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Luke 1

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Verses 1-99

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO S. LUKE

————

THE TITLE OF THE GOSPEL

The title cannot be any part of the original autograph. It is found in different forms in ancient authorities, the earliest being the simplest: κατὰ Λουκᾶν (א B F), εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν (A C D Ξ), τὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν εὐαγγέλιον or τὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον (cursives).

The κατά neither affirms nor denies authorship: it implies conformity to a type. But, inasmuch as all four Gospels have the κατά, these uniform titles must be interpreted according to the belief of those who gave the titles, viz. the Christians of the first four centuries; and it was their belief that each Evangelist composed the Gospel which bears his name. Had the κατά meant no more than “drawn up according to the teaching of,” then this Gospel would have been called κατὰ Παῦλον and the second Gospel would have been called κατὰ Πέτρον; for it was the general tradition that Mark wrote according to the teaching of Peter, and Luke (in a different sense) according to the teaching of Paul. The κατά, however is not a mere substitute for the genitive of authorship, but indicates that the same subject has been treated by others. Thus, ἡ παλαιὰ διαθήκη κατὰ τοὺς ὲβδομήκοντα points to the existence of other translations, just as Ὅμηρος κατὰ Ἀρίσταρκον or κατὰ Ἀριστοφάνην points to the existence of other editions. That the κατά does not exclude authorship is shown by such expressions as ἡ κατὰ Μωϋσέα πεντάτευχος (Epiphanius) and ἡ καθʼ Ἠρόδοτον ἱστορια (Diodorus): comp. ἐν τοῖς ὑπομνηματισμοῖς τοῖς κατὰ τὸν Νεεμίαν (2 Malachi 2:13). Strictly speaking, there is only one Gospel, εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ, the Gospel of God concerning His Son (Romans 1:1); but it has been given to us in four shapes, εὐαγγέλιον τετράμορφον (Iren. Hær. iii. 11. 8), and the κατά indicates the shape in which the writer named composed it.


1:1-4. THE PROLOGUE OR PREFACE

The classical style of this opening, and its similarity to the. prefaces of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Polybius, hardly amount to proof that Lk. was well read in classical literature, and consciously imitated Greek historians; but there is nothing improbable in this supposition. Among the words which are classical rather than biblical should be noticed ἐπειδήπερ, ἐπιχειρεῖν,�Acts 15:24, Acts 15:25: Ἐπειδὴ ἠκούσαμεν … ἔδοξεν ἡμῖν.


This prologue contains all that we really know respecting the composition of early narratives of the life of Christ, and it is the test by which theories as to the origin of our Gospels must be judged. No hypothesis is likely to be right which does not harmonize with what is told us here. Moreover, it shows that an inspired writer felt that he was bound to use research and care in order to secure accuracy.

1. Ἐπειδήπερ. A stately compound, suitable for a solemn opening: freq. in class. Grk., but not found in LXX, or elsewhere in N.T. Quoniam quidem, “For as much as,” Weil denn einmal.

πολλοί. The context seems to imply that these, like Lk., were not eye-witnesses. That at once would exclude Mt., whose Gospel Lk. does not appear to have known. It is doubtful whether Mk. is included in the πλλοί. The writers of extant apocryphal gospels cannot be meant, for these are all of later origin. Probably all the documents here alluded to were driven out of existence by the manifest superiority of the four Canonical Gospels. The ἐπεχείρησαν cannot imply censure, as some of the Fathers thought, for Lk. brackets himself with these writers (ἔδοξε κἀμοί); what they attempted he may attempt. The word occurs 2 Mac. 2:29, Malachi 2:7:19; Acts 9:29, Acts 9:19:13; and is freq. in class. Grk. in the sense of “put the hand to, take in hand, attempt.” The notion of unlawful or unsuccessful attempting is sometimes implied by the context: it is not contained in the word. Luther renders unter wunden haben, “have ventured.” Lk. must have regarded these attempts as insufficient, or he would not have added another. Meyer quotes Ulpian, p. 159 (in Valckenaer), ἐπειδήπερ περὶ τούτον πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν�

ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν. “To draw up again in order a narrative”; i.e. to arrange afresh so as to show the sequence of events. The verb is a rare one, and occurs elsewhere only Plut. Moral p. 969 C, De sollert. animal. xii. (Reiske, x. p. 36), in the sense of “practise, go over again in order,” Iren. iii. 21 2, and as v.l. Ecclesiastes 2:20. The subst. implies something more than mere notes or anecdotes; “a leading through to the end” (durchführen),“a narrative” (Ecclus. 6:35, 9:15 ; 2 Mac. 2:32, Malachi 2:6:17 ; Plat. Rep. 392 D; Arist. Rhet. iii. 16, 1).


Versions vary greatly: ordinare narrationem (Latt.), componere narrationem (Beza), stellen die Rede (Luth.), “ordeyne the telling” (Wic.), “compyle a treates” (Tyn.), “set forth the words” (Cov.), “set forth the declaration” (Cran.), “write the historie” (Gen.), “compile a narration” (Rhem.), “set forth in order a declaration” (AV.), “draw up a narrative” (RV.), composer une narration suivie (Godet), coordonner en corps de récit (Lasserre), “restore from memory a narrative” (Blass).

τῶν πεπληροφορημένων. “Of the things which have been carried through to the end, of the matters which have been accomplished, fully established.” Here again English Versions differ much; but “surely known” (Tyn.), “surely to be believed” (Cran.), “surely believed” (AV.), cannot be justified. The verb when used of persons may mean “persuade fully, convince,” and in pass. “be fully persuaded” (Romans 4:21, Romans 14:5) ; but of things it means “fulfil” (2 Timothy 4:5, 2 Timothy 4:17). Here we may render “accomplished.” Others less well render “fully proved.” See Lightfoot on Colossians 4:12. The ἐν ἡμῖν probably means “among us Christians.” Christendom is the sphere in which these facts have had their full accomplishment. The ἡμῖν in ver. 2 shows that contemporaries are not meant. If these things were handed down to Lk., then he was not contemporary with them. The verse is evidence that the accomplished facts were already fully established and widely known, for they had already been narrated by many. See Westcott, Intr. to Gosp. p. 190, 7th ed.


2. καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν. “Even as they delivered them to us.” The difference between ὡς, “as,” and καθώς, “just as,” should be marked in translation : the correspondence was exact. Lk. implies that he himself was among those who received the tradition. Like the πολλοί, he can only arrange afresh what has been handed down, working at second hand, not as an eye-witness. He gives no hint as to whether the facts were handed down orally or in writing. The difference between the πολλοί and these αὐτόπται is not that the πολλοί wrote their narratives while the αὐτόπται did not, but that the αὐτόπται were primary authorities, which the πολλοί were not.

ὑηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου. They not only had personal knowledge of the facts (αὐτόπται) they also had practical experience of the effects. They had preached and taught, and had thus learned what elements in the Gospel were of most efficacy for the winning and saving of souls. That τοῦ λόγου belongs to ὑπηρέται only, not to αὐτόπται and means “the doctrine,” i.e. the Gospel (Acts 6:4, Acts 8:4, Acts 14:25, Acts 16:6, Acts 17:11), is manifest from the context. Origen and Athanasius are wrong in making τοῦ λόγου mean the personal Word, the Son of God, a use which is peculiar to Jn. The�John 15:27, John 16:4). For ὑπηρέτης see on 4:20 and comp. Acts 13:5.

3. ἔδοξε κἀμοί. This is the main sentence, the apodosis of ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν. It neither implies nor excludes inspiration: the ἔδοξε may or may not have been inspired. The wish to include inspiration caused the addition in some Latin MSS. of et spiritui sancto (Acts 15:28), which makes what follows to be incongruous. With ἔδοξε comp. the Muratorian Fragment: Lucas iste medicus … nomine suo ex opinione conscripsit—Dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne—et idem, prout assequi potuit, ita et a nativitate Joannis incepit dicere. The κἀμοί shows that Lk. does not blame the πολλοί: he desires to imitate and supplement them. It is their attempts that encourage him to write. What they have done he may do, and perhaps he may be able to improve upon their work. This is his first reason for writing a narrative. See Blass, NT. Gram. p. 274.


παρηκολουθηκότι. This is his second reason for writing, making the argument á fortiori. He has had special advantages and qualifications; and therefore what was allowed to others may be still more allowed to him. These qualifications are fourfold, and are told off with precision. In the literal sense of “following a person closely so as to be always beside him,” παρακολουθεῖν does not occur in N.T. Here it does not mean that Lk. was contemporaneous with the events, but that he had brought himself abreast of them by careful investigation. Comp. the famous passage in Dem. De Cor. cap. liii. p. 285 (344), παρηκολουθηκότα τοῖς πράγμασιν ἐξ�

ἄνωθεν. This is the first of the four qualifications: he has gone back to the very beginning, viz. the promise of the birth of the Forerunner. “From the first” is the meaning of ἄνωθεν here, not “thoroughly,” radicitus, as in Acts 26:5, which would make ἄνωθεν almost the same as πᾶσιν. Vulg. has a principio, and d has desusum (comp. the French dessus). It is the πᾶσιν which implies thoroughness; and this is the second point. He has begun at the beginning, and he has investigated everything. The Syriac makes πᾶσιν masc., but there is little doubt that it is neut., and refers to πραγμάτων in ver. 1.


ἀκριβῶς. This is the third point. He has done all this “accurately.” There is no idle boast in any one of the three points. No other Gospel gives us this early history about the Baptist and the Christ. No other is throughout so full, for of 170 sections contained in the synoptic narrative 48 are peculiar to Lk. And, in spite of the severest scrutiny, his accuracy can very rarely be impugned. We cannot be sure whether he means to imply that�

καθεξῆς. This is the fourth point, resulting from the other three. He does not propose to give a mere collection of anecdotes and detached sayings, but an orderly narrative systematically arranged. Chronological order is not necessarily implied in καθεξῆς, but merely arrangement of some kind. Nevertheless, he probably has chronological order chiefly in view. In N.T. the word is peculiar to Lk. (8:1; Acts 3:24, Acts 11:4, Acts 18:23), as is also the more classical ἑξῆς (7:11, 9:37, etc.); but ἐφεξῆς does not occur.

