Luke 2:35
(Yes, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.—The word used for “sword” here, occurs also in the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12, et. al.), but not elsewhere in the New Testament. It was the large barbaric sword used by the Thracians, as distinguished from the shorter weapon of Roman soldiers. The announcement of the special sorrow that was to be the Virgin Mother’s portion, comes as the sequel to “the sign that is spoken against,” the antagonism which her Son would meet with. We may find fulfilments of it when the men of Nazareth sought to throw Him from the brow of their hill (Luke 4:29); when she came, as in anxious fear, to check His teaching as the Pharisees charged Him with casting out devils through Beelzebub (Matthew 12:46); when she stood by the cross, and heard the blasphemies and revilings of the priests and people (John 19:26).

That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.—This was conspicuously the result of our Lord’s earthly ministry. It brought out latent good, as with publicans and harlots and robbers, rich and poor disciples, and the common people, who heard Him gladly; latent evil, as with Pharisees and scribes and rulers. And what was true of His work then, has been true in greater or less measure ever since. Wherever Christ is preached, there is a manifestation of the thoughts of men’s hearts, of their secret yearning after righteousness, their secret bitterness against it. It may be noted, however, that the Greek word for “thought” is almost always used in the Greek with a shade of evil implied in it.

2:25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon's hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God's appointing. He bids farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men's characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection.Yea, a sword ... - The sufferings and death of thy Son shall deeply afflict thy soul. And if Mary had not been thus forewarned and sustained by strong faith, she could not have borne the trials which came upon her Son; but God prepared her for it, and the holy mother of the dying Saviour was sustained.

That the thoughts ... - This is connected with the preceding verse: "He shall be a sign, a conspicuous object to be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be made manifest - that is, that they "might show" how much they hated holiness. Nothing so "brings out" the feelings of sinners as to tell them of Jesus Christ. Many treat him with silent contempt; many are ready to gnash their teeth; many curse him; all show how much by nature the heart is opposed to religion, and thus are really, in spite of themselves, fulfilling the scriptures and the prophecies. So true it that "none can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost," 1 Corinthians 12:3.

35. Yea, &c.—"Blessed as thou art among women, thou shalt have thine own deep share of the struggles and sufferings which this Babe is to occasion"—pointing not only to the continued obloquy and rejection of this Child of hers, those agonies of His which she was to witness at the cross, and her desolate condition thereafter, but to dreadful alternations of faith and unbelief, of hope and fear regarding Him, which she would have to pass through.

that the thoughts, &c.—Men's views and decisions regarding Christ are a mirror in which the very "thoughts of their hearts" are seen.

See Poole on "Luke 2:34" Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,.... Meaning either the sword, "or spear of scandal", as the Arabic version renders it; so the calumny, and reproach of the tongues of men, is compared to a sharp sword, Psalm 57:4 and such the virgin might meet with on account of her conception in art unmarried state, which might greatly wound her soul; or else the sorrows she met with on account of her son: as he was a man of sorrows, so was she a woman of sorrows, from his cradle to his cross; and his sorrows, like so many darts, or javelins, rebounded from him to her, and pierced her soul through; as when Herod sought his life, Matthew 2:13 when she had lost him for a whole day, Luke 2:48 and when he was frequently exposed to danger among the spiteful and malicious Jews; but never more than when she stood at his cross, and saw him, in his agonies, extended on the tree, bleeding, gasping, and dying, John 19:25. Some think this refers to martyrdom, which she was to suffer by the sword, of which the Scripture is silent, Epiphanius, an ancient writer, seems to hint at it (n),

That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed; that is, all this offence was to be taken at Christ, and he to be spoken against; and all these afflictions, reproaches, and persecutions, he and his were to endure for this end; that the secret thoughts of men might be discovered, and they be known to be what they were, whether hypocrites, or good men, foes or friends of Christ: so on the one hand, what were the Scribes and Pharisees, who talked of a Messiah, and pretended to righteousness and holiness, and yet when the Messiah came, rejected him, and so all such who followed Christ with worldly views, and expected a temporal kingdom, but left him when they found it otherwise, and Judas, one of his disciples; and, on the other hand, who were sincere and hearty? as the rest of his disciples, Joseph of Arimathea, and others, who abode by him, notwithstanding the cross; and the same use have all persecutions, errors, and heresies, the opposition and contradiction of men in every shape now, and the same end is answered; wicked men, and hypocrites, are known to be what they are; and good men are made manifest; and what each think of Christ and his Gospel, is discovered hereby; see 1 Corinthians 11:19.

