: “advanced in days,” Hebraistic for the classic “advanced in age” ( τὴν ἡλικίαν) or years ( τοῖς ἔτεσιν): childless, and now no hope of children.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". 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 1:7. And they had no child — The providence of God so ordering it, that the birth of John the Baptist might be the more remarkable, and might excite the greater attention; because that Elisabeth was barren — Even when in the flower of her age. And they both were now well stricken in years — Here, then, was a double obstacle in the way of their having children, both the natural barrenness of Elisabeth, and the old age of them both; and, consequently, a double proof of the supernatural agency of God in the birth of John, evidently showing him to be a person miraculously sent by God. It is worthy of observation here, that many eminent persons under the patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, were born of mothers that had been long barren, as Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samson, Samuel, and here John the Baptist, to render their birth the more extraordinary, and the blessing of it the more valuable in the eyes of their parents; and to show, that when God keeps his people waiting long for a particular mercy, he is sometimes pleased to recompense them for their patience, by doubling the worth of it when it is given.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-1.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

no. Greek. ou. App-106.

child. Greek. teknon. See App-108.

because that = inasmuch as.

well stricken = advanced.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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 they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren; and they both were now well stricken in years. This quiet couple have one trial. Almost everyone has some crook in his lot; but here it was a link in the great chain of the divine purposes. As with Abraham and Sarah before Isaac was given; with Elkanah and Hannah before Samuel was granted them; and with Manoah and his wife before Samson was born; so here with Zacharias and Elizabeth before the Forerunner was bestowed-in each case, doubtless, to make the gift more prized, and raise high expectations from it.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "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

(7) Well stricken in years.—Literally, far advanced in their days.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
they had
Genesis 15:2,3; 16:1,2; 25:21; 30:1; Judges 13:2,3; 1 Samuel 1:2,5-8
well
Genesis 17:17; 18:11; 1 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 4:14; Romans 4:19; Hebrews 11:11

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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