Luke 2
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Luke 2:1. Καίσαρος, from Cæsar) Therefore the time was come, in which the Messiah should be born.[23] Let the ΠΡΏΤΗ, first, be also taken into account, Luke 2:2.—οἰκουμένην, the world) Therefore the whole human race has the privilege of a tie of relationship to Jesus, who was pleased to permit Himself to be inserted in the same census-roll with these, the many [the multitudes of mankind]. By Synecdoche [a part put for the whole, or vice versa] the portion of the world subjected to Rome is so called: and Judea was included in that portion.

[23] In accordance with the prophecy, Genesis 49:10.—ED. and TRANSL.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Luke 2:2. Πρώτη, first) first in respect to the Jews, who had previously paid tribute without being entered [registered] in a census-roll.—ἡγεμονεύοντος) when P. Sulpicius Quirinus was governor of Syria. See Ord. Temp., p. 233 [Ed. ii., p. 203]. The terms ἡγεμὼν and ἡγεμονεύειν have a wide meaning, ch. Luke 3:1, Luke 21:12; Matthew 2:6.—τῆς Συρίας, of Syria) Judea was an appendage [a dependency attached] to Syria; so greatly reduced at that time was the power of Judea [which was now subject to the authority of the Romans, as formerly to that of the Chaldeans, the Persians, and the Greeks successively; yet, notwithstanding, Juda was still a peculiar tribe, שבט, distinct from the rest, and even still enjoyed the privilege of retaining its own magistrates, מחקקים. So the prophecy which Jacob had spoken, Genesis 49:10, was fulfilled.—V. g.]

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Luke 2:3. Εἰς τὴν ἰδίαν πόλιν, into his own city) Joseph seems to have left Bethlehem only a short while before.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke 2:4. Οἴκου, of the house) The house, which is the whole, and the family [πατρία], which is the part, are here conjoined; inasmuch as the house of David at that time was not much wider in extent than his family. [For there is no indication to be found that, at the time when the parents of Jesus betook themselves from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and Jesus Himself was born at Bethlehem, there were others of the family of David who dwelt in the same place: and, moreover, whoever of the posterity of David were living in the land of Israel, must have betaken themselves to Bethlehem at that time, on account of the census. Even for this reason alone Jesus ought to have been acknowledged as the true Messiah, nor was any one else capable of comparison with Him in this respect (as regards the claim to the Messiahship).—Harm., p. 49.]

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Luke 2:5. Ἀπογράψασθαι, to be enrolled [Engl. Vers. to be taxed]) to give in his name. The middle voice.—γυναικὶ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ, his wife, being pregnant.) This, which was mentioned in the first chapter, is repeated, because it was so set down also in the census-roll, among the records of the Romans.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luke 2:6. Ἔκεῖ, there) Mary does not seem to have known that, according to the meaning of the prophecy, she must bring forth at Bethlehem: but a heavenly Providence guided all things, that it should be so brought to pass.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7. Ἔτεκε, she brought forth) O much wished-for birth, without which we ourselves might well wish that we had never been born! But do thou thyself, reader, see that thou makest sure of the benefit of that nativity.—V. g.]—πρωτότοκον, her first-born) A son is so called, before whom none else has been born, not a son who is born before others. The Hebrew בכור has a more absolute meaning.—ἐσπαργάνωσεν, wrapt in swaddling clothes) So the Wisd. of Song of Solomon 7:4, ἐν σπαργάνοις ἀνετράφην: therefore σπάργανα, swaddling clothes, are not in themselves as it were a thing worthless and torn.[24] The rest of the attentions which used to be bestowed on infants just born, as described in Ezekiel 16:4, are not expressed here.—ἐν τῇ φάτνῃ, in the manger) Luke 2:12. A place put in antithesis to the ‘inn,’ the place for the reception of men. It is probable that some imitations of this manger were afterwards made at Bethlehem for the sake of pilgrims (just as they were made in every part of the Mount of Olives), some one of which was afterwards accounted as the very place wherein the infant Jesus lay. The Saviour had a manger for His bed. He was, when a child, destitute of the convenience of a rocking cradle, but yet was without taint of impatience.—ἐν τῷ καταλύματι, in the inn) Even in the present day, there is seldom found a place [room] for Christ in inns.

