Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "And it came to pass in those days," (egeneto de in tais hemerais ekeinais) "Then it happened in those days," revolving around the birth and early life of John the Baptist, and after Mary had conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 and the testimony of Gabriel, Luke 1:26-35.

2) "That there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus," (ekselthen dogma para Kaisaros Augustou) "That there went out a dogma (an emphatic decree) from Caesar Augustus." A decree of Caesar Augustus, grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, was published and sent forth or circulated from Rome.

3) "That all the world should be taxed." (apograpesthai pasan ten orkoumenen) "That all people of the inhabited earth should be enrolled," or registered for tax purposes. It was a census registration that required disclosure of men and their land and property as a basis of imposing, assessing, or calculating taxes, throughout all the inhabited earth, over which the Roman Caesar claimed jurisdiction. The completion is said to have taken several years.

Verse 2

1) "And this taxing was first made,’ (haute apographe prote egeneto) "This enrollment or tax registration first occurred," was first made, as later affirmed, Acts 5:37.

2) "When Cyrenius was governor of Syria." (hegemoneuontos tes Syrias kureniou) "While Cyrenius governed Syria," when certain ones of Galilee, led by a man named Judas, arose and rebelled against the taxation, that led to a bloody riot, Luke 13:1-2; Acts 5:6. Syria then also included Phoenicia and Judea.

Verse 3

1) "And all went to be taxed," (kai eporeuonto pantes apographesthai) "And all went to be enrolled or registered," because every male Roman subject, fourteen years of age and upward, and every female twelve years of age and upward, was subject to an head tax.

2) "Every one to his own city." (hekastos eis ten heautou polin) "Each one to his own city." The city of his nativity of his native father’s, to the city of his ancestors or extraction, where family records seem to have been kept, guarded, Proverbs 22:1.


Augustus, while sending forth his edicts to the utmost limits of the East, little knew that on his part he was obeying the decrees of the King of kings. God had foretold that the Saviour should be born in Bethlehem. In order that this might be accomplished He made use of Augustus, and through this prince the order was given for the census of the whole people. At the sight of these wars and revolutions that upset the world you feel inclined to imagine that God no longer governs the world or those in it. You are mistaken, God permits that these awful catastrophes should take place, just for the salvation and perfection of this or that person whom the world knows not.

-De Boylesve

Verse 4

1) "And Joseph also went up from Galilee," (anebe de kai loseph apo tes Galilaias) "Then Joseph also went up from Galilee," from Nazareth of Galilee, where he resided, the Joseph to whom Gabriel appeared, and who was espoused to Mary, Matthew 1:18-25; John 6:42.

2) "Out of the city of Nazareth," (ek poleos Nazareth) "Out of and away from a city called Nazareth," where Joseph was a carpenter, Matthew 13:55; Matthew 2:19-23.

3) "Into Judea," (eis ten loudaian) "Into the country of Judaea," where Jesus was to be born, according to Micah 5:2. The move from one province to another, and one city to another, is clearly noted.

4) "Unto a city of David, which is called Bethlehem;" (eis polin David hetis kaleitai Bethlehem) "Into a city of David which is called Bethlehem," 1 Samuel 17:12; 1 Samuel 17:58; Ruth 4:11. It was where David’s ancestors lived, where David was born, and the predicted birth place of the Messiah, 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Samuel 16:18: Micah 5:2.

5) "(Because he was of the house and lineage of David:)" (dia to einai auton eks oikou kai patrias David) "Because he (the Redeemer) and his ancestry or lineage was to be of the house and lineage of David," in harmony with 2 Samuel 7:12-17; Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:16-18. Bethlehem means "house of bread."

Verse 5

1) "To be taxed with Mary," (apograpsasthai sun Mariam) "To be enrolled or registered for tax purposes, in joint enrollment with Mary," in obedience to Roman law.

2) "His espoused wife," (te emnesteumene auto) "The one (Mary) who was already legally engaged to him," Matthew 1:18.

3) "Being great with child." (ouse egkou) "Being then pregnant," or with child, in a great way, nigh time of delivery, before she and her espoused husband, Joseph, "had come together," Matthew 1:18; Matthew 1:25. Both Mary and Joseph were of the family of David, were to be enrolled in Bethlehem, Luke 2:3-4.

Verse 6

1) "And so it was," (egeneto de) "Then it occurred."

2) "That while they were there," (en to einai autous okei) "That while they were there," in Bethlehem, the city of David, where Jesus was to be born, Luke 2:4; Micah 5:2.

4) "That she should be delivered." (tou tekein auten) "That she should bear or give birth," to the promised virgin-born son, long awaited in Israel, and by Joseph and Mary, Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35; Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4-5.

Verse 7

1) "And she brought forth her firstborn son," (kai eteken ton huion autes ton prototkon) "And she gave birth to her firstborn son," but not the only son she ever had, Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:25. The first­born among the Jews had special positions, Exodus 13:12-13; Exodus 22:29.

2) "And wrapped him in swaddling clothes," (kai esparganosen auton) "And she swathed him," or softly wrapped him in swaddling clothes.

3) "And laid him in a manger;" (kai aneklinen auton en phaten) "And she laid him in a manger," located in a cattle stall or horse crib, where they were lodged for the night. The manger was a trough where cattle-feed was placed for the cattle to eat or for the donkeys to eat.

4) "Because there was no room for them in the inn." (dioti ouk en autois topos en to katalumati) "Because there was not a place for them in the inn," which was crowded and over filled for the night. Traditionally the place of the Lord’s birth was in a grotto or rock cave behind the inn, affording a crude shelter from the night.

Verse 8

1) "And there were in the same country shepherds," (kai poimemes. esan en te chora te aute) "And there were shepherds in the same country," in the nearby area of Judaea, called "The shepherd’s field." It is believed that these were godly men of faith, like Simeon, who looked for the Consolation of Israel, Luke 2:25.

2) "Abiding in the field," (agraulountes) "Living in the open fields," with their sheep, to lead and protect them, by day and by night, Psalms 23:1-6. They perhaps stayed in temporary tents or crude huts.

