Luke 3:23
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Began to be about thirty years of age.—At this age the Levites entered on their full work (Numbers 4:23; Numbers 4:30; Numbers 4:35), a kind of probationary period beginning at twenty-five (Numbers 8:24) or even, in later times, when their work was lighter, at twenty (1Chronicles 23:27). No age was fixed for the beginning of the priesthood, nor of the prophet’s work; but it may fairly be inferred that thirty was looked on as the time when manhood reached its completeness, and we may therefore believe that our Lord waited in patient humility till that age had been attained before entering on the work of His public ministry.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.—We have here to deal with the many questions which rise out of a comparison of this genealogy with that in Matthew 1. It is a subject on which volumes have been written. Here it will be enough to sum up the results of previous inquiries.

Luke 3:23-35. And Jesus — John’s beginning was computed by the years of princes: our Saviour’s by the years of his own life, as a more august era: — began to be about thirty years of age — The Greek here, και αυτος ην ο Ιησους ωσει ετων τριακοντα αρχομενος, should rather be rendered, (as many commentators understand it,) And Jesus, beginning, (or, when beginning,) namely, the public exercise of his ministry, was about thirty years of age. “I can recollect no sufficient authority,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to justify our translators in rendering the original words, began to be about thirty years of age, or, was now entering on his thirtieth year. To express that sense, it should have been ην αρχομενος ειναι, &c., as Epiphanius, probably by a mistake, has quoted it.” The author of the Vindication of the beginning of Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel, [with whom Dr. Campbell agrees,] extremely dissatisfied with all the common versions and explications of these words, would render them, And Jesus was obedient, or lived in subjection [to his parents] about thirty years; and produces several passages from approved Greek writers, in which αρχομενος signifies subject. But in all those places it is used in some connection or opposition, which determines the sense; and therefore none of them are instances parallel to this. Luke evidently uses αρχομενων, Luke 21:28, in the sense we suppose it to have here: and since he had before expressed our Lord’s subjection to his parents by the word υποτασσομενος, Luke 2:51, there is great reason to believe he would have used the same word here, had he intended to give us the same idea. The meaning of the evangelist, therefore, evidently is, that Jesus, having received those different testimonies from his Father, from the Spirit, and from John the Baptist, all given in presence of the multitudes assembled to John’s baptism, began his ministry when he was about thirty years old, the age at which the priests and Levites entered on their sacred ministrations in the temple. Both Jesus and John deferred entering on their public ministry till they were that age, because the Jews would not have received any doctrines from them if they had begun it sooner. Our great Master, as it seems, attained not to the conclusion of his thirty-fourth year. Yet what glorious achievements did he accomplish within those narrow limits of time! Happy that servant, who, with any proportionate zeal, despatches the business of life! And so much the more happy, if his sun go down at noon. For the space that is taken from the labours of time, shall be added to the rewards of eternity.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli — That is, the son-in-law: for Eli was the father of Mary. So Matthew writes the genealogy of Joseph, descended from David by Solomon; Luke that of Mary, descended from David by Nathan. In the genealogy of Joseph (recited by Matthew) that of Mary is implied, the Jews being accustomed to marry into their own families. The genealogy inserted here by Luke will appear with a beautiful propriety, if the place which it holds in his history be attended to. “It stands immediately after Jesus is said to have received the testimony of the Spirit, declaring him the Song of Solomon of God, that is to say, Messiah; and before he entered on his ministry, the first act of which was, his encountering with and vanquishing the strongest temptation of the arch enemy of mankind. Christ’s genealogy by his mother, who conceived him miraculously, placed in this order, seems to insinuate that he was the seed of the woman, which, in the first intimation of mercy vouchsafed to mankind after the fall, was predicted to break the head of the serpent. Accordingly Luke, as became the historian who related Christ’s miraculous conception, carries his genealogy to Adam, who, together with Eve, received the fore-mentioned promise concerning the restitution of mankind by the seed of the woman.” — Macknight.

