Elis'abeth (Ε᾿λισάβετ), wife of Zacharias or Zachariah, and mother of John the Baptist (Lu 1:5). She was a descendant of Aaron, or of the race of the priests; and of her and her husband this exalted character is given by the evangelist: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Lu 1:7,13). They had remained childless till the decline of life, when an angel foretold to her husband Zachariah the birth of John, and Zachariah returning home, Elisabeth conceived. During five months she concealed the favor God had granted her; but the angel Gabriel discovered to the Virgin Mary this miraculous conception, as an assurance of the birth of the Messiah by herself. SEE ANNUNCIATION. Mary visited Elisabeth, and when she saluted her, Elisabeth felt the quickening of her unborn babe. When her child was circumcised she named him John, according to previous instructions from her husband (Lu 1:39-63). B.C. 7. SEE ZACHARIAS.

The name in this precise shape does not occur in the Old Testament, where the names of few females are given. But it is a Hebrew name, the same in fact as ELISHEBA SEE ELISHEBA (q.v.). It is perhaps etymologically connected with Elissa or Elisa, the Phoenician name of queen Dido (Virgil, AEn. 4:335), whence the modern Eliza, Elizabeth.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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