3) "Keeping watch over their flock by night." (kai phullasontes phulakas tes nuktos epi ten poimeme auton) "And they were continually guarding their flocks by night," on that night. Shepherds bivouac with their flock in both winter and springtime in that area even to this day. What time of the year this occurred is not known by men. But there they stayed in the open fields, taking turns, keeping watch or guard over their sheep by night, as shepherds who loved their sheep.

Sheep used for daily sacrifice in the temple are said to have been kept and fed in these fields, only a few miles southeast of Jerusalem and the temple.

It was a mild season between November and March and the birth day has traditionally come to be celebrated, since about AD 350, as December 25th, though no one knows the date of His birth.

Verse 9

1) "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them," (kai angelos kuriou epeste autois) "And an angel of the Lord came upon them," upon or stood by the shepherds in the fields that night, not to the Pharisees, or Scribes, or Priests in Jerusalem, but to bring the shepherds heavenly news, long awaited Israel, Hebrews 1:14.

2) "And the glory of the Lord shone round about them:" (kai diksa kuriou perielampsen autous) "And the glory of the Lord shone around and upon them," a result of the glory-bearing messenger. The glory-shining was evidently the Shechinah light, that s often appeared to Israel in ancient times, in the holy of holies and as a pillar of fire, Exodus 13:21-22; Nehemiah 9:19.

3) "And they were sore afraid." (kai ephobethesa phobon megan) "And they feared (were afraid exceedingly," at the presence of the holy messenger as they were taught to be, with reverential awe, Psalms 34:9; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Malachi 3:16-17.

Verse 10

1) "And the angel said unto them," (kai ei pen autoi ho angelos) "And the angel said directly to them," the one that had come down from the Lord upon them, to inform them and instruct them, Luke 2:9; Hebrews 1:14.

2) "Fear not;" (me phobesthe) "You all fear not," or do not be emotionally disturbed, as if I were bringing judgment warning to you, instead of good will, Luke 12:32; 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

3) "For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy," (idou gar evangelizomai humin charan megalen "For behold, I proclaim good news of great joy to you all," Genesis 12:1-3; Luke 4:18; Revelation 14:6. The Bible usually indicates that Gabriel is over a realm of angels that inform God’s people for God, give the understanding, while Michael leads a realm of Divine service angels that defend God’s children an property and executes or pronounces judgment on the wicked, Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:7.

Verse 11

1) "For unto you is born this day," (hoti etechthe humin semeron) "Because there was born to you a today," to Israel, Isaiah 9:6-7, this very day, to you shepherds in Israel and your people first, in priority of promise, pledge, and opportunity; He came of the Jews, first to the Jews, John 1:11; Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10.

2) "In the city of David," (en polei David) "In a city of David," called Bethlehem of Judaea, Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6; Luke 2:4. These words are so definitively accurate in prophetic revelation of the Savior who is born, an anchor for every soul who will trust Him.

3) "A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord," (soter, hos estin Christos kurios) "A Savior who is (now exists as) Christ (the) Lord," a. deliverer from the consequences of all sin, Luke 1:74; Luke 4:18; Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10. Jesus means Savior or deliverer while Christ means anointed one or Messiah, a title which refers to His official office of prophet, priest, and king, the latter of which refers especially to His messiahship. The term "Lord" means Jehovah, the Divine one of the Godhead who was and is to come, as master of all things, and all men, and angels, John 3:35; John 5:22; John 5:26-27.

The term "Lord" is the uniform name used in the Septuagint, first Gk. translation of the Old Testament, as a substitute for the very sacred Hebrew word Jehovah, as it appears "Lord" in Luke 2:9, of God.

Verse 12

1) "And this shall be a sign unto you," (kai touto humin semeion) "And this (is) a sign to you," an identification. For Jews were not left without a sign till, Jesus came, visible and prophetic signs, even the Shechinah glory light, as well as prophetic signs and miraculous signs, John 20:30-31; 1 Corinthians 1:22; Matthew 16:1; Matthew 16:4.

2) "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes," (heuresete brephos esparganomenon) "You will find a babe that is having been swathed," well wrapped in swaddling clothes, an infant, a newborn child, as prophesied, Isaiah 9:6-7; His lowly surroundings of birth are contrasted with the angelic announcement, Luke 2:10-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9.

3) "Lying in a manger." (kai keimenon en phatne) "And lying in a manger," look for him not in the inn, but in the stables or stalls, lying in a manger, where donkeys sleep and eat, not in a cozy cradle, where He had become poor, that we through His poverty might be made to be rich, 2 Corinthians 8:9.

Verse 13

1) "And suddenly there was with the angel," (kai eksaiphnes egeneto sun to angelo) "And suddenly there was in company or colleague with the angel," the particular angel (perhaps Gabriel) a band of colleagues, to assist him in the heavenly revelation, such as surround the throne of God, 1 Kings 22:19; Psalms 103:20-21; Psalms 148:2.

2) "A multitude of the heavenly host," (plethos stratias ouraniou) "A multitude of an heavenly army," an innumerable sentry-band (watch band), from the glory world. The Gk. term means an army of soldiers.

3) "Praising God, and saying," (ainounton ton theon kai legonton) "Praising God, and repeatedly saying," as they informed, inspired, or motivated the shepherds, serving their humble hunger for the Lord, Psalms 104:4; Hebrews 1:14.

Verse 14

1) "Glory to God in the highest," (doksa en

hupsistois theo) "Glory to God in the highest," the, highest places, and highest order of created servants, who minister to him and to men, Hebrews 1:14. The glory is because of the highest person who had come down from heaven in infant form, Job 16:19; Psalms 148:1; 1 Timothy 3:16.

2) "And on earth peace," (kai epi ges eirene) "And let peace exist upon earth," for the Peace-giving One had come, who gives peace and rest to the souls of men, Matthew 11:28; John 14:27; John 16:33; Romans 5:11; Isaiah 57:19-21. This Prince of Peace had come, Isaiah 9:6.

