Luke 1:6
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
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(6) Commandments and ordinances.—The former word covered all the moral laws of the Pentateuch, the latter (as in Hebrews 9:1), its outward and ceremonial rules.

Luke 1:6. They were righteous before God — They were sincerely and really righteous; they were so in God’s sight, whose judgment, we are sure, is according to truth; they approved themselves to him who searcheth the heart; and he was graciously pleased to accept them. It is a happy thing when those that are joined to each other in marriage are both joined to the Lord! And it is especially requisite that the priests, the Lord’s ministers, should, with their yoke-fellows, be righteous before God, that they may be examples to the flock, and give them cause of joy. Walking in all the moral commandments and ceremonial ordinances of the Lord blameless — Thus they manifested their righteousness: it shone forth in the whole course of their conversation; in every branch of piety and virtue. How admirable is the character given of this pious pair! May our behaviour be thus unblameable, and our obedience thus sincere and universal! The two words, εντολαις και δικαιωμασι, here used, are generally interpreted, the former of the moral, the latter of the ceremonial precepts of the divine law. It is certain, however, that they are often taken in a much more extensive sense; and that undoubted examples may be produced, to prove that both terms are used promiscuously in both senses.

1:5-25 The father and mother of John the Baptist were sinners as all are, and were justified and saved in the same way as others; but they were eminent for piety and integrity. They had no children, and it could not be expected that Elisabeth should have any in her old age. While Zacharias was burning incense in the temple, the whole multitude of the people were praying without. All the prayers we offer up to God, are acceptable and successful only by Christ's intercession in the temple of God above. We cannot expect an interest therein if we do not pray, and pray with our spirits, and are not earnest in prayer. Nor can we expect that the best of our prayers should gain acceptance, and bring an answer of peace, but through the mediation of Christ, who ever lives, making intercession. The prayers Zacharias often made, received an answer of peace. Prayers of faith are filed in heaven, and are not forgotten. Prayers made when we were young and entering into the world, may be answered when we are old and going out of the world. Mercies are doubly sweet that are given in answer to prayer. Zacharias shall have a son in his old age, who shall be instrumental in the conversion of many souls to God, and preparing them to receive the gospel of Christ. He shall go before Him with courage, zeal, holiness, and a mind dead to earthly interests and pleasures. The disobedient and rebellious would be brought back to the wisdom of their righteous forefathers, or rather, brought to attend to the wisdom of that Just One who was coming among them. Zacharias heard all that the angel said; but his unbelief spake. In striking him dumb, God dealt justly with him, because he had objected against God's word. We may admire the patience of God towards us. God dealt kindly with him, for thus he prevented his speaking any more distrustful, unbelieving words. Thus also God confirmed his faith. If by the rebukes we are under for our sin, we are brought to give the more credit to the word of God, we have no reason to complain. Even real believers are apt to dishonour God by unbelief; and their mouths are stopped in silence and confusion, when otherwise they would have been praising God with joy and gratitude. In God's gracious dealings with us we ought to observe his gracious regards to us. He has looked on us with compassion and favour, and therefore has thus dealt with us.Both righteous - Both "just" or holy. This means here more than external conformity to the law. It is an honorable testimonial of their "piety" toward God.

Walking in ... - Keeping the commandments. To walk in the way that God commands is "to obey."

Ordinances - Rites and customs which God had ordained or appointed. These words refer to all the duties of religion which were made known to them.

Blameless - That is, no fault or deficiency could be found in them. They were strict, exact, punctual. Yet this, if it had been mere "external" observance, might have been no proof of piety. Paul, before his conversion, also kept the law "externally" blameless, Philippians 3:6. But in the case of Zechariah and Elizabeth it was real love to God and sincere regard for his law.