[24] The word is used of rags in Aristoph. Ach. 430.—ED. and TRANSL.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:8. Χώρᾳ, region) in which David also had fed his sheep.—φυλακὰς, watch [plur.]) by turns.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:9. Ἄγγελος, the angel) In every instance of Christ’s humiliation, measures were taken by a kind of befitting protest [precaution against His humility causing His divinity to be lost sight of], to secure the recognition of His divine glory. In this passage this was effected by the announcement of the angel: in His circumcision, by means of the giving to Him the name ‘Jesus’ [= God Saviour]: in His purification, by the testimony of Simeon: in His baptism, by the objection John the Baptist raised [John forbade Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized of Thee,” etc., Matthew 3:14]: in His passion, by ways and means far exceeding in number all the previous instances.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:10. Χαρὰν, joy) Express mention of joy is here made, inasmuch as the causes for that joy were not as yet so clearly manifested: on the other hand, the angel who announced the resurrection does not expressly exhort to joy, inasmuch as the cause for joy was manifest, ch. Luke 24:5.—ἔσται, shall be) even by means of the report of mere shepherds.—παντὶ τῷ λαῷ, to all the people) The angel speaks to the shepherds, who were Israelites, in a way such as was appropriate to that early time. Comp. ch. Luke 1:33, note.[25] [Afterwards it was about to be realized that the same blessing should be vouchsafed to the Gentiles also, Luke 2:32. But this fact was at that time hidden from the angels themselves, as Ephesians 3:10 implies.—V. g.]

[25] Τῷ λαῳ is not, as Engl. Vers. implies, all people of the world; but ὁ λαὸς is peculiarly applied to the people of Israel; conformably to the fact that the angel was addressing Israelites, who would understand ὁ λαὸς in this sense alone.—ED. and TRANSL.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11. Ὑμῖν, unto you) the shepherds, unto Israel, and unto all mankind.—Χρισὸς, Christ) Luke 2:26. All ought to have retained in their memory so clear a communication [revelation], whilst the Lord was growing up to maturity. The name Jesus is not added, inasmuch as it afterwards was given Him at His circumcision, Luke 2:21 : but the force of that name is represented [is vividly expressed] in the term, Saviour. And so also in the Old Testament it is often virtually expressed under the term, Salvation.—Κύριος, the Lord) An argument for joy. An exalted appellation. [Matthew 2:6.]—ἐν πόλει, in the city) Construe with is born. By this word the place is pointed out, as by the expression, this day, the time is indicated.—Δαυὶδ, David) This periphrasis refers the shepherds to the prophecy, which was then being fulfilled.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke 2:12. Σημεῖον, a sign) Even the lowly garb itself was a sign to believers.—βρέφος, a babe) The article is not added. [But Engl. Vers. the babe.]

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luke 2:13. Πλῆθος, a multitude) The article is not added.—στρατιᾶς, [army], host) A glorious appellation. Here, however, the host [army] are announcing peace [unlike other armies, which bring war].

