In Luke 1:24-25 we read:

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Why did she keep herself hidden? Certainly something to do with the fact that she was barren and isn't any more... But why would that cause her to hide this fact?

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  • perhaps i should have asked these on the biblical hermeneutics SE? as well as my other question – Nacht Mar 6 '14 at 21:36

Note that she waited only for five months, not the full term. I'd speculate that perhaps her history of barrenness was full of miscarriages, and she wanted to be confident that she would carry this baby to term.

Calvin offers two alternate possibilities as to why:

There might be two reasons for the delay. Until this extraordinary work of God was manifest, she might hesitate to expose it to the diversified opinions of men, for the world frequently indulges in light, rash, and irreverent talking about the works of God. Another reason might be that, when she was all at once discovered to be pregnant, men might be more powerfully excited to praise God. It was not, therefore, on her own account, but rather with a view to others, that Elisabeth hid herself.

† This is from the Latin version. Calvin's French version says, "For, when the works of God show themselves gradually, in process of time we make less account of them than if the thing had been accomplished all at once, without our having ever heard of it."

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    I find the contrast interesting between your (obvious - to us) 'psychological' explanation, and Calvin's more 'spiritual/theological' ones. Times change. – Benjol Mar 6 '14 at 13:27
  • @Benjol: He also considers the psychological dimension prior to the quoted passage but says he thinks she didn't doubt God's miracle here or it's ultimate fulfillment. Maybe. I tend to think if she did indeed have a history of miscarriages (speculation!), she would be more in the "wait and see" mode, having so many times had her hopes lifted and then dashed. If she was barren for some other reason, then probably Calvin's answers are better. – metal Mar 7 '14 at 14:46

I believe she hid herself to ensure that she was past the stage of a possible miscarriage. The first five months of a pregnancy are unpredictable months but generally after five months the chances of a miscarriage become less.Desrine2/1/2020

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    Welcome to Christianity! Do you know of any Biblical scholars who share this view? While it's true that the chances of miscarriage decline as the baby gets closer to full term, this answer that Elizabeth hid her pregnancy for that reason is a bit speculative. – Null Jan 2 '20 at 20:52

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