Elizabeth (biblical figure)

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Saint Elizabeth
Champaigne visitation.jpg
Elizabeth (left) visited by Mary, the Visitation, by Philippe de Champaigne
Righteous
Born1st century BC
Hebron
Died1st century BC (or early AD)
(probably Hebron)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Anglican Church
Lutheran Church
Islam
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast November 5 (Roman Catholic, Lutheran)
September 5 (Eastern Orthodox, Anglican)
Patronage Pregnant women

Elizabeth, also spelled Elisabeth derives from Elisheba : (in the Hebrew אֱלִישֶׁבַע / אֱלִישָׁבַע "My God has sworn"; Standard Hebrew Elišévaʿ Elišávaʿ, Tiberian Hebrew ʾĔlîšéḇaʿ ʾĔlîšāḇaʿ; Arabic أليصابات, Alyassabat; in Greek Ἐλισάβετ (Elisavet)), was the mother of John the Baptist and the wife of Zechariah, according to the Gospel of Luke.

Elisheba, also spelled Elisheva, was the wife of Aaron, the elder brother of Moses and the ancestor of the Jewish high priests, according to the Hebrew Bible.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel. Modern Hebrew was spoken by over nine million people worldwide in 2013. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name "Hebrew" in the Tanakh itself. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only Canaanite language still spoken, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Tiberian Hebrew form of the Hebrew language in liturgical use by the Jews of Judea during the 8th to 10th centuries, as marked by the Tiberian vocalization of the Masoretic text

Tiberian Hebrew is the canonical pronunciation of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh committed to writing by Masoretic scholars living in the Jewish community of Tiberias in ancient Galilee c. 750–950 CE under the Abbasid Caliphate. They wrote in the form of Tiberian vocalization, which employed diacritics added to the Hebrew letters: vowel signs and consonant diacritics (nequdot) and the so-called accents. These together with the marginal notes masora magna and masora parva make up the Tiberian apparatus.

Contents

Biblical narrative

According to the Gospel of Luke, Elizabeth was "of the daughters of Aaron" ( 1:5 ). She and her husband Zachariah were "righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" ( 1:6–7 ), but childless. While he was in the temple of the Lord ( 1:8–12 ), Zacharias was visited by the angel Gabriel:

Temple in Jerusalem one of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship. It is also called the Holy Temple.

Angel Supernatural being in various religions and mythologies

An angel is generally a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out tasks on behalf of God. Abrahamic religions often organize angels into hierarchies, although such rankings may vary between sects in each religion. Such angels may receive specific names or titles. People have also extended the use of the term "angel" to various notions of spirits or figures found in other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as "angelology". Angels expelled from Heaven are referred to as fallen angels as distinct from the heavenly host.

Gabriel Angel in Abrahamic religions

Gabriel, in the Abrahamic religions, is an archangel. He was first described in the Hebrew Bible and was subsequently adopted by other traditions.

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

Luke 1:13–15

Zacharias doubted whereby he could know this since both he and his wife were old. The angel identified himself as Gabriel and told Zacharias that he would be "dumb, and not able to speak" until the words were fulfilled, because he did not believe. When the days of his ministry were complete, he returned to his house ( Luke 1:16–23 ).

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Luke 1:24–25

According to the account, the angel Gabriel was then sent to Nazareth in Galilee to her relative [Luke 1:36] Mary, a virgin, espoused to a man called Joseph, and informed her that she would conceive by the Holy Ghost and bring forth a son to be called Jesus. After she was also informed that her "relative Elizabeth" had begun her sixth month of pregnancy, she traveled to "Hebron, in the hill country of Judah", [1] to visit Elizabeth. ( Luke 1:26–40 )

Saint Joseph Christian saint; husband of Mary and father of Jesus

Joseph is a figure in the canonical gospels who was married to Mary, Jesus' mother, and was Jesus' legal father. According to Epiphanius and the apocryphal History of Joseph the Carpenter Joseph was the father of James, Joses, Jude, Simon, and at least two daughters from a marriage which predated the one with Mary, a belief that is accepted by some Christian denominations. Perspectives on Joseph as a historical figure are distinguished by some persons, from a theological reading of the Gospel texts.

Jesus The central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Luke 1:41–45
15th century depiction of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, with Elizabeth on the left. Nativity john baptist.jpg
15th century depiction of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, with Elizabeth on the left.

Matthew Henry comments, "Mary knew that Elizabeth was with child, but it does not appear that Elizabeth had been told any thing of her relative Mary's being designed for the mother of the Messiah; and therefore what knowledge she appears to have had of it must have come by a revelation, which would be a great encouragement to Mary." [2] After Mary heard Elizabeth's blessing, she spoke the words now known as the Magnificat ( Luke 1:46–55 ).

