5 Mary visits her aunt Elizabeth.

Luke 1:39–56

We have no indication that anyone other than Mary went from Nazareth to the house of Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–40). Why might Mary have joined a caravan of strangers and enter the house in the Judean hill country alone?

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Referring to Elizabeth, the Greek suggenes is often translated “cousin,” but the word actually tells us only that she was a relative. The assumption that she was Mary’s cousin is difficult to support because of the wide separation of ages. What do you think their relationship was (Luke 1:36, 39–40)?

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At no more than hearing Mary’s voice, how could Elizabeth know so much about Mary’s pregnancy (Luke 1:41–45)?

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How do you think Mary felt when she saw that Elizabeth was pregnant (Luke 1:46)?

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Men, but not women, were educated in the synagogues. Where do you think Mary gained her insights that were shared with Elizabeth (Luke 1:46–55)?

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Do you think Mary’s response to Elizabeth at the moment of greeting, as Luke gives it, are her exact words (Luke 1:46–55)? Or might her lengthy statement summarize her insights gained from what she had heard during the past weeks?—from the Holy Spirit, prayer, or meditation. Why?

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Because the Jewish calendar has thirteen months, not twelve, we know that a normal pregnancy in first-century Israel lasted ten months. When Gabriel said Elizabeth was pregnant, she was in her sixth month (Luke 1:36). Mary stayed with her for three months (Luke 1:56). If Mary stayed until after John was born, why do you think Luke didn’t mention that fact?

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What reasons might Mary have had for leaving before the birth of John (Luke 1:56)?

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Sometime after seeing the angel, Mary hurried to the Judean hill country, to the town where Zechariah lived. As she entered the house, she greeted Elizabeth.

Eyewitness

Luke 1:39–40 Sometime after seeing the angel, Mary hurried to the Judean hill country, to the town where Zechariah lived. As she entered the house, she greeted Elizabeth.
King James

Luke 1:39–40 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

The instant Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the Holy Spirit filled her, and she felt the baby leap in her womb. Overwhelmingly thrilled, she exclaimed, “Of all women, you are most blessed because of the child in your womb. Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should come to see me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that every word God has spoken will come to pass.”

Eyewitness

Luke 1:41–45 The instant Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the Holy Spirit filled her, and she felt the baby leap in her womb. Overwhelmingly thrilled, she exclaimed, “Of all women, you are most blessed because of the child in your womb. Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should come to see me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that every word God has spoken will come to pass.”
King James

Luke 1:41–45 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

“Oh, how my soul sings praise to the Lord,” Mary said. “I rejoice in God my Savior, who took notice of me, a lowly servant. From now on, every generation will call me blessed because the Mighty One has done a miraculous work in me. His mercy reaches to all who fear him. With his might, he does tremendous things, scattering the proud and arrogant. He has brought rulers down from their thrones while lifting up the humble. With good food, he has filled the stomachs of the poor, but he has sent the rich away with empty bowls. He has remembered his promise to Abraham and his children, showing mercy and helping his servant Israel.”

Eyewitness

Luke 1:46–55 “Oh, how my soul sings praise to the Lord,” Mary said. “I rejoice in God my Savior, who took notice of me, a lowly servant. From now on, every generation will call me blessed because the Mighty One has done a miraculous work in me. His mercy reaches to all who fear him. With his might, he does tremendous things, scattering the proud and arrogant. He has brought rulers down from their thrones while lifting up the humble. With good food, he has filled the stomachs of the poor, but he has sent the rich away with empty bowls. He has remembered his promise to Abraham and his children, 55 showing mercy and helping his servant Israel.”
King James

Luke 1:46–55 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

For about three months, Mary stayed with Elizabeth. Then she returned home.

Eyewitness

Luke 1:56 For about three months, Mary stayed with Elizabeth. Then she returned home.
King James

Luke 1:56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.