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Verses 18-20

Luke 1:18-20. Zacharias said, Whereby shall I know this? In how different a spirit did the blessed Virgin say, How shall this be? Zacharias disbelieved the prediction, as appears from Luke 1:20, and therefore was justly punished: Mary had no doubt of the fulfilment of what was foretold, but only inquired concerning the manner of it. And the angel said, I am Gabriel “I am the same servant of God (so the name Gabriel signifies, being, by interpretation, vir Dei, a man or servant of God) who, as the Scripture informs thee, appeared anciently to the Prophet Daniel with a message concerning the Messiah. And now I am not come of myself, but I am sent of God to communicate to thee the glad tidings of the near accomplishment of the things which I long ago showed to Daniel at a great distance. Thou, therefore, whose advanced age ought to have been venerable by an advanced knowledge of divine things, as well as by a strong faith in the power of God, art deserving of much blame, for calling in question the truth of my message, especially as by the prophecies of Daniel thou mightest have understood that this is the period determined for the coming of the Messiah and his forerunner.” There seems to be a remarkable gradation in the angel’s words here, enhancing the guilt of Zacharias’s unbelief. As if he had said, I am Gabriel, a holy angel of God, yea, one of the highest order, even of those who stand in the presence of God. Not only so, but I am now peculiarly sent from God, and that with a message to thee in particular: nay, and to show thee glad tidings, such as ought to be received with the greatest joy and readiness. And behold thou shalt be dumb The original word, κωφος , signifies deaf as well as dumb: and it seems plain that he was as unable to hear as he was to speak; for his friends were obliged to make signs to him, that he might understand them, Luke 1:62. Thus the angel gave him a sign, which was also a chastisement of his offence. Because he had sinned with his lips, the angel struck him dumb, declaring that he should continue so till the message, the truth of which he doubted, was verified by the accomplishment.

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