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In the days of King HEROD

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there was

a certain priest



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of the

rotation of ABIJAH;

his wife was a daughter of AARON,

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and her name was ELIZABETH.


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In the days when the SELF-PROCLAIMED HERO was king over THE LAND OF THOSE HOT-HEADED, TROUBLE-SOME JEWS, there was a certain priest whose name expressed this truth: THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD REMEMBERS ME. He was part of the priestly rotation of those who claim that THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD IS MY FATHER.  His wife was a product of ENLIGHTENMENT, and she lived by the creed, “I HAVE BOUND MYSELF TO GIVE ALL MY ALLEGIANCE TO MY GOD.”



Herod means “Hero, or son of a hero.” At least he thinks he is a hero; his actions will soon prove this name to be true or false.

2: The name Judea

Judea was the Greek way of saying simply, “the place where the Jews live.” The name Jews was tied to the Hebrew name for Judah, the largest tribe that remained in that region. But for the Greek-speaking Romans it had nothing to do with the meaning of the original Hebrew name, therefore I seek to convey how the Romans viewed the Jews, because that was the key issue behind their use of the name Judea.


The name Zachariah means “Remembered by God.” The name for God found in Hebrew names ending (for us) in “iah” is always YHVH (or YHWH), the most holy, most revered name of God. In the paraphrase column I usually render this name for God as “THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD.” The Jews would have always remembered Moses’ important encounter with God at the burning bush that was not burning up, where God told Moses “I am,” “I just am.” The implication was that God has always existed, always will exist, and exists right now in the fullest sense of life that is possible. That is where I get the concept of “eternal.” However, there is also a personal aspect to this name. Instead of showing one of God’s great and impressive qualities, like His unlimited power or knowledge, this name shows God as a relational God, one who wants to get close to us. Yes, God “is,” and He exists eternally, but the Hebrews also came to realize that God is there for us, He is available, accessible, and wants an intimate relationship with each one of us. He is a personal friend. And this name, the most revered name the Jews had for God, conveyed to them His desire for intimate closeness. That is why I render the name of this man as THE ETERNAL AND PERSONAL GOD REMEMBERS ME.

Already we see that there is turmoil, conflict and danger, communicated through the names Herod and Judea, but God sees and is remembering His people, as is shown in the name Zachariah. Even though it looked to Zachariah like God had forgotten him because his request for a son had been ignored, his name kept reminding him that God was always vigilant and caring for His people.

4: The name Aaron

There are two lines of thought about the origin of the name Aaron. One says it comes from a root pronounced in English as “Ahar,” meaning to be “enlightened,” or possibly “teacher.” The other line of thought is that it comes from a root, pronounced “Ar,” which means “mountain.” The Hebrew pronunciation of the actual name was “Aharon,” and thus I find “ahar” more plausible than simply “Ar.”

5: The name Elizabeth

There are two parts of her name. The first is EL, “God,” a shortened version of the divine name “Elohim,” with the letter i as a possessive indicator, giving us the idea of “my God.” The second part means “oath” or “to swear an oath,” and if we back up further, the literal meaning is “to seven oneself,” presenting the idea of fully binding oneself in seven ways. If we ask, “Who is being bound, and to whom?” we can safely assume that the one with the name is binding herself to her God. The name does not include anything like a preposition “to,” “by” or “with,” so one of those needs to be assumed. I believe the preposition “to” fits best.