Luke 1:36
And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(36) Thy cousin Elisabeth.—See Notes on Luke 1:27; Luke 1:32. Taking the word in its usual sense, it would imply that either the father or the mother of Mary had been of the house of Aaron, or that the mother of Elizabeth had been of the house of David.

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.Thy cousin Elizabeth ... - The case of Elizabeth is mentioned to inspire Mary with confidence, and to assure her that what was now promised would be fulfilled. It was almost as improbable that Elizabeth should have a child at her time of life, as it was that Mary should under the circumstances promised. 36. thy cousin—"relative," but how near the word says not.

conceived, &c.—This was to Mary an unsought sign, in reward of her faith.

Ver. 36,37. What a particular notice doth God take of the children of men! he knoweth our relations:

thy cousin Elisabeth. Here some make a question how Elisabeth, who was one of the daughters of Aaron, Luke 1:5, and consequently of the tribe of Levi, could be cousin to Mary, who was of the house of David, and consequently of the tribe of Judah, (as our evangelist proveth, Luke 1:3), because of the law, Numbers 36:6,7. But cousin may be taken in a large sense, as Paul calleth all the Jews his kinsmen, Romans 9:3; or they might be cousins in a strict sense, for the daughters of the tribe of Levi might marry into any other tribes, having no inheritance to carry away, to prevent which was the law, Numbers 36:1-13.

And this is the sixth month from her conception, by which time women use to be at some certainly about their quickening; you must not therefore think this impossible, for you know Elisabeth was counted barren, and was old, yet she hath conceived.

For with God nothing shall be impossible. I bring you a message from God, to whom all things are possible. This was an ordinary saying amongst them, Nothing is impossible with God. Our Saviour useth it several times, Matthew 19:26 Mark 10:27. Nor needed we any Scripture to prove that nothing could be impossible to him who is the first Being, the first Cause, and the Fountain of all power, and to whom all things are subject. No considerate man will from hence conclude that things are possible to God which would derogate from the perfection of the Divine Being, and are imperfections in us; nor yet that any thing is possible to God the contrary to which he hath willed, but God can do whatsoever he can will. And behold thy cousin Elisabeth,.... For though Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron, or of the tribe of Levi by her father's side, yet might be of the tribe of Judah by her mother's side, and so akin to Mary. The Persic version calls her "aunt by the mother's side": intermarriages between the two tribes of Levi and Judah were frequent; nor were they at all contrary to the intention of that law, that forbid the tribes to intermarry, which was to preserve the inheritance in each tribe, since the tribe of Levi had none at all. Though she might be called her cousin in a more general sense; it being usual with the Jews to call all of their own nation their kinsmen and kinswomen, according to the flesh: but the former sense seems more agreeable; and so Mary is directed to her own family, and to her own relations, and known friends, for a sign, by which her faith might be confirmed, in what the angel had said unto her; for if she found the one to be true, she might conclude the other was also; which is as follows:

she hath also conceived a son in her old age: though Mary asked no sign, yet one is given her, whereby she might know the truth of what was spoken: for if it should appear that Elisabeth had received strength to conceive, as was declared by the angel; and that a son, too, which he could not have known without a divine revelation; and that in her old age, which, was extraordinary and supernatural, she might assure herself, that the message brought to her was from God; and that she likewise, though a virgin, might conceive, and bear a son: the angel adds, as a further testimony of the truth of things,

and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Elisabeth, was generally known to be barren, and was, by way of reproach, usually called so, but was now six months gone with child; so that it was a plain case, and out of question; the signs of her pregnancy were very apparent.

And, behold, thy {k} cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the {l} sixth month with her, who was called barren.

(k) Though Elisabeth was of the tribe of Levi, yet it was possible for her to be Mary's cousin: for whereas it was forbidden by the Law for maidens to be married to men of other tribes, there was an exception among the Levites, who could take for themselves wives out of any tribe: for the Levites had no portion allotted to them when the land was divided among the people.

