|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-7 The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin like an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged, clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how prone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith view the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity, ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our children.
Verse 7. - Her firstborn Son. This expression has no real bearing on the question respecting the relationship of the so-called brethren of Jesus to Mary. The writer of this commentary, without hesitation, accepts the general tradition of the Catholic Church as expressed by the great majority of her teachers in all ages. This tradition pronounces these brethren to have been
(1) either his half-brethren, sons of Joseph by a former marriage; or
(2) his cousins. In the passage in Hebrews (Hebrews 1:6), "when he bringeth in the First Begotten into the world," "First Begotten" signifies "Only Begotten." (On the whole question, see Bishop Lightfoot's exhaustive essay on the "Brethren of the Lord" in his 'Commentary on the Galatians.') There was no room for them in the inn. "The inn of Bethlehem, what in modern Eastern travel is known as a khan or caravanserai, as distinct from a hostelry (the 'inn' of Luke 10:34). Such an inn or khan offered to the traveler simply the shelter of its walls and roofs. This khan of Bethlehem had a memorable history of its own, being named in Jeremiah 41:17 as the 'inn of Chimham,' the place of rendezvous from which travelers started on their journey to Egypt. It was so called after the son of Barzillai, whom David seems to have treated as an adopted son (2 Samuel 19:37, 38), and was probably built by him in his patron's city as a testimony of his gratitude" (Dean Plumptre). The stable was not unfrequently a limestone cave, and there is a very ancient tradition that there was a cave of this description attached to the "inn," or caravanserai, of Bethlehem. This "inn" would, no doubt, be a large one, owing to its being in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, and would often be crowded with the poorer class of pilgrims who went up to the temple at the seasons of the greater feasts. Bethlehem is only six miles from Jerusalem.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And she brought forth her firstborn son,.... At Bethlehem, as was predicted; and the Jews themselves own, that the Messiah is already born, and born at Bethlehem. They have a tradition, that an Arabian should say to a Jew (k).
"Lo! the king Messiah is born; he said to him, what is his name? Menachem: he asked him, what is his father's name? he replied to him, Hezekiah; he said unto him, from whence is he? he answered, from the palace of the king of Bethlehem.
Which is elsewhere (l) reported, with some little variation; the Arabian said to the Jew,
"the Redeemer of the Jews is born; he said unto him, what is his name? he replied, Menachem is his name: and what is his father's name? he answered, Hezekiah: he said unto him, and where do they dwell? he replied, in Birath Arba, in Bethlehem.
And the Jewish chronologer affirms (m), that "Jesus the Nazarene, was born at Bethlehem Judah, a "parsa" and a half from Jerusalem.
And even the author of the blasphemous book of the life of Christ owns (n), that "Bethlehem Judah was the place of his nativity.
Jesus is called Mary's firstborn, because she had none before him; though she might not have any after him; for the first that opened the matrix, was called the firstborn, though none followed after, and was holy to the Lord, Exodus 13:2. Christ, as to his human nature; was Mary's firstborn; and as to his divine nature, God's firstborn:
and wrapped him in swaddling clothes; which shows, that he was in all things made like unto us, sin only excepted. This is one of the first things done to a new born infant, after that it is washed, and its navel cut; see Ezekiel 16:4 and which Mary did herself, having neither midwife nor nurse with her; from whence it has been concluded, that the birth of Jesus was easy, and that she brought him forth without pain, and not in that sorrow women usually do,
and laid him in a manger. The Persic version serves for a comment; "she put him into the middle of the manger, in the place in which they gave food to beasts; because in the place whither they came, they had no cradle": this shows the meanness of our Lord's birth, and into what a low estate he came; and that now, as afterwards, though Lord of all, yet had not where to lay his head in a proper place; and expresses his amazing grace, in that he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor: and the reason of his being here laid was,
because there was no room for them in the inn. It seems that Joseph had no house of his own to go into, nor any relation and friend to receive him: and it may be, both his own father and Mary's father were dead, and therefore were obliged to put up at an inn; and in this there was no room for them, because of the multitude that were come thither to be enrolled: and this shows their poverty and meanness, and the little account that was made of them; for had they been rich, and made any considerable figure, they would have been regarded, and room made for them; especially since Mary was in the circumstances she was; and it was brutish in them to turn them into a stable, when such was her case,
(k) T. Hieros. Berncot, fol. 5. 1.((l) Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 1.((m) David Ganz, ut supra. (par. 2. fol. 14. 2.) (n) Toldos Jesu, p. 7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. first-born—So Mt 1:25; yet the law, in speaking of the first-born, regardeth not whether any were born after or no, but only that none were born before [Lightfoot].
wrapt him … laid him—The mother herself did so. Had she then none to help her? It would seem so (2Co 8:9).
a manger—the manger, the bench to which the horses' heads were tied, on which their food could rest [Webster and Wilkinson].
no room in the inn—a square erection, open inside, where travellers put up, and whose rear parts were used as stables. The ancient tradition, that our Lord was born in a grotto or cave, is quite consistent with this, the country being rocky. In Mary's condition the journey would be a slow one, and ere they arrived, the inn would be fully occupied—affecting anticipation of the reception He was throughout to meet with (Joh 1:11).
Wrapt in His swaddling—bands,
And in His manger laid,
The hope and glory of all lands
Is come to the world's aid.
No peaceful home upon His cradle smiled,
Guests rudely went and came where slept the royal Child.
But some "guests went and came" not "rudely," but reverently. God sent visitors of His own to pay court to the new-born King.
Luke 2:7 Parallel Commentaries
Luke 2:7 NIV
Luke 2:7 NLT
Luke 2:7 ESV
Luke 2:7 NASB
Luke 2:7 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible