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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Luke 2



Verse 1

it came to pass in those days. The seventh and last occurrence of this ominous phrase. See note on Genesis 14:1.

it came to pass. A Hebraism, frequent in Luke. Compare Luke 1:8.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

a decree = an edict, from. Greek. para. App-104.

all. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of the whole) for a part of the whole; i.e. the Roman Empire.

world. Greek. oikoumene. See App-129. Compare Acts 11:28.

taxed = enrolled, or registered.

Verse 2

this taxing was first made = this was the first registration to be made. A second is recorded in Acts 5:37.

Cyrenius. Greek for the Latin Quirinus. His full name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinus.

Verse 3

every one, &c. A Papyrus (in British Museum), being a rescript of the Prefect Gaius Vibius Maximus (A.D. 103-4), shows that Herod must have been acting under Roman orders. Vib. Max. was Prefect of Egypt, and wrote: "The enrolment by households being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause soever are outside their homes to return to their domestic hearths, that they may accomplish the customary dispensation of enrolment, and continue steadfastly in the husbandry that belongeth to them. "There is a large number of Papyri relating to these enrolments. See Deissmann"s Light from the Ancient East, pp. 268, 269.

into = unto. Greek. eis. App-104.

Verse 4

went up: literally true, the ascent from Nazareth to Jerusalem being at least 1,500 feet.

from = away from. Greek. apo. App-104.

out of Greek ek. App-104.

Nazareth. Aramaean. See note on Luke 1:26. = Branch = Town, where He, Jehovah"s "Branch "(Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12), wasbrought up (Luke 4:16).

unto. Greek. eis. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 2:2, Luke 2:15 -, Luke 2:20, Luke 2:48, Luke 2:49.

the city of David., 1 Samuel 20:6. Zion also so called, 2 Samuel 5:9; 2 Samuel 6:10, 2 Samuel 6:12, 2 Samuel 6:16; 1 Kings 2:10, &c.

Bethlehem = the house of bread. Compare Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7. Psalms 132:6. NOW Beit Lahm, about five miles south of Jerusalem.

because he was = on account of (dia. App-104. Luke 2:2)his being.

of. Greek. ek. App-104.

lineage: i.e. the family.

Verse 5

with = in conjunction with. Greek. sun. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 2:36, Luke 2:51, Luke 2:52.

espoused = married. Not merely "betrothed "(Matthew 1:20, Matthew 1:24, Matthew 1:25). See note on Matthew 1:18. Compare Deuteronomy 22:23, Deuteronomy 22:24.

great with child. Compare Luke 1:24. Greek enkuos. Occurs only here in N.T.

Verse 6

so it was = it came to pass; as in Luke 2:1.

while = in (Greek. en. App-104.) the time.

Verse 7

her firstborn Son =

her son, the firstborn. App-179.

wrapped . . . swaddling clothes. Greek sparganoo = to swathe. Occurs only here and Luke 2:12. A medical term = bandage. See Co Luke 1:4, Luke 1:14. Eng. "swathe". Anglo = Saxon swathu = as much grass as is mown at one stroke of the scythe. From Low Germ. swade = a scythe. Hence a shred, or slice, then a bandage. Compare Ezekiel 16:4.

a = the. But all the Texts omit the Art.

manger. Greek phatne (from pateomai, to eat). Occurs only in verses: Luke 12:16, and Luke 13:15. Septuagint for Hebrew. "ebus. Proverbs 14:4.

no. Greek. ou. App-105.

the inn = the Khan. Not "guestchamber", as in Luke 22:11 and Mark 14:14, its only other occurrences.

Verse 8

country = region where David fed his father"s sheep, when sent for by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:11, 1 Samuel 16:12).

over. Greek. epi. App-104.

Verse 9

lo. Figure of speech Asterismos (App-6), to call attention to the wondrous event.

the angel = an angel. No Art. See note on Luke 1:11. App-179.