Matthew Henry Theologician from Wales

Matthew Henry was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spending much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments.

Magnificat hymn of Mary in the Christian tradition

The Magnificat is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos. It is traditionally incorporated into the liturgical services of the Catholic Church and of the Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the incipit of the Latin version of the canticle's text.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.

Luke 1:56–64

That is the last mention of Elizabeth, who is not mentioned in any other chapter in the Bible. The chapter continues with the prophecy of Zacharias, (known as the Benedictus,) and ends with the note that John "grew, and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts" until his ministry to Israel began; so it is unknown how long Elizabeth and her husband lived after that ( Luke 1:65–80 ).

Benedictus (Song of Zechariah)

The Benedictus, given in Gospel of Luke 1:68-79, is one of the three canticles in the opening chapter of this Gospel, the other two being the "Magnificat" and the "Nunc dimittis". The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist.

A traditional "tomb of Elizabeth" is shown in the Franciscan Monastery of Saint John in the Wilderness near Jerusalem.

Apocrypha

Elizabeth is mentioned in several books of the Apocrypha, most prominently in the Protevangelion of James, in which the birth of her son and the subsequent murder of her husband are chronicled.

Sainthood

Elizabeth is revered as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church on September 23 and in the Orthodox and Anglican traditions on September 5, on the same day with her husband Zacharias/Zechariah. She is commemorated as a matriarch in the Calendar of Saints (November 5) of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and Zacharias is commemorated as a prophet. [3]

Mariotto Albertinelli's imagining of Elizabeth (right), here pictured with Mary Albertinelli Visitation.jpg
Mariotto Albertinelli's imagining of Elizabeth (right), here pictured with Mary

Islam

Elizabeth (Arabic : إليصابات, romanized: ʾIlīṣābāt), the wife of Zachariah, the mother of John the Baptist, is an honored woman in Islam. [4] Although Zachariah himself is frequently mentioned by name in the Qur'an, Elizabeth, while not mentioned by name, is referenced. She is revered by Muslims as a wise, pious and believing person who, like her relative Mary, was exalted by God to a high station. [4] She lived in the household of Imran, and is said to have been a descendant of the prophet and priest Aaron. [5] [ relevant? ]

Zachariah and his wife were both devout and steadfast in their duties. They were, however, both very old and they had no son. Therefore, Zachariah would frequently pray to God for a son. [6] This was not only out of the desire to have a son but also because the great Jesus Christ wanted someone to carry on the services of the Temple of prayer and to continue the preaching of the Lord's message before his death. God cured Elizabeth's barrenness and granted Zachariah a son, Yahya (John the Baptist), who became a prophet. [7] God thus granted the wishes of the couple because of their faith, trust and love for God. In the Qur'an, God speaks of Zachariah, his wife and John describes the three as being humble servants of the LORD:

So We listened to him: and We granted him John: We cured his wife's (Barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us.

Qur'an, chapter 21 (Prophets), verse 90 [8]

In Shia hadith she is named Hananah, and is identified as a sister of Mary's mother Hannah. Abu Basir recorded that Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, the great grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, had stated "Hannah, the wife of Imran, and Hananah, the wife of Zechariah, were sisters. He goes on to say that Mary was born from Hannah and John was born from Hananah. Mary gave birth to Jesus and he was the son of the daughter of John's aunt. John was the son of the aunt of Mary, and the aunt of one's mother is like one's aunt." [9]

See also

Notes and references

  1. Compare Luke 1:39–40 with Joshua 21:11 The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says, "This was most probably Hebron, a city of the priests, and situated in the hill country of Judea, (Jos 11:21; 21:11, 13,) about 25 miles south of Jerusalem, and nearly 100 from Nazareth."
  2. Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary Archived 2011-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Lutheran Book of Worship published by Augsburg Publishing House and the LCA Board of Publication, 1978. ISBN   0-8006-3330-X
  4. 1 2 Women in the Qur'ān, Traditions, and Interpretation. Oxford University Press. 1994. pp. 68–69.
  5. Luke 1:5 : "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elizabeth."
  6. Quran   21:89: "And Zachariah, when he cried unto his Lord: My Lord! Leave me not childless, though Thou art the Best of inheritors."
  7. Quran   19:12: "(To his son came the command): 'O John! take hold of the Book with might': and We gave him Wisdom even as a youth,"
  8. Quran   21:90: "So We listened to him: and We granted him John: We cured his wife's (Barrenness) for him. These (three) were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us."
  9. Muntazir Qa'im, Mahdi (2007). Jesus Through the Qur’an and Shi’ite Narrations (Bilingual ed.). Queens, New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an. pp. 14–15. ISBN   978-1879402140.
Elizabeth (biblical figure)
Preceded by
The Annunciation
New Testament
Events
Succeeded by
Birth of Jesus: The Nativity

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