3:23-38 Matthew's list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary. The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them. The list of names ends thus, Who was the son of Adam, the son of God; that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God. All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.Jesus began to be ... - This was the age at which the priests entered on their office, Numbers 4:3, Numbers 4:47; but it is not evident that Jesus had any reference to that in delaying his work to his thirtieth year. He was not subjected to the Levitical law in regard to the priesthood, and it does not appear that prophets and teachers did not commence their work before that age.

As was supposed - As was commonly thought, or perhaps being legally reckoned as his son.

Lu 3:23-38. Genealogy of Jesus.

23. he began to be about thirty—that is, "was about entering on His thirtieth year." So our translators have taken the word (and so Calvin, Beza, Bloomfield, Webster and Wilkinson, &c.): but "was about thirty years of age when He began [His ministry]," makes better Greek, and is probably the true sense [Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Alford, &c.]. At this age the priests entered on their office (Nu 4:3).

being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, &c.—Have we in this genealogy, as well as in Matthew's, the line of Joseph? or is this the line of Mary?—a point on which there has been great difference of opinion and much acute discussion. Those who take the former opinion contend that it is the natural sense of this verse, and that no other would have been thought of but for its supposed improbability and the uncertainty which it seems to throw over our Lord's real descent. But it is liable to another difficulty; namely, that in this case Matthew makes Jacob, while Luke makes "Heli," to be Joseph's father; and though the same man had often more than one name, we ought not to resort to that supposition, in such a case as this, without necessity. And then, though the descent of Mary from David would be liable to no real doubt, even though we had no table of her line preserved to us (see, for example, Lu 1:2-32, and see on [1562]Lu 2:5), still it does seem unlikely—we say not incredible—that two genealogies of our Lord should be preserved to us, neither of which gives his real descent. Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph—here His real, there His reputed line—explain the statement about Joseph, that he was "the son of Hell," to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ru 1:11, 12), and believe that Joseph's name is only introduced instead of Mary's, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewest difficulties, as it certainly is the best supported. However we decide, it is a satisfaction to know that not a doubt was thrown out by the bitterest of the early enemies of Christianity as to our Lord's real descent from David. On comparing the two genealogies, it will be found that Matthew, writing more immediately for Jews, deemed it enough to show that the Saviour was sprung from Abraham and David; whereas Luke, writing more immediately for Gentiles, traces the descent back to Adam, the parent stock of the whole human family, thus showing Him to be the promised "Seed of the woman." "The possibility of constructing such a table, comprising a period of thousands of years, in an uninterrupted line from father to son, of a family that dwelt for a long time in the utmost retirement, would be inexplicable, had not the members of this line been endowed with a thread by which they could extricate themselves from the many families into which every tribe and branch was again subdivided, and thus hold fast and know the member that was destined to continue the lineage. This thread was the hope that Messiah would be born of the race of Abraham and David. The ardent desire to behold Him and be partakers of His mercy and glory suffered not the attention to be exhausted through a period embracing thousands of years. Thus the member destined to continue the lineage, whenever doubtful, became easily distinguishable, awakening the hope of a final fulfilment, and keeping it alive until it was consummated" [Olshausen].

Here is amongst critics a little dispute, whether our blessed Lord at his baptism (after which he soon began his public ministry) was full thirty years of age; wsei and arcomenov in the Greek give occasion to the doubt. Those who judge that he was thirty complete, conceive that the age before which the priests and Levites did no service in the tabernacle of God. Numbers 4:3 commanded the number of them to be taken from thirty years old to fifty, and it was done accordingly, Luke 3:34,35, &c. David, in the latter end of his life, so numbered them, 1 Chronicles 23:3, when their number (of that age) was thirty-eight thousand; yet in that chapter, 1 Chronicles 23:24,27, we find them numbered from twenty years old and upward; but possibly that was for some more inferior service. In conformity to this, most think that both John the Baptist and Christ entered not upon their public ministry till they were of that age; but whether they were thirty years of age complete, or current, is a question, but so little a one, as deserves no great study to resolve: the two qualifying words, wsei and arcomenov, would incline one to think Christ was but thirty years of age current, which is advantaged by what others tell us, that the Jews ordinarily called a child two or three years old as soon as it did but enter upon its second or third year. Some think our Saviour was ten months above twenty-nine years of age when he was baptized, after which he was tempted of the devil forty days before he entered the public ministry; but these are little things.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph. Joseph was not his natural father, though so supposed by the Jews, Joseph being indeed his legal father, being married to the virgin when our Saviour was born, Matthew 1:20.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,.... Or Jesus, when he was baptized and began his public ministry, was about thirty years of age: an age at which the priests, under the law, who were typical of Christ, entered on their work, Numbers 4:23 The word, "began", is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions: and is often indeed redundant, as in Luke 3:8 and frequently in Mark's Gospel. The Arabic version renders it, "Jesus began to enter into the thirtieth year", which carries the sense the same with our translation:

