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Bible Commentaries
Luke 1

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν

B F א have only κατὰ Λουκᾶν . Others: τὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν ἅγιον εὐαγγ . Others: ἐκ τοῦ κατὰ Λ . Others: ἐκ τοῦ κ . Λ . ( ἀγίου ) εὐαγγελίου . See on Matthew.


Luke 1:5 . ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ ] B C * D L X א , min. codd. It. Jer. Aug. Beda have γυνὴ αὐτῷ . Approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. The Recepta is an exegetical alteration which also holds true of the order of the words at Luke 1:10 in Elz. τοῦ λαοῦ ἦν , instead of which ἧν τοῦ λαοῦ is preponderatingly attested.

Luke 1:14 . Instead of γενέσει , Elz. has γεννήσει , in opposition to decisive evidence. From γεννήσει , Luke 1:13 . Comp. on Matthew 1:18 .

Luke 1:20 . πληρωθήσονται ] D, Or. have πλησθήσονται . If it were more strongly attested, it would have to be adopted (comp. on Luke 21:22 ).

Luke 1:27 . The form ἐμνηστευμ . (Lachm. Tisch.), instead of the reduplicated μεμνηστευμ ., has in this place, and still more at Luke 2:5 , such important codd. in its favour, that it is to be preferred, and μεμνηστευμ . must be attributed to the transcribers (Deuteronomy 22:23 ; Deuteronomy 20:7 ).

Luke 1:28 . ὁ ἄγγελος ] is wanting in B L, min. Copt. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Tisch.; the more rightly, that in F Δ א , 69, Syr. Arm. Brix. Rd. Corb. it is placed after αὐτήν , and was more easily supplied than omitted.

εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυν .] is wanting in B L א , min. Copt. Sahid. Arm. Syr. hier. Damasc. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Tisch. An addition from Luke 1:42 , whence, also, in some witnesses there has been added, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου .

Luke 1:29 . Elz. Scholz, Lachm. have ἡ δὲ ἱδοῦσα διεταράχθη ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ αὐτοῦ . Griesb. and Tisch. have ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ διεταράχθη . So B D L X א , min. Arm. Cant. Damasc. (D: ἐταράχθη ). This reading is to be preferred. From ΔΕ the transcriber passed immediately to ΔΙΕταράχθη (hence, also, in D, the mere simple form), by which means ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ dropped out, and this is still wanting in C * min. The bare ἡ δὲ διεταράχθη was then glossed by ἰδοῦσα (comp. Luke 1:12 ) (another gloss was: cum audisset, Vulg. al.), which, being adopted before διεταρ ., was the cause of ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ being placed after διεταρ . when it was restored (in which case, for the most part, αὐτοῦ was inserted also).

Luke 1:35 . After γεννώμ . C, min. and many vss. and Fathers (see especially, Athanasius), as also Valentinus in the Philos., have ἐκ σοῦ (yet with the variations de te and in te), and this Lachmann has adopted in brackets. A more precisely defining, and withal doctrinally suggested addition (comp. Matthew 1:16 ; Galatians 4:4 ).

Luke 1:36 . The form συγγενίς is to be adopted, with Lachm. and Tisch., following A C *** D E G H L Δ א , min. συγγενής is a correction.

Instead of γήρει , Elz. has γήρᾳ , in opposition to decisive evidence.

Luke 1:37 . παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ ] Tisch. has παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ , following B D L א ; the dative suggested itself as being closer to the prevailing conception (Genesis 18:14 ).

Luke 1:41 . The verbal order: τὸν ἀσπασμὸν τῆς Μαρ . ἡ Ἐλισ . (Lachm. Tisch.), is attested with sufficient weight to induce us to recognise ἡ Ἐλισ . τ . ἀσπ . τ . Μαρ . (Elz.) as a transposition.

Luke 1:44 . Following B C D * F L א , Vulg. It. Or., the verbal order of the Recepta ἐν ἀγαλλ . τὸ βρέφος is to be maintained (Griesb. Scholz have τὸ βρεφ . ἐν ἀγαλλ .).

Luke 1:49 . μεγαλεῖα ] Lachm. Tisch. read μεγάλα , in accordance with B D * L א 130. So also probably Vulg. It., magna (not magnalia, as at Acts 2:11 ). To be preferred, since μεγαλεῖα might easily have been introduced as a more exact definition by a recollection of Psalms 71:19 .

Luke 1:50 . εἰς γενεὰς γενεῶν ] Very many variations, among which εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεάς (Tisch.) is the best attested, by B C * L Syr. Copt. codd. It. Vulg. ms. Aug.; next to this, but far more feebly, εἰς γενεὰν και γενεάν (commended by Griesb.). The former is to be preferred; the Recepta, although strongly attested, arose out of the current expression in saecula saeculorum.

Luke 1:55 . The Codd. are divided between εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (Elz. Lachm. Tisch.) and ἕως αἰῶνος (Griesb. Scholz). The former has the stronger attestation, but is the expression so current in the N. T. that ἕως , etc., which does not occur elsewhere in the N. T., but is in keeping with the usage of the LXX. after τ . σπέρμ . αὐτοῦ (Genesis 13:15 , etc.), here deserves the preference.

Luke 1:59 . ὀγδόῃ ἡμέρᾳ ] B C D L א , min. have ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ὀγδόῃ . Approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. Preponderantly attested, and therefore to be preferred.

Luke 1:61 . ἐν τῇ συγγενείῳ σου ] Lachm. and Tisch. read ἐκ τῆς συγγενείας σου , following A B C * L Δ Λ א , min. Copt. Chron. Pasch. The latter is to be preferred, in place of which the former more readily occurred to the pen of the copyists.

Luke 1:62 . αὐτόν ] B D F G א , min. have αὐτό . So Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly; the reference to τὸ παιδίον , Luke 1:59 , was left unnoticed, and the masculine was mechanically put in κατὰ σύνεσιν .

Luke 1:66 . καὶ χείρ ] Lachm. Tisch. have καὶ γὰρ χείρ , following B C * D L א , Copt. Aeth. Vulg. It. Goth. Approved by Rinck also, who, however, rejects ἦν on too slight evidence. γάρ is the rather to be adopted, because of the facility with which it may have dropt out on occasion of the similarly sounding χείρ which follows, and of the difficulty with which another connective particle was inserted after the already connecting καί .

Luke 1:70 . τῶν ἁγ . τῶν ] the second τῶν , deleted by Tisch., is wanting in B L Δ א , min. Or. Eus. An omission by a clerical error.

Luke 1:75 . After ἡμέρας Elz. has τῆς ζωῆς , in opposition to decisive evidence.

Luke 1:76 . καὶ σύ ] Tisch. has καὶ σὺ δέ (so also Scholz, following Bornem. in Rosenm. Repert. II. p. 259), on very considerable evidence; καὶ … δέ was often mutilated by copyists lacking discernment.

Verse 1

Luke 1:1 . [13] Ἐπειδήπερ ] Quoniam quidem, since indeed , not found elsewhere in the N. T., nor in the LXX., or the Apocrypha; frequent in classical writers, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 342 f. Observe that ἐπειδή denotes the fact, assumed as known, in such a way “ut quae inde evenerint et secuta sint, nunc adhuc durent,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 640.

πολλοί ] Christian writers, whose works for the most part are not preserved. [14] The apocryphal Gospels still extant are of a later date; Mark , however, is in any case meant to be included. The Gospel of Matthew too, in its present form which was then already in existence, cannot have remained unknown to Luke; and in using the word πολλοί he must have thought of it with others (see Introd. § 2), although not as an apostolic writing, because the πολλοί are distinct from the eye-witnesses, Luke 1:2 . The apostolic collection of Logia was no διήγησις περὶ τῶν κ . τ . λ ., and its author, as an apostle, belonged not to the πολλοί , but to the ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται . But the Gospel to the Hebrews , if and so far as it had then already assumed shape, belonged to the attempts of the πολλοί .

ἐπεχείρησαν ] have undertaken , said under a sense of the loftiness and difficulty of the task, Acts 19:13 . In the N. T. only used in Luke; frequently in the classical writers. Comp. also Ulpian, p. 159 (in Valckenaer): ἐπειδήπερ περὶ τούτου πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀπολογήσασθαι . Neither in the word in itself, nor by comparing it with what Luke, Luke 1:3 , says of his own work, is there to be found, with Köstlin, Ebrard, Lekebusch, and older writers, any indication of insufficiency in those endeavours in general , which Origen, [15] Ambrosius, Theophylact, Calovius, and various others even referred to their contrast with the inspired Gospels. But for his special purpose he judged none of those preliminary works as sufficient.

διήγησιν ] a narrative ; see especially, Plato, Rep. iii. p. 392 D; Arist. Rhet. iii. 16; 2Ma 2:32 . Observe the singular . Of the πολλοί each one attempted a narrative περὶ τῶν κ . τ . λ ., thus comprising the evangelic whole. Loose leaves or detached essays (Ebrard) Luke does not mention.

ἀνατάξασθαι ] to set up according to order , Plut. Moral. p. 968 C, εὐτρεπίσασθαι , Hesychius. Neither διήγησ . nor ἀνατάσσ . occurs elsewhere in the N. T.

περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορ . ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμ .] of the facts that have attained to full conviction among us (Christians). πληροφορεῖν , to bring to full conviction, may be associated also with an accusative of the thing , which is brought to full acknowledgment (2 Timothy 4:5 ); hence in a passive sense: πληροφορεῖταί τι , something attains to full belief (2 Timothy 4:17 ), it is brought to full conviction ( πληροφορία πίστεως , Hebrews 10:22 ) among others. So here (it is otherwise where πληροφορεῖσθαι is said of a person , as Romans 4:21 ; Romans 14:5 ; Colossians 4:12 ; Ignat. ad Magnes. viii. 10; Ecclesiastes 8:11 ; Phot. Bibl. p. 41, 29). Rightly so taken by the Fathers (Theophylact: οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς κατὰ ψιλὴν παράδοσιν εἰσὶ τὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ , ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ πίστει βεβαίᾳ καὶ μετὰ πάσης πληροφορίας ), Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Valckenaer, and many others, including Olshausen and Ewald. The explanation: “quae in nobis completae sunt” (Vulgate), which have fully happened, run their course among us (Luther, Hammond, Paulus, de Wette, Ebrard, Köstlin, Bleek, and others), is opposed to usage, as πληροφορεῖν is never, even in 2 Timothy 4:5 , equivalent to πληροῦν , and therefore it cannot be conceived as applying, either, with Schneckenburger (comp. Lekebusch, p. 30), to the fulfilment of God’s counsel and promise through the life of the Messiah, which besides would be entirely imported; or, with Baur, to the idea of Christianity realized as regards its full contents, under which the Pauline Christianity was essentially included.

[13] According to Baur and others, this preface, vv. 1 4, was only added by the last hand that manipulated our Gospel, after the middle of the second century. Thus, the Gospel would bear on the face of it untruth in concreto . Ewald aptly observes, Jahrb. II. p. 182 f., of this preamble, that in its homely simplicity, modesty, and brevity, it may be called the model of a preface to an historical work. See on the prologue, Holtzmann, p. 243 ff. Aberle in the Tüb. Quartalschr. 1863, 1, p. 84 ff., in a peculiar but untenable way makes use of this prologue as proof for the allegation that our Gospel was occasioned by the accusation of Paul (and of the whole Christian body) in Rome; holding that the prologue must therefore have been composed with the intention of its being interpreted in more senses than one. See, on the other hand, Hilgenfeld in his Zeitschr. 1864, p. 443 ff. The whole hypothesis falls to the ground at once before the fact that Luke did not write till after the destruction of Jerusalem.

[14] There is not the remotest ground for thinking of non-Christian books written in hostility to Christianity (Aberle in the theol. Quart. 1855, p. 173 ff.).

[15] In Jerome: “Matthaeus quippe et Marcus et Johannes et Lucas non sunt conati scribere, sed scripserunt .” Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus.

Verse 2

Luke 1:2 . Καθώς ] neither quatenus , nor belonging to πεπληροφ . (in opposition, as respects both, to Kuinoel, as respects the latter also to Olshausen), but introducing the How , the modal definition of ἀνατάξ . διήγησιν .

παρέδοσαν ] have delivered . It is equally erroneous to refer this merely to written (Königsm. de fontibus , etc., in Pott’s Sylloge , III. p. 231; Hug), or merely to oral communication, although in the historical circumstances the latter was by far the preponderating. [16] Holtzmann appropriately remarks: “The subjects of ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ and the ΠΟΛΛΟΊ are not distinguished from one another as respects the categories of the oral and written, but as respects those of primary and secondary authority.” For the ΠΟΛΛΟΊ , as for Luke himself, who associates himself with them by ΚἈΜΟΊ , the ΠΑΡΆΔΟΣΙς of the ΑὐΤΌΠΤΑΙ was the proper source, in accordance with which therefore he must have critically sifted the attempts of those ΠΟΛΛΟΊ , so far as he knew them (Luke 1:3 ).

ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς ] namely, of those ΠΡΑΓΜΆΤΩΝ . But it is not the time of the birth of Jesus that is meant (so most commentators, including Kuinoel and Olshausen), but that of the entrance of Jesus on His ministry (Euthymius Zigabenus, de Wette); comp. John 15:27 ; Acts 1:21 f., which explanation is not “audacious” (Olshausen), but necessary, because the αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου are the same persons, and therefore under the αὐτόπται there are not to be understood, in addition to the first disciples, Mary also and other members of the family. ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς therefore is not to be taken absolutely, but relatively.

ὙΠΗΡΈΤΑΙ ΤΟῦ ΛΌΓΟΥ ] ministri evangelii (the doctrine κατʼ ἐξοχήν , comp. Acts 8:7 ; Acts 14:25 ; Acts 16:6 ; Acts 17:11 ). These were the Twelve and other ΜΑΘΗΤΑΊ of Christ (as according to Luke also the Seventy), who were in the service of the gospel for the purpose of announcing it. Comp. Luke 3:7 ; Acts 6:4 ; Colossians 1:23 ; Acts 26:16 ; 1 Corinthians 4:1 . Others (Erasmus, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Maldonatus, al. , including Kuinoel) take τοῦ λόγου in the sense of the matter concerned, of the contents of the history spoken of (see on Acts 8:21 ); but it would be just as inappropriate to ὑπηρέται as it would be quite superfluous, since ΤΟῦ ΛΌΓΟΥ must by no means be attached to ΑὐΤΌΠΤΑΙ also. Finally, it is a mistake to refer it to Christ in accordance with John 1:1 . So Origen, Athanasius, Euthymius Zigabenus, Valla, Calovius, and others, including Stein ( Kommentar , Halle 1830). It is only John that names Christ ὁ λόγος .

Theophylact, moreover, aptly observes: ἘΚ ΤΟΎΤΟΥ (namely, from ΚΑΘῺς ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ ἩΜῖΝ Κ . Τ . Λ . ) ΔῆΛΟΝ , ὍΤΙ ΟὐΚ ἮΝ ΛΟΥΚᾶς ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς ΜΑΘΗΤῊς , ἈΛΛʼ ὙΣΤΕΡΌΧΡΟΝΟς · ἌΛΛΟΙ ΓᾺΡ ἮΣΑΝ ΟἹ ἈΠʼ ἈΡΧῆς ΜΑΘΗΤΕΥΘΕΝΤΕς ΟἻ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΈΔΟΣΑΝ ΑὐΤῷ Κ . Τ . Λ . By ἩΜῖΝ the writer places himself in the second generation; the first were the immediate disciples of Christ, οἱ ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται . This ὙΠΗΡΈΤΑΙ , however, is not chosen for the sake of placing the Twelve on an equality with Paul (Acts 26:16 ). As though the word were so characteristic for Paul in particular! Comp. Joh 18:36 ; 1 Corinthians 4:1 .

[16] Of the written materials of this παράδοσις of the αὐτόπται we know with certainty only the λόγια of Matthew according to Papias.

Verse 3

Luke 1:3 . Apodosis, which did not begin already in Luke 1:2 .

ἔδοξε κἀμοί ] in itself neither excludes nor includes inspiration. Vss. add to it: et Spiritui sancto . By the use of κἀμοί Luke places himself in the same category with the πολλοί , in so far as he, too, had not been an eye-witness; “sic tamen ut etiamnum aliquid ad ἀσφάλειαν ac firmitudinem Theophilo conferat,” Bengel. . παρηκολουθ .] after having from the outset followed everything with accuracy . Παρακολ ., of the mental tracing, investigating , whereby one arrives at a knowledge of the matter. See the examples in Valckenaer, Schol. p. 12; Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 344 f. Comp., moreover, Thucyd. i. 22. 2 : ὅσον δυνατὸν ἀκριβείᾳ περὶ ἑκάστου ἐπεξελθών .

πᾶσιν ] namely, those πράγμασι , not masculine (Syr.).

ἄνωθεν ] not: radicitus , fundamentally (Grotius), which is comprised in ἀκριβ ., but: from the first , see on John 3:3 . From the beginning of the history it is seen that in his investigation he started from the birth of the Baptist , in doing which, doubtless, he could not but still lack the authentic tradition of Luke 1:2 . Nevertheless the consciousness of an advantage over those πολλοί expresses itself in παρηκ . ἄνωθεν .

καθεξῆς ] in orderly sequence , not out of the order of time, in which they occurred one after the other. [17] Only Luke has the word in the N. T. (Luke 8:1 ; Acts 3:24 ; Acts 11:4 ; Acts 18:23 ); it occurs also in Aelian, Plutarch, et al. , but the older classical writers have ἐφεξῆς .

κράτιστε Θεόφιλε ] See Introd. § 3. That in Acts 1:1 he is addressed merely ΘΕΌΦΙΛΕ , proves nothing against the titular use of ΚΡΆΤΙΣΤΕ . See on the latter, Grotius.

[17] In the case of this καθεξῆς the Harmonists of course make the reservation, that it will be “conditioned at one time more by a chronological interest, at another time more by that of the subject-matter,” Lichtenstein, p. 73. Thus they keep their hand free to lay hold now of the one, now of the other, just as it is held to suit. The assertion, often repeated, in favour of the violences of harmonizers, that in Luke the arrangement by subject-matter even predominates (Ebrard, Lichtenstein), is absolutely incompatible with that καθεξῆς .

Verse 4

Luke 1:4 . Ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς ] ut accurate cognosceres ; see on Matthew 11:27 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12 .

περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων ] The attraction is not, with the Vulgate and the majority of commentators, to be resolved into: τῶν λόγων , περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης , as the contents of the instruction is put with κατηχεῖσθαι in the accusative (Acts 18:25 ; Galatians 6:6 ), and only the more remote object to which the instruction relates is expressed by περί (Acts 21:21 ; Acts 21:24 ), but into: περὶ τῶν λόγων , οὓς κατηχήθης : that thou mightest know in respect of the doctrines, in which thou wast instructed , the unshaken certainty. Comp. Köstlin, p. 132, and Ewald. The λόγοι are not the πράγματα , res (comp. Luke 1:2 ), as is usually supposed; but it is just the specifically Christian doctrines , the individual parts of the λόγος , Luke 1:2 ( τῶν λόγων τῆς πίστεως , Euthymius Zigabenus), that stand in the most essential connection with the history of Jesus and from it receive their ἀσφάλεια ; in fact, they are in great part themselves essentially history.

κατηχήθης is to be understood of actual instruction (in Acts 21:21 also), not of hearsay, of which, moreover, the passages in Kypke are not to be explained. Who had instructed Theophilus who, moreover, was assuredly already a Christian (not merely interested on behalf of Christianity, as Bleek supposes) we know not, but certainly it was not Luke himself (in opposition to Theophylact).

τὴν ἀσφάλειαν ] the unchangeable certainty , the character not to be shaken. Comp. τὴν ἀσφάλειαν εἶναι λόγου , Xen. Mem. iv. 6. 15. The position at the end is emphatic . According to Luke, therefore, by this historical work, which he purposes to write, the doctrines which Theophilus had received are to be set forth for him in their immoveable positive truth; according to Baur, on the other hand, the ἀσφάλεια which the writer had in view was to be this, that his entire representation of primitive Christianity sought to become conducive to the conciliatory interest (of the second century), and always kept this object in view. This is purely imported. Luke wrote from the dispassionate consciousness that Christianity, as it subsisted for him as the Pauline contents of faith, had its firm basis of truth in the evangelical history of salvation.

Verse 5

Luke 1:5 . The periodic and Greek style of the preface gives place now to the simple Hebraizing mode of presentation in the preliminary history, a circumstance explained by the nature of its Jewish-Christian sources, which withal were not made use of without being subjected to manipulation, since Luke’s peculiarities in expression pervade even this preliminary history. How far, however, the lofty, at times truly lyrical beauty and art of the descriptions are to be reckoned due to the sources themselves or to Luke as working them up, cannot be decided.

Observe, moreover, how the evangelical tradition gradually pushes back its beginnings from the emergence of the Baptist (Mark) to the γένεσις of Jesus (Matthew), and even to the conception of His forerunner (Luke).

ἐγένετο ] extitit , emerged in history. Comp. on Mark 1:4 .

ἱερεύς τις ] therefore not high priest.

On the twenty-four classes of priests ( מַחֲלֹקֶת , in the LXX. ἐφημερία , also διαίρεσις , in Josephus also ἐφημερίς ), which, since the time of Solomon, had the temple-service for a week in turn, see Ewald, Alterth. p. 315; Keil, Archäol. I. p. 188 f.

Ἀβιά ] 1 Chronicles 24:10 . From this successor of Eleazar the eighth ἐφημερία had its name.

The chronological employment of this notice for the ascertaining of the date of the birth of Jesus would require that the historical character of the narratives, given at Luke 1:5 ff., Luke 1:26 ff., should be taken for granted; moreover, it would be necessary withal that the year and (as every class came in its turn twice in the year) the approximate time of the year of the birth of Jesus should already be otherwise ascertained. Then, in the computation we should have to reckon, not, with Scaliger (de emendat. tempor.), forward from the re-institution of the temple-service by Judas Maccabaeus, 1Ma 4:38 ff., because it is not known which class at that time began the service (see Paulus, exeg. Handb. I. p. 83; Wieseler, chronol. Synopse, p. 141), but, with Salomon van Til, Bengel, and Wieseler, backward from the destruction of the temple, because as to this the date (the 9 Abib) and the officiating class of priests (Jojarib) is known. Comp. also Lichtenstein, p. 76.

καὶ γυνὴ αὐτῷ ] (see the critical remarks) scil. ἦν .

ἐκ τῶν θυγατ . Ἀαρ .] John’s descent on both sides was priestly. Comp. Josephus, Vit. v. 1. See Wetstein.

Ἐλισάβετ ] Such was also the name of Aaron’s wife, Exodus 6:23 ( אֶלִישֶׁבַע , Deus juramentum).

Verse 6

Luke 1:6 f. Δίκαιοι ] upright , such as they ought to be according to God’s will.

ἐνώπιον τ . Θεοῦ ] a familiar Hebraism: לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה , characterizing the ἀληθὴς δικαιοσύνη (Euthymius Zigabenus), which is so not perchance merely according to human judgment, but before the eyes of God, in God’s presence, Genesis 7:1 ; Acts 8:21 ; Jdt 13:20 . Comp. Augustine, ad Marcell. ii. 13.

πορευόμενοι κ . τ . λ .] a more precise explanation of the foregoing, likewise in quite a Hebraizing form (1 Kings 8:62 , al.), wherein δικαίωμα is legal ordinance (LXX. Deuteronomy 4:1 ; Deuteronomy 6:2 ; Deuteronomy 30:16 ; Psalms 119:93 , al.; see on Romans 1:32 ; Romans 5:16 ), ἐντολή joined with δικ . (Genesis 26:5 ; Deuteronomy 4:40 ) is a more special idea. The distinction that ἐντολή applies to the moral, δικαιώμα to the ceremonial precepts, is arbitrary (Calvin, Bengel, and others). We may add that the popular testimony to such δικαιοσύνη does not exclude human imperfection and sinfulness, and hence is not opposed to the doctrine of justification.

ἄμεμπτοι ] not equivalent to ἀμέμπτως , but proleptic: so that they were blameless. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ; Winer, p. 549 f. [E. T. 778 f.].

The Attic καθότι , here as at Luke 19:9 , Acts 2:24 , Tob 1:12 ; Tob 13:4 , corresponding to the argumentative καθώς : as then, according to the fact that, occurs in the N. T. only in Luke.

προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμ .] of advanced age, בָּאִים בַּיָּמִים , Genesis 18:11 ; Joshua 23:1 ; 1 Kings 1:1 . The Greeks say προβεβηκὼς τῇ ἡλικίᾳ , Lys. p. 169, 37, τοῖς ἔτεσιν (Machon in Athen. xiii. p. 592 D), also τὴν ἡλικίαν , and the like (Herodian, ii. 7. 7; comp. 2Ma 4:40 ; Jdt 16:23 ), see Wetstein, and Pierson, ad Moer. p. 475. Observe that κ . ἀμφ . προβ . κ . τ . λ . is no longer connected with καθότι , but attached to οὐκ ἦν αὐτ . τέκν . by way of further preparation for the marvel which follows.

Verse 8

Luke 1:8 f. Ἐγένετο … ἔλαχε ] thus without interposition of καί . Both modes of expression, with and without καί , are very frequent in Luke. See generally, Bornemann in loc.

κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατ .] according to the custom of the priesthood , does not belong to what precedes (Luther, Kuinoel, Bleek), to which ἔθος would be inappropriate, but to ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι ; the usual custom , namely, was, that the priest of the class on service for the week, who was to have the honourable office of burning incense, was fixed every day by lot , just as in general the several offices were assigned by lot. See Tr. Tamid , v. 2 ff.; Wetstein, and Paulus, exeget. Handb.; Lund, Jüd. Heiligth. , ed. Wolf, p. 804 f. How the casting of lots took place , see Gloss. Joma , f. 22, 1, in Lightfoot, p. 714.

The genitive τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι (not to be accented θυμιάσαι [18] ) is governed by ἔλαχε . See Matthiae, p. 800; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 2. On the mode of burning incense, see Lightfoot, p. 715; Lund, l.c. p. 618 ff.; Leyrer in Herzog’s Encykl. XII. p. 506 ff. With this office specially divine blessing was conceived to be associated (Deuteronomy 33:10 f.); and during it John Hyrcanus received a revelation, Josephus, Antt. xiii. 10. 3.

Whether, we may ask, are we to understand here the morning (Grotius) or the evening (Kuinoel) burning of incense? The former , as the casting lots has just preceded.

εἰσελθὼν κ . τ . λ .] can neither be something that follows after the ἔλαχε τ . θυμ . (so Luther and others, de Wette and Bleek), nor can it belong merely to θυμιᾶσαι (so Winer, p. 316 [E. T. 443], and Glöckler, following the Vulgate), in which case the words would be quite idle. Rather must they be, in the same relation as the following καὶ πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος … ἔξω τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ θυμιάματος , an essential portion of the description. It is, namely, the moment that preceded the ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι : the duty of burning incense fell to him, after he had entered into the temple of the Lord . After his entrance into the temple he received this charge.

εἰς τὸν ναόν ] not εἰς τὸ ἱερόν (see on Matthew 4:5 ), for the altar of incense, the θυσιαστήριον , Luke 1:11 , stood in the sanctuary (between the table of shewbread and the golden candlestick).

[18] Comp. generally, Lipsius, Gramm. Unters. p. 38 ff.

Verse 10

Luke 1:10 . And now, while this burning of incense (symbol of adoration; see Bähr, Symbol. I. p. 463 469; Leyrer, l.c. p. 510 f.) allotted to him was taking place in the sanctuary, the entire multitude of the people (which expression does not exactly presuppose a festival, as Chrysostom, Chemnitz, and Calovius hold) was found ( ἦν ) in the forecourts, silently praying. This was implied in the arrangements for worship; see Deyling, Obss. III. p. 343 f.; Leyrer, l.c. p. 509.

τοῦ θυμιάματος ] not: of burning incense ( θυμίασις ), but: of incense (see Luke 1:11 ; Revelation 5:8 ; Revelation 8:3-4 ; Wis 18:21 ; Sir 45:6 ; 1Ma 4:49 ; Malachi 2:5; Malachi 2:5 ; Plat. Pol. ii. p. 373 A, Legg. viii. p. 847 C; Herod, i. 198, iv. 71, viii. 99; Soph. O. R. 4), namely, at which this was burnt .

Verses 11-12

Luke 1:11-12 . Ὤφθη ] not a vision , but a real angelic appearance , Luke 22:43 .

ἐκ δεξιῶν ] on the propitious side of the altar, at which Zacharias was serving. See Schoettgen, and Wetstein, ad Matthew 25:33 ; Valckenaer in loc.

ἄγγελος ] an angel. Who it was, see Luke 1:19 .

φόβος ἐπέπεσεν ἐπʼ αὐτ .] Comp. Acts 19:17 ; Exodus 15:16 ; Jdt 15:2 ; Test. XII. Patr. p. 592. Among the Greeks usually found with a dative , as Eur. Andr. 1042: σοὶ μόνᾳ ἐπέπεσον λῦπαι .

Verses 13-14

Luke 1:13-14 . Εἰσηκούσθη κ . τ . λ .] By ἡ δέησίς σου cannot be meant the petition for offspring (yet so still Olshausen, de Wette, Bleek, Schegg, following Maldonatus and many others); for, as according to Luke 1:7 it is not to be assumed at all that the pious priest still continued now to pray for children, so least of all can he at the burning of incense in his official capacity have made such a private matter the subject of his prayer; but ἡ δέησίς σου must be referred to the prayer just made by him at the priestly burning of incense, in which also the whole of the people assembled without were associated (Luke 1:10 ). This prayer concerned the highest solicitude of all Israel, namely, the Messianic deliverance of the people (Augustine, Euthymius Zigabenus, Erasmus, Jansen, Calovius, Ewald, and others), ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου . The context which follows is not opposed to this, but on the contrary the connection is: “Has preces angelus dicit exauditas; jam enim prae foribus esse adventum Messiae, cujus anteambulo destinatus sit is qui Zachariae nasciturus erat filius,” Grotius.

καλέσεις κ . τ . λ .] see on Matthew 1:21 .

Ἰωάννης is the Hebrew יְהוֹחָנָן or יוֹחָנָן (God is gracious, like the German Gotthold). The LXX. have Ἰωνά (2 Kings 25:23 ), Ἰωνάν (Nehemiah 6:18 ), Ἰωανάν (Nehemiah 12:13 ; 2 Chronicles 17:15 ; 2 Chronicles 23:1 ), Ἰωάνης (2 Chronicles 28:12 ).

γένεσις here is birth (often so in the Greek writers and in the LXX.); Xen. Ephesians 3 : ὁδοῦ ἀνθρωπίνης ἀρχὴν μὲν γένεσιν , τέλος δὲ θάνατον .

Verse 15

Luke 1:15 . Μέγας ἐνώπ . τ . κυρ .] A designation of a truly great man; “talis enim quisque vere est, qualis est coram Deo,” Estius. Comp. on Luke 1:6 .

καὶ οἶνον κ . τ . λ .] Description of a נָוִיר , as those were called, who had for the service of God bound themselves to abstain from wine and other intoxicating drinks (Numbers 6:3 ), and to let the hair of their head grow. John was a Nazarite, not for a certain time, but for life, like Samson (Judges 13:5 ) and Samuel (1 Samuel 1:12 ). See in general, Ewald, Alterth. p. 96 ff.; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p 361 f.; Keil, Archäol. I. § 67; Vilmar in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 438 ff.

τὸ σίκερα ( שִׁבָר ), which does not occur in the Greek writers, is any exciting drink of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes; Leviticus 10:9 and frequently in the LXX. It was prepared from corn, fruit, dates, palms (Pliny, H. N. xiv. 19), and so forth. Eusebius, Praep. Evang. vi. 10, has the genitive σίκερος .

ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας κ . τ . λ .] ἔτι never stands for ἤδη , but: of the Holy Spirit [19] he shall be full even from his mother’s womb , so that thus already in his mother’s womb (see Origen) he shall be filled with the Spirit. A pregnant form of embracing the two points. Comp. Plutarch, consol. ad Apoll. p. 104: ἔτι ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς ἠκολούθηκεν (having therefore already followed ἘΝ ἈΡΧῇ ). Doubtless the leaping of the child in the mother’s womb, Luke 1:41 , is conceived of as a manifestation of this being filled with the Spirit. Comp. Calovius and Maldonatus.

[19] It is quite arbitrary in Olshausen to support the rationalistic opinion that the expression here is to be understood not of the distinctive Holy Spirit , but of the holy power of God in general.

Verses 16-17

Luke 1:16-17 . Working of John as a preacher of repentance, who as a moral reformer of the people (comp. on Matthew 17:11 ) prepares the way for the Messianic consummation of the theocracy.

ἐπιστρέψει ] for through sin they have turned themselves away from God.

κύριον τ . Θεὸν αὐτ .] not the Messiah (Euthymius Zigabenus, and many of the older commentators), but God .

καὶ αὐτός ] He will turn many to God, and he himself will, etc.

προελεύσεται ] not: he will emerge previously (de Wette), but: he will precede (Xen. Cyr. vi. 3, 9), go before Him (Genesis 23:3 ; Genesis 23:14 ; Jdt 2:19 ; Jdt 15:13 ).

ἐνώπ . αὐτοῦ ] can only, in accordance with the context, be referred to God (Luke 1:16 ), whose preceding herald he will be. The prophets, namely, look upon and depict the setting in of the Messianic kingdom as the entrance of Jehovah into the midst of His people, so that thereupon God Himself is represented by the Messiah; Isaiah 40:0 .; Malachi 3:1 ; Malachi 4:5 f. Comp. Titus 2:13 . In the person of the entering Messiah Jehovah Himself enters; but the Messiah’s own personal divine nature is not yet expressed in this ancient-prophetic view (in opposition to Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 47). Incorrect, because in opposition to this prophetic idea, is the immediate reference of αὐτοῦ to the Messiah (Heumann, Kuinoel, Valckenaer, Winer), as regards which appeal is made to the emphatic use of הוּא , αὐτός , and ipse (comp. the Pythagorean αὐτὸς ἔφα ), whereby a subject not named but well known to every one is designated (Winer, p. 152 [E. T. 182 f.]).

ἐν πνεύματι κ . δυνάμ . Ἠλ .] furnished therewith. Spirit and power (power of working) of Elias (according to Malachi 4:5 f.) is, as a matter of course, God’s Spirit (comp. Luke 1:15 ) and divine power, but in the peculiar character and vital expression which were formerly apparent in the case of Elias, whose antitype John is, not as a miracle-worker (John 10:41 ), but as preacher of repentance and prophetic preparer of the way of the Lord.

ἐπιστρέψαι κ . τ . λ .] according to Malachi, l.c.: in order to turn fathers’ hearts to children; to be taken literally of the restoration of the paternal love, which in the moral degradation of the people had in many grown cold. Comp. Sir 48:10 and Fritzsche in loc. Kuinoel incorrectly holds that πατέρων means the patriarchs, and that the meaning is (similar to that given by Augustine, de civit. D. xx. 29; Beza, Calovius, and others): “efficiet, ut posteri erga Deum eundem habeant animum pium, quem, habebant eorum majores.” Comp. also Hengstenberg, Christol. III. p. 674, and Bleek. The absence of any article ought in itself to have warned against this view!

καὶ ἀπειθεῖς ἐν φρον . τ . δικ .] sc. ἐπιστρέψαι . The discourse passes over from the special relation to the general one. ἀπειθεῖς is the opposite of τῶν δικαίων , and therefore is not to be understood of the children (Olshausen), but of the immoral in general, whose characteristic is disobedience, namely towards God.

ἐν φρονήσει ] connected immediately in a pregnant way with the verb of direction, in which the thought of the result was predominant. See Kühner, II. p. 316. “Sensus eorum, qui justi sunt, in conversione protinus induitur,” Bengel. φρόνησις (see Arist. Eth. Nic. vi. 5. 4), practical intelligence. Comp. on Ephesians 1:8 . The practical element follows from ἀπειθεῖς .

ἑτοιμάσαι ] to put in readiness, etc. Aim of the ἐπιστρέψαι κ . τ . λ ., and so final aim of the προελεύσεται κ . τ . λ .

κυρίῳ ] for God, as at Luke 1:16-17 .

λαὸν κατεσκευασμ .] a people adjusted, placed in the right moral state (for the setting up of the Messianic kingdom), is related to ἑτοιμάσαι as its result. “Parandus populus, ne Dominus populum imparatum inveniens majestate sua obterat,” Bengel.

Verse 18

Luke 1:18 . Like Abraham’s question, Genesis 15:8 .

κατὰ τί ] According to what . Zacharias asks after a σημεῖον (Luke 2:12 ), in conformity with which he should know that what had been promised ( τοῦτο ) in other words, the birth of a son, with whom the indicated destination of Elias should associate itself had really occurred.

Verses 19-20

Luke 1:19-20 . The angel now discloses to Zacharias what angel he is , by way of justifying the announcement of penalty which he has then to add.

Γαβριήλ ] נַּבְרִיאֵל , vir Dei, one of the seven angel-princes ( שָׂרִים ) or archangels (comp. Auberlen in Herzog’s Encykl. IV. p. 634 [20] ), who stand for service at the throne of God ( ἐνώπιον τ . Θεοῦ ), as His primary servants ( ΠΑΡΕΣΤΗΚΏς , comp. thereon Revelation 8:2 , and see Valckenaer), Daniel 8:16 ; Daniel 9:21 . Comp. Fritzsche on Tob 12:15 . “ Nomina angelorum ascenderunt in manum Israelis ex Babylone,” Ros Hassana , f. 56, 4; Enoch 20. See later Jewish fictions in respect to Gabriel, set forth in Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenth. II. p. 363 ff., 378 ff., 390, 874.

σιωπῶν ] It is only the subsequent Κ . ΜῊ ΔΥΝΆΜ . ΛΑΛῆΣΑΙ that defines this more precisely as dumbness , which, however, is not apoplectic caused by the terror (Paulus), nor the consequence of the agitating effect of the vision (Lange), which consequence he himself recognised as a punishment; but it is a miraculous penalty.

ἀνθʼ ὧν ] for the reason (by way of retribution) that; Luke 19:44 ; Acts 12:23 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:10 ; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 710; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 170. The difficulties felt on account of the harshness of this measure (Paulus, Strauss, Bruno Bauer, comp. also de Wette), with which the impunity of others, such as Abraham and Sarah, has been compared, are, when the matter is historically viewed, not to be got rid of either by the assumption of a greater guilt which the Omniscient recognised (Calvin, comp. Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 65, and even as early as Augustine), or by an appeal to the lesser age of Zacharias (Hoffmann), and the like; but to be referred to the counsel of God (Romans 11:33 f.), whose various measures do not indeed disclose themselves to human judgment, but at any rate admit of the reflection that, the nearer the dawn of the Messianic time, the more inviolably must the requirement of faith in the promise and the promise was here given through an angel and a priest come into prominent relief.

οἵτινες ] qualitative (Kühner, II. p. 407), ita comparati ut , wherein is implied a reference that justifies the penal measure.

εἰς τ . καιρὸν αὐτ .] denotes the space of time appointed for the ΛΌΓΟΙ , till the completion of which it is still to hold that their fulfilment is setting in. Comp. the classical Ἐς ΚΑΙΡΌΝ , ΕἸς ΧΡΌΝΟΝ , ΕἸς ἙΣΠΈΡΑΝ , and the like, Bernhardy, p. 216. See also Luke 13:9 .

[20] Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 343 f., makes some unimportant objections against the accuracy of the explanation of archangels . See in opposition to him, Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 286.

Verse 21

Luke 1:21 . The priests, especially the chief priests, were accustomed, according to the Talmud, to spend only a short time in the sanctuary; otherwise it was apprehended that they had been slain by God, because they were unworthy or had done something wrong. See Hieros. Joma , f. 43, 2; Babyl. f. 53, 2; Deyling, Obss. III. ed. 2, p. 455 f. Still the unusually long delay of Zacharias, which could not but strike the people, is sufficient in itself as a reason of their wonder.

ἐν τῷ χρονίζειν αὐτόν ] not over ( ἐπί , Luke 4:22 , al. ), or on account of (Mark 6:6 , διά ), but on occasion of his failure to appear. So also Sir 11:21 ; Isaiah 61:6 . Rightly, Gersdorf, Ewald, render: when he , etc.

Verses 22-23

Luke 1:22-23 . Ἐπέγνωσαν , ὅτι ὀπτασίαν κ . τ . λ .] by the inference ab effectu ad causam; and very naturally they recognise as the latter an appearance of God or an angel, since, in fact, it was in the sanctuary that the dumbness had come on, and the agitating impression might even cause death, Judges 6:23 , al. In spite of the οὐκ ἠδύνατο λαλῆσαι , Olshausen thinks that this ἐπέγνωσαν does not refer to the silence of Zacharias, but probably to the excitement in his whole appearance, which Bleek also mixes up.

αὐτός , he on his part , corresponding to that which they perceived.

ἦν διανεύων αὐτοῖς ] he was employed in making signs to them ( Sir 27:22 ; Lucian, V. H. 44), namely, that he had seen a vision.

ὡς ἐπλήσθ . κ . τ . λ .] namely, the week in which the class of Abia (see Luke 1:5 ) had the temple service. On the verb, comp. Luke 1:57 ; Luke 2:6 ; Luke 2:21 f.; also Galatians 4:4 ; Ephesians 1:10

εἰς τ . οἶκ . αὐτοῦ ] Luke 1:39 f., also Luke 1:56 : εἰς τ . οἶκον αὐτῆς .

Verse 24

Luke 1:24 f. Μετὰ δὲ ταύτ . τ . ἡμέρ .] in which this vision had occurred, and he had returned at the end of the service-week to his house. Between the return and the conception we are not to place an indefinite interval.

περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτήν ] she hid herself , withdrew her own person completely ( περί , see Valckenaer) from the view of others.

μῆνας πέντε ] is of necessity to be understood of the first , not of the last five months of pregnancy (in opposition to Heumann). See Luke 1:26 ; Luke 1:36 ; Luke 1:56-57 .

λέγουσα · ὅτι κ . τ . λ .] the reason which was uttered by her for this withdrawal; hence ὅτι is not recitative, but to be rendered because , as at Luke 7:16 : because thus hath the Lord done to me in the days, in which He was careful to take away my reproach among men . Her reflection, therefore, was to this effect: “seeing that her pregnancy was the work of God , whose care, at the setting in of this state of hers, had been directed towards removing from her the reproach of unfruitfulness, she must leave to God also the announcement of her pregnancy, and not herself bring it about. God would know how to attain His purpose of taking away her reproach.” And God knew how to attain this His purpose. After she had kept herself concealed for five months, there occurred in the sixth month, Luke 1:26 ff., the annunciation to Mary, in which the condition of Elizabeth was disclosed to Mary, so that she rose up (Luke 1:39 ff.), etc. Hence the opinions are not in accordance with the text, which represent Elizabeth as having kept herself concealed from shame at being with child in her old age (Origen, Ambrose, Beda, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus), or in order that she might first assure herself of her condition (Paulus), and might in the meantime apply herself to devotion (Kuinoel), or to afford no handle to curiosity (Schegg), or “quo magis appareret postea repente graviditas” (Bengel), or even because it was necessary to keep herself quiet during the first months of pregnancy (de Wette). No; it was because with resignation and confidence she awaited the emerging of the divine guidance.

αἷς ] without repetition of the preposition. See Bernhardy, p. 203; Bornemann, Schol. p. 5; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 32.

ἐπεῖδεν ] looked to it , i.e. took care for it . So more frequently ἐφοράω is used of the providence of the gods in the classical writers; Herod. i. 124; Soph. El. 170. Comp. Acts 4:29

τὸ ὄνειδός μου ] Comp. Genesis 30:23 . Unfruitfulness was a disgrace , as being a token of the divine disfavour (Psalms 113:9 ; Isaiah 4:1 ; Isaiah 44:3 ; Isaiah 47:9 ; Hosea 9:11 ); the possession of many children was an honour and blessing (Psalms 127, 128). Comp. the view of the Greeks, Herod. vi. 86; Müller, Dor. II. p. 192.

ἐν ἀνθρώποις ] belongs to ἀφελεῖν ; among men she had dishonour.

Verses 26-27

Luke 1:26-27 . Τῷ ἕκτῳ ] see Luke 1:24 .

Ναζαρέτ ] According to Matthew, Bethlehem was the dwelling-place of Joseph and Mary. See on Matthew 2:23 , Remark, and Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 51 ff.

ἐξ οἴκου Δαυίδ ] applies not to Mary and Joseph (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Calovius, and others, including Wieseler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, p. 395), but merely to the latter, Luke 2:4 , Luke 3:23 ff. The descent of Mary from David cannot at all be proved in the N. T. See on Matthew 1:17 , Remark 2. Comp. on Luke 1:36 ; Luke 2:4 f.

Verses 28-29

Luke 1:28-29 . Εἰσελθών ] namely, ὁ ἄγγελος (see the critical remarks). Paulus erroneously puts it: “ a person who came in said to her.”

κεχαριτωμένη ] who has met with kindness (from God). [21] Well remarks Bengel: “non ut mater gratiae, sed ut filia gratiae.” See Luke 1:30 ; and on χαριτόω in general, see Ephesians 1:6

On εὐλογ . σὺ ἐν γυναιξ . in the Textus receptus (but see the critical remarks), see Winer, p. 220 [E. T. 308]. It would be not a vocative , like κεχαριτωμένη , but a nominative , as the added σύ indicates: The Lord is with thee, blessed ( κατʼ ἐξοχήν ) art thou among women .

Luke 1:29 . The Recepta (but see the critical remarks) would have to be explained: but she, when she looked upon him, was terrified at his saying , so that ἰδοῦσα only appears as an accessory element of the narrative, not as jointly a reason of her terror (in opposition to Bornemann, de Wette, and others), which would rather be simply ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ αὐτοῦ , as is shown by the text which follows καὶ διελογίζετο κ . τ . λ .

ποταπός ] qualis, what sort of a: a question of wonder. Comp. on Mark 13:1 f. In accordance with its whole tenor raising her to so high distinction the greeting was to her enigmatical.

[21] Observe the ingenious similarity of sound in the words χαῖρε κεχαριτωμένη . Plays on words of a like kind are found among Roman Catholics with the contrasts of ave and Eva .

Verse 31

Luke 1:31 . See on Matthew 1:21 .

Verse 32

Luke 1:32 f. Μέγας ] Comp. Luke 1:15 . And what greatness belonged to this promised One, appears from what is said in the sequel of His future!

υἱὸς ὑψίστου κληθήσ .] Description of His recognition as Messiah , as whom the angel still more definitely designates Him by καὶ δώσει κ . τ . λ . The name Son of God is not explained in a metaphysical reference until Luke 1:35 .

τὸν θρόνον Δαυ . τοῦ πατρ . αὐτοῦ ] i.e. the royal throne of the Messianic kingdom, which is the antitypical consummation of the kingdom of David (Psalms 132:11 , 110), as regards which, however, in the sense of the angel, which excludes the bodily paternity of Joseph, David can be meant as ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ only according to the national theocratic relation of the Messiah as David’s son, just as the historical notion of the Messiah was once given. The mode in which Luke (and Matthew) conceived of the Davidic descent is plain from the genealogical table of ch. 3, according to which the genealogy passed by way of Joseph as foster-father .

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ] from Isaiah 9:6 ; Daniel 7:13 f. The conception of an everlasting Messianic kingdom (according to Psalms 110:4 ) is also expressed in John 12:34 ; comp. the Rabbins in Bertholdt, Christol. p. 156. The “ house of Jacob ” is not to be idealized (Olshausen, Bleek, and others: of the spiritual Israel); but the conception of the kingdom in our passage is Jewish-national, which, however, does not exclude the dominion over the Gentiles according to the prophetic prediction (“quasi per accessionem,” Grotius).

βασιλ . ἐπί ] as Luke 19:14 ; Romans 5:14 .

Verse 34

Luke 1:34 f. How is it possible that this shall be the case ? [22] namely, τὸ συλλαβεῖν ἐν γαστρὶ καὶ τεκεῖν υἱόν , Euthymius Zigabenus.

Οὐ ΓΙΝΏΣΚΩ ] comp. Matthew 1:18 ; Genesis 19:8 ; Judges 11:39 ; Numbers 31:17 , since I have sexual intercourse with no man . In this sense the pure maiden knows no man. As, however, she is betrothed, Luke 1:27 , her reply shows that she has understood the promise of the angel rightly as soon to be fulfilled, and not to be referred to her impending marriage with Joseph, but as independent of the marriage that was soon to take place. The ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω is thus simply the confession of the immaculate virgin conscience , and not (a misunderstanding, which Mary’s very betrothal ought to have precluded) the vow of perpetual virginity (Augustine, de virgin. 4, Gregory of Nyssa, Grotius, Jansen, Maldonatus, Bisping, and others), or the resolution to that effect (Schegg).

πνεῦμα ἅγιον ] In accordance with the nature of a proper name, without the article. Moreover, see on Matthew 1:18

ἘΠΕΛΕΎΣΕΤΑΙ ἘΠῚ ΣΈ ] will descend upon thee (Acts 1:8 ). This, as well as ἐπισκιάσει σοι , will overshadow thee (Acts 5:15 ), is the former without figure, the latter figuratively a designation of the connection producing the pregnancy, which, however, is not conceived of in the form of copulation, for which the words are euphemistic expressions (Paulus, von Ammon, and older commentators), or yet under the notion of a bird which covers its eggs (Theophylact, comp. Grotius). [23] Certainly the expressions are correlates of ΓΙΝΏΣΚΩ , but as regards the effect , not as regards the form, since ἐπελεύσ . expresses simply the descent of the Spirit, and ἘΠΙΣΚΙΆΣ . the manifestation of divine power associated therewith in the form of a cloud (after the manner of the Old Testament theophanies, Exodus 40:34 ; Num 9:15 ; 1 Kings 8:10 ; comp. also Luke 9:34 ). Augustine and other Fathers have quite mistakenly laid stress in ἐπισκ . on the notion of coolness (in contrast to procreation in lust); comp. ΣΚΙΆΖΕΙΝ ΤῸ ΚΑῦΜΑ in Alciphr. iii. 2.