LORD = Jehovah (App-98).

came upon = stood by. Greek. ephistemi. Used eighteen times by Luke. Compare Luke 24:4. Acts 12:7; Acts 23:11.

the glory: the Shekinah, which symbolized the Divine presence. See Exodus 24:16. 1 Kings 8:10. Isaiah 6:1-3. Acts 7:55.

were sore afraid = feared a great fear. Figure of speech Polyptoton. App-6. See note on Genesis 26:28.

Verse 10

not. Greek. me. App-105.

behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

I bring you good tidings. Greek. euangelizomai = 1 evangelize (announce) to you great joy.

which. Denoting the class or character of the joy.

people = the People [of Israel].

Verse 11

For = That: meaning "born to-day"; not "I announce to-day". See note on Luke 23:43.

is born = was born, or brought forth.

a Saviour. Not a helper: for a

Saviour is for the lost.

Christ the Lord = Hebrew. Mashiah Jehovah, i.e. Jehovah"s Anointed. 1 Samuel 24:6. App-98.

the Lord. App-98. B. a. The Lord of all power and might. Therefore able to save. Compare Romans 14:9. 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:3. 2 Corinthians 4:5. Philippians 1:2, Philippians 1:11. These three words define and contain the "Gospel" as being good news as to a Person; and as being Christianity as distinct from Religion, which consists of Articles, Creeds, Doctrines, and Confessions; i.e. all that is outward. Compare Philippians 1:3, Philippians 1:4-7, Philippians 1:9, Philippians 1:10, Philippians 1:20, Philippians 1:21. Note that in the Greek the words, "in the city of David", come last. Hence the z and z correspond in the Structure. p. 1436. d

Verse 12

the Babe = a babe.

Verse 13

heavenly host = host of heaven. So Tr. WH margin host = the Sabaioth of the O.T. Compare Daniel 8:10. Romans 9:29. James 5:4. Revelation 5:11, Revelation 5:12.

God. App-98.

Verse 14

Glory. Supply the Ellipsis: [be] to God. Compare Luke 19:38.

on earth peace. But man murdered "the Prince of peace", and now vainly talks about "Peace". on. Greek. epi. App-104.

earth. Greek. ge. App-124.

good will toward men. All the texts read "among men of good pleasure", reading eudokias instead of eudokia. But the sense is the same, as the "good pleasure" is that of Jehovah alone = among men of [His] good pleasure: See Luke 12:32, "It is your Father"s good pleasure to give you the kingdom". But it was man"s bad pleasure to reject the kingdom. See the Structure (F).

toward = among. Greek en. App-104.

Verse 15

heaven = the heaven. Singular with Art.

to. Greek. pros. App-104.

Let us now go = [Come now], let us go through.

unto = as far as.

see. Greek. eidon. App-133.

thing = word, or saying. Greek. rhema. See note on Mark 9:32.

is = has.

made known : i.e. the saying of Luke 2:12. Greek gnorizo. Compare gnosis. App-132.

Verse 16

found = discovered, after search, or in succession. Greek. aneurisko. Occ, only here and in Acts 21:4.

Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe. Each has the Art. with conj. emphasizing the several parties referred to.

Verse 17

saying. Greek. rhema, as in Luke 2:15

concerning. Greek. peri. App-104.

Child. As in Luke 1:59.

Verse 18

at = concerning, as in Luke 2:17.

them = to (Greek. pros, as in Luke 2:15 =) them.

by. Greek. hupo. App-104.

Verse 19

kept = kept within herself.

and pondered = pondering; i.e. weighing them.

Verse 20

for = on. Greek. epi. App-104.

as = according as.

unto. Greek. pros. App-104.

Verse 21

eight days, &c.: i.e. on the last and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37).

accomplished = fulfilled. See Leviticus 12:3.

name. Supply the logical Ellipsis thus: "[Then they circumcised Him] and called His Name", &c. Only four named before birth: Ishmael, Isaac, John, and the Lord.

JESUS. See note on Matthew 1:21. App-98. X

of = by. Greek. hupo, as in Luke 2:13.

before. Greek. pro. App-104.

