And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
Read Chapter 1
Ambrose of Milan
Elizabeth, who undoubtedly desired sons, hid herself for five months. What was the reason for this concealment if not modesty? For there is a prescribed age for each duty, and what is fitting at one time is unseemly at another, and a change of age often changes the nature of every act…. She, who once hid because she had conceived a son, began to carry herself with confidence because she bore a prophet—she who blushed before was blessed, she who doubted before was strengthened. “For, behold,” she said, “as soon as the voice of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” Therefore she cried out with a loud voice when she perceived the coming of the Lord, because she believed in the divine birth. There was no cause for shame when she accepted the birth of the prophet as a given, not a desired, generation. ,
After those days his wife conceived. Elizabeth conceived about the24th of September, on which day many Christian Churches celebrate the conception, of John. So that the incense was offered by Zacharias, and his vision and the promise of the angel concerning the birth of John seem to have taken place a little earlier, during the feast of Tabernacles. By this it was signified that John would be born, who was to be the herald of Christ, and through Him the cause of common joy to the whole world; for he would teach men that they were strangers upon the earth, and that they dwelt in it as in a temporary tabernacle, and that they were enrolled by God as citizens of heaven, where they would obtain an eternal and most blessed home. For the Feast of Tabernacles was a sign of all these things, during which the Hebrews with branches of palm trees used to celebrate dances joyfully, because they had been brought in by God into the promised land, after they had been dwelling in tents in the wilderne...
Elizabeth hid herself because of Zechariah’s grief. Or alternatively, she hid herself because she was ashamed on account of the fact that she had resumed intercourse. So it was because of her old age that Elizabeth hid herself. But see, Moses did not write in relation to Sarah that she hid herself, when at the age of ninety she carried Isaac, nor with regard to Rebecca, who was pregnant with twins. Elizabeth hid herself for five months, until her infant would be sufficiently formed in his members to exult before his Lord, and because Mary was about to receive the annunciation. Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron