39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
After Mary’s startling encounter with the Angel, she departed Nazareth in a hurry to go find her cousin Elisabeth. She wouldn’t have just left in such a hurry for a casual visit, she must have felt a sense of urgency to verify the information regarding Elisabeth’s similar encounter that was just told to her by the Angel, as well as seeking comfort. Being that Elisabeth’s husband was a priest, this would have been the perfect refuge for her. Though the text does not explicitly say, according to the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, this city was most likely Hebron. Hebron (Kiriath-Arba) is where God instituted circumcision, and changed Abraham’s name to Abram (Gen. 13:18, 17:5, 17:9-14). Verse 45 suggests that it would be here, in Hebron, that Mary would actually conceive the child by the Holy Spirit.
After Mary made the journey, there was a very warm, embracing and joyful encounter between Elisabeth and Mary. The passage says that Elisabeth’s babe leaped in her womb when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, and the events of what had happened. Some have suggested that John knew Jesus from the womb because of the Holy Spirit, and was able to interpret what he is hearing, even from the womb. This is unlikely, what is more likely is this was a signal from the Holy Spirit, and a token of her extraordinary emotion, that what she was hearing and dealing with is very significant. The passage says that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Being that Elisabeth was the older of the two, and the more collective and mature, she had by now come to terms with her encounter with the Angel. She was now in a position to where she could comfort Mary, and offer her guidance. She, still with great joy, announced how blessed Mary was among women.
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Mary responds to Elisabeth’s emotional and joyful welcome by praising the Lord. Coming to full terms and acknowledgement of what she no knows, she praises the Lord a presentation of the Gospel to come. She acknowledges her meekness and humbles herself before the Lord, and God’s choosing to use her despite her inability to do any of his work on her own. She acknowledges that these great things were of his doing, yet, there will be always be people for generations to come to consider her to be blessed, in which she is. She proclaims that the Lord’s mercy is for those who submit themselves to him, and that while he destroys pride and arrogance, he feeds the hungry and humble with good things–those that look to him. She states that the Lord has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy. This is that the Lord has promised a savior to Abraham and his descendants, and has followed through with his promise. The Lord is quick to keep his promise, and shall always follow through. Her encounter with her cousin was encouraging to say the least. It brought her peace, and focused her attention on to him who is to be glorified. She stayed 3 months, then returned home.
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