The Narrative of Luke

Chapter 2

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 25 December 2009; Revised 6 December 2023

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Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. Scripture quotations may be taken from different Bible versions. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.

Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important early Jewish sources include the following:

DSS: the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. Online: DSS Bible; Vermes.

LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online. The LXX also included the Apocrypha, Jewish works produced from 400 B.C. to A.D. 1. Online.

Josephus: The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.), Jewish historian, trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.

Philo: Works by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), consisting of 45 monographs. Online.

Targums: Aramaic translation of Hebrew Scripture with commentary: Targum Onkelos (A.D. 80-120), and Targum Jonathan (A.D. 150-250). Index of Targum texts.

Syntax: Unless otherwise noted definition of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and definition of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations.

Special Terms: In order to emphasize the Hebrew and Jewish nature of Scripture I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), ADONAI (for YHVH), Torah (Pentateuch, Law), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).

Dates are from Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings (1992). Online.

Chapter Summary

As the previous chapter this chapter begins with reference to rulers, Caesar Augustus and Governor Quirinius, in order to set the time period of the Messiah's nativity. Luke recounts in rapid fashion a succeeding series of events beginning with a registration that took Joseph and Miriam to Bethlehem, where Miriam gave birth to Yeshua. Angels announced the birth to shepherds who then hurried to see the newborn child and later spread word of the birth. On the eighth day Yeshua was circumcised and his parents took him to the temple for dedication. While at the temple Simeon and Anna met the holy family and offered prophecies of the child's future. Joseph and Miriam then returned to Nazareth.

Luke then advances the narrative by twelve years and records the visit of the family to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. After missing the boy Yeshua on the return trip the parents found him at the temple engaged in serious discussion with religious leaders. The family returned to Nazareth and Luke closes the chapter with a brief summary of Yeshua's growing-up years in his hometown.

Chapter Outline

Census of Caesar, 2:1-5

Birth in Bethlehem, 2:6-7

Angelic Visitation, 2:8-14

Witness of the Shepherds, 2:15-20

Brit Milah and Pidyon Ha-Ben, 2:21-24

Witness of Simeon, 2:25-35

Witness of Hannah, 2:36-38

Return to Nazareth, 2:39-41

Bar Mitzvah, 2:42-50

Maturation in Nazareth, 2:51-52

Date: Fall of 3 B.C.

Census of Caesar, 2:1-5

1 Now it came to pass in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the inhabited earth.

Now: Grk. de, conj. used to mark (1) a contrast to a preceding statement, "but;" (2) a transition in narrative or subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connective particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The second usage applies here. it came to pass: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid., to become, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into being by birth; be born; (2) to be made or performed by a person; or (3) equivalent to come to pass or come about, used of the occurrence of historical events; take place, happen, occur, arise. The third meaning applies here.

In the LXX ginomai translates Heb. hayah, to fall out, come to pass, become, be (first in Gen 1:3). The Greek construction egeneto de, which begins this verse, is a peculiar characteristic of Luke's writing style, appearing in the Besekh only in his writings, 17 times in this narrative of Yeshua and 20 times in Acts. This syntax is considered a Hebraism because it imitates the frequent use of the Heb. v'hayah, "and it came to pass" in the historical narratives of the Tanakh. The verb is used to introduce an important event that includes some dramatic action by God or an individual that impacts biblical history or serves God's sovereign planning.

in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position; in, among, or within. those: pl. of Grk. ekeinos, demonstrative pronoun typically used to refer to a noun (person or thing) immediately preceding in the Greek text; that, that one there. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera, day, may refer to (1) the hours of sunrise to sunset, (2) the 24 hours that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose, or (4) an imprecise period (BAG). The fourth meaning applies here with the Hebraistic sense of a temporal reference point in relation to a historical figure (e.g. Jdg 5:6; 2Sam 21:1; 1Kgs 10:21; 1Chr 4:41), that also serves as a timeframe for accomplishing the purposes of God.

a decree: Grk. dogma, a pronouncement or declaration with binding force, in this case an imperial ordinance. went out: Grk. exerchomai, aor., to move away from a place or position. The verb indicates physical movement, no doubt by government messengers. from: Grk. para, prep., lit. "from the side of," conveys association between persons, things, or circumstances, which may denote (1) a point of origin, from; or (2) a close association or proximity, with, beside, in the presence of. The second usage applies here.

Caesar: Grk. Kaisar was originally the family name of Julius, the first emperor. In time it became a title of the Roman head of state. Born Gaius Octavius Thurinus in 63 B.C., he was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar and only 19 years of age when Julius was murdered in the Senate house (44 B.C.). Octavius was named in the will of Julius Caesar as his adopted son and heir, and thereafter took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Augustus: Grk. Augoustos, which transliterates the Latin Augusto, meaning "honored one" (with overtones of divinity).

After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC Octavian was granted consular powers by the Senate in 43 BC. Caesar Augustus became the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from September 31 BC until his death in August AD 14. In 27 BC the Senate awarded him the honorific "Augustus," and afterward he was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. Because of the various names he bore, historians usually call him Octavius when referring to events between 63 and 44 BC, Octavian (or Octavianus) when referring to events between 44 and 27 BC, and Augustus when referring to events after 27 BC. For a biography see Suetonius, Life of Augustus. A summary list of important dates in the life of Augustus may be found on Livius.

to register: Grk. apographō, pres. mid. inf., to write down in a list, to register or to record. The middle voice would have the meaning of "to get enrolled" or "to enroll oneself." The unfortunate translation of the verb in the King James Version, "should be taxed," and repeated in several other versions, has led many interpreters to wrongly assume that Augustus ordered the census to impose immediate taxation. None of the Greek words for "tax" occur in the nativity narrative of Luke and Joseph did not go to Bethlehem to pay taxes. This registration was for another purpose, but would have the eventual benefit of taxation. See the Additional Note below on taxation.

of all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. the inhabited earth: Grk. oikoumenē, the world as an inhabited area, but more specifically the world under Roman jurisdiction. In this case the term may refer more specifically to the provinces of the Empire. The clause could be translated "that all the ones in the Empire be enrolled." Critics claim that there is no known evidence of an Empire-wide census in the reign of Augustus, but such a viewpoint rests both on a refusal to treat Scripture as valid history and laziness to research records of ancient historians.

Luke uses the present tense to indicate the ongoing nature of the censuses ordered by Augustus that did involve the entire Roman Empire. Luke does not imply that there was one massive world-wide census taken at the same time or even in the same year. The ongoing census took years to complete and the registration in the land of Israel coincided with the events described by Luke. Various Roman historical documents attest considerable census activity instigated by Augustus.

In Res Gestae Divi Augusti (Latin: "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus"), a funerary inscription on a monument of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, gives a first-person record of his reign. In Part II, 8 Augustus records his census activity of Roman citizens. Suetonius, the Roman historian, in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars records several references to the census activity of Augustus (The Life of Augustus 27:5; 37:1; 40:2; The Life of Tiberius 21:1). In fact, according to Suetonius the office of censor was actually revived by Augustus, having been inactive for forty-one years prior to his accession.

Tacitus, the Roman historian, records a special ceremony in A.D. 14 conducted by Tiberius to honor Augustus (Annals of Imperial Rome, Book I). A eulogy on the occasion contained a description of the resources of the State, including the number of citizens in all the kingdoms and provinces of the empire, determined by the census activity of Augustus, and the taxes collected.

Additional Note: Taxation under Augustus

When Caesar Augustus became emperor taxation had been accomplished by "tax farming" in which businessmen, called publicani, bid directly to the Roman government for the right to collect taxes. Taxes were imposed on communities and the provinces and levied primarily on wealth and all forms of property, since census taking was infrequent. The publicani essentially loaned money to the state in advance of tax collections. Publicani were also given the responsibility of converting their collected taxes into Roman coinage. So, the collections had to provide enough revenue to repay their advance to the authorities plus enough to cover interest, their fee for converting tax collections into cash, and a profit as well.

Tax farming proved to be quite profitable and a major investment for wealthy citizens of Rome. The process also held great potential for corruption. For example, with the profits collected, publicani could collude with local magistrates or farmers to buy large quantities of grain at low rates and hold it in reserve until times of shortage. These publicani were also moneylenders, or the bankers of the ancient world, and would lend cash to hard-pressed provincials at the exorbitant rate of 4% per month or more.

However, due to complaints about excessive assessments Caesar Augustus in 1 BC ended tax farming and imposed a direct form of taxation in which each province was required to pay a wealth (or income) tax of about 1% and a flat poll tax of one drachma on each adult. The Roman government also created a wide variety of taxes on commerce such as sales taxes, highway tolls, customs at border crossings and assorted government fees. The income and poll taxes relied on a regular census being taken to evaluate the taxable number of people and their income/wealth status.

The census Augustus ordered in 3 BC made his plan in 1 BC to end tax farming completely feasible. However, the direct taxation of the lands under control of the Herod family was not imposed until AD 6 and concluded the next year (Acts 5:37; Josephus, Ant. XVIII, 1:1; 2:1). Judas the Galilean led a revolt against the taxation (Ant. XX, 5:2; Wars II, 8:1), but the rebellion was crushed by the Romans. See the article Roman Taxes, UNRV History. accessed 11 October 2007.

2 This first census happened while Quirinius was governing Syria.

This: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes its use or follows it; this, these. first: Grk. prōtos may indicate (1) having primary position in a sequence; first, earlier, earliest; or (2) standing out in significance or importance; first, prominent. The first meaning applies here, but in reference to the following historical context. registration: Grk. apographē (from apo, "from" and graphō, "to write"), a technical term used of the enrollment in a public register; a census, an enumeration of property and persons (Zodhiates).

While the registration could have tax consequences, the use of the term in this context does not imply a taxation goal. Roman taxation of Herod's territory via "tax farming" was already an oppressive regime (Josephus, Ant. XVII, 2:2). Geldenhuys suggests that Luke uses the adjective "first" not to imply the first registration ever to occur, but to distinguish this census from the later one in A.D. 6 mentioned in Acts 5:37. On the other hand "first" might point back to the previous verse and imply the first registration of the "inhabited earth."

took place: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See the previous verse. The aorist tense emphasizes complete action and the middle voice stresses an agent and describes the subject as participating in the results of the action. In this case the agent is Caesar Augustus mentioned in the previous verse. There is no preposition to connect the two historical events mentioned in this verse. The great majority of versions insert "when," denoting the two events being concurrent. A few versions offer the alternative choice of "before" (EXB, NTE, OJB).

Quirinius: Grk. Kurēnios, a transliteration of the Latin name Quirinius, "warrior" (KJV "Cyrenius"). A Roman aristocrat his full Latin name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. He lived c. 51 BC‒AD 21. Quirinius was appointed a consul in 12 BC (Res Gestae Divi Augusti, Part II, 10). A consul served as a magistrate in judicial matters and had the authority to command two legions. Quirinius served Caesar with distinction in both military and administrative roles in Crete, Cyrene, Galatia, Cilicia, and Syria. Quirinius is mentioned four times by Josephus, all in regard to his serving as governor of Syria from AD 6-12 (Ant. XVII, 13:5; XVIII, 1:1; 2:1-2; XX, 5:2). For a survey of the life of Quirinius see the articles at Bible Archaeology Report and Livius.

was governing: Grk. hēgemoneuō (from hēgemōn, "leader, governor"), pres. mid. part., to lead or to lead the way, and by extension may mean (1) to command in a military sense; or (2) to govern in an administrative sense (LSJ), and may express the office of any ruler, whether emperor, propraetor, procurator, etc. (Plummer). BAG says the verb is used of the administration of imperial legates (governors). The present tense conveys that the governing was concurrent with the registration. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh; also Luke 3:1 of Pontius Pilate who governed the province of Judaea as procurator. The verb occurs not at all in the LXX.

Josephus uses the verb to refer to the proconsul Publius Quinctilius Varus, who was legate or governor of Syria during the reign of Herod the Great, 7/6-4 BC (Ant. XV, 10:1). Relevant is that the noun hēgemōn is used as the title of Felix, the procurator of Judaea (Acts 23:24), and of Festus, his successor (Acts 24:27; 26:30). The great majority of Bible versions render the verb as a noun, "was governor," but some have "was governing" (CJB, CSB, EHV, NKJV).

Syria: Grk. Suria, a region bounded on the north by the Taurus and Amanus mountain ranges, on the east by the Euphrates and Arabia, on the south by Galilee, and on the west by Phoenicia and the Mediterranean Sea. Luke probably intends the Roman imperial province, linked with Cilicia, of which Antioch was the capital. See the map here. Luke's mention of Quirinius is clearly intended as a dating reference.

However, some commentators have decided that Luke made a mistake in defining the time of this enrollment. The reason for this criticism is the assumption of many scholars that the nativity of Yeshua took place during the time that Varus was governor of Syria. According to Roman history Quirinius was commanding Roman forces between 5 BC and 3 BC when he fought against a brigand tribe called Homonadensians in Cilicia, which was part of the province of Syria. (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, 5:23.4).

Thus, Stern suggests that Quirinius was in charge of Syria's defense and foreign policy under Varus (107). NIBD also suggests that Quirinius may have been a military commander who shared civil duties with Varus (893). Because of his service to Syria, Varus could have sent Quirinius into Herod's territory to supervise the registration. However, these accommodations to the assumption of the nativity in the time of Varus have the effect of contradicting what Luke says. Quirinius "was governing," not "assisting in governing." Words mean things. Luke's narrative is Spirit-inspired Scripture and factual in every detail. So, Quirinius had full administrative authority over the province of Syria.

Official Roman records do not identify the governor by name who succeeded Varus in 4 BC. The next recorded appointment took place in AD 1. Geldenhuys, Liefeld and Rienecker affirm manuscript evidence that describes the career of an officer whose name is not preserved but whose actions sound as if he might have been Quirinius. He served as governor of Syria in the first decade BC and became imperial legate of Syria for a second time. Only Quirinius satisfies that description. (See SBD, "Cyrenius.") Geldenhuys allows that the first term of Quirinius could have been 3-2 BC.

Thus, in 4 BC Varus having departed from the province and Quirinius, already in the area and possessing the necessary rank, was permitted to function as a procurator over Syria until Caesar could appoint a replacement. Luke's use of the verb "was governing" instead of the noun "governor" supports this hypothesis. Although Plummer suggests that Luke implies the involvement of Quirinius in the registration, Luke offers no confirmation and notes only the governorship of Quirinius. Certainly the registration would be handled by Roman officials and they would answer to Quirinius and not King Herod.

According to the dating of the church fathers (see the Additional Note below) the registration and birth of Yeshua occurred the next year in 3 BC. The church fathers, beginning in the 2nd century, were closer to the nativity events than modern scholars, so rejection of their explicit historical references is inexplicable. Arguing for a 3 BC date for the nativity Dr. Craig Chester, a noted astronomer, explains in the scholarly journal Imprimis the most likely nature of the enrollment mentioned by Luke.

"The year 2 B.C. marked the 25th anniversary of the reign of Caesar Augustus and the 750th anniversary of the founding of Rome. Huge celebrations were planned. The whole empire was at peace. The doors of the temple of Janus were closed for only the third time in Roman history. To honor their emperor, the people were to rise as one and name him pater patriae, or "Father of the Country." Now, getting the people of an empire to do something "spontaneously" requires a great deal of organization. And so an enrollment, or census, was ordered." (Craig Chester, "Star of Bethlehem")

Not mentioned by Chester is that Augustus refused the honor unless the people agreed, and this coincided with the order for a pledge of allegiance from not only all the populace, but most especially from anyone in any royal line in any province who might try to claim the crown at some time. This included the line of David in Judea, of which both Joseph and Miriam were a part. The decree for the registration and pledge was issued in early August of 3 BC. and had been completed by the end of the year. On February 5, 2 BC, Augustus was granted, and accepted, the title of Pater Patraie.

Suetonius, the Roman historian, writes that the Senate conferred the honor on Augustus with the support of the people of Rome in 2 BC (The Twelve Caesars, II, §58). Chester's summary of events is also provided by Barry Setterfield in his presentation The Christmas Star: Technical Notes.

Additional Note: Patristic Dating of the Nativity

Early church fathers reported on the year of Yeshua's birth in relation to the reign of Augustus:.

● The 41st year of Augustus' reign (3 B.C.): (a) Irenaeus (120-202), Against Heresies III, 21:3; (b) Tertullian (145-220), An Answer to the Jews VIII; (c) Origen (185-253), Homilies, Fragment 82. The 41st year of Augustus' reign is evidently calculated from when he was elevated to consulship, in August 43 BC.

The 28th year of Augustus' reign (3 B.C.): Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Stromata 1:21. The 28th year is based on the date of the Battle of Actium (31 BC) when Augustus attained sole power as Emperor.

● The 42nd year of Augustus' reign (2 B.C.): (a) Eusebius (263-339), Church History I, 5:2; (b) Epiphanius (315-403), Panarion 51.22.3. The 42nd year is most likely calculated from the death of Julius Caesar in March 44 BC when Augustus inherited Julius Caesar's property and took over leadership of his army in the Fall of that year. Eusebius also dates the nativity in the 28th year after the death of Antony and Cleopatra. The couple committed suicide in August 30 BC. Lightfoot notes that the Jewish Sages dated the beginning of the Roman Empire to the "days of Cleopatra" (citing Avodah Zarah 8b; 32).

So, taken together the church fathers affirm Yeshua's birth in 3/2 BC. Finegan lists other church fathers with different dating methods, but all concurring with the 3/2 BC timeframe (288-291). While Archbishop Ussher put the nativity in December 5 BC (779), Adam Clarke affirmed September 2 BC as the date for Yeshua's birth (comment on Luke 2:1, 8).

3 and all were going to be registered, each to his city.

and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect.

all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 1 above. "All" does not leave anyone out of a referenced group, but for the purpose stated they would have been primarily heads of households. were going: Grk. poreuō, impf. mid., to move from one part of an area to another, to make one's way. The subject and verb indicates considerable traffic on the roads of Israel. to be registered: Grk. apographō, pres. pass. inf., to write down in a list, to enroll oneself, get registered. each: Grk. hekastos, adj., each unit being viewed individually; each, every, every one. to: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on entrance, frequently in relation to a direction toward a goal or place and consequent arrival; into, to, unto.

his: Grk. heautou, reflexive pronoun of the third person, of himself. city: Grk. polis, a population center, whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly. The stipulation in the enrollment is that men had to go to the city of their ancestors. When Augustus conducted the census in Italy people simply enrolled where they lived, but he gave every consideration to the national custom in other cultures. Since the enrollment of Judea was made through its monarch, King Herod, then the Jewish custom was followed to allow Israelites go to their original native city for the registration (Geldenhuys 100).

Date: August/September 3 B.C.

4 Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because of him being of the house and family of David,

Now: Grk. de, conj. Joseph: Grk. Iōsēph, a transliteration of Heb. Yosef, which is explained in Genesis 30:24 and means "he adds, increases" (BDB 415). also: Grk. kai, conj. went up: Grk. anabainō, aor., to go up or ascend a height. The verb represents a Hebrew idiom that alludes to the fact that most ancient cities were built on high ground wherever possible. In this case the destination was located in a mountainous area.

from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, here denoting place of origin; from. Galilee: Grk. Galilaia from the Heb. Galil, lit. "circle" or "region." Galilee was the northern part of Israel above the hill country of Ephraim and of Judah and encompassed the areas originally given to the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dan. At this time Galilee was part of Herod's Kingdom, bounded by the Roman Province of Syria on the west and north, the River Jordan and Sea of Galilee on the east and Samaria on the south. See the map here.

out of: Grk. ek, prep. with the root meaning of "out of, from within" (DM 102), denoting origin; from among. the town: Grk. polis. See the previous verse. of Nazareth: Grk. Nazaret, which transliterates the Heb. Natzeret. A likely Hebrew root for Nazareth is the verb natzar (SH-5341), to watch, guard or keep (Merrill 116). The verb in its participial form (notzerat, "one guarding") alludes to the prominent hill near Nazareth (Luke 4:29). Merrill suggests the city may have taken its name from the name of the hill. Nazareth was located about eighty miles northeast of Jerusalem about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea.

Nazareth is situated among the hills of Galilee which constitute the south ridges of Lebanon, just before they sink down into the plain of Esdraelon (SBD). A Roman road from Capernaum westward to the coast passed near Nazareth, over which Roman legions frequently traveled. While not mentioned in the Tanakh or Josephus, Nazareth was a city of some importance and considerable antiquity, and not so insignificant as has been represented. The city is formed on a prominent hill or mountain that overlooks a vast area of land and sea. In the time of Yeshua the city had a population of 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants.

into: Grk. eis, prep., into. Judea: Grk. Ioudaia, a fem. proper noun, Judea. At this time Judea was the district bounded on the west by the Mediterranean, on the east by the Jordan River, on the north by Samaria and on the south by Idumea (Zodhiates). In the LXX Ioudaia occurs 45 times and transliterates Heb. Y'hudah ("praised"), a proper name used for the geographical territory given to the tribe of Judah (Ruth 1:1; 1Sam 17:1); next the southern Kingdom of Judah distinguished from the northern Kingdom of Israel (2Kgs 14:11; 2Chr 11:5); and then the province to which Jews returned after the exile (Ezra 1:2, 3; 5:8; 7:14).

Some versions incorrectly give the name as "Judaea" (ASV, BRG, JUB, KJV, NTE), but Judaea was the name given to the Roman province formed in A.D. 6, which comprised Idumea, historic Judea and Samaria. Some lexicons (BAG, Danker and Thayer) commit the egregious error of defining Ioudaia as "Palestine." Thayer (1889) and BAG (1928) may have been influenced by the fact that the biblical territory was called "Palestine" when those books were originally published. However, at no time in biblical history was the land called Palestine, a name derived from "Philistine." Danker is without excuse. See my article The Land is NOT Palestine.

Luke passes over the fact that Joseph would have traveled through Samaria. Some Christian scholars assert (without citing any evidence) that Jews did not travel through Samaria. Strict Hebraic Jews (Pharisees) may well have avoided the heart of Samaria because of deep religious differences (see my comment on John 4:9 and 20-22), but again there is no historical evidence of such assumed avoidance.