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14. [13] Λεγόντων, saying) This whole hymn consists of two members, and has a doxology, or thanksgiving which in its turn consists of two members, and an Ætiology [or an assigning of the reason (See Append.)] for the doxology, as the particle καὶ, and [between δόξαΘεῷ and ἐπὶ γ. εἰρήνη], implies, it not being likely that it is so placed without design. The whole may be thus paraphrased: Glory (be) to God in the highest, and on earth (may there be) peace! Why? Since there is good will [‘beneplacitum,’ God’s good pleasure and grace] among men. Iren. i. 3, c. 11, fol. 216, ed. Grab. is in conformity with this view. However, the second clause may be taken in closer connection with the first than with the third, so that there may be an Asyndeton [copula omitted] before the third clause; as in Jeremiah 25:18; 1 Samuel 3:2. See Nold. Concord. part. p. 269.—δόξα, glory) Implying the mystery of redemption, and its fruit and final consummation. Moreover we ought to observe the double antithesis: 1. between, in the highest, and, on earth; 2. between, to God, and, among men.—ἐν ὑψίστοις, in the highest) By the incarnation there are called forth praises given to God by the noblest of His creatures. They do not, however, say, in heaven, where even the angels dwell; but, employing a rare expression, in the highest, a place to which the angels do not aspire: Hebrews 1:3-4. They wish their giving of praise to ascend to the highest region.—ἐπὶ) We are to observe the difference between this particle [on earth] and the preceding ἐν [in the highest].—γῆς, earth) not merely in Judea; nor now any longer merely in heaven. The earth is wider in its comprehension [meaning] than men: for the earth is the theatre of action even of the angels. The dwellers in heaven say, in [on] earth; the dwellers on earth say, in heaven [“Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest,” at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem], ch. Luke 19:38.—εἰρήνη, peace) Luke 2:29.—ἀνθρώποις, men) not merely among the Jews. Heretofore men had been regarded and spoken of unfavourably among angels: now these latter, as if in wonder, give utterance to what seemed a paradox, good will among men!εὐδοκία, good will) The newly-manifested pleasure [favourable inclination] of God towards the whole human race [name], in his Well-Beloved.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Luke 2:15. Οἱ ἄνθρωποι, the men [the shepherds]) representing, as they did in some measure, the whole human race. Comp. Luke 2:14, among men; in antithesis to, the angels. Men came to Jesus; whereas angels did their office from a distance.—διέλθωμενἓως, let us go on—even to) Hence it may be inferred that the shepherds had their house, not at Bethlehem, but in some locality between which and Bethlehem midway was situated broadwise the region where they kept watch over their flocks; Luke 2:20 is in agreement with this view. Comp. Acts 9:38, διελθεῖν ἓως (αὐτῶν) ἡμῶν, “to come on even to (them) us.” On this account [owing to their having to go forward and back over so much space] the matter became the more known through their means.—τὸ γεγονὸς, which has come to pass) They believe that the event has already come to pass, from the announcement of the angel.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:16. Ἀνεῦρον, they found) as it had been announced.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Luke 2:17. Διεγνώρισαν, they made known abroad) even before their departure: see Luke 2:20. [They were the earliest Evangelists.—V. g.]

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19. Συνετήρει, was keeping up) So Luke 2:51. She may have borne her testimony to the facts a long while after: Acts 1:14.—[ταῦτα, these) Without doubt the shepherds reported the angels’ words to Mary also.—V. g.]—συμβάλλουσα, comparing [pondering] them) considering the several parts in their mutual relation.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2:20. Ἤκουσαν, they heard) from Mary.—καθὼς, even as) What had been said and what they saw and heard tallied together.—ἐλαλήθη, it was told) by the angels.

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Luke 2:21. Περιτεμεῖν· ἐκλήθη, that they should circumcise: He was called) The circumcision is not recorded in so direct terms as the naming of Him, inasmuch as the latter was divinely ordered by express command.—[ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀγγέλου, by the angel) ch. Luke 1:26; Luke 1:31.—V. g.]—πρὸ τοῦ, before that) There is hereby exquisitely expressed the good pleasure of the Father in Christ. [And it is implied at the same time, that this infant of (in) Himself did not need circumcision.—V. g.] Comp. Galatians 1:15.—ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ, in the womb) viz. of His mother. So ἐν κοιλίᾳ is used absolutely, Jeremiah 1:5, בבטן.

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Luke 2:22. Τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ) See App. Crit., Ed. ii. p. 174. Never is αὐτῶι[26] so placed, as that it should be understood of ΤῸ ΠΑΊΔΙΟΝ, and His mother, to be supplied as the antecedents. Neither Jesus Himself nor His mother needed purification. There are some who interpret αὐτῶν as the Jews; but Luke mentions purification, not as a custom of the Jews, but as a divine institution.—τὸν νόμον Μωσέως, the law of Moses) In a higher point of view, it is presently after called the law of the Lord [Luke 2:23-24].—ἀνήγαγον, they led [brought] Him up to) This is properly said of one more matured, as εἰσαγαγεῖν, [when the parents brought in] to lead in, introduce, Luke 2:27. This was a prelude to His future visits to the temple.—παραστῆσαι, to present) This is presently explained in Luke 2:23. This was additional to the purification, which was done in the case of every child-birth, not merely in the case of the first-born.