being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph; who had espoused Mary before she was with child of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards took her to wife, and brought up her son; so that it was not known but that he was the son of Joseph. Whether or no the Jewish notion of the Messiah, the son of Joseph (y) may not take its rise from hence, may be considered: however, Joseph might very rightly be called, as he was supposed to be, the father of Jesus, by a rule which obtains with the Jews (z) that he

"that brings up, and not he that begets, is called the father,''

or parent; of which they give various instances (a) in Joseph, in Michal, and in Pharaoh's daughter.

Which was the son of Eli; meaning, not that Joseph was the son of Eli; for he was the son of Jacob, according to Matthew 1:16, but Jesus was the son of Eli; and which must be understood, and carried through the whole genealogy, as thus; Jesus the son of Matthat, Jesus the son of Levi, Jesus the son of Melchi, &c. till you come to Jesus the son of Adam, and Jesus the Son of God; though it is true indeed that Joseph was the son of Eli, having married his daughter; Mary was the daughter of Eli: and so the Jews speak of one Mary, the daughter of Eli, by whom they seem to design the mother of our Lord: for they tell (b) us of one,

"that saw, , "Mary the daughter of Eli" in the shades, hanging by the fibres of her breasts; and there are that say, the gate, or, as elsewhere (c), the bar of the gate of hell is fixed to her ear.''

By the horrible malice, in the words, you may know who is meant: however, this we gain by it, that by their own confession, Mary is the daughter of Eli; which accords with this genealogy of the evangelist, who traces it from Mary, under her husband Joseph; though she is not mentioned, because of a rule with the Jews (d), that

"the family of the mother is not called a family.''

(y) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 52. 1. Jarchi & Aben Ezra in Zechariah 12 10. & xiii. 7. (z) Shemot Rabba, sect. 46. fol. 143. 1.((a) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 19. 2. Vid. T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 13. 1.((b) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 25. 3.((c) Ib. Chagiga, fol. 77. 4. (d) Juchasin, fol. 55. 2.

{6} And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

(6) Christ's lineage, according to the flesh, is traced back even to Adam, and so to God, that it might appear that it was only he whom God promised to Abraham and David, and appointed from everlasting to his Church, which is composed of all sorts of men.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 3:23. Αὐτός] as Matthew 3:4 : He Himself, to whom this divine σημεῖον, Luke 3:22, pointed.