Verse 22

the days: i.e. forty days after the birth of a son (eighty after a daughter). See Leviticus 12:2-4

her = their. So all the texts; i.e. Joseph and Mary.

according to. Greek. kata. App-104. See Exodus 13:12; Exodus 22:29; Exodus 34:19. Numbers 3:12, Numbers 3:13, Numbers 18:15.

the law. Mentioned five times in this chapter, oftener than all the rest of Luke, to show the truth of Galatians 1:4, Galatians 1:4.

Him = brought Him up. to. Greek. eis. App-104. present, &c. Exodus 13:2. Numbers 18:15, Numbers 18:16.

Verse 23

Every male, &c. Quoted from Exodus 13:2. Numbers 18:15, holy. Seenote on Exodus 3:5.

Verse 24

A pair, &c. Leviticus 12:2, Leviticus 12:6.

Verse 25

man. Greek. anthropos. See App-123.

Simeon. In Hebrew. Shimeon = hearing. Compare Genesis 29:33. Possibly the father of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34.

devout. Greek eulabes. Used only by Luke = taking hold of well; i.e. careful and circumspect in observing the Law. Compare Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2. The kindred word eulabeia, rendered "godly fear", occurs twice Hebrews 5:7; Hebrews 12:28).

waiting for. Compare Genesis 49:18. Isaiah 49:23; and see App-36. Joseph of Arimathaea was another who thus waited. Mark 15:43. Compare Luke 2:38; Luke 3:15; Luke 24:21.

the consolation of Israel. Compare Acts 28:20 and Isaiah 40:1. "May I see the consolation of Israel! "was a Jewish formula of blessing; and an adjuration also: "May I not see it, if I speak not the truth! "

the Holy Ghost = pneumahagion = a spiritual gift. See App-101.

upon. Greek. epi. App-104.

Verse 26

it was revealed. Greek. chrematizo. Occurs nine times; seven times of a Divine communication; here, Matthew 2:12, Matthew 2:22. Acts 10:22; Acts 11:26. Romans 7:3. Hebrews 8:5;. Luke 11:17; Luke 12:25.

the Holy Ghost. The Person being the revealer (with Articles). Not the same as in Luke 2:25. See App-101.

before. Greek. prin. See note on "Till", Matthew 1:25.

the Lord"s Christ = Jehovah"s Anointed. See note on Luke 2:11. App-98.

Verse 27

by = in. Greek. en. App-104.

the Spirit. The Holy Spirit Himself. See App-101.

the temple = the Temple courts. Greek. hieron. See notes on Matthew 4:5; Matthew 23:10.

for = concerning. Greek. peri. App-104.

after = according to. As in Luke 2:22.

Verse 28

took = received.

in = into, as in Luke 2:3.

Verse 29

Lord = Master. Greek. Despotes. App-98. Occurs ten times in N.T. (here; Acts 4:24. 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Timothy 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:21. Titus 2:9. 1 Peter 2:18. 2 Peter 2:1. Jude 1:4. Revelation 6:10).

word = saying. See Luke 2:26.

Verse 30

Thy salvation. Greek. to soterion (not the usual soteria). Used of Jehovah Himself (not merely of salvation as such). See Isaiah 62:11. Compare Luke 3:6.

Verse 31

before. Greek. kata. App-104.

people = the peoples.

Verse 32

A light. Greek. phos. See App-130. Quotedfrom Isaiah 42:6.

to lighten = for (Greek. eis, as in Luke 2:34) a revelation of. Greek. apokalupsis = a revelation by unveiling and manifesting to view. The first of eighteen occurrences. All noted in App-106. Compare Psalms 98:2, Psalms 98:3. Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 52:10, &c. the Gentiles. See Isaiah 26:7. glory. The special blessing for Israel. Israel has had the "light". She is yet to have the glory.

Verse 33

Joseph. Most of" the texts (not the Syriac) read "His father".

marvelled = were marvelling.

at. Greek. epi. App-104. Not the same word as in Luke 2:18.

of = concerning. Greek. peri. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 2:4, Luke 2:35; Luk_2:-36.