[26] AB read αὐτῶν. Iren. 187, and 2 MSS. of Memph. Vers. omit αὐτῶνΜωυσέως. D reads αὐτοῦ: abc Vulg. ejus: Rec. Text, αὐτῆς.—ED. and TRANSL.

(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
Luke 2:23. Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν, ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται) LXX. Exodus 13:2, ἁγίασον μοι, κ.τ.λ.; Exodus 13:12, ἀφοριεῖς πᾶν διανοῖγον μήτραν τὰ ἀρσενικὰ τῷ Κυρίω.

And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Luke 2:24. Θυσίαν, a sacrifice) viz. that of the poor, Leviticus 12:8.—ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νεοσσοὺς περιστερῶν) LXX. Leviticus 12:8, δύο τρυγόνας ἢ δύο νεοσσοὺς περιστερῶν. The same Translators however have ζεῦγος τρυγόνων, κ.τ.λ., Leviticus 5:11.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke 2:25. Ἰερουσαλὴμ, Jerusalem) The Saviour was shown to this city at the very earliest time.—Συμεὼν, Simeon) the first prophet who said that Christ had come; and the one by whose instrumentality God proved that He, who was being presented to Him, was His First-begotten.—δίκαιος, just) in the discharge of duties.—εὐλαβὴς) Vulg. timoratus[27] in the disposition of his soul towards God.—ΠΡΟΣΔΕΧΌΜΕΝΟς ΠΑΡΆΚΛΗΣΙΝ ΤΟῦ ἸΣΡΑῊΛ, waiting for the consolation of Israel) not merely as Jacob, Genesis 49:18 [I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord], looking to distant times; but as by this time approaching, Luke 2:38. Gradually the expectation of believers became concentrated into a shorter compass [more brought to a point], as is the case now with respect to His glorious second coming.—ἐπʼ αὐτὸν, upon him) as a prophet. See following verse.

[27] “One whose character was marked by reverential fear:” this answers to the idea of caution or circumspection which is in εὐλαβὴς.—ED. and TRANSL. Μωνσέως. D reads αὐτοῦ: abc Vulg. ejus: Rec. Text, αὐτῆς.—ED. and TRANSL.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luke 2:26. Ἦν, it was) perhaps for a long time back: although the old age in the case of Anna is specially noticed, it is not so in the case of Simeon.—μὴ ἰδεῖνἢ ἴδῃ, that he should not see—before that he saw) A sweet antithesis.—πρὶν ἢ, before that) Moreover, when he had seen Him, he was immediately about to depart; as appears from Luke 2:29, according to Thy word.—τὸν Χριστὸν Κυρίου, the Lord’s Christ [Anointed]) So, the Christ [Anointed] of God, ch. Luke 9:20. It is He whom the Lord hath anointed, and in comparison with Whom God acknowledges no other as His Anointed.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke 2:27. Ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν, when they were bringing in) For it was afterwards that they went through the ceremony of offering the sacrifice, Luke 2:39. This was by way of a declaration, that it was for no ordinary cause that Jesus was submitting to the law of purification.

Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke 2:28. Αὐτὸς, [of] himself) of his own accord.—ἐδέξατο, he took Him up) by a Divine motion: he thus meeting the Divine goodness with a corresponding expression of his sense of it.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luke 2:29. Νῦν, now) Simeon receives and accepts a double benefit conjointly [at once] in accordance with the Divine promise, viz. the sight of the Saviour and a happy departure. The ancient fathers have formed many conjectures as to what John may have announced to the dead after his departure: it is strange, if they framed no similar suppositions as to Simeon.—ἀπολύεις, Thou lettest depart[28]) The same verb occurs, Genesis 15:2; Numbers 20:29; Job 3:6; Job 3:16 (13).—Δέσποτα, Lord) Δεσπότης properly signifies a master [‘herus, viz. of slaves, servants], Acts 4:24; 2 Timothy 2:21; Revelation 6:10.—κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου, according to Thy word) The Song of Simeon exactly corresponds to the word of the promise. For the words are respectively parallel in each: the Lord’s Christ [Luke 2:26], and Thy [the Lord’s] Salvation [Luke 2:30]: “before he had seen” [Luke 2:26], and mine eyes have seen” [Luke 2:30]: Death [Luke 2:26], and Thou lettest depart [29].—ἐν εἰρήνῃ, in peace) in perfect peace.