ΔΎΝΑΜΙς ὙΨΊΣΤΟΥ ] without the article: power of the Highest will overshadow thee, will be that, which shall overshadow thee. This will set in in immediate consequence ( καί ) of the πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ . Strict dogmatic expositors, such as Theophylact, Calovius, have rightly (comp. Luke 24:49 ) distinguished between the Holy Spirit and the power of the Highest, but in doing so have already imported more precise definitions from the dogmatic system by explaining the power of the Highest of the Son of God , who with His majesty filled the body that had been formed by the Holy Spirit, and thus have, by a more precise description of the formation of the body, broken in upon the delicate veil which the mouth of the angel had breathed over the mystery. [24]

τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον ] the holy thing that is being begotten shall (after His birth) be called Son of God. Most interpreters take τὸ γεννώμενον as that which is to be born (comp. Luke 1:13 ), which view, moreover, has drawn after it the old addition ἐκ σοῦ from Matthew 1:16 . But the context which immediately precedes points only to the begetting (Bengel, Bleek); and to this also points the neuter , which applies to the embryo (comp. on Matthew 1:20 , and see Fritzsche, ad Aristoph. Thesm. 564), as well as the parallel Matthew 1:20 . The subject, we may add, is τὸ ἅγιον , not ΤῸ ΓΕΝΝΏΜ . (Kuinoel: “proles veneranda” = ΤῸ ΓΕΝΝΏΜ . ΤῸ ἍΓΙΟΝ ), as also Bornemann assumes, when he (comp. de Wette) takes ἍΓΙΟΝ predicatively: “proles tua, cum divina sit .” Not as holy , but as begotten by God’s power ( διό ), is the fruit of Mary called the Son of God. Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 117, explains: it shall be called holy, Son of God , so that those two appellations are to correspond to the two members of the preceding promise. So already Tertullian, as also Bengel and Bleek. But the asyndetic form, in which υἱὸς Θεοῦ would be subjoined, tells against this view all the more, that we should of necessity, in direct accordance with what precedes ( ΚΑῚ ΔΎΝΑΜΙς Κ . Τ . Λ . ), expect ΚΑῚ ΥἹῸς ΘΕΟῦ , especially after the verb, where no reader could anticipate a second predicate without καί . Comp. Justin, c. Tryph. 100: διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἐξ αὐτῆς ἅγιόν ἐστιν υἱὸς Θεοῦ .

[22] This question is only appropriate to the virgin heart as a question of doubt on the ground of conscious impossibility, and not as an actual wish to learn the how ( τὸν τρόπον τοῦ πράγματος , Theophylact); comp. already Augustine: “ inquirendo dixit, non desperando ,” whereas the meaning of the question of Zacharias, ver. 18, is the converse.

[23] Approved also by Delitzsch, bibl. Psychol. p. 116 f., and Bleek. But this conception is here very much out of place, and is not implied even in מְרַחֶפֶת , Genesis 1:2 , which, besides, has nothing to do with the passage before us.

[24] Calovius: “Supervenit Spiritus non quidem σπερματικῶς sed δημιουργικῶς , guttulas sanguineas Mariae , e quibus concipienda caro Domini, sanctificando, easdem foecundas reddendo, et ex iisdem corpus humanum efformando .” Justin, Apol. I. 33, already rightly gives the simple thought of the chaste and delicate representation: κυοφορῆσαι παρθένον οὖσαν πεποίηκε . Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 62, erroneously affirms that the representation of Luke admits the possibility of Jesus being thought of as conceived with the participation of Joseph. It absolutely excludes any such notion.

Verse 36

Luke 1:36 f. Confirmation of the promise by the disclosure of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, which, in fact, was also a deviation from the order of nature ( ἐν γήρει ), and so far presented an analogy, although only in an inferior sense. “En domesticum tibi exemplum!” Grotius. After ἰδοὺ κ . τ . λ . an ἐστί was as little needed as an εἰμί at Luke 1:38 .

συγγενίς ] The nature of this relationship, which is not at variance with John 1:36 , although questioned by Schleiermacher and others, is wholly unknown. It is, however, possible that Mary was of the stock of Levi (so Faustus the Manichean in Augustine, c. Faust. xxiii. 9; and recently, Schleiermacher, Schr. d. Luk. p. 26; Hilgenfeld, Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 177, and others), as the Test. XII. Patr. p. 542 makes the Messiah proceed from the stock of Judah (Joseph) and (comp. p. 546) from the stock of Levi. [25]

On the late form συγγενίς , see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 451 f.; and on the Ionic form of dative γήρει , Winer, p. 60 [E. T. 73 f.].

ΟὟΤΟς ] subject: and this is the sixth month .

ὅτι οὐκ ἀδυνατ . κ . τ . λ .] Confirmation of that which has just been said of Elizabeth by the omnipotence of God. It is to be observed (1) that ΟὐΚ ΠᾶΝ do not belong to one another, but of ΠᾶΝ ῬῆΜΑ it is said: ΟὐΚ ἈΔΥΝΑΤΉΣΕΙ (Fritzsche, Diss. II. in 2 Cor. p. 24 f.); further, (2) that the proposition is a general one; hence the future , which, however, is purposely chosen with a view to what was announced to Mary; see Dissen, ad Dem. de Cor. p. 369; (3) that there exists no reason for abandoning the purely Greek meaning of ἀδυνατεῖν , to be unable (Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 210), any more than of ῥῆμα , utterance (Luke 1:38 ), especially with the reading παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ (see the critical remarks). Hence the meaning is not: “ With God nothing is impossible ;” but rather: not powerless (but of success and efficacy) shall any utterance on the part of God be . So also Genesis 18:14 . Comp. Beza: “ ῥῆμα , i.e. quicquid Deus semel futurum dixerit.”

[25] Thus the descent from the Davidic and priestly race might have been used for the glorification of Jesus. But from the height of the history of Jesus so little importance was attached to things of this nature that only the Davidic descent, as it was necessary in the case of the Messiah, had stress laid on it, and the family of Mary was not expressly specified at all. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 177 f.

Verse 38

Luke 1:38 . Behold the handmaid of the Lord ! without a verb. Comp. Luke 1:36 ; Luke 5:12 ; Luke 5:18 .

γένοιτο ] λοιπὸν οὐ μόνον ἐπίστευσεν , ἀλλὰ ηὔξατο γενέσθαι αὐτῇ , καθὼς ὁ ἄγγελος εἵρηκε , Euthymius Zigabenus; “eximio fiduciae exemplo,” Grotius.


The natural explanation of the annunciation to Mary (Paulus) is at variance with the evangelic account; and as the latter unfolds simply, clearly, and delicately an external procedure, the objective is not to be rendered subjective and transferred, as a reciprocal operation of the theocratic Spirit of God and the emotional feeling of the Virgin, by means of poetic colouring to the soul of the latter (Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 67). As history, believed even as it is related, the narrative arose, and that too independently of the preliminary history of Matthew, and even incompatibly with it, [26] in consequence of the circumstance that the divine sonship of Jesus was extended to His bodily origination (see on Matthew 1:18 ), an idea, which gave shape to legends dissimilar in character and gaining currency in different circles. Thus, e.g. , it is clear that the history, adopted at Matthew 1:19 ff., of Joseph’s perplexity and of the angelic message which came to him does not presuppose, but excludes the annunciation to Mary; for that Mary after such a revelation should have made no communication to Joseph, would have been not less psychologically unnatural, than it would have been a violation of the bridal relation and, indeed, of the bridal duty; [27] and to reckon on a special revelation, which without her aid would make the disclosure to her betrothed, she must have been expressly directed by the angelic announcement made to her, in order to be justified in deferring the communication of her pregnancy to her betrothed. We make this remark in opposition to the arbitrary presuppositions and shifts of Hug ( Gutacht. I. p. 81 ff.), Krabbe, Ebrard, and others. According to the view invented by the last-named, it is assumed that Joseph had learned Mary’s pregnancy, immediately after the appearance of its earliest signs, from the pronubae (“suspicious women”); that immediately there ensued the appearance of the angel to him, and forthwith he took her home; and that for all this a period of at most fourteen days sufficed. Mark and John have rightly excluded these miracles of the preliminary history from the cycle of the evangelical narrative, which only began with the appearance of the Baptist (Mark 1:1 ); as, indeed, Jesus Himself never, even in His confidential circle, refers to them, and the unbelief of His own brothers, John 7:5 , and in fact even the demeanour of Mary, Mark 3:21 ff., is irreconcilable with them. [28]

The angelic announcement made to Zacharias , which likewise withdraws itself from any attempt at natural explanation (Paulus, Ammon), appears as a parallel to the annunciation to Mary, having originated and been elaborated in consequence of the latter as a link in the chain of the same cycle of legends after the analogy of Old Testament models, especially that of Abraham and his wife. As in the case of the annunciation to Mary the metaphysical divine Sonship of Jesus, so in the announcement to Zacharias the extraordinary divine destination and mission of John (John 1:6 ) is the real element on which the formation of legend became engrafted; but to derive the latter merely from the self-consciousness of the church (Bruno Bauer), and consequently to take away the objective foundation of the history, is at variance with the entire N. T. and with the history of the church. For the formation of the legend, moreover, the historical circumstances, that John was the son of the priest Zacharias and Elizabeth, and a son born late in life, are to be held fast as premisses actually given by history (in opposition to Strauss, I. p. 135), all the more that for these simple historical data their general notoriety could not but bear witness. This also in opposition to Weisse and B. Bauer, who derive these traditions from the laboratory of religious contemplation. Further, as to what specially concerns the late birth of John, it has its historical precedents in the history of Isaac, of Samson, and of Samuel; but the general principle deduced from such cases, “Cum alicujus uterum claudit, ad hoc facit, ut mirabilius denuo aperiat, et non libidinis esse quod nascitur, sed divini muneris cognoscatur” ( Evang. de Nativ. Mark 3:0 ), became the source of unhistorical inventions in the apocryphal Gospels, [29] as, in particular, the apocryphal account of the birth of Mary herself is an imitation of the history of John’s birth.

[26] Comp. Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 59 ff.

[27] Lange, L. J. II. p. 83 f., rightly acknowledges this, but, following older writers, thinks that Mary made the communication to Joseph before her journey to Elizabeth, but that he nevertheless (“the first Ebionite”) refused to believe her. This is not compatible with Matthew’s narrative, especially Luke 1:18 . And what Lange further (p. 89) adds, that during Mary’s absence a severe struggle arose in his soul, and this state of feeling became the medium of the revelation made to him, is simply added .

[28] Schleiermacher is right in saying, L. J. p. 71: “These occurrences have been entirely without effect as regards the coming forward of Christ or the origination of faith in Him.”

[29] See, in general, R. Hofmann, das Leben Jesu nach d. Apokr. 1851; also Gelpke, Jugendgesch. des Herrn , 1842 (who, moreover, gives the Jewish legends).

Verse 39

Luke 1:39 . The angel’s communication, Luke 1:36 , occasions Mary to make a journey to Elizabeth, and that with haste ( μετὰ σπουδῆς , comp. Mark 6:25 ; Exodus 12:11 ; Herod, iii. 4, iv. 5); for how much must her heart have now urged her to the interchange of the deepest feelings with the friend who, in like manner, was so highly favoured! Thus it is not merely “ne negligeret signum,” etc., Grotius. From Elizabeth she receives the confirmation of that which the angel had announced to her concerning Elizabeth. But before her departure the great promise of Luke 1:35 is already fulfilled to herself. With extraordinary delicacy the promised conception is not related in its realization (comp., on the other hand, Luke 1:24 ), and the veil of the unparalleled marvel is not attempted to be raised; but Luke 1:41-44 and the whole triumph of Mary, Luke 1:46 ff., presuppose that she appears before Elizabeth already as the mother of the Messiah, bearing Him in her womb. She herself is only made certain of the miracle, which has already occurred in her case, by the inspired communication which at once meets her from the mouth of her friend. Bengel is singularly arbitrary in transferring the conception, which in any case lies between Luke 1:38-39 , to the moment when the child leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, which he concludes from γάρ in Luke 1:44 .

εἰς τὴν ὀρεινήν ] into the mountain-region

κατʼ ἐξοχήν , Aristot. H. A. v. 28; Jdt 1:6 ; Jdt 2:22 ; Jdt 4:7 , al.; Plin. H. N. v. 14. The mountainous country in the tribe of Judah is meant. See Robinson, Pal. II. p. 422 ff., III. p. 188 ff.

εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα ] into a city of the tribe of Judah . Luke does not give any more precise definition, and therefore it is to be assumed that he himself had no more precise knowledge. Jerusalem, the capital, is certainly not meant (in opposition to Ambrose, Beda, Camerarius); which is clear, not indeed from the want of the article (comp. Luke 2:4 ; Luke 2:11 ; Bornemann in loc. ), but from the unprecedented designation itself (in 2 Chronicles 25:28 the reading is very doubtful, see the LXX.), and from the εἰς τὴν ὀρείνην [less] appropriate to Jerusalem. It may have been the priestly city of Hebron , Joshua 21:11 (Baronius, Beza, Grotius, Lightfoot, Wolf, Rosenmüller, and others); but that it is meant as a matter of course under the “city of Judah” (see Ewald, p. 182), is not to be assumed, because in that case πόλιν could not dispense with the article (to the well-known city of Judah). Others (Valesius, Epp. 669; Reland, Pal. p. 870; Wetstein, Paulus, Kuinoel, Crome, Beitr. p. 45, et al.; comp. also Robinson, Pal. III. p. 193, and Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 641) have regarded Juda as itself the name of the city: holding that it was the priestly city יוּטָה or יֻטָּה (Joshua 21:16 ; Joshua 15:55 ; comp. Robinson, II. p. 417), so that the name is wrongly written. We should have to refer this inaccuracy to Luke himself; but the whole hypothesis is an unnecessary makeshift.