3) "Good tidings toward men." (en anthropois eudokias) "Among men of good will," or "let good will--God’s bequested Son be accepted in the midst of and among men," men of good will, of all races or nations. Such was the angelic and orchestrated message from heaven that night, to all mankind. For God, through Christ, had come to reconcile the world to Himself, 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Verse 15

1) "And it came to pass," (kai egeneto) "And it occurred," as the night passed. The new babe’s birth absorbed their minds, not the angels or their glory appearance.

2) "As the angels were gone away from them into heaven," (hos apelthon ap’auton eis ton ouranon hoi angeloi) "As the angels were gone out and away from them into heaven," where they reside, about the throne of God, to do His bidding, with the redeemed, day and night, Revelation 7:15.

3) "The shepherds said one to another," (hoi poimenes elaloun pros allelous) "The shepherds said directly to one another," among themselves, as they conversed with each other, without debating over who would keep the wolves away from the sheep for a few hours.

4) "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem," (dielthomen de heos Bethleem) "Let us go then directly to Bethlehem," where they had told them to, go, Luke 2:11.

5) "And see the thing which is come to pass," (kai idomen to herma touto to gegonos) "And let us behold this thing that has happened," not see "if" it has happened, for they believed God’s message, that a Savior had come.

6) "Which the Lord hath made known unto us," (ho kurios egnorisen hemin) "Which the Lord disclosed or related to us." They were confident that the Lord had sent these angelic messengers to them, to give them this knowledge, Psalms 34:7.

Verse 16

1) "And they came with haste," (kai elthan speusantes) "And they came hurriedly," with anxious haste, hurrying as they came, obediently, leaving their sheep to the care of Providence, Philippians 4:19.

2) "And found Mary, and Joseph," (kai aneuran ten te Mariam kai ton loseph) "And they found or discovered both Joseph and Mary," parents of the newborn Savior, as angels had formerly told Joseph and Mary should come to pass, Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:25-35.

3) "And the babe lying in a manger."(kai to brephos eimenon en te phantne) "And they found the babe lying in the manger," just as the angel of the Lord had told them they would, Luke 2:11-12. For His word is true, from the beginning, Psalms 119:160. The swaddling clothes and manger sign was evident.


Evidently these shepherds were no mean, no common men. They were Hebrews, possibly of the royal line; at any rate they were David’s in their loftiness of thought, of hope and aspiration. They were devout, God-fearing men. Like their father Jacob, they too were citizens of two worlds; they could lead their flocks into green pastures, and mend the fold: or they could turn aside from flock and fold to wrestle with God’s angels, and prevail. Heaven’s revelations come to noble minds, as the loftiest peaks are always the first to hail the dawn.

-Expos. Bible.

Verse 17

1) "And when they had seen it," (idontes de) "Then when they had beheld," it, just as they had been told by the angel and witnessed by his colleague companions from heaven, Luke 2:13.

2) "They made known abroad," (egnorisan) "They spread (it) far and wide," as the first evangelists, that the Savior had been born; they had seen Him; Angels had told them, given them a sign by which they might find and know Him.

3) "The saying which was told them," (peri tou hermatos tou lalethentos autois) "The formal word concerning what was spoken to them," by the angels, perhaps beginning by telling Mary and Joseph, confirming, their faith, then witnessing it to others, Psalms 107:2; Acts 1:8.

4) "Concerning this child." (peri tou paidiou toutou) "Concerning this child," the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, the seed of the woman and of David, Genesis 3:15; 2 Samuel 7:12; Genesis 49:10; Galatians 4:4-5; Matthew 1:21.

Verse 18

1)"And all they that heard it," (kai pantes hois akousantes) "And all those who heard it," as they told, related, or noised it abroad, Luke 2:17.

2) "Wondered at those things which were told them," (ethaumasan peri ton lalethenton pros autous) "Marvelled concerning the things that were spoken to them," by the lowly, yet Godly shepherds, as related by heaven’s host of angels, and what the shepherds had seen in the stable in Bethlehem, Luke 2:16.

3) "By the shepherds." (hupo ton poimenon) "By the shepherds," that had hurried to them from the fields, near Bethlehem, Luke 2:16-17. Yet the message of the excited shepherds must have surely comforted Mary that frustrating night.

Verse 19

1)"But Mary kept all these things," (he de Maria panta suneterei ta hermata tauta) "Then Mary kept or guarded all these sayings," these angelic words brought by the shepherds, in her memory, as mysteries of godliness, 1 Timothy 3:16.

2) "And pondered them in her heart." (sumballousa en te kardia autes) "Pondering or seriously considering them in her heart," compared with other things that had accumulatively happened regarding this child of hers, Jesus Christ: 1) Of Gabriel’s visit to tell her of His Holy Spirit conception, 2) Of Elizabeth’s rejoicing upon hearing the word, 3) Of Joseph’s near divorcing her when she returned to Nazareth, from a three month’s visit with Elizabeth, visibly heavy with child, and 4) Of her disappointment when turned from the inn that night to give birth to her Son in a stable, and lay him in the manger.

Verse 20

1) "And the shepherds returned," (kai hupestrepasn hoi poimenes) "And the shepherds returned," to the fields, to their sheep and livelihood, their occupations and their friends.

2) "Glorifying and praising God." (diksazontes ksi ainountes ton theon) "Continually praising and glorifying God," believing the message of the heavenly army and the vision of the Christ that they had beheld, Luke 2:16-17.

3) "For all the things that they had heard and seen," (epi pasin hois ekousan kai eidon) "Upon the basis of all the things they had both heard and seen," from the angel (perhaps Gabriel) Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26; Luke 2:9. And the host of accompanying colleague of angels, Luke 2:13-15. The mystery of godliness had been revealed to them that blessed night, and they just had to tell it, 1 Timothy 3:16; Acts 4:20.

4) "As it was told unto them." (kathos elalethe pros autos) "Just as, or in definitive harmony with, what was spoken directly to them," from an heavenly armada of angels, of God’s informing angels, and as they had seen 1) the angels, heard their praises and message, 2) had seen the Christ-child for themselves, wrapped in the sign-clothes and lying in the sign-place (a manger), Luke 2:12; Luke 2:16.

