And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Luke 2:6-7. And while they were there, the days were accomplished, &c. — Whatever views Mary might have in going up to Bethlehem, her going there was doubtless by the direction of Divine Providence, in order that the Messiah might be born in that city, agreeably to the prophecy of Micah 5:2. And she brought forth her firstborn son — Τον υιον αυτης τον πρωτοτοκον, her son, the firstborn; that excellent and glorious person, who was the firstborn of every creature, and the heir of all things. See note on Matthew 1:25. And wrapped him in swaddling-clothes — By her doing this herself, it is thought her labour was without the usual pangs of childbearing. And laid him in a manger — Though the word φατνη, here used, sometimes signifies a stall, yet it is certain it more frequently signifies a manger, and certainly the manger was the most proper part of the stall in which the infant could be laid. As to the notion of Bishop Pearce, that not a manger is here meant, but a bag of coarse cloth, like those out of which the horses of our troopers are fed when encamped; and that this bag was fastened to the wall, or some other part, not of a stable, but of the guest- chamber, or room for the reception of strangers, where Joseph and Mary were lodged; this odd notion is amply confuted by Dr. Campbell in a very long note on this passage. Tradition informs us that the stable, in which the holy family was lodged, was, according to the custom of the country, hollowed out of a rock, and consequently the coldness of it, at least by night, must have greatly added to its other inconveniences. Because there was no room for them in the inn — The concourse of people at Bethlehem being very great on this occasion. It seems there was but one principal inn at Bethlehem, now but a small village, and that when Joseph came thither it was full, so that he and Mary were obliged to lodge in a stable, fitted up as a receptacle for poor travellers, in which they, and the animals that brought them, were meanly accommodated under the same roof. Now also there is seldom room for Christ in an inn. It will not be improper to observe, on this humiliating circumstance of our Lord’s birth in a stable, how, “through the whole course of his life, he despised the things most esteemed by men. For though he was the Song of Solomon of God, when he became man he chose to be born of parents in the meanest condition of life. Though he was heir of all things, he chose to be born in an inn, nay, in the stable of an inn, where, instead of a cradle, he was laid in a manger. The angels reported the good news of his birth, not to the rabbis and great men, but to shepherds, who, being plain honest people, were unquestionably good witnesses of what they heard and saw. When he grew up he wrought with his father as a carpenter. And afterward, while he executed the duties of his ministry, he was so poor that he had not a place where to lay his head, but lived on the bounty of his friends. Thus, by going before men in the thorny path of poverty and affliction, he has taught them to be contented with their lot in this life, however humble it may be.”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.See Poole on "Luke 1:4" And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 2:6 f. Ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν] comp. Luke 1:57. The supposition (see as early as Protevang. Jac. 17) that Mary was surprised by the pains of labour on the way, is set aside by the ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ. And probably she had hoped to be able to finish the journey before her delivery. “Non videtur scisse, se vi prophetiae (Micah 5:2) debere Bethlehemi parere, sed providentia coelestis omnia gubernavit, ut ita fieret,” Bengel.
That Mary was delivered without pain and injury is proved by Fathers and expositors, such as even Maldonatus and Estius, from the fact that she herself swaddled the child and laid it in the manger!
τὸν πρωτότοκον] See on Matthew 1:25. The evasive suggestion resorted to, that this word is used without reference to later born children, appears the more groundless in view of the agreement of Matthew and Luke.
ἐσπαργάν.] She swaddled him; frequently used in Greek writers.
ἐν φάτνῃ] without the article (see the critical remarks): she deposited him in a manger. Many, including Paulus and Kuinoel, have, contrary to linguistic usage, made of it a stable. See, on the other hand, Gersdorf, p. 221; Bornemann, Schol. p. 18.
ἐν τῷ καταλύματι] in the inn (Luke 10:34), where they lodged—probably on account of the number of strangers who were present on the same occasion. If we should wish to understand it as: the house of a friendly host (for the signification of καταλύμα is generally a place of shelter, lodging, comp. Luke 22:11), it would remain improbable that a friendly host, even with ever so great restriction of room, should not have made a chamber in the house available for such an exigency. The text suggests nothing indicative of an inhospitable treatment (Calvin).
 That a stable (in opposition to Ebrard) was the place of the birth, follows from ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι κ.τ.λ. It is possible that the stable was a rock-cave, which an old legend (Justin, c. Tryph. 78; Orig. c. Cels. i. 51; Protevang. Jac. 18) designates as the place of the birth, not without suspicion, however, by reason of its appeal to Isaiah 33:16, LXX. Moreover, that tradition transfers the cave expressly only to the neighbourhood of the little town, and states withal of Joseph: οὐκ εἶχεν ἐν τῇ κώμῃ ἐκείνῃ ποῦ καταλῦσαι, Justin, l.c. Over this grotto designated by the legend Helena built the church Mariae de praesepio. Comp. also Robinson, Pal. 11. p. 284 ff.; Ritter, Erdk. XVI. p. 292 ff.Luke 2:6-7. The birth.—ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡ., as in Luke 1:57. In this case, as in that of John, the natural course was run.—ἐσπαργάνωσεν (here and Luke 2:12), ἀνέκλινεν: the narrative runs as if Mary did these things herself, whence the patristic inference of painless birth.—φάτνῃ, in a manger (in a stall, Grotius, et al.).—καταλύματι, in the inn, not probably a πανδοχεῖον (Luke 10:34), with a host, but simply a khan, an enclosure with open recesses. The meaning may be, not that there was absolutely no room for Joseph and Mary there, but that the place was too crowded for a birth, and that therefore they retired to a stall or cave, where there was room for the mother, and a crib for the babe (vide ch. Luke 22:11).6. the days were accomplished] There is a reasonable certainty that our Lord was born b. c. 4 of our era, and it is probable that He was born (according to the unanimous tradition of the Christian Church) in winter. There is nothing to guide us as to the actual day of His birth. It was unknown to the ancient Christians (Clem. Alex. Strom. i. 21), Some thought that it took place on May 20 or April 20. There is no trace of the date Dec. 25 earlier than the fourth century, but it is accepted by Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose, &c.Luke 2:6. Ἔκεῖ, there) Mary does not seem to have known that, according to the meaning of the prophecy, she must bring forth at Bethlehem: but a heavenly Providence guided all things, that it should be so brought to pass.Verse 6. - The days were accomplished that she should be delivered. The universal tradition of the Christian Church places the nativity in winter. The date "December 25" was generally received by the Fathers of the Greek and Latin from the fourth century downwards.
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