And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)At his understanding and answers.—The first word seems to point to the discernment which showed itself in the questions as well as the answers. The egotism of Josephus leads him to speak of himself as having, at the age of fourteen—when he too had become “a child of the Law”—caused a like astonishment by his intelligence; so that the chief priests and principal men of the city used to come and consult him upon difficult questions in the interpretation of the Law (Life, c. 1). The fact is so far interesting as showing that the class of teachers retained the same kind of interest in quick and promising scholars.Matthew 27:63; Mark 8:31.
In the temple - In the "court" of the temple, for Jesus, not being a Levitical priest, could not enter into the temple itself. See Matthew 21:12.
In the midst of the doctors - The "teachers," the "rabbis," who were the instructors of the people in matters of religion.
Asking them questions - Proposing questions to them respecting the law and the prophets. There is no reason to suppose that this was for the purpose of perplexing or confounding them. The questions were doubtless proposed in a respectful manner, and the answers listened to with proper deference to their age and rank. Jesus was a child, and religion does not teach a child to be rude or uncivil, even though he may really know much more than more aged persons. Religion teaches all, and especially the young, to treat others with respect, to show them the honor that is due, to venerate age, and to speak kindly to all, 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 3:8, 1 Peter 3:9; Exodus 20:12; Matthew 23:3; Romans 13:7.
at his understanding; in the knowledge of the law, and of the Scriptures:And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 2:47 ff. Ἐπὶ τῇ συνέσει καὶ κ.τ.λ.] over His understanding in general, and especially over His answers.
ἰδόντες] Joseph and Mary. They were astonished; for they had not expected to find Him either in this place, or so occupied.
ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ] not merely because maternal feeling is in general more keen, quick, and ready to show itself, nor yet because Joseph had not been equal to this scene (Lange), but rightly in accordance with Luke’s view of the maternal relation of Mary. Bengel: “non loquebatur Josephus; major erat necessitudo matris.”
τί ὅτι] wherefore? See on Mark 2:16.
ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου] i.e. in the house of my Father. See examples of this well-known mode of expression in Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 100. So, following Syr. and the Fathers, most modern commentators. Others, such as Castalio, Erasmus, Calvin, Maldonatus, Jansen, Wolf, Loesner, Valckenaer, Rosenmüller, Bornemann, de Wette, Ewald, al.: in the affairs of my Father. This also is linguistically correct. See 1 Timothy 4:15; Bornemann, Schol. p. 29; Bernhardy, p. 210; Schaefer, Melet. p. 31 f. But as Jesus in His reply refers expressly to the search of the parents, which He represents as having been made needlessly, it is most natural to find in this answer the designation of the locality, in which they ought to have known that He was to be found, without seeking Him in rebus Patris. He might also be elsewhere. To combine both modes of taking it (Olshausen, Bleek) is a priori inappropriate.
δεῖ] as Son. This follows from τοῦ πατρός μου. This breaking forth of the consciousness of Divine Sonship in the first saying which is preserved to us from Jesus, is to be explained by the power of the impressions which He experienced on His first participation in the holy observances of the festival and the temple. According to Luke 2:50, it must not have previously asserted itself thus amidst the quiet course of His domestic development (“non multum antea, nec tamen nihil, de Patre locutus erat,” Bengel on Luke 2:50), but now there had emerged with Him an epoch in the course of development of that consciousness of Sonship,—the first bursting open of the swelling bud. Altogether foreign to the ingenuous, child-like utterance, unnatural and indelicate, is the intention of drawing a contrast which has been imputed to Him: τῆς γὰρ παρθένου τὸν Ἰωσὴφ πατέρα εἰπούσης αὐτοῦ, ἐκεῖνος φησίν· οὐκ αὐτὸς ἐστὶν ὁ ἀληθής μου πατὴρ, ἢ γὰρ ἂν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ ἤμην, ἀλλʼ ὁ Θεὸς ἐστί μου πατὴρ, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ εἰμί, Theophylact. Erroneous in an opposite manner is the opinion of Schenkel, that the boy Jesus named God His Father, “just as every pious Jewish child might do.” Such a conclusion could only be arrived at, if He had said τ. πατρὸς ἡμῶν; but with Jesus in the connection of His entire history Τ. ΠΑΤΡΌς ΜΟΥ points to a higher individual relation. And this too it was, which made the answer unintelligible to the parents. What every pious Jewish child might have answered, they would have understood. See, besides, Keim, geschichtl. Chr. p. 48 f.
 At all events already in Messianic presentiment, yet not with the conception fully unfolded, but in the dawning apprehension of the child, which could only very gradually give place to clearness, ver. 52.Luke 2:47. ἐξίσταντο, were amazed, not at His position among the doctors, or at His asking questions, but at the intelligence (συνέσει) shown in His answers to the questions of the teachers; something of the rare insight and felicity which astonished all in after years appearing in these boyish replies.47. were astonished] Similar incidents are narrated of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azariah; of Rabbi Ashi, the compiler of the Babylonian Talmud; and (by himself) of Josephus (Vit. 2). See Excursus VII.
From συνίημι, to bring together. Hence that quality of mind which combines: understanding not only of facts, but of facts in their mutual relations. See on Mark 12:33; where there is meant "the love of a well-pondered and duly considered resolution which determines the whole person; the love which clearly understands itself" (Cremer).
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