It is likely that after the shepherds related their vision of and message from the angels, Mary shared with them her former communion with God’s angel Gabriel, about this new-born Savior, Luke 1:26-35.

Verse 21


1) "And when eight days were accomplished," (kai hote eplesthesan hemerai okto) "And when eight days were completed," or when Jesus was eight days old, in the flesh, the age of circumcising male children, Leviticus 12:3.

2) "For the circumcision of the child," (tou peritemein auton) "Of the time to circumcise him," in compliance with Moses’ law, which he came to fulfill, Genesis 17:12. It is believed that Joseph performed the rite of circumcision. His circumcision was that He might fulfill the whole law, Galatians 5:3; Matthew 5:17-18.

3) "His name was called JESUS," (kai eklethe to onoma autou lesous) "And his name was (that day) called (to him) Jesus," or the name Jesus was given to Him on that day, as formerly directed by the angel, to Joseph and Mary, Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31.

4) "Which was so named of the angel," (to plethen hupo tou angelou) "Which name was called by the angel," or first given by the angel Gabriel, as cited above, to Joseph, Matthew 1:21, and to Mary, Luke 1:26; Luke 1:31.

5) "Before he was conceived in the womb." (pro tou sullemphthenai auton en te koilia) “Before he came to be conceived in the womb," Luke 1:26-35, then after conception it was given to Joseph, Matthew 1:19-21; Matthew 1:25.

Verse 22

1) "And when the days of her purification," (kai hote eplesthesan hai hemerai tou katharismou auton) "And when the days of their cleansing were completed," a period of forty days after the birth of a male child, Leviticus 12:2, during which time the mother was to stay at home, private, as one defiled, setting forth the defilement of the race by sin, and in need of purification.

2) "According to the law of Moses were accomplished," (kato ton nomon mouseos eplesthesan) "Were completed according to, in satisfaction of, or in harmony with the Law of Moses," Leviticus 12:1-4. And the period of purification of a mother at birth of a female child was for a period of eighty days, Leviticus 12:5.

3) "They brought him to Jerusalem," (anegagon auton eis lerosoluma) "They took him into Jerusalem," to the temple, the holy place, for His commitment ceremony, "holy to the Lord."

4) "To present him to the Lord," (parsastesai to kurio) "To present or stand him forth to the Lord," as one to be holy, committed to God, as the firstborn, to fulfill the Law of Moses, Exodus 13:13; Not that Jesus had any sin from which He needed to be redeemed, Matthew 5:17-18; Hebrews 7:26. By that babe we were to be redeemed, even by the first-born, only begotten of the Father, 1 Peter 1:18-19.

The first-born male of every species was sacred to the Lord, and the first-born male child was to be redeemed for money, to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt’s bondage, Exodus 12:29-30; Exodus 13:2; Exodus 13:11-15; Numbers 18:15-16; and the whole tribe of Levi was regarded as substituted for the firstborn, Numbers 3:12-13.

Verse 23

1) "(As it is written in the law of the Lord," (kathos gegraptai en nomo kuriou) "Just as it has been written in the law of the Lord," prescribed or ordained that should be done.

2) "Every male that openeth the womb," (hote pan arsen dianoigon metran) "That every male opening a womb," coming forth from a womb, symbolizing the firstborn, Exodus 13:12; Exodus 13:15; Exodus 22:29.

3) "Shall be called holy to the Lord;)" (hagion to kurio klethesetai) "Shall be called holy to or toward the Lord," sacred and belonging to Him, Numbers 8:17-18. The idea is that every firstborn belongs to the Lord and must be ransomed or redeemed from its uncleanness, Exodus 34:19; Numbers 18:15-16.

Verse 24

1) "And to offer a sacrifice," (kai tou dounai thusian) "And (his parents are) to give a sacrifice," to acknowledge their personal sins, as parents of the child, that they have been and are defiled and need inner cleansing, and thanksgiving for their Son.

2) "According to that which is said in the law of the Lord," (kata to eiremenon en to nomo kuriou) "According to, or in compliance and harmony with, what is said in the law of the Lord," as set forth. A lamb for a: 1) Burnt-offering and 2) A pigeon for a sin-offering, Leviticus 12:6, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation unto the priest.

3) "A pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons." (zeugos turgononon e duo nossous peristeron) "A pair of turtledoves or two nestlings," or two squabs (young pigeons). This was an alternate sacrifice offering which might be made by one too poor to offer the lamb, which cost about five shekels or three and a half dollars, a price that Mary and Joseph simply did not seem to have, while a pigeon could be bought for about 8 cents, Leviticus 12:8. Mary and Joseph brought the latter sacrifice offering, evidently too impoverished to buy a lamb for a burnt offering, 2 Corinthians 8:9. Jesus Christ and His parents exemplified strict obedience to the Law of Moses, Romans 5:19, an example that we should walk obedient to His commands, 1 Peter 2:21.

Verse 25


1) "And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem," (kai idou anthropos en lerousalem) "And, behold, a man was in Jerusalem," on that day.

2) "Whose name was Simeon," (ho onoma Sumeon) "Who was named Simon," meaning one heeding or one who obeys, the things commanded, therefore a friend of the Lord, John 15:14-15. He is believed to have been the son of Hillel and father of Gamaliel, Acts 5:34.

3) "And the same man was just and devout," (kai ho anthropos auros diksios kai eulabes) "And this man was just and devout," a God-fearing man, according to the law, a devout, unhypocritical keeper of the law, a man who was spiritually minded, Romans 8:14-16.

4) "Waiting for the consolation of Israel:" (prodechomenos paraklesin tou Israel) "Expecting or anticipating the consolation of Israel," or consoling, a term by which Jesus, the Messiah was called, Isaiah 66:13; Acts 28:20; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. The spirit of this consolation is expressed, Isaiah 40:1.