[28] Not a prayer, but an expression of thankful acquiescence in God’s will.—ED. and TRANSL.

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luke 2:30. Εἶδον, have seen) Even his hands held Him: but Simeon adapts his words to those of the promise, Luke 2:26.—τὸ σωτήριόν σου, means of salvation) So ch. Luke 3:6. The language is appropriately put in the abstract, inasmuch as referring to an infant, περὶ τοῦ παιδίου, before that He completed the work of salvation: subsequently He is called the Saviour in the concrete, the appellation which already the Heavenly host had applied to Him in the way of ‘Ampliatio’ [A figure whereby a thing or person is described, not according to what he now is, but what he is about to be. So the angels, in Luke 2:11 above, called Jesus Σωτὴρ.—Append.]. Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 49:9,—τὴν διασπορὰν τοῦ ἸΣΡΑΗΑ ἐπιστρέψαι· ἰδοὺ δέδωκά σε εἰς διαθήκην γένους, εἰς ΦΩΣ ΕΘΝΩΝ, τοῦ εἶναί σε εἰς ΣΩΤΗΡΙΑΝ ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς.—λέγοντα τοῖς ἐν δεσμοῖς, ἐξέλθετε, καὶ τοῖς ἐν τῷ σκότει, ΑΝΑΚΑΛΥΦΘΗΝΑΙ. Thy means of Salvation, i.e. the Christ. For it was this very Christ that even then Simeon was seeing: and it is He whom Simeon calls a Light and the Glory.

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke 2:31. Κατὰ πρόσωπον, before the face) The most conspicuous place for showing the light to all was the temple itself.—πάντων, of all) not merely of the Jews.—λαῶν, of all peoples) It is hereby intimated, that hereafter there would not be merely one peculiar people. Comp. Luke 2:32.

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Luke 2:32. Φῶς, a light) This stands in apposition with τὸ σωτήριόν σου, thy means of salvation, Luke 2:30.—εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν) that God and His Christ may be revealed to the Gentiles, and that they may be revealed to their own selves in His light.—ἐθνῶν, of the Gentiles) Construe with φῶς, a light [but Engl. Vers. with ἀποκάλυψιν, to lighten the Gentiles]: a light of the Gentiles, and one about to be revealed to them [the same]: see Revelation 21:23-24.—καὶ δόξαν, and the glory) Construe with φῶς, a light [i.e. in apposition to τὸ σωτήριόν σου, Luke 2:30], there being no εἰς, in, understood. Light, and glory or splendour, are synonymous; but in such a way as that the glory expresses something greater than a light, and implies therefore the peculiar privilege of Israel, on account of its especial tie of connection with this [Him the] King of Glory.—Ἰσραὴλ, Israel) Even after the call of the Gentiles, Israel shall enjoy this glory.