κράτιστε Θεόφιλε. The epithet κράτιστος, often given to persons of rank (Acts 23:26, Acts 24:3, Acts 26:25), is strongly in favour of the view that Theophilus was a real person. The name Theophilus was common both among Jews (= Jedidiah) and among Gentiles. But it was a name likely to be used to represent any pious reader. See Lft. on “Acts,” D. B.2 pp. 25, 26. The word κράτιστος occurs in N.T. only here and in the Acts, where it is evidently a purely official epithet, for the persons to whom it is applied are of bad character. See Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 19 for the name.

4. ἴνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν�Romans 1:28, Romans 1:32 ; 1 Corinthians 13:12 ; Lft. on Colossians 1:9; Trench, Syn. lxxv. In N.T. κατηχεῖν, “to sound down into the ears, teach orally,” is found only in Lk. and Paul. The position of τὴν�

The idiomatic attraction, περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων, is best resolved into περὶ τῶν λόγων οὓς κατηχήθης, not περὶ τῶν λόγων περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης. Only of persons does περί τινος stand after κατηχεῖν (Acts 21:21, Acts 21:24): of things we have the acc. (Acts 18:25 ; Galatians 6:6). These attractions are very freq. in Lk. See Blass, Gr. p. 170.


On the superficial resemblance between this preface and Jos. Con. Apion. i. 9, 10, see Godet, i. pp. 92, 93, 3ème ed. 1888. The resemblance hardly amounts to remarkable coincidence, and such similarities are common in literature. It is more interesting to compare this preface with that of the medical writer Dioscorides. The opening words of Dioscorides’ treatise, περὶ ὄλης ἰατρικῆς, run thus: Πολλῶν οὐ μόνον�

5. Ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις. The elegant idiomatic Greek of the preface comes abruptly to an end. Although the marks of Lk.’s style are as abundant here as in any part of the Gospel, yet the form of the narrative is strongly Hebraistic; so much so that one may be confident that he is translating from an Aramaic document These first two chapters seem to consist of a series of such documents, each with a distinct conclusion (1:80, 2:40, 2:52). If they are historical, the Virgin Mary must have been the source of much that is contained in these first two chapters; and she may have been the writer of documents used by Lk. In any case, we have here the earliest documentary evidence respecting the origins of Christianity which has come down to us,—evidence which may justly be called contemporary. Both ἐγένετο and ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις are Hebraistic (see on ver. 39); but there is no need to understand ἦν or any other verb after ἐγένετο, “It came to pass that there was.” Rather, “There arose, came into notice,” or simply “There was.” See on 4:36, and comp. Mark 1:4; John 1:6.


Ἡρῴδου βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας. Herod “the Great,” a title not given to him by his contemporaries, who during his last years suffered greatly from his cruelty. It is in these last years that the narrative of Lk. begins. The Herods were Idumæans by birth,1 though Jews by religion, and were dependent upon the Romans for their sovereignty. As Tacitus says: Regnum ab Antonio Herodi datum victor Augustus auxit (Hist. v. 9. 3).

The name Ἡρῴδης is contracted from Ἡρωίδης, and should have iota subscript, which is well supported by early inscriptions. Later inscriptions and coins omit the iota. In the Codex Ambrosianus of Josephus the name is written with iota adscript, Ηρωιδης (Ant. xi-xx.). See the numerous instances from inscriptions cited by Schürer in the Theol. Litztg. 1892, No. 21, col. 516. The τοῦ inserted before βασιλέως in A and other texts is in accordance with classical usage. But in LXX the art. is commonly omitted in such cases, because in Hebrew, as in English, “Saul, king of Israel,” “George, king of England,” is the common idiom (Genesis 14:1, Genesis 14:2, Genesis 14:18, Genesis 14:20:2, Genesis 26:1, etc. etc.). See Simcox, Lang. of N. T. p. 47.

βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας. This was the title conferred on him by the Senate at the request of Antony, Messala, and Atratinus (Jos. Ant. xiv. 14. 4). Judæa here may mean “the land of the Jews, Palestine” (7:17, 23:5 ; Acts 2:9, Acts 2:10:37, Acts 2:11:1, Acts 2:29) Besides Judæa in the narrower sense, Herod’s dominions included Samaria, Galilee, a great deal of Peræa, and Cœle-Syria. For the abundant literature on the Herods see D. B.2 i. p. 1341; Herzog, Pro_2 vi. p. 47 ; Schürer, Jewish People in the T. of J. C. i. I, p. 400.


ἱερεύς τις ὀνόματι Ζαχαρίας. In the Protevangelium of James (viii.), Zacharias is called high priest; and this has been adopted by later writers, who have supposed that the incident narrated by Lk. took place on the Day of Atonement in the Holy of Holies. But the high priest would not have been called ἱερεύς τις, and it could not have been by lot (ἔλαχε) that he offered incense on the Day of Atonement. Priestly descent was much esteemed. The name means “Remembered by Jehovah.” For ὀνόματία see on 5:27.

ἐξ ἐφημερίας Ἀβιά. The word ἐφημερία has two meanings: 1. “service for a term of days” (Nehemiah 13:30; 1 Chronicles 25:8; 2 Chronicles 13:10); 2. “a course of priests who were on duty for a term of days,” viz. for a week (1 Chronicles 23:6, 1 Chronicles 23:28:13; 1Ch_1 Esdr. 1:2, 15). These courses were also called διαιρέσεις, and by Josephus πατριαί and ἐφημερίδες (Ant. vii. 14. 7; Vita, i.). Abijah was descended from Eleazar, and gave his name to the eighth of the twenty-four courses into which David divided the priests (1 Chronicles 24:10; 2 Chronicles 8:14). Of these twenty-four only the courses of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim returned from captivity (Ezra 2:36-39); but these four were divided again into twenty four with the old names. So that Zacharias did not belong to the original course of Abijah, for that did not return from exile. Each course was on duty twice during the year; but we know far too little about the details of the arrangement to derive any sure chronology from the statements made by Lk. See on 2:7.


Wieseler places the vision of Zacharias early in October A.U.C. 748 or b.c. 6 (Chron. Syn. ii. 2, Eng. tr. p. 123). With this result Edersheim agrees (L. & T. 1. p. 135), as also does Andrews (L. of our Lord, p. 52, ed. 1892). Lewin prefers May 16th, b.c. 7 (Fasti Sacri, 836). Caspari is for July 18th, b.c. 3, but remarks “how little reliance is to be placed upon conclusions of this kind” (Chron. Einl. § 42, Eng. tr. p. 57). For the courses of priests, see Herzog, Pro_2 art. Priestertum im A.T. ; Schürer, Jewish People in the T. of J. C. ii. 1, pp. 216-220.

γυνὴ αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν θυγατέρων Ἀαρών. “He had a wife,” not “his wife was” (AV.). Lk. follows LXX in omitting the art. with the gen. after θυγάτηρ: comp. 13:16 and the quotations Matthew 21:5 and John 12:15, and contrast Matthew 14:6. To be a priest and married to a priest’s daughter was a double distinction. It was a common summary of an excellent woman, “She deserves to marry a priest.” In the fullest sense John was of priestly birth. See Wetst.: Sacrosancta præcursoris nobilitas non solum a parentibus, sed etiam a progenitoribus gloriosa descendit (Bede). Aaron’s wife was Elisabeth = Elisheba = “God is my oath.”

6. δίκαιοι. Once a term of high praise, and meaning righteousness in the fullest sense (Ezekiel 18:5, Ezekiel 18:9, Ezekiel 18:11, Ezekiel 18:19, Ezekiel 18:20, Ezekiel 18:22, Ezekiel 18:24, Ezekiel 18:26); but it had come to mean little more than careful observance of legal duties. The addition of the Hebraistic ἐναντίον τοῦ Θεοῦ (Acts 8:21; Genesis 6:8, Genesis 6:11, Genesis 6:13, Genesis 6:7:1, Genesis 6:10:9) gives δίκαιοι its full meaning: Zacharias and Elisabeth were saints of the O.T. type. Symeon is called δίκαιος (2:25), and Joseph (Matthew 1:19). Comp. δίκαιον εἶναί μʼ ὁ νόμος ἡ φύσις θʼ ἅμα παρεῖχε τῷ Θεῷ (Eur. Ion. 643). The Gospel was to restore to δίκαιος its original spiritual meaning. See detached note on the word δίκαιος and its cognates, Romans 1:17. For�

πορευόμενοι ἐν πάσαις ταῖς ἐντολαῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν τ. κ. Another Hebraism (Deuteronomy 28:9; 1 Samuel 8:3, 1 Samuel 8:5; 1 Kings 3:14, etc.). The distinction often drawn, that ἐντολαί are moral, while δικαιώματα are ceremonial, is baseless; the difference is, that the latter is the vaguer term. Here, although they differ in gender, they have only one article and adjective, because they are so similar in meaning. Comp. Colossians 2:22 ; Revelation 5:12; and see Win. xix. 3 c, p. 157. The two words are found combined Genesis 26:5 and Deuteronomy 4:40. For δικαιώματα, “things declared right, ordinances,” comp. Romans 2:26 and Hebrews 9:1, and see note in Sp. Comm. on 1 Corinthians 5:6 as to the force of the termination -μα. The genitive here, as in Romans 2:26 and 8:4, expresses the authority from which the ordinance springs. The ἄμεμπτοι anticipates what follows, and, of course, does not mean that they were sinless. No one is sinless; but the conduct of some is free from reproach. Comp. Philippians 3:6. See the quotation Eus. H.E. v. I.9.

7. καὶ οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τέκνον. This calamity is grievous to all Orientals, and specially grievous to Jews, each of whom is ambitious of being among the progenitors of the Messiah. It was commonly believed to be a punishment for sin (Leviticus 20:20, Leviticus 20:21; Jeremiah 22:30). The story of Glaucus, who tempted the oracle at Delphi, and “at the present time has not a single descendant” (Hdt. vi.86, 16), indicates a similar belief among the Greeks. Zacharias and Elisabeth had the sorrow of being childless, as Anna of being husbandless, and all three had their consolation. Comp. the births of Samson and Samuel, both of whom were Nazirites, and of Isaac.

καθότι. Peculiar to Lk. “Because that” (19:9; Acts 2:24, Acts 17:31), or “according as” (Acts 2:45, Acts 4:35). In class. Grk. editors commonly write καθʼ ὅ τι. The clause καὶ�

προβεβηκότες ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτῶν. Hebraistic: in class. Grk we should rather have had τῇ ἡλικίᾳ. In LXX we have προβεβ. ἡμέραις, or ἡμερῶν, or τῶν ἡμερῶν (1 Kings 1:1; Genesis 24:1; Joshua 13:1). Levites were superannuated at about sixty, but a priest served as long as he was able.

8. Ἐγένετο … ἔλαχε. On the various constructions with ἐγένετο in Lk. see detached note at the end of this chapter; and on ἐν τῷ ἱερατεύειν αὐτόν, “while he was officiating as priest,” which is another very favourite construction with Lk., see on 3:21. The verb ἱερατεύειν is freq. in LXX, but occurs nowhere else in N.T. It is not found earlier than LXX, but is not rare in later Greek. See Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Grk. p. 119. The phrase κατὰ τὸ ἔθος is peculiar to Lk. in N. T. (2:42, 22:39), but occurs in Theod. Bel 15; and ἔθος occurs ten times in his writings, and only twice elsewhere (John 19:40 ; Hebrews 10:25). Comp. κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον (2:27) and κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός (4:16; Acts 27:2). It is for the sake of those who were unfamiliar with the usages of the temple that he says that it was “according to the custom of the priest service” that it was decided by lot which priest should offer incense. To take κατὰ τὸ ἔθος τῆς ἱερατίας with what precedes robs it of all point; it is tautology to say that he was officiating as priest according to the custom of the priest’s service. But the number of cases in which Lk. has a clause or word which is grammatically amphibolous is very large; vv. 25, 27, 2:22, where see note. The word ἱερατεία occurs in N.T. only here and Hebrews 7:5. “In relation to ἱερωσύνη (Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 7:24) it expresses the actual service of the priests, and not the office of priesthood” (Wsctt. on Hebrews 7:5).

ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι. The casting of lots took place twice a day, at the morning and the evening offering of incense. In the morning the drawing lots for offering the incense was the third and chief of a series of drawings, four in all; in the evening it was the only one. We do not know whether this was morning or evening. No priest might have this honour twice; and the number of priests was so great that many never offered the incense. The fortunate lot was a ψῆφος λευκή, to which there is a possible reference Revelation 2:17. The priest who obtained it chose two others to help him; but, when they had done their part, they retired, leaving him alone in the Holy Place. For the very elaborate details see Edersh. The Temple, its Ministry and Services, pp. 129-142.

The gen. τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι is probably governed by ἔλαχε, which in class. Grk. commonly has a gen. when it means “became possessed of,” and an acc. when it means “obtained by lot” (Acts 1:17 ; comp. 2 Peter 1:1). In 1 Samuel 14:47 we have Σαοὺλ ἔλαχε [al. l. κατακληροῦται] τοῦ βασιλεύειν ἐπὶ Ἰσραήλ. The εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸν ναόν must be taken with θυμιᾶσαι, not with ἔλαχε: “he obtained by lot to go in and burn incense,” not “after entering into the ναός he obtained by lot to burn incense.” The lots were cast before he entered the Holy Place, which was the front part of the ναός.

10. πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος ἦν τοῦ λαοῦ προσευχόμενον. Cod. Am. has the same order, omnis multitudo erat populi orans. The position of τοῦ λαοῦ is against taking ἦν with προσευχόμενον as the analytical tense instead of the imperf., a constr. of which Lk. is very fond (vv. 20, 21, 22, 2:33, 4:17, 31. 38, 44, etc.); ἦν may mean “was there,” or “there was,” and τοῦ λαοῦ be epexegetic of τὸ πλῆθος. But certainty is unattainable and unimportant. We need not infer from πᾶν τὸ πλῆθος that there was a great multitude. As compared with the solitary priest in the ναός, all the worshippers outside were a πλῆθος. The word is a favourite one with Lk., who uses it twenty-five times against seven in the rest of N.T. It is remarkable that prayer is not expressly mentioned in the Law as part of public worship, except in connexion with the offering of the first-fruits (Deuteronomy 26:15). But comp. 1 Kings 8:33-48, 2 Chronicles 6:14-42; Isaiah 56:7. The people were inside the ἱερόν, although outside (ἔξω) the ναός, and the other priests would be between them and the ναός. Syr-Sin. omits ἔξω.

11. ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἄγγελος Κυρίου. It was the most solemn moment of his life, when he stood alone in that sacred spot to offer the pure and ideal symbol of the imperfect prayer which he and those outside were offering. The unique circumstances contributed to make him conscious of that unseen world which is around all of us (2 Kings 6:17; comp. Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10). For ὤφθη see on 22:43 ; and for an analysis of the psychological facts see Lange, L. of Christ, bk. ii. pt. ii. § 2 ; Eng. tr. 1:264. But must we not choose between admitting an objective appearance and rejecting the whole as a myth? To explain it as a “false perception” or optical delusion, i.e. a purely subjective result of psychological causes, seems to be not admissible. In that case Zacharias, like Lord Herbert of Cherbury,1 would have accepted the sign which he supposed that he had received. To believe in the reality of a subjective appearance and not believe its testimony is a contradiction. Moreover, the psychological explanation leaves the dumbness to be explained. Again, we have similar appearances ver. 26, 2:9, 13, 22:43, 24:4. Can we accept here an explanation which is very difficult (2:9, 13) or inadmissible (24:4) elsewhere? Are all these cases of false perception? See Paley, Evidences of Christianity, prop. 2Ch_1.; Mill, Pantheistic Principles, 2:1, 4, p. 123, 2nd ed. 1861; Edersh. L. & T. 1. p. 142, 2. p. 751.

ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου. The place of honour. It was “the right side of the altar,” not of Zacharias, who was facing it. Comp. Acts 7:55, Acts 7:56. The right side was the south side, and the Angel would be between the altar and the golden candlestick. On the left, or north side, of the altar was the table with the shewbread.

12. φόβος ἐπέπεσεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. Fear is natural when man becomes suddenly conscious of contact with the unseen: Humanæ fragilitalis est spiritualis creaturæ visione turbari (Bede). Comp. 2:9, 9:34; Judges 6:22, Judges 6:13:22; Job 4:15, etc. For the phrase comp. Acts 19:17; Exodus 15:16; Judith 15:2. In class. Grk. the dat. is more usual: Thuc. iii. 87, 1; Xen. Anab. ii:2:19; Eur. Andr. 1042.


13. εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτόν. Both εἶπεν δέ and εἶπεν πρός are very freq. in Lk., who prefers εἶπεν δέ to καὶ εἶπεν even at the beginning of narratives, and uses πρὸς αὐτόν, αὐτούς, κ.τ.λ. in preference to αὐτῷ, αὐτοῖς, κ.τ.λ., after verbs of speaking, answering, etc., to an extent which is quite remarkable (vv. 18, 19, 34, 55, 61, 73, 2:15, 18, 20, 34, 48, 49, etc. etc.). This πρός is so strong a mark of his style that it should be distinguished in translation: εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν, “He said unto him,” and εἶπεν αὐτῷ, “He said to him.” But not even RV. does this. See pp. 62, 63.

Μὴ φοβοῦ. This gracious charge is specially common in Lk. (ver. 30, 2:10, 8:50, 12:4, 7, 32; Acts 28:9, Acts 27:24). Bengel says of it, Primum alloquium coeleste in aurora N.T. per Lucam amænissime descripta. Comp. Genesis 15:1; Joshua 8:1; Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 43:5, 44:2 ; Jeremiah 46:27, Jeremiah 46:28; Daniel 10:12.

διότι. “Because,” as generally in N.T. Comp. 2:7, 21:28. It never means “therefore”; not Romans 1:19 nor 1 Thessalonians 2:18.

εἰσηκούσθη ἡ δέησίς σου. “Thy supplication was heard,” at the time when it was offered. The pass. is used both of the petition (Acts 10:31; Ecclus. 51:11) and of the petitioner (Matthew 6:7 ; Hebrews 5:7). The word δέησις implies personal need; it is a “special petition for the supply of want” (Lft. on Philippians 4:6 ; Trench, Syn. li.). Unlike προσευχή, it may be used of petitions to men. The word favours, but by no means proves, the view that the prayer of Zacharias was for a son. And the context at first seems to confirm this. But would Zacharias have made his private wishes the main subject of his prayer at so unique an opportunity? Would he have prayed for what he regarded as impossible? As Bede remarks, Nemo orat quod se accepturum desperat. Having prayed for it as possible, would he have refused to believe an Angel who told him that the petition was granted? It is much more probable that he and the people were praying for the redemption of Israel,—for the coming of the Messiah’s kingdom; and it is this supplication which was heard. To make δέησις refer to habitual supplication, and not to the prayer offered with the incense, seems unnatural.


What Didon points out (p. 298) in quite a different connexion seems to have point here. It was an axiom with the Rabbins that a prayer in which there was no mention of the kingdom of God was no prayer at all (Babyl., Beracoth, fol. 40, 2) ; and in the ritual of the temple the response of the people to the prayers of the priests was, “Blessed be the name of the glory of the Kingdom of God for ever” (Babyl., Taanith, fol. 16, 2): Jésus Christ, ed. 1891. See also Edersh. The Temple, p. 127.

