What does Luke 1:65 mean?
ESV: And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea,
NIV: All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.
NASB: And fear came on all those who lived around them; and all these matters were being talked about in the entire hill country of Judea.
CSB: Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea.
NLT: Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills.
KJV: And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
NKJV: Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.
Verse Commentary:
The people expressing fear are the friends, relatives, and neighbors of Elizabeth and Zechariah. This elderly couple was known for both their godliness and their unfortunate lack of children (Luke 1:5–7). While Zechariah was serving in the temple, he was visited by an angel (Luke 1:8–12). The angel predicted that Elizbeth would give birth to a son who would be an important herald of the Messiah (Luke 1:13–17). Zechariah's first response was doubt (Luke 1:18), so he was temporarily rendered mute (Luke 1:19–20).

As soon as Zechariah emerged from this encounter, there was publicity over the event (Luke 1:21–22). That may have been why Elizabeth remained in seclusion for the early days of her pregnancy (Luke 1:24–25). There were probably more people than usual attending the baby's naming ceremony (Luke 1:57–59). They would have seen Elizabeth insist on the name John (Luke 1:60) and Zechariah's written confirmation (Luke 1:61–63). That was followed by the lifting of Zechariah's silence and his immediate praise of God (Luke 1:64).

That combination of supernatural events struck a level of fear in those who saw them. These happenings confirmed that this child—who will come to be known as John the Baptist (Luke 3:2–3)—was indeed in a unique position. Decades later, when John begins his preaching and baptizing ministry (Matthew 3:1–4), stories about his birth probably increase interest and bring more people to hear his message (Luke 1:66; Matthew 3:5).
Verse Context:
Luke 1:57–80 describes the first of two births predicted by the angel Gabriel in this chapter (Luke 1:13, 31). Despite their old age, Elizabeth and Zechariah have had a son, who now needs to be named. Zechariah has been stricken mute for months, after doubting the angel's message. Elizabeth surprises her family by naming the child "John." When asked, Zechariah writes down the same name and is immediately able to speak again. Amid the awestruck reaction of family and neighbors, the legendary reputation of John the Baptist has begun. Zechariah then prophesies about the powerful ministry of his son.
Chapter Summary:
The angel Gabriel predicts two miraculous births. The first is a son born to Zechariah and Elizabeth: an older, childless priest and his wife. Because Zechariah initially doubts this message, he is temporarily made unable to speak. Their child will be known as John the Baptist, a powerful herald of the Messiah. The Promised One whom John will proclaim is the second birth predicted by Gabriel. He tells an engaged virgin, Mary, that God will miraculously conceive His Son in her. The two women meet and rejoice over their blessings. John's arrival sets the stage for Luke's familiar account of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Chapter Context:
Luke was a travelling companion of the apostle Paul (Acts 16:10); his book of Acts is a direct "sequel" to the gospel of Luke (Acts 1:1–3). Those two books make up more than a quarter of the New Testament. Luke begins by explaining how his orderly approach is meant to inspire confidence in Christian faith. His work is based on eyewitness interviews and other evidence. The first chapter details the miraculous conceptions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Chapter 2 continues with Jesus' birth.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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