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Verses 14-16

Luke 1:14-16. Thou shalt have joy and gladness He shall be such a son as thou shalt have reason to rejoice in. As if he had said, Many parents, if they could foresee what their children will prove, instead of rejoicing at their birth, would wish they had never been. But I will tell thee what thy son will be; and then thou wilt not need to rejoice with trembling, as the best must do at the birth of their children, but thou mayest rejoice with triumph. And many shall rejoice with thee All the relations of the family will rejoice on the occasion, and all its well-wishers; yea, and all good people, that are made acquainted with the circumstances of the case, and with the character and office the child shall bear. The word αγαλλιασις , rendered gladness, properly answers to the word exultation, or leaping for joy See 1Pe 1:8 ; 1 Peter 4:13; Matthew 5:12. For he shall be great A person of extraordinary eminence and usefulness, and that not only in the opinion of men, but in the sight of the Lord The sovereign and infallible Judge. Those are great indeed, that are so in God’s sight, not those that are so in the eye of a vain and carnal world. John was to be great in respect of his character, his office, his inspiration, and the success of his ministry, as the angel here explains the expression. And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink As he is to preach repentance, and the crucifixion of all sinful lusts, affections, and dispositions, in order to the remission of sins, he shall show mankind a pattern of that self-denial which he enjoins; wholly avoiding a delicate and self-indulging way of living, and being remarkable for his continued abstinence and mortification. By the word σικερα , here rendered strong drink, fermented liquor of every kind seems to be intended. Some would confine the term to a liquor made of dates, the fruit of the palm-tree, a drink much used in the East: but there does not appear to be any sufficient reason for such a limitation of its meaning. The word is originally Hebrew, שּׁכר , shecher, and is rendered by Buxtorf, inebrians potus, inebriating drink. All fermented liquors, therefore, as being capable of producing this effect, must be understood as implied in it. It is distinguished from wine, Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; and elsewhere. He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb Shall be influenced by the Spirit of God, even from the instant of his birth, sanctifying his nature, and communicating into him wisdom and piety in an extraordinary measure, to qualify him for the high and important office to which he is designated. “In Scripture, to be filled with the Holy Ghost, commonly signifies, that degree of inspiration by which the prophets anciently spake. Accordingly in this chapter it is applied to Elisabeth, to Mary, and to Zacharias, in cases where they all spake by a particular afflatus. When the angel, therefore, told Zacharias that his son should be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb, his meaning (at least in part) was, that he should be very early inspired to teach the doctrines and precepts, of true religion. Nor will this seem strange, when it is remembered, that at the age of twelve years our Lord exercised his prophetical gifts among the doctors in the temple.” Macknight. Many of the children of Israel shall he turn By true repentance and unfeigned faith, productive of new obedience; to the Lord their God Whose ways they have so generally forsaken, even while they are professing themselves to be his peculiar people, and boasting in such an extraordinary relation to him. In this way John was to prove his divine mission.

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