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A descendant of Aaron, she married Zechariah and, late in life, bore him a son destined to be known as John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-13). During her pregnancy she received a visit from her kinswoman, Mary, who had received the word from the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of Jesus. This meeting of the two mothers-to-be was the occasion of Mary's proclamation of the Magnificat (Luke 1:46_55). Within several months Elizabeth's child was born. Her friends urged her to name him after his father, but in obedience to Gabriel's revelation to Zechariah, he was named John. "And indeed," concluded Luke, "the hand of the Lord was with him" (Luke 1:66). (Etym. Greek form of Hebrew elishebha, god is fullness.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.