Luke 2:4
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.—St. Luke’s way of speaking of the town agrees with that in John 7:42. It would appear to have been common. It had never ceased to glory in the fact that it had been David’s city.

Of the house and lineage of David.—Others also as, for example, Hillel, the great scribe—boasted of such a descent. What, on one hypothesis, was the special prerogative of Joseph was that the two lines of natural descent and inheritance—that through Nathan and that through Solomon—met in him. (See, however, Note on Luke 3:23.) It is possible that the two nearly synonymous words, “house” and “lineage,” may have been used as referring to this union.

Luke 2:4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee — Being thus obliged by the emperor’s decree; out of the city of Nazareth — Where he then dwelt; into Judea — Properly so called; unto the city of David, called Bethlehem — The town where his ancestors had formerly been settled; because he was of the house, &c., of David — Notwithstanding, he was now reduced so low as to follow the trade of a carpenter. To be enrolled with Mary — Who also was a descendant of David: his espoused wife — The propriety of this expression appears from Matthew 1:25, where we are told that Joseph knew not his wife till she had brought forth her firstborn son. Being great with child — It may seem strange that Mary, in this condition, should undertake so great a journey. Perhaps the order for the census required that the wives, as well as their husbands, should be present. Or, the persons to be registered being classed in the roll, according to their lineage, Mary might judge it proper on this occasion to claim her descent from David, in order to her being publicly acknowledged as one of his posterity, and the rather as she knew herself to be miraculously with child of the Messiah.

2:1-7 The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law. The circumstances of his birth were very mean. Christ was born at an inn; he came into the world to sojourn here for awhile, as at an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. We are become by sin like an outcast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one was Christ. He well knew how unwilling we are to be meanly lodged, clothed, or fed; how we desire to have our children decorated and indulged; how apt the poor are to envy the rich, and how prone the rich to disdain the poor. But when we by faith view the Son of God being made man and lying in a manger, our vanity, ambition, and envy are checked. We cannot, with this object rightly before us, seek great things for ourselves or our children.The city of David - Bethlehem, called the city of David because it was the place of his birth. See the notes at Matthew 2:1.

Because he was of the house - Of the family.

And lineage - The "lineage" denotes that he was descended from David as his father or ancestor. In taking a Jewish census, families were kept distinct; hence, all went to the "place" where their family had resided. Joseph was of the "family" of David, and hence he went up to the city of David. It is not improbable that he might also have had a small paternal estate in Bethlehem that rendered his presence there more desirable.

4, 5. Not only does Joseph, who was of the royal line, go to Bethlehem (1Sa 16:1), but Mary too—not from choice surely in her condition, but, probably, for personal enrollment, as herself an heiress.Ver. 4-6. This was the occasion of Joseph’s coming to Bethlehem, who either for fear of Herod, or for the convenience of his trade, (though he belonged to the tribe of Judah), was removed into Galilee; but he yieldeth obedience to the civil magistrates, and cometh to be enrolled in the court books belonging to the Roman empire, to which by this action he acknowledgeth himself a subject; he also by this act publicly declared both himself and Mary his wife to have been of the tribe of Judah, and of the family of David. We are told it was the custom of the Romans to enrol both women and children; however, Mary’s personal attendance upon this homage might have been excused by her being great with child, had not the counsel of God so ordered it, that Christ should be born there; this doubtless carried Mary along with Joseph, he having now (according to the angel’s direction, Matthew 1:20,24), took her unto him as his wife. While they were there, Mary’s time of childbearing was

accomplished: we have the like phrase Genesis 25:24.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee,.... Where he now lived, and worked at the trade of a carpenter; having for some reasons, and by one providence or another, removed hither from his native place:

out of the city of Nazareth; which was in Galilee, where he and Mary lived; and where he had espoused her, and she had conceived of the Holy Ghost:

into Judea; which lay higher than Galilee, and therefore he is said to go up to it:

unto the city of David; not what was built by him, but where he was born and lived; see 1 Samuel 17:12.

which is called Bethlehem: the place where, according to Micah 5:2 the Messiah was to be born, and was born; and which signifies "the house of bread": a very fit place for Christ, the bread which came down from heaven, and gives life to the world, to appear first in. This place was, as a Jewish chronologer says (g), a "parsa" and half, or six miles from Jerusalem; though another of their writers, an historian and traveller (h), says, it was two "parsas", or eight miles; but Justin Martyr (i) says, it was but thirty five furlongs distant from it, which is not five miles; hither Joseph came from Galilee,

because he was of the house and lineage of David; he was of his family, and lineally descended from him, though he was so poor and mean; and this is the reason of his coming to Bethlehem, David's city,