There were two routes from Galilee to Judea. (See the map of the highway network in the Land here.) There was a major Roman highway along the coast, but the quickest route was through the center of Samaria. Josephus says, "It was the custom of the Galileans, when they came to the holy city at the festivals, to take their journeys through the country of the Samaritans" (Ant. XX, 6:1). Yeshua himself would later make the trip through Samaria when he traveled to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-52; 17:11) and when he traveled to Galilee (John 4:4). Also, according to Josephus' autobiography the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem took three days (Life §52).

to the City: Grk. polis. of David: Grk. David (for Heb. David, "dah-veed"), a personal name meaning "beloved" or "favorite" (HBD). David is one of the most important figures in Israelite history. God chose him to be king because He "sought out for Himself a man after His own heart" (1Sam 13:14). David became King of Israel at the age of 30 and reigned 40 years (2Sam 5:4; 1Chr 3:4). He made a tremendous impact on the nation. As a military leader he broke the power of pagan peoples in the land of Canaan. In the civil sphere he made Jerusalem his capital and solidified central authority. He centralized worship in Jerusalem and established Levitical choirs.

David wrote many psalms and 73 psalms are specifically ascribed to him. He was known as the "sweet psalmist of Israel" (2Sam 23:1). Especially important is that he compiled and organized psalms into what is known as the Book of Psalms (2Chr 29:30). Jeremiah left a simple eulogy: "David did what was right in the eyes of ADONAI, and he had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" (1Kgs 15:5 BR). The last comment on David's life in the Tanakh is from Ezra who twice refers to David as a "man of God" (2Chr 8:14; Neh 12:24).

"City of David" is a place name originally given to a stronghold of Mt. Zion in Jerusalem which the Jebusites held, but was captured by David. Thereafter David gave the stronghold his name and called it the City of David (2Sam 5:9). However, Luke immediately clarified that he was not talking about Jerusalem.

which: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun; whoever, whatever; whosoever, whatsoever. is called: Grk. kaleō, pres. pass., to identify by name or give a term to; call. Bethlehem: Grk. Bēthleem, which roughly transliterates Heb. Beit-Lechem, house of bread. Situated five miles south of Jerusalem the village is first mentioned in Genesis 35:19. The village gained special importance as David's birthplace and place of anointing, and thus became his city.

because of: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The second usage applies here. him: Grk. autos, an intensive personal pronoun, often used to distinguish a person or thing in contrast to another, or to give him (it) prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here.

being: Grk. eimi, pres. inf., to be, exist; a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). of: Grk. ek. the house: Grk. oikos, a structure for habitation, but idiomatically the persons inhabiting a house, and by extension ancestors. and: Grk. kai. family: Grk. patria, a people group linked by kinship. In context "house" would be a broader term than "family." of David: David had at least 19 sons, making for a sizable "house," and a considerable number of descendants in the time of Joseph.

5 to register with Miriam, the one betrothed to him, she being with child.

to register: Grk. apographō, aor. mid. inf. See verse 1 above. with: Grk. sun ("soon"), prep., used to denote association or close identification. Miriam: Grk. Mariam, fem. name, an attempt at transliterating the Heb. Miryam, "Miriam" in English. The meaning of the name is not known for certain, but says that Miriam "was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love." Since Miriam of Nazareth had a familial connection to the house of Aaron (1:36), her parents may have named her after the sister of Moses (Ex 15:20), who is also identified when first introduced as a "virgin" (Heb. almah, Ex 2:8).

The use of "Mary" in English Bibles for the mother of Yeshua began with the Tyndale New Testament (1525) and Christians have called this Jewish woman by this name ever since. The choice of English translators to use "Mary" instead of her Hebrew name "Miriam" can only be to minimize her Jewish identity. (See my note on Luke 1:27 for more on her name.)

the one: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. betrothed: Grk. mnēsteuō, perf. pass. part., means lit. "to woo and win," commit to marriage, and in Jewish culture meant betrothed. The perfect tense of the verb refers to some point in the past, perhaps as much as a year. The passive voice of the verb indicates the fact that a Jewish woman was betrothed to her husband, not vice versa. The participle is a verbal adjective so it refers to a relational condition of Miriam. She belonged to Joseph. In the LXX mnēsteuō translates the Heb. aras, to betroth (Ex 22:16; Deut 20:7; 22:23, 25, 27, 28; 28:30; 2Sam 3:14).

The translation of "engaged" in many versions is inexplicable and misleading. In Western culture "engaged" is only a promise to marry, but the Jewish custom was both religious and legal. One Christian preacher described Miriam as an "unwed mother," a totally inaccurate if not defamatory opinion of Miriam's marital status. A few versions have "pledged to be married" or "promised in marriage," but these phrases, too, imply that she was not married. Several versions correctly have "betrothed" (ASV, BLB, DHE, ESV, NAB, NEB, NJB, NKJV, OJB, REV, RSV).

Prior to the Sinaitic covenant marriage happened by a man obtaining a woman's consent and then having intercourse in private. From that point on she was his wife (e.g., Gen 25:1; 38:1-3; Ex 2:1). With the introduction of betrothal in Torah instructions a man would acquire the bride of his choice in the presence of witnesses (cf. 2Sam 3:14; Ruth 4:9-11). According to Jewish law in the first century betrothal could be accomplished in one of three ways: by money, such as a coin, or its equivalent (e.g. Ex 21:11; 22:16), by contract (e.g. Jdg 14:2; Ruth 4:9-10; Tobit 7:14), or by sexual intercourse (e.g. Deut 22:28-29) (Kiddushin 1:1).

With betrothal the woman belonged to the man and considered a married woman. That is, the woman became forbidden to all men but to whom she has now been designated. Having become a legal wife her status could only be changed by divorce or death (cf. Matt 1:19). By the first century tradition had standardized the betrothal period to not exceed twelve months for a virgin (Ketubot 5:2). Following the betrothal period the marriage was completed by the groom taking his bride into a private chamber and consummating the marriage. There was no formal wedding ceremony as such. For more information see my article Marriage in Ancient Israel.

According to Matthew 1:24-25 Joseph obeyed angelic instruction to take Miriam into his home when she was three months pregnant, which was tantamount to a public announcement that the requirements for marriage were satisfied. However, the couple had no sexual relations until after Yeshua was born. This gracious act would spare Miriam the public shame of being accused as an adulteress and give the appearance of being betrothed by sexual intercourse, which was legitimate under Jewish law. Luke's use of the term "betrothed" is intended to emphasize an unconsummated relationship when in fact everyone would assume there had been consummation.

to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Joseph. she being: Grk. eimi, pres. part. See the previous verse. The verb is fem. sing. with child: Grk. egkuos, to be big with child, pregnant. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Luke does not inform the reader of how far along Miriam's pregnancy was when the couple left for Bethlehem. From a purely human point of view one might wonder why he took Miriam with him. Liefeld suggests that Joseph used the emperor's order as a means of removing Miriam from possible gossip and emotional stress in her own village. Actually, gossip would probably be minimal since Miriam had been Joseph's legal wife by betrothal well before he took her into his home.

Being advanced in pregnancy it would probably be normal to leave Miriam at home in the hands of her mother (if living) and a midwife. Regardless of the date, a loving husband would not want leave his pregnant wife at home and with the upheaval of people traveling for the registration, there would probably be no lack of assistance for Miriam. In addition, Joseph and Miriam both had the prophetic announcements as to the significance of her first-born son and no doubt understood the providential circumstances that would take them to Bethlehem.

Date: September 10, 3 B.C.

Birth in Bethlehem, 2:6-7

6 Now it came to pass in their being there, the days were completed for her to give birth,

Now: Grk. de, conj. it came to pass: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 1 above. in: Grk. en, prep. See verse 1 above. In this verse the prep. is used to indicate the framework of time within which something takes place; while, when. their: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. being: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. See verse 4 above. there: Grk. ekei, adv., in that place. This is a very indefinite time reference. It's easy to assume that Miriam had her baby on the evening of the day they arrived, as is typically depicted in Christmas plays. The typical Luke phrase "And it came about" indicates the passage of time. So, whether it was hours, days, or weeks, Luke does not tell us.

the days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. were completed: Grk. pimplēmi, aor. pass., to cause to be at a point in time that marks the completion or fulfillment of a scheduled moment or expectation for something to take place. for her: fem. of Grk. autos. to give birth: Grk. tiktō, aor. inf., to cause to come into being, to give birth. Miriam carried her baby full term, so when nine months or 38 weeks were completed Miriam went into labor.

7 and she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and wrapped him in swaddling cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was not a place for them in the inn.

and: Grk. kai, conj. she gave birth: Grk. tiktō, aor. See the previous verse. Luke does not explain whether Miriam had any assistance in the delivery, but it's reasonable to suppose that there were women available to help. Miriam delivered her baby without harm to either herself or the baby. In ancient times delivery was normally accomplished at home (except in this story) with the aid of a midwife (e.g. Ex 1:15-21). Women delivered their babies while kneeling or squatting, usually on a birthing stool or birthing bricks (Ex 1:16), if available. Miriam may have had to just squat on the ground.

to her: fem. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. son: Grk. ho huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios translates Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), with the same range of meaning, first in Genesis 4:17. the firstborn: Grk. ho prōtotokos, adj., first childbirth or first offspring, thus firstborn. In the LXX prōtotokos translates Heb bekor, firstborn (Gen 10:15). In Jewish culture giving birth to a son was the hope of every Jewish mother and the cause of much joy in the family.

To have a son meant that the family name would continue within Israel (cf. Deut 25:6). The mention of Yeshua being Miriam's firstborn son alludes to the fact that she later had other sons by Joseph. The Catholic doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Miriam has no basis in Scripture and denies this godly woman her place in Jewish culture as a wife and mother. Yeshua had at least four brothers: Jacob, Joseph, Judah and Simon (Matt 13:55).

and: Grk. kai. wrapped him: Grk. autos. in swaddling cloth: Grk. sparganoō (from sparganon, "a swathing band"), to bind with cloth bands, to swaddle or to swathe. The verb is singular but most versions translate it as plural. In the LXX sparganoō translates the noun Heb. chathullah, swaddling band, in Job 38:9, where God depicts the creation of the earth as bringing forth from a womb and wrapping in swaddling cloths, and the verb chathal, to entwine or enwrap in Ezekiel 16:4, where God depicts the origin of Jerusalem in terms of a nativity.

While Luke spares his readers of the physical aspects of the birth they may be deduced from the description in Ezekiel 16:4, the navel cord was cut, the infant then washed with water for cleansing, rubbed with salt for disinfecting and wrapped in swaddling cloth. Being snugly wrapped in long strip of cloth gave the baby warmth, protection of extremities, and a sense of security in their newborn existence.

One source suggests that the swaddling cloth consisted of 5-6" wide strips of linen that would be embroidered with symbols of the ancestry of the bride and groom and prepared by the bride during the betrothal period (see the video by Jenedy Paige, Little Lamb). ISBE ("Swaddling-band") says the infant wrap consisted of a square of cloth and two or more bandages. The child was laid on the cloth diagonally and the corners folded over the feet and body and under the head, the bandages then being tied so as to hold the cloth in position. This device forms the clothing of the child for the first year, and its omission (Ezek 16:4) would be a token that the child had been abandoned.

and: Grk. kai. laid: Grk. anaklinō, aor., cause to recline. him: Grk. autos. in: Grk. en, prep. a manger: Grk. phatnē, which can refer to a manger, stall or even a feeding place under the open sky (BAG; LSJ). A manger is a trough or box of carved stone or wood construction used to hold food or water for animals. Tradition identified the location of the manger as a cave. Robert Helfinstine offers this helpful information on the birthplace of Yeshua as a result of a trip he made to Israel in 1966.

"Bethlehem sits on a hill of limestone, and in the hillsides are caves hewn out of the rock. Many were used for sheltering flocks and herds. The cave in which Joseph and Mary found shelter was new and had not yet been used for animals. It was clean, warm and private. There were no disturbances like those in the campground. When the shepherds went to Bethlehem after receiving the announcement from the angels of the Savior's birth, they knew exactly where to go to find the babe lying in a manger. Consider this. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a new cave hewn out of rock. When he died 33 years later, he was buried in a new tomb hewn out of rock less than ten miles from where he was born." (No Room in the Inn)

because: Grk. dioti, conj., on the very account that, because, inasmuch as. there was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. not: Grk. ou, adv., a strong negation of fact. a place: Grk. topos, a spatial area, here of a structure; place. for them: pl. of Grk. autos. in: Grk. en. the inn: Grk. ho kataluma, a shelter where people stayed. This was not a motel as exists in modern times. Rather, the inn was a building built in a square with a court in the middle intended for the beasts of burden, while rooms opened upon galleries all around (Sketches 49). The rooms would not be furnished.

However, there would be someone who could for a fee procure anything a guest might need (e.g., the story of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:35). Providing hospitality was highly valued in Jewish culture (cf. Heb 13:2) and travelers usually stayed in private homes. In Jerusalem if someone had a room available they would hang a curtain in front of the door (Sketches 47). Perhaps the same custom applied in Bethlehem.

Contrary to Christmas plays Luke does not portray the owner of the inn as a villain. That there was "no room" does not mean that Joseph and Miriam were denied a room that was in fact available. There was no room because the town was overcrowded with people who had come to register for the enrollment. The narrative implies there was only one inn to be found in the city. The mention of the inn in juxtaposition with "manger" suggests the livestock cave was owned by the inn.

Thus, the cave was offered by a hospitable host. The lack of room was probably a good thing, because there was a danger at inns during Herod's reign. According to Josephus spies of Herod beset the people in town and country. They would stay at inns in order to listen in on conversations to pick up any negative opinion about Herod (Ant. XV, 10:4). Any talk against the king could have fatal consequences. So, it was not a bad thing for Miriam to give birth to the true King of the Jews away from prying eyes.

Angelic Visitation, 2:8-14

8 And shepherds were in the same region, staying in the fields and keeping a watch at night over their flock.

And: Grk. kai, conj. shepherds: pl. of Grk. poimēn, one who watches over sheep, a shepherd. Stern points out that shepherds derived little income from their unskilled work, so that they were held in low esteem in Middle Eastern countries (107; cf. Gen 46:34; Isa 56:11). There was also a prejudice that shepherds might be thieves. Jewish law imposed restrictions on what could be purchased from shepherds on the assumption that some things might have been stolen (Baba Kama 118b). There was also a restriction on shepherds giving evidence in court (Sanhedrin 25a).

Conversely Levine asserts that Scripture contains numerous positive images of shepherds in Israel, such as the association of Moses and David with shepherding (e.g. Ex 3:1; Num 27:15-17; Ps 78:70-72), and the connection of sheep with the sacrificial system. Philo emphasizes the importance to the nation of breeding and caring for flocks of sheep and goats, as well as being a significant source of revenue to the priests (Special Laws I, 136, 141). Yeshua later identified himself as the "good shepherd" (John 10:11), which reflects a positive attitude toward the occupation.

were: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the same: Grk. ho autos, personal pronoun. region: Grk. ho chōra, a stretch of territory in contrast with owned property, region or area. This would have been an area not considered within the boundaries of Bethlehem. Centuries before David had shepherded a flock in this area (1Sam 17:34-35). staying in the fields: Grk. agrauleō, pres. part., spend the night in the open, to be out of doors. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The common translation of "living" is misleading, because the verb does not denote a residence. Jewish law stipulated that flocks were only to be kept in the countryside and not inside cities (B.K. 7:6).

and: Grk. kai. keeping: Grk. phulassō, pres. part., to serve as a sentinel, to guard or watch. a watch: Grk. phulakē, a guarding, guard, watch. at night: Grk. nux, as a chronological period, sunset to sunrise, night. over: Grk. epi, prep. used primarily as a marker of position or location; 'at, in, on, upon, over.' their: pl. of Grk. autos. flock: Grk. poimnē, flock of animals, here sheep. Sheep were just as subject to being prey for wild animals at night as in the daytime, thus the necessity of keeping a watch through the night. The flock may have been comprised of separate flocks, but collected together for the nighttime (Geldenhuys 111).

Edersheim suggests that the shepherds here were not ordinary shepherds, since the flocks mentioned here likely were destined for Temple sacrifices (131), and cites the Mishnah:

"If cattle was found in Jerusalem as far as Migdal Eder, and within a like distance on any side [of Jerusalem], males [must be considered as being] burnt-offerings, but females must be considered as] peace-offerings. R. Judah says: If they were fit for the Passover-offering, [they must be considered as] Passover-offerings [when found] within thirty days before the feast [of Passover]." (Shek. 7:4).

Migdal Eder ("tower of the flock") was located on the road from Jerusalem to Hebron (cf. Gen 35:21; Mic 4:8), and may have been near Bethlehem. Edersheim also says that according to Jewish belief of the time the Messiah was to be revealed from Migdal Eder (cf. Mic 4:8 and 5:2-5). The suggestion as to the purpose of the sheep herd in the nativity narrative is appealing because Yeshua would be later introduced as the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

While Luke does not mention the time of year, the text notes three details that point to an autumn nativity. First, regarding the season Adam Clarke comments that it was customary in Israel to send out their sheep to the deserts about the Passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain in Cheshvan (Oct/Nov). The winter rains increase in intensity through the month of Kislev (Nov/Dec) into Tevet (Dec/Jan), as described in Ezra 10:9. Clarke concludes:

"And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up."

Second, regarding the time of day Barry Setterfield makes the observation:

"As to the time of the year that Messiah was born, Luke gives us further details. He records that shepherds were watching over their flocks by night. There are only two specific times in a year when this was done, namely when lambs were being born in the spring or autumn. At other times of the year they were kept safely in their sheep-folds to protect them from wild animals. Significantly the flocks bred in the Bethlehem fields were used for the Temple sacrifices." (The Christmas Star)

Third, regarding the action of the shepherds, the Greek word for "staying in the fields" does not mean living in a wilderness, which was the typical area for sheep herds (Num 14:33; 1Sam 17:28; 25:4; Ps 78:52). The word for "staying in the fields" (agrauleō) is formed from the nouns agros (a field used for agriculture) and aulē ("a place open to the air"). Since the fields are agricultural fields, this is likely a reference to wheat fields after the late-summer harvest. Farmers would allow shepherds to bring their flocks into their fields after the harvest and after the poor people had gone into the fields to glean the leftover wheat. (See the article Shepherding in the Holy Land by Hani Abu Dayyeh reproduced in Setterfield, The Christmas Star: Discussion.)

9 and an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they feared with great fear.

and: Grk. kai, conj. an angel: Grk. aggelos means messenger, whether human or heavenly (BAG). In the LXX aggelos translates Heb. malak (SH-4397), a messenger, representative, courier or angel (DNTT 1:101f). The term is used here to mean a heavenly messenger. Post-Tanakh Judaism developed an elaborate angelology (Stern 824), primarily the Essenes and Pharisees. The Sadducees did not believe in angels (Acts 23:8). Josephus said that the Essenes in particular preserved the names of the angels (Wars, Book II, 8:7). Angels figure prominently in Scripture as ministering spirits (Mark 1:13; Heb 1:14).

Angels are far different from popular assumptions about angels. Angels are not glorified humans that earn status in heaven by doing good works on earth. All individual angels mentioned in Scripture have masculine names or appear as men, contrary to popular art and media, which sometimes depicts them as female. In addition, only a special group of heavenly beings are mentioned in Scripture as having wings (Gen 3:24; Ex 37:9; Isa 6:2; Ezek 10:5; Rev 4:8), and these beings may not be angels at all. For a review of the varieties and classes of angels see my article The Host of Heaven.

of the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) a person exercising absolute ownership rights, master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, lord. Both meanings have application here. In the LXX kurios, occurring over 9,000 times, translates Hebrew terms for human positions of authority such as adôn ("lord"), ba'al ("husband") and gebir ("master"), but over 6,000 times substitutes for the sacred name YHVH, first in Genesis 2:21. Kurios is not a translation of YHVH, but was chosen to encompass all that the Hebrew text implied by use of the divine name (DNTT 2:512).

Kurios also translates Heb. Adonai, "Lord" (note the lower case), used of the God of Israel about 450 times (DNTT 2:511f). Using kurios for Adonai is genuine translation. Christian versions translate kurios with "the Lord," but the Messianic Jewish versions CJB, MJLT and TLV render kurios with ADONAI (note small caps) as a substitution for YHVH. Tracey Rich points out that there was no prohibition against pronouncing the sacred name in ancient times (The Name of God, Judaism 101). In fact, YHVH is often spoken by Bible characters in the Tanakh (Gen 4:1; 14:22; 15:2; Deut 3:24; 9:26; Josh 7:7; Jdg 6:22; 16:28; 1Sam 23:10).

Often in the Tanakh the identification "of ADONAI" (Heb. YHVH; Grk. kurios) is added to confirm the messenger as a heavenly being sent by the God of Israel (Gen 16:7; 22:11; Ex 3:2; Num 22:22; Jdg 2:1; 5:23; 6:12; 13:3; 2Sam 24:16; 1Kgs 19:7; 2Kgs 1:3; 19:35; Ps 34:7; Zech 1:12). Messianic versions use ADONAI in deference to Jewish sensibilities based on a Talmudic regulation (Kiddushin 71a). For more information on the history and usage of YHVH see my article The Blessed Name.

appeared: Grk. ephistēmi (from epi, "upon" and histemi, "to stand"), aor., to come or stand near in a non-threatening mode, but sometimes with the connotation of suddenness as here; appear. The verb suggests that the angel was probably on the ground eye level with the shepherds. to them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. As in the appearance to Miriam the angel does not introduce himself, but he could have been Gabriel because of the following description (cf. Dan 10:5-6).

and: Grk. kai. the glory: Grk. doxa in biblical usage serves as a translation in the LXX of the Hebrew kabôd, splendor or brightness, which conveys the majesty of that which belongs to God, to the Messiah or to angels. Kabôd (pronounced "kah-vohd") is particularly used to refer to the luminous manifestation of God's person, His glorious revelation of Himself (Ex 16:7; 24:16-17). In the Besekh doxa is a continuation of the Hebrew concept (DNTT 2:45).

of the Lord: Grk. kurios. Geldenhuys suggests that "glory of the Lord" here probably refers to the Sh'khinah (115), and the CJB so translates the noun. However, the Sh'khinah is the very presence of God Himself, whereas the mention of "glory" here refers to an attribute of the angel given to him by the Creator. shone around: Grk. perilampō (from peri, "around" and lampō, "to shine"), aor., to shine around. The angel may have looked as an ordinary human but the light that emanated or radiated from his body in every direction revealed his heavenly origin.

them: 3p-pl. of Grk. autos. The shepherds were enveloped in light, a stark contrast to the night. and: Grk. kai. they feared: Grk. phobeō, aor., be in a state of apprehension; be afraid, fear. with great: Grk. megas, adj., exceeding a standard and therefore impressive; great. fear: Grk. phobos may mean (1) the feeling of need to escape from or avoid a threat; fear; (2) feeling of respect; reverence, awe; or (3) the process of causing in someone a feeling of need to escape from a situation; intimidation. The first meaning dominates here.

