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25“This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

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25. Thus hath the Lord done to me She extols in private the goodness of God, until the time is fully come for making it generally known. There is reason to believe that her husband had informed her by writing of the promised offspring, in consequence of which she affirms with greater certainty and freedom that God was the author of this favor. This is confirmed by the following words, when he looked, that he might take away my reproach; for she assigns it as the cause of her barrenness that the favor of God had been at that time withdrawn from her. Among earthly blessings, Scripture speaks in the highest terms of the gift of offspring. And justly: for, if the productiveness of the inferior animals is his blessing, the increase and fruitfulness of the human race ought to be reckoned a much higher favor. It is no small or mean honor, that God, who alone is entitled to be regarded as a Father, admits the children of the dust to share with him this title. Let us, therefore, hold this doctrine, that

“children are an heritage of the Lord,
and the fruit of the womb is his reward,”
(Psalm 127:3.)

But Elisabeth looked farther; for, though barren and old, she had conceived by a remarkable miracle, and contrary to the ordinary course of nature.

That he might take away my reproach Not without reason has barrenness been always accounted a reproach: for the blessing of the womb is enumerated among the signal instances of the divine kindness. Some think that this was peculiar to the ancient people: because Christ was to come from the seed of Abraham. But this had no reference, except to the tribe of Judah. Others think more correctly that the multiplication of the holy people was happy and blessed, as was said to Abraham, “I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth,” (Genesis 13:16;) and again,

“Tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: so shall thy seed be,”
(Genesis 15:5.)

But we ought to connect the universal blessing, which extends to the whole human race, with the promise made to Abraham, which is peculiar to the church of God, (Genesis 13:15.) Let parents learn to be thankful to God for the children which he has given them, and let those who have no offspring acknowledge that God has humbled them in this matter. Elisabeth speaks of it exclusively as a reproach among men: for it is a temporal chastisement, from which we will suffer no loss in the kingdom of heaven.