(n) Contr. Haeres. 72.

(Yea, a sword shall {t} pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

(t) Will most keenly wound and grieve.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 2:35. Since the construction does not indicate that καὶῥομφαία is to be made a parenthesis, and since the importance of this prophetic intimation in the address directed to Mary is not in keeping with a mere intercalation, ὅπως κ.τ.λ. is to be referred to καὶῥομφαία, not to σημεῖον ἀντιλεγ. (Kuinoel, de Wette, Ewald, and many others).

καὶ σοῦ δέ] See on Luke 1:76. This καί and αὐτῆς places the anguish of the mother herself on a parallel with the fate of her Son intimated by σημεῖον ἀντιλεγ.; and σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς is a bringing of the contrast into stronger relief than σεαυτῆς δέ. See Schaefer, ad Dem. de Cor. 319, 6.

ῥομφαίαν δὲ ὠνόμασε (not the martyr-death of Mary, as Epiphanius and Lightfoot hold, but) τὴν τμητικωτάτην καὶ ὀξεῖαν ὀδύνην,[56] ἭΤΙς ΔΙῆΛΘΕ ΤῊΝ ΚΑΡΔΊΑΝ Τῆς ΘΕΟΜΉΤΟΡΟς, ὍΤΕ Ὁ ΥἹῸς ΑὐΤῆς ΠΡΟΣΗΛΏΘΗ Τῷ ΣΤΑΥΡῷ, Euthymius Zigabenus. Similar figurative designations of pain may be seen in Wetstein. Bleek is mistaken in referring it to doubts of the Messiahship of her Son, which for a while were to cause division in Mary’s heart. For this thought the forcible expression would be quite out of proportion, and, moreover, unintelligible; and the thought itself would be much too special and subordinate, even apart from the consideration that there is no direct evidence before us of temporary unbelief on the part of Mary (at the most, Mark 3:21).

ὅπως κ.τ.λ.] a divine aim, which is to be attained by ΟὟΤΟς ΚΕῖΤΑΙῬΟΜΦΑΊΑ; a great crisis in the spiritual world is to be brought to light, John 9:39; John 3:19; John 5:22; 1 Corinthians 1:23 f.; 2 Corinthians 2:15. The conditional ἌΝ expresses: in order that, when that which is just predicted to thee sets in.

ἐκ πολλ. καρδ.] forth from many hearts. Comp. Romans 1:17.

διαλογισμοί] not ΟἹ ΔΙΑΛΟΓ.; thoughts, consequently what is otherwise hidden. The revealing itself takes place through declared belief or unbelief in Him who is put to death.

[56] Comp. Hom. Il. xix. 125: τὸν δʼ ἄχος ὀξὺ κατὰ φρένα τύψε βαθεῖαν.Luke 2:35. καὶ σοῦ, singles out the mother for a special share in the sorrow connected with the tragic career of one destined to be much spoken against (ἀντιλεγόμενον); this inevitable because of a mother’s intense love. Mary’s sorrow is compared vividly to a sword (ῥομφαία here and in Revelation 1:16, and in Sept[30], Zechariah 13:7) passing through her soul. It is a figure strong enough to cover the bitterest experiences of the Mater Dolorosa, but it does not necessarily imply prevision of the cross. There is therefore no reason, on this account at least, for the suggestion that Luke 2:35 a is an editorial addition to his source by the evangelist (J. Weiss).—ὅπως introduces a final clause which can hardly refer to the immediately preceding statement about the sword piercing Mary’s soul, but must rather indicate the purpose and result of the whole future career of the child, whereof the mother’s sorrow is to be an incidental effect. The connection is: κεῖται εἰς πτ., etc.… ὅπως ἂν ἀποκαλ. The general result, and one of the Divine aims, will be the revelation of men’s inmost thoughts, showing, e.g., that the reputedly godly were not really godly. Observe the ἂν in this pure final clause. It does not affect the meaning. Godet says that it indicates without doubt that the manifestation of hidden thoughts will take place every time occasion presents itself, in contact with the Saviour.