This is a typical Hebraic way of stating a condition that gives emphasis to the narrative. The reaction of the shepherds to seeing the angel was the same as Daniel (Dan 10:7-8) and Zechariah (Luke 1:12). The suddenness and glory of the angelic appearance captured their immediate attention and awe, but especially apprehension. An angel had not appeared to any human being in this glorious manner since the appearance of the heavenly messenger to Daniel (6th c. BC), which may have been Gabriel (Dan 10:4-8.)

10 and the angel said to them, "Fear not! For behold, I bring good news to you of great joy, which will be to all the people.

and: Grk. kai, conj. the angel: Grk. aggelos. See the previous verse. said: Grk. legō, to make a statement or utterance, whether oral or written, here the former. The angel used voice communication and no doubt spoke in Hebrew. Fear: Grk. phobeō, pres. mid. imp. See the previous verse. not: Grk. , adv., a particle of qualified negation, subjective in nature, involving will and thought; not. The verb combined with the negative particle indicates a strong command to stop a practice in progress. The angel immediately sought to allay the shepherd's natural fear and provide assurance that a heavenly visitation did not mean judgment.

For: Grk. gar, conj., in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that." behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp., demonstrative interjection that arouses the attention of hearers or readers; (you) see, look, behold (BAG). In the LXX idou translates Heb. hinneh, lo, behold, which often serves to enliven divine monologues and narratives, particularly to invite closer consideration of something (e.g. Gen 1:29). Luke uses idou 36 times in the narrative to alert the reader to the next scene. Here the particle heightens the dramatic effect of the announcement by considering the impact on those hearing the heavenly messenger.

I bring good news: Grk. euaggelizō (from , "good, well" and aggellō, "announce, herald"), aor. mid. inf., to announce the good message, and is used to mean (1) pass on information that provides good tidings to the recipient, and (2) spread good tidings of God's beneficial concern. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX euaggelizō stands for Heb. basar, to publish or bear tidings, whether good or bad, first in 1Samuel 31:9 (DNTT 2:108-109). The angel has information that spells good tidings to the recipient. The verb is most frequently found in passages in which the apostles proclaimed the good news of the arrival of the Kingdom of God in Yeshua (Luke 16:16).

In the great majority of verses where euaggelizō occurs Christian versions translate the verb as "preach the gospel," which clearly separates the emphasis of the verb from its Jewish context. In the Besekh the "gospel" is God's provision of salvation for His covenant people (cf. Matt 15:24). The "Jewish Gospel" has an historical basis, a story of God's centuries-old relationship with Israel, as Zechariah himself declared in his prophetic song (1:68-79). Apostolic proclamations of the good news cite promises made to the patriarchs and to Israel through the Hebrew prophets and their fulfillment in the life and deeds of Yeshua (cf. Acts 2:14-40; 7:2-53; 13:16-40; 2Tim 2:8). See my article The Original Gospel.

to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The angel first emphasizes the personal impact. It's as if the angel says, "Regardless of what others think about you, God thinks highly of you and this good news is for you personally." of great: Grk. megas, adj. joy: Grk. chara (from chairō, "to rejoice") joy as an emotional response because of sharing in a celebration; joy, delight, gladness. The adjective "great" implies there will be no end to the joy.

which: Grk. hostis, relative pronoun. See verse 4 above. will be: Grk. eimi, fut. mid. See verse 4 above. to all: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 1 above. the people: Grk. ho laos, a group of humans, understood geographically or ethnically and in Scripture often viewed in contrast with the ruling class. The definite article emphasizes a particular people. The term corresponds to the Heb. am-ha'aretz, "people of the land," i.e., all the people of Israel.

Any reader of Luke's narrative in the first century might wonder why God would send angels to visit shepherds, given their low position in the social hierarchy. When the shepherds are set in contrast with the magi in Matthew 2, the nativity story emphasizes that the Messiah would be coming for the low and the high, to all those who longed for his appearance. Lastly, given that the flocks were destined as sacrifices, the shepherds essentially worked for the priests and this announcement of good news is consistent with the revelation first given to the priest Zechariah.

Geldenhuys suggests that the simple shepherds were pious men who longed for the coming of the promised Messiah (111). Their eagerness to obey the divine instruction (verse 15) and share the good news (verse 17) sets them in contrast to the corrupt "shepherds of Israel" thirty years later that opposed Yeshua (cf. Ezek 34:1-2) and made every effort to prevent the proclamation of the good news. Moreover, Yeshua the Lamb of God would be sentenced to death by the chief priests who rejected the good news.

11 for a Savior was born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the LORD.

Reference: Isaiah 9:6-7; Micah 5:2.

for: Grk. hoti, conj. used in (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect. The fourth usage applies here. a Savior: Grk. sōtēr, one who liberates from real or threatening harm or loss, savior, deliverer, or benefactor. In the LXX sōtēr translates Heb. yeshu'ah, salvation, deliverance (Deut 32:15), Heb. yesha, salvation (2Sam 22:47), and the participle moshia of the verb yasha, to save, deliver (Jdg 3:9) (DNTT 3:217). In the Tanakh sōtēr also appears to be a technical term for the judge-deliverers (Jdg 3:9, 15; Neh 9:8).

Above all sōtēr is applied to the God of Israel. Often the LXX speaks concretely of "God my Savior" (Ps 25:6; 27:1, 9; 62:2, 6; Isa 12:2) and "God our Savior" (Ps 65:5; 79:9; 95:1). God, as Savior, delivers from things outward, such as enemies (Ex 14:30; 1Sam 4:3; 2Sam 3:18), and things inward, such as sin (Ezek 36:29). He delivers people who are contrite and humble (Ps 34:19). The angels use "Savior" to assert that Yeshua is the deliverer anticipated by Israel. The title builds on the foundation already established in the Tanakh.

was born: Grk. tiktō, aor. pass. See verse 6 above. to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. This event occurred for the shepherds, as well as everyone else in Israel. today: Grk. sēmeron, adv., today. The time reference could allude to the commencement of the Jewish day at sunset (night had fallen in verse 8), but more likely the term alludes to the daylight hours that had ended. I propose that "today" was September 10, 3 BC on the Julian calendar. which corresponds to Tishri 1, 3759, on the Hebrew calendar. (See the Hebrew-Roman Calendar here.) This date is significant for several reasons.

First, in Judea, following Seleucid practice, a new regnal year started in the month of Tishri (Sept-Oct), as was customary for non-Israelite kings (Geldenhuys 134; Steinmann). The Talmud specifies Tishri 1 (the Jewish New Year) as the coronation date (Rosh Hashanah 3a; cf. Neh 1:1; 2:1). Yeshua was King of the Jews; thus Yeshua's reign began when he was born.

Second, the fact that it was "night" (verse 8 above) marked the beginning of the next day by Jewish reckoning, and a significant astronomical event occurred in the heavens that night, September 11, 3 BC, signaling the birth of the Messiah: Jupiter (planet of kings and the Messiah) joined Regulus, chief star in Leo, Royal Planet and Royal Star; the Sun was in Virgo (Virgin Constellation), and the new moon was in the Royal Constellation Leo (Judah). See Ross Olson, Dates of Significant Astronomical Events, Twin Cities Creation Science Association.

Pertinent to the date is that Revelation 12:1-2 depicts the birth of the Messiah when the sun and moon were in Virgo (Setterfield, The Christmas Star, Technical Notes). Nothing of this magnitude occurred in 5 BC, the traditional date given by commentators for the nativity. Third, Tishri 1 was Rosh Chodesh, New Moon, which began each lunar month on the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Chodesh symbolizes renewal and restoration. Just as the moon wanes and disappears at the end of the month, but returns and waxes again to fullness, so Jews began each month with the hope of the coming of the Messiah who would restore the glory of God to the earth.

Fourth, Tishri 1 was celebrated as Yom Teru’ah ("Day of Shouting"), commonly known as the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:23-25; Num 29:1-6). The Heb. word teru'ah does not mean "trumpet," but a vocal shout or blast of war, alarm or joy. Verse 13 below describes the vocal praise of angels celebrating the birth of the Messiah King. Fifth, by Torah instruction, Yom Teru'ah begins a ten day period of sincere humbling and repentance to prepare for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on Tishri 10. The testimony of the shepherds in verse 20 would imply a call to repentance as Yochanan the Immerser would later do to prepare the way for Yeshua. The month of Tishri signifies that Yeshua was born to become an atoning sacrifice.

Sixth, Yom Kippur is followed by Sukkot on Tishri 15, a festival in which Jews dwelled in booths or tents for seven days as a reminder of their dependence on God and His gracious providence toward the people of Israel (Lev 23:42-43). (See my comment on Yeshua's attendance at Sukkot in John 7.) This festival, coming as it were on the heels of Yeshua's birth, aptly symbolized Yeshua coming to dwell among his people as declared in John 1:14 that "The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us" (TLV).

in: Grk. en, prep. the city: Grk. polis. See verse 3 above. of David: See verse 4 above. who: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to specify or give significance to the mention of a person, thing or concept that precedes; who, which, what, that. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 4 above. Messiah: Grk. Christos (from chriō, "to anoint with olive oil"), the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer, the Anointed One or Messiah. Christos is a royal title, not a last name. Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to translate Heb. Mashiach (SH-4899), "Anointed One," and in the Tanakh Mashiach is used for the Messiah (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26).

Jewish anticipation of the Messiah was grounded in the future hope expressed by the Hebrew prophets of one who would come to deliver and rule as God's anointed king. The English "Christ" transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it. In Greek culture christos had no religious connotation at all, but the LXX usage infused new meaning into the Greek word (DNTT 2:334). For a complete review of all that is written in the Tanakh predicting the Messiah see my article The Messiah.

the LORD: Grk. kurios. See verse 9 above. The angel probably intended ADONAI (Heb. YHVH). See the Textual Note below. The principal title used for Yeshua in the Besekh is "Lord." In the apostolic narratives Yeshua is referred to as "Lord" by his disciples and others four times more than any other title. The angels announced that the Messiah would be kurios. The syntax is curious, but not accidental. It could be a play on words in the sense that just as Yeshua is the deliverer who will sit on David's throne (Luke 1:32), so he will reign over the nation of Israel with absolute authority. Yet, the reference also hints that Yeshua is YHVH, the God revealed to Moses, indwelling human flesh.

The angel essentially announced the fulfillment of two important Messianic prophecies which declare the identity of the Messiah and the location of his birth:

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and bear a son, and will call his name Immanuel." (Isa 7:14 BR)

"6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; and the government will be upon his shoulder, … 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time forward and even forever. The zeal of YHVH-Tzva’ot will do this." (Isa 9:6-7 BR)

"But you, Bethlehem in Ephrath, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet from you will come forth to Me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose going forth is from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2 BR)

Textual Note: Messiah-Lord

Metzger notes that the combination of Christos Kurios (nominative case) occurs nowhere else in the Besekh and seems to be deliberately chosen, whereas Christou Kuriou (genitive case) occurs frequently (e.g. Rom 1:4; 5:21; 7:25). In the LXX the combination Christos Kurios occurs only in Lamentations 4:20, translating Mashiach-YHVH (MT). In that passage the Anointed of YHVH suffers with His people.

12 And this is the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger."

Reference: Isaiah 7:14.

And: Grk. kai, conj. this is: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse two above. the sign: Grk. ho sēmeion usually refers to an extraordinary phenomenon, a portent or a miracle (Mounce). All those elements apply to the virgin birth. In the apostolic narratives the noun is often used to attest the identity or authority of Yeshua as the Messiah (Matt 12:38; 16:1; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 23:8; John 2:11, 18; 4:54; 6:14; 12:18; 20:30f). In the LXX sēmeion occurs 177 times and primarily translates Heb. oth, sign, mark, token, miraculous sign or miracle, first in Genesis 1:14 (DNTT 2:626).

Most of the usages of "sign" in the Tanakh are related to extraordinary acts that only the Creator could perform, especially the many miracles for Israel's benefit (Ex 7:3, 8; 10:1; Num 17:25; Deut 4:34; 7:19; 11:3; 26:8; Josh 24:17; Jdg 6:17; 2Kgs 20:9; Acts 7:36). Heb. oth often referred to signs, omens or miracles promised by prophets as pledges of certain predicted events or as pledges or attestations of divine presence and intervention in the affairs of men (BDB 16). "Sign" is also a visible manifestation of God’s grace and favor, such as the rainbow, circumcision and the Sabbath are covenantal signs (Gen 9:12f, 17; 17:11; Ex 31:13, 17; Ezek 20:12).

to you: Grk. humeis, pl. pronoun of the second person. The plural pronoun refers to the Jewish shepherds, but by extension includes all the people of Israel. For the angel to say "this is the sign" is significant, since he could have just given exact directions. Therefore, in this context the term "sign" has two levels of meaning. First, in a city crowded with pilgrims who had come for the census the shepherds would need a physical clue to identify the location of the baby. There would likely be more than one baby in the city. Second, the use of "sign" points to fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of a miracle birth given by Isaiah:

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign [Heb. oth; LXX sēmeion]. Behold, the virgin will become pregnant and bear a son, and will call his name Immanuel." (Isa 7:14 BR)

You will find: Grk. heuriskō, fut., 2p-pl., to come upon by seeking; find, discover. a baby: Grk. brephos may refer to either an unborn offspring, a newborn baby or a very young infant. wrapped in swaddling cloth: Grk. sparganoō, perf. pass. part. See verse 7 above. Again, the verb is singular but most versions translate it as plural. and: Grk. kai. lying: Grk. keimai, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) be in a set position, used of a person in a recumbent position or an object resting on a surface; or (2) metaphorically to be set in a position by God's intent. The first meaning applies here.

in: Grk. en, prep. a manger: Grk. phatnē. See verse 7 above. The fact of "lying in" suggests a specific item in the enclosure, a feeding trough or crib. The would likely not be many such enclosures in Bethlehem. The combination of a newborn baby's swaddling cloth and the use of the manger for a bed would be a distinctive "sign" (Liefeld). While not mentioned it is likely the angel gave precise directions to find the manger.

13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

And: Grk. kai, conj. suddenly: Grk. exaiphnēs, adv., suddenly or at once, a word that often describes the unexpected nature of God's sovereign intervention in the affairs of men, especially the eschatological events (Mark 12:36; Acts 2:2; 9:3; 1Th 5:3). there appeared: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 1 above. with: Grk. sun ("soon"), prep., used to denote association or close identification. the angel: Grk. ho aggelos. See verse 9 above. a multitude: Grk. plēthos, a relative large number of any kind, multitude or crowd. of the heavenly: Grk. ouranois, adj. relating to a transcendent realm, heavenly, that is from heaven, the location of God.

host: Grk. stratia, a formation of entities on a large scale here collectively of celestial beings viewed as an army. The angels were likely high up in the air. Yeshua would later say that he had more than twelve legions of angels he could call upon (Matt 26:53). A Roman legion was 6,000 men. Even one legion could probably count as a "host" as far as the shepherds could see. The heavenly host mentioned here included significant numbers and no doubt filled the sky. The sudden appearance could mean the heavenly host was present all along but only revealed themselves after the chief angel finished his prophetic declaration.

praising: Grk. aineō, pres. part., to give recognition for extraordinary performance, to praise, to extol or celebrate. The verb is used in Jewish literature of only praise of God (BAG). God: Grk. theos, properly, God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator and owner of all things (Gen 1:1; John 1:1-3). In the LXX theos translates Hebrew words for God, El, Eloah, and Elohim, as well as the sacred name YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). YHVH is the one only and true God, the God of Israel. In Hebrew thought the plural form of Elohim represents fullness, which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9).

God is a Person, not a philosophical construct for monotheism. The God of Israel is the only God there is. The deities of all other religions and cults are the product of Satan-inspired imagination. All the angelic praise was directed to the sovereign God for His outworking of His plan of redemption. See my comment on John 1:1.

and: Grk. kai. saying: Grk. legō, pres. part. See verse 10 above. The Greek verb here functions as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. The brief declaration of the angels is directed first to the residents of heaven and then to the inhabitants of the earth.

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace with people of His favor."

Reference: Psalm 148:1-2.

Glory: Grk. doxa. See verse 9 above. to God: Grk. theos. See the previous verse. "Glory to God" reflects Hebrew idiomatic language that someone deserves respect, attention and obedience and as an act of praise to acknowledge sovereignty. Because of His absolute holiness and the beauty of his appearance God is the only One truly worthy of honor. in: Grk. en, prep., used here to mark location. the highest: pl. of Grk. hupsistos, adj., a superlative that means being positioned at the uttermost upward point in position or status, and here is probably a euphemism for the third heaven, the location of God's throne (cf. 2Cor 12:2).

Blessing and praising God is a primary activity of angels (Job 38:7; Rev 5:11-14). Angels are exhorted to "shout for joy" at what God has done for His people (Isa 44:23; 49:13), but the opening declaration probably fulfills the call of a psalmist for angels to bless ADONAI:

"Hallelujah! Praise ADONAI from the heavens! Praise Him in the heights! 2 Praise Him all His angels! Praise Him all His hosts." (Ps 148:1-2 BR)

and: Grk. kai, conj. on: Grk. epi, prep. earth: Grk. can mean (1) soil or earth receiving seed or the ground, (2) land as contrasted with the sea; (3) the earth in contrast to the heavens or heaven; or (4) the inhabited globe, people, humanity (BAG). The fourth meaning applies here. The LXX uses to translate the Heb. erets (DNTT 1:517). In the Tanakh erets has the same range of meaning as , but especially (a) the earth in a cosmological sense, or (b) "the land" in the sense of a specific territorial area, primarily the Land of Israel (BDB 75).

peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may denote a state of harmony or a state of well-being. In the LXX eirēnē translates Heb. shalom, peace and friendship in human relations, first in Genesis 15:15. Shalom has a broad range of meaning, including (1) personal welfare, health and prosperity; (2) security and tranquility in the community; (3) peace from war; and (4) peace with God especially in covenant relation. Shalom is a characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor.

with: Grk. en, prep. See verse 1 above. The preposition is used here to mark association or relation to God. people: pl. of Grk. anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX anthrōpos translates three Hebrew words: (1) adam (Gen 1:26); (2) ish (Gen 2:24) and (3) enosh (Ps 8:4), which are generally used for a human male, husband, or mankind (DNTT 2:564). The plural noun has a collective application and thus a number of versions translate the noun as "people" (CJB, CSB, ISV, LEB, NASB, NCV, NET, WE).

of His favor: Grk. eudokia, consideration of what is good and therefore worthy of choice; desire, favor, good pleasure, good will. The term refers to people who are the recipients of God's good will and favor (Plummer). In the LXX eudokia occurs 25 times (only in Psalms, Song of Solomon, 1Chronicles and Sirach) generally without Hebrew equivalent but 8 times translates Heb. ratson, goodwill, favor, grace. The term is specially used of the favor with which God regards His chosen people (Ps 5:12; 19:14; 51:18; 69:13; 89:17; 145:13). Sirach in particular displays the tendency to use eudokia to render ratson, in order to describe God's good pleasure, His gracious will, divine purpose and election (e.g. Sir. 1:27; 11:17; 15:15; 33:13; 36:13; 39:18).

The Dead Sea Scrolls also speak of "all the sons of His [God's] good pleasure (1QH 4:33; 11:9) or of "the elect of the divine good pleasure" (1QS 8:6). Indeed among the Essenes "good pleasure" was a term of electing and predestinarian thought. It is then not a matter of the good will of men, but of the men whom God has elected, specifically the members of the Qumran community (DNTT 2:818). Metzger concurs saying that the expression employed by the Qumran hymns confirms that Luke uses a genuine Semitic construction.

The genitive case of eudokia is an objective genitive, which denotes receiving the action. Almost all versions translate the noun to reflect the favor, good will or pleasure of God. Therefore the angels are not offering a wish prayer that all men on earth would get along or asserting that divine peace can only be bestowed where human good will is already present. Rather, God, in Yeshua, is unilaterally offering peace and grace to those whom He has chosen and on whom His favor rests; i.e., those who fear Him (cf. Ps 147:11; Sir. 2:16; 11:17; Luke 1:50; Acts 10:34-35). It is through the Savior that we can have peace with God.

Textual Note: Eudokia

The Textus Receptus has the nominative case of eudokia and thus the KJV translates the last clause as "good will toward men." However, the genitive case is supported by the earliest and best manuscripts, including Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, and the Vulgate, as well as Irenaeus (202), Origen (254), Athanasius (373), Augustine (430) and Cyril-Jerusalem (386) (GNT 207).

Witness of the Shepherds, 2:15-20

15 And it came to pass as the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds were saying to one another, "Indeed let us go straight to Bethlehem and let us see this thing that has occurred which the Lord has made known to us."

And: Grk. kai, conj. it came to pass: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 1 above. as: Grk. hōs, adv., adv. that connects narrative components and used here in a temporal sense; as, when, after. The phrase "And it came to pass," is a common Hebraic idiom in Luke's account. the angels: pl. of Grk. ho angelos. See verse 9 above. departed: Grk. aperchomai, aor., to be in movement from a position with or without mention of a destination, to go away, depart or leave. In verse 13 the sky was filled with a multitude of angels, no doubt an awesome spectacle. Now they simply disappeared from sight.

from: Grk. apo, prep. generally used to denote separation, but here indicates a place of origin; from. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. into: Grk. eis, prep. heaven: Grk. ouranos refers to the area above the earth that encompasses three "heavens:" first, the atmosphere (Matt 6:26); second, interstellar space (Matt 24:29); and third, the transcendent dwelling-place of God (Matt 6:9). In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. hashamayim (lit. "the heavens”), which has the same range of meaning (Ps 148:1-4) (DNTT 2:191). Here the third heaven is in view.

the shepherds: pl. of Grk. ho poimēn. See verse 8 above. were saying: Grk. laleō, impf., to exercise the faculty of speech in order to make an oral statement; declare, say, speak, talk about, utter. to: Grk. pros, prep. used to denote proximity or motion; to, toward, with. Here the preposition emphasizes being in company with another and speaking face to face. one another: Grk. allēlōn, reciprocal pronoun; each other, one another. The shepherds wasted no time. They gathered together facing one another and began to discuss how to respond.

