Modern English Version
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well advanced in years.
8 Now while he served as priest before God, when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole crowd of people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not fear, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children[a] and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife well advanced in years.”
19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. And I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things happen, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their season.”
21 The people waited for Zechariah, and wondered why he waited so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he made signs to them and remained speechless.
23 As soon as the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his own home. 24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.”Read full chapter