(l) This is now the sixth month from the time when she conceived.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 1:36 f. Confirmation of the promise by the disclosure of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, which, in fact, was also a deviation from the order of nature (ἐν γήρει), and so far presented an analogy, although only in an inferior sense. “En domesticum tibi exemplum!” Grotius. After ἰδοὺ κ.τ.λ. an ἐστί was as little needed as an εἰμί at Luke 1:38.

συγγενίς] The nature of this relationship, which is not at variance with John 1:36, although questioned by Schleiermacher and others, is wholly unknown. It is, however, possible that Mary was of the stock of Levi (so Faustus the Manichean in Augustine, c. Faust. xxiii. 9; and recently, Schleiermacher, Schr. d. Luk. p. 26; Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 177, and others), as the Test. XII. Patr. p. 542 makes the Messiah proceed from the stock of Judah (Joseph) and (comp. p. 546) from the stock of Levi.[25]

On the late form συγγενίς, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 451 f.; and on the Ionic form of dative γήρει, Winer, p. 60 [E. T. 73 f.].

ΟὟΤΟς] subject: and this is the sixth month.

ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατ. κ.τ.λ.] Confirmation of that which has just been said of Elizabeth by the omnipotence of God. It is to be observed (1) that ΟὐΚΠᾶΝ do not belong to one another, but of ΠᾶΝ ῬῆΜΑ it is said: ΟὐΚ ἈΔΥΝΑΤΉΣΕΙ (Fritzsche, Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 24 f.); further, (2) that the proposition is a general one; hence the future, which, however, is purposely chosen with a view to what was announced to Mary; see Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 369; (3) that there exists no reason for abandoning the purely Greek meaning of ἀδυνατεῖν, to be unable (Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 210), any more than of ῥῆμα, utterance (Luke 1:38), especially with the reading παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ (see the critical remarks). Hence the meaning is not: “With God nothing is impossible;” but rather: not powerless (but of success and efficacy) shall any utterance on the part of God be. So also Genesis 18:14. Comp. Beza: “ῥῆμα, i.e. quicquid Deus semel futurum dixerit.”

[25] Thus the descent from the Davidic and priestly race might have been used for the glorification of Jesus. But from the height of the history of Jesus so little importance was attached to things of this nature that only the Davidic descent, as it was necessary in the case of the Messiah, had stress laid on it, and the family of Mary was not expressly specified at all. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 177 f.Luke 1:36. καὶ ἰδού, introducing a reference to Elizabeth’s case to help Mary’s faith.—συγγενίς, late form for συγγενής (T.R.), a blood relation, but of what degree not indicated, suggesting that Mary perhaps belonged to the tribe of Levi.—γήρει: Ionic form of dative for γήρᾳ (T.R.). Hellenistic Greek was an eclectic language, drawing from all dialects as from the poets, turning their poetic expressions to the uses of prose.—καλουμένη: Elizabeth is described as one who is still being called barren, though six months gone in pregnancy, because people have had no means of knowing her state.36. thy cousin] Rather, “thy kinswoman.” What the actual relationship was we do not know. It is a mistake to infer from this, as Ewald does, that Mary too was of the tribe of Levi, for except in the case of heiresses there was free intermarriage between the tribes (Exodus 6:23; Jdg 17:7; Philo De Monach. ii. 11; Jos. Vit. i).Luke 1:36. Καὶ ἰδοὺ, and, behold) To Mary, inasmuch as she believed, a more favourable [pleasant] sign is without solicitation given, than had been given to Zacharias, who did not believe.—συγγενὴς, thy [cousin] kinswoman) Therefore John and Jesus also were kinsmen [cousins].—υἱὸν, a son) Elisabeth’s pregnancy was unknown among men, excepting the members of her own family; but here we find even the time and the sex of the offspring indicated to Mary by Divine information, with a view to strengthen the faith of Mary. But of the office of the Forerunner nothing is said; for Mary was about to hear that from his mother.Cousin (συγγενής)

The nature of the relationship, however, is unknown. The word is a general term, meaning of the same family. The best texts substitute for it a feminine form, συγγενίς, which is condemned by the grammarians as unclassical, but rightly rendered by Rev., kinswoman. Wyc., cosyness, i.e., cousiness.

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