Verse 41

Luke 1:41 . Τὸν ἀσπασμ . τ . Μαρ .] the greeting of Mary . See Luke 1:40 ; Luke 1:44 . This greeting on the part of Mary (not the communication of the angelic announcement, Luke 1:26 ff., as Kuinoel and others import) caused the leaping of the child (comp. Genesis 25:22 ), and that as an exulting expression of the joy of the latter (Luke 1:44 ; Luke 6:23 ) at the presence of the Messiah [30] now in the womb of His mother. Elizabeth immediately through the Holy Spirit recognises the cause of the leaping. Comp. Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erfüll. II. p. 251 f. Calvin, Michaelis, Paulus, Olshausen, and many others reverse the matter, holding that the mental agitation of the mother had operated on the child (comp. also Lange, II. 1, p. 86), and that this circumstance had only afterwards, Luke 1:44 , become significant to the mother. Analogous to the conception in our passage is Sohar Ex. f. xxiii. 91 f., xxv. 99: “Omnes Israelitae ad mare rubrum plus viderunt quam Ezechiel propheta; imo etiam embryones, qui in utero matris erant, viderunt id, et Deum S. B. celebrarunt .” A symbolical significance, expressive, namely, of the thought, that at the appearance of a higher Spirit the ideas that lie still unborn in the womb of the spirit of the world and of the people are quickened (Weisse), is foreign to the narrative, a modern abstraction.

[30] Older Lutherans (see Calovius) have wrongly used this passage as a proof of the fides infantum . There is, in fact, here something unique in character and miraculous. The child of Elizabeth has already in the womb the Holy Spirit, ver. 15.

Verse 42

Luke 1:42 f. Ἀνεφώνησε ] She cried out (only occurring here in the N. T.; comp. 1 Chronicles 15:28 ; 1 Chronicles 16:5 ; 2 Chronicles 5:12 ; Polyb. iii. 33. 4; frequent in Plutarch), expressing the outburst of the being filled by the Spirit.

ὁ καρπὸς τ . κοιλ . σου ] Designation of the embryo , that Mary bears in her womb. For the expression, comp. Genesis 30:2 ; Lamentations 2:20 .

καὶ πόθεν κ . τ . λ .] sc. γέγονεν . After the first outburst now follows a certain reflection , a humble pondering, from what cause ( πόθεν , comp. on Mark 12:37 ) she was deemed worthy of this great happiness: ἀναξίαν ἑαυτὴν τῆς τοιαύτης ἐπιδημίας τῆς δεσποίνης ὁμολογεῖ , Euthymius Zigabenus.

ἵνα κ . τ . λ .] not equivalent to τὸ ἐλθεῖν τὴν μητ . κ . τ . λ ., but telic: that the mother of my Lord (the Messiah, comp. Psalms 110:1 ) should come to me , this is the τοῦτο , in reference to which she asks πόθεν μοι . Comp. on John 6:29 ; John 17:3 .

Verse 44

Luke 1:44 f. Γάρ ] specifies the ground of knowledge, on which she declares Mary as the mother of the Messiah. She had the discernment of this connection through the Holy Spirit , Luke 1:41 .

ὅτι ] may either be the specification of the reason attached to μακαρία (Vulgate, Luther, Erasmus, Beza, Lange, and others), or the statement of the contents to πιστεύσασα (Grotius, Bengel, Paulus, Kuinoel, Bornemann, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, and others). The latter is the correct view, since the conception the chief point of the λελαλημένα , which Elizabeth has in view is no longer future, but has already taken place. Hence: for blessed is she who has believed, that there shall be a fulfilment to all (Luke 1:31 ff.), etc. As to τελείωσις , comp. Jdt 10:9 ; John 19:28 .

Verse 46

Luke 1:46 ff. An echo of the lyrical poetry of the Old Testament, especially of the song of praise of Hannah the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:0 ). This psalm-like effusion from the heart of Mary (the so-called Magnificat ) divides itself into four strophes, namely, (1) Luke 1:46-48 (as far as αὐτοῦ ); (2) Luke 1:48 (from ἰδού onward) as far as Luke 1:50 ; (3) Luke 1:51-53 ; and (4) Luke 1:54-55 . Each of these four strophes contains three verses. See Ewald, p. 181.

ἡ ψυχή μου ] the mediating organ between πνεῦμα and body (Beck, bibl. Seelenl. p. 11 ff.; Delitzsch, bibl. Psychol. p. 222) which receives the impressions from without and from within, and here expresses by means of the mouth what has taken place in the πνεῦμα (hence ἠγαλλίασε in the aorist ). The πνεῦμα is “the highest and noblest part of man, whereby he is qualified to grasp incomprehensible, invisible, eternal things; and is, in brief, the house within which faith and God’s word abide,” Luther ( Ausl. 1521). Comp. Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 411 ff. That the spirit of Mary exulted full of the Holy Spirit, was selfe-evident for the evangelist after Luke 1:35 ; an observation, such as that of Luke 1:41 , concerning Elizabeth: ἐπλήσθη πνεύματος ἁγ ., would now have been inappropriate in reference to Mary. ἀγαλλιάω , in the active , is only found here and at Revelation 19:7 (Lachmann, Tischendorf), which reason, however, does not warrant the conjecture of ἀγαλλιάσεται (Valckenaer, Bretschneider).

σωτῆρι ] benefactor . “Is est nimirum σωτήρ . qui salutem dedit,” Cicero, Verr. ii. 63.

ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τ . ταπ . τ . δούλ . αὐτ .] as at 1 Samuel 1:11 . Comp. Psalms 31:8 ; also Luke 9:38 . The expression of the adjectival notion by means of the substantive (comp. 2 Kings 14:26 ; Psalms 25:17 ) places the quality in the foreground. See Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 367 f.; Bernhardy, p. 53. Mary means the lowliness of her person, in spite of which she is chosen of God to such greatness. She was in fact only an insignificant maiden from the people, an artisan’s betrothed bride.

ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν ] from henceforth ; for now , after Elizabeth’s inspired words, no further doubt could remain to Mary respecting her condition as mother of the Messiah; from henceforth , therefore, she could not but be the object of the general congratulation, whereof Elizabeth herself had just made a beginning.

πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί ] all generations .

Verse 49

Luke 1:49 f. Because the Mighty One did to me great things , in making me the mother of the Messiah.

καὶ ἅγιον κ . τ . λ .] not for οὗ τὸ ὄν . ἅγιον (Luther, Castalio, Bengel, and many, including Kuinoel), but lyrically unperiodic: and holy is His name! Hence, also, a full stop is not to be placed after δυνατός (Lachmann, Tischendorf, Bleek), but only a comma. To the might the holiness attaches itself.

εἰς γενεὰς κ . γενεάς ] Comp. Isaiah 51:8 ; 1Ma 2:61 ; Test. XII. Patr. p. 568: unto generations and generations, i.e. ever onward from one generation to the following. The Recepta εἰς γενεὰς γενεῶν would mean: to the uttermost generations; these would be conceived of as forming a superlative . Analogous Greek superlative designations, especially from the dramatic writers, may be seen in Brunck, ad Oedip. R. 466; Bernhardy, p. 154.

τοῖς φοβουμ . αὐτ .] sc. ἐστι . It denotes the essence of theocratic piety. Comp. Exodus 20:6 ; Psalms 103:7 .

Verse 51

Luke 1:51 ff. Mary now sees the Messianic catastrophe, which God will bring about by means of her son, and she announces it prophetically as having already happened; for she bears in fact the accomplisher of it already in her womb, and thus the work of God, which He is to execute, is before her enlightened gaze already as good as completed; in that way she sees and describes it.

The catastrophe itself is the restoration of the state of things to the divine rightful order, the overthrow of the Gentiles and the exaltation of the deeply-oppressed theocratic people (comp. Luke 1:68 ; Luke 1:71 ; Luke 1:74 ); the former are set forth by the words ὑπερηφάνους , δυνάστας , πλουτοῦντας ; the latter, by ταπεινούς and πεινῶντας . This intended concrete application of the general expressions is put beyond doubt by ἀντελάβετο Ἰσραὴλ κ . τ . λ ., Luke 1:54 f.

ὑπερηφάνους ] such as are arrogant in the thoughts of their heart ; διανοίᾳ is the dative of more precise definition; and on the notion (thinking and willing as directed outwards), comp. Beck, Seelenl. p. 58; on καρδία as the centre of the spiritual and psychic life, Delitzsch, bibl. Psychol. p. 248 ff.; finally, in διεσκόρπ . the haughty are conceived of as congregated and keeping together; comp. Matthew 26:31 ; Acts 5:37 ; Psalms 89:10 . “That through Christianity the proud were humbled” (de Wette), is not the thought expressed by Mary, but a generalization of it, as is also the “confusio diabolicae superbiae” (Calovius and others), and the like. Comp. Sir 10:14 ff.

Luke 1:52 . He has cast down rulers from thrones , does not apply to the demons and Pharisees (Theophylact), but to the Gentile holders of power. Comp. on the idea of the overthrow of thrones in the times of the Messiah, Wis 5:23 ; Enoch xxxviii. 4, and Dillmann thereon.

Luke 1:53 . ἀγαθῶν ] not merely means of subsistence (Valckenaer, Bornemann, de Wette), but earthly possessions in general, among which the means of subsistence are included . Comp. Luke 12:18 f. De Wette, moreover, is in error in saying (comp. Olshausen) that it is spiritual hunger and spiritual satisfying that are to be thought of, and that the rich are a type of the wise men of this world . The whole is to be taken literally; the idealizing is not warranted according to the context. Comp. Psalms 34:11 .

ἐξαπέστ . κενούς ] So that they retain nothing of their possessions, and have received nothing from the Messiah. On the expression, comp. Luke 20:10 f.; Job 22:9 ; Jdt 10:11 ; Hom. Il. ii. 298, Od. xiii. 214.

For descriptions of the divine inversion of relations from the classical writers, see Wetstein and Bornemann.

Verse 54

Luke 1:54 ff. What was expressed descriptively in Luke 1:51-53 , and that by means of antitheses, is now definitely and particularly condensed in ἀντελάβετο Ἰσραὴλ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ (comp. Isaiah 41:8 f.), which is the summary of what has been previously said. The aorist is to be taken quite like the previous aorists.

ἀντελάβετο ] He has interested Himself for Israel His servant ( עֶבֶד ). Comp. on ἀντελάβ ., Acts 20:35 ; Thuc. iii. 22; Diod. Sic. xi. 13. Euthymius Zigabenus explains it: ἐπεσκέψατο τὸν Ἰσραηλιτικὸν λαὸν , τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ . Others, including Paulus, Glöckler, Kuinoel, take παιδός as filii (comp. Exodus 4:22 ; Hosea 11:1 ). But the theocratic notion of sonship is never expressed by παῖς (not even in Acts 3:13 ).

μνησθῆναι ἐλέους ] not: “ita ut perpetuo memor sit,” etc. (Kuinoel, Bleek), but: in order to be mindful of mercy. We have to note the connection with the ἕως αἰῶνος emphatically put at the end. God has interested Himself for Israel, in order to be mindful of mercy even to eternity, in order never again to forget mercy.

καθὼς ἐλαλ . πρὸς τ . πατ . ἡμ .] not indeed a parenthesis, but an inserted clause, which makes one feel that the telic μνησθῆναι ἐλέους takes place in consequence of the divine truthfulness.

τῷ Ἀβραὰμ κ . τ . σπέρμ . αὐτ .] Dativus commodi to μνησθῆναι . Comp. Psalms 98:3 ; Xen. Cyr. i. 4. 12; Bornemann, Schol. p. 14 f. It might belong to ἐλάλησε (Euthymius Zigabenus, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Kuinoel), since λαλεῖν may be joined as well with πρός as with a dative; but against this may be urged κ . τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ , which denotes [31] the whole posterity of Abraham without limitation, and therefore cannot be included in apposition to ΠΡῸς ΤΟῪς ΠΑΤΈΡΑς ἩΜῶΝ .

Observe, moreover, that here (comp. Luke 1:72 ) Abraham, the progenitor of the race, is conceived of as jointly affected by and interested in the destiny of his descendants; Isaiah 29:22 f.; Micah 7:20 . Comp. John 8:56 ; Test. XII. Patr. p. 587. Abraham liveth unto God, Luke 20:38 .