5) "And the Holy Ghost was upon him." (kai Pneuma en hagion ep’ auton) "And the Holy Spirit was (existed) upon him," Holy Spirit power, motivation, or impulse, presided over and led him, a prophetic power, as he beheld and spoke, 2 Peter 1:21.

Verse 26

1) "And it was revealed unto him," (kai en auto kechrematismenon) "And it had already been communicated to him," by a vision, or inner illumination.

2) "By the Holy Ghost," (hupo tou pneumatos tou hagiou) "By the Holy Spirit," who helps our weaknesses and reveals God’s will to the upright, 1 Corinthians 2:10-12.

3) "That he should not see death," (me idein thanaton) "That he would not see death," or experience death, a departure from this life, to which all are appointed, Hebrews 9:26-27.

4) "Before he had seen the Lord’s Christ." (prin e an ide ton Christon kuriou) "Before he should see Christ the Lord," the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed one, and as a wise one, he saw and understood; How long before, is not indicated, John 1:12; Daniel 12:3; Daniel 12:10. He was the anointed of Jehovah, Psalms 2:2.

Verse 27

1) "And he came by the Spirit into the temple:" (kai elthen en to pneumati eis to hieron) "And he came by the Spirit into the temple," temple area, of His own choice in the Spirit and devotion to God, and the law of the Lord. As a devout and just man he was waiting upon God, expectantly, not knowing that Mary was to be there with the Christ that day, Luke 2:25; Romans 8:14-16.

2) "And when the parents brought in the child Jesus," (kai en o eisgagein tous goneis to paidion lesoun) "And as his parents brought in the child Jesus," as Joseph and Mary entered the temple area, Luke 2:22.

3) "To do for him after the custom of the law," (tou poiesai autous kata to eithisemenon tou nomou peri autou) "For them to do concerning him according to the custom or ethic of the law," as it related to circumcision, to pay the redemption price, make the offering of two turtle doves and two pigeons, Luke 2:24; Numbers 18:15-16; Leviticus 12:8. They were offered as a burnt offering and a sin offering, in order.

Verse 28

1)"Then took he him in his arms," (kai autos edeksato auto eis tas agkalas) "And he (Simeon) received him (Jesus) into his arms," led by the Spirit, with devout affection, in faith, trusting, believing that He was the Redeemer, Luke 2:25-26.

2) "And blessed God, and said," (kai eulogesen ton theon kai eipen) "And he blessed God and said," or eulogized God, saying, as a redeemed one of faith and joy, Psalms 107:2.

Verse 29

1) "Lord, now," (nun despota) "Now and hereafter forever, Master," continuing Lord over all, John 3:35; John 5:22. The term "despota", means a sovereign, a thing no religious leader minister, elder, or deacon is to be over God’s people, Matthew 20:25-26.

2) "Lettest thou thy servant depart in peace," (apolueis ton doulon sou en eirene) "Let thou now thy servant depart or be released (from life) in peace," as David testified, Psalms 23:1-6. For he will keep in "perfect peace" those whose minds are stayed on Him, Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 57:1-2; Philippians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Revelation 14:13.

3) "According to thy word:" (kata to hrema sou) "in harmony with (according to) your word," Psalms 4:8; Psalms 37:37; John 14:27; John 16:33. For Simeon was now ready to depart to be with the Lord, which is better, 2 Corinthians 5:8-9; Philippians 1:23.

Verse 30

1) "For mine eyes have seen," (hoti eidon hoi ophthalmoi mou) "Because my eyes saw," or looked upon, beheld, as the shepherds did, Luke 2:16-17. Though a babe, Simeon saw Him as the Savior, a thing so many men did not and still do not see in Him.

2) "Thy salvation," (to soterion sou) "Your salvation," in the tiny bundle of flesh, just named "Jesus," Luke 2:21; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:31. He saw Jesus as salvation accomplished in the redemption of humanity and all the fallen universe, Isaiah 52:10; Luke 1:6; Acts 4:12.

Verse 31

1) "Which thou hast prepared," (ho hetoimasas) "Which you did prepare, arrange, or provide," made ready by events of Providence and the revelations of prophecy, Genesis 3:15; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53:1-12; Micah 5:2.

2) "Before the face of all people;" (kata prosopon panton ton laon) "Before the face of all the peoples," mankind at large, not suppressed from any, not in any covert way, though He was revealed "to the Jews first," Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10; John 1:11-12; Romans 10:9-12. He was prepared to be and was given by His Father, and by His own choice, as a sacrifice for all the world. And nothing but the obstinacy of one’s personal choice and will against God will ever damn any person’s soul in hell! John 3:16; Luke 19:10; Romans 1:16; Romans 2:1-4; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-13.

Verse 32

1) "A light to lighten the Gentiles," (phos eis apokalupsin elthnon) "A light for an unveiling (revelation) of the nations," to the Gentiles or heathen, then in darkness, meaning to all who were not racially or religiously Jews, as also formerly disclosed and confirmed, Psalms 98:2-3; Isaiah 42:6-7; Matthew 4:12-17.

2) "And the glory of thy people Israel." (kai diksan laou sou Israel) "And a glory of your people Israel," or to the praise of your race of Israel, that what God promised, He has and will perform, Genesis 3:15; Genesis 12:3; Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 53:1-12. It was not Moses, David, or Solomon, but Jesus who was the Glory-one of Israel.

Verse 33

1) "And Joseph and his mother marvelled," (kai en ho pater autou kai he meter thaumazontes) "And his mother and father (Mary and Joseph) were marveling," or were astounded at these words, as they had been when the shepherds had come to them, Luke 2:16-20.

2) "At those things which were spoken of him." (epi tois lalournenois per! autou) "At the things repeatedly being said concerning him," by the aged prophet Simeon, Luke 2:25-32, as well as those things the shepherds had told them the angels said about the Christ-child, Luke 2:16-20.