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luke 2:33. Θαυμάζοντες, marvelling) For they began to understand more and more, how glorious things were those which had been spoken concerning Jesus, before He was born: and they were now hearing similar things from Simeon and others, whom they did not suppose as yet to be aware of the fact.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
Luke 2:34. Εὐλόγησεν, blessed) ברך, bidding them farewell with a blessing, after he had seen their pious wonder.—αὐτοὺς, them) Joseph and Mary: not Jesus Himself: see Hebrews 7:7.—εἶπε, he said) His faithful prediction of coming adversities succeeds to their joyful admiration [wonder], and acts as an antidote to the abuse of it.—πρὸς Μαριὰμ, to Mary) rather than to Joseph, of whom the last mention occurs in Luke 2:51; see note there. [He is therefore supposed, with probability, to have died before Jesus reached His thirtieth year.—V. g.]—οὗτος, He [This child]) concerning Whom thou dost wonder that such things are spoken.—κεῖται) He, who is lying [alluding to which κεῖται is used; Engl. Vers. loses this point, “is set”] in my arms; He is set (laid as in a building), as a precious stone, for the fall and rising again. It is to be observed, that these things were not foretold in the prediction of the angel, Luke 2:10-11, ch. Luke 1:30-31, but were added by a holy man. It was the province of the angel only εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, to bring good tidings.—καὶ ἀνάστασιν, and the rising again) And here ought not to be taken as a mere disjunctive: comp. 2 Corinthians 2:15; for many of those same persons who fall rise up again also. Romans 11:11-12. He Himself is the resurrection, as He Himself is the sign.—πολλῶν, of many) So Luke 2:35.—σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον, a sign, which is [about to be] spoken against) A striking Oxymoron. Signs in other cases do away with all contradiction: but this sign shall be an object of contradiction, although, considered in itself, it is an evident sign to faith; Isaiah 55:13, LXX. For in the very fact that He is a light, He is conspicuous and signalized [insignis, in reference to signum, which is its derivation]. It will be a great spectacle. The mutual contradictions of believers and unbelievers, with respect to Jesus, as also the thoughts, Luke 2:35, of unbelievers against Jesus, are chiefly recorded by John, ch. 5 and following chapters. They contradicted Him in words and acts; Hebrews 12:3. It was not yet the seasonable time, that His passion, cross, and death should be more expressly predicted. When Jesus is being for the first time presented in the temple, adversities are declared as awaiting Him. When He was for the last time in the temple, He Himself spake words not unlike those of Simeon; Matthew 23:37.

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

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Luke 2:36. Φανουὴλ, Phanuel) The father of Anna is named, rather than her husband. He was as yet known as one who looked for redemption: Luke 2:38.—Ἀσὴρ, Aser) See 2 Chronicles 30:11.

And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Luke 2:37. Ἐτῶν, of years) These were the years of her whole life, not of her widowhood only. It was persons advanced in age who were the first after the angels in doing honour to the birth of the Christ: so that it might hereby be made evident that the salvation brought in by Him relates to the better life.[29]—ὁγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων, eighty-four) Therefore Anna had been about twenty-four years old when Jerusalem had come under the power of the Romans, led by Pompey as their general.—νηστεἰαις, fastings) even in her old age.

[29] Which succeeds this life. For old people could have derived no good from the salvation, if it affected merely the life which they were so soon about to leave.—ED.

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Luke 2:38. Ἀνθωμολογεῖτο) in return for the Divine favour, she made public acknowledgments. The word answers to the Hebrew הודה.—[περὶ αὐτοῦ, concerning Him) viz. Jesus as being the Redeemer.—V. g.]—πᾶσι, to all) There were therefore no few who looked for redemption. Others, although they believed that Messiah would come, were not looking for Him.—ἐν, in) to those who were in Jerusalem looking for redemption.[30]

[30] Thus Beng. joins ἐν Ἱερους. with πᾶσιν τοῖς προσδεχ.: not with λύτρωσιν, redemption in Jerusalem, as Engl. Vers. But Bbc Vulg. Memph. Theb. Syr. Iren. 187, omit ἐν, which requires the connection of λύτρωσιν with Ἱερους., the redemption of Jerusalem. ADd, however, support the ἐν of the Rec. Text.—ED.

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Luke 2:40. Ηὔξανε, grew) in body; i.e. with the growth of an infant: but in Luke 2:52 His progress [increase] as a boy is referred to, προέκοπτεν, He made progress. The former includes the period from His first to His twelfth year: the latter, from His twelfth to His thirtieth year. Even subsequently [a spiritual increase (or rather, full perfection, and fulness) is implied], in ch. Luke 4:1; Luke 4:14. The mention of phases of progress is joined with His Presentation in the temple, with His remaining in the temple on the occasion of the Passover, and with His baptism.—ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι, waxed strong in spirit) as compared with John, [of whom the same thing is said, but] of whom it is not added, as here, that He was filled with wisdom; ch. Luke 1:80. Wisdom is the highest of the endowments of the soul. As to the piety of Jesus whilst still a little child, see Psalm 22:10-11; the same inference may be drawn by reasoning from the less to the greater;[31] Luke 1:15; Luke 1:44.—χάρις) the favour [grace] of God was towards Him. Afterwards He became known to men.