καὶ ἡ γυνή σου Ἐλεισάβετ γεννήσει υἱόν σοι. Not ἡ γυνὴ γάρ. “For thy wife shall bear thee a son” would have made it clear that the son was the answer to the δέησις. But “and thy wife shall bear thee a son” may mean that this is an additional boon, which (as ver. 17 shows) is to prepare the way for the blessing prayed for and granted. Thus, like Solomon, Zacharias receives the higher blessing for which he prayed, and also the lower blessing for which he did not pray.

Γεννάω is generally used of the father (Matthew 1:1-16 ; Acts 7:8, Acts 7:29; Genesis 5:3-30, Genesis 11:10-28, etc.) ; but sometimes of the mother (ver. 57, 23:29; John 16:21). The best authorities give Ἰωάνης, with only one ν (WH. 2. App. p. 159). In LXX we have Ἰωάνης (2 Chronicles 28:12); Ἰωάναν 2 Chronicles 17:15; Nehemiah 12:13) ; Ἰωνάν (Nehemiah 6:18) ; Ἰωνά (2 Kings 25:23 ; comp. John 21:15-17). All these forms are abbreviations of Jehohanan, “Jehovah’s gift,” or “God is gracious.” Gotthold is a German name of similar meaning. It was a Rabbinical saying that the names of six were given before they were born—Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Solomon, Josiah, and Messiah.

14. πολλοὶ ἐπὶ τῇ γενέσει αὐτοῦ χαρήσονται. With the πολλοί here contrast παντὶ τῷ λαῷ in 2:10. The joy at the appearance of a Prophet after centuries of need was immense, although not universal. The Pharisees did not dare to say that John was not a Prophet (Matthew 21:26); and Herod, until driven to it, did not dare to put him to death (Matthew 14:5). The word�Acts 2:46; Jude 1:24; Hebrews 1:9 (from Psalms 44:8).

In class. Grk. χαίρειν more often has the simple dat., but ἐπί is usual in N.T. (13:17; Acts 15:31; Matthew 18:13, etc.). It marks the basis of the joy. The reading γεννήσει (G C G) for γενέσει (א A B C D) probably comes from γεννήσει in ver. 13.


15. ἔσται γὰρ μέγας ἐνώπιον [τοῦ] Κυρίου. For he shall be great in the truest sense of the term. Whatsoever a character man has before God, of that character he really is.

The adj. ἐνώπιος is found in Theocr. (22:152) and in LXX, but ἐνώπιον as a prep. seems to be confined to LXX and N.T. It is not in Mt. or Mk., but is specially freq. in Lk. (vv. 17, 19, 75, 4:7, 5:18, 25, etc.), as also in Rev. The phrase ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου or Θεοῦ is a Hebraism (12:6, 16:15; Acts 4:19, Acts 4:7:46, Acts 4:10:31, Acts 4:33; Judges 11:11; 1 Samuel 10:19 ; 2 Samuel 5:3, 2 Samuel 6:5). The preposition retains this meaning in modem Greek.

οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐ μὴ πίῃ. He is to drink neither wine nor any intoxicating liquor other than wine. The same Hebrew word is rendered sometimes σίκερα, sometimes μέθυσμα, and sometimes σίκερα μέθυσμα (Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3 ; Judges 13:4, Judges 13:7, Judges 13:14). Wiclif here has “ne wine ne syder.” See D. B.2 art. “Drink, Strong.” John is to be a Nazirite, not only for a time, as was usual, but for all his life, as Samson and Samuel. This is not disproved by the omission of the command not to cut his hair (Edersh. The Temple, p. 322). Eusebius (Præp. Evang. vi:10:8) has gen. σίκερος, and σικέρατος is also quoted; but σικερα is usually undeclined.

πνεύματος ἁγίου πλησθήσεται. This is in obvious contrast to οἶνον καὶ σίκερα. In place of the physical excitement of strong drink he is to have the supernatural inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The whole phrase is peculiar to Lk. (vv. 41, 67; Acts 2:4, Acts 2:4:8, Acts 2:31, Acts 2:9:17, Acts 2:13:9); and the two elements of it are specially characteristic of him. Excepting Matthew 22:10, Matthew 27:48, the verb πίμπλημι occurs only in Lk., who uses it twenty-two times. Mt. has the expression “Holy Spirit” five times, Mk. and Jn. each four times. Lk. has it fifty-three times, of which twelve are in the Gospel. He uses three forms: πνεῦμα ἅγιον (1:15, 35, 41, 67, [2:25,] 3:16, 4:1, 11:13); τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα (12:10, 12); and τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον (2:26, 3:22). According to Schoettgen (i. p 255), “to be filled with the Holy Spirit is” locutio Judæis familiaris. He gives one example. Comp. the contrast in Ephesians 5:18.

ἔτι ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ. A Hebraism (Psalms 22:11, 71:6; Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5: comp. Judges 13:5, Judges 13:7, Judges 13:16:17; Job 31:18, etc.); instead of the more classical ἐκ γενετῆς, with or without εὐθύς (Hom. Il. 24:535, Obadiah 1:18:6 ; Arist. Eth. Nic. 6:13. 1, 7:14, 4, 8:12, 6). For the ἔτι comp. ἔτι ἐκ βρέφεος, ἔτι�Jeremiah 1:5); but this is very rare in class. Grk.

16, 17. The two personal characteristics just stated—subjection of the flesh and sovereignty of the spirit—will manifest themselves in two external effects,—a great religious revival and the preparation for the Messianic kingdom. The first of these was the recognized work of every Prophet. Israel, through sin, was constantly being alienated from God; and it was one of the chief functions of a Prophet to convert the people to God again (Jeremiah 3:7, Jeremiah 3:10, Jeremiah 3:14, Jeremiah 3:18:8; Ezekiel 3:19; Daniel 9:13).

καὶ αὐτός The personal pronouns are much more used in N.T. than in class. Grk., esp. in the oblique cases. But even in the nom. the pronoun is sometimes inserted, although there is little or no emphasis. Lk. is very fond of beginning sentences with καὶ αὐτός, even where αὐτός can hardly mean “he on his part,” as distinct from others (3:23, 5:14, 17, 6:20, etc.). In προελεύσεται we have another mark of Lk.’s style. Excepting Mark 6:33 and 2 Corinthians 9:5, the verb is peculiar to Lk. in N.T. (22:47; Acts 12:10, Acts 20:5 ?, 13).

ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ. “Before God,” who comes to His people in the person of the Messiah (Isaiah 40:1-11; Malachi 3:1-5). It is unlikely that αὐτοῦ means the Messiah, who has not yet been mentioned. There is no analogy with αὐτὸς ἔφα, ipse dixit, where the pronoun refers to some one so well known that there is no need to mention him by name. For ἐνώπιον see on ver. 15; and for δύναμις, on 4:14, 36. Elijah is mentioned, not as a worker of miracles, for “John did no sign” (John 10:41), but as a preacher of repentance: it was in this that the Baptist had his spirit and power. For Rabbinic traditions respecting Elijah as the Forerunner see Edersh. L. & T. 2. p. 706. Comp. Justin, Try. xlix.

The omission of the articles before πνεύματι and δυνάμει is probably due to the influence of an Aramaic original, in which the gen. which follows would justify the omission. Proper names in -ας pure commonly have gen. in -ου (Matthew 1:6, Matthew 3:3) ; but here Ἠλεία is the true reading.

ἐπιστρέψαι καρδίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα. The literal interpretation here makes good sense, and perhaps, on the whole, it is the best. In the moral degradation of the people even parental affection had languished: comp. Ecclus. 48:10. Genuine reform strengthens family ties; whatever weakens them is no true reform. Or the meaning may be that the patriarchs will no longer be ashamed of their offspring: comp. Isaiah 43:16. In any case,�


The Vulg. renders�

ἐν φρονήσει δικαίων. The prep. of rest after a verb of motion expresses the result of the motion (7:17 ; Matthew 14:3): “Turn them so as to be in the wisdom of the just.” For φρόνησις see Lft. on Colossians 1:9 : the word occurs only here and Ephesians 1:8 in N.T. De Wette, Bleek, and others maintain that φρόνησις here means simply “disposition,” Gesinnung. In what follows it is better to make ἑτοιμάσαι dependent upon ἐπιστρέψαι, not co-ordinate with it. The preparation is the consequence of the conversion, and the final object of the προελεύσεται: ne Dominus populum imparatum majestate sua obterat (Beng.).

18. κατὰ τί γνώσομαι τοῦτο; The very question asked by Abraham (Genesis 15:8): “In accordance with what shall I obtain knowledge of this?” i.e. What shall be in harmony with it, so as to be a sign of it? Comp. the cases of Gideon (Judges 6:36-39) and of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:8), who asked for signs; also of Moses (Exodus 4:2-6) and of Ahaz (Isaiah 7:11), to whom signs were given unasked. The spirit in which such requests are made may vary much, although the form of request may be the same; and the fact that Zacharias had all these instances to instruct him made his unbelief the less excusable. By his ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι, κ.τ.λ., he almost implies that the Angel must have forgotten the fact.

19.�Judges 5:29 [A] ; 1 Kings 2:1 ; 1 Chronicles 10:13). See Veitch, Greek Verbs, p. 78.

19. Ἐγώ εἰμι Γαβριήλ. Gabriel answers his ἐγώ εἰμι with another. “Thou art old, and not likely to have children, but I am one whose word is to be believed”:�Daniel 8:16, Daniel 9:21) and Michael (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, Daniel 10:12:1 ; Jude 1:9 ; Revelation 12:7) ; other names were given in the later Jewish tradition. It is one thing to admit that such names are of foreign origin, quite another to assert that the belief which they represent is an importation. Gabriel, the “Man of God,” seems to be the representative of angelic ministry to man; Michael, “Who is like God,” the representative of angelic opposition to Satan. In Scripture Gabriel is the angel of mercy, Michael the angel of judgment. In Jewish legend the reverse is the case proving that the Bible does not borrow Jewish fables. In the Targums Gabriel destroys Sennacherib’s army; in the O.T. he instructs and comforts Daniel. The Rabbis said that Michael flies in one flight, Gabriel in two, Elijah in four, and Death in eight; i.e. mercy is swifter than judgment, and judgment is swifter than destruction. See Hastings, D.B. i. p. 97; D.C.G. i. p. 55.

ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ. See on ver. 15. Gabriel is “the angel of His presence” (Isaiah 43:9; comp. Matthew 18:10). “Standing before” implies ministering. In LXX the regular phrase is παραστῆναι ἐνώπιον (Job 1:6, which is a close parallel to this; 1 Kings 17:1, 1 Kings 17:18:15 ; 2 Kings 3:14, 2 Kings 5:16). It is also used of service to a king (1 Kings 10:8). But when Gehazi “stood before his master,” we have παρειστήκει πρὸς τὸν κύριον αὐτοῦ (2 Kings 5:25).

Only here and 9:27 does Lk. use the unsyncopated form of the perf. part of ἴστημι and its compounds. Elsewhere he prefers ὲστώς to ὲστηκώς (1:11, 5:1, 2, 18:13; Acts 4:14, Acts 7:55, etc.). In Matthew 27:47 and Mark 9:1 and 11:5, ὲστηκότων is the right reading. In Jn. the unsyncopated form is common.

ἀπεστάλην λαλῆσαι πρὸς σὲ καὶ εὐαγγελίσασθαί σοι ταῦτα. This reminds Zacharias of the extraordinary favour shown to him, and so coldly welcomed by him. It is the first use in the Gospel narrative of the word which was henceforward to be so current, and to mean so much. In LXX it is used of any good tidings (2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 10:9), but especially of communications respecting the Messiah (Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 52:7, Isaiah 60:6, Isaiah 61:1). See on 2:10 and 3:18.

20. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι. The ἰδού is Hebraistic, but is not rare in class. Grk. It introduces something new with emphasis. Signum poscenti datur congruum, quamvis non optatum (Beng.). The analytical form of the fut. marks the duration of the silence (comp. 5:10, 6:40 ?, 17:35 ?, 21:17); and μὴ δυνάμενος, κ.τ.λ., is added to show that the silence is not a voluntary act, but the sign which was asked for (comp. Daniel 10:15). Thus his wrong request is granted in a way which is at once a judgment and a blessing; for the unbelief is cured by the punishment. For σιωπάω of dumbness comp. 4 Mac. 10:18.

We have here one of many parallels in expression between Gospel and Acts. Comp. this with Acts 13:11 ; 1:39 with Acts 1:15; 1:66 with Acts 11:21 ; Acts 2:9 with Acts 12:7 ; Acts 15:20 with Acts 20:37 ; Acts 21:18 with Acts 27:34; Acts 24:19 with Acts 7:22.

In N.T. μή with the participle is the common constr., and in mod. Grk. it is the invariable use. In Lk. there is only one instance of οὐ with a participle (6:42). See Win. 4:5. β, pp. 607-610; Lft. Epp. of St. Paul, p. 39, 1895. The combination of the negative with the positive statement of the same thing, although found in class. Grk., is more common in Heb. literature. In Acts 13:11 we have ἔσῃ τυφλὸς μὴ βλέπων; comp. John 1:3, John 1:20, John 1:3:16, John 1:10:5, John 1:18, John 1:18:20, John 1:20:27; Revelation 2:13, Revelation 2:3:9; Psalms 89:30, Psalms 89:31, Psalms 89:48; 2 Samuel 14:5; Isaiah 38:1, etc.

ἄχρι ἦς ἡμέρας Galatians 3:19 is the only certain exception to the rule that ἄχρι, not ἄχρις, usually precedes vowels in N.T. Comp. 17:27, 21:24, and see on 16:16. For the attraction, comp. Acts 1:2 ; Matthew 24:38. Attractions are specially freq. in Lk. See on 3:10; also Blass, Gr. pp. 169, 214.

ἀνθʼ ὧν. Only in this phrase does�Acts 12:23 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; Leviticus 26:43; 2 Kings 22:17; Ezekiel 5:11). It is found in class. Grk. (Soph. Ant. 1068 ; Aristoph. Plut. 434).


οἵτινες. Stronger than the simple relative: “which are of such a character that.” Comp. 2:10, 7:37, 39, 8:3, 15. Almost always in nom.

εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν. That which takes place in a time may be regarded as entering into that time: the words go on to their fulfilment. Comp. εἰς τὸ μέλλον (13:9) and εἰς τὸ μεταξὺ σάββατον (Acts 13:42).

21. ἦν ὁ λαὸς προσδοκῶν. As in ver. 20, the analytical tense marks the duration of the action. Zacharias was longer than was customary; and the Talmud states that the priests were accustomed to return soon to prevent anxiety. It was feared that in so sacred a place they might incur God’s displeasure, and be slain (Lev. 16:113). Hence ἐθαύμαζον ἐν τῷ ξρονίζειν, “They were wondering while he tarried.” Comp. ver. 8, and see on 3:21. The common rendering, “at his tarrying,” or “because he tarried,” quod tardaret, is improbable even if possible. This would have been otherwise expressed: ἐθαύμαζον ἐπί (2:33, 4:22, 9:43, etc.), which D reads here; or διά (Mark 6:6; John 7:21 ?); or ὅτι (11:38; John 3:7, John 4:27); or περί (2:18).

22. οὐκ ἐδύνατο λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς. He ought to pronounce the benediction (Numbers 6:24-26) from the steps, either alone or with other priests. His look and his inability to speak told them at once that something extraordinary had taken place; and the sacred circumstances would suggest a supernatural appearance, even if his signs did not make this clear to them.

The compound ἐπέγνωσαν implies clear recognition and full knowledge (5:22, 24:16, 31); and the late form ὀπτασίαν (for ὄψιν) is commonly used of supernatural sights (24:23; Acts 26:19; 2 Corinthians 12:1 ; Daniel 9:23, Daniel 9:10:1, Daniel 9:7, Daniel 9:8, Daniel 9:16). For καὶ αὐτός “he on his part,” as distinct from the congregation, see on ver. 17, and Win. 22:4. b, p. 187. The periphrastic tense ἦν διανεύων again calls attention to the continued action. The verb is found here only in N.T., but occurs twice in LXX (Psalms 34:19; Ecclus. 27:22). In διέμεινε κωφός both the compound and the tense emphasize the fact that it was no mere temporary seizure (22:28; Galatians 2:5; 2 Peter 3:4).

23. ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας αὐτοῦ. When the week for which the course of Abijah was on duty for public service was at an end. See on vv. 15 and 57. In class. Grk. λειτουργία (λεώς, ἔργον) is freq. of public service undertaken by a citizen at his own expense. In bibl. Grk. it is used of priestly service in the worship of God (Hebrews 8:6, Hebrews 8:9:21; Numbers 8:22, Numbers 8:16:9, Numbers 8:18:4; 2 Chronicles 31:2), and also of service to the needy (2 Corinthians 9:12: Philippians 2:30). See Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 140.

ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ. This was not in Jerusalem, in the Ophel quarter, where many of the priests resided, but in an unnamed town in the hill-country south of Jerusalem (ver. 39). It is probable that most of the priests who did not live in the city itself resided in the towns and villages in the neighbourhood. Convenience would suggest that they should live inside Judæa. In Nehemiah 11:10-19 we have 1192 priests in Jerusalem; in 1 Chronicles 9:13 we have 1760. Later authorities speak of 24,000; but such figures are very untrustworthy. The whole question of the residences of the priests is an obscure one, and Jos_21. must not be quoted as evidence for more than a projected arrangement. That it was carried into effect and maintained, or that it was revived after the Exile, is a great deal more than we know. Schürer, Jewish People in the T. of J. C. ii. I, p. 229.


24. συνέλαβεν. The word occurs eleven times in Lk. against five times elsewhere. He alone uses it in the sense of conceiving offspring, and only in these first two chapters (vv. 31, 36, 2:21). This sense is common in medical writers and in Aristotle. Hobart remarks that the number of words referring to pregnancy and barrenness used by Lk. is almost as great as that used by Hippocrates: ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχειν (21:23), ἔγκυος (2:5) στεῖρα (1:7) ἄτεκνος (20:28). And, excepting ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχειν, all of these are peculiar to himself in N.T. (Med. Lang. of Lk. p. 91).

περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε. The reflexive pronoun brings out more forcibly than the middle voice would have done that the act was entirely her own (Acts 23:14; 1 Corinthians 11:31; 1 John 1:8); and the compound verb implies all round, complete concealment. Her motive can only be conjectured; but the enigmatical conduct and remark are evidence of historic truth, for they would not be likely to be invented. The five months are the first five months; and at the end of them it would be evident that she had ceased to be ἡ στεῖρα (ver. 36). During these five months she did not wish to risk hearing a reproach, which had ceased to be true, but which she would not care to dispute. She withdrew, therefore, until all must know that the reproach had been removed.


The form ἔκρυβον is late: in class. Grk. ἔκρυψα is used. But a present κρύβω is found, of which this might be the imperfect.

It can hardly be accidental that μήν is scarcely ever used in N.T. in a literal sense by any writer except Lk., who has it five times in his Gospel and five times in the Acts. The chronological details involved in this frequent use are the results of the careful investigation of which he writes in the preface. The other passages are Galatians 4:10; James 5:17, and six times in Revelation. So also ἔτος occurs fifteen times in Lk. and six in Mt. Mk. and Jn.

25. ἐπεῖδεν�Acts 25:14. Alford and Holtzmann translate “hath deigned, condescended to remove”; but can ἐπεῖδεν mean that? Elsewhere in N.T. it occurs only Acts 4:29; but in class. Grk. it is specially used of the gods regarding human affairs (Aesch. Suppl. 1:1031; Sept. 485). Hdt. 1:124. 2 is not rightly quoted as parallel. Omitting ἐπεῖδεν, Rachel makes the same remark: Ἀφεῖλεν ὁ Θεός μου τὸ ὄνειδος (Genesis 30:23; comp. Psalms 113:9 ; Isaiah 4:1); but the different position of the μου is worth noting. In ἐν�


26-38. The Annunciation of the Birth of the Saviour.1

The birth of the Baptist is parallel to the birth of Isaac; that of the Messiah to the creation of Adam. Jesus is the second Adam. But once more there is no violent breach with the past. Even in its revolutions Providence is conservative. Just as the Prophet who is to renovate Israel is taken from the old priesthood, so the Christ who is to redeem the human race is not created out of nothing, but “born of a woman.”