Verse 34

1) "And Simeon blessed them," (kai eulogesen autous Sumeon) "And Simeon blessed them," prayed for them, James 5:16-17. The aged should bless the younger, not be jealous of them, even as Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

2) "And said unto Mary his mother," (kai eipen pros Mariam ten metera autou) "And he said to Mary his (Jesus’ mother)," who already pondered so many things about the Christ child in her heart, the manner of His conception, the angelic appearance of Gabriel to her, and Joseph, the blessing of Elizabeth, and the testimony of the shepherds at His birth, Luke 2:19.

3) "Behold, this child is set," (idou houtos keital) "Behold, this one (Jesus) is set," or lies in waiting, as a stone in a pathway, which may be one of stumbling or one of support, when it protrudes above the water of a stream one must cross.

4) "For the fall and rising again of many in Israel;" (eis ptosin kai anastasin pellon en to Israel) "For a fall and rising again of many in Israel," or for the failing and rising of many in Israel. As "the corner stone," or the "stumbling stone, or rock of offense;" He was set for the falling of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the Nazarenes, and the Gadarenes and for the rising of those who believed in Him, John 3:18.

5) "And for a sign which shall be spoken against;" (kai eis semeion antilegomenon) "And for a sign which will be spoken against," to those in Jerusalem, Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:32-33; 1 Corinthians 1:23-24; 2 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Peter 2:7.

The publicans and sinners rose through faith in Him while the Pharisees and Sadducees, and many religious leaders fell violently, rejecting Him, John 1:11-12; Matthew 21:31-32.

Verse 35

1) "(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also)." (kai sou de autes ten psuchen dieleusetai htomphaia) "Then also a sword will go through your own soul;" When He is crucified, His side is finally pierced, your soul will be pierced with deep anguish too, John 19:25-30, much as used Zechariah 13:7; Revelation 1:16.

2) "That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (hopos an apo, aluphthosin ek pollin kardion dialogismoi) "So that the thoughts of many hearts may come to be revealed," for what they really are, 1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 John 2:19. Men’s views, words, and deeds are a reflection of their thoughts and of their hearts, Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45.

Verse 36


1) "And there was one Anna, a prophetess," (kai en Hanna prophetis) "And there was Hanna a prophetess," whose name means "grace" or "prayer", and all that is known of her is what is here related. It is a brief, yet revealing biography. Other prominent prophetesses were Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah of the O.T. and the daughters of Philip, in the N.T., Acts 21:9.

2) "The daughter of Phannuel, of the tribe of Aser:" (thugater Phanouel ek phules Aser) "A daughter of Phannuel out of (the) tribe of Asher," one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and one of the ten tribes that did not return, 2 Kings 17:6. A true Israelite, one who received the Christ, Genesis 49:20; Joshua 19:24; Joshua 19:26. Phannuel means "vision of God."

3) "She was of a great age," (aute peobebekuia en hemerais pollais) "She (was) having advanced in age," an aged woman.

4) "And had lived with an husband seven years," (zesasa meta andros ete hepta) "Having lived with an husband seven years," for a period of seven years, after she was married, after which her husband died.

5) "From her virginity;" (apo tes parthenias autes) "From the time of her virginity," evidently at which time her husband died, leaving her a widow for a long period of life.

Verse 37

1) "And she was a widow," (kai aute chera) "And she was (now) a widow," long unmarried, James 1:27. And widows indeed are to be honored, 1 Timothy 5:3; 1 Timothy 5:5; 1 Timothy 5:16.

2) "Of about fourscore and four years," (heos eton ogdonkonta tessaron) "Of about eighty four years," of age, who had perhaps been a widow more than fifty years, Luke 2:36.

3) "Which departed not from the temple," (ho ouk aphistatoaa tou hierou) "Who did not withdraw or stay away from the temple," because of her age, or pine because she had long since lost her companion. It appears that she may have lived in one of the chambers of the Holy building, Acts 2:46.

4) "But served God with fastings and prayers," (nesteiais kai decsesin latereuousa) "And she served God with fastings and petitions," a means by which far too few serve Him today. It was an expression of earnest devotion, the only one fast was prescribed by law, that on the Great Day of Atonement, Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:29.

5) "Night and day." (nukta kai hemeran) "Night and day," put this way because night preceded day in the chronology of computing Hebrew time, as "the evening and the morning were the first day," etc., Genesis 1:5. Mourning, sorrows, and afflictions were associated with fasting and prayer, from Moses to New ’ Testament times. Moses fasted 40 days, Exodus 34:28; Elijah fasted many days, 1 Kings 15:18; and Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness. Matthew 4:2; Matthew 6:15.

Verse 38

1) "And she coming in that instant," (kai aute te hora epistasa) "And as she was coming in at that time," she herself, unaided, as a strong, vigorous, and aged widow.

2) "Gave thanks likewise unto the Lord," (anthomologeito to theo) "She likewise gave thanks to God," in a manner of thanks similar to that of the aged Simeon, Luke 2:28-35, and similar to that of the angels that came to the shepherds.

3) "And spake of him," (kai elalei peri autou) "And she spoke repeatedly concerning him," concerning Jesus, as taught by the Spirit, witnessed of Him, as one of His redeemed, Psalms 107:2; Acts 10:43; John 19:10.

4) "To all of them," (pasin tois) "To all of those," who were present, to Simeon, and many others who too were pious persons looking for the Redeemer.

5) "That looked for redemption in Jerusalem." (prosdechomenois lutrosin lerousalem) "Who were expecting redemption in Jerusalem," instead of Israel, as in Luke 2:25; yet related to Isaiah 40:2, where they resided and devoutly worshipped, Romans 3:24; Mark 15:43; Acts 26:7; Titus 2:13.


First things are significant things, especially at the opening of a new dispensation. When, therefore, we find in the gospel-story that the first evangelists were old people, both old and young should take the hint. Old Christians must never tell us any more that they are past service. God has no such word as "superannuated" written against any name in His book. The young Christian, joyful with a soul that colors all things with the freshness and glory of its own morning, can never say of the old Christian, "I have no need of thee." No hand can turn back the shadow on the dial of time; no spell can change the gray hair into its first bright abundant beauty; no science can discover the fountain of youth told about in Spanish tales of old romance; but the grace of God can do infinitely more than that. It can keep the heart fresh; it can make the soul young, when the limits are old.


