(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Exodus 13:2.
22, 24. her purification—Though the most and best copies read "their," it was the mother only who needed purifying from the legal uncleanness of childbearing. "The days" of this purification for a male child were forty in all (Le 12:2, 4), on the expiry of which the mother was required to offer a lamb for a burnt offering, and a turtle dove or a young pigeon for a sin offering. If she could not afford a lamb, the mother had to bring another turtle dove or young pigeon; and, if even this was beyond her means, then a portion of fine flour, but without the usual fragrant accompaniments of oil and frankincense, as it represented a sin offering (Le 12:6-8; 5:7-11). From the intermediate offering of "a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons," we gather that Joseph and the Virgin were in poor circumstances (2Co 8:9), though not in abject poverty. Being a first-born male, they "bring him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord." All such had been claimed as "holy to the Lord," or set apart to sacred uses, in memory of the deliverance of the first-born of Israel from destruction in Egypt, through the sprinkling of blood (Ex 13:2). In lieu of these, however, one whole tribe, that of Levi, was accepted, and set apart to occupations exclusively sacred (Nu 3:11-38); and whereas there were two hundred seventy-three fewer Levites than first-born of all Israel on the first reckoning, each of these first-born was to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels, yet not without being "presented (or brought) unto the Lord," in token of His rightful claim to them and their service (Nu 3:44-47; 18:15, 16). It was in obedience to this "law of Moses," that the Virgin presented her babe unto the Lord, "in the east gate of the court called Nicanor's Gate, where she herself would be sprinkled by the priest with the blood of her sacrifice" [Lightfoot]. By that Babe, in due time, we were to be redeemed, "not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ" (1Pe 1:18, 19), and the consuming of the mother's burnt offering, and the sprinkling of her with the blood of her sin offering, were to find their abiding realization in the "living sacrifice" of the Christian mother herself, in the fulness of a "heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," by "the blood which cleanseth from all sin."See Poole on "Luke 2:22" Exodus 13:2.
every male that openeth the womb, shall be called holy to the Lord; that is, devoted and consecrated to him, and so to be redeemed. The reason of this law was this, when God smote all the firstborn of Egypt, he saved the firstborn of Israel; and therefore claimed a right to them, and obliged their parents, excepting the Levites, to redeem them at the price of five shekels, which were about twelve shillings and six pence of our money, and which was given to the Levites: see Exodus 13:12 And this law our Lord came under as Mary s firstborn, and as one holy to the Lord; and such a sum of money was now paid for his redemption, who was the great Redeemer of his people: he being made under the law, and in all things subject to it, that he might redeem them from the bondage, curse, and condemnation of it. Now as the tribe of Levi was excepted from this law, it is a clear case, that Mary, though allied to Elisabeth, was not of the tribe of Levi, otherwise her firstborn would not have been subject to it (y),
"An Israelite that comes from a priestess, or from a she Levite, is free, (i.e. from the redemption of the firstborn;) for the thing does not depend on the father, but on the mother, as it is said, that openeth the womb in Israel.(As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 2:23. Not to be put in a parenthesis.
A very free quotation from Exodus 13:2.
διανοῖγου μήτραν] פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם; comp. LXX. Hardly according to the passage before us has Luke conceived, with Ambrosius and many others, that Mary brought forth clauso utero and only voluntarily subjected herself to this law (as Bisping still holds).Luke 2:23. γέγραπται: the reference is to Exodus 13:2, and the statement implies that every first-born male child, as belonging to God, must be ransomed (Exodus 34:19, Numbers 18:15-16).23. as it is written in the law of the Lord] The tribe of Levi were sanctified to the Lord in lieu of the firstborn, and originally all the firstborn in excess of the number of the Levites had to be redeemed with five shekels of the sanctuary (about 15 shillings), a rule afterwards extended to all the firstborn. Exodus 13:2; Exodus 22:29; Exodus 34:19; Numbers 3:13; Numbers 18:15-16.Luke 2:23. Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν, ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται) LXX. Exodus 13:2, ἁγίασον μοι, κ.τ.λ.; Exodus 13:12, ἀφοριεῖς πᾶν διανοῖγον μήτραν τὰ ἀρσενικὰ τῷ Κυρίω.
The word law occurs in this chapter five times; oftener than in all the rest of this Gospel put together. Luke emphasizes the fact that Jesus" was made under the law" (Galatians 4:4), and accordingly elaborates the details of the fulfilment of the law by the parents of both John and Jesus.
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