|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:36-40 There was much evil then in the church, yet God left not himself without witness. Anna always dwelt in, or at least attended at, the temple. She was always in a praying spirit; gave herself to prayer, and in all things she served God. Those to whom Christ is made known, have great reason to thank the Lord. She taught others concerning him. Let the example of the venerable saints, Simeon and Anna, give courage to those whose hoary heads are, like theirs, a crown of glory, being found in the way of righteousness. The lips soon to be silent in the grave, should be showing forth the praises of the Redeemer. In all things it became Christ to be made like unto his brethren, therefore he passed through infancy and childhood as other children, yet without sin, and with manifest proofs of the Divine nature in him. By the Spirit of God all his faculties performed their offices in a manner not seen in any one else. Other children have foolishness bound in their hearts, which appears in what they say or do, but he was filled with wisdom, by the influence of the Holy Ghost; every thing he said and did, was wisely said and wisely done, above his years. Other children show the corruption of their nature; nothing but the grace of God was upon him.
Verse 37. - Which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. Probably, in virtue of her reputation as a prophetess, some small chamber in the temple was assigned to her. This seems to have been the case with Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22). It has also been suggested that she lovingly performed some work in or about the sacred building. Farrar suggests such as trimming the lamps (as is the rabbinic notion about Deborah), derived from the word lapidoth, splendor. Such sacred functions were regarded among all nations as a high honor. The great city of Ephesus boasted her name of νεωκόρος, temple-sweeper, as her proudest title to honor.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years,.... Which is not the date of her whole age, as some have thought, but of her widowhood state, as distinct from her marriage state, and the time of her virginity. And this sense all the versions favour,
Which departed not from the temple that is, she was constant in her devotion there, at the time of divine service, whether by night or day; not that she was in it, for she had been out of it now; otherwise it could not with propriety be said of her, that
she coming in that instant, as in the next verse; but that she always was there when there was any worship performed, in which women might be concerned, and which is pointed out in the next clause:
but served God with fastings and prayers, night and day: she attended to the usual fasts of twice a week, and to such as were enjoined the whole congregation, and to the several set times of prayer, and to every act of devotion, private or public, by night or day. In Exodus 38:8 we read of women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: both the Targums of Onkelos and Ben Uzziel render it, "who came to pray"; and the Septuagint version, "that fasted": Anna did both.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
37. departed not from the temple—was found there at all stated hours of the day, and even during the night services of the temple watchmen (Ps 134:1, 2), "serving God with fastings and prayer." (See 1Ti 5:5, suggested by this.)
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