ἔμεινε δὲ κ . τ . λ .] but not until the delivery of Elizabeth (in opposition to Calvin, Maldonatus, and others); see Luke 1:57 .

[31] In what manner it was the σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ that actually received the compassion (Romans 4:0 , Galatians 4:0 ), was not here the question.


The harmonizers, even the most recent, have adopted very different ways for the fitting of this history into the narrative of Matthew. According to Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 84 ff., Mary is driven to Elizabeth by her grief at being Ebionitically misjudged and discarded by Joseph; according to Hug, Gutacht. I. p. 85, Ebrard, Riggenbach, and others, she made the journey immediately after her marriage, which took place a few days after the beginning of her pregnancy! Luke says and knows nothing of either view.


The historical character of the Visitation of Mary stands or falls with that of the Annunciation. But the psychological and moral impossibility, that Mary, after the certainty as to her condition acquired while she was with Elizabeth, and after the theocratic inspiration with which she declares herself blessed on account of that condition, should not have made any communication at all to Joseph on the subject (as must nevertheless, according to Matthew, be assumed, so that thus our narrative and that of Matthew 1:18 ff. exclude one another); further, the utter want of any trace elsewhere of such an intimate and confidential relation as, according to our history, must have subsisted between the two holy families; moreover, the design of the narrative to invest Jesus with a singular glory, according to which even the yet unborn John signifies his rejoicing homage before the Messiah when but just conceived in His mother’s womb; the circumstance, not to be explained away (see the untenable suggestion of Lange, p. 92), that it is only after the leaping of the babe that Elizabeth receives the Holy Spirit, and by means of this Spirit recognises from that leaping the mother of the Messiah as such; the hymnic scene annexed thereto, the poetic splendour and truth of which lifts it out of the historical sphere, in which subsequently the house of Mary was not the abode of the faith that is here proclaimed from the mouth of the Virgin with so lofty a triumph (Mark 3:31 ; John 7:3 ), all this is not adapted to support or to uphold its historical character, even apart from the fact that tradition has not even conveyed to Luke the name of the mountain-town. The apocryphal poor and pale copy of the Annunciation and the Visitation may be seen in the Protevang. Jacobi , c. xi., xii.; according to which, moreover, quite differently from the course followed by the modern Harmonists, it is not till after the visitation, only in the sixth month of pregnancy, when Mary is recognised as in this condition and called to account by Joseph, that she asserts her innocence, and then the dream-revelation of the angel is imparted to Joseph (ch. xiii. f.).

Verse 57

Luke 1:57 f. Τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτ .] genitive governed by ὁ χρόνος : the time, which had to elapse until her delivery. Comp. Luke 2:7 ; Luke 2:22 ; Genesis 25:24 .

ἵτι ἐμεγάλυνε κ . τ . λ .] that He has magnified (Matthew 23:5 ; 2 Corinthians 10:15 ; 1 Samuel 12:24 ), namely, by this birth still bestowed, contrary to all expectation, in which they saw a proof of especially great divine compassion. The expression is quite as in Genesis 19:19 .

συνέχαιρον ] they rejoiced together with her. Others, like Valckenaer (following the Vulgate): they congratulated her (see on Philippians 2:17 ). The former is more appropriate on account of Luke 1:14 ; and comp. Luke 15:6 ; Luke 15:9 .

Verse 59

Luke 1:59 f. “With the circumcision was associated the giving of the name , Genesis 21:3 . See Ewald, Alterth. p. 110. Among the Greeks and Romans it took place on the dies lustricus . See Dougtaeus, Anal. II. p. 44 f.; Hermann, Privatalterth . § 32. 17.

ἦλθον ] The subject is evident of itself, namely, the persons pertaining to the circumcision: “amici ad eam rem vocati,” Grotius. Any Israelite might be the circumciser (in case of necessity even a woman, Exodus 4:25 ). See Lund, Heiligth. , ed. Wolf, p. 949; Keil, Archäol. I. p. 307 f.

ἐκάλουν ] They actually uttered this name (this took place immediately after the circumcision was performed; see Lund, l.c. , Buxtorf, Synagog. 4): but the mother (for the father was still dumb) took exception to it, Luke 1:60 . “Vere enim incipit actus, sed ob impedimenta caret eventu,” Schaefer, ad Phoen. 81; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 178 [E. T. 205].

The naming of the child after the father ( Tob 1:9 ; Joseph. Antt. xiv. 1. 3) or after a relative (Luke 1:61 ; Lightfoot, p. 726) was very common, as it was also among the Greeks (Hermann, l.c. 18). On ἐπί , comp. Nehemiah 7:63 ; Plut. Demetr. 2. The idea is: in reference to .

οὐχί , ἀλλὰ κληθ . Ἰωάνν .] The usual supposition (Paulus, Kuinoel, Ebrard, Bleek, following Calvin and others), that Zacharias after his return from the temple made known to Elizabeth by writing the words of the angel, Luke 1:13 , is the more arbitrary, the less it is in keeping with the miraculous impress of the whole history. Theophylact is right in saying: ἡ δὲ Ἐλισάβετ ὡς προφῆτις ἐλάλησε περὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος ; and Euthymius Zigabenus: ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ αὐτὴ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ παιδὸς μεμάθηκε (comp. Origen and Ambrose), and this, indeed, at the moment of that ἐκάλουν , Luke 1:59 , else it would not be easy to perceive why she should not at the very beginning have carried out the giving of the divinely-appointed name.

Verse 62

Luke 1:62 f. Ἐνένευον ] They conveyed by signs to him the question ( τό , see Krüger, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 4. 17; Kühner, II. p. 138), how ( τί = τί ὄνομα , comp. Aesch. Ag. 1205) he perchance ( ἄν , see Winer, p. 275 [E. T. 386]) would wish that the child ( αὐτό , see the critical remarks) should be named. The making signs does not presuppose deafness and dumbness (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Jansen, Maldonatus, Lightfoot, Grotius, Wolf, and others, including Ewald), against which may be urged Luke 1:20 ; nor is it to be explained by the fact, that we are inclined to communicate by means of signs with dumb people as with deaf people (Bengel, Michaelis, Paulus, Olshausen, de Wette), which can only be arbitrarily applied to Zacharias, since he had only been dumb for a short time and people had previously been accustomed to speak with him. Probably it was only from the wish to spare the mother that the decision of the father, who had all along been listening to the discussion, was called for not aloud, but by signs.

αἰτήσας ] ὁμοίως διὰ νεύματος , Euthymius Zigabenus.

πινακίδιον ] probably a little tablet covered with wax. Tertullian, de idolol. 23 : “Zacharias loquitur in stylo, auditur in cera.”

ἔγραψε λέγων ] scripsit haec verba . Comp. 2 Kings 10:6 ; 1Ma 8:31 ; 1Ma 11:57 . A Hebraism ( לֵאמֹר ). On the same usage in the Syriac, see Gesenius in Rosenmüller’s Rep. I. p. 135. An example from Josephus is found in Kypke, I. p. 211; Krebs, p. 98. The return of speech does not occur till Luke 1:64 . Comp. Luke 1:20 ; Luke 1:13 .

Ἰωάννης ἐστὶ τ . ὄν . αὐτοῦ ] Shortly and categorically, in the consciousness of what had been already divinely determined: יוחנן שמו . “Non tam jubet, quam jussum divinum indicat,” Bengel.

ἐθαύμ .] because Zacharias agreed with Elizabeth in a name foreign to the family.

Verse 64

Luke 1:64 . Ἀνεῴχθη … γλῶσσα αὐτοῦ ] a zeugma ; in the case of the tongue ἐλύθη may be mentally supplied; comp., on the other hand, Mark 7:35 . This recovery of speech is to be regarded not as the effect of lively emotion (Gell. v. 9; Val. Max. i. 8. 3), or of the deliverance of his soul from the reproach that had oppressed it (Lange), or of his own will (Paulus), but of divine causation (Luke 1:20 ).

Verse 65

Luke 1:65 f. An historical digression, narrating the impression which these marvellous events at the circumcision produced in wider circles.

φόβος ] not amazement , but fear , the first impression of the extraordinary (comp. Mark 4:41 ; Acts 2:43 ).

αὐτούς ] applies to Zacharias and Elizabeth. On περιοικεῖν τινα , comp. Herod. v. 78; Xen. Anab. v. 6. 16; Plut. Crass. 34.

διελαλεῖτο ] were mutually talked of , Polyb. i. 85. 2, ix. 32. 1.

τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα ] these utterances , which had occurred with such marvellous significance at the circumcision of the child from Luke 1:59 to Luke 1:64 ; Luke 2:19 .

ἔθεντο … ἐν τῇ καρδ . αὐτῶν ] Comp. שִׂים עַל לֶב (1 Samuel 21:12 ), and the Homeric τίθημι ἐν στήθεσσι , ἐν φρεσί , and see Valckenaer in loc. They made those utterances the subject of their further reflection. Comp. Luke 2:19 .

τί ἄρα ] quid igitur, under these circumstances, according to these auspices, what then now will, etc.; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 176; Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, Exodus 3:0 , p. 10 f. Comp. Luke 8:25 , Luke 12:42 . On the neuter τί , which is more in keeping with the uncertainty and the emotion of the inquirers than τίς , comp. Acts 12:18 ; Schaefer, Melet. p. 98; Bornemann, Schol. p. 15.

καὶ γὰρ χεὶρ κυρίου ἦν μετʼ αὐτοῦ ] An observation of Luke, in which he would indicate that the people rightly asked this question, expecting something unusual of the child: for also ( καὶ γὰρ , see the critical remarks) the hand of the Lord was with him. The emphasis rests on χεὶρ κυρίου , which, with καί , makes known to us the mighty help of God (so χεὶρ κυρίου very frequently in the O. T.; comp. also Hermann, ad Vig. p. 732) as in keeping with the ominous phenomena. Others, like Storr, Kuinoel, Paulus, Ewald, place these words too in the mouth of those asking the question (so also Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 219, who, following the Recepta. places a colon after καί : and others said). But this reflective specifying of a reason would have been superfluous in the mouth of those people, and little in keeping with the emotion of their question. And instead of ἦν they would have said ἐστί , inferring, namely, the help of God from the events at the circumcision; while the καί would be but tame and cumbrous.

Verse 67

Luke 1:67 . After the historical episode of Luke 1:65 there now follows, in reference to εὐλογῶν τ . Θεόν , Luke 1:64 , the hymn itself (the so-called Benedictus ) into which Zacharias broke forth, and that on the spot (Kuinoel erroneously suggests that it was only composed subsequently by Zacharias). At the same time the remark ἐπλήσθη πνεύμ . ἁγ . is repeated, and the hymn is in respect of its nature more precisely designated as prophecy . It is, like that of Mary, Luke 1:46 ff. constructed in strophes , containing five strophes, each of three verses. See Ewald.

προεφήτευσε ] denotes not merely prediction, but the utterance of revelation generally stimulated and sustained by the Spirit, which includes in it prediction proper. See on 1 Corinthians 12:10 .

Verse 68

Luke 1:68 f. Zacharias’ hymn of praise concerns the great rause , which his new-born son is to serve the Messianic deliverance and blessing of the people, which he now at once looks upon as already accomplished , for in his new-born son there has, in fact, already appeared the preparer of the way for the Messiah (Luke 1:16 f.). Comp. on Luke 1:51 . The entire hymn bears the priestly character, which even the apostrophe to the infant, Luke 1:76 , does not efface.

εὐλογητὸς κ . τ . λ .] sc. εἴη Comp. Psalms 40:14 ; Psalms 72:18 ; Psalms 106:48 .

λύτρωσιν (comp. Luke 2:38 ) applies primarily to the Messianic deliverance under its political aspect Comp. Luke 1:71 ; Luke 1:51 ff.; Plut. Arat. 11 : λύτρ . αἰχμαλώτων . With this, however, Zacharias knew (comp. also Luke 1:16 f.) that the religious and moral regeneration of the people was inseparably combined, so as to form the one Messianic work, Luke 1:75 ; Luke 1:77 ; Luke 1:79 . [32] The ἐπεσκέψ . is absolute, as in Sir 32:17 : he has looked to , he has made an inspection. Comp. Acts 15:14 .

ἤγειρε ] still dependent upon ὅτι .