Indeed: Grk. , disjunctive particle; so, then, indeed, truly. Nicoll says is a highly emotional particle, and can hardly be expressed in English. HELPS notes that the particle is often not even translated even though it dramatically gives precision and emphasis to a statement. let us go: Grk. dierchomai, aor. subj., 1p-pl., to move within an area from one area to another, to go through or to come. The subjunctive mood is hortatory. straight to: Grk. heōs, adv. marking a limit and a point of termination; as far as, up to, even to, to. The adverb implies a deliberative purpose to head in a straight line direction without deviation.

Bethlehem: Grk. Bēthleem. See verse 4 above. Bethlehem was no doubt within a reasonable distance, and the shepherds were not going to wander all over the region in their search. and: Grk. kai. let us see: Grk. horaō, aor. subj., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience extraordinary mental or inward perception. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. thing: Grk. rhēma, a communication consisting of words, often with the implication of importance or special significance. In the LXX rhēma translates Heb. dabar, which means "word" or "thing" (DNTT 3:1119f). Thus, rhēma means "the thing of which the angels spoke."

that: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a relative pronoun. has occurred: Grk. ginomai, perf. part. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See verse 11 above. the Lord: Grk. ho kurios. See verse 9 above. The shepherds give proper credit to God as the originator of the angelic revelation. has made known: Grk. gnorizō, aor., to share information about something, to make known or inform about. to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Perhaps the personal reference has an aspect of awe that God would give such a significant revelation to shepherds.

While the angel did not explicitly tell the shepherds to go and seek the baby, the commission is implied by the declaration that the sign was for them. The shepherds clearly believed the angelic revelation and agreed among themselves that they must find the promised Savior. There is no implication that all the shepherds departed and abandoned the sheep, but at least two went. Upon the initial party returning the rest of the shepherds could have gone to the nativity nursery.

16 And they came, having hurried, and found both Miriam and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.

And: Grk. kai, conj. they came: Grk. erchomai, aor., 3p-pl., to come or arrive' with focus on a position from which action or movement takes place. having hurried: Grk. speudō, aor. pass., may mean (1) proceed with haste, of persons in rapid movement; or (2) cause to arrive earlier; hurry up. The first meaning applies here. and: Grk. kai. found: Grk. aneuriskō, aor., 3p-pl., come upon by looking here and there; locate, find. both: Grk. te, conj. used to connect an idea closely to another, used here in combination with kai that follows; also, likewise, both, at the same time. Here the conjunction denotes being together.

Miriam: Grk. hē Mariam. See verse 5 above. The definite article carries the emphasis "the one called." and: Grk. kai. Joseph: Grk. ho Iōsēph. See verse 4 above. and: Grk. kai. the baby: Grk. ho brephos. See verse 12 above. lying: Grk. keimai, pres. pass. part. See verse 12 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the manger: Grk. ho phatnē. See verse 7 above.

The shepherds fulfilled their heavenly commission and hurried to Bethlehem to locate the newborn babe. After a diligent search the shepherds found the child as the angels had said. The holy family must have been surprised by the visitors, but the experience and visitation of the shepherds would become part of Miriam's narrative on which Luke relied. We could imagine a period of excited discussion, a number of questions being asked and the joyful parents sharing their story.

17 Now having seen, they made known concerning the word having been spoken to them concerning this child.

Reference: Psalm 40:10.

Now: Grk. de, conj. having seen: Grk. horaō, aor. part. See verse 15 above. Luke gives no indication of how long the meeting lasted, but the shepherds stayed long enough to satisfy their curiosity. they made known: Grk. gnōrizō, aor., 3p-pl., may mean (1) to share information about something; make known, inform about; or (2) come to a decision about a matter; know. The first meaning applies here and the aorist tense points to a completed activity. The shepherds became the first witnesses of the good news that a Savior had been born.

concerning: Grk. peri, prep. with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; in behalf of, about, concerning. the word: Grk. ho rhēma. See verse 8 above. having been spoken: Grk. laleō, aor. pass. part. See verse 15 above. to them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. concerning: Grk. peri. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. child: Grk. ho paidion, a child of indeterminate age from new-born to youth, normally pre-puberty. Mention of "the word" alludes to the information received from the angels and its fulfillment by the personal visit of the shepherds. Their testimony reflects the words of Psalm 40:

"I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your covenant faithfulness and Your truth from the great assembly." (Ps 40:10 BR)

The shepherds had quite a story to tell and they shared it with their friends, relatives and members of the local community. It's also conceivable that they shared their experience with religious leaders in the area. Now would begin a period of hopeful waiting to see how events developed. It's reasonable to suppose that some of the shepherds lived long enough to witness the adult ministry of Yeshua.

18 And all the ones having heard marveled concerning the things having been spoken by the shepherds to them.

And: Grk. kai, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. the ones: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. having heard: Grk. akouō, aor. part., to hear aurally with comprehension, often with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said. In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend, but also to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (DNTT 2:173). The verb implies a willing and interested audience. marveled: Grk. thaumazō, aor., to be extraordinarily impressed; amazed, astonished, marveled, surprised, wondered at. concerning: Grk. peri, prep.

the things: neut. pl. of Grk. ho. having been spoken: Grk. laleō, aor. pass. part. See verse 15 above. The verbal phrase refers to the report of the angelic visitation and revelation followed by the personal confirmation. by: Grk. hupo, prep. denoting position, lit. "under," but used here to express agency. the shepherds: Grk. poimēn, masc. pl. See verse 8 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 15 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. With multiple witnesses there didn't seem to be any unbelief among those who heard. They probably wished they had been there to share it. They were excited about the messianic message and may well have gone to pay their respects to the new family.

19 But Miriam was treasuring all these matters, pondering them in her heart.

But: Grk. de, conj. See verse 1 above. The conjunction is used here to note a contrast with the actions of the shepherds in the previous two verses. Miriam: Grk. hē Mariam. See verse 5 above. was treasuring: Grk. suntēreō, impf., may mean (1) keep safe from damage or loss; preserve, guard, keep safe; or (2) be careful about retaining information; keep in mind, treasure. The second meaning applies here. "Treasuring" implies replaying the memory of all that had happened and this would have the effect of preserving the history for later sharing. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. matters: pl. of Grk. rhēma. See verse 15 above.

pondering them: Grk. sumballō (from sun, "with," and ballō, "to bring together"), pres. part., to unite or throw together, here meaning to bring together in one's mind or confer with oneself; consider, ponder (Thayer). in: Grk. en, prep. her: fem. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. heart: Grk. kardia, the pumplike organ of blood circulation vital to physical being, but used here metaphorically of selfhood or the combination of character, emotion, intelligence and the will. In the LXX kardia renders Heb. lebab (first in Gen 20:5), inner man or soul, comprehending mind, affections and will (DNTT 2:181).

In contrast to the shepherds Miriam apparently didn't talk much about her experience. She was a woman of humility and discretion. One can easily imagine that Miriam's thoughts would return repeatedly to the events of Gabriel's initial visit and revelation, her visit with Elizabeth, her moving in with Joseph, the required travel to Bethlehem, and her son's birth in a cave. She would probably wonder how it would all turn out.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all which they had heard and seen, just as it was spoken to them.

And: Grk. kai, conj. the shepherds: pl. of Grk. ho poimēn. See verse 8 above. returned: Grk. hupostrephō, aor., 3p-pl., to go back to a position, to return. The shepherds headed back to their job in the fields. glorifying: Grk. doxazō (from doxa, "glory"), pres. part., enhance esteem or reputation through word (of praise) or action to honor. In the LXX doxazō translates Heb. navah, to beautify, adorn with praises (Ex 15:2), but principally kabad, to be weighty, to be honored or praised (Lev 10:3; Ps 15:4). and: Grk. kai. praising: Grk. aineō, pres. part. See verse 13 above. God: Grk. ho theos, the God of Israel. See verse 13 above.

for: Grk. epi, prep. The preposition expresses purpose here. all: pl. Grk. pas, adj. which: pl. Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See verse 11 above. they had heard: Grk. akouō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 18 above. The verb alludes to what had been heard from the angels and from Yeshua's parents. and: Grk. kai. seen: Grk. horaō, aor. See verse 15 above. The verb encompasses what had been seen in the fields and in Bethlehem. just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. emphasizing similarity, conformity, proportion or manner; as, just as. it was spoken: Grk. laleō, aor. pass. See verse 15 above. to them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun.

The ebullient attitude of the shepherds reflects a perspective that the future was bright with promise. The praise of the shepherds may echo the joy expressed by the shepherd David: "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You. Let those who love Your salvation continually say: 'ADONAI be magnified!'" (Ps 40:16 TLV).

Date: September 17, 3 B.C.

Brit Milah and Pidyon Ha-Ben, 2:21-24

21 And when eight days were completed to circumcise him, also his name was called Yeshua, which he had been called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Reference: Leviticus 12:1-3.

And: Grk. kai, conj. when: Grk. hote, temporal adv., when, at which time. eight: pl. of Grk. oktō, adj., the numeral eight. days: Grk. hēmera, fem. pl. See verse 1 above. The eighth day from birth with the day of birth counted as day 1. were completed: Grk. pimplēmi, aor. pass., 3p-pl. See verse 6 above. to circumcise: Grk. peritemnō, aor. inf., the act of surgically removing the male foreskin by a knife. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Circumcision is commanded by God to be performed on this day (Lev 12:3), but the rationale is not explained.

Lightfoot notes that the Torah instruction stipulates that when a woman brings forth a male child she is considered unclean for seven days as if she were menstruating (Lev 12:2). Since the baby would remain with the mother the circumcision is deferred for the period of this uncleanness. Then, at the coming of the evening which begins the eighth day, having washed and become clean, her husband may perform the required circumcision.

There is another reason for delaying circumcision to the eighth day. Modern medical researchers discovered that the two main blood clotting factors, Vitamin K and Prothrombim, reach their highest level in life, about 110% of normal, on the eighth day after birth. These blood clotting agents facilitate rapid healing and greatly reduce the chance of infection. In modern practice any circumcision done earlier requires an injection of Vitamin K supplement.

B'rit Milah ("covenant of circumcision") was the sign of belonging to the seed of Abraham and the chosen people (Gen 17:10-14; Lev 12:3). Along with it came all the promises given to Abraham. Failure to perform circumcision would result in being "cut off" from one's people (Gen 17:14). Luke's narrative is silent on the matter of whether Joseph, Miriam and Yeshua were still in the cave on the eighth day, or perhaps had succeeded in having a space in the inn or even in a home of a relative.

There is also no mention of whether the circumcision was accomplished in the context of a celebration as occurred for Yochanan the Immerser (Luke 1:57-59). By custom the infant's father is responsible to perform the commanded circumcision (Gen 17:23; 21:4) and Joseph probably carried out the surgery himself. The circumcision anecdote is an important part of the total narrative that emphasizes the Jewishness of Yeshua.

also: Grk. kai. The conjunction emphasizes that the naming occurred during the circumcision ceremony. his: Grk. autos. name: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. Declaring the name of a male child was normally coincidental with circumcision. was called: Grk. kaleō, aor. pass. See verse 4 above. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, perhaps "yay-soos," is an attempt to replicate the pronunciation of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). The Greek spelling ends with a sigma ("ς") because an ending with alpha ("α") would make the name feminine.

Luke does not explain the name's meaning as Matthew does (Matt 1:21). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH is salvation" (BDB 221). Yeshua has the same Hebrew root as the verb yoshia ("He will save") and is also the masculine form of the Hebrew noun yeshu‘ah, ("salvation") (Stern 4). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?

which: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a relative pronoun. he had been called: Grk. kaleō, aor. pass. part. by: Grk. hupo, prep. the angel: Grk. ho aggelos. See verse 9 above. Gabriel had informed first Miriam (Luke 1:31) and then Joseph (Matt 1:21) that regardless of any naming convention followed in their clan her son's name had already been determined in Heaven.

before: Grk. pro, prep. used to indicate precedence or a time earlier than; ahead, before. he was conceived: Grk. sullambanō (from sun, "with" and lambanō, "to take"), aor. pass. inf., lit. "to take possession of by capture," here used as a medical term meaning to conceive. Conception, of course, happens when sperm fertilizes an egg in the fallopian tube. The Holy Spirit "captured" Miriam's body as the angel prophesied and performed the fertilization (Luke 1:35). in: Grk. en, prep. the womb: Grk. ho koilia, the abdomen and here the female reproductive organ.

Date: October 20, 3 B.C.

22 And when the days of their purification were completed according to the law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem to present to the Lord.

Reference: Leviticus 12:3, 6.

And: Grk. kai, conj. when: Grk. hote, adv. the days: pl. of Grk. ho hēmera. See verse 1 above. The Hebraic idiomatic expression stresses the counting of days as required by Torah. of their: pl. Grk. autos, personal pronoun. purification: Grk. ho katharismos (from katharízō, "to purge"), a cleansing or purification, here of a religious requirement. Relevant to Luke's narrative is that in the LXX katharismos translates Heb. tahorah, cleansing or purifying to remove uncleanness (Lev 12:4; 14:32; 15:13). The phrase "their purification" does not mean that Joseph had become unclean.

The couple could not engage in intimate relations during the time of Miriam's uncleanness (Lev 15:24; 18:19; 20:18). This is another detail of Luke's narrative that rebuts the Catholic doctrine of perpetual virginity. At the end of the 40 days Joseph and Miriam could (and did) become intimate. From a biblical point of view restricting physical intimacy during menstruation or after birthing demonstrates a husband's respect for his wife's needs. The practice also affords greater success with conceiving a baby, since relations are resumed at a time when the wife is usually ovulating.

were completed: Grk. pimplēmi, aor. pass. See verse 6 above. The first part of the verse alludes to the fact that Miriam was considered unclean after giving birth.

"2 If a woman has conceived and borne a male, then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstrual impurity, she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 Then she shall continue thirty and three days in the blood of her purification. She shall not touch any holy thing nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled." (Lev 12:2-4 BR)

The law concerning motherhood is straightforward. The uncleanness of giving birth is comparable to the uncleanness of menstruation in that the woman was restricted from contact with other people and she was unable to visit the sanctuary (cf. Lev 15:19-24). In the Torah most cases of uncleanness were resolved by washing (e.g. Lev 11:25; 13:6; 14:8; Lev 15:5-8, 21-22; 16:26; 17:15). For the uncleanness attributed to menstruation, the passage of time is the only factor of the woman returning to the clean status. However, removing the uncleanness relating to childbirth required a sacrifice, as specified in the next two verses.

Samuel Safrai says that in addition to sacrifice it was also customary for women to bathe in a mikveh to mark the transition from uncleanness to the state of purification. A mother could postpone the prescribed sacrifice after the birth of a son; however, she could not postpone the ritual immersion. Therefore, she would bathe in a local mikveh, in this case Bethlehem. It was not necessary for a woman to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem for the immersion. The origin of the mikveh is unknown, but its use was well-established in Jewish society by the time of Yeshua. Immersion as part of a woman's purification was also practiced by Essenes and Samaritans.

according to: Grk. kata, prep., generally used to signify (1) direction, 'against, down;' (2) position, 'down, upon, in;' or (3) relation, 'according to, in reference to.' The third meaning applies here denoting conformity to a standard (Thayer). The preposition introduces the basis for the action described in the rest of the verse. the Torah: Grk. ho nomos may mean either (1) a principle or standard relating to behavior or (2) codified legislation, i.e. law. In the LXX nomos translates torah, but in the Tanakh torah refers primarily to commandments, statutes and ordinances decreed by God and given to Israel through Moses.

Torah sets forth the way a person is meant to live in an ethical and moral way in order to enjoy life to the full and to please God. In the Besekh nomos can refer to (1) specific commandments given to Israel (Matt 12:5), (2) that plus the entire Pentateuch (John 1:45), (3) that plus the Prophets (Matt 5:17), (4) that plus the Writings (Luke 24:24), (5) as a synonym for Scripture (Matt 5:18), and (6) universal principles derived from Scripture (Matt 22:36-40; 23:23). In the apostolic narratives nomos refers primarily to the written words of the Tanakh. Luke identifies the source of the law or rule applicable to this situation.

of Moses: Grk. Mōusēs transliterates Heb. Mosheh, the son of Amram and Jochebed of the tribe of Levi (Ex 6:20; Num 26:59). The name Moses may be derived from Egyptian mes meaning "child" or "son" (BDB 602), since the daughter of Pharaoh named him (Ex 2:10). She explained the chosen name by saying, "Because I drew [Heb. mashah, "to draw"] him out of the water." Josephus offers a slightly different account of the naming:

"Hereupon it was that Thermuthis [the daughter of Pharaoh] imposed this name Mouses upon him, from what had happened when he was put into the river; for the Egyptians call water by the name of Mo, and such as are saved out of it, by the name of Uses: so by putting these two words together, they imposed this name upon him." (Ant. II, 9:5)

The story of Moses is found in the extensive narratives from Exodus 1:1 through Deuteronomy 34:1. His life of 120 years can be divided into three 40-year periods, the first being his birth and early life in Egypt (c. 1525−1485 B.C.; Ex 2:11; Acts 7:23), the second his years in Midian (c. 1485−1445 B.C.; Ex 7:7; Acts 7:30), and the third from the Exodus from Egypt through the years spent in the wilderness until his death (c. 1445−1405 B.C.; Ex 16:35; Deut 34:7; Acts 7:36).

Moses was the leader of the Israelites in their journey from Egypt through the wilderness to the Jordan River. Most importantly Moses served as God's spokesman to facilitate the beginning of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. Through Moses God communicated His instructions to Israel. Moses was a heroic leader of the people and a devout man of God. For a summary and analysis of his life and deeds see my article Moses, Servant of God.

The genitive case of Mōusēs is an objective genitive, which emphasizes that Moses received the commandments, laws and statutes from God (Ex 35:29; Lev 8:36; 10:11; 26:46; Num 4:37; 26:13). Moses did not invent any of the laws recorded in the Torah. The phrase "Torah of Moses" also affirms the authorship of the first five books of the Bible (Ex 24:4; Deut 31:9; Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 15:21).

they brought: Grk. anagō, aor., 3p-pl., to conduct from a lower place to a higher, to lead or bring up. The verb alludes to going from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. him: Grk. autos. to: Grk. eis, prep. The new parents of the Messiah traveled from Bethlehem. Jerusalem: Grk. Hierosoluma, a rough transliteration of Heb. Yerushalayim (SH-3389), which means "possession" or "foundation of peace" (BDB 436). Hierosoluma is one of two forms of "Jerusalem" in Greek, the other Ierousalēm. See the note on "Jerusalem" and the two spellings in my comment on Acts 1:4.

What a precious name is Jerusalem! The city is situated some 2500 feet above sea level and eighteen miles west of the northern end of the Dead Sea, is renowned as the capital of all Israel, afterwards of the Kingdom of Judah and the seat of central worship in the temple. The city was taken possession of by David as King (2Sam 5:6) and named in connection with him (2Sam 17:54), the City of David. By the end of David's reign the city had expanded to cover seven mountains: Mount Zion, Mount Ophel, Mount Moriah, Mount Bezetha, Mount Acra, Mount Gareb, and Mount Goath (Neil 289).

For the faithful Jew the city of Jerusalem represented all that was dear in the covenant relationship with God. David spoke of Jerusalem "as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord" (Ps 122:3–4 ESV). Another psalmist expressed his affection thus, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy" (Ps 137:5–6 NASB).

Jerusalem is the city God favors above all other cities and the focus of his covenantal faithfulness (Ps 135:21; 147:2; Ezek 5:5; Zech 2:8). Jerusalem was the center of Jewish worship (Deut 16:16; John 4:20; Acts 8:27; 24:11), but it figured prominently in Messianic expectation (Isa 59:20; 62:11; Zech 9:9). Jerusalem is the "city of the great king" (Matt 5:35). It was also the city from which the message of God's salvation would go forth (Isa 2:3; 40:9; 41:27; Mic 4:2). In the millennial kingdom Jerusalem will be the capital and center of the Messiah's government (Zech 14:16; Rev 20:9).

to present: Grk. paristēmi, aor. inf., to place beside, to present, so as to be in the presence of another. to the Lord: Grk. ho kurios. See verse 9 above. The mention of "Lord" here represents God as a property owner. The Temple in Jerusalem was the place God dwelled among His people. Having faithfully observed the law of purification Joseph and Miriam next formally demonstrated their commitment to the divine purpose for Yeshua's life, as well as satisfying two specific Torah requirements.

Assuming the birth took place on Tishri 1 (Sept. 10th) of 3 BC, then 40 days would conclude on Heshvan 10 (Oct. 19th). Since Heshvan 10 was a Sabbath and travel was prohibited, the parents probably brought Yeshua to the Temple on the first day of the week, Heshvan 11 (Oct. 20th).

23 Just as it is written in the Torah of ADONAI that, "Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to ADONAI."

Reference: Exodus 13:2, 12-13; 22:29; 34:20; Numbers 18:15.