ἦν ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα ἀρχόμενος] He was about thirty years of age (comp. Luke 2:42; Mark 5:42), when He made the beginning,[74] viz. of His Messianic office. This limitation of the meaning of ἈΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς results from Luke 3:22, in which Jesus is publicly and solemnly announced by God as the Messiah. So Origen, Euthymius Zigabenus, Jansen, Er. Sehmid, Spanheim, Calovius, Clericus, Wolf, Bengel, Griesbach (in Velthusen, Comment. I. p. 358), Kuinoel, Anger (Tempor. rat. p. 19), de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Bleek, and others. With the reception of his baptismal consecration, Jesus entered on the commencement of His destined ministry. Comp. Mark 1:1; Acts 1:21 f., Luke 10:37. The interpretation given by others: “Incipiebat autem Jesus annorum esse fere triginta,” Castalio (so Luther, Erasmus, Beza, Vatablus, and many more), could only be justified either by the original running: ἤρξατο εἶναι ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα, or ἮΝ ὩΣΕῚ ἜΤΟΥς ΤΡΙΑΚΟΣΤΟῦ ἈΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς. It is true that Grotius endeavours to fortify himself in this interpretation by including in the clause the following ὬΝ, so that ἌΡΧΟΜΑΙ ὪΝ ἘΤῶΝ ΤΡΙΆΚΟΝΤΑ might mean: incipio jam esse tricenarius. But even if ἦνὤν be conjoined in Greek usage (see Bornemann, ad Xen. Cyr. ii. 3. 13, p. 207, Leipzig), how clumsy would be the expression ἦν ἀρχόμενος ὤν, incipiebat esse! and, according to the arrangement of the words, quite intolerable. Even ἐρχόμενος has been conjectured (Casaubon).

ὤν] belongs to ΥἹῸς ἸΩΣΉΦ, and Ὡς ἘΝΟΜΊΖΕΤΟ, as he was considered (ὡς ἐδόκει τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις· ὡς γὰρ ἡ ἀλήθεια εἶχεν, οὐκ ἦν υἱὸς αὐτοῦ, Euthymius Zigabenus), is a parenthesis. Paulus, who connects ὬΝ with ἈΡΧΌΜ., explains: according to custom (Jesus did not begin His ministry sooner). Comp. on Acts 16:13. It is true the connecting of the two participles ἀρχόμενος ὤν would not in itself be ungrammatical (see Pflugk, ad Hec. 358); but this way of looking at the matter is altogether wrong, because, in respect of the appearance of the Messiah, there could be no question of a custom at all, and the fixing of the age of the Levites (Numbers 4:3; Numbers 4:47), which, moreover, was not a custom, but a law, has nothing to do with the appearance of a prophet, and especially of the Messiah. Comp. further, on ὡς ἐνομίζ., Dem. 1022. 16 : ΟἹ ΝΟΜΙΖΌΜΕΝΟΙ ΜῈΝ ΥἹΕῖς, ΜῊ ὌΝΤΕς ΔῈ ΓΈΝΕΙ ἘΞ ΑὐΤῶΝ, and the passages in Wetstein. Others (quoted by Wolf, and Wolf himself, Rosenmüller, Osiander) refer ὬΝ to ΤΟῦ ἩΛΊ: existens (cum putaretur filius Josephi) filius, i.e. nepos Eli. So also Schleyer in the Theol. Quartalschr. 1836, p. 540 ff. Even Wieseler (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, p. 361 ff.) has condescended in like manner (comp. Lightfoot, p. 750) to the desperate expedient of exegetically making it out to be a genealogical tree of Mary thus: “being a son, as it was thought, of Joseph (but, in fact, of Mary), of Eli,” etc. Wieseler supports his view by the fact that he reads, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, ὡς ἐνομίζ. after υἱός (B L א), and on weaker evidence reads before ἸΩΣΉΦ the ΤΟῦ which is now again deleted even by Tischendorf. But as, in respect of the received arrangement of Ὡς ἘΝΟΜ., it is only the ὪΝ ΥἹῸς ἸΩΣΉΦ, and nothing more (in opposition to Bengel), that is marked out as coming under the Ὡς ἘΝΟΜΊΖΕΤΟ, so also is it in the arrangement of Lachmann (only that the latter actually brings into stronger prominence the supposed filial relationship to Joseph); and if τοῦ is read before Ἰωσήφ, no change even in that case arises in the meaning.[75] For it is not ΥἹΌς that would have to be supplied in every following clause, so that Jesus should be designated as the son of each of the persons named, even up to τοῦ Θεοῦ inclusively (so Lightfoot, Bengel), but ΥἹΟῦ (after ΤΟῦ), as the nature of the genealogical table in itself presents it,[76] making τοῦ Θεοῦ also dogmatically indubitable; since, according to Luke’s idea of the divine sonship of Jesus, it could not occur to him to represent this divine sonship as having been effected through Adam. No; if Luke had thought what Wieseler reads between the lines in Luke 3:23, that, namely, Eli was Mary’s father, he would have known how to express it, and would have written something like this: ὢν, ὡς μὲν ἐνομίζετο, υἱὸς Ἰωσὴφ, ὄντως (Luke 23:47, Luke 24:34) δὲ Μαρίας τοῦ Ἡλί κ.τ.λ. But he desires to give the genealogy of Jesus on the side of His foster-father Joseph: therefore he writes simply as we read, and as the fact that he wished to express required. As to the originally Ebionitic point of view of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, see on Matthew 1:17, Remark 3.