κέρας σωτηρίας ] a horn of deliverance (genitive of apposition), i.e. a strong, mighty deliverance , according to the figurative use of the Hebrew קֶרֶן , 1 Samuel 2:10 ; Psalms 18:3 ; Psalms 89:18 ; Psalms 132:16 f., Psalms 148:14 ; Sir 47:5 ; Sir 47:7 ; Sir 47:11 , al. ; Gesenius, Thes. III. p. 1238; Grimm on 1Ma 2:48 . See Rabbinical passages in Schöttgen, Hor. p. 258 f. ΚΈΡΑς · ἸΣΧῪς ΠΑΡᾺ Τῇ ΘΕΊᾼ ΓΡΑΦῇ , ἘΚ ΜΕΤΑΦΟΡᾶς ΤῶΝ ΖΏΩΝ ΤῶΝ ΚΑΘΩΠΛΙΣΜΈΝΩΝ ΤΟῖς ΚΈΡΑΣΙ ΚΑῚ ΤΟΎΤΟΙς ἈΜΥΝΟΜΈΝΩΝ , Suidas. Comp. the Latin cornua addere, cornua sumere , and the like. It is true that Jensius ( Ferc. lit. p. 34), Fischer ( de vit. Lex. p. 214), and Paulus find the reference in the horns of the altar of burnt-offering which served as an asylum ( 1Ki 1:50 ; 1 Kings 2:28 ff.; Bähr, Symbol. I p. 473 f.; Knobel on Exodus 27:2 ). But apart from the inappropriate relation to the frequent use of the O. T. figure elsewhere, how inadequate for the due and distinct expression of the Messianic idea would be the conception of the mere protection, which was afforded by the laying hold of the horns of the altar!

ἤγειρε ] excitavit, i.e. according to the context, he has made to grow up ( ἐξανατελῶ , Psalms 132:17 ).

τοῦ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ ] Acts 4:25 .

[32] Hofmann appropriately remarks, Weissag. u. Erfüll. II. p. 253 (in opposition to Olshausen), that the purity of the Messianic views of Zacharias consists in the unadulterated reproduction of Old Testament knowledge.

Verse 70

Luke 1:70 . No parenthesis.

τῶν ἁγίων ] not used substantivally (Bornemann), but see Bernhardy, p. 322; Krüger, § 50. 9. 7.

ἀπʼ αἰῶνος ] not absolutely , as though there had been prophets even ab orbe condito (“imo per os Adami,” Calovius), but relatively ; when the oldest prophets emerged (and Moses already was such an one), was the commencement of prophecy since the beginning of the world . Comp. Genesis 6:4 ; Acts 3:21 ; Longin. 34: τοὺς ἀπʼ αἰῶνος ῥήτορας .

Verse 71

Luke 1:71 f. Σωτηρίαν ] might be attached to ἐλάλησε , Luke 1:70 (Beza, Grotius, Ewald, and others), but it is simpler to retain καθὼς κ . τ . λ . as a parenthetical clause, like Luke 1:55 , so that κέρας σωτηρ ., Luke 1:69 , is resumed by σωτηρίαν (yet only as to the fact, without the figure) for the sake of adding the more precise definition. Such a resumption may occur with δέ (Romans 3:22 ) and without it (Romans 3:26 ). See generally, Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1. 1. Without δέ the expression is more rhetorical.

The enemies and haters are the heathen , as in Luke 1:51 ff., not the demons, sin, and the like.

ποιῆσαι ] Infinitive of the aim , as at Luke 1:54 . In this our deliverance God designed to show mercy to ( μετά , עִם , Luke 1:58 ; Luke 10:37 ) our fathers (comp. Luke 1:55 , deeply afflicted by the decline of their people), and to remember (practically, by the fulfilment of what was therein promised) His holy covenant. Euthymius Zigabenus: διαθήκην γὰρ λέγει τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν · μνήμην δὲ αὐτῆς τὴν περάτωσιν .

Verses 73-75

Luke 1:73-75 . Ὅρκον ] neither accusative of more precise definition (Calvin, Beza, L. Bos, Rosenmüller), nor governed by μνησθῆναι (Euthymius Zigabenus, Olshausen, Bleek [33] ), but climactic apposition to διαθήκης ἁγ . αὐτοῦ , in which the accusative is attracted by ὍΝ , Matthew 21:42 ; 1 Corinthians 10:16 ; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 247 [E. T. 288]; Bornemann, Schol. p. 16 f.

πρός ] denotes the swearing to . Comp. Horn. Od. xiv. 331, xix. 288. The expression with the dative is more usual. See the oath itself in Genesis 22:16-18 .

τοῦ δοῦναι κ . τ . λ .] in order to grant to us , the purpose, on account of which God swore the oath.

ἐκ χειρὸς κ . τ . λ .] more precisely defines the previous ἈΦΌΒΩς , and that as regards its objective relation. On the accusative ῥυσθέντας (not dative), see Bornemann, l.c. ; Pflugk, ad Eur. Med. 815; Krüger, Gramm. Unters. III. § 148.

Luke 1:75 . Religious-moral restoration of the people of God. As to the distinction between ὁσιότης and ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ (Plat. Prot. p. 329 C), see on Ephesians 4:24 . Holiness is the divine consecration and inner truth of righteousness , so that the latter without the former would be only external or seeming; both together constitute the justitia spiritualis .

[33] Μιμνήσκεσθαι is not seldom joined with an accusative by the classical writers (Hom. Il. vi. 222; Herod. vii. 18; Soph. O. R. 1057), but never in the N. T., although it is so in the LXX. and Apocrypha.

Verse 76

Luke 1:76 f. Ἔπειτα μεταβαίνει τῇ προφητείᾳ καὶ πρὸς ἑαυτοῦ παῖδα Ἰωάννην , Euthymius Zigabenus.

καὶ σὺ δέ ] but thou also (see the critical remarks). See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 181 f.; Ellendt, Lex Soph I. p. 884. The καί places the παιδίον for even of him he has only what is great to say on a parallel with the subject, to which hitherto in his song of praise to God his prophetic glance was directed (with the Messiah), and δέ is the continuative autem .

προπορ . γὰρ πρὸ προσώπου κυρ .] as at Luke 1:17 , hence κύριος is God .

ἑτοιμάσαι ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ see on Matthew 3:3 .

τοῦ δοῦναι κ . τ . λ .] Aim of ἑτοιμάσαι κ . τ . λ ., and so final aim of προπορεύσῃ … κυρίου .

ἐν ἀφέσει ἁμαρτ . αὐτ .] In forgiveness of their sins , which is to be imparted to them through the Messiah (see Luke 1:78 f.) for the sake of God’s mercy (which is thereby satisfied; διὰ σπλ . ἐλ . Θεοῦ ), they are to discern deliverance; they are to discern that salvation comes through the Messianic forgiveness of sins (comp. on Mark 1:4 ), and to this knowledge of salvation John is to guide his people. Accordingly, ἐν ἀφ . ἁμ . αὐτ . does not belong to σωτηρίας alone ( τῆς γινομένης ἐν τῷ ἀφεθῆναι κ . τ . λ ., Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Bengel, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Bleek, and others), but to γνῶσιν σωτηρίας (Theophylact) = γνῶναι σωτηρίαν ἐν ἀφ . τ . ἁμ . αὐτ . So also Luther, Ewald, and others. Calvin aptly remarks: “Praecipuum evangelii caput nunc attingit Zacharias, dum scientiam salutis in remissions peccatorum positam esse docet.”

Verse 78

Luke 1:78 f. Διὰ σπλάγχνα ἐλέους κ . τ . λ .] is not to be separated from what precedes by punctuation, but to be immediately connected with ἐν ἀφ . ἁμ . αὐτ .: ἐν ἀφέσει δὲ ἁμαρτιῶν … τῇ διδομένῃ διὰ τὴν συμπάθειαν τοῦ ἐλέους αὐτοῦ , Euthymius Zigabenus. Comp. Theophylact. The reference to all that is said from προπορεύσῃ onwards, Luke 1:76 (Grotius, Kuinoel, de Wette, and others), is the more arbitrary, in proportion to the natural and essential connection that subsists between the forgiveness of sins and God’s compassion.

διά ] not through , but for the sake of , see on Luke 1:77 ; σπλάγχνα is not merely, according to the Hebrew רחמים (see Gesenius), but also in the Greek poetical language, the seat of the affections, as, for instance, of anger (Arist. Ran. 1004) and of sympathy (Aesch. Ch. 407). So here. Comp. Colossians 3:12 ; Philippians 2:1 . ἐλέους is genitivus qualitatis, and Θεοῦ ἡμῶν depends on σπλάγχνα ἐλέους : for the sake of the compassionate heart of our God.

ἐν οἷς ] instrumental: by virtue, of which.

ἐπεσκέψατο ἡμᾶς ἀνατολὴ ἐξ ὕψ .] to be taken together: has visited us, etc., has become present to ns with His saving help (comp. Xen. Cyr. v. 4. 10; Sir 46:14 ; Jdt 8:33 ; Luke 7:16 ), It is appropriate to ἀνατ . ἐξ ὕψ ., as the latter is personified. The figurative designation of the Messiah: Dayspring from on high, is borrowed from the rising of the sun (Revelation 7:2 ; Matthew 5:45 ; Hom. Od. xii. 4; Herod. iv. 8), or as is more in keeping with the ἐξ ὕψιστου , from the rising of a bright-beaming star of the night (Numbers 24:17 ; Valck. ad Eur. Phoen. 506), not (in opposition to Beza, Scultetus, Lightfoot, Wetstein) from an ascending shoot ( צֶמַח , Isaiah 4:2 ; Jeremiah 23:5 ; Jeremiah 33:15 ; Zechariah 3:8 ; Zechariah 6:12 ), against which may be urged ἐξ ὕψ . and ἐπιφᾶναι . [34] Comp. Isaiah 9:2 .

ἘΠΙΦᾶΝΑΙ ] Infinitive of the aim. On the form see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 25 f.

τοῖς ἐν σκότει κ . σκ . θαν . καθημ .] those who sit in darkness and (climactic) the shadow of death a picturesque delineation of the people totally destitute of divine truth and the true ζωή ( ἡμῶν , Luke 1:79 ).

The shadow of death ( צַלְמֶוֶת ) is such a shadow as surrounds death (personified), and they are sitting in this shadow, because death is ruling among them, namely, in the spiritual sense, the opposite of the true life whose sphere is the light of divine truth. Moreover, comp. Isaiah 9:2 , and on Matthew 4:16 ; on καθημ . also, Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, Exodus 3:0 , p. 65.

τοῦ κατευθῦναι κ . τ . λ .] The aim of ἐπιφᾶναι κ . τ . λ ., and so the final aim of ἐπεσκέψατο κ . τ . λ . Comp. on τοῦ δοῦναι , Luke 1:77 . “Continuatur translatio, nam lux dirigit nos,” Grotius. Observe also the correlation of ΤΟῦ ΠΌΔΑς with the preceding ΚΑΘΗΜΈΝΟΙς .

ΕἸς ὉΔῸΝ ΕἸΡΉΝ . ] in viam ad salutem (Messianam) ducentem . ΕἸΡΉΝΗ = שָׁלוֹם , opposite of all the misery denoted by ΣΚΌΤΟς Κ . Τ . Λ . (hence not merely peace ). It has another sense in Romans 3:17 . But comp. Acts 16:17 .

[34] Bleek wishes to combine the two senses, and infers from this that the source whence Luke drew was Greek and not Hebrew, because צמח would not have admitted a reference to the rising of the sun. But the whole mixing up of two incongruous figures is excluded by ver. 79; hence the inference drawn by Bleek (see also his Einleit. p. 277 f.), and approved by Holtzmann, falls to the ground. The source may have been Greek; but if it was Hebrew, צמח need not have stood in it.

Verse 80

Luke 1:80 . A summary account (comp. Judges 13:24 ) of the further development of John. More particular accounts were perhaps altogether wanting, but were not essential to the matter here.

ηὔξανε ] the bodily growing up, and, connected therewith: ἐκρατ . πνεύμ ., the mental gaining of strength that took place εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπ . (Ephesians 3:16 ). Comp. the description of the development of Jesus, Luke 2:40 ; Luke 2:52 . ψυχῇ is not mentioned, for the πνεῦμα is the ἡγεμονικόν , in whose vigour and strength the ψυχή shares. Comp. Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 217.

ἦν ἐν τοῖς ἐρήμοις ] in the well-known desert regions. It is the desert of Judah ἐξοχήν that is meant (see on Matthew 3:1 ). In that desert dwelt also the Essenes (Plin. N. H. v. 17). How far their principles and askesis , which at least could not have remained unknown to John, may have indirectly exercised an influence on his peculiar character, cannot be determined; a true Essene this greatest and last phenomenon of Israelitish prophecy certainly was not; he belonged, like some God-sent prophet higher than all partisan attitudes in the people, to the whole nation.

ἀναδείξεως αὐτοῦ πρὸς τ . Ἰσρ .] His being publicly made known to Israel , when he was announced to the Israelites as the forerunner of the Messiah. This was done on the command of God by John himself. See Luke 3:2-6 . ἀνάδειξις is the making known ( renuntiatio ) of official nomination; Polyb. xv. 26. 4; Plut. Mark 8:0 ; see Wetstein. Comp. Luke 10:1 .

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.
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