In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
Commentary: The twelve tribes of Israel had assimilated and intermarried significantly by the Roman era. However, the tribe of Aaron retained the responsibility of functioning as priests in the Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed 587 BCE, rebuilt c. 516 BCE, destroyed in the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE, now only the Wailing Wall). It was a purely hereditary office, and each division did a week of duty. It was common, but not required for Kohane (as they are known now) to marry one another. It certainly would give the chilod of Elizabeth and Zechariah a hefty religious pedigree!
To Ponder: What responsibilities do you feel because of your family? Are there duties that you shoulder because of your family?
Elizabeth’s barrenness was clearly physical, but where is your barrenness?