Just as: Grk. kathōs, adv. it is written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass., to write or inscribe a document, with focus on the physical act of writing, as well as the expression of thought. The phrase "it is written" is the standard formula in the Besekh for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, followed by a quote from the Tanakh. Christian theologies have different theories of biblical inspiration but for authors of the Besekh it was a simple matter that God spoke and man wrote (e.g., Ex 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num 33:2; 36:5; Deut 30:10; 2 Pet 1:20-21).

in: Grk. en, prep. the Torah: Grk. nomos. See the previous verse. of ADONAI: Grk. kurios. See verse 9 above. Here kurios stands for ADONAI (Heb. YHVH). The phrase "law of ADONAI" is an expression found often in the Tanakh to refer to one or more of the commandments, laws and statutes given by God to Israel (e.g. Ex 13:9; Lev 26:46; Num 19:2; 31:21; 2Kgs 10:31). Functioning as a synonym for "law of Moses" the expression emphasizes the divine inspiration and authority of the commandment that follows. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. The conjunction is used here to introduce the law specified in Exodus 13, which reads,

LXX: "Sanctify to me every firstborn, firstborn of its kind, opening every womb among the sons of Israel, from man unto beast, it is mine." (Ex 13:2 BR)

MT "Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, opening every womb among the sons of Israel, of man and beast, it is Mine." (Ex 13:2 BR)

LXX: "You shall set apart all opening the womb, the males [pl. of Grk. arsēn] to the Lord." (Ex 13:12 BR)

MT: "You shall set apart all that open the womb, every firstborn." (Ex 13:12 BR)

Every: Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. The adjective doesn't leave any out. male: Grk. arsēn, biological male as distinguished from biological female. Many versions insert "firstborn" before "male," although Luke does not use the Greek word for "firstborn" (prototokos) here. The use of arsēn is drawn from the LXX of Exodus 13:12. opening: Grk. dianoigō, pres. part., to open up, from dia ("through") and anoigō, "open." The verb graphically describes the movement of the fully developed baby through the birth canal. In the LXX of Exodus 13:2 and 12 dianoigō translates Heb. peter, that which separates or first opens.

the womb: Grk. mētra, the womb, and in anatomical terms the uterus of a woman. will be called: Grk. kaleō, fut. pass. See verse 4 above. holy: Grk. hagios has two distinctive uses in Scripture: (1) as an adj. of things or persons dedicated to God; and (2) as a pure substantive, what is holy (BAG). In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadosh, which means separate, sacred, holy. However, Luke chose to use this verbal phrase to translate the injunction of Exodus 13:2 to "sanctify" (Heb. qadash, to set apart, consecrate, sanctify) the firstborn.

to ADONAI: Grk. ho kurios. To be holy to the Lord is to be wholly His. The expression "holy to ADONAI" is used primarily in reference to sacred objects and sacrificial offerings (Ex 28:36; 30:10), but also to people (Lev 27:28; Num 6:8) and sons. God further stipulated that the sanctifying of the firstborn males also involved redemption:

"12 you shall set apart all that open the womb to ADONAI, every firstborn … the males belong to ADONAI. 13 Every firstborn male among your sons you shall redeem" (Ex 13:12-13 BR).

"15 The first offspring of the womb from all flesh, whether human or animal, offered to ADONAI, is yours. However, you are to redeem the firstborn of man and the firstborn of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you are to redeem them at the redemption price of five shekels of silver by the Sanctuary shekel, or 20 gerahs." (Num 18:15-16 TLV)

Joseph had the responsibility of carrying out the redemption of the firstborn son (Heb. pidyon ha-ben) and paying the price set for redemption. If Joseph did not have shekels, then he would have to visit the money-changers at the Temple first to change whatever currency he possessed and pay the assessed fee for making the change. Levine comments that while the redemption of the firstborn was a requirement the law did not prescribe baby dedication and that presenting children at the Temple was not a recognized custom (102).

Yet Joseph and Miriam apparently interpreted the Torah as requiring such presentation:

"The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me." (Ex 22:29 BR) [In context the "giving" implies physical presentation.]

"All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed." (Ex 34:20 BR)

The requirement, given to Israel in the first year at Sinai, to not come to the sanctuary empty-handed follows the mention of the firstborn and likely implies such personal dedication. God then made His intention clear in the first month of the second year at Sinai when he directed Moses, "Number all the firstborn males of the sons of Israel, from a month old and above and make a list of their names" (Num 3:40 BR). This action certainly set apart the firstborn as holy to the Lord.

Coincidentally at this point in Luke's narrative Yeshua is just over a month old. The Jewish orthodoxy at the time might not have believed infant dedication a necessity, but Joseph and Miriam are noted for their obedience to divine expectations. The couple recognized that they had been given a great stewardship responsibility, and indeed they followed the example set by their Hebrew ancestors.

● Abraham obeyed God who directed him to take his son Isaac to the sacred place of sacrifice where Yeshua would be taken (Gen 22:2-3).

● An angel directed Manoah and his wife to dedicate their son Samson to the service of God (Jdg 13:3-5).

● Hannah promised God that if He would give her a son, she would dedicate him to ADONAI, and then kept her word (1Sam 1:11, 22, 26-28).

24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that having been spoken in the Torah of the LORD: "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

Reference: Leviticus 12:6-8.

and: Grk. kai, conj. to offer: Grk. didōmi, aor. inf., to give, often with the focus on generosity. The verb is used here in the sense of a religious offering. In the LXX didōmi generally renders Heb. natan, to give, used in one of three settings (1) by men one to another; (2) by men to God; and (3) by God to men (DNTT 2:41). a sacrifice: Grk. thusia, an offering devoted to God on His terms, always in reference to an animal victim presented for religious purposes (cf. Ex 34:15; Lev 8:31; Deut 12:27; 1Cor 10:18).

according to: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 22 above. that: Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a relative pronoun. having been spoken: Grk. ereō, perf. pass. part., denoting speech in progress, to speak or say. The verb emphasizes that the instruction was spoken by God to Moses who wrote it down. in: Grk. en, prep. the Torah: Grk. ho nomos. See verse 22 above. of the LORD: Grk. kurios. See the previous verse for this formula.

a pair: Grk. zeugos (from zeugnumi, "to yoke"), a pair, i.e. two. of turtledoves: pl. of Grk. trugon, a small pigeon, also called a turtledove. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. or: Grk. ē, conj. involving options and is used as (1) a marker of an alternative, "or;" or (2) a marker indicating comparison; than, rather than. The first meaning applies here. two: Grk. duo, adj., the number two. young: pl. of Grk. nossos, nestling, the young of a bird, a chick. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. pigeons: pl. of Grk. peristera, a pigeon or dove. The species or variety cannot be further determined. Luke repeats the essential requirement of the Torah:

"6 When the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she is to bring to the kohen, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, a year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove, for a sin offering. 7 He is to present it before ADONAI and make atonement for her. Then she will be cleansed from the discharge of her blood. This is the Torah for her who gives birth, whether to a male or a female child. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, then she is to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. Then the kohen will make atonement for her, and she will be clean." (Lev 12:6-8 TLV)

A sacrifice of birds was an option for someone who could not afford to buy a lamb (Lev 5:7; 14:21-22; cf. 2Cor 8:9). Pertinent to this situation is that the Sanhedrin operated four markets on the Mount of Olives at which pilgrims could purchase doves and other ritually important items (TJ Ta'anith 4:8; cited by Lane 403). The offerings, a burnt offering and a sin offering, specified in Leviticus 12:6-8, would restore Miriam and Joseph to a clean status and enable them to resume conjugal relations.

It may seem strange that a sin offering should be made since no woman violates a commandment merely by birthing a baby. However, the woman's uncleanness, as any uncleanness among the people, affected the sanctuary. The sin offering was presented to cleanse the sanctuary so that God would continue to dwell among His people (cf. Ex 29:36-37, 46; Lev 8:15; 16:33; Num 28:3-8). After making the sin offering the priest kept the meat for himself (Lev 6:26; Ant. III, 9:3). Then, the burnt offering, totally consumed by fire, was brought to secure the forgiveness of sins and to express the mother's gratitude for the birth of her child and her renewed dedication to God (Wenham 187).

The Torah does not explain the rationale for the post-birthing sacrifice, but when God chooses not to explain something the only recourse for an Israelite is to obey. Failure to present the sacrificial offerings would result in being cut off from Israel. Jeremias comments that among the chief priests at the Temple the director of the weekly course (Heb. rosh ha-mishmar) performed the rite of purification for women after child birth, who were pronounced clean at the Nicanor Gate when the rite was complete (164).

The Nicanor Gate, standing east of the Holy Place, divided the Court of the Israelites (men only) from the Court of the Women (men and women). Women could stand at the southern side of the Gate and watch the sacrifices being made. The Torah requirement for a sin offering carried out in this narrative contains a certain irony. As a baby Yeshua could not be the sin offering for Miriam, but the adult Yeshua would by the sacrifice of his own body put an end to all sin offerings.

Witness of Simeon, Luke 2:25-35

25 And behold there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

Reference: Isaiah 40:1; 49:13.

And: Grk. kai, conj. behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 10 above. there was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. a man: Grk. anthrōpos. See verse 14 above. By this clause Luke wants the reader to picture a very special man. in: Grk. en, prep. Jerusalem: Grk. Hierosoluma. See verse 22 above. The phrase "in Jerusalem" implies residency. whose: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. name: Grk. onoma. See verse 21 above. was Simeon: Grk. Sumeōn, which transliterates the Heb. name Shim'on ("heard"). The name Simeon is first used of a son of Jacob and Leah (Gen 29:33) and then three other men in the Besekh. All that is known about this Simeon is in this narrative and he is distinguished by his spiritual character.

and: Grk. kai. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. man: Grk. ho anthrōpos. was righteous: Grk. dikaios, adj., in accord with standards for acceptable behavior as prescribed by Torah; upright, just or righteous. In the LXX dikaios translates Heb. tsaddiq, just, lawful or righteous (BDB 843), first used of Noah (Gen 6:9). In Scripture a righteous person is one who is innocent of wrongdoing and one who lives in a manner pleasing to God. Simeon is the third person Luke identifies as righteous after Zechariah and Elizabeth (1:6).

and: Grk. kai. devout: Grk. eulabēs, adj., reverent or devout. The term describes the outward response someone gives to what they feel is truly worthy of respect (HELPS). In the LXX eulabēs is rare (only in Micah 7:2 and Sirach 11:17), translating Heb. chasid, kind, godly or pious. The adjective marks Simeon as an orthodox Jew who was a God-fearing man with deep respect for the things of God. waiting for: Grk. prosdechomai, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) to receive to oneself in a kindly mode, welcome; or (2) to look forward to in a receptive frame of mind, to wait for. The second meaning applies here.

the consolation: Grk. paraklēsis may mean (1) emboldening for facing or carrying out a responsibility or task, exhortation or encouragement; or (2) heartening in a time of trouble through word or demeanor; consolation or comfort. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX paraklēsis occurs 12 times, primarily to translate Heb. nouns derived from the verb nacham ("to console"), which mean comfort, compassion or consolation (Job 21:2; Ps 94:19; Isa 57:18; 66:11; Jer 16:7; Hos 13:14; Nah 3:7; Zech 1:13). In these passages comfort and consolation for the chosen people come from God.

of Israel: Grk. ho Israēl, a transliteration of the Heb. Yisrael ("God prevails" BDB 975), the name of the Jewish people descended from Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel (Gen 32:28). The name first appears in Genesis 32:28 where the angel with whom Jacob struggled informed him that his name would be changed to Israel. After Jacob's reconciliation with Esau the name change was made permanent along with significant covenantal promises (Gen 35:9-12). Thereafter, the descendants of Jacob are called the "sons of Israel."

Noteworthy is that Luke does not use the sectarian term Ioudaios ("Jew"), because in the first century Ioudaios was a sectarian term and did not include all the descendants of Jacob. The promise of the "consolation" is for "all Israel," which Paul will later define as including grafted-in Gentiles (Rom 11:17), thus creating the Commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12). The inclusion of Gentile believers in the elect-nation of God formed the complete Body of Messiah" (G. Archer, HELPS). This is an important statement since BAG engages in Replacement Theology by defining Israel as "in a fig. sense the Christians as the true nation of Israel" (382).

In the Besekh Israel is identified predominately as the people or elect-nation, but a few times the name is used of the promised land (Matt 2:20-21; Luke 4:25). Thayer committed the egregious error of defining Israēl as "Palestine." His lexicon published in 1889 may have been influenced by the fact that the biblical territory was called "Palestine" at that time. However, at no time in biblical history was the land called Palestine, a name derived from "Philistine." Even modern Bible maps repeat the error. See my article The Land is NOT Palestine.

In first century Judaism "consolation of Israel" functioned as a title of the Messiah because he was viewed as a comforter or consoler (Zodhiates). Thus, true consolation meant the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of deliverance from the oppression of foreign powers (cf. Acts 1:6; 3:19-21) (DNTT 1:570).

and: Grk. kai. the Holy: Grk. hagios. See verse 23 above. Spirit: Grk. Pneuma (for Heb. ruach), wind, breath or spirit; here referring to the Holy Spirit. Pneuma is used for the human spirit and transcendent beings (Matt 8:16; Heb 1:14), particularly the Spirit as God's self-expression (Gen 1:2; Mark 1:10). In Scripture "holy" is only used as an adjective of "spirit" to refer to the Holy Spirit, a name or face of God. "Holy Spirit" is not the title of a separate being, because God is Spirit (pneuma ho theos, John 4:24). The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh.

The specific name "Holy Spirit" occurs only three times in the Tanakh (Ps 51:11; Isa 63:10, 11) given as Ruach Qodesh. The Greek text of this verse does not have the definite article for either "Holy" or "Spirit," corresponding to the lack of the definite article in the three passages of Ruach Qodesh. was: Grk. eimi, impf. upon: Grk. epi, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The description of being "upon" (Grk. epi) Simeon is distinctive. Since the pronoun ("him") is in the accusative case then epi emphasizes motion or direction (DM 106).

Thus, the Spirit came to Simeon and gave him a special anointing and spiritual insight beyond the average person. This is an important statement since it emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit before Pentecost.

26 and it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit he would not see death before that he had seen the Messiah of ADONAI.

and: Grk. kai, conj. it was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. revealed: Grk. chrēmatizō, perf. pass. part., to impart a divine message, be revealed or prophesied. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. by: Grk. hupo, prep. See verse 18 above. the Holy: Grk. hagios. See verse 23 above. Spirit: Grk. Pneuma (for Heb. ruach). See the previous verse. This statement is in accord with Peter's comment that genuine prophecy is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). Such revelation and the following pronouncement by Simeon suggests that he could be considered a prophet.

he would: Grk. an, disjunctive particle that nuances a verb with contingency or generalization; would, ever, might. not: Grk. , negative particle. see: Grk. horaō, aor. inf. See verse 15 above. death: Grk. thanatos, death in the natural physical sense, extinction of life. The phrase "see death" is an Hebraic idiom that may function like a personification (cf. Ps 89:48; 1Cor 15:55) or as a reference to arriving at the day of one's death (cf. Gen 27:2; Jdg 13:7; Eccl 8:8), here the latter. before: Grk. prin, conj., at a point in time earlier than the moment of a specified event or activity; before. that: Grk. ē, conj. See verse 24 above. The conjunction completes the temporal reference with the meaning of "that" (Thayer).

he had seen: Grk. horaō, aor. subj. the Messiah: Grk. ho Christos. See verse 11 above. A number of Christian versions appropriately translate the noun as "Messiah" (CSB, ERV, GW, GNB, ISV, MSG, NOG, NABRE, NIV, NLT, NRSV, NTE). of ADONAI: Grk. kurios. See verse 9 above. In this context kurios probably stands for the sacred name YHVH. Luke engages in a kind of word play with the postponement of seeing death on the one hand and anticipation of seeing the Messiah, the author of life, on the other.

27 And he came in the Spirit into the Temple also at that time the parents were to bring in the child Yeshua to do according to that having been deemed customary by the Torah concerning him,

And: Grk. kai, conj. he came: Grk. erchomai, aor. See verse 16 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the Spirit: Grk. ho pneuma. See verse 25 above. The euphemism of being "in" the Spirit" occurs seven times in the Besekh. The presence of the definite article confirms that the Holy Spirit is intended and not Simeon's spirit. The phrase "in the Spirit" evokes wonder. In this context "in the Spirit" refers to the special inspiration and insight God gave to his prophets and apostles to understand divine mysteries (Matt 22:43; John 14:26; Eph 3:2-6; 1Tim 3:16).

The fact that Pentecost had yet to happen is irrelevant. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself to those who have dedicated themselves to God in a manner and time of His own choosing (1Cor 12:11; cf. John 3:8). They syntax of the clause suggests that the Holy Spirit directed Simeon in locating the holy family. The narrative supports the interpretation that this was a divine appointment.

into: Grk. eis, prep. the Temple: Grk. ho hieron, a temple (from hieros, "sacred, holy"). When used of the temple in Jerusalem hieron applies to the entire temple building with all its courts open to worshippers, in contrast to naos, which refers to the sanctuary where only priests were allowed to enter for offering sacrifices (Luke 1:9, 21-22). This is the first mention of the temple structure in Luke's narrative. Herod was interested in perpetuating his name for all eternity through building projects, and his construction program was extensive.

Indeed, Herod is widely recognized as the greatest builder of ancient times in the Land of Israel. He founded new cities like Caesarea Maritima, where he constructed a unique deep-water harbor, as well as a pagan temple and various large public buildings. New buildings were erected in various towns, such as Jericho and Samaria. New fortresses served the security of the land. In Jerusalem, the king built a new market, an amphitheater, a theater, a new building where the Sanhedrin could convene, and a new royal palace.

Last but not least Herod determined to rebuild the Temple. The Temple built by Zerubbabel nearly half a millennium before, despite frequent renovation, was still run down and relatively small. Herod purposed to tear down the old temple and replace it with something truly magnificent. Josephus, the Jewish historian, recorded the construction and design of the Temple (Ant. XV, Chap. 11; Wars V, Chap. 5). For a detailed description of the Temple see Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services (1874), Chap. Two (Hendrickson, 1994; Online).

Construction began in the eighteenth year of Herod's reign (c. 20 B.C.). The chief priests required Herod to quarry all the stones needed for the project before the destruction of the existing structure. Sacrificial rituals continued for the entire time of construction, and the temple was constructed by the priests. The "cloisters and enclosures" took eight years to build, but the main sanctuary was completed in 18 months. Made of marble and gold, Herod's temple was taller than a fifteen-story building. The massive structure could accommodate hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at one time and was twice as large as the largest temple enclosure in Rome (Ray Vander Laan, Herod's Temple).

There were eight gates leading into the Temple area. Anyone was allowed to enter the outer area, which was therefore called the Court of the Nations. The Temple proper was enclosed by a barrier, and at the entrances to it were warning notices forbidding entry by any uncircumcised person on pain of death. Inside the barrier courts were identified by those permitted to enter with increasing restricted access. The first courtyard was the Court of the Women, next the Court of the Israelites (men only) and then the Court of the Priests.

In its center the altar for the burnt offerings and to the left of it an immense bronze basin of water resting upon twelve colossal lions, and where twelve priests could wash at the same time. Further steps led up to the sanctuary, a comparatively small building. A priceless curtain concealed from view what lay beyond. It contained the golden altar at which incense was offered and next to it the seven-branched menorah and the table with the twelve loaves of shewbread. Beyond it, behind another large curtain, lay the Holy of Holies. See a model of the sanctuary and Temple courts here and a layout diagram here.

Construction on the Temple mount was eventually expanded to a size of about thirty-five acres and included the huge Antonia Fortress, where Roman soldiers were billeted. Josephus reported that the entire complex was not completed until the procuratorship of Albinus (A.D. 62-64) (Ant. XX, 9:7; cf. John 2:20). See an illustration of the completed Temple mount here. So at the time of the nativity construction was still going on. Simeon apparently came through the Nicanor Gate from the Court of the Israelites into the Court of the Women where Joseph and Miriam were standing.

also: Grk. kai, conj. at: Grk. en, prep. that time: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. the parents: pl. of Grk. ho goneus, begetter, father or ancestor, but the plural form refers to both parents. were to bring in: Grk. eisagō, aor. inf., to cause to enter into an area, to bring or lead in or into a place, here referring to the carrying the baby into the temple precincts. the child: Grk. ho paidion. See verse 17 above. Here the term refers to a new-born baby. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, the name given to the baby at his circumcision. See verse 21 above.

to do: Grk. poieō, aor. inf., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. The second meaning applies here. according to: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 22 above. that: Grk. ho. having been deemed customary: Grk. ethizō (from ethos, custom, rite), perf. pass. part., to conform to a custom or tradition, to accustom. This verb occurs only here in the Besekh. by the Torah: Grk. ho nomos. See verse 22 above.

concerning: Grk. peri, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The final clause of the verse does not mean that Joseph and Miriam were following a traditional rite of first century Judaism, but that they were engaging in a customary practice enjoined by the Torah to fulfill the requirements mentioned in verses 22-24 above. And, it just so happened that when Joseph and Miriam came to the Temple to perform their duty they met Simeon.

28 and he received him into his arms, and he blessed God, and said,

and: Grk. kai, conj. he: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e. Simeon. received: Grk. dechomai, aor. mid., receive, frequently with the component of enthusiastic acceptance. him: Grk. autos. into: Grk. eis, prep. his arms: pl. of Grk. ho agkalē, the anatomical limb of the body, arm. The point is that Miriam, perhaps at the direction of the Spirit, willingly gave her baby over to Simeon who then cradled the baby with care and held him close.

and: Grk. kai. he blessed: Grk. eulogeō, to invoke divine favor or to express high praise, to bless; in this case the latter meaning. In the LXX eulogeō translates Heb. barak (baw-rak'), to kneel or to bless (BDB 138). In Scripture the performance of a blessing involves a word invested with power and an action ratifying it (DNTT 1:207). The imparted blessing works unconditionally and irrevocably (cf. Gen 27:33; 2Sam 7:29). There are many occasions for blessing, such as at a marriage (Gen 24:60), a birth (Ruth 4:13), at death (Gen 49:28), and especially at the transferring to an heir the rights of the firstborn (Gen 25:11; 27:23-29; 48:1-3; Heb 11:20-21).

God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 13 above. The first blessing offered to God was by Melchizedek (Gen 14:20), and thereafter the verb often occurs in the context of a man blessing God for His favor or providential care (e.g. Gen 24:27; Ex 18:10; Ps 28:6; 66:20; 68:19; 72:18; 106:48). The syntax might imply that Simeon offered a b'rakhah or blessing distinct from the praise recorded in the following verses. The formula for blessings set forth in the Mishnah consisted of two parts, first the personal address, Barukh attah Adonai ("Blessed are You ADONAI" (Ber. 1:4), followed by the reason for the blessing, "who [action verb]."

When Zechariah blessed ADONAI he used three action verbs of what God did for Israel: "visited us," "brought redemption," and "raised up a horn of salvation" (Luke 1:68-69). Simeon could have offered a similar blessing on the occasion of Yeshua's dedication. and: Grk. kai. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 13 above. The verb serves as quotation marks for the following declaration of petition and praise in verses 29-32.

