Abraham’s Three Visitors

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre(A) while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day. He looked up, and he saw three men standing near him.(B) When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them, bowed to the ground, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor with you, please do not go on past your servant. Let a little water be brought, that you may wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. I will bring a bit of bread so that you may strengthen yourselves. This is why you have passed your servant’s way. Later, you can continue on.”

“Yes,” they replied, “do as you have said.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, “Quick! Knead three measures[a] of fine flour and make bread.”[b] Abraham ran to the herd and got a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man, who hurried to prepare it. Then Abraham took curds[c] and milk, as well as the calf that he had prepared, and set them before the men. He served[d] them as they ate under the tree.

Sarah Laughs

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he answered.

10 The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (C) Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.

11 Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years.[e] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.(D)

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Footnotes

  1. 18:6 Lit three seahs; about 21 quarts
  2. 18:6 A round, thin, unleavened bread
  3. 18:8 Or butter
  4. 18:8 Lit was standing by
  5. 18:11 Lit days

Gabriel Predicts John’s Birth

In the days of King Herod(A) of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division(B) named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in God’s sight,(C) living without blame(D) according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.(E)

When his division was on duty(F) and he was serving as priest before God, it happened that he was chosen by lot,(G) according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.(H) 10 At the hour of incense the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 An angel of the Lord(I) appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.(J) 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified and overcome with fear.(K) 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid,(L) Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.(M) Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.(N) 14 There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord and will never drink wine or beer.(O) He will be filled with the Holy Spirit(P) while still in his mother’s womb.(Q) 16 He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.(R) 17 And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children,(S) and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”(T)

18 “How can I know this?” Zechariah asked the angel. “For I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel,(U) who stands in the presence of God,(V) and I was sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. 20 Now listen. You will become silent and unable to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22 When he did come out, he could not speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was making signs to them(W) and remained speechless. 23 When the days of his ministry were completed, he went back home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace(X) among the people.”

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36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”(A)

38 “See, I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.(B) 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed![a] 43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!”

Mary’s Praise

46 And Mary said:

My soul magnifies the Lord,(C)
47 and my spirit rejoices(D) in God my Savior,(E)
48 because he has looked with favor
on the humble condition of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,(F)
49 because the Mighty One(G)
has done great things for me,(H)
and his name(I) is holy.
50 His mercy is from generation to generation(J)
on those who fear him.
51 He has done a mighty deed with his arm;(K)
he has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;(L)
52 he has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.(M)
53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things(N)
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy
55 to Abraham and his descendants[b] forever,(O)
just as he spoke to our ancestors.

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

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Footnotes

  1. 1:42 Lit and the fruit of your abdomen (or womb) is blessed
  2. 1:55 Or offspring; lit seed

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