(1) Luke commends the witnesses that saw this present account.
(a) Many took it in hand, but did not perform: Luke wrote his gospel before Matthew and Mark.
(b) Luke was not any eye witness, and therefore it was not he to whom the Lord appeared when Cleopas saw him: and he was taught not only by Paul, but by others of the apostles also.
(c) Luke began his gospel a great deal further in the past than the others did.
(d) It is "most mighty", and therefore Theophilus was a very honourable man, and in a place of great dignity.
(e) Have fuller knowledge of those things which you know only partially.
(2) John, who was another Elias and appointed to be the herald of Christ, coming from the family of Aaron, and of two famous and blameless parents, has shown in his conception (which was against the course of nature) a double miracle, to the end that men should be more readily prepared for the hearing of his preaching, according to the forewarning of the prophets.
(f) This is a Hebrew idiom which shows us how short and frail a thing the power of princes is.
(g) Herod the great.
(h) For the posterity of Aaron was divided into courses.
(i) The true mark of righteousness is demonstrated when one is liked and accepted in the judgment of God.
(k) Lived, as the Hebrews say, for our life is as a way in which we must walk until we come to the mark.
(l) In all the moral and ceremonial law.
(m) Whom no man could justly reprove: now so it is that the fruits of justification are set forth here, and not the cause, which is faith only, and nothing else.
(n) The temple was one, and the court another, for Zacharias went out of the court (or outward room) where all the people were (and therefore they are said to be without) and into the temple.
(o) So the Hebrews say when a rare kind of excellency is signified: so it is said of Nimrod in (Genesis 10:9), "He was a mighty hunter before the LORD".
(p) Any drink that might make someone drunk.
(q) Shall be a means to bring many to repentance, and they will turn themselves to the Lord, from whom they fell.
(r) As they used to go before kings, and when you see them, you know the king is not far off.
(s) This is spoken by the figure of speech metonymy, taking the spirit for the gift of the spirit; as you would say, the cause of that which comes from the cause.
(t) By the figure of speech synecdoche he shows that he will take away all types of enmities which used to breed great troubles and turmoils among men.
(u) Wisdom and goodness are two of the main causes which make men revere and honour their fathers.
(x) That appears, for so the Hebrews use this saying "to stand" to mean that they are ready to do his commandment.
(3) The angel, serving the Lord who would be born, is sent to the virgin Mary, in whom the son of the most high promised to David is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(y) The same can be said of Mary, otherwise Christ would not have been of the stock of David, nor his son.
(z) It might be literally rendered, "full of favour and grace", and he shows immediately after, laying out plainly unto us, what that favour is in that he says, "The Lord is with thee".
(a) Of God.
(b) Moved at the strangeness of the matter.
(c) So the Hebrews said, saying that those men have found favour who are in favour.
(d) He will be declared to be so, for he was the Son of God from everlasting, but was made manifest in the flesh in his time.
(e) The greatness of the matter causes the virgin to ask this question, not that she distrusted by any means at all, for she asks only of the manner of the conceiving, so that it is plain she believed all the rest.
(f) So speak the Hebrews, signifying by this modest kind of speech the company of man and wife together, and this is the meaning of it: how will this be, for as I will be Christ's mother I am very sure I will not know any man: for the godly virgin had learned by the prophets that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.
(g) That is, the Holy Spirit will cause thee to conceive by his mighty power.
(h) That thing which is pure and void of all spot of uncleanliness: for he that was to take away sin must of necessity be void of sin.
(i) Declared and shown to the world to be the Son of God.
(k) Though Elisabeth was of the tribe of Levi, yet it was possible for her to be Mary's cousin: for whereas it was forbidden by the Law for maidens to be married to men of other tribes, there was an exception among the Levites, who could take for themselves wives out of any tribe: for the Levites had no portion allotted to them when the land was divided among the people.
(l) This is now the sixth month from the time when she conceived.
(4) Elisabeth being many months pregnant with John, and Mary being pregnant with Christ, do rejoice for each other by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
(m) Which is on the south side of Jerusalem.
(n) That is to say, Hebron: which was in times past called Kirjatharba: which was one of the towns that were given to the Levites in the tribe of Judah, and is said to be in the mountains of Judah; (Joshua 14:15) ; (Joshua 21:11).
(o) This was no ordinary or usual type of moving.
(p) Christ is blessed with respect to his humanity.
(5) Christ, the redeemer of the afflicted and revenger of the proud, promised long ago to the fathers, is now finally exhibited indeed.
(q) Has freely and graciously loved.
(r) Literally, "My baseness", that is, my base estate: so that the virgin did not boast of her deserts, but the grace of God.
(s) To those that live godly and religiously, as the Hebrews say.
(t) Here many more words than necessary are used, which the Hebrews use very much: and "arm" here is taken for strength.
(u) Even as the wind does to the chaff.
(x) He has scattered them, and the imagination of their hearts; or, by and through the imagination of their own hearts; so that their wicked counsel turned to their own destruction.
(y) The mighty and rich men.
(z) Those of no account, who are vile in men's eyes, who are indeed the poor in spirit, that is, those who claim nothing of themselves in the sight of God.
(a) Those that are brought to extreme poverty.
(b) He has helped Israel up with his arm, who had been completely cast down.
(6) John's birth is accompanied by new miracles.
(d) All this which was said and done.
(e) Thought upon them diligently and earnestly, and as it were, printed them in their hearts.
(f) That is, the present favour of God, and a singular type of virtue appeared in him.
(7) John, having just been born, by the authority of the Holy Spirit is appointed to his office.
(g) That he has shown himself mindful of his people, to the extent that he came down from heaven himself to visit us in person, and to redeem us.
(h) Has paid the ransom, that is to say, the price of our redemption.
(i) This word "horn", in the Hebrew language, signifies strength, and it is a metaphor taken from beasts that fight with their horns: And by raising up the might of Israel is meant that the kingdom of Israel was defended, and the enemies of it laid on the ground, even then when the strength of Israel seemed to be utterly gone.
(k) Declare indeed that he was mindful.
(l) To God's good liking.
(m) Though you be at this present time ever so little.
(n) Open the way.
(o) Forgiveness of sins is the means by which God saves us; (Romans 4:7).
(p) Or "bud", or "branch"; he alludes to (Jeremiah 23:5) (Zechariah 3:8) ; (Zechariah 6:12); and he is called a bud from on high, that is, sent from God unto us, and not as other buds which bud out of the earth.
(q) Into the way which leads us to true happiness.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany