“‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you." Leviticus 26:9
"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him." Psalm 127:3
Elizabeth and Zechariah were righteous, godly people. But they were looked down on in society because they had no children.
Zechariah very likely was about 50 years old because Levitical priests served from 25 years old to 50 years old. He would have been inspected from head to toe prior to going into the Holy of Holies. He would have only been allowed to do this once -- and what a blessing. Toward the end of his priestly career he was chosen. Not all priests were given this honor.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:11-17
This must have been something Zechariah contemplated during the months of Elizabeth's pregnancy. Elijah was "THE" prophet for the Jewish people.
23 "When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:23-25
After this, they just went home. Elizabeth and Zechariah were a quiet couple. This time of seclusion wasn't a cultural thing or religious thing. It was something Elizabeth chose to do.
39 "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”" Luke 1:39-45
Mary must have been so joyful for Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the first to recognize Jesus as Messiah. They had a -2-pregnant-women-moment. Mary probably went to help Elizabeth. Mary probably also went to see the miracle for herself. Mary also probably went to speak with someone who understood a miraculous pregnancy.
Luke 1:67-79 is called Zechariah's song:
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us--
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”