29 "Now, Master, release your servant in peace, according to Your word,

Now: Grk. nun, adv., marker of time in the present; now or just now. The adverb points to the future from the reference point of the present. Master: Grk. despotēs, voc., master, lord, used of one who is especially recognized for superiority and claim on other persons, here used of God. dismiss: Grk. apoluō, pres., may mean (1) to set free from a condition or obligation, to release or to free; or (2) to cause to depart from a place, to send off or dismiss. The verb likely has nuances of both meanings in the context.

your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. servant: Grk. doulos, someone who belongs to another, and in Greek and Roman culture viewed as owned property; slave or servant. In the LXX doulos translates Heb. ebed, which includes the meaning of doulos but with a much broader application. In the Tanakh ebed is especially used of household servants, those who worked for the King and those who served God, especially service in the temple (DNTT 3:593). Notable Bible personalities were considered to be servants of God (Josh 1:1; 2:8; Ps 18:1). Simeon no doubt described himself as a servant as an expression of humility. It's also possible that in the context Simeon was a Levite and a member of the Temple worship team.

in: Grk. en, prep. peace: Grk. eirēnē. See verse 14 above. state of harmony, peace in the relational sense. according to: Grk. kata, prep. Your: Grk. su. word: Grk. ho rhēma. See verse 15 above. Simeon appears to request permission to go back to his work or home, knowing that he is at peace with God by virtue of having accomplished the revelation in verse 26 above.

30 because my eyes have seen Your salvation,

Reference: Isaiah 52:10.

because: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. my: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. eyes: pl. of Grk. ho ophthalmos, the organ of sight, the eye. have seen: Grk. horaō, aor. See verse 15 above. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. salvation: Grk. sōtērios (from sōtēr, "deliverer, savior"), adj., God's beneficent favor in rescuing or bringing salvation. The context of this important theological term is the loss of freedom.

"Whenever men by their own fault or through some superior power have come under the control of someone else, and have lost their freedom to implement their will and decisions, and when their own resources are inadequate to deal with that other power, they can regain their freedom only by the intervention of a third party." (DNTT 3:177)

That third party is the God of Israel and His agent to accomplish deliverance is the Messiah. In the context Simeon, as other Israelites, longed for deliverance from Roman oppression and restoration of Israel's national sovereignty (Luke 1:71, 74; Acts 1:6). It's possible that Simeon's praise was a reaction to a simple request. "What's your baby's name?" Miriam said, "Yeshua." Simeon would know that the meaning of Yeshua's name is salvation. Simeon's praise appears to allude to a declaration of Isaiah:

"ADONAI has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God." (Isa 52:10 TLV)

31 which You have prepared before the face of all peoples:

Reference: Isaiah 52:10.

which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. You have prepared: Grk. etoimazō, aor., to put in a state of readiness, to prepare. before: Grk. kata, prep. the face: Grk. prosōpon, that which forms the prominent identifying part of a person, the face, and idiomatically "in the presence of" members of a group. of all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. peoples: pl. of Grk. ho laos, a group of humans; often used of people groups understood geographically or ethnically. Together the plural of both pas and laos convey the diversity of the description, likely an allusion to the 70 nations listed in Genesis 10.

The Temple at which the purification and redemption ceremonies took place in a sense represented the world. Simeon's declaration is especially significant since the birth of Yeshua occurred on Tishri 1 (Sept. 10, verse 11 above) and Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Tishri 15-22; Sept. 24−Oct. 1) had recently been completed during which 70 bulls were sacrificed to make atonement for the nations (Sukkah 55b). Joseph and Miriam had to pass through the Court of the Nations to enter the Court of the Women. In the outer court people came from all over the world to pay their respects to the God of Israel and pray to Him (e.g. Matt 2:2; John 12:20).

Simeon alludes to the fact that the promise-plan of God, long kept hidden, had now been unveiled. The full revelation of God's plan of salvation would not come until after the resurrection of Yeshua (cf. 1Cor 2:8; Eph 3:3). God entered the world through the back door, as it were, in plain sight and in the form of a babe. Yet, God revealed to Simeon that this child would be the Savior of Israel and the world.

32 a light for revelation of the nations and glory of Your people Israel."

Reference: Isaiah 42:6; 46:13; 49:6; 51:4; 60:1-3.

The content of this verse echoes the message of the Servant Songs of Isaiah. a light: Grk. phōs, that which serves as a revealing or disclosing medium, light, here used metaphorically for the ministry of the Messiah, which Yeshua would later employ for himself (John 8:12). for: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." The preposition provides the word picture of light beginning as a sunrise and then increasing into fullness. revelation: Grk. apokalupsis, making fully known, uncovering, disclosure or revelation. In the LXX the noun occurs one time to translate Heb. erva, nakedness (1Sam 20:30) and a further three times without Hebrew equivalent in Sirach 11:27; 22:22; 42:1 (DNTT 3:310).

Apokalupsis occurs 18 times in the Besekh and is used three ways. First, apokalupsis refers to the general disclosure of truth, particularly the Good News (Rom 16:25; Gal 1:12; 2:2; Eph 1:17; 3:3). Second, apokalupsis refers to the Second Coming of Yeshua (Rom 2:5; 8:19; 1Cor 1:7; 2Th 1:7; 1Pet 1:7, 13; 4:13). Third, apokalupsis pertains to individuals receiving personal disclosures from God (1Cor 14:6, 26; 2Cor 12:1, 7; Rev 1:1). The first usage is in view here, the disclosure of God's plan of redemption.

of the nations: pl. of Grk. ethnos, humans belonging to a people group. In the LXX ethnos generally renders Heb. goy (pl. goyim), nation, people (DNTT 2:790). The term ethnos is first used in Genesis 10 to describe the list of seventy nations, then of descendants of Abraham (Gen 12:2) and then even more specifically of Israel (Ex 19:6; Deut 4:6; Ps 106:5; Isa 9:1). In the Besekh ethnos may refer generally to any people distinguished by language and culture (Matt 24:7; Acts 10:35; Rev 5:9), including Israelites and non-Israelites. The plural ethnos can also mean "the uncircumcised," which included both Gentiles and Hellenistic Jews (Gal 2:9).

The syntax of this verse anticipates the commission given to Paul by Yeshua, "to bear my name before nations, and both kings and sons of Israel" (Acts 9:15). Then in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch Paul reminded his Jewish audience of their divine calling to be "light-bearers" to the nations (Acts 13:47). This evangelistic mission was declared by Isaiah:

"I, ADONAI, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations" (Isa 42:6 TLV). ["Covenant" anticipates the "New Covenant" prophesied by Jeremiah.]

"So He says, "It is too trifling a thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore the preserved ones of Israel. So I will give You as a light for the nations, that You should be My salvation to the end of the earth." (Isa 49:6 TLV)

"Pay attention to Me, My people, give ear to Me, My nation. For Torah will go out from Me, My justice as a light to the peoples." (Isa 51:4 TLV)

"2 ADONAI will arise upon you, and His glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, kings to the brilliance of your rising." (Isa 60:2-3 TLV)

and: Grk. kai, conj. glory: Grk. doxa. See verse 9 above. The noun is used here of fame or honor, that which enhances the reputation. The noun "glory" is used here as a poetical parallel of light. of Your: Grk. su, second person pronoun. The singular pronoun alludes to ADONAI, the God of Israel. people: Grk. laos. See the previous verse. The phrase "Your people" signifies close identification and ownership. Israel: Grk. Israēl. See verse 25 above. Again Simeon alludes to the Messianic message of Isaiah:

"Sing, O heavens, for ADONAI has done it! Shout, depths of the earth! Break forth into singing, mountains, forest, and every tree in it! For ADONAI has redeemed Jacob and will be glorified through Israel." (Isa 44:23 TLV)

"In ADONAI all the seed of Israel will be made righteous and will glory." (Isa 45:25 BR)

"I bring My justice near, it is not far off. So My salvation will not delay. I put salvation in Zion, My glory in Israel." (Isa 46:13 TLV)

Gill notes that the second clause can be taken literally, since Yeshua as the Messiah was born of the Jews, and lived and conducted his ministry among them. He is rightly the pride of the Israelite people. Moreover, as Clarke observes, Israelites will recognize Yeshua as an evident fulfillment of all the predictions of the prophets. Simeon does not anticipate God's supposed rejection of Israel as Christianity will later assert. Ellicott stumbles over this prophecy because of apparent indoctrination in Replacement Theology. He said,

"The language here is the natural utterance of the hope of the time, not the after-thought of later years. The Christ whom Israel had rejected was hardly "the glory of the people" when St. Luke wrote his Gospel."

The assumption that Israel rejected Yeshua is an entrenched fabrication (a "lie") of historical Christianity. Yeshua was rejected by Israel's religious leaders at the time. In contrast Yeshua was accepted as Messiah and Savior by tens of thousands of Jews (Acts 2:41; 4:4; 21:20). Vincent offers a more positive interpretation of this clause:

"Israel has already received light by the revelation of God through the law and the prophets, and that light will expand into glory through Christ. Through the Messiah, Israel will attain its true and highest glory.

33 And his father and mother were marveling at the things being spoken concerning him.

And: Grk. kai, conj. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. father: Grk. patēr, used of a male biological parent, someone who fulfilled the role of a father or an ancestor. See the Textual Note below. In the LXX patēr translates ab, father, with the same range of meaning (Gen 2:24) (DNTT 1:616f). Luke does not contradict his own narrative of the virgin birth, because he clarifies the relationship in 3:23 with "as was supposed." Joseph was certainly Yeshua's legal father and fulfilled the role of a father, so he could be rightly identified by others as the father of the one born to Miriam (cf. Luke 2:48; John 6:42).

and: Grk. kai. mother: Grk. mētēr (for Heb. em, Gen 2:24), properly a female birth parent, but also a woman who exercises the control, influence and authority of a mother (Rom 16:13). were: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. marveling: Grk. thaumazō, pres. part. See verse 18 above. at: Grk. epi, lit. "upon." The preposition emphasizes mental reflection. the things: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a relative pronoun. being spoken: Grk. laleō, pres. pass. part. See verse 15 above. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. him: Grk. autos; i.e. Yeshua. The verbs "marveling" and "being spoken," concurrent in time, would also encompass Simeon's words in verses 34 and 35.

This verse indicates the totally unexpected nature of the prophetic message of Simeon, first the good news and then the bad news that follows this verse. The fact that both Joseph and Miriam were amazed at Simeon's words implies that even after the initial announcements of Gabriel and Elizabeth, the supernatural conception, and the visitation and report of the shepherds, they still did not fully appreciate the consequences of their role and the confusion and pain they would experience in the future. God bringing salvation to His people Israel would not be all joyful celebration. A price had to be paid.

Textual Note: His Father

To preserve the doctrine of the virgin birth and the perpetual virginity of Mary a variety of late manuscripts (Old Latin, Gothic and the Diatessaron) replaced "his father" with "Joseph" and moved autos, "his" to modify "mother" (Metzger). This errant revised reading is preserved in several Bible versions (BRG, EHV, JUB, KJV, MEV, NKJV, NLV, RGT, WEB, YLT).

34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Miriam, his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against,

Reference: Isaiah 7:14; 8:14-15, 18.

And: Grk. kai, conj. Simeon: Grk. Sumeōn. See verse 25 above. blessed: Grk. eulogeō, aor. See verse 28 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. In verse 28 Simeon had offered a blessing for enabling him to see the expected child, but now he invokes a blessing on the parents. and: Grk. kai. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 13 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 15 above. Miriam: Grk. Mariam. See verse 5 above. his: Grk. autos. mother: Grk. mētēr. See the previous verse. Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 10 above. The interjection is employed to grab attention.

this child: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun, masc., lit. "this one." See verse 15 above. The pronoun could be translated as "he." is appointed: Grk. keimai, pres. mid. See verse 12 above. The verb is used here to mean set in a position by God and thus appointed or destined for something. for: Grk. eis, prep. the falling: Grk. ptosis, condition of falling, lit. of the fall or collapse of a house (BAG). The metaphoric use may intend a family, clan or dynasty. The prophecy of falling may be an allusion to Isaiah 8:14-15, which makes reference to "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence." The implication is that some would be ruined by the presence of the Messiah.

and: Grk. kai. rising: Grk. anastasis (from anistēmi, "to rise"), a standing up or bringing to a higher status. In its ordinary use the noun refers to one who is sitting or lying down. In the LXX anastasis occurs only three times, first in a psalm title without Hebrew equivalent, "a psalm of rising up" (Ps 66:1), second to translate Heb. qimah, a rising up (Lam 3:63), and third to translate the Qal infinitive construct of Heb. qum, to arise, stand up, stand (Zeph 3:8), which could be a Messianic prophecy of Yeshua's resurrection.

The intention here could be similar to Hannah's prayer, "He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles" (1Sam 2:8). The rising could also be physical in that Yeshua enabled many with various afflictions and disabilities to stand. However, anastasis is the principal Greek word in the Besekh for resurrection, with references divided between the resurrection of Yeshua and the resurrection at the end of the age. Simeon's prophecy could hint at the future resurrection prophesied in Daniel 12:2-13.

of many: Grk. polus, masc. pl., extensive in scope and the plural form here refers to numbers. in Israel: Grk. Israēl, a transliteration of the Heb. Yisrael. See verse 25 above. As predicted Yeshua's ministry and teaching impacted the whole of Jewish society and as a result few were neutral toward him. Spiritually many fell into unrepentant opposition to Yeshua whereas many others were raised from despair and sin to a new life with God. The coming of the Messiah also portended significant "falling and rising" in political and religious arenas. Herod the Great recognized the threat of the birth of Yeshua to his own power (Matt 2:13).

The miracle of physical resurrection resulted from Yeshua's ministry, first the son of the widow from Nain (Luke 7:14-15), next Lazarus (John 11:43-44), and then the dead at the crucifixion of Yeshua (Matt. 27:52-53). Eventually Yeshua would supersede the office of High Priest (Heb 2:17; 3:1). Yeshua's apostles would themselves rise in stature, being promised leadership over the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:30). Indeed the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed on the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:14).

and: Grk. kai. for: Grk. eis. a sign: Grk. sēmeion . See verse 12 above. The last phrase of the verse probably alludes to the prophecy of the "sign" given in Isaiah 7:14. The virgin birth and the promised child are the sign, even as the two sons given to Isaiah by his prophetess wife (Isa 7:3; 8:3) are for "signs and wonders in Israel, from ADONAI-Tzva’ot who dwells on Mount Zion" (Isa 8:18 TLV). spoken against: Grk. antilegō, pres. pass. part., may mean (1) to speak in an adversarial manner; contradict, argue against, speak against; or (2) by extension take a position in opposition to; oppose, refuse. The second meaning applies here.

Simeon succinctly states that the sign would not win acceptance and opposition would arise against Yeshua, just as people opposed Moses (Num 21:5; Acts 7:35). Yeshua had to endure the hostility of sinners on a regular basis (e.g. Matt 12:24; Mark 2:7; Luke 15:2; John 7:15; 9:16; 18:30; Heb 12:3). There may be an allusion also to the words of ADONAI stretching forth his hands to a rebellious people (Isa 65:2) (Ellicott). During Yeshua's public ministry he was asked by his adversaries to produce a sign (Matt 16:1-4), not realizing that Yeshua himself was the sign sent from God.

35 and indeed of you, a sword will go through the soul of yourself, so that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed."

This verse seems to have two subjects, one concerning Miriam herself and the other concerning the people of Israel. Several versions inexplicably reverse the order of the statements (CEB, EHV, ERV, GNB, GW, ICB, NOG, NCB, NCV, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, TLV). In the flow of Simeon's prophecy this verse amplifies the actions depicted in verse 34 and adds a further consequence.

and: Grk. kai, conj. indeed: Grk. de, conj. See verse 1 above. of you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. The genitive case normally is translated with "of." Although the pronoun is not in the vocative case (direct address), its use to address Miriam implies an extension of thought from the last phrase of the previous verse. In other words, not only would Yeshua be spoken against, but also his mother. Jewish women lauded the mother of Yeshua (Luke 11:27), but unbelieving Jewish leaders eventually slandered Miriam as having become pregnant by a Roman soldier (Sanh. 67a, fn 12).

a sword: Grk. rhomphaia refers to a long and heavy broadsword used by Thracians and other barbarous nations (HELPS). The term occurs seven times in the Besekh, the other six being in the book of Revelation (1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21). The noun is used here in a figurative sense. will pierce: Grk. dierchomai, fut. mid., to move within an area or from one area to another, to go through. Following the mention of the sword the verb depicts being pierced by the weapon. the soul: Grk. ho psuchē may mean (1) the breath of life; (2) the human soul; (3) the seat of feelings, desires, affections; (4) the self; or (5) the human person. The third meaning is intended here.

In the LXX psuchē translates Heb. nephesh, which may mean a soul, living being; first in Genesis 1:20. Nephesh also represents the inner self and the seat of desires, passions, appetites, and emotion. of yourself: Grk. autē, fem. of autos, personal pronoun. See verse 4 above. Here the pronoun conveys the emphatic sense of self. In the future Miriam will hear words and see events that could trouble her mind and heart. The first event occurred in the Passover narrative in verses 48-50 below in which Miriam received a mild rebuke from her son when he was only 12 years of age.

Second, at a wedding in Cana Miriam came to Yeshua to solve a shortage of wine. His rebuke, "Woman what does this have to do with you and Me? My hour hasn't come yet" (John 2:4), reminds Miriam that she no longer had authority over him. Third, early in Yeshua's Galilean ministry his mother and siblings came to take him home because he had "lost his senses" (Mark 3:21). In response Yeshua asked, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" (Mark 3:32). The rhetorical question is not meant to show disrespect, but to inform his family that the nature of his mission and the kingdom required a shift in relationships. While Yeshua's question might be rhetorical, to Miriam the words would sting.

However, the piercing of Miriam's soul must point to her greatest trial when Yeshua would be arrested, tried, convicted and crucified. It would have been an absolute horror for Miriam to see her firstborn son suffer and die in such a cruel manner. Nevertheless in his final hours Yeshua thought of his mother's needs and directed the apostle John to take her into his care (John 19:26-27). After the resurrection Miriam would understand the full meaning of her service to the kingdom and join the other disciples to await Pentecost (Acts 1:14).

so that: Grk. hopōs, adv., so that. This adverb is stronger than simple "that," because it emphasizes the method (qualities, prerequisites) involved to accomplish the objective (purpose) at hand (HELPS). the thoughts: Grk. dialogismos, masc. pl., the process of turning things over in one's mind in response to a problem or challenging event. of many: pl. of Grk. polus. See the previous verse. hearts: pl. of Grk. kardia. See verse 19 above. might: Grk. an, disjunctive particle. See verse 26 above. be revealed: Grk. apokaluptō, aor. pass. subj., to cause to be fully known, to reveal, disclose or make known. What only God sees will be made public.

The apostolic narratives emphasize that Yeshua knew all men (John 2:24) and he knew what his adversaries were thinking (Matt 9:4; Luke 6:8; 11:17; 16:15). He openly revealed the intentions and beliefs of various people, including his disciples (Luke 9:46-47), sometimes offering instruction to encourage right thinking or rebuking to correct faulty thinking.

Witness of Hannah, 2:36-38

36 And there was Hannah, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, she being advanced in many days, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity.

And: Grk. kai, conj. there was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 4 above. Hannah: Grk. Hanna, which transliterates Heb. Hannah ("grace"). She is identified with the Anglicized "Anna" in Christian versions. a prophetess: Grk. prophētis, a woman to whom future events or things hidden from others are at times revealed, either by inspiration or by dreams and visions (Thayer). The noun occurs only two times in the Besekh (also Rev 2:20). In the LXX prophētis occurs seven times and translates Heb. nebiah, a prophetess, regarding four women: (1) Miriam, the sister of Moses (Ex 15:20), (2) Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth (Jdg 4:4), Huldah, the wife of Shallum (2Kgs 22:14; 2Chr 34:22), and the wife of Isaiah (Isa 8:3).

In the Besekh the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9) are classified as prophetesses. Paul alludes to the practice of women prophesying in congregational gatherings (1Cor 11:5) and he clearly regarded women as equal partners in ministry (Rom 16:1-3; Php 4:3), as long as they showed respect for those in authority over them (1Cor 11:10; 1Tim 2:11; 1Pet 1-5). Paul’s restriction on women speaking in worship services (1Cor 14:34-35) is not applied to women prophetesses, but to wives who were acting in shameful way disrespectful of their husbands.

a daughter: Grk. thugatēr may mean (1) daughter in an immediate sense, (2) a female descendant and (3) fig. of females in other than parent-daughter relationship. The first meaning applies here. of Phanuel: Grk. Phanouēl, which transliterates Heb. Penu-el ("face of God"). Nothing more is known of him, but he must have been a clan leader for his name to be given. Not every woman mentioned in the Besekh is identified with the name of her father. of the tribe: Grk. phulē, a grouping based more narrowly on blood kinship and is often used in Scripture to refer to the tribes of Israel.

of Asher: Grk. Asēr, a transliteration of Heb. Asher, which means "happy one" (BDB 81). Asher was the eighth son of Jacob, born to his concubine-wife Zilpah (Gen 30:12f). Jacob's deathbed prophecy concerning his sons promised good fortune to Asher, "As for Asher, his food shall be rich, and he will yield royal dainties" (Gen 49:20 NASB). Jacob's words are echoed and amplified in the blessing of Moses on Asher, "More blessed than sons is Asher, may he be favored by his brothers, and may he dip his foot in oil" (Deut 33:24-25 NASB).

In the distribution of the land of Israel among the tribes, the territory assigned to the tribe of Asher was along the coast of northern Israel. See the map here. The territory of Asher has always been known for its vast olive groves. Even today most of the olive oil produced in Israel comes from fertile valleys in Asher's territory (Varner 67). While in biblical history Asher may have excelled in agriculture, no judge, leader or military hero came from the tribe, which may explain why the tribe never cleansed their territory of Canaanites during the period of the Judges (Jdg 1:31f).