[30] Septuagint.35. a sword] The word rhomphaia, probably a broad Thracian sword, only occurs elsewhere in the New Testament in Revelation 1:16, &c., but it is used in the LXX., as in Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd.” Almost from the very birth of Christ the sword began to pierce the soul of the ‘Mater Dolorosa;’ and what tongue can describe the weight of mysterious anguish which she felt as she watched the hatred and persecution which followed Jesus and saw Him die in anguish on the cross amid the execrations of all classes of those whom He came to save!

that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed] Rather, that the reasonings out of many hearts may be revealed. The word dialogismoi generally has a bad sense as in Luke 5:22; Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:21. By way of comment see the reasonings of the Jews in John 9:16; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 John 2:19.Luke 2:35. Καὶ σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς, and indeed thine own) In antithesis to οὗτος, This child.—τὴν ψυχὴν, soul) Answering to ἐκ π. καρδιῶν, of many hearts.—ῥομφαία, a sword) ῥομφαία is a greater ξίφος than μάχαιρα. [a dirk], and yet it often does less injury than the other. There is implied her grief on account of the contradiction of the world against Jesus, or even some kind of internal temptation, most acute, but of short duration, affecting Mary, and in fine made beneficial to her salvation. For the holy Virgin did not understand [comprehend] all things; Luke 2:33; Luke 2:50. The sword may have pierced through her soul, for instance, on the occasion mentioned in the end of Luke 2:48, Mark 3:31, John 19:25. Who would suppose that Mary was perfected without internal temptations? Her faith attained its height by proving victorious through the height of temptation. [Therefore, whereas heretofore only most delightful things were mentioned in connection with her, something of a bitter is now announced even to her, who was Blessed among women. All, it seems, have to bear the part assigned to them in chastisement.—V. g.] Yet nevertheless it is the soul, not the heart, which is put in antithesis to the spirit; Hebrews 4:12. The hearts of many are agitated with thoughts: the soul of Mary only experienced the sword. Comp. the phrases, Psalm 42:11; Psalm 73:21.—ὅπως, that) This expresses the consequence of the greatest adversity.—ἂν) ἂν is not redundant (παρέλκει), i.e. it implies here, [in order that] by that very fact.—ἐκ πολλῶν, on the part of many) So πολλῶν, of many, Luke 2:34.—διαλογισμοὶ) the thoughts, good as well as bad, coming from hearts good as well as bad: whence it is that the contradiction results. Both faith and unbelief are in the heart, and are put forth by the mouth. Romans 10:8-9; Romans 10:21; Romans 15:5-6; Acts 13:46; Acts 14:2; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:12-13.Verse 35. - Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also. Christian art has well caught the spirit of her life who was, in spite of her untold suffering, "blessed among women," in depicting her so often and so touchingly as the mother of sorrows (Mater Dolorosa). The childhood in the Nazareth home, and the early manhood in the Nazareth carpentry, were no doubt her happiest days, though, in those quiet years, expectation, fears, dread, curiously interwoven, must have ever torn that mother's heart. The days of the public ministry for Mary must have been sad, and her heart full of anxious forebodings, as she watched the growing jealousies, the hatred, and the unbelief on the part of the leading men of her people. Then came the cross. We know she stood by it all the while. And, after the cross and the Resurrection, silence. Verily the words of Simeon were awfully fulfilled. Bleek, quoted by Godet, makes an interesting suggestion on the subject of the sword piercing Mary's heart: "Thou shalt feel in thine own heart their contradiction in regard to thy Son, when thou thyself shall be seized with doubt in regard to his mission." A sword (ῥομφαία)

Strictly, a large Thracian broadsword. Used in Septuagint of the sword of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:51). A figure of Mary's pang when her son should be nailed to the cross.

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