Said to the angel.
‘How will I know
That this is so?
I am an old man.
Is getting on in years.’”
καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο; ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς.
Luke indicated that there was a moment of hesitancy on the part of Zechariah. He responded to the angel (καὶ εἶπεν Ζαχαρίας πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον) that he was not sure how could he know all this was going to happen (Κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο)? He explained that he was an elderly old man, a presbyter (ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι πρεσβύτης). Also, his wife was advanced in her years (καὶ ἡ γυνή μου προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῆς). In other words, they were old folks, not young spring chickens. How could they have a child?
“But they had no children.
Both were advanced
καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον, καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλεισάβετ στεῖρα, καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν.
Next Luke presents this unique portrait of Zechariah and Elizabeth, much like that of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis, chapters 18:1-15 and 21:1-7. They had no children (καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον). Elizabeth was barren or sterile (καθότι ἦν ἡ Ἐλεισάβετ στεῖρα), often times a sign of God’s displeasure. They were both advanced (καὶ ἀμφότεροι προβεβηκότες) in their years (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν ἦσαν). In other words, they were old folks, beyond child bearing years. Thus, only a miraculous birth would give them children.
How I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies.
It is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers.
Your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged.
I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
In order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your ordinances.
You have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste!
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding.
Therefore I hate every false way.”
This psalmist spoke about the sweet law. He loved the law as he meditated on it all day long. The commandments of Yahweh made him wiser than his enemies. The law was always with him. In fact, he had more understanding than his teachers because he meditated on the law. He understood more than the old folks because he kept those precepts. He stayed away from evil ways so that he could keep the law of Yahweh. He never turned away from the ordinances of Yahweh. The law was sweeter than honey, a famous phrase. He understood things because of Yahweh’s precepts. He hated all false ways. Thus this section on the thirteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Mem, came to an end.