6. commandments and ordinances—The one expressing their moral—the other their ceremonial—obedience [Calvin and Bengel], (Compare Eze 11:20; Heb 9:1). It has been denied that any such distinction was known to the Jews and New Testament writers. But Mr 12:33, and other passages, put this beyond all reasonable doubt. That they were not righteous by a perfect legal righteousness, being not guilty of any sin, is certain, for so there is none righteous, no, not one; but so righteous, as that God accepted them, and looked upon them as righteous; as Abraham believed, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, though he sinned in the denial of his wife, &c.; or as it is said of David, 1 Kings 15:5, He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah. They also walked

in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. A man’s blameless conversation before the world is a piece of his righteousness, but will not make up alone such a righteousness as will testify his acceptation with God, or righteousness before him; he must, in the first place, walk in the commandments and in the ordinances of God. There is a duty towards God, as well as towards men; and that duty lies in the keeping his commandments, his ordinances, for the fear of the Lord must not be taught us by the precepts of men: yea, and in all the ordinances of God, having a respect to all God’s commandments; and making this his constant course and practice, not doing it by fits. He must also be blameless towards men. Here is a true pattern of what a married couple should be, especially where the husband waits at the altar, and is employed in the holy things of God. A bishop must be blameless, 1 Timothy 3:2; a deacon grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre, Luke 1:8; blameless, Luke 1:10; and, Luke 1:11, Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, & c. Such were Zacharias and Elisabeth. Such ought all ministers of the gospel and their wives to be.

And they were both righteous before God,.... Not as the Pharisees, only righteous before men, but in the sight of God, who sees the heart, and whose judgment is according to truth; and therefore were not justified by the deeds of the law; for by them no man can be justified in the sight of God; but were made righteous through the righteousness of Christ, by which the saints were made righteous before the coming of Christ, as those after it: see Acts 15:11. God beheld them in his Son, as clothed with that righteousness he engaged to bring in, and as cleansed from all sin in that blood of his which was to be shed: and they appeared to him, and in the eye of his justice, and according to his law, righteous persons: though this character may also regard the internal holiness of their hearts, and the truth and sincerity of grace in them: which God, who trieth the hearts and reins of the children of men, knew, took notice of, and bore testimony to: as likewise their holy, upright walk and conversation before men, and which was observed by God, and acceptable to him, though imperfect, as arising from a principle of grace, being performed in the faith and fear of him, and with a view to his glory, and for the sake, and through the righteousness of his Son,

Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord: this was not the matter of their righteousness before God, but the evidence of it before men: "by the commandments" are meant, all those that are of a moral nature, which regarded their duty to God and man, and which are comprehended in love to both; and by "the ordinances of the Lord", are intended the injunctions and institutions of the ceremonial law, which is called the law of commandments, contained in ordinances, which, though now abolished, were then in force: and it was right and commendable in them to observe them, who, by their "walking" in them, showed they loved them, both one and the other; esteemed them, concerning all things to be right; and had respect to them all, and observed them, and took pleasure in walking in them, which, by the grace of God, they continued to do; for walking not only shows that these commands and ordinances were a way marked out for them, but in which they took pleasure, and made progress: and were

blameless; not that they were without sin, as none are; and it appears from this chapter that Zacharias was not, see Luke 1:20 but they were so in the sight of God; as they were justified by the righteousness of Christ, so they were without fault before the throne, and unreproveable before God; and as to their moral and religious character and conduct before men, they did not indulge themselves in any known sin, but lived in all good conscience among men: nor were they remiss and negligent in the discharge of duty: they were not guilty of any notorious breach of the law of God, or of any remarkable negligence in the business of religious observances: and though they might observe enough in them to charge themselves with, and to humble themselves before God and men; yet so strict were they, in their lives and conversations, that those who were the most intimately acquainted with them, had nothing very material to blame them for.

And they were both {i} righteous before God, {k} walking in all the {l} commandments and ordinances of the Lord {m} blameless.

(i) The true mark of righteousness is demonstrated when one is liked and accepted in the judgment of God.

(k) Lived, as the Hebrews say, for our life is as a way in which we must walk until we come to the mark.

(l) In all the moral and ceremonial law.

(m) Whom no man could justly reprove: now so it is that the fruits of justification are set forth here, and not the cause, which is faith only, and nothing else.

Luke 1:6 f. Δίκαιοι] upright, such as they ought to be according to God’s will.

ἐνώπιον τ. Θεοῦ] a familiar Hebraism: לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה, characterizing the ἀληθὴς δικαιοσύνη (Euthymius Zigabenus), which is so not perchance merely according to human judgment, but before the eyes of God, in God’s presence, Genesis 7:1; Acts 8:21; Jdt 13:20. Comp. Augustine, ad Marcell. ii. 13.

