Luke 1:26
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
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(26) And in the sixth month.—The time is obviously reckoned from the commencement of the period specified in Luke 1:24.

A city of Galilee, named Nazareth.—The town so named (now en-Nazirah) was situated in a valley among the hills that rise to a height of about 500 feet on the north of the Plain of Esdraelon. The valley itself is richly cultivated. The grassy slopes of the hills are clothed in spring-time with flowers. On one side there is a steep ridge that forms something like a precipice (Luke 4:29). In the rainy season the streams flow down the slopes of the hills and rush in torrents through the valleys. From a hill just behind the town, the modern Neby Ismail, there is one of the finest views in Palestine, including Lebanon and Hermon to the north, Carmel to the west, with glimpses of the Mediterranean, and to the south the Plain of Esdraelon and the mountains of Samaria, to the east and south-east Gilead, and Tabor, and Grilboa. It is a three days’ journey from Jerusalem, about twenty miles from Ptolemais, and eighteen from the Sea of Galilee, six from Mount Tabor, about six from Cana, and nine from Nain. The name, as stated in the Note on Matthew 2:23, was probably derived from the Hebrew Netzer (= a branch), and conveying something of the same meaning as our -hurst, or -holm, in English topography.

Luke 1:26-27. In the sixth month — Namely, after Elisabeth had conceived; the angel Gabriel — The same angel who had been the messenger of such good news to Zacharias; was sent from God unto a city of Galilee — A country which lay “in the most northern part of Palestine, and was bounded on the north by Lebanon and Syria, on the west by Phœnicia, on the south by Samaria, and on the east by Jordan and the sea of Tiberias. Yet, from the gospels it appears, that a part of the country north of the sea and eastward of Jordan was reckoned Galilee: which, therefore, comprehended the possessions of the tribes of Issachar, Zebulon, Naphtali, and Asher. It was divided into Upper and Lower Galilee, whereof the former was called Galilee of the Gentiles, Matthew 4:15, because it bordered upon the Gentile nations, and was partly inhabited by them. Of the populousness and fertility of this country see notes on Matthew 15:16. Named Nazareth — A small city in the tribe of Zebulon, now reduced to a very low and contemptible condition, Matthew 2:23. To a virgin espoused — It was customary among the Jews, for persons that married to contract before witnesses some time before. And as Christ was to be born of a pure virgin, so the wisdom of God ordered it to be of one espoused, that to prevent reproach he might have a reputed father, according to the flesh. To Joseph, of the house of David — Joseph was a descendant of King David, though now in low circumstances. It is of the greatest importance to prove that Christ was lineally descended from David, this being one of the characteristics of the Messiah; but certainly this cannot be inferred from the genealogy of Joseph, because he was only the reputed father of Christ: nor is it necessary to understand the evangelist here as speaking of Joseph’s being of the house of David. His words may be understood differently, as indeed they are read by Dr. Whitby and many others, thus: to a virgin of the house of David, (espoused to a man whose name was Joseph,) and the virgin’s name was Mary. What strengthens this interpretation is, that this and the preceding verse refer wholly to the virgin, who is described by the place of her residence, Nazareth; by her relation to Joseph, being espoused to him; by her lineage and descent, of the house of David; and by her name, Mary.

1:26-38 We have here an account of the mother of our Lord; though we are not to pray to her, yet we ought to praise God for her. Christ must be born miraculously. The angel's address means only, Hail, thou that art the especially chosen and favoured of the Most High, to attain the honour Jewish mothers have so long desired. This wondrous salutation and appearance troubled Mary. The angel then assured her that she had found favour with God, and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God. JESUS! the name that refreshes the fainting spirits of humbled sinners; sweet to speak and sweet to hear, Jesus, a Saviour! We know not his riches and our own poverty, therefore we run not to him; we perceive not that we are lost and perishing, therefore a Saviour is a word of little relish. Were we convinced of the huge mass of guilt that lies upon us, and the wrath that hangs over us for it, ready to fall upon us, it would be our continual thought, Is the Saviour mine? And that we might find him so, we should trample on all that hinders our way to him. Mary's reply to the angel was the language of faith and humble admiration, and she asked no sign for the confirming her faith. Without controversy, great was the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, 1Ti 3:16. Christ's human nature must be produced so, as it was fit that should be which was to be taken into union with the Divine nature. And we must, as Mary here, guide our desires by the word of God. In all conflicts, let us remember that with God nothing is impossible; and as we read and hear his promises, let us turn them into prayers, Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.In the sixth month - The sixth month after Elizabeth's conception.

