|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 26. - That he should not see death. The idea of the aged Simeon comes from a notice in the apocryphal 'Gospel of the Nativity,' which speaks of him as a hundred and thirteen years old. These legendary "Gospels" are totally devoid of all authority; here and there possibly a true "memory" not preserved in any of the "four" may exist, but in general they are extravagant and improbable. The Arabic 'Gospel of the Infancy' here speaks of Simeon seeing the Babe shining like a pillar of light in his mother's arms. There is an old and striking legend which speaks of this devout Jew being long puzzled and disturbed by the Messianic prophecy (Isaiah 7:14), "A virgin shall conceive;" at length he received a supernatural intimation that he should not see dearth until he had seen the fulfillment of the strange prophecy, the menacing of which he had so long failed to see.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost,.... Not in a dream, as the wise men were warned, nor by an angel, as Joseph, nor by a voice from heaven, which the Jews call "Bath Kol", but by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, enlightening his understanding, and impressing on his mind:
that he should not see death; an Hebraism, see it in Psalm 89:48 the same with the phrase, "to taste death", elsewhere used; and the sense is, as the Ethiopic version renders it, "that he should not die"; or as the Persic version, "that his death should not be"; as yet: he should live some time longer; nor should that messenger be sent to remove him, though a man in years, out of time into eternity,
before he had seen the Lord's Christ: with his bodily eyes: for he had seen him with an eye of faith already, and in the promise, as Abraham had; and in the types and sacrifices of the law, as the rest of believers under the Old Testament. The Messiah is called the Lord's Christ, referring to Psalm 2:2 because he was anointed by Jehovah, the Father, and with Jehovah, the Spirit; with the Holy Ghost, the oil of gladness, to be prophet, priest, and king, in the Lord's house. So the Messiah is by the Targumist called, the Messiah of Jehovah, or Jehovah's Messiah; that is as here, the Lord's Christ: thus in the Targum on Isaiah 4:2 it is said,
"in that time, , "Jehovah's Messiah", shall be for joy and for glory.
And on Isaiah 28:5 the paraphrase is,
"at that time, , "the Messiah of the Lord" of hosts shall be for a crown of joy, and for a diadem of praise to the rest of his people.
Compare these paraphrases with what is said of Christ, in Luke 2:32. "The glory of thy people Israel"; Simeon's language exactly agrees with the Targumist. The Persic version adds, "and with this hope he passed his time, or age, and became very old and decrepit."
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. revealed by the Holy Ghost—implying, beyond all doubt, the personality of the Spirit.
should see not death till he had seen—"sweet antithesis!" [Bengel]. How would the one sight gild the gloom of the other! He was, probably, by this time, advanced in years.
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