for he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord; and will never drink wine or liquor, and he will be filled with and empowered to act by the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb.
For he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord. And he must drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit even in and from his mother’s womb.
[L For; Because] John will be a great man ·for [in the eyes of; L before] the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer [C indicating he will be set apart to God for special service; Num. 6:3], and even ·from birth [or in his mother’s womb; 1:41, 44], he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The story begins in the days when Herod was king of Judea with a priest called Zacharias, whose wife Elisabeth was, like him, a descendant of Aaron. They were both truly religious people, blamelessly observing all God’s commandments and requirements. They were childless through Elisabeth’s infertility, and both of them were getting on in years. One day, while Zacharias was performing his priestly functions (it was the turn of his division to be on duty), it fell to him to go into the sanctuary and burn the incense. The crowded congregation outside was praying at the actual time of the incense-burning, when an angel of the Lord appeared on the right side of the incense-altar. When Zacharias saw him, he was terribly agitated and a sense of awe swept over him. But the angel spoke to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias; your prayers have been heard. Elisabeth your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. This will be joy and delight to you and many more will be glad because he is born. He will be one of God’s great men; he will touch neither wine nor strong drink and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment of his birth. He will turn many of Israel’s children to the Lord their God. He will go out before God in the spirit and power of Elijah—to reconcile fathers and children, and bring back the disobedient to the wisdom of good men—and he will make a people fully ready for their Lord.”
But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great stature with God.
“He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will herald God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and kindle devout understanding among hardened skeptics—he’ll get the people ready for God.”
And he will be gadol before Hashem, and he will not drink yayin or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Ruach Hakodesh from the womb of his Em (mother), [BAMIDBAR 6:3; VAYIKRA 10:9; SHOFETIM 13:4; YIRMEYAH 1:5]
This son of yours will be a great man in God’s sight. He will not drink alcohol in any form; instead of alcoholic spirits, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the time he is in his mother’s womb.
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