A city of Galilee named Nazareth - See the notes at Matthew 2:22-23.

Lu 1:26-38. Annunciation of Christ.

(See on [1535]Mt 1:18-21).

26. sixth month—of Elisabeth's time.

Joseph, of the house of David—(See on [1536]Mt 1:16).

Ver. 26,27. In the sixth month, that is, after Elisabeth’s conception; thus it is expounded afterward, Luke 1:36.

The angel Gabriel, the same angel that had appeared in the temple to Zacharias, who seemeth to have had a special ministration with reference to that part of God’s will which was predictive of the Messias; he

was sent from God (without whose command the angels do not move)

unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth. There Joseph lived; from thence he went, Luke 2:4. The angel came to the virgin, who is here described by her name, Mary, and her relation, she was espoused to one Joseph, who is said to be

of the house of David. Matthew reduces his genealogy to prove him to be so.

And in the sixth month,.... After Elisabeth's conception; for so long was John the Baptist conceived before Christ, and so long he was born before him; and it seems as if there was the same distance between the public ministry of the one, and the other: John was before Christ, as man, being his forerunner; but Christ was preferred unto him as mediator, and existed before him, as the eternal Son of God:

the angel Gabriel was sent from God; the same angel, that near five hundred years before gave Daniel an exact account of the time of the Messiah's coming, and six months ago acquainted Zacharias with the conception, birth, character, and office of his forerunner:

unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth; the whole country of Galilee was mean and contemptible with the Jews: they observe, though through mistake, that no prophet arose out of it, John 7:52 and Nazareth particularly was exceeding despicable in their eye: hence those words of Nathanael, "can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" John 1:46 and yet hither an angel was sent by God; and here dwelt the mother of our Lord. See Gill on Matthew 1:23

{3} And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

(3) The angel, serving the Lord who would be born, is sent to the virgin Mary, in whom the son of the most high promised to David is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:26-27. Τῷ ἕκτῳ] see Luke 1:24.

Ναζαρέτ] According to Matthew, Bethlehem was the dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary. See on Matthew 2:23, Remark, and Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 51 ff.

ἐξ οἴκου Δαυίδ] applies not to Mary and Joseph (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Calovius, and others, including Wieseler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, p. 395), but merely to the latter, Luke 2:4, Luke 3:23 ff. The descent of Mary from David cannot at all be proved in the N. T. See on Matthew 1:17, Remark 2. Comp. on Luke 1:36; Luke 2:4 f.

Luke 1:26-38. The announcement to Mary.

26–38. The Annunciation

26. in the sixth month] i. e. after the vision of Zachariah. This is the only passage which indicates the age of John the Baptist, as half a year older than our Lord.

Galilee] Thus began to be fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2. Galilee of the Gentiles (Gelîl haggoyîm), one of the four great Roman divisions of Palestine, was north of Judaea and Samaria, west of Peraea, and comprised the territories of Zebulun, Naphthali, Issachar and Asher (Matthew 4:13). Josephus describes it as rich in trees and pastures, strong, populous, containing 204 towns, of which the least had 15000 inhabitants, and occupied by a hardy and warlike race, Bell. Jud. iii. 3; Vit. 45, 52. See Map, and note on Luke 3:2.

named Nazareth] The expression shews that St Luke is writing for those who were unfamiliar with Palestine. See on Luke 2:51.

a virgin] Isaiah 7:14; Jeremiah 31:22. The many miraculous and glorifying legends which soon began to gather round her name in the Apocryphal Gospels are utterly unknown to Scripture.

Verse 26-38.

The annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The recital contained in this little section is peculiar to this Gospel of St. Luke. It lay outside what may be termed the apostolic tradition. It neither helps nor mars the moral or dogmatic teaching of the men trained in the school of Jesus of Nazareth. It simply answers a question that probably few of the converts of the first quarter of a century which succeeded the Resurrection morning cared to ask: We do not suppose that the true story of the birth of Jesus Christ was any secret, any precious mystery in the Church of the first days. It was known doubtless to the leading teachers, known to many of their hearers, but it was evidently unused as a popular text for preaching. It probably was not among those "memoirs" of the apostles which were read and expounded in the first forty years in the public synagogues and in the quiet upper rooms of so many of the cities of Syria, and in not a few of the towns of Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Nor is the reason of this doubtful; the wondrous story of the child Jesus' birth would add little to the simple faith of the first believers in the Crucified. Of miracles and works of wonder they had heard enough to convince them that, if these were true, surely never man had worked like this Man. They had heard, too, of the crowning, sign of the Resurrection. There were men in those first days, scattered abroad in all lands, who had seen these things, who knew that the Master had died on the cross, and who had seen him, touched him, and spoken to him after his resurrection. The mysterious miracle of the incarnation was not needed for the preaching of the first days. But time went on, and naturally enough many of the thoughtful cultured men who had accepted the doctrine of the cross began to say - We ought to have the true story of the beginnings of these marvelous events authoritatively written down. Here and there we have heard something of the birth and childhood, why have we not the details authenticated? Men like Paul and Luke felt that such natural questionings should be answered. And hence it came to pass that, moved by the Holy Spirit - under, we believe, the direction of Paul - Luke went to the fountainhead, to the blessed mother herself, to those holy women some of whom we believe had borne her company from the beginning, and from her lips and their lips wrote down what she (or they) dictated, partly from memory, partly perhaps from memoranda which she and others had kept of that strange sweet time; and so these two chapters of the Third Gospel, of which the incarnation is the central narrative, were written down much in the original form in which Luke received it, the Greek simply translating the original Hebrew story. Around the words of the Gospel soon gathered a host of miraculous legends glorifying the blessed mother of the Lord. These are utterly unknown to Scripture, and should be quietly put aside. Strange speculations respecting her and the manner of the wondrous birth have been in all times, nay, still are favorite subjects of dispute among theologians. It is a pity to try and be wise beyond what is written. The believer will content himself with just receiving the quiet story of the holy maid as Mary the mother gave it to Luke or Paul, feeling assured that the same power of the Highest by which the crucified Jesus was raised from the tomb where he had lain for three days, was able to overshadow the virgin of Nazareth, was able to cause to be born of her that holy thing which was called the Son of God. Verse 26. - And in the sixth month; that is, after the vision of Zacharias in the temple. Unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. These explanatory notes make it clear that St. Luke was writing for those who were strangers to Palestine. Such details were no doubt added by St. Luke to the oral or written Hebrew narrative upon which this section is entirely based. Under the Roman domination the land of promise was divided into Judaea, Samaria, Peraea, and Galilee. Galilee was the northern department, and comprised the old territory of the tribes of Zebulun, Naphtali, and Asher. From Josephus we learn that at this period the northern division was rich and populous, and covered with flourishing towns. Nazareth, which still exists as a large village of some three thousand inhabitants, under the name of En-Nazirah, is about twenty-four miles to the east of the Luke of Tiberius. It is well situate in a valley among the hills which rise to the north of the Esdraelon plain. From one of the grassy slopes which rise behind Nazareth, one of the noblest views is obtained. The snowy summits of Lebanon and Hennon close the prospect on the north; on the south the broad Esdraelon plain, with the mountains of Ephraim; Gilead and Tabor lie on the east; on the other side, the green uplands of Carmel are bathed by the blue waves of the Mediterranean Sea. The meaning of the name Nazareth has been the subject of much learned controversy. The more usually adopted derivation, however, refers the word to נצר, "a shoot or branch," which conveys, as Dean Plumptre remarks, something of the same meaning as our hurst or holm in English topography. Burckhardt, the traveler, believes the name was originslly used on account of the numerous shrubs which cover the ground in this locality. Luke 1:26Gabriel

The annunciation and the angel Gabriel are favorite themes with Dante, and he pictures them with exquisite beauty. Thus both appear on the sculptured wall which flanks the inner side of the purgatorial ascent.

"The angel who came down to earth with tidings

Of peace that had been wept for many a year,

And opened heaven from its long interdict,

In front of us appeared so truthfully

There sculptured in a gracious attitude,

He did not seem an image that is silent.

One would have sworn that he was saying Ave!

For she was there in effigy portrayed

Who turned the key to ope the exalted love,

And in her mien this language had impressed,

Ecce ancilla Dei! as distinctly

As any figure stamps itself in wax."


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