[74] So also Paulus, only that, after the example of Calvisius, he further attaches ὤν to ἀρχόμενος, in which case, however, it would be useless, and the subsequent genealogy would be without any connecting link. Wieseler, Chronol. Synops. p. 125, placing ἀρχόμενος before ὡσεί (so Lachmann in the margin and Tischendorf), explains: “and he was—namely, Jesus when He began—about thirty years of age.” Therefore in the most essential point his view is in agreement with ours.

[75] This indifferent τοῦ came into the text with extreme facility, in accordance with the analogy of all the following clauses.

[76] Instances of a quite similar kind of stringing on the links of a genealogy one after the other by τοῦ are found in Herod. iv. 157, vii. 204, viii. 131, and others in Wetstein. The Vulgate is right in simply reading, “filius Joseph, qui fait Heli, qui fuit Matthat,” etc.

REMARK.

All attempts to fix the year in which Jesus was born by means of the passage before us are balked by the ὡσεί of Luke 3:23. Yet the era of Dionysius bases its date, although incorrectly (754 after the foundation of Rome), on Luke 3:1; Luke 3:23. Hase, L. J. § 26, follows it, setting aside, because of its mythical associations, the account of Matthew, that the first childhood of Jesus occurred as early as the time of the reign of Herod the Great. But these legendary ingredients do not justify our rejecting a date fixed by a simple reference to the history of the time, for it is rather to be regarded as the nucleus around which the legend gathered. As, however, Herod died in 750 (Anger, Rat. tempor. p. 5 f.; Wieseler, Chronol. Synopse, p. 50 ff.), the era of Dionysius is at any rate at least about four years in error. If, further, it be necessary, according to this, to place the birth of Jesus before the death of Herod, which occurred in the beginning of April, then, even on the assumption that He was born as early as 750 (according to Wieseler, in February of that year), it follows that at the time when the Baptist, who was His senior only by a few months, appeared—according to Luke 3:1, in the year from the 19th August 781 to 782

He would be about thirty-one years of age, which perfectly agrees with the ὡσεί of Luke 3:23, and the round number τριάκοντα; in which case it must be assumed as certain (comp. Mark 1:9) that He was baptized very soon after the appearance of John, at which precise point His Messianic ἀρχή commenced. If, however, as according to Matthew 2:7; Matthew 2:16 is extremely probable, the birth of Jesus must be placed as early as perhaps a year before the date given above,[77] even the age that thus results of about thirty-two years is sufficiently covered by the indefinite statement of the passage before us; and the year 749 as the year of Christ’s birth tallies well enough with the Baptist beginning to preach in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius.[78]

[77] Not “at least two years, probably even four or more years,” Keim, D. geschichtl. Christus, p. 140.

[78] From the fact that, according to the evangelists, Jesus after His baptism began His public official ministry without the intervention of any private teaching, the opinion of the younger Bunsen (The Hidden Wisdom of Christ, etc., London 1865, II. p. 461 ff.)—that the Lord, at the beginning of His official career, was forty-six years of age—loses all foundation: It rests upon the misunderstanding of John 2:20 f., John 8:57, which had already occurred in the case of Irenaeus. See, on the other hand, Rösch in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1866, p. 4 ff. The assumption of the latter, that the year 2 before the era of Dionysius was the year of Christ’s birth, rests in accordance with ancient tradition, to be sure, yet on the very insecure foundation of the appearance of the star in the history of the Magi, and on distrust of the chronology of Herod and his sons as set forth by Josephus, for which Rösch has not adduced sufficient reasons.

