For he that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Luke 1:49-51. He that is mighty — Beyond all our conceptions, even the Almighty God, to whom this strange event is not only possible, but easy; hath done to me great things — Miracles, as the words μεγαλα and μεγαλεια often signify in the Old Testament, being applied by the LXX. to the miracles wrought in Egypt, and in the wilderness. Probably, Mary had now in her eye her miraculous conception of the Messiah, being astonished that God should have chosen her, a person of the meanest condition, to be his mother. Yet from her belief of the divine perfections, she was convinced that all was done in wisdom and truth, and therefore she adds, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him — It always has been so; he has ever looked on them with an eye of peculiar favour, who have looked up to him with an eye of filial fear. But he hath manifested his mercy, so as he had never done before, in sending his Son to bring in an everlasting righteousness, and work out an everlasting salvation for them that fear him, and this from generation to generation: for there are gospel privileges, transmitted by entail, and intended for perpetuity. Those that fear God, as their Creator and Judge, are encouraged to hope for mercy from him, through their Mediator and Advocate; and in him mercy is settled upon all such, while the world stands. In Christ he keepeth mercy for thousands. He hath showed strength with his arm — That is, he hath shown the exceeding greatness of his power. She speaks prophetically of those things as already done which God was about to do by the Messiah. Grotius observes, that God’s great power is represented by his finger, his greater by his hand, and his greatest by his arm. The production of lice was by the finger of God, Exodus 7:18; and the other miracles in Egypt were done by his right hand, Exodus 3:20. But the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea was brought to pass by his arm, Exodus 15:16. Wherefore the virgin’s meaning is, that in this dispensation of his providence, God mightily manifested his sovereign power. He hath scattered the proud, &c. — In the course of God’s providence it is his usual method to cross the expectations of men, and proceed quite otherwise than they promise themselves. Proud men expect with ease to effect their purposes, and carry all before them; but he scatters them in the imagination of their hearts; breaks their measures, blasts their projects; nay, and brings them low by those very counsels, with which they thought to advance and establish themselves. Some read this clause, He hath scattered those that prided themselves in the imagination, or thought, of their heart. But the words will better bear the translation which we give them, which certainly expresses a more emphatical sense, and one “peculiarly applicable to the gospel, in which God doth not only cast down imaginations and every high thing, &c., (2 Corinthians 10:5,) by the humbling scheme of his recovering grace, but hath remarkably confounded his most insolent enemies in their own most elaborate projects, and established his sacred cause by the violent attempts they have made to suppress it: compare Psalm 2:1-3; a triumph of divine wisdom, of which succeeding ages furnish out memorable and frequent instances.” — Doddridge.
Hath done to me great things - Hath conferred on me great favors and distinguished mercies.
And holy is his name - This is an expression of Mary's feelings, desiring to bestow on God all honor and praise. As the highest honor, she declared that his "name" was "holy" - that is, that God was free from sin, injustice, and impurity. The "name" of God is often put for God Himself. The proper name of God is יהוה Yahweh, a word expressive of His "essential being," derived from the word "to be," Exodus 3:14; Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18. That name is holy; is to be regarded as holy; and to make a common or profane use of it is solemnly forbidden, Exodus 20:7.Psalm 115:1, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake; and herein she teacheth those generations, which she had even now said should call her blessed, how to take notice of her, viz. as one highly favoured of the Lord, one for whom God indeed had done great things, but not as one who had merited any thing at God’s hand, much less as one to whom we should pay a greater devotion than to her Son, and speak to her that she should command her Son, according to the blasphemous devotion and idolatry of the papists. Mary is very careful of giving succeeding generations any occasion from her expressions for any such superstitions.
And holy is his name: holy, that is, glorious and venerable.
His name, that is, he himself is glorious and holy, far above the conception and comprehension of poor creatures.
and holy is his name: seeing this was brought about without any impurity, through the overshadowing influence of the Holy Ghost; whereby the human nature was preserved from the infection of sin, was sanctified, and fit to be united to the Son of God, and to be a sacrifice for the sins of his people. This may also have regard to the great things God had done for her in a spiritual sense; in the choice of her to eternal life, in the redemption of her by the Messiah, and in her regeneration and sanctification; wherein God had displayed his sovereign grace and goodness, and his almighty power, in a way consistent with his justice and holiness.For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 1:49 f. Because the Mighty One did to me great things, in making me the mother of the Messiah.
καὶ ἅγιον κ.τ.λ.] not for οὗ τὸ ὄν. ἅγιον (Luther, Castalio, Bengel, and many, including Kuinoel), but lyrically unperiodic: and holy is His name! Hence, also, a full stop is not to be placed after δυνατός (Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bleek), but only a comma. To the might the holiness attaches itself.
εἰς γενεὰς κ. γενεάς] Comp. Isaiah 51:8; 1Ma 2:61; Test. XII. Patr. p. 568: unto generations and generations, i.e. ever onward from one generation to the following. The Recepta εἰς γενεὰς γενεῶν would mean: to the uttermost generations; these would be conceived of as forming a superlative. Analogous Greek superlative designations, especially from the dramatic writers, may be seen in Brunck, ad Oedip. R. 466; Bernhardy, p. 154.
τοῖς φοβουμ. αὐτ.] sc. ἐστι. It denotes the essence of theocratic piety. Comp. Exodus 20:6; Psalm 103:7.49. he that is mighty] El Shaddai, Job 8:3; also Gibbôr, Psalm 24:8. See Pearson On the Creed, Art. i.
great things] Gedolôth, Psalm 71:21; Psalm 126:3.
holy is his name] Psalm 111:9; “Thou only art holy,” Revelation 15:4. Shem, ‘name,’ is often a reverent periphrasis in Hebrew for God Himself. Psalm 91:14; 2 Chronicles 6:20, &c.Luke 1:49-50, Καὶ, and) He [that is mighty, etc.], Whose name is holy, and Whose mercy, etc. [but Engl. Vers. “And holy is His name, and His mercy,” etc.] For these three clauses are joined together by the and, repeated. So the Hebrew relative, אשר, is often not expressed but understood. It is not until Luke 1:51 that the new paragraph begins.Verse 49, 50. - For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. In this strophe, the second division of the hymn of praise, she glorifies three of the principal Divine attributes - God's power, his holiness, and his mercy. His power or might, alluding to the words of the angel (verse 85), "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Surely in all the records of the Lord's works since the world's creation, his might had been never shown as it was now about to be manifest in her. His holiness had been displayed to her in the way in which the mighty acts of ineffable love had been carried out. His mercy: this attribute of God came home with intense power to the heart of the Jewish girl, into which God's protecting Spirit was shining with so clear a light. She saw something of the great redemption mystery which was then in so strange a way developing itself.
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