Verse 39


1) "And when they had performed all things," (kai hos etelesan panta) "And when they completed all things," in connection with the circumcision of Jesus, Luke 2:21-24. There is an omission by Luke of the interlude and events of the Magi story, the flight into Egypt, the murder of male children by Herod, and the return of Joseph and Mary with Jesus from Egypt to Nazareth, Matthew 2:1-23.

2) "According to the law of the Lord," (ta kata ton nomon kuriou) "According to (requirements of) the law of the Lord," with regards to -purification and the offering of the burnt offering and sin-offering, Exodus 13:12-16; Numbers 8:17; Leviticus 12:8.

3) "They returned into Galilee," (epestrepsan eis ten Galilaian) "They returned (or turned back) into Galilee," after 1) The visit of the Magi, 2) The flight into Egypt, and 3) The massacre of the innocent children, which events were recounted by Matthew only, Matthew 2:1-18.

4) "To their own city Nazareth," (eis polin heauton Nazareth) "Into their own city Nazareth," that a certain prophecy might be fulfilled, that He should be called a Nazarene, Matthew 2:19-23. This also indicates that Nazareth, not Bethlehem was the true home of Joseph and Mary, Matthew 2:23.

Verse 40

1) "And the child grew," (to de paidion nulsanen) "Then the child Jesus grew," as normal children grow, except He grew with a life of stainless purity, doing no sin, living in a separate class from sinners, Hebrews 7:26.

2) "And, waxed strong in spirit," (kai ekrataiouto) "And he became strong," in mental, emotional, and spiritual development, as also noted, Luke 1:80; as also confirmed, Luke 2:52.

3) "Filled with wisdom;" (pleroumenon sophia) "Being filled with wisdom," or controlled, dominated by and with wisdom, of a Divine nature.

4) "And the grace of God was upon him." (kai charis theou en ep’ auto) "And (the) grace of God was (existed) upon him," the special favor of Divine Presence of the Father was upon Him, Psalms 45:2; Isaiah 11:2-3; John 1:14. He thus increased in three ways; in physical growth, in knowledge, and in favor with God, His Father who audibly acknowledged Him at His baptism, Matthew 3:16-17.

Verse 41


1) "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year,’ (kai eporeuonto hoi goneis autou kai’ etos eis lerousalem) "And his parents went into Jerusalem year by year," as pious parents, every succeeding year, as a custom, from Nazareth in Galilee, Luke 2:39; Matthew 2:23.

2) "At the feast of the passover." (te heorte tou pascha) "At the time of the feast of the Passover," according to the law, as required of every male Jew above twelve years of age, three times each year, Exodus 23:15; Exodus 23:17; Leviticus 23:4-5; Numbers 28:16; Deuteronomy 12:18-19; Deuteronomy 16:1-17.

Verse 42

1) "And when he was twelve years old," (kai hote egeneto eton dodeka) "And when he (Jesus) became twelve years of age," at which time a Jewish boy was called "a son of the law," and taught a trade, at which age he was also catechized and began fasting, and saying prescribed prayers, and wearing phylacteries like adult men, as keepers of the law.

2) "They went up to Jerusalem," (anabaimonton auton) "As they went up," or were going up, from Nazareth of Galilee, to Jerusalem in Judaea, where the temple was located. The "they" refers to Joseph, Mary, and their family, Exodus 23:14-17; 1 Samuel 1:7.

3) "After the custom of the feast." (kata to ethos tes heartes) "According to the custom of the feast." The women were not required to do this, her piety and her knowledge of Jesus, as His only earthly parent, led her to go.

It is likely that Jesus, like David, had come to be happy when His parents said, "Let us go into the house of the Lord," each year, Psalms 122:2-3; Zechariah 8:21-22. Yet some believe that this was Jesus’ first trip to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Verse 43

1) "And when they had fulfilled the days," (kai teleiosanton tos hemeras) "And when they had completed the days," completed the time and religious rites and duties of the feast, that lasted for seven days, Exodus 12:15.

2) "As they returned," (en to hupostrephein autous) "When they returned," or when they left to return to Nazareth, Luke 2:39, after worshipping. True worship and work must regularly alternate, that each may serve God and men on the highest plane, John 4:24; John 9:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13.

3) "The child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem;" (hupemunen lesous ho pais en lerousalem) "The [ad Jesus remained in Jerusalem," among the countless throngs, near three million (according to Josephus) who annually flocked to the annual Passover.

4) "And Joseph and his mother knew not of it." (kai ouk egnosan hoi goneis autou) "And his parents (Joseph and Mary) knew not of it," that He had been left behind, as they started their journey back to Galilee, with relatives and friends, a milling mass of travelers. They were accustomed to discretion, obedience, and good behavior of Jesus, so that they had come to trust Him implicitly, without misgivings or doubts.

Verse 44

1) "But they, supposing him" (nomisantes de auton) "But because they were supposing him," considering or taking for granted, by general practice and schedule for their departure.

2) "To have been in the company," (einai en te sunadia) "To have been in the colleague company," the caravan of friends and relatives, returned to Galilee, as a caravan, for protection and security.

3) "Went a day’s journey;" (elthon hemeras hodon) "Went a distance of a day’s journey," about ten miles north of Jerusalem, to a place near Ramallah today.

4) "And they sought him among his kinsfolk and acquaintance." (kai anezetoun auton en thois sungeneusin kai tois gnostois) "And they sought after him among their relatives and acquaintances," as night came on, and as the family made plans to lay or sleep together in close proximity.

Verse 45

1) "And when they found him not," (kai me heurontes) "And when they had not found him," surprised at His absence, that they could find no one who had seen Him all day.

2) "They turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him," (hupestrepasn eis lerousalem anazetountes auton) "They returned into Jerusalem searching for him," with anxious care, concern, making a careful search, inquiring as they went, until they came to Jerusalem and found Him where they left Him, in His Father’s house, John 2:16.