Luke 3:23-38. The age of Jesus when He began His ministry, and His genealogy.

23. began to be about thirty years of age] Rather, was about thirty years of age on beginning (His work). So it was understood by Tyndale, but the E. V. followed Cranmer, and the Geneva. The translation of our E.V. is, however, ungrammatical, and a strange expression to which no parallel can be adduced. The word archomenos, standing absolutely for ‘when he began his ministry,’ is explained by the extreme prominency of this beginning in the thought of St Luke (see Acts 1:1; Acts 1:22), and his desire to fix it with accuracy. The age of 30 was that at which a Levite might enter on his full services (Numbers 4:3; Numbers 4:47), and the age at which Joseph had stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46), and at which David had begun to reign (2 Samuel 5:4), and at which scribes were allowed to teach.

as was supposed] “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” Matthew 13:55; John 6:42.

On the genealogy which follows, and its relations to that in the Gospel of St Matthew, many volumes have been written, but in the Excursus I have endeavoured to condense all that is most important on the subject, and to give those conclusions which are now being accepted by the most careful scholars. See Excursus II., The genealogies of Jesus in St Matthew and St Luke.

Luke 3:23. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὠσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα ἀρχόμενος, and Jesus was Himself about thirty years, when beginning) The beginning meant in this passage is not that of His thirtieth year, which neither the cardinal number XXX. years, nor the particle about admit of, but the beginning of His doing and teaching in public, or His going in, Acts 1:1; Acts 1:21, [ἐν παντὶ Χρόνῳ ᾧ εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ἐξῆλθεν, “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out.”] 22 (ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τοῦ βαπτίσματος Ἰωάννου, “Beginning from the baptism of John;” where also the word beginning, as here, is put absolutely), ch. Luke 13:24 [When John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance]. This beginning Luke implies took place in the very act of baptism: with this comp. Matthew 3:15. [Nevertheless that entrance on His office had various successive steps, of which the First was, the manifestation of the Christ to Israel which took place in His baptism, Luke 3:22; Luke 3:38; John 1:31; John 1:34; Matthew 3:15. There followed Secondly, the beginning of His miracles, John 2:11. And Thirdly, the beginning of His doings in the house of His Father at Jerusalem, John 2:14 (with which comp. Malachi 3:1). And also Fourthly, the beginning of His continued course of preaching in Galilee after the imprisonment of John, Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:15; Acts 10:37 : and indeed these steps followed one another in so brief a space of time, that one may count all of them as one, and combine (connect) that one step or beginning with the thirtieth year of the Saviour. They therefore are mistaken who suppose that John commenced the discharge of his office at an interval of six months, nay, even of a year or even more, before his baptism of Christ.—Harm., p. 71, 72.] Wherefore it is only incidentally in passing that he notices in this verse that beginning, but what he particularly marks is the age of Jesus:[36] and this too, in such a way as to mark the entrance of John on his ministry, and shortly after, the entrance of Jesus on His, which took place in one and the same year [Certainly it was not the object of Luke to mark exactly the entrance of the Forerunner, and to touch only incidentally upon the beginning that was made by our Lord Himself, but what he chiefly cared for recording was the latter. However the joining of John with Him is appropriate and seasonable; that he may not be supposed to have preceded Jesus by a longer interval.