πορευόμενοι κ.τ.λ.] a more precise explanation of the foregoing, likewise in quite a Hebraizing form (1 Kings 8:62, al.), wherein δικαίωμα is legal ordinance (LXX. Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 30:16; Psalm 119:93, al.; see on Romans 1:32; Romans 5:16), ἐντολή joined with δικ. (Genesis 26:5; Deuteronomy 4:40) is a more special idea. The distinction that ἐντολή applies to the moral, δικαιώμα to the ceremonial precepts, is arbitrary (Calvin, Bengel, and others). We may add that the popular testimony to such δικαιοσύνη does not exclude human imperfection and sinfulness, and hence is not opposed to the doctrine of justification.

ἄμεμπτοι] not equivalent to ἀμέμπτως, but proleptic: so that they were blameless. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Winer, p. 549 f. [E. T. 778 f.].

The Attic καθότι, here as at Luke 19:9, Acts 2:24, Tob 1:12; Tob 13:4, corresponding to the argumentative καθώς: as then, according to the fact that, occurs in the N. T. only in Luke.

προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμ.] of advanced age, בָּאִים בַּיָּמִים, Genesis 18:11; Joshua 23:1; 1 Kings 1:1. The Greeks say προβεβηκὼς τῇ ἡλικίᾳ, Lys. p. 169, 37, τοῖς ἔτεσιν (Machon in Athen. xiii. p. 592 D), also τὴν ἡλικίαν, and the like (Herodian, ii. 7. 7; comp. 2Ma 4:40; Jdt 16:23), see Wetstein, and Pierson, ad Moer. p. 475. Observe that κ. ἀμφ. προβ. κ.τ.λ. is no longer connected with καθότι, but attached to οὐκ ἦν αὐτ. τέκν. by way of further preparation for the marvel which follows.

Luke 1:6. δίκαιοι: an O. T. term, and expressing an O. T. idea of piety and goodness, as unfolded in the following clause, which is Hebrew in speech as in sentiment: walking in all the commandments and ordinances (equivalent terms, not to be distinguished, with Calvin, Bengel, and Godet, as moral and ceremonial) blameless (relatively to human judgment).

6. righteous] One of the oldest terms of high praise among the Jews (Genesis 6:9; Genesis 7:1; Genesis 18:23-28. See Psalm 37:37; Ezekiel 18:5-19, &c.). It is used also of Joseph, Matthew 1:19; and is defined in the following words in the almost technical sense of strict legal observance which it had acquired since the days of the Maccabees. The true Jashar (upright man) was the ideal Jew. Thus Rashi calls the Book of Genesis ‘the book of the upright, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’

in all the commandments and ordinances] The two words occur in the LXX. version of Genesis 26:5 (of Abraham) and 2 Chronicles 17:4 (of Jehoshaphat). ‘Commandments’ means the moral precepts of natural and revealed religion (Romans 7:8-13). ‘Ordinances’ had come to be technically used of the ceremonial Law (Hebrews 9:1). The distinctions were not accurately kept, but the two words together would, to a pious Jew of that day, have included all the positive and negative precepts which later Rabbis said were 613 in number, namely 248 positive, and 365 negative.

Luke 1:6. Δίκαιοι, righteous) The condescending goodness of Scripture, which speaks of the righteousness of the pious, ought not to be treated as if it is in opposition to the doctrine of justification [by faith].—ἀμφότεροι, both) God brings forth His chosen instruments from pious parents.—ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, before [in the presence of] God) Genesis 17:1.—ἐντολαῖς, the commandments) viz. the moral ones.—δικαιώμασι) the ceremonial ones [ordinances], Hebrews 9:1.

Verse 6. - And they were both righteous before God. "One of the oldest terms of high praise among the Jews (Genesis 6:9; Genesis 7:1; Genesis 18:23-28; Ezekiel 18:5-9, etc.). It is used also of Joseph (Matthew 1:19), and is defined in the following words in the most technical sense of strict legal observance, which it had acquired since the days of Maccabees. The true Jashar (upright man) was the ideal Jew. Thus Rashi calls the Book of Genesis 'The book of the upright, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob '" (Farrar). Luke 1:6Before God

A Hebrew expression. Compare Genesis 7:1; Acts 8:21.

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