(g) Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 2. fol. 14. 2.((h) R. Benjamin Itin. p. 47. (i) Apolog. 2. p. 75.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the {c} city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

(c) Which David was born and brought up in.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 2:4-5. Joseph and Mary and Nazareth are here referred to, as if they had not been mentioned before (Luke 1:26-27), implying that Lk. is here using an independent document (Holtz., H. C.).—ἀπὸ τ. Γ αλ., ἐκ πόλ.: used with classical accuracy: ἀπὸ = direction from, ἐκ from within (C. G. T.).—ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς, “of the house and family,” R. V[23]—οἶκοι, πατριαί, φυλαί represent a series of widening circles.—ἀπογράψασθαι, to be enrolled. If Bethlehem was Joseph’s home, he would have gone to Bethlehem sooner or later in any case. Because of the census he went just then (Hahn).—σὺν Μαριὰμ, coming after ἀπογράψ., naturally suggests that she had to be enrolled too. Was this necessary? Even if not, reasons might be suggested for her going with her husband: her condition, the intention to settle there as their real home, she an heiress, etc.—ἰγκύῳ (here only in N. T.), preparing for what follows.

[23] Revised Version.

With reference to the foregoing statement, it is generally agreed that a census of some kind must have taken place. Meyer and Weiss, following Schleiermacher and Olshausen, think that the event was something internal to Judaea, and concerned the revision of family genealogical registers, and that Lk. was misled into transforming this petty transaction into an affair of world-historical significance. This is not satisfactory. It would be much more satisfactory if it could be shown that Lk.’s historic framing of the birth of Jesus is strictly accurate. But most satisfactory of all is it to know that such a demonstration, however desirable, is not vital to faith.

4. the city of David] 1 Samuel 17:12, “David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-Judah whose name was Jesse.”

Bethlehem] Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Micah 5:2, “Thou, Bethlehem-Ephratah … out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.” Cf. Luke 4:8, “And thou, O tower of the flock” (Migdol Eder, Genesis 35:21), “unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion.”

Bethlehem (‘House of Bread,’ to which the mystical method of Scriptural interpretation refers such passages as Isaiah 33:16, LXX.; John 6:51; John 6:58) is the very ancient Ephrath (‘fruitful’) of Genesis 35:16; Genesis 48:7; Psalm 132:6. It is a small town six miles from Jerusalem. It was the scene of the death of Rachel (Genesis 35:19); of the story of Ruth, and of the early years of the life of David (1 Samuel 16:1; 2 Samuel 23:15). The name is now corrupted into Beitlahm, ‘house of flesh.’

of the house and lineage (rather, family) of David] The humble condition of Joseph as a provincial carpenter in no way militates against this. Hillel, the great contemporary Rabbi, who also claimed to be a descendant of David, began life as a half-starved porter; and numbers of beggars in the East wear the green turban which shews them to be undisputed descendants of Mohammed.

Luke 2:4. Οἴκου, of the house) The house, which is the whole, and the family [πατρία], which is the part, are here conjoined; inasmuch as the house of David at that time was not much wider in extent than his family. [For there is no indication to be found that, at the time when the parents of Jesus betook themselves from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and Jesus Himself was born at Bethlehem, there were others of the family of David who dwelt in the same place: and, moreover, whoever of the posterity of David were living in the land of Israel, must have betaken themselves to Bethlehem at that time, on account of the census. Even for this reason alone Jesus ought to have been acknowledged as the true Messiah, nor was any one else capable of comparison with Him in this respect (as regards the claim to the Messiahship).—Harm., p. 49.]

Verse 4. - The city of David, which is called Bethlehem. After all the long ages which had passed, still the chief title to honor of the little upland village was that there the greatly loved king had been born. Bethlehem ("house of bread") was built on the site of the old Ephrath - the Ephrath where Rachel died. Of the house and lineage of David. The position in life of Joseph the royally descended, simply a village carpenter, the equally humble state of Mary, also one of the great king's posterity, need excite no surprise when the vicissitudes of that royal house, and of the people over whom they ruled, are remembered. The old kingdom of David had been dismembered, conquered, and devastated. The people had been led away into a captivity from which few, comparatively speaking, ever returned. All that the house of David had preserved were its bare family records. Hillel, the famous scribe, who was once a hired porter, claimed to belong to the old princely house. Luke 2:4House and lineage

According to the Jewish mode of registration the people would be enrolled by tribe, families or clans, and households. Compare Joshua 7:16-18. Rev., house and family.

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