Luke 1:52
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
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(52) The mighty.—The word (that from which we get our English “dynasty”) is applied to the eunuch “of great authority” under Candace, in Acts 8:27, and is used as a divine name in “the blessed and only Potentate” of 1Timothy 6:15. Here it is used generally of all human rulers.

From their seats.—Better, their thrones, as the word is for the most part translated. (Comp. Matthew 19:28, and in this very chapter, Luke 1:32.)

Of low degree.—The adjective is that from which the noun translated “low estate,” in Luke 1:48, had been formed.

Luke 1:52-56. He hath put down the mighty from their seats — The mighty think to secure themselves by might in their seats, but he puts them down and overturns their seats; while, on the other hand, those of low degree, who despaired of ever advancing themselves, and thought of nothing else but being very low, are wonderfully exalted. To apply this to the subject which gave occasion to this divine hymn: “The kings who sprang from David, had, no doubt, one after another expected to be the parents of the Messiah; and when the kingdom was taken from them, such of the royal progeny as were in the highest station, would reckon this their certain and high privilege. But now their hope was wholly overthrown. They were brought down by God from that height of dignity to which, in their own imagination, they had exalted themselves; and a person in the meanest condition of all the royal seed was raised to it.” He hath filled the hungry, &c. — “Both the poor and the rich are here represented as waiting at God’s gate in the condition of beggars, the rich in expectation of receiving the honour of giving birth to the Messiah; the poor in expectation, not of that blessing, but hoping for such small favours as suited their condition. While they wait in this state, God, by an exercise of his sovereignty, bestows the favour, so much courted by the rich, on a poor family, to its unspeakable satisfaction, and sends the rich away disappointed and discontented.” See Macknight, and notes on 1 Samuel 2:3-9. He hath holpen his servant Israel — Dr. Campbell reads this and the next verse, He supporteth Israel his servant, (as he promised to our fathers,) ever inclined to mercy toward Abraham and his race. The word αντελαβετο, here rendered he hath holpen, properly signifies, to interpose in favour of a person in great necessity or extreme danger; and also to hold by the hand, to sustain from falling, or to lift up when fallen, and so to afford aid or help; this he hath done, saith the virgin, in remembrance of his mercy; for then God is said signally to remember his people, when, after a long oppression, in which he seemed to have forgotten them, he works a mighty salvation for them, (see Psalm 136:23.) And he did this, also, in pursuance of his promise made to our forefathers, to send the Messiah to be an everlasting blessing to all that should believe in him, and so become the seed of Abraham by faith. And Mary abode with her about three months — Till very near the time of her delivery; and returned to her own house — Having, to her unspeakable satisfaction and great comfort, found all things as the angel had told her; and soon after took a journey with Joseph to Bethlehem.

1:39-56 It is very good for those who have the work of grace begun in their souls, to communicate one to another. On Mary's arrival, Elisabeth was conscious of the approach of her who was to be the mother of the great Redeemer. At the same time she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and under his influence declared that Mary and her expected child were most blessed and happy, as peculiarly honoured of and dear to the Most High God. Mary, animated by Elisabeth's address, and being also under the influence of the Holy Ghost, broke out into joy, admiration, and gratitude. She knew herself to be a sinner who needed a Saviour, and that she could no otherwise rejoice in God than as interested in his salvation through the promised Messiah. Those who see their need of Christ, and are desirous of righteousness and life in him, he fills with good things, with the best things; and they are abundantly satisfied with the blessings he gives. He will satisfy the desires of the poor in spirit who long for spiritual blessings, while the self-sufficient shall be sent empty away.That those which mourn may be exalted to safety - Or rather, they who mourn are exalted to a place of safety, The sense is, that God did this; and that, therefore, there was ground of confidence in him. The word rendered "those which mourn" קדרים qoderı̂ym is from קדר qâdar, to be turbid or foul as a torrent, Job 6:16; hence, to go about in filthy garments, like mourners, to mourn. The general sense of the Hebrew word, as in Arabic, is to be squalid, dark, filthy, dusky, obscure; and hence, it denotes those who are afflicted, which is its sense here. The Septuagint renders it, ἀπολώλοτας apolōlotas, "the lost," or those who are perished. The sense is plain. God raises up the bowed down, the oppressed, and the afflicted. Eliphaz undoubtedly referred to instances which had come under his own observation, when persons who had been in very depressed circumstances, had been raised up to situations of comfort, honor, and safety: and that in a manner which was a manifest interposition of his Providence. From this he argued that those who were in circumstances of great trial, should put their trust in him. Cases of this kind often occur; and a careful observation of the dealings of God with the afflicted, would undoubtedly furnish materials for an argument like that on which Eliphaz relied in this instance.

Luke 1:52Hath put down the mighty - The "mighty" here denotes princes, kings, or conquerors. See Isaiah 14:12-14.

Their seats - Their "thrones," or the places where they sat in pomp and power.

Exalted them - Raised them up, or placed them in the seats of those who had been removed.


47. my Saviour—Mary, poor heart, never dreamt, we see, of her own "immaculate conception"—in the offensive language of the Romanists—any more than of her own immaculate life. See Poole on "Luke 1:51"

He hath put down the mighty from their seats,.... As mighty kings and emperors from their thrones, as he often does, in the course of his providence; setting up one, and putting down another: or the mighty angels, from their seats of bliss and happiness in heaven; who rebelling against God, opposing the incarnation of Christ, taking it ill, that the human nature should be advanced above theirs, were cast down to hell; and are reserved in chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great day: or this may have respect to the putting down the monarchies and kingdoms of this world, by the kingdom of the Messiah to be set up; which, though at first was mean and despicable, like a stone cut out of a mountain, will increase, spread, and break in pieces, and destroy all other kingdoms:

and exalted them of low degree; as David to the throne of Israel, from the sheepfold, and following the ewes great with young; and now his house and family, which were sunk very low, by raising of his seed, of a poor virgin in his family, unto Israel, a Saviour Jesus; in whose days the poor had the Gospel preached, and received it: these were chosen and called: the great things of the Gospel were revealed to babes, and hid from the wise and prudent; and beggars were raised from the dunghill, to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory: a method, which God in his infinite wisdom and grace has been pleased to take, more or less, in all ages of time; for not many mighty and noble are called by grace; but usually the foolish, the weak, and the base things of the world.

He hath {y} put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of {z} low degree.

(y) The mighty and rich men.

(z) Those of no account, who are vile in men's eyes, who are indeed the poor in spirit, that is, those who claim nothing of themselves in the sight of God.

52. He hath put down the mighty from their seats] Rather, He puts down potentates from thrones. The aorists throughout are gnomic, i. e. they do not express single but normal acts. The thought is common throughout the Bible, e. g. Luke 18:14; Daniel 4:30; 1 Samuel 2:6-10; Psalm 113:6-8; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. The ancients noticed the fact (κύκλος τῶν ἀνθρωπηΐων ἐστὶ πρηγμάτων, Hdt. i. 207; “Irus et est subito qui modo Croesus erat,” Ov. Trist. iii. vii. 41) but did not draw the true lessons from it.

Luke 1:52. Δυνάστας, the mighty [potentates]) as Saul, and Herod.

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