Verse 46

1) "And it came to pass, that after three days," (kai egeneto meta hemeras treis) "And it occurred that after three days," first, the long day before they missed Him, second, the day of their diligent and anxious inquires as they returned to Jerusalem, where they saw Him last, and third, after the third day was well spent.

2) "They found him In the temple," (heuron auton en to hiero) "They found (located or spotted) him in the temple," found Him in His Father’s house, John 2:16. He was in a wing, or attached room to the temple, where Rabbis taught their schools.

3) "Sitting in the midst of the doctors," (kathezomenon en meso ton didaskalon) "Sitting right in the midst of the teachers," not in the sanctuary proper, where only Priests were to enter, Luke 1:9; Luke 2:27, among the doctors and lawyers of Moses’ Law, as if at home, where he should be, John 2:17.

4) "Both hearing them," (lai akouonta auton) "Both hearing (listening to) them," listening attentively to them, undaunted by their doctoral formality and veneer of piety.

5) "And asking them questions." (kai eperotonta autous) "And repeatedly questioning or quizzing them," as a model scholar would do. He could not inquire relevantly and intelligently unless He listened attentively and thoughtfully, which He did. For He was yet to increase in wisdom and stature, Luke 2:52. He later astounded them with the questions: 1) What think ye of Christ? 2) Whose son is ?Hebrews , 3) Which is the first and great commandment? etc.

Verse 47

1) "And all that heard him were astonished," (eksistanto de pantes hoi akouontes autou) "Then all those hearing him where astonished or dumbfounded," at His astute questions, as both doctors and scholars were persons to whom He directed definitive questions, relative to their law, customs, and traditions.

2) "At his understanding and answers." (epi ten sunesei kai tais apokrisesin autou) "At his astuteness or intelligence and his answers," to the questions and issues of their law, as He engaged them in dialogue germane to law matters, Isaiah 1:4; Matthew 7:18-19; Mark 1:22; Luke 4:22-23; John 7:15-16; John 7:46. He amazed all who listened, as He sat among them, for He was God, Isaiah 55:8-9.

Verse 48

1) "And when they saw him," (kai edontes auton) "And upon seeing him," as they (Mary and Joseph) paused to observe what was happening.

2) "They were amazed:" (ekseplagesan) "They were themselves astonished or astounded," that a boy of twelve years of age should go to such a place of His own accord, for a purpose.

3) "And his mother said unto him," (kai eipen pros auton he meter autou) "And his mot ’ her said directly to him," in a chiding or scolding manner of motherly care.

4) "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?" (teknon ti epoiesas hemin houtos) "Child, why did you do this to us?" reminding Him that He was still responsible to her and Joseph for certain family ties. Perhaps this was said to Him in private, not in public.

5) "Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." (idou ho pater sou kago idunomenoi zetoumen se) "Behold Oust look) your father and I have sought or been searching for you, being greatly distressed;" Joseph, as a guardian, was answerable for the heavenly trust over this boy Jesus. The term "sorrowing" means "with breaking heart." The answer of Jesus, however, penetrated their care for Him, to make them sense that as a young man, He now had a correlative obligation toward His Father in Heaven who had sent Him, Galatians 4:4-5.

Verse 49

1) "And he said unto them," (kai eipen pros autous) and he replied or responded directly to them."

2) "How is it that ye sought me?" (ti hote ezeteite me) "Why is it that you all sought me?" or how come?

3) "Wist ye not," (ouk edeite) "Did you all not realize," or perceive, that I feel at home here, in breathing the air in this place? Mark 8:21.

4) "That I must be about my Father’s business." (hoti en tois tou patros mou dei einai me) "That I must be involved in the affairs of my Father?" He was not away from His true home, or that of His Father, in the activities of my Father’s house, John 2:16-17. These are the first recorded words uttered by Jesus in private or public, as He engaged in the study of the law, in His Father’s house, Psalms 40:7-9; John 4:31-34; John 9:4; Matthew 9:37-38.

Verse 50

1) "And they understood not the saying," (kai autoi ou sunekan to hrema) "And they did not understand the word or formal statement," as expressed later to His disciples, John 14:4-5, of what He had said about the business or affairs of the temple, of His Father’s house, Psalms 69:9.

2) "Which he spake unto them," (ho elalesen autois) "Which he spoke to them," Luke 2:49 and as foretold in Old Testament Scriptures, Psalms 40:7-9; John 2:17; John 9:4.

Since Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus said, it is evident that He did not learn it from them, Luke 18:34; Luke 24:25; Mark 9:32; John 10:6.

Verse 51

1) "And he went down with them," (kai katebe met’ auton) "And he went down (from Jerusalem) with them" in condescension, out of the temple, His Father’s house, Luke 2:49; John 2:16-17.

2) "And came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them:" (kai elthen eis Nazareth kai en hupotassomenos autois) "And he came to Nazareth, and was continually subject to them," Matthew 15:4; Mark 6:3, where He was brought up, Matthew 2:23, in that despised little town of "across the railroad-tracks" kind, John 1:46.

3) "But his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (kai he meter autou dieterei panta ta hremata en te kaedia autes) "And his mother carefully guarded all these matters in her heart," after which Joseph disappears from the scene of life. With former mystery matters about Him. His Holy Spirit conception, the messages to her and Joseph about Him, directly from the angel Gabriel, the praise of Him by Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna, the message of the shepherds given them by the heavenly host, the visit of the Magi from the East and their worship of and gifts to Him.

Verse 52

1) "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature," (kai lesous proekopten en te sophia kai helikia) "And Jesus progressed, increased, advanced, or matured in age and wisdom," Colossians 2:2-3 honoring His father and mother, fulfilling the law, Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 15:4.

2) "And in favour with God and man." (kai chariti para theo kai anthropois) "And in grace, favor, or good will, with God and with men;" as recounted also Luke 2:40. He matured in mind, body, soul, and character while finding favor, or favorable acceptance, in youth with God and man, as Samuel did, 1 Samuel 2:26; Proverbs 3:3-4; Of His stature and physical appearance nothing is known.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Luke 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/luke-2.html. 1985.
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