26. εἰς πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας ᾗ ὄνομα Ναζαρέτ. The description perhaps implies that Lk. is writing for those who are not familiar with the geography of Palestine. There is no reason for believing that he himself was unfamiliar with it. Comp. ver. 39, 4:31, 7:11, 8:26, 9:10, 17:11, 19:29, 37, 41.

Galilee is one of many geographical names which have gradually extended their range. It was originally a little “circuit” of territory round Kadesh Naphtali containing the towns given by Solomon to Hiram (1 Kings 9:11). This was called the “circuit of the Gentiles,” because the inhabitants were strangers (1 Mac. 5:15, Γαλ.�

The form of the name of the town varies much, between Nazareth, Nazaret, Nazara, and Nazarath. Keim has twice contended strongly for Nazara (J. of Naz., Eng. tr. 2. p. 16, 4. p. 108) ; but he has not persuaded many of the correctness of his conclusions. WH. consider that “the evidence when tabulated presents little ambiguity” (2. App. p. 160). Ναζαράθ is found frequently (eight out of eleven times) in Codex Δ, but hardly anywhere else. Ναζαρά is used once by Mt. (4:13), and perhaps once by Lk. (4:16). Ναζαρέθ occurs once in Mt. (21:11) and once in Acts (10:38). Everywhere else (Matthew 2:23; Mark 1:9; Luke 1:26, Luke 1:2:4, Luke 1:39, Luke 1:51; John 1:46, John 1:47) we have certainly or probably Ναζαρέτ. Thus Mt. uses the three possible, forms equally; Lk. all three with a decided preference for Nazaret ; while Mk. and Jn. use Nazaret only. This appears to be fairly conclusive for Nazaret. Yet Scrivener holds that “regarding the orthography of this word no reasonable certainty is to be attained” (Int. to Crit. of N.T. 2. p. 316); and Alford seems to be of a similar opinion (1. Prolegom. p. 97). Weiss thinks that Nazara may have been the original form, but that it had already become unusual when the Gospels were written. The modern town is called En Nazirah, and is shunned by Jews. Its population of 5000 is mainly Christian, with a few Mabometans.

27. ἐμνηστευμένην. This is the N.T. form of the word (2:5): in LXX we have μεμνηστευμ. (Deuteronomy 22:23). The interval between betrothal and marriage was commonly a year, during which the bride lived with her friends. But her property was vested in her future husband, and unfaithfulness on her part was punished, like adultery, with death (Deuteronomy 22:23, Deuteronomy 22:24). The case of the woman taken in adultery was probably a case of this kind.

ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ. It is unnecessary, and indeed impossible, to decide whether these words go with�Matthew 1:1, Matthew 1:9:27, Matthew 1:12:23, Matthew 1:15:22, Matthew 1:20:30, 31; Mark 10:47, Mark 10:48 ; Luke 18:38, Luke 18:39). In the Test. XII. Patr. Christ is said to be descended from Levi and Judah (Simeon 7.); and the same idea is found in a fragment of Irenæus (Frag. 27., Stieren, p. 836). It was no doubt based, as Schleiermacher bases it (St. Luke, Eng. tr. p. 28), on the fact that Elisabeth, who was of Levi, was related to Mary (see on ver. 36). The repetition involved in τῆς παρθένου is in favour of taking ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ with�

28. χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη.1 Note the alliteration and the connexion between χαῖρε and χάρις The gratia plena of the Vulg. is too indefinite. It is right, if it means “full of grace, which thou hast received”; wrong, if it means “full of grace, which thou hast to bestow.” From Ephesians 1:6 and the analogy of verbs in -όω, κεχαριτωμένη must mean “endued with grace” (Ecclus. 28:17). Non ut mater gratiæ, sed ut filia gratiæ (Beng.). What follows explains κεχαριτωμένη, for with μετὰ σοῦ we understand ἐστι, not ἔστω (comp. Judges 6:12). It is because the Lord is with her that she is endued with grace. Tyn., Cov., and Cran., no less than Wic. and Rhem., have “full of grace”; Genev. has “freely beloved.” See Resch, Kindheitsev. p. 78.


The familiar εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν, although well attested (A C D X Γ Δ Π, Latt. Syrr. Aeth. Goth., Tert. Eus.), probably is an interpolation borrowed from ver. 42: א B L, Aegyptt. Arm. omit.

29. Here also ἰδοῦσα (A), for whteh some Latin texts have cum audisset, is an interpolation borrowed perhaps from ver. 12. It is not stated that Mary saw Gabriel. The pronominal use of the article (ἡ δέ) is rare in N.T. (Acts 1:6 ; Matthew 2:5, Matthew 2:9). It is confined to phrases with μέν and δέ, and mostly to nom. masc. and fem.

διεταράχθη. Here only in N.T. It is stronger than ἐταράχθη in ver. 12. Neither Zacharias nor Mary are accustomed to visions or voices: they are troubled by them. There is no evidence of hysterical excitement or hallucination in either case. The διελογίζετο “reckoned up different reasons,” is in itself against this. The verb is confined to the Synoptic Gospels (5:21, 22; Mark 2:6, Mark 2:8) : John 11:50 the true reading is λογίζεσθε.

ποταπός In N.T. this adj. never has the local signification, “from what country or nation?” cujas? (Aesch. Cho. 575; Soph. O.C. 1160). It is synonymous with ποῖος, a use which is found in Demosthenes ; and it always implies astonishment, with or without admiration (7:39; Matthew 8:27 ; Mark 13:1; 2 Peter 3:11; 1 John 3:1). In LXX it does not occur. The original form is ποδαπός, and may come from ποῦ�

εἴη. It is only in Lk. in N.T. that we find the opt. in indirect questions. In him it is freq. both without ἄν (3:15, 8:9, 22:9, 22:23; Acts 17:11, Acts 21:33, Acts 25:20) and with ἄν (6:11; Acts 5:24, Acts 10:17). In Acts 8:31 we have opt. with ἄν in a direct question. Simcox, Lang. of N. T. p. 112; Win. 41:4, 100, p. 374

30. Μὴ φοβοῦ Μαριάμ, εὗρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ. See on ver. 13. The εὗρες χάριν π.τ. Θ. explains κεχαριτωμένη. The phrase is Hebraic: Νῶε εὗρεν χάριν ἐναντίον Κυρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ (Genesis 6:8; comp. 18:3, 39:4). See on 4:22.

συλλήμψῃ. For the word see on ver. 24, and for the form comp. 2:21, 20:47; Acts 1:8, Acts 1:2:38, Acts 1:23:27; John 5:43, John 5:16:14, John 5:24. In Ionic we have fut. λάμψομαι. Veitch, p. 359; Win. v. 4f, P. 54.

ἐν γαστρὶ καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὂνομα. The same wording is found Genesis 16:11, of Ishmael, and Isaiah 7:14 of Immanuel. Comp. Genesis 27:19 of Isaac, and Matthew 1:21 of Jesus. In all cases the καλέσεις is not a continuation of the prophecy, but a command, as in most of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:21, Matthew 5:27, Matthew 5:33; comp. Luke 4:12; Acts 23:5, etc.). Win. 43:5, 100, p. 396. The name Ἰησοῦς was revealed independently to Joseph also (Matthew 1:21). It appears in the various forms of Oshea, Hoshea, Jehoshua, Joshua, Joshua, and Jesus. Its meaning is “Jehovah is help,” or “God the Saviour.” See Pearson, On the Creed, art. 2. sub init. p. 131; ed. 1849. See also Resch, Kindheitsev. pp. 80, 95.

32. οὗτος ἔσται μέγας. As in ver. 15, this is forthwith explained; and the greatness of Jesus is very different from the greatness of John. The title υἱὸς γ̔ψίστου expresses some very close relation between Jesus and Jehovah, but not the Divine Sonship in the Trinity; comp. 6:35. On the same principle as Θεός and Κύριος Ὕψιστος is anarthrous : there can be only one Highest (Ecclus. 7:15, 27:26, 19:17, 24:2, 23, 29:11, etc.). The κληθήσεται is not a mere substitute for ἔσται: He not only shall be the Son of God, but shall be recognized as such. In the Acta Pauls et Theclæ we have Μακάριοι οἱ σαβόντες Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ ὑψίστου κληθήσονται (Tischendorf, p. 239). For τὸν θρόνον Δαυείδ Comp. 2 Samuel 7:12, 2 Samuel 7:13; Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 9:16:5.

Δαυείδ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ. This is thought to imply the Davidic descent of Mary; but the inference is not quite certain. Jesus was the heir of Joseph, as both genealogies imply. Comp. Psalms 132:11; Hosea 3:5. There is abundant evidence of the belief that the Messiah would spring from David: Mark 12:35, Mark 12:10:47, Mark 12:11:10; Luke 18:38, Luke 18:20:41; Luk_4 Ezra 12:32 (Syr. Arab. Arm.); Ps. Sol. 17:23, 24; Talmud and Targums. See on Romans 1:3.

33. βασιλεύσει … εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Comp. “But of the Son he saith, God is Thy throne for ever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8, where see Wsctt.); also Daniel 2:44, Daniel 2:7:14; John 12:34; Revelation 11:15. The eternity of Christ’s kingdom is assured by the fact that it is to be absorbed in the kingdom of the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). These magnificent promises could hardly have been invented by a writer who was a witness of the condition of the Jews during the half century which followed the destruction of Jerusalem. Indeed, we may perhaps go further and say that “it breathes the spirit of the Messianic hope before it had received the rude and crushing blow in the rejection of the Messiah” (Gore, Dissertations, p. 16). Comp. vv. 17, 54, 55, 68-71, 2:38.


