Chapter

Luke 1:59

ESV And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father,
NIV On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah,
NASB And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zechariah, after his father.
CSB When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father.
NLT When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.
KJV And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

What does Luke 1:59 mean?

According to Old Testament law, male children were circumcised eight days after they were born (Leviticus 12:3; Philippians 3:5). This was also when the baby would be formally given his name. The child in this passage has been born under unique circumstances. His parents are elderly and assumed they'd never have children (Luke 1:5–7). An angelic message said otherwise (Luke 1:13–17) and now Elizabeth has given birth (Luke 1:57–58).

When the baby's father, Zechariah, was told about the impending pregnancy, the angel told him the baby should be named John (Luke 1:13). However, Zechariah was temporarily prevented from speaking because of his doubt (Luke 1:18–20). Most likely, he still told Elizabeth about what he'd seen and heard. It's possible, but very unlikely, that he had not mentioned the baby's intended name to her. It does seem that he didn't pass that information on to friends and family. When the moment comes to declare the newborn's name, those performing the ceremony plan to give him the same name as his father.

Elizabeth will reject this name (Luke 1:60), which will surprise everyone since it's not one of the family's traditional names (Luke 1:61). Zechariah will confirm the name "John," breaking his curse of silence and amazing everyone (Luke 1:62–65).
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