Since many have undertaken to set in order a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us,
even as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word delivered them to us,
it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus;
that you might know the certainty concerning the things in which you were instructed.
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zechariah, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisheva.
Aharon’s wife was named Elisheva,
“Aaron took Elisheva, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.”
Zechariah was in the order of Abiyah, as 1 Chronicles states,
“These were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priests office. David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their ordering in their service. There were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and they were divided like this: of the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen, heads of fathers houses; and of the sons of Ithamar, according to their fathers houses, eight. Thus were they divided impartially by drawing lots; for there were princes of the sanctuary, and princes of God, both of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar. Shemaiah the son of Nethanel the scribe, who was of the Levites, wrote them in the presence of the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers households of the priests and of the Levites; one fathers house being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
- Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib,
- the second to Jedaiah,
- the third to Harim,
- the fourth to Seorim,
- the fifth to Malchijah,
- the sixth to Mijamin,
- the seventh to Hakkoz,
- the eighth to Abijah,
- the ninth to Yeshua,
- the tenth to Shecaniah,
- the eleventh to Eliashib,
- the twelfth to Jakim,
- the thirteenth to Huppah,
- the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
- the fifteenth to Bilgah,
- the sixteenth to Immer,
- the seventeenth to Hezir,
- the eighteenth to Happizzez,
- the nineteenth to Pethahiah,
- the twentieth to Jehezkel,
- the twenty-first to Jachin,
- the twenty-second to Gamul,
- the twenty-third to Delaiah,
- the twenty-fourth to Maaziah.
This was their ordering in their service, to come into the house of the LORD according to the ordinance given to them by Aaron their father, as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded him.
1 Chronicles 24:1-19
It is interesting the Zechariah’s Division, that of Abijah, is followed by Yeshua, the 9th Division.
They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
But they had no child, because Elisheva was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
“Sarai was barren. She had no child.”
Now it happened, while he executed the priests office before God in the order of his division,
according to the custom of the priests office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elisheva, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Yochanan.
You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth.
For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
“The angel of HaShem appeared to the woman, and said to her, See now, you are barren, and don’t bear; but you shall conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and dont eat any unclean thing: for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head; for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb: and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.
Zechariah said to the angel, How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.
The angel answered him, I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didnt believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.
The people were waiting for Zechariah, and they marveled that he delayed in the temple.
When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute.
It happened, when the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house.
After these days Elisheva, his wife, conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying,
Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men.
Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam.
Having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!
But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be.
The angel said to her, Don’t be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name Yeshua.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.
Miriam said to the angel, How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?
The angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God.
Behold, Elisheva, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For everything spoken by God is possible.
Miriam said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. The angel departed from her.
Miriam arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah,
and entered into the house of Zechariah and greeted Elisheva.
It happened, when Elisheva heard Miriams greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elisheva was filled with the Holy Spirit.
She called out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!
Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!
Miriam said, My soul magnifies the Lord.
My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.
For he who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name.
His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.
He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever.
Miriam stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.
Now the time that Elisheva should give birth was fulfilled, and she brought forth a son.
Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and they rejoiced with her.
It happened on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zechariah, after the name of the father.
His mother answered, Not so; but he will be called Yochanan.
They said to her, There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.
They made signs to his father, what he would have him called.
He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, His name is Yochanan. They all marveled.
His mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God.
Fear came on all who lived around them, and all these sayings were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea.
All who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What then will this child be? The hand of the Lord was with him.