[31] If John the Forerunner was “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb,” a fortiori the Lord Jesus.—ED.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
Luke 2:41. Κατʼ ἔτος, year by year) Without fear of Archelaus. [Inasmuch as that prince had been removed after a nine years’ government, and had been driven into exile, the Saviour was able in safety to go to Jerusalem.—Harm., p. 58.]

And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
Luke 2:42. Ἔτων δώδεκα, twelve years old) This step in the age must doubtless have had something remarkable connected with it in the case of pious boys, judging from the blessed example of the Saviour, who was wont to adapt Himself to the times of human age (to the epochs observed in the life of man): ch. Luke 3:23. No doubt from that time He every year came to the Passover. [Moreover the specimen of His glory given in this passage, dividing as it does the period of thirty years that elapsed from the nativity to the baptism of Christ into two almost equal parts, revived the remembrance of those miraculous facts (connected with His birth), the forgetting of which might otherwise have seemed to admit of excuse.—Harm., p. 59.]

And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
Luke 2:43. [Τελειωσάντων, when they had completed (fulfilled). It is not always profitable to be satisfied with what is trite and customary.—V. g.—ὑπέμεινεν, tarried behind) We may presume, on chronological grounds, that this happened on a Sunday. Thus then we have the prelude to the subsequent celebration of the Lord’s day.—Harm., p. 58.]—Ἰησοῦς ὁ ταῖς, the boy Jesus) Luke describes in successive order, καθεξῆς [as he promises in his preface, ch. Luke 1:3], Jesus as the fruit of the womb, ch. Luke 1:42; as the babe, ch. Luke 2:12; the child, Luke 2:40; the boy, in this ver.; the man (ἀνὴρ προφήτης, a man that was a prophet), ch. Luke 24:19, with which comp. John 1:30. His full stature was not manifested at once, as in the case of the First-formed Man; but He hallowed by participation all the successive steps of human life. Old age (alone) was unsuitable to Him.—καὶ οὐκ ἔγνω, and did not know) Jdg 14:6; Jdg 14:9 (the Antitype to Samson, who told not his father and mother the first of the mighty acts he did in the Spirit). [Jesus might have informed them of the fact by a single word; but it was becoming that His wisdom should be proved demonstratively in their absence. For thus He showed, that He was not indebted to them for the wisdom which He had: comp. Luke 2:50. He gave satisfactory proof thereby, that it was not they, but Himself, who was fully adequate to direct Himself, and that His subjection to them, Luke 2:51, is of the freest kind.—V. g.]

But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
Luke 2:44. Νομίσαντες, supposing) Hence it may be gathered, that Jesus was watched by His parents, in a manner not very unlike that in which many parents are wont to watch (look after) their children, very often letting them go out of their sight.—ἡμέρας ὁδὸν) So the LXX. ὁδὸν ἡμέρας, 1 Kings 19:1; 1 Kings 19:4.

And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luke 2:46. Τρεῖς, three) A mystical number. It was the same number of days that, whilst lying dead, He was regarded by His disciples as lost; ch. Luke 24:21. See Ord. Temp., p. 234.—ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, in the temple) in the outer courts of the temple.—καθεζόμενον ἐν μέσῳ, sitting in the midst) for the sake of dignity, and not in the fashion of one who was learning, or of one who was teaching, but of one holding a conference with others: comp. Luke 2:47.—ἐπερωτῶντα, asking questions) He was proposing the questions, and solving them in His answers: Luke 2:47.

