Murdock(i) 1 SINCE many have been disposed to write narratives of those events, of which we have full assurance, 2 as they delivered them to us, who from the first were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; 3 it seemed proper for me also, as I had examined them all accurately, to write out the whole, methodically, for thee, excellent Theophilus: 4 that thou mayest know the truth of the statements, which thou hast been taught. 5 In the days of Herod the king of Judaea, there was a certain priest, whose name was Zachariah, of the ministration of the house of Abijah; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both upright before God, and walked in all his commandments, and in the righteousness of the Lord, without reproach. 7 But they had no child, because Elisabeth was barren: and they were both advanced in life. 8 And it occurred, that as he performed the priestly functions in the order of his ministration before the Lord, 9 according to the usage of the priesthood, it fell to him to offer the incense. And he went into the temple of the Lord, 10 and the whole multitude of the people were praying without, at the time of incense. 11 And the angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zachariah saw him, he was agitated, and fear fell upon him. 13 And the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachariah; for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth will bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou wilt have joy and gladness: and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great before the Lord; and he will not drink wine nor strong drink, and will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel will he convert to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go before him, in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet, and will turn the heart of the fathers unto the children, and them that are disobedient to the knowledge of the righteous, and will prepare a perfect people for the Lord. 18 And Zachariah said to the angel: How shall I know this? For I am old, and my wife is advanced in life. 19 The angel answered, and said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God; and I am sent to converse with thee, and to tell thee these things. 20 Henceforth thou wilt be dumb, and unable to speak, until the day when these things take place: because thou believedst not my words, which will be fulfilled in their time. 21 And the people were standing and waiting for Zachariah; and they wondered at his tarrying so long in the temple. 22 And when Zachariah came forth, he could not speak with them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he made many signs to them, and remained speechless. 23 And when the days of his ministration were accomplished, he came to his house. 24 And it was after those days, that Elisabeth his wife conceived. And she secluded herself five months; and she said: 25 These things hath the Lord done for me, in the days when he looked upon me to take away my reproach among men. 26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God into Galilee, to a city named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel entered the house, and said to her: Peace to thee, thou full of grace! The Lord is with thee: and blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was agitated by his speech; and she pondered, what this salutation could mean. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favor with God. 31 For lo, thou wilt conceive in thy womb, and wilt bear a son, and wilt call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. 33 And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his reign there will be no end. 34 And Mary said to the angel: How can this be, as I have not known a man? 35 The angel replied, and said to her: The Holy Spirit will come, and the power of the Most High will overshadow thee; therefore he that is born of thee is holy, and will be called the Son of God. 36 And lo, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, even she too hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who is called barren. 37 Because nothing is difficult for God. 38 Mary said: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me, according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went hastily to the mountain district, to a city of Judaea; 40 and entered the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it was so, that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the child leaped in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said to Mary: Blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For lo, as the voice of thy salutation fell upon my ears, with great joy the child leaped in my womb. 45 And happy is she that believed; for there will be a fulfillment of those things that were told her by the Lord. 46 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord: 47 and my spirit rejoiceth in God the author of my life. 48 For he hath looked upon the humble condition of his hand maid; and lo, henceforth all generations will ascribe blessedness to me. 49 And He that is mighty hath done for me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him, for generations and posterities. 51 He hath wrought victory with his arm; and hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones, and hath exalted the lowly. 53 The hungry hath he satisfied with good things, and the rich hath he sent away empty. 54 He hath aided Israel his servant, and remembered his mercy, 55 (as he spoke with the fathers,) with Abraham and his seed, for ever. 56 And Mary remained with Elisabeth about three months, and returned to her home. 57 And Elisabeth's time of bringing forth arrived; and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And it occurred, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they called him by the name of his father, Zachariah. 60 And his mother answered and said: Not so; but John, shall he be called. 61 And they said to her: There is no one among thy kindred called by that name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him named. 63 And he asked for a tablet, and wrote, and said: John is his name. And every one was surprised. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue; and he spoke, and praised God. 65 And fear came upon all their neighbors; and these things were talked of in all the mountain district of Judaea. 66 And all who heard, pondered them in their heart, and said: What will this child be? And the hand of the Lord was with him. 67 And Zachariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, and said: 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath visited his people, and wrought redemption for them: 69 And hath raised up a horn of redemption for us, in the house of David his servant: 70 as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, who were of old, 71 that he would redeem us from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us. 72 And he hath exercised his mercy to our fathers, and hath remembered his holy covenants, 73 and the oath that he sware to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us, 74 to be redeemed from the hand of our enemies; and that we should worship before him, without fear, 75 all our days, in rectitude and uprightness. 76 And thou, child, wilt be called a prophet of the Most High; for thou wilt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his way, 77 that he may give the knowledge of life to his people, and forgiveness of their sins, 78 through the compassion of the mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high will visit us, 79 to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death; and to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80 And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit. And he was in the wilderness, until the day of his manifestation to Israel.