Verse 34

set = destined.

for. Greek. eis. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 2:10, Luke 2:11, Luke 2:20, Luke 10:27, Luke 10:30.

fall :i.e. a stumbling = block. See Isaiah 8:14, and compare Matthew 21:42, Matthew 21:44. Acts 4:11. Romans 9:33. 1 Corinthians 1:23.

rising again = rising up. Matthew 11:5. App-178. spoken against. See Acts 28:22. Not a prophecy, but describing its character.

Verse 35

Yea = And thee.

sword. Greek. rhomphaia. Occurs only here and Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21. Septuagint for Zechariah 13:7.

pierce, &c. When on the Cross.

soul. Greek. psuche. App-110. Luke 2:1.

thoughts = reasonings. Compare Luke 5:22. Matthew 15:19. John 9:16. 1 Corinthians 11:19. 1 John 2:19.

revealed = unveiled. Greek. apokalupto. App-106.

Verse 36

Anna. Hebrew. Hannah, as in 1 Samuel 1:20 = He was gracious.

prophetess. Only here and Revelation 2:20.

Aser = Asher; thus Anna of Israel united with Simeon of Judah.

Verse 37

not. Greek. ou. App-105.

served. Same as Luke 1:74.

Verse 38

coming in = standing by.

that instant = at the same time (or hour).

thanks = praise.

the Lord. All the texts read "God".

looked = waited.

redemption. See notes on Luke 2:24; Luke 24:21. Mark 15:43.

Verse 39

performed = ended.

Nazareth. See note on Matthew 2:23.

Verse 40

in spirit. All the texts omit this. App-101. Mat 2 comes in here.

the grace, &c. Compare John 1:14. Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 11:3.

Verse 41

passover. See App-94.

Verse 42

twelve years old : when every Jewish boy becomes "a son of the law "If they performed "all things" according to the Law, Joseph had paid the five shekels redemption money (Numbers 3:47; Numbers 3:18, Numbers 3:16), which gave Joseph the legal right to be reckoned the "father", claiming the obedience shown in Luke 2:51. See notes on Luke 2:45, and Luke 3:23, which, thus explain the genealogy there.

Verse 43

as they returned = in (Greek. en. App-101.) their returning.

the Child. Now the Greek is pais = the youth as be = coming Jehovah"s servant. See App-108.

Joseph and His mother. All the Texts read "His parents".

knew not = did not get to know of it. Greek ginosko. App-132.

Verse 44

supposing = surely reckoning. See note on Luke 3:23.

the company: i.e. in the caravan.

a day"s journey. Probably to Beeroth, about six miles north of Jerusalem. Now Bireh.

sought = searched up and down.

among. Greek. en. App-101.

and = and among.

Verse 45

seeking = searching (all the way they went). Greek. anaz as in Luke 2:44.

Verse 46

after = with. Greek. meta. App-104.

sitting. This was strictly according to rule.

doctors = teachers: i.e. Rabbis.

Verse 48

Son. Greek. teknon = child. See App-108.

Thy father. This was legally correct on the part of Mary. (See note on Luke 2:42, above.) But not truly so; therefore the Lord"s correction, "MY Father"s business", Luke 2:49.

Verse 49

wist ye not = knew ye not. Greek. oida. See App-132.

must. These are the first recorded words of the Lord. The reference is to Psalms 40:5-11, John 4:34. Hence the Divine necessity. Compare Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:54. Mark 8:31. Mark 4:43; Mark 9:22; Mark 13:33; Mark 24:7, Mark 24:26, Mark 24:46. John 3:14; John 4:4; John 12:34, &c. The last-recorded wordsthe Son of man were, "It is finished": i.e. the Father"s business which He came to be about. Compare His first and last ministerial or official words. See note on Matthew 4:4, "It is written".

Verse 50

understood not. Compare Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34. Mark 9:32. John 1:10, John 1:11; John 10:6.

Verse 51

subject. See note on Luke 2:42.

Verse 52

increased = advanced, in wisdom. See App-117.

stature = maturity in all respects.

with = from beside. Greek. para. App-104.

man = men. Greek. anthropos. App-123.


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

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