And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Luke 2:48. Πρὸς αὐτὸν, to Him) This expression, inasmuch as it is in the beginning of the clause, is emphatic. To Him she ought not to have spoken so.—ἡ μήτηρ, His mother) Joseph did not speak: the tie which bound the mother to Him was stronger.—εἶπε, said) publicly before all.—τί) What? not Why? What hast thou done for us[32] by this way of acting [His conduct]?—ὀδυνώμενοι, sorrowing) No doubt the heart of Mary turned over and revolved many things in thought during these three days. Comp. Luke 2:35.

[32] “Quid nobis confecisti?” implying that He had effected nothing by the delay, but the giving of trouble to His parents.—ED.

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
Luke 2:49. Εἶπε, He said) In a kind tone, without any agitation.—τί, what,[33] why) This is the first recorded word of Jesus, [and contains a summary of all His actions.—V. g.] With it may be compared His last words, as well before His death, as also before His ascension, Acts 1:7-8. He did not blame them, because they lost Him; but because they thought it necessary to seek for Him; and He intimates both that He was not lost, and that He could have been found anywhere else but in the temple.—οὐκ ᾔδειτε, did ye not know) They ought to have known by the so many proofs which had been given. To know what is needful, tends to produce tranquillity of mind.—τοῖς) Comp. John 16:32 [“Ye shall be scattered every man to his own;” where the Margin of Engl. Bible has “to his own home”], ΤᾺ ἼΔΙΑ.—ΤΟῦ ΠΑΤΡΌς ΜΟΥ, of my Father) Whose claim on Jesus is of [infinitely] older standing than that of Joseph and Mary, [and Whom He had known from His tender years, without requiring any instruction in that respect on the part of His parents, who, we may take it for granted, were not aware of the fact.—V. g.] By that very fact, He declares Himself Lord of the temple: He afterwards avowed this more openly, John 2:16; Matthew 21:12-13. [Moreover the same Being, whom He looked to (had regard to) in His first words as recorded by the Evangelist, He looked to also in His last, namely, His Father, saying, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46).—Harm., p. 59.]—δεῖ, it is necessary) He thus informs them that He has not violated the obedience due to them; and yet He thereby, in some measure, declares Himself emancipated from their control, and whets the attention of His parents; Luke 2:51.—εἶναί με, that I be) Comp. Hebrews 3:6.

[33] What reason was there that ye sought me: as she had asked τί; so His reply begins with the same word.—ED.

And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Luke 2:50. Οὐ συνῆκαν, they did not understand) Therefore He had not learned this from them, or from the other teachers, Luke 2:47-48. Not long before He had spoken concerning the Father, and that not ineffectively.

And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
Luke 2:51. [Εἰς Ναζαρὲτ, to Nazareth) In that place, wherein men were supposing that nothing good resided, He who was the only good man was now staying.—V. g.]—ὑποτασσόμενος, subject) of His own free will. Marvellous was the subjection of Him, to whom all things are subject. Even previously He had been subject to them; but this is expressly mentioned now, when it might seem that He could have by this time exempted Himself from their control. There was not even vouchsafed to the angels such an honour as was vouchsafed to the parents of Jesus.—αὐτοῖς, unto them) After this passage there is no mention of Joseph; so that it is probable that Joseph died a short while after, and that Jesus experienced the trials to which orphans are subjected. See Mark 6:2; John 2:12. The Theol. du Cæur, Part i. pp. 9, 10, has marvellous things respecting S. Joseph.—διετήρει) So the LXX. Genesis 37:11, διετήρησε τὸ ῥῆμα.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:52. Προέκοπτε, He progressed) In accordance with [or in respect to] human nature, and the wisdom of human nature; and that in actual fact, but far above the measure of an ordinary man.—σοφίᾳ, in wisdom) in the soul.—ἡλικίᾳ) in stature of body in proportion to His years. Therefore He must have reached the due and proper height of a man.—χάριτι, in grace) in favour, owing to the endowments of soul and body, which come from grace, the more tender years are especially commended.—παρὰ Θεῷ, with God) John 8:29 [The Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him].—ἀνθρώποις, with men) The world is more ready to feel anger towards adult men, than towards youths who are not yet engaged in any public office or duty.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Luke 1
Top of Page
Top of Page