Yet, the tribe of Asher survived invasions of the major empires so that on this occasion when Yeshua was dedicated at the temple, Hannah of the tribe of Asher was there to greet Him. The mention of the tribe of Asher by Luke and Paul's mention of the twelve tribes as existing in his time, as did Yeshua (Luke 22:30) and Jacob (Jas 1:1), rebuts the claim of many people that ten tribes of Israel disappeared after the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel and deportation by ancient Assyria. Indeed Josephus reported that "the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers" (Antiquities of the Jews, XI, 5:2). See my article The Twelve Tribes of Israel.

she: Grk. autē, fem. of autos, personal pronoun. being advanced: Grk. probainō, perf. part., to move forward from a position, here an allusion to advancement of time from birth. in: Grk. en, prep. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj. See verse 34 above. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera, lit. "days." See verse 1 above. Here the time reference refers to a long life. In the LXX the phrase "advanced in days" translates the Hebrew bo [to come or go] b'yamim [in days"] when speaking of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:11; 24:1) and King David (1Kgs 1:1). having lived: Grk. zaō, aor. part., to be in the state of being physically alive, to be possessed of vitality (Mounce).

In the LXX zaō translates Heb. chay, adj., alive, living, used for animal and human life (Gen 1:20; 3:20); the verb chayay, live, revive, save life (Gen 3:22; Ex 33:20); and the verb chayah, live, which appears often in texts describing how long someone lived (Gen 5:21) and in other passages as a reward of God for righteousness (Prov 4:4). with: Grk. meta, prep., may be used as (1) a marker of association or accompaniment; 'amid,' among,' 'with,' or 'in company with'; or (2) a sequential or positional marker; after, behind. The first usage applies here.

a husband: Grk. anēr (Heb. adam), an adult man without regard to marital status, but in this context one who has taken a woman as a wife. seven: Grk. hepta, the numeral seven. years: pl. of Grk. etos, a period of twelve months. The duration of Hannah's marriage is not presented with any sense of pity, but the short time frame would nonetheless be a tragedy. No mention is made of children. from: Grk. apo, prep. her: Grk. autē. virginity: Grk. parthenia (from parthenos, "virgin"), in the state of never having had sexual relations before marriage; virginity. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh.

Some versions translate the noun as "marriage," since the clause mentions her husband (CJB, CSB, ISV, NABRE, NASB, NIV, NRSV). However, the choice to use "virginity" instead of the regular word for marriage (Grk. gamos) hints that Hannah's husband was a priest, since priests are enjoined in the Torah to only marry a virgin (Lev 21:13-14).

37 and she a widow until eighty-four years, who never left the Temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

and: Grk. kai, conj. she: Grk. autē, personal pronoun. a widow: Grk. chēra, a woman bereft of her husband. until: Grk. heōs, prep., a marker of continuation and limit, here time; as far as, until. eighty: Grk. ogdoekonta, the number eighty. four: Grk. tessares, the number four. years: pl. of Grk. etos. See the previous verse. who: Grk. , fem. relative pronoun. never: Grk. ou, adv., negative particle. left: Grk. aphistēmi, impf. mid., to withdraw oneself from a place, to depart, stay away or withdraw. the Temple: Grk. ho hieron. See verse 27 above. In other words, she did not absent herself from the Temple, but made it the location of her ministry rather than a local synagogue.

There were no doubt many widows in the land of Israel at this time, so only special circumstances can explain how she was able to spend so much time in the Temple. As a woman she would not have been able to go past the Court of the Women. The temple had apartments for the priests when they came to perform their annual duty, and Geldenhuys suggests that Hannah may have been given a room in one of the buildings on the temple-hill to live in (121).

serving: Grk. latreuō, pres. part., to minister or serve, whether of God or man, often in the context of engaging in worship. In the LXX latreuō translates Heb. avad (SH-5647), to work or serve, first in Exodus 3:12 where God informs Moses of the mission to bring the Israelites to Mt. Sinai to "serve Him." The verb latreuō occurs especially in the Torah, Joshua and Judges, mostly where avad has a religious reference (DNTT 3:549f).

night: Grk. nux, night as a chronological period, sunset to sunrise. and: Grk. kai. day: Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. Here the term means the time period from sunrise to sunset. As an Hebraic idiom "night and day" could refer simply to the repetitive passage of time, not necessarily a complete 24-hour period. There is no implication that Hannah did not sleep. Hannah served God during those time periods and the schedule was of her own making. The description of Hannah's religious devotion suggests that she lived as a Pharisee. Women were admitted to the ranks of the Pharisees if they subscribed to Pharisee beliefs and followed Pharisee traditions.

with fastings: pl. of Grk. nēsteia, the abstinence from food for a religious purpose. Obligatory fasts were part of Jewish religious life (Mark 2:18), so it's possible that the plural "fastings" refers to the designated fasts of Jewish custom. Pharisees fasted at least two times per week (Luke 18:12), which in the time of Yeshua fell on the second day (Monday) and fifth day (Thursday) of the week. There were also a number of special days on the Jewish calendar devoted to fasting. Hannah's fasting was no doubt done according to Yeshua's later instruction on the practice (Matt 6:16-18). For a discussion of fasting in the Bible see my article Fasting.

and: Grk. kai. prayers: pl. of Grk. deēsis, prayer, petition or entreaty, and in the Besekh always a request to God for meeting a need. The fastings were done in order to focus on prayer. While Hannah may have said the customary prayers associated with Jewish worship, the focus of her prayers were the needs of others and especially the redemption of Israel as hinted in the following verse.

38 And she, having coming up at that time, began giving praise to God and spoke concerning him to all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Reference: Isaiah 52:9.

And: Grk. kai, conj. she: Grk. autē, fem. personal pronoun. having coming up: Grk. ephistēmi, aor. part., to approach, to come up, to stand by or near. at that time: Grk. ho hōra, may mean (1) a short space of time, the twelfth part of a day; hour; (2) fig. for a period of time in the day; or (3) fig. for a point of time as occasion for action or for an event; time. The third usage applies here. The noun with the definite article suggests a precise time. Hannah's entrance came immediately after Simeon had finished speaking and probably while he was still holding the baby.

began giving praise: Grk. anthomologeomai, impf. mid., may mean (1) to reply by professing or by confessing; (2) to agree mutually in turn; or (3) to acknowledge in the presence of anyone (Thayer). The third meaning applies here. The compound preposition in the verb indicates thanksgiving in return for benefits (Rienecker). The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. In the LXX the verb occurs only a few times and translates Heb. yadah, to confess or give thanks (Ezra 3:11; Ps 79:13; 3Macc 6:33).

to God: Grk. ho theos, the God of Israel. See verse 13 above. Hannah praised God because her prayers had been answered. and: Grk. kai. spoke: Grk. laleō, impf. See verse 15 above. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., the child Yeshua, the one promised to bring salvation. Hannah couldn't wait to share the good news of the Messiah. to all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun.

waiting for: Grk. prosdechomai, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) to receive to oneself in the sense of accepting or welcoming; or (2) to look forward in a receptive frame of mind, to wait for. The second meaning is intended here. the redemption: Grk. lutrōsis (from lutroō, "to release on receipt of a ransom"), the act of freeing or releasing from a state of bondage or oppression, deliverance or redemption. In the LXX lutrōsis occurs 11 times and translates four terms: (1) Heb. geullah, redemption in the context of a kinsman redeeming property (Lev 25:29, 48); (2) Heb. padah, to ransom, used in regard to redemption of the firstborn (Num 18:15); (3) Heb. pidyôm, ransom, redemption (Ps 49:8); and (4) Heb. peduth, ransom, used in the context of redemption from iniquity (Ps 111:9; 130:7).

of Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm. See verse 22 above. The city may stand for the people, but it's possible that Hannah meant the city in a literal sense. The action of Hannah reflects fulfillment of the exhortation of Isaiah: "Break forth into joy, shout together you ruins of Jerusalem, for ADONAI has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem" (Isa 52:9 BR). The bondage was both political with the reign of the Herodian family and Roman tyranny, and spiritual with the moral corruption throughout the land.

The clause "all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem" implies the existence of a group of pious Jews, like Simeon and Hannah, that believed in the imminent coming of the Messiah. These Jews were probably familiar with the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh and had calculated the time given in Daniel 9:25. The coming of the Messiah must be near. Now Simeon and Hannah could report to this group that Scripture had been fulfilled.

Return to Nazareth, 2:39-40

39 And when they had completed everything according to the Torah of ADONAI, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

And: Grk. kai, conj. when: Grk. hōs, adv. See verse 15 above. they had completed: Grk. teleō, aor., to bring to completion in a manner that leaves nothing undone, to achieve fully, fulfill, accomplish, complete. everything: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. according to: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 22 above. the Torah: Grk. ho nomos. See verse 22 above. of ADONAI: Grk. kurios (for Heb. YHVH). See verse 9 above. Luke stresses that as good and righteous Jews the couple accomplished the Torah requirements for Joseph to redeem Miriam's firstborn son and for Miriam to present a blood sacrifice to restore her clean status.

they returned: Grk. epistrephō, aor., may mean (1) to go back to a point; go, come back, return; (2) turn about within a space; turn about, turn; or (3) to change one's mode of thinking or belief; turn about. The first meaning applies here. to: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." Galilee: Grk. ho Galilaia (for Heb. "the Galil"). See verse 4 above. to their: Grk. heautou, normally a reflexive pronoun in the third person, but used here in a possessive sense. city: Grk. polis. See verse 3 above. of Nazareth: Grk. Nazaret. See verse 4 above.

With these commandments satisfied they had no reason to stay, so they returned home. With the birth on September 10 and the presentation forty days later, the return to Nazareth would have occurred in late October. This verse is very important to clarify the chronology of the nativity story. The common interpretation as represented in modern nativity plays is that the Magi came to Jerusalem (Matt 2:1) shortly after Yeshua was born and thus visited the holy family at the same time as the shepherds. However, according to Luke the family only remained in the area for the forty days following the birth and then they returned to Nazareth.

The visit of the Magi had to occur well after this time, because Yeshua was older than in the birth narrative (Matt 2:11) and the holy family immediately fled to Egypt when the Magi departed (Matt 2:14). The divine appointment with the Magi in Bethlehem would have occurred in the winter of the next year, probably in December as some early traditions indicate.

Date: A.D. 1─10

40 Now the child continued growing and becoming strong, being filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke summarizes the upbringing of Yeshua after the return of the family to Nazareth. Now: Grk. de, conj. the child: Grk. ho paidion. See verse 17 above. It may seem odd that Luke repeatedly refers to Yeshua with terms that reflect first his infancy and then his childhood instead of his name, but such terminology does remind the reader that the human being Yeshua was a typical Jewish boy. The description of Yeshua's youth does not intend that he gained the following attributes by osmosis or that the divine nature asserted itself to develop them. Yeshua's characteristics developed in the normal way under the guidance of his parents.

continued growing: Grk. auxanō, impf., to cause to become greater in extent or amount, to become greater in the sense of maturity, that is, he passed through the typical developmental stages of childhood. and: Grk. kai, conj. becoming strong: Grk. krataioō, impf. pass., to become strong, probably indicating his physical development. being filled: Grk. plēroō, pres. pass. part., to cause to abound in content to the maximum or to bring to fruition or completion, to fill or to complete. The present participle depicts a concurrence with the childhood development.

with wisdom: Grk. sophia, exceptional endowment of discernment, understanding and insight. In Hebrew culture sophia always had a practical and ethical aspect and was acquired by education. In ancient Jewish culture education was centered in the home. A father had the most important responsibility for teaching his son. The Talmud said,

"The father is bound in respect of his son, to circumcise [Gen 21:4], redeem [Ex 13:13], teach him Torah [Deut 11:19], take a wife for him [Jer 29:6], and teach him a craft [Eccl 9:10]. Some say, to teach him to swim too, R. Judah said: He who does not teach his son a craft, teaches him brigandage [theft]." (Kiddushin 29a)

From the Jewish point of view teaching a child the Torah was probably the most important responsibility in the above list. This duty is emphasized many times in the Tanakh (Lev 10:11; Deut 4:9-10; 6:7, 20-25; 11:19; 31:19; 32:46; Ps 78:4-5; Prov 1:8; 3:1; 4:1-4; 6:20; 13:1). A child's education began very early. By rabbinic standards a father was to teach his child the Torah and the Shema as soon as he could speak (Sukkah 42a). Indeed the Mishnah stipulated that a child that was able to shake the lulab (the palm branch used during the Feast of Booths ceremonies) was obligated to do so, which implied teaching the child about the custom (Sukk. 3:13).

The Mishnah also specified that a child began learning Scripture (i.e., memorization) at age 5 and the Mishnah (Jewish law and customs) at age 10 (Abot 5:21). The commencement of study at five years was based on the analogy of the newly planted tree, the fruit of which becomes available for general consumption in the fifth year (Lev 29:25). Traditionally the five year old Jewish boy would begin his study with Leviticus. The Midrash quotes God as saying, "Since the children are pure, and the sacrifices are pure let the pure come and occupy themselves with things that are pure" (Lev. R. vii. 3, quoted by Jeffrey Feinberg, Walk Leviticus, p. 13).

and: Grk. kai. the grace: Grk. charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity; also, a benefit conferred freely as an expression of good will. Charis can represent the Heb. word chesed, God's covenantal faithfulness. of God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 13 above. was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 1 above. upon: Grk. epi, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. God's favor and providential care were given to the child Yeshua in that he developed normally and grew up in a safe environment and suffered no crisis that could have hindered his divine mission.

41 And his parents traveled every year to Jerusalem for the festival of Passover.

Reference: Exodus 12:24-27.

Luke adds important information that Yeshua's childhood development was marked with the faithfulness of his Jewish parents attending the annual pilgrim festivals. And: Grk. kai, conj. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. parents: pl. of Grk. goneus. See verse 27 above. traveled: Grk. poreuomai, impf., may mean (1) to move from one area to another; to go or to make one's way, journey, travel; or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct oneself, live, walk. The first meaning applies here. In the LXX poreuomai renders mainly Heb. halak, to go, come, walk, first occurring in Genesis 3:14 (DNTT 3:946).

every: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 22 above. The preposition is used here with a temporal sense, indicating a succession of activity over a period of time. year: Grk. etos. See verse 36 above. The phrase alludes to an obligation to be fulfilled each year. to: Grk. eis, prep. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm. See verse 22 above. for the festival: Grk. heortē, a religious festival and in the Besekh used of the annual pilgrim festivals, Feast of Passover (Pesach), the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) and the Feast of Booths (Sukkot). In the LXX heortē renders Heb. chag, feast, festival-gathering, pilgrim feast or festival sacrifice (BDB 290). Observance of the pilgrim festivals could only be done at the sacred sanctuary (Deut 16:1-7, 15-16).

of Passover: Grk. pascha, the Passover. In the LXX pascha translates Heb. pesakh, the Passover. For a detailed description of Passover observance in biblical times see my web article The Passover. Divine instructions for the observance of the first Passover were given at the new moon in the first month of spring, Abib, later called Nisan by Israel (Esth 3:7; Neh 2:1). The term pesakh is used for (1) the sacrificial lamb killed on Nisan 14 to begin the celebration (Ex 12:21); and (2) the special communion-meal at sunset Nisan 14 consisting of lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Ex 12:8-11, 43).

The first Passover was the means of deliverance from a plague of death on the firstborn (Ex 12:1—13:16). Thereafter, Passover would celebrate God’s great work of redemption (Ex 23:14-15; Lev 23:4-8; Num 28:16-25; Deut 16:1-8). The Passover deliverance made salvation distinctly national in scope and truly set Israel apart as a special people. Slaves and resident aliens (Gentiles) were allowed to share the meal as long as they were circumcised (Ex 12:48). This simple provision demonstrated that God’s plan of salvation for Gentiles has always been based on inclusion in Israel (cf. Eph 2:11-13).

God expressly commanded the Israelites to celebrate the feast of Passover annually in perpetuity, that is, forever (Ex 12:14). Failing to observe Passover would be a sin (Num 9:13). Josephus summarized the schedule and reason for the continued observance:

"In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover" (Ant. III, 10:5).

By the apostolic era the term "Passover" lasted eight days, which included observance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Josephus, Ant. II, 15:1; Wilson 239; BAG 639). In fact, Luke emphasizes this point later in the book, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover" (Luke 22:1). This unity can be seen as early as the celebration of Passover in the time of King Josiah when offerings for the eight-day festival included both lambs, goats and bulls (2Chr 35:7-9). The single character of the festival can be seen, too, in the Tractate Hagigah, which has repeated references to the "remaining days of Passover," and "the seventh day of Passover."

The location of lodging for Joseph and Miriam is not stated and hundreds of thousands attended the festival. Josephus gives a estimate of nearly three million attending Passover in Jerusalem during the reign of Caesar Nero based on the numbers of sheep sacrificed (Wars II, 14:3; VI, 9:3). Jewish hospitality during the time of the major festivals required that if a person had a room available he would give it to any pilgrim who asked to use it without charge. The practice was based on the principle that the city belonged to all the tribes (Yom. 12a; Meg. 26a). Pilgrims unable to find lodging in the city for the festival would live in tents outside the city in designated camping areas.

The fact that Luke mentions Joseph and Miriam going to Jerusalem for Passover without Yeshua is noteworthy. In reality wives and children did not always go to Jerusalem with their husbands and fathers. God commanded,

"Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the face of the Lord, ADONAI." (Ex 23:17 BR)

"Three times a year all your males shall appear before ADONAI your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Ha-Matzot, the Feast of Shavuot, and the Feast of Sukkot. And they shall not appear before ADONAI empty-handed." (Deut 16:16 BR)

The first Passover in Egypt was a family event (Ex 12:3-4). Yet, later narratives of Passover observance indicate male participation without mention of households, although they may well have shared in the occasion (Num 9:4-10; Deut 16:16; Josh 5:10; 2Chr 30:21; 35:17). While observing the week of unleavened bread was obligatory on all Jewish families, regardless of where they lived (Pesach 4a, 43b; cf. Acts 20:6), attending the Passover feast in Jerusalem was only obligatory for adult men. Women were not bound to make such a personal appearance (Edersheim II, 10:1 citing TJ Kidd. 61c). Participation by women was strictly voluntary (Pesach 79b, 91b).

A complicating factor in the first century was that the observance of Passover was centralized in Jerusalem, the only place where lambs could be sacrificed (Deut 16:5-6). The added factors of time and cost meant that pilgrims from the Diaspora did not necessarily take their entire family with them to Jerusalem. Ellis also notes that at this time it had become customary for those living in distant places of the Diaspora to only come to Jerusalem for Passover, rather than all three festivals. Josephus gives a census estimate of 2,700,200 attending Passover in Jerusalem during the reign of Caesar Nero based on the numbers of sheep sacrificed (Wars VI, 9:3).

Date: April, A.D. 11

Bar Mitzvah, 2:42-50

42 and when he became twelve years, they went up according to the custom of the festival.

and: Grk. kai, conj. when: Grk. hote, adv. See verse 21 and 22 above. The adverb marks the third important milestone in the life of a Jewish son. he became: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 1 above. twelve: Grk. dōdeka, the numeral twelve. years: pl. of Grk. etos. See verse 36 above. The syntax of "became years twelve" signifies the completion of twelve years. Plummer notes that the mention of the age implies that since the Presentation Jesus had not been up to Jerusalem. Assuming Yeshua's birth on Tishri 1 (Sept. 10th) of 3 B.C., then his 12th birthday would have been in A.D. 10 and the Passover trip mentioned here occurred the following Nisan (April 6-13) of A.D. 11, six months into his 13th year.

Christian interpreters (Brown, Lightfoot, Lumby, Nicoll, Plummer, and Vincent) assert that the mention of Yeshua's age is the time of his becoming bar mitzvah, "son of the commandment" and this trip reflects assuming adult responsibilities. Clarke says that according to the Jewish canons, twelve was the age at which a boy were obliged to begin to learning a trade from his father (cf. Kiddushin 29a). Barnes and Clarke note it is probable that 12 was the age at which Jewish males were expected to fulfill the Torah requirement to attend the pilgrim festivals. Lumby comments:

"Up to this age a Jewish boy was called 'little,' afterwards he was called 'grown up,' and became a 'Son of the Law,' or 'Son of the Precepts.' At this age he was presented on the Sabbath called the 'Sabbath of Phylacteries' in the Synagogue, and began to wear the phylacteries with which his father presented him."

Most Gentiles think of Bar Mitzvah as a ceremony, but no ceremony is needed to assume this status. In fact, there is no record of a bar mitzvah as an occasion for publicly assuming religious and legal obligations before the 15th century. The first bat mitzvah ceremony did not occur until the 20th century. (See the article Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah at the Jewish Virtual Library.) Stern objects to interpreting this narrative of Yeshua as his bar mitzvah since the Talmud says that a boy becomes accountable as an adult at the age of thirteen years and a day (Avot 5:21; Kiddushin 63b).

Scripture provides no definitive guidance on the age at which a child becomes accountable to God (cf. Deut 21:18-21; Isa 7:14-16; 1Cor 13:11; 2Tim 3:15). In reality there can be no definite age since maturation and development of the conscience can greatly vary in children. The Talmud comments reveal that Jewish religious leaders chose the age of 13 as an arbitrary point for a boy to be subject to the law of capital punishment. These legal rulings do not say that 13 is when a boy had to start keeping the commandments and the accountability of the parents ceased. Other Talmudic passages stress this point:

"R. Isaac stated: It was ordained at Usha that a man must bear with his son until [he is] twelve years [of age]. From that age onwards he may threaten his life." (Ketubot 50a)

"The vows of a boy twelve years and a day are to be examined" (Niddah 5:5).

"MISHNAH. One should not afflict children at all on the Day of Atonement. But one trains them a year or two before in order that they become used to religious observances." (Yoma 8:3, 82a)

The milestone of age 12 among Israelites has historical precedent. According to Josephus twelve years marked the age at which Moses was considered a man, Samuel began prophesying, and Josiah demonstrated righteousness and carried out his reforms (Josephus, Ant. II, 9:6; V, 10:4; X, 4:1). Also, Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king (2Kgs 21:1; 2Chr 33:1).

they: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. went up: Grk. anabainō, pres. part. See verse 4 above. according to: Grk. kata, prep. the custom: Grk. ethos, a way of doing things marked by recurring procedure, custom or practice. of the festival: Grk. heortē. See the previous verse. Joseph, being a righteous man (Matt 1:19) would have complied with the Torah requirement for the annual trip to Jerusalem for the major festivals. Apparently, since their marriage twelve years previously Miriam accompanied her husband on these special occasions. Thus, Yeshua's parents decided that having completed his twelfth year, Yeshua should attend Passover with them in order to comply with the Torah requirement.