—Harm., p. 69]. Luke speaks becomingly; and whereas he had said, that the word of God came unto the Forerunner, Luke 3:2; with which comp. John 10:35 : he says that the Lord began, namely, not as a servant, but as the Son. The name, Jesus, is added, because a new scene and a new series of events are thrown open. The emphatic pronoun αὐτὸς, Himself, put in the commencement, forms an antithesis to John: also John has his time of office noted by external marks, taken from Tiberius, etc., but the time of the beginning made by the Lord is defined by the years of the Lord Himself The Lord had now attained, after the remarkable advances and progress which marked His previous life, the regular and lawful age suited for His public ministry [Numbers 4:3].—ὡς ἐνομίζετο, as He was duly accounted) The interpretation, As He was supposed [Engl. Vers.], is rather a weakening of the force: νομίζεσθαι has certainly a stronger import than this: it denotes the feeling and wonted custom generally and also justly entertained and received: Acts 16:13 [ΟὟ ἘΝΟΜΊΖΕΤΟ ΠΡΟΣΕΥΧῊ ΕἾΝΑΙ, where prayer was wont to be made]. Furthermore Luke does not say, ὢν, υἱὸς Ἰωσὴφ, ὡς ἐνομίζετο, but ὪΝ, Ὠς ἘΝΟΜΊΖΕΤΟ, ΥἹῸς ἸΩΣΉΦ. Therefore this clause, Ὡς ἘΝΟΜΊΖΕΤΟ, no less than that one to which it is immediately attached, ὪΝ ΥἹῸς, extends its force to the whole genealogical scale; and that too, in such a way as that the several steps are to be understood according to what the case and relation of each require and demand. Jesus was, as He was accounted, son of Joseph: for not merely the opinion of men regarded Him as the son of Joseph, but even Joseph rendered to Him all the offices of a father, although he had not begotten Jesus. He was, as He was accounted, Son of Heli; and He was so truly. For His mother Mary had Heli for her father: and so also as to Heli being Song of Solomon of Matthat and of the rest of the fathers. So in Luke 3:36 it was said, Sala was, as he was accounted, son of Cainan; whereas the Hellenistic Jews, following the LXX. interpretation reckoned him among the series of fathers after the flood. Therefore as far as concerns Joseph and Cainan, Luke, by the figure πσοθεραπεία [See Append.] or anticipatory precaution, thus counteracts the popular opinion, as Franc. Junius long ago saw, with which comp. Usher’s Chronol. Sacr., part i., ch. vi. f. 34: but in all the other parts of the genealogy he leaves all things inviolate and unaltered, inasmuch as agreeing with the Old Testament and the rest of the public documents and the truth itself, and as being acknowledged authentic by all, nay, he even stamps them with approval.—τοῦ Ἡλεὶ, Eli) He was father of Mary, and father-in-law of Joseph. See note, Matthew 1:16. As to the article τοῦ here so often repeated, it makes no matter whether you construe it with each antecedent proper name or with that which follows it. For in either construction Jesus is the son of each more remote father, the nearer father intervening. The LXX. interpretation render the Hebrew corresponding words, which are for the most part equivocal (capable of either construction), in either of the two ways: Ezra 7:1; Nehemiah 11:4, etc. But it is more simple to take ΤΟῦ as cohering with each noun [proper name] following: in the way in which, Matthew 1:1, Jesus Christ is said to be the Son (ὙΙΟ͂Υ) of David, SON (ὙΙΟῦ) of Abraham. And although in the first step of the series, ὙΙῸς ἸΩΣῊΦ is the expression used without the article, yet subsequently the words ὪΝ ὙΙῸς are conveniently construed with each of the fathers immediately and directly [without the intervention of the names coming between], Comp. LXX. Genesis 36:2.

[36] We may observe in this place, that the thirty years were not full years, and past, but wanting a little of completion: a fact which is proved in the Harm. of Beng. pp. 70, 71, and Ord. Temp. p. 222 (Ed. ii. p. 194). Comp. meine Beleuchtung, etc, p. 126, 127, etc.—E. B.

Verse 23a. - And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age. This was the age at which the Levites entered upon their work; the age, too, at which it was lawful for scribes to teach. Generally speaking, thirty among the Jews was looked upon as the time of life when manhood had reached its full development. Luke 3:23Began to be about thirty years of age (ἦν ἀρχόμενος ὡσεὶ ἐτῶν τριάκοντα)

Peculiar to Luke. A. V. is wrong. It should be as Rev., when he began (to teach) was about thirty years of age.

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