Song of Zechariah

Song of Zechariah

Song of Zechariah.

Please read Luke 1:67-79.

THE CONTEXT. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were faithful and  devoted believers in Yahweh, “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commands of the Lord.” He was a priest in the temple, and it was his turn to burn the incense in the Holy Place. When near the altar of incense, the angel Gabriel appeared and told him his barren wife will bear him a son who is to be named John. This boy will bring great joy to him and Elizabeth, and will be “great in the sight of the Lord.” John will turn many to God and will come in the power of Elijah, preparing the way for the Messiah.

Zechariah’s response was not exemplary. He was doubtful, not fully convinced that this would actually happen. He thought himself too old and long past the point of fathering a child. Gabriel’s reaction to his unbelief was to render Zechariah mute until the day John was born. All those months of being unable to speak about this miracle pregnancy must have worked wonders in Zechariah’s faith, for when John was born, Zechariah responded with a song of great faith and Scriptural insight. All of Zechariah’s soul searching during his time of silence resulted in a prophetic song that has stood the test of time and come down to us by the name of “Benedictus,” the first words of the song in Latin. We never hear from Zechariah again after his prophetic song, and he slipped quietly into Biblical history.

THE SONG. This is a hymn of praise to God that all the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible are coming true. He blessed God for His grace and mercy down through hundreds  of years of Biblical history. He rejoiced that the messianic promises are being fulfilled to redeem His people. Zechariah goes all the way back to God’s covenant with Abraham, when the Lord promised that “all people on earth will be blessed” through the family of Abraham, that a redeemer would come through his lineage. (Genesis 12:3 and 22:18). Zechariah was also thankful that his very own son would occupy a key place in the salvation story by preparing the hearts of people to turn to God. And John indeed was the last and greatest prophet before Christ. Zechariah’s song contained many quotes from the Hebrew Bible, from the Psalms to Isaiah to Malachi. The Holy Spirit overflowed in Zachariah as he sang these words of praise and prophecy, expectant in the coming appearance of the true Messiah.

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,

because He has visited and redeemed His people,

He has sent us a horn of salvation, a mighty Savior,

from the royal line of His servant David,

just as He promised long ago by the words of His holy prophets.

They prophesied he would come one day and save us

from every one of our enemies and from the power of those who hate us.

Now He has remembered His holy covenant.

This fulfills the sacred oath He made with our father Abraham.

He has rescued us from the power of our enemies,

so we can boldly worship God without fear,

living in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.

And to you I prophecy my little son,

you will be known as the prophet of the Most High,

for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him,

to prepare hearts to embrace His ways.

You will tell His people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.

The splendor light of heaven’s glorious sunrise (Dayspring)

is about to break upon us in holy visitation,

all because of the tender mercy of our God.

The word from heaven will come to us with dazzling light to shine upon

those who live in darkness, near death’s dark shadow,

and He will illuminate the path that leads to the way of peace.”

(This version of Zechariah’s song is a weaving together of the NIV, the Passion, and the New Living Translations.)


Verse 78. The “tender mercy” underlined by Zechariah literally means “womb of mercy.” We see, as we often do elsewhere in Scripture, that the Father has a maternal side to his loving heart. The Father has a mother’s love.

Verse 78. The “Dayspring from on high” mentioned in the New King James translation is revealing the powerful truth that the Messiah will come much like the dawn, the morning sun, to bring light to those in darkness, lighting the way for those pursuing peace. With Jesus, the night is over and a new day will spring into action.