43 And having completed the days, in their returning Yeshua the youth remained in Jerusalem; and his parents did not know.

And: Grk. kai, conj. having completed: Grk. teleioō, aor. part., to bring to a point at which nothing is missing, here the focus being on accomplishing all Torah requirements for observance. the days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. Here the phrase refers to the timeframe for accomplishing the entire 8-day festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread, Nisan 14-21. See the illustrated Shlomo's Passover Adventure for the details of festival participation by a Jewish family in the first century. Click in the upper right corner to advance the slides. Since the 21st was a high holy day (Lev 23:8), departure would have taken place no sooner than the next day or possibly the day after.

in: Grk. en, prep. their: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. returning: Grk. hupostrephō, pres. inf., to go back to a position, to return. The verb refers to the travel of pilgrims back to their homes, in this case Nazareth. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 21 above. the youth: Grk. pais, one in a dependent capacity, post-infancy but age not determinate; child, boy, girl, youth. The great majority of versions translate the noun as "boy," but in my view "youth" is a better choice. The use of pais certainly emphasizes that at age twelve Yeshua was still under the authority of his parents, but at the same time he was at a critical transition point of being trained in adult responsibilities.

remained: Grk. hupomenō, aor., to stay in a place when others are leaving; remain, stay behind. in: Grk. en. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm. See verse 22 above. and: Grk. kai. his: Grk. autos. parents: pl. of Grk. goneus. See verse 27 above. did not: Grk. ou, adv. know: Grk. ginōskō, aor., 3p-pl., to know, but has a variety of meanings, including (1) to be in receipt of information; (2) form a judgment or draw a conclusion; or (3) have a personal relationship involving recognition of another's identity or value. The first meaning applies here.

In the LXX ginōskō translates Heb. yada, which has a similar wide range of meaning, but in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge (DNTT 2:395). To modern readers this may appear to be neglect, but being twelve years old Yeshua would not be supervised like a baby or young child.

44 Now having supposed him to be in their caravan, they went a journey of a day, and they began seeking him among the relatives and the acquaintances.

Now: Grk. de, conj. having supposed: Grk. nomizō, aor. part., to determine on the basis of ordinary reasoning, to conclude or to suppose. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Yeshua. to be: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. See verse 4 above. in: Grk. en, prep. the caravan: Grk. ho sunodia, a company of travelers, associates on a journey. In the LXX sunodia occurs only in Nehemiah 7:5, 64, where it occurs in reference to families gathered into groups according to their genealogy. The Hebrew word for a traveling company or caravan is Heb. orechah, which occurs only twice in the Tanakh (Gen 37:25; Isa 21:13). Traveling in ancient times was conducted in the company of others for the sake of safety.

they went: Grk. erchomai, aor. See verse 16 above. a journey: Grk. hodos, with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip. In the LXX hodos translates Heb. derek, way, road, or journey (Gen 3:24). of a day: Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. The idiom "a day's journey" does not refer to a 24-hour period, but the distance that might be traveled in the daytime. Since the journey from Jerusalem to Nazareth would take three days, they would still be in Judea after one day.

and: Grk. kai, conj. they began seeking: Grk. anazēteō, impf., 3p-pl., to expend effort in locating someone; search for. The search probably began when the travelers stopped and camped for the evening. him: Grk. autos. among: Grk. en, prep. the relatives: pl. of Grk. ho suggenēs, akin to, connected by lineage, relative, either (1) a near relation by blood or marriage; or (2) shared tribal ancestry. The nature of the relation is not further defined. These relations may also have come from Galilee. and: Grk. kai. the acquaintances: pl. of Grk. ho gnostos, someone known, an acquaintance. While these persons were Jews they were not of the same tribe or clan as Joseph and Miriam. Interrelationships of families and neighbors in ancient Jewish culture were strong and they looked out for one another.

45 and having not found him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking him.

and: Grk. kai, conj. having not: Grk. , negative particle. found: Grk. heuriskō, aor. part. See verse 12 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Earnest searching produced no results. they returned: Grk. hupostrephō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 43 above. The return trip probably began at first light, since they had gone a day's journey. to Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm. See verse 22 above. seeking: Grk. anazēteō, pl. pres. part. See the previous verse. him: Grk. autos. The syntax implies the search continued along the road, in case he was straggling behind, but primarily in Jerusalem, especially wherever they had been lodging.

46 And it came to pass after three days they found him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them.

And: Grk. kai, conj. it came to pass: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. See verse 1 above. after: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 36 above. three: Grk. treis, the numeral three. days: pl. Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. The time period does not mean "on the fourth day." Rather "after three days" is an idiomatic manner of counting days inclusively, making the temporal reference equivalent to "the third day" (cf. Matt 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; Acts 10:40). Although the day of departure is not stated the flow of the narrative implies that the timeline for the three days began with the departure from Jerusalem.

Plummer explains the alternative interpretations of the sequence: (1) one day out, at the end of which the child is missed; one day back; and on the third the finding. This is probably correct. (2) One day's search on the journey back; one day's search in Jerusalem; and on the third the finding. (3) Two days' search in Jerusalem, and then the finding. This is improbable. Jerusalem was not a large place, and less than a day would probably suffice. We may understand that on all three days Yeshua was in the Temple.

they found: Grk. heuriskō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 12 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The search no doubt focused on the house where they had celebrated the Passover Seder and then houses of friends and possible relatives who lived in the city. Everywhere they would ask about their son. Such a lengthy search could easily cause anxiety to the parents, but they finally found him. in: Grk. en, prep. the Temple: Grk. hieron. See verse 27 above. Their search would be confined to the public areas, and they eventually found him. The place where they found Yeshua was likely not one they considered at first. Either someone provided information or it was a matter of "we've searched everywhere else."

sitting: Grk. kathezomai, pres. mid. part., to seat oneself. in: Grk. en, prep. the midst: Grk. mesos, at a point in or near the center, middle, but in a group setting 'in the midst of' or 'among.' Sitting was the normal position for teaching and learning Torah (cf. Matt 5:1; Mark 4:1; 9:35; 13:3; Luke 5:3, 17; John 8:2), and the talmidim (disciples) of a rabbi would typically gather around him (e.g. Mark 3:32, 34; 10:1). The fact that Yeshua is literally the center of attention is striking in the circumstances.

of the teachers: pl. of Grk. ho didaskalos, teacher or instructor who regularly engaged in the imparting of knowledge or skills, a vocation of special status among the Israelites. In the LXX didaskalos occurs only in 2Maccabees 1:10 to denote Aristobulus, the head of the Egyptian Jewish community, who, having dedicated an exposition of the Pentateuch to King Ptolemy Philometor, is called a teacher clearly for this reason. In Greek education teaching was concerned with imparting knowledge or technical skills. Philo, the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher (25 BC - AD 50), employs this meaning when he uses the term "teacher" to refer to both Moses (On Giants 54) and God (Who is the Heir of Divine Things? 102).

In both cases Philo regards a teacher as one who imparts knowledge, not as one who lays ethical demands before others. Hebrew education in the Tanakh, however, is more concerned with obedience than imparting information. The situation is different in the Qumran texts where moreh occurs more frequently, often with a qualifying phrase like "the righteous one," probably in reference to the founder of the sect (DNTT 3:767). Elsewhere didaskalos is used interchangeably with rhabbi (Matt 23:8; John 1:38; 3:2). The men Yeshua sat among were scholars and recognized authorities in interpretation and application of Torah, probably scribes and Pharisees, important religious leaders.

both: Grk. kai. The conjunction is used here to denote a repetition which indicates that of two things one takes place no less than the other (Thayer). hearing: Grk. akouō, pres. part. See verse 18 above. The verb intends that Yeshua was listening and understanding. them: pl. of Grk. autos. The implication is that when Yeshua's parents found him the teachers were discussing some matter of Torah interpretation. Yeshua was respectful and gave his earnest attention to the discussion taking place.

and: Grk. kai. questioning: Grk. eperotaō, pres. part., to put a question to, to ask. them: pl. of Grk. autos. In advanced Jewish study of Scripture a rabbi would engage a student by asking a question; the student would respond in kind with a related question, showing he understood what the rabbi was asking and thereby advancing the discussion (Pryor 25). At some point Yeshua decided to ask a question regarding the matter being discussed, quite permissible under the rules of the court.

The exact location of the discussion between Yeshua and the learned leaders is not given. Geldenhuys suggests that he was in one of the courts where a number of Jewish doctors had gathered together for disputations among themselves as they were accustomed to do after such a festival (127). The narrative provides three clues. First, he was in or inside the Temple complex. Yeshua was not in one of the scores of synagogues of Jerusalem. Second, Yeshua was not in an area where Miriam could not enter, such as the Court of Priests or the Court of Israelites.

Third, Yeshua was in a place where Torah scholars met. Pharisees and religious leaders would meet within the "Chel" to conduct discussions on application of Torah (Sanh. 88b). The Tractate Middoth 1:5, 2:3 describes the Chel as being a level promenade or terrace running along the north and south sides of the temple, 10 cubits broad, with 12 steps leading up to it. See the illustrations here and here.

47 Moreover all those hearing him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Moreover: Grk. de, conj. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 1 above. those: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. hearing: Grk. akouō, pres. part. See verse 18 above. The phrasing suggests a sizable audience. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. were astonished: Grk. existēmi, impf. mid., expresses the idea of causing or undergoing a psychological change outside normal expectation. In this context the verb means to make a profound impression on someone by astonishing.

at: Grk. epi, prep. his: Grk. autos. understanding: Grk. sunesis, the faculty of perceiving readily with the mind, understanding, comprehension, insight. and: Grk. kai, conj. answers: Grk. apokrisis, answer or reply given in response to an examination or question. Yeshua's answers, given in question form, revealed his ability to analyze and apply Torah similar to a well educated scribe. Since age 15 was generally considered the time to begin advanced study (Avot 5:21), the teachers were highly impressed with Yeshua's intelligence at age 12.

48 And having seen him, they were astonished and his mother said to him, "Child why have you done thus to us? Behold! Your father and I, being distressed, were seeking you!"

And: Grk. kai, conj. having seen: Grk. horaō, pl. aor. part. See verse 15 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. they were astonished: Grk. ekplēssomai, aor. pass., 3p-pl., to be amazed or astounded. and: Grk. kai. his: Grk. autos. mother: Grk. mētēr. See verse 33 above. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 13 above. to him: Grk. autos. Son: Grk. teknon, voc., child of undetermined age beyond infancy, normally referring to a man or woman's immediate biological offspring and most often used of a son and especially a child of promise (cf. Acts 13:33; Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28). The great majority of versions translate the noun as "son."

why: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why. have you done: Grk. poieō, aor. See verse 27 above. thus: Grk. houtōs, adv. used to introduce the manner or way in which something has been done or to be done; thus, in this manner, way or fashion, so. to us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. Plummer suggests that the reproachful question perhaps contains in it a vein of self-reproach. She and Joseph had appeared to be negligent.

At the same time Miriam's question could imply that Yeshua had violated the fifth commandment, which specifically requires honor to be given to parents. The objection is not strictly that Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but that he did so without telling his parents. This is a serious question that appears to impugn Yeshua's ethical choice. In one sense it is a typical parental response taking the child's behavior as a personal and purposeful affront. Jewish interpretation might acquit Yeshua of sin, since he was not 13. Nevertheless, Joseph and Miriam could mete out punishment for his lack of regard. He was still under their authority (verse 51 below).

Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See verse 10 above. Your: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. father: Grk. patēr. See verse 33 above. Joseph was the legal father of Yeshua and thus had the authority of a father under the Torah. Miriam was not trying to perpetuate a deception regarding Yeshua's paternity. and I: Grk. kagō, conj., formed from combining kai and egō and serves to link in parallel a personal affirmation by way of addition to or confirmation of a preceding statement. being distressed: Grk. odunaō, pres. mid. part., to be in pain, whether physically or emotionally; to be in anguish and tormented.

were seeking: Grk. zēteō, impf., 1p-pl., to be on the search for, in the sense of looking for someone or something one has difficulty in locating. you: Grk. su. Miriam describes the anguish and worry she and Joseph felt as affecting their own bodies. For a child to go missing can be a parent's worst nightmare. How could Yeshua be so thoughtless?

49 And he said to them, "Why is it that you were seeking me? Did you not know that it was necessary for me to be among the things of my Father?"

And: Grk. kai, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 10 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 15 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The first phrase emphasizes that Yeshua turned his attention from the religious leaders to face his mother. Why: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun. See the previous verse. The question is an expression of surprise, not disrespect. is it that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. you were seeking: Grk. zēteō, impf. See the previous verse. me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Yeshua demonstrated his skill in answering not only the teachers' questions but also that of his mother.

Did you not: Grk. ou, adv., negative particle. know: Grk. oida, plperf, 2p-pl., to know in an objective sense, to have information about; also to have discernment about, to grasp the significance of the information received. The pluperfect tense of oida identifies action in the past that is complete and the results of the action in existence at some point in past time as indicated by the context. Yeshua was not surprised at their coming back for him, but at their not knowing where to find Him.

that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. it was necessary: Grk. dei, impersonal verb from deō ('lack, stand in need of') and thus conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen; "it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper." for me: Grk. egō. to be: Grk. eimi, pres. inf. See verse 4 above. among: Grk. en, prep. See verse 6 above. The preposition is used here to denote proximity. the things: Grk. tois, pl. of ho, definite article, but since it is placed immediately before the mention of a person indicates some kind of connection, association or fellowship, which pertains to that person. Thayer notes that Josephus used this same syntax (Grk. tois to dios) to refer to the temple of Jupiter (Against Apion I, 18:2). Thus, the great majority of versions have "house." (NOTE: The Greek words for "house" and "temple" do not occur in the verse.)

However, two versions render the plural tois as "business" (KJV, NKJV). The CJB has "affairs" and some versions have "things" (DLNT, MSG, TLV, YLT) to reflect the broader implication of Yeshua's words of being engaged in his heavenly mission. The plural definite article is used to refer to the things or interests of God in contrast to interests of man (cf. Matt 16:23; Mark 8:33; Rom 8:5; 1Cor 7:32-34).

of my: Grk. egō. Father: Grk. patēr. See verse 33 above. Yeshua clearly engages in a play on words, referring to both Joseph and the Father in heaven. It is noteworthy that in the apostolic narratives Yeshua is identified more frequently as the son of Joseph (Matt 13:55; Luke 2:48; 3:23; 4:22; John 6:42) than of his mother. As noted in the comment on verse 40 and 42 above fathers in Jewish culture were required to teach their sons a trade. Joseph is later identified as a carpenter (Matt 13:55) and Yeshua also learned this trade (Mark 6:3). We can also assume that since Gabriel informed Joseph of Yeshua's divine mission (Matt 1:21), Joseph was especially diligent in Yeshua's biblical and spiritual education.

Thus, Yeshua indirectly complimented Joseph as his spiritual mentor. It was customary for a Jewish boy to begin the study of Jewish law (Mishnah) at age ten, and Yeshua was furthering his educational development by coming to the center of Jewish learning. At that time carpenters were regarded as particularly learned. Shammai (50 B.C. - A.D. 30), the Pharisee and President of the Sanhedrin during most of Yeshua's ministry was himself known to be a carpenter (Shab. 31a). If a difficult problem was under discussion by the scribes, they would ask, "Is there a carpenter among us, or the son of a carpenter who can solve the problem for us?" (Flusser 14).

The question also hints at a personal awareness of the Father's purpose and plan. One of the unexplained mysteries of the incarnation is at what point did Yeshua know that he was more than a human being? On a spiritual level Yeshua indicated that he now had awareness of his oneness with the heavenly Father and his Messianic mission. The "things" of his Father would naturally bring him to the Temple. Yeshua may have gone there to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi, "And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple" and "He will purify the sons of Levi" (Mal 3:1, 3).

Yeshua began the purification process by challenging the thinking of the Torah teachers. Of course, his real work of coming to the Temple and cleansing it would have to await his adult ministry.

50 But they did not understand the message he spoke to them.

But: Grk. kai, conj. they: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Both Joseph and Miriam had the same reaction. did not: Grk. ou, adv., negative particle. understand: Grk. suniēmi, to grasp the significance of a word or action, to understand or to comprehend. The verb does not mean a failure to know the dictionary definition of the words Yeshua used. the message: Grk. ho rhēma. See verse 15 above. he spoke: Grk. laleō, aor. See verse 15 above. to them: pl. of Grk. autos. Joseph and Miriam may have understood that Yeshua had offered an answer to save face for all of them, but they obviously did not comprehend the subtext of his statement.

Maturation in Nazareth, 2:51-52

51 And he went down with them to Nazareth and was subject to them. And his mother treasured all these matters in her heart.

And: Grk. kai, conj. he went down: Grk. katabainō, aor., to proceed in a direction that is down. The Bible typically speaks of leaving Jerusalem as "going down" to whatever destination since the city rested on seven mountains. The verb stresses that Yeshua left in cooperation with his parents. with: Grk. meta, prep. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. to Nazareth: Grk. Nazareth, which transliterates the Heb. Natzeret. See verse 4 above. and: Grk. kai. was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 1 above.

subject: Grk. hupotassō, pres. pass. part., to be in compliance with requirements for order, to subject, or to subordinate. Hupotassō is derived from hupo (under) and tassō (arrange, appoint), which originated as a military term where a rank structure is clearly defined (DNTT 1:476). The present tense indicates the continuing nature of Yeshua's response. to them: pl. of Grk. autos. Obedience was given to both Joseph and Miriam.

And: Grk. kai. his: Grk. autos. mother: Grk. mētēr. See verse 33 above. treasured: Grk. diatēreō, impf., to guard carefully to ensure final safety and successful delivery. The verb hints at Miriam's role in preserving the nativity narrative, which she passed on to Luke. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. these: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. matters: pl. of Grk. rhēma. See verse 15 above. In this usage the word emphasizes that which is remarkable or noteworthy, and may be rendered as a matter, thing or event. in: Grk. en, prep.

her: Grk. autē, fem. of autos. heart: Grk. ho kardia. See verse 19 above. The point is that Miriam treasured the memory of this event or conversation with her son at the Temple. She did not regard his statement to her as disrespectful or rebellious, but he was inviting her into the secret counsels of God. Miriam believed Yeshua was trying to say something important to her and she often reflected on what his message might portend for the future.

52 And Yeshua advanced in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and men.

Reference: 1Samuel 2:26; Proverbs 3:4.

And: Grk. kai, conj. Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous. See verse 21 above. advanced: Grk. prokoptō, impf., to move forward in a condition or circumstance, to advance. in: Grk. en, prep. wisdom: Grk. sophia, exceptional endowment of discernment, understanding and insight. In Hebrew culture sophia always had a practical and ethical aspect. and: Grk. kai. stature: Grk. hēlikia, height or stature, a term of physical growth, but also of maturity in the sense of the developmental stages of life. and: Grk. kai. favor: Grk. charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity; also, a benefit conferred freely as an expression of good will.

with: Grk. para, prep., with the root meaning of beside (DM 108), conveys here a close association; 'with, in association with.' God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 13 above. and: Grk. kai. men: pl. of Grk. anthrōpos. See verse 14 above. "God and men" could be an idiomatic expression denoting heaven and earth. Yet, the preposition para denotes spending time in the company of the divine and the human. The verse summarizes with typical Jewish conciseness the physical, social, psychological and spiritual development of Yeshua growing from youth into adulthood.

Works Cited

BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Notes on the Whole Bible (1834). Baker Book House, 1949. Online.

BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. London: Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981. Online at

Brown: David Brown (1803-1897), The Gospel According to Luke, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Online.

Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762-1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible: Luke (1826). Online.

Danker: F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.

DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Colin Brown, ed. Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.

Edersheim: Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah(1883). New Updated Edition. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993. Online.

Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.

Ellis: E. Earle Ellis, The Gospel of Luke. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1981. [The New Century Bible] Online.

Finegan: Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible. Rev. ed. Hendrickson Publishers, 1998.

Flusser: David Flusser, The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus' Genius. 4th ed. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2007.

Geldenhuys: Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1951. (NICNT)

GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]

ISBE: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Ed. James Orr. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1939. Website HTML, 2011. Online.

Jeremias: Joichim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press, 1975.

Lane: William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1974. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)

Levine: Amy-Jill Levine, Annotations on "The Gospel According to Luke," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Liefeld: Walter L. Liefeld, Luke, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 8. Zondervan Pub. Co., 1984. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.

Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602-1675), Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations upon Luke, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), Vol. 3. Hendrickson Pub., 1989.

LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online

Lumby: J. Rawson Lumby (1831–1895), Luke, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press, 1891. Online.

Merrill: Selah Merrill, Galilee in the Time of Christ. Religious Tract Society, 1891. Online.

Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.

Neil: James Neil, Palestine Explored. James Nisbet & Co., 1882.

NIBD: Nelson's Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, ed. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Nicoll: W. Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), The Expositor's Greek Testament (1897), 5 vols. Online.

Plummer: Alfred Plummer (1841-1926), A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Luke. 5th edition. T&T Clark, 1922. Online.

Pryor: Dwight A. Pryor, Behold the Man: Discovering our Hebrew Lord, the Historical Jesus of Nazareth. Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, 2005.

Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. 2 vol. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.

Safrai: Samuel Safrai, Did women go through a mikveh (ritual immersion pool) after childbirth? Jerusalem Perspective, October 13, 2006. Online. Accessed 7 August 2023.

Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992. Online.

SBD: Sir William Smith (1813-1893), A Dictionary of the Bible. John Murray, 1893. Online. aka "Smith's Bible Dictionary."

Setterfield: Barry Setterfield, The Christmas Star, 1998, 2004. DVD (2007) available from Genesis Science Research. See also his supplementary articles on The Christmas Star, Technical Notes and Discussion, that contain more information on the date of the nativity.

Sketches: Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), Sketches of Jewish Social Life (1876). New Updated Edition. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994. Also online.

Steinmann: Andrew E. Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology. Concordia Publishing House, 2011.

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

Ussher: Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656), The Annals of the World (1658). Master Books, 2003. Online. See the summary chart.

Varner: William C. Varner, Jacob's Dozen. The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1987.

Vermes: Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. 7th ed. Penguin Books, 2012. Online.

Vincent: Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922), The Word Studies in the New Testament. 4 vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1886. Online.

Wenham: G.J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1979.

Wilson: Marvin R. Wilson, Our Father Abraham. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989.

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