Was Zachariah Both Deaf and Mute?

Luke 1:22

While ministering in the temple, Zachariah was visited by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel informed him that his prayer was heard, and that he and Elizabeth would have a child and they would name the child John [Luke 1:10, 13]. What was he praying that God heard and granted? The coming of the Messiah, as noted by Zachariah’s praise [Luke 1:67-80] and Simeon’s prayer [Luke 2:25-35].

Zachariah would be mute or speechless until the child was born because of his unbelief [Luke 1:20]. When John was born and Zachariah wrote on a tablet that “his name is John”, his lips were loosed [Luke 1:63-64].

The Greek word for “speechless” [Luke 1:22] is Kophos #2974. The Greek word can refer to either being deaf or mute.

Here are passages where Kophos refers to being deaf:

Matt. 11:5; 9:32, 33; 12:22; 15:30-31
Mark 7:32, 37; 9:25
Luke 1:22; 7:22; 11:14

The reference to “signing” in Luke 1:62 indicate that he may have been deaf as well as speechless. Some suggest they “signed” to Zachariah because they thought he was deaf. Two thoughts here:

1. It is not stated this is the reason they “signed” to him.

2. They had been around him 9 months and 8 days; they would have known whether he was deaf or not.

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