The constr. βασιλεύειν ἐπί c. acc. is not classical. We have it again 19:14, 27.

34. Πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο. She does not ask for proof, as Zacharias did (ver. 18); and only in the form of the words does she ask as to the mode of accomplishment. Her utterance is little more than an involuntary expression of amazement: non dubitantis sed admirantis (Grotius). In contrasting her with Zacharias, Ambrose says, Hæc jam de negotio tractat; ille adhuc de nuntio dubitat. It is clear that she does not doubt the fact promised, nor for a moment suppose that her child is to be the child of Joseph.

ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω Comp. Genesis 19:8; Judges 11:39; Numbers 31:17. The words are the avowal of a maiden conscious of her own purity; and they are drawn from her by the strange declaration that she is to have a son before she is married. It is very unnatural to understand the words as a vow of perpetual virginity, or as stating that such a vow has already been taken, or is about to be taken. It is difficult to reconcile οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν (imperf., not aor.) αὐτὴν ἕως (Matthew 1:25) with any such vow.1

35. Πνεῦμα ἄγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ. It may be doubted whether the article is omitted “because Holy Spirit is here a proper name”; rather because it is regarded impersonally as the creative power of God. Comp. καὶ πνεῦμα Θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ τοῦ ὕδατος (Genesis 1:2): the two passages are very parallel. See on ver. 15. Both πνεῦμα and ἅγιον have special point. It is spirit and not flesh, what is holy and not what is sinful, that is to produce this effect in her. With ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ Comp. Acts 1:8. Excepting Ephesians 2:7 and James 5:1, the verb is peculiar to Lk. (11:22, 21:26; Acts 1:8, Acts 8:24, Acts 13:40, Acts 14:19).

δύναμις γ̔ψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι. For δύναμις see on 4:14; for ἐπισκιάσει comp. the account of the Transfiguration (9:34), and for the dat. comp. the account of Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15). It is the idea of the Shechinah which is suggested here (Exodus 40:38). The cloud of glory signified the Divine presence and power, and it is under such influence that Mary is to become a mother.

διό. This illative particle is rare in the Gospels (7:7 ; Matthew 27:8); not in Mk. or Jn.

τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται υἱὸς Θεοῦ. “The holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God,” or, “That which shall be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.” The latter of these two renderings seems to be preferable. Comp. ἅγιον τῷ κυρίῳ κληθήσεται (2:22); Ναζωραῖος κληθήσεται (Matthew 2:23); υἱοὶ Θεοῦ κληθήσονται (5:9); ἐλάχιστος κληθήσεται and μέγας κλ. (5:19). In all cases the appellation precedes the verb. The unborn child called ἅγιον as being free from all taint of sin. De hoc Sancto idem angelus est locutus, Daniel 9:24 (Beng.). The ἐκ σοῦ, which many authorities insert after γεννώμενον, is probably an ancient gloss, derived perhaps from Matthew 1:16: א A B C3 D and most versions omit.

The title “Son of God,” like “Son of Man,” was a recognized designation of the Messiah. In Enoch, and often in 4 Ezra, the Almighty speaks of the Messiah as His Son. Christ seldom used it of Himself (Matthew 27:43; John 10:36). But we have it in the voice from heaven (3:22, 9:35); in Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:16); in the centurion’s exclamation (Mark 15:39); in the devil’s challenge (4:3, 9); in the cries of demoniacs (Mark 3:11, Mark 5:7). Very early the Christian Church chose it as a concise statement of the divine nature of Christ. See on Romans 1:4, and Swete, Apost. Creed, p. 24. For ἂγιον see on Romans 1:7. The radical meaning is “set apart for God, consecrated.”


36. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐλεισάβετ ἡ συγγενίς σου. Comp. ver. 20. Mary, who did not ask for one, receives a more gracious sign than Zacharias, who demanded it. The relationship between her and Elisabeth is unknown.

“Cousin,” started by Wiclif, and continued until RV. substituted “kinswoman,” has now become too definite in meaning. The kinship has led artius to represent the two children as being playmates; but John 1:31 seems to be against such Companionship. It has also led to the conjecture that Jesus was descended from both Levi and Judah (see on ver. 27). But Levites might marry with other tribes; and therefore Elisabeth, who was descended from Aaron, might easily be related to one who was descended from David. This verse is not evidence that Mary was not of the house of David.

The late form συγγενίς (comp. εὐγενίς), and the Ion. dat. γήρει for γήρᾳ (Genesis 15:15, Genesis 21:7, Genesis 25:8), should be noticed; also that οὗτος being the subject, the noun has no article. Comp. 21:22. The combination καὶ οὗτος is peculiar to Lk. (8:41 ?, 16:1, 20:28). The relative ages of Jesus and of John are fixed by this statement.


We may take καλουμένῃ as imperf. part., “Used to be called.” This reproach would cease when she reappeared at the end of the five months (ver. 24). καλούμενος with appellations is freq. in Lk.

37. οὐκ�Genesis 18:14: μὴ�Matthew 27:20); and of persons, “to be unable”; in which case, like δυνατεῖν (Romans 14:4; 2 Corinthians 9:8), it is followed by the infin. That “be impossible” is the meaning, both here and Genesis 28:14, is probable from Job 42:2 οἶδα ὅτι πάντα δύνασαι,�Zechariah 8:6, where�Jeremiah 32:17, where both Aquila and Symmachus have οὐκ�Matthew 24:22. It is less common in N.T. than in LXX (Exodus 12:16, Exodus 12:43, Exodus 12:20:16; Daniel 2:10, etc.), Win. 26:1, p. 214; Blass, Gr. p. 174

38. Ἰδού ἡ δούλη κυρίου. That ἰδού is not a verb, but an exclamation, is manifest from the verbless nominative which follows it. Comp. 5:12, 18. “Handmaid” or “servant” is hardly adequate to δούλη. It is rather “bondmaid” or “slave.” In an age in which almost all servants were slaves, the idea which is represented by our word “servant” could scarcely arise. In N.T. the fem. δούλη occurs only here, ver. 48, and Acts 2:18, the last being a quotation.

γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. This is neither a prayer that what has been foretold may take place, nor an expression of joy at the prospect. Rather it is an expression of submission, —“God’s will be done”: πίναξ εἰμι γράφομενος. ὄ βούλεται ὁ γραφεύς, γραφέτω (Eus.). Mary must have known how her social position and her relations with Joseph would be affected by her being with child before her marriage. There are some who maintain that the revelation made to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-23) is inconsistent with what Lk. records here; for would not Mary have told him of the angelic message? We may reasonably answer that she would not do so. Her own inclination would be towards reserve (2:51); and what likelihood was there that he would believe so amazing a story? She would prefer to leave the issue with regard to Joseph in God’s hands. Hastings, D.C.G. art. “Annunciation.”

ἀπῆλθεν�Acts 12:10; Judges 6:21.


On the whole of this exquisite narrative Godet justly remarks: “Quells dignité, quelle pureil, quelle simplicité, quelle déliatesse dans tout ce dialogue ! Pas un mot de trop, pas un de trop peu. Une telle narration n’a pu émaner que de la sphère sainte dans laquelle le fait lui-même avait eu lieu” (1. p. 128, 3éme ed. 1888). Contrast the attempts in the apocryphal gospels, the writers of which had our Gospels to imitate, and yet committed such gross offences against taste, decency, and even morality. What would their inventions have been if they had had no historical Gospels to guide them?

Dr. Swete has shown that the doctrine of the Miraculous Conception was from the earliest times part of the Creed. Beginning with Justin Martyr (Apol. 1:21, 31, 32, 33, 63; Try. 23, 48, 100), he traces back through Aristides (J. R. Harris, p. 24; Hennecke, p. 9 ; Barnes, Canon. and Uncanon. Gospp. p. 13), Ignatius (Eph. 19; Trall. 9. ; Smyr. 1.), the Valentinians, and Basilides, to S. Luke, to whom these Gnostics appealed. The silence of S. Mark is of no weight; his record does not profess to go farther back than the ministry of the Baptist. In the Third Gospel we reach not merely the date of the Gospel (a.d. 75-80), but the date of the early traditions incorporated in these first chapters, traditions preserved (possibly in writing) at Jerusalem, and derived from Mary herself.

The testimony of the First Gospel is perhaps even earlier in origin, and is certainly independent. It probably originated with Joseph, as the other with Mary (Gore, Bampton Lectures, p. 78; Dissertations on Subjects connected with the Incarnation, pp. 12-40). Greatly as the two narratives differ, both bear witness to the virgin birth (Swete, The Apostles’ Creed, ch. 4.).

39-56. The Visit of the Mother of the Saviour to the Mother of the Forerunner

This narrative grows naturally out of the two which precede it in this group. The two women, who through Divine interposition are about to become mothers, meet and confer with one another. Not that a desire to talk about her marvellous experience prompts Mary to go, but because the Angel had suggested it (ver. 36). That Joseph’s intention of putting her away caused the journey, is an unnecessary conjecture.

It is not easy to see why the Song of Elisabeth is not given in metrical form either in WH. or in RV. It seems to have the characteristics of Hebrew poetry in a marked degree, if not in so full a manner as the Magnificat, Benedictus, and Nunc Dimittis. It consists of two strophes of four lines each, thus—

Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν,

καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου.

καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο

ἵνα ἔλθῃ ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ κυρίου μου πρὸς ἐμέ;

ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ φωνὴ τοῦ�

39. Ἀναστᾶσα. A very favourite word with Lk., who has it about sixty times against about twenty-two times in the rest of N.T. It occurs hundreds of times in LXX. Of preparation for a journey it is specially common (15:18, 20; Acts 10:20, Acts 22:10, etc.). Lk. is also fond of such phrases as ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις or ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τινος (ver. 5, 2:1, 4:2, 25, 5:35, 6:12, 9:36, etc.; Acts 1:15, Acts 2:18, Acts 5:37, Acts 6:1, Acts 7:41, etc.). They are not found in Jn., and occur only four times in Mt., and the same in Mk. Here “in those days” means soon after the Annunciation. As the projected journey was one of several days, it would require time to arrange it and find an escort. See small print note on ver. 20.

ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὴν ὀρινήν. There is no trace of Ὀρεινή as a proper name; ἡ ὀρινή means the mountainous part of Judah as distinct from the plain (ver. 65; Genesis 14:10; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 9:1, Joshua 9:10:40; comp. Judith 1:6, 2:22, 4:7). It is worth noting that in this narrative, which is from an independent source, Lk. twice uses ἡ ὀρινή. Elsewhere, when he is on the same ground as Mt. and Mk., he uses, as they do, τὸ ὄρος (6:12, 8:32, 9:28, 37). None of them use either ὄρος or τὰ ὄρη. Lft. On a Fresh Revision of N.T. pp. 124, 186, 3rd ed. 1891. For the shortening of ὀρεινή to ὀρινή see WH. 2. App. p. 154. Grotius rightly remarks on μετὰ σπουδῆς, ne negligeret signum quod augendæ ipsius fiduciæ Deus assignaverat. Comp. Mark 6:25 ; Exodus 12:11 ; Wisd. 19:2.


εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα. Lk. does not give the name, probably because he did not know it. It may have been Hebron, just as it may have been any town in the mountainous part of Judah, and Hebron was chief among the cities allotted to the priests. But if Lk. had meant Hebron, he would either have named it or have written τὴν πόλιν in the sense of the chief priestly dwelling. But it is very doubtful whether the arrangement by which certain cities were allotted to the priests was carried into effect; and, if so, whether it continued. Certainly priests often lived elsewhere. Eli lived at Shiloh, Samuel at Ramathaim-Zophim, Mattathias at Modin. None of these had been allotted to the priests. See on ver. 23.

That Ἰούδα is the name of the town, and represents Juttah (Ἰτάν or Ἰεττά or Τανύ), which was in the mountain region of Judah (Joshua 15:55), and had been allotted to the priests (Joshua 21:16), is possible. Reland (1714) was perhaps the first to advocate this. Robinson found a village called Yuttah in that region (Res. in Psa_2. p. 206), and the identification is attractive. But the best authorities seem to regard it as precarious. A tradition, earlier than the Crusades, makes Ain Karim to be the birthplace of John the Baptist. Didon (Jésus Christ, App. D) contends for this, appealing to V. Guérin, Description de la Palastine, 1. p. 83, and Fr. Liévin, Guide de la Palestine, 2. But it is best to regard the place as an unknown town of Judah. In any case, the spelling “Juda” (AV.) is indefensible; comp. 3:33.

41. ἐγένετο … ἐσκίρτησεν. See detached note at the end of the chapter. It is improbable that in her salutation Mary told Elisabeth of the angelic visit. The salutation caused the movement of the unborn child, and Elisabeth is inspired to interpret this sign aright. Grotius states that the verb is a medical word for the movement of children in the womb, but he gives no instances. It is used Genesis 25:22 of the unborn Esau and Jacob, and Psalms 113:4, Psalms 113:6 of the mountains skipping like rams. In class. Grk. it is used of the skipping both of animals and of men. For ἐπλήσθη πνεύματος ἁγίου see on ver. 15. ὡς=“when” is very freq. in Lk.

42.�1 Chronicles 15:28, 1 Chronicles 15:16:4, 1 Chronicles 15:5, 42; 2 Chronicles 5:13: here only in N.T. Lk. frequently records strong expressions of emotion, adding μεγάλη to κραυγή, φωνή, χαρά, etc. (2:10, 4:33, 8:28, 17:15, 19:37, 23:23, 46, 24:52). It is perhaps because κραυγή seemed less appropriate to express a cry of joy that it has been altered (A C D) to the more usual φωνή. But it is convincingly attested (א B L Ξ). It means any cry of strong feeling, whether surprise (Matthew 25:6), anger (Ephesians 4:31), or distress (Hebrews 5:7). Comp. Apoc. Baruch, 54:10.

Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν. A Hebraistic periphrasis for the superlative, “Among women thou art the one who is specially blessed.” Mary has a claim to this title κατʼ ἐξοχήν. Comp. 7:28. Somewhat similar expressions occur in class. Grk., esp. in poetry: ὦ φίλα γυναικῶν (Eur. Alc. 460); ὦ σχέτλιʼ�Deuteronomy 28:4) and καρπὸν κοιλίας (Genesis 30:2; Lamentations 2:20). See small print on ver. 15.

43. καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο. We understand γέγονεν: comp. Mark 13:37. Modestiæ filii præludens qui olim Christo erat dicturus, σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με; (Grotius). It is by inspiration (ver. 41) that Elisabeth knows that she who greets her is ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ κυρίου, i.e. of the Messiah (Psalms 110:1). The expression “Mother of God” is not found in Scripture.1

In ἵνα ἔλθῃ we have a weakening of the original force of ἵνα, which begins with the Alexandrine writers as an alternative for the infinitive, and has become universal in modern Greek. Godet would keep the telic force by arbitrarily substituting “What have I done?” for “Whence is this to me?” “What have I done in order that?” etc. Comp. the Lucan constr., τοῦτο ὅτι (10:11, 12:39; Acts 24:14). See Blass, Gr. p. 224.

44. Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ φωνὴ τοῦ�2 Corinthians 7:11, ἰδοὺ γάρ is peculiar to Lk. (ver. 48, 2:10, 6:23, 17:21; Acts 9:11). For ἐγένετο ἡ φωνή see on 3:22 and 9:35, 36.

45. μακαρία ἡ πιστεύσασα ὅτι. Latin texts, both of Lat. Vet. and of Vulg., vary much between beata quæ credidit quoniam and beata quæ credidisti quoniam. English Versions are equally varied, even Wic. and Rhem. being different. “Blessed is she that believed” is probably right. This is the first beatitude in the Gospel; and it is also the last: μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες (John 20:29). In Mk. μακάριος does not occur; and in Jn. only 13:17 and 20:29. It is specially common in Lk.

This verse is one of many places in N.T. in which ὅτι may be either “that” or “because”: see on 7:16. There can be little doubt that Luther, Erasmus, Beza, and all Latin and English Versions are right in taking the latter sense here. The ὅτι introduces the reason why the belief is blessed and not the contents (Syr. Sin.) of the belief. There is no need to state what Mary believed. Elisabeth adds her faith to Mary’s, and declares that, amazing as the promise is, it will assuredly be fulfilled. Only a small portion of what had been promised (31-33) had as yet been accomplished; and hence the ἔσται τελείωσις, “There shall be a bringing to perfection, an accomplishment” (Hebrews 7:11). Comp. ἐξελεύσομαι εἰς τελείωσιν τῶν λόγων ὧν ἐλαλήσατε μετʼ ἐμοῦ (Judith 10:9).


46-56. The Magnificat or Song of Mary

This beautiful lyric is neither a reply to Elisabeth nor an address to God. It is rather a meditation; an expression of personal emotions and experiences. It is more calm and majestic than the utterance of Elisabeth. The exultation is as great, but it is more under control. The introductory εἶπεν, as contrasted with�1 Samuel 2:1-10); but its superiority to the latter in moral and spiritual elevation is very manifest. From childhood the Jews knew many of the O.T. lyrics by heart; and, just as our own poor, who know no literature but the Bible, easily fall into biblical language in times of special joy or sorrow, so Mary would naturally fall back on the familiar expressions of Jewish Scripture in this moment of intense exultation. The exact relation between her hymn and these familiar expressions can be best seen when the two are placed side by side in a table.


The Magnificat. The Old Testament.

Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον 1Ἐστερεώθη ἡ καρδία μου ἐν Κυρίῳ,

καὶ ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ὑψώθη κέρας μου

ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου· ἐν Θεῷ μου.

ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν 2ἐὰν ἐπιβλέπων ἐπιβλέψῃς τὴν ταπείνωσιν.

τῆς δούλης αὐτοῦ τῆς δούλης σου—

ἰδοὺ γὰρ�

46. Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον. The verb is used in the literal sense of “enlarge,” Matthew 23:5 : comp. Luke 1:58. More often, as here, in the derived sense of “esteem great, extol, magnify” (Acts 5:13, Acts 10:46, Acts 19:17). So also in class. Grk. Weiss goes too far when he contends that “distinctions drawn between ψυχή and πνεῦμα have absolutely no foundation in N.T. usage” (sind gänzlich unbegründet); but it is evident that no distinction is to be made here. The ψυχή and the πνεῦμα are the immaterial part of man’s nature as opposed to the body or the flesh. It is in her inner, higher life, in her real self, that Mary blesses God in jubilation. If a distinction were made here, we ought to have μεγαλύνει τὸ πνεῦμά μου and ἠγαλλίασεν ἡ ψυχή μου, for the πνεῦμα is the seat of the religious life, the ψυχή of the emotions. See Lft. Notes on the Epp. of S. Paul, p. 88, 1895, and the literature there quoted, esp. Olshausen, Opusc. p. 157.

47. ἠγαλλίασεν. A word formed by Hellenists from�Isaiah 35:2; Jeremiah 49:4). The act. is rare; perhaps only here and Revelation 19:7 ; but as v.l. 1 Peter 1:8. The aor. may refer to the occasion of the angelic visit. But it is the Greek idiom to use the aor. in many cases in which we use the perf., and then it is misleading to translate the Grk. aor. by the Eng. aor. Moreover, in late Grk. the distinction between aor. and perf. had become less sharp. Simcox, Lang. of N. T. pp. 103-106; Lagarde, Mittheilungen, iii. 374.

τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου. He is the Saviour of Mary as well as of her fellows. She probably included the notion of external and political deliverance, but not to the exclusion of spiritual salvation. For the expression comp. 1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:2:3; Titus 1:3, Titus 1:2:10, Titus 1:3:4; Jude 1:25; Psalms 23:5, Psalms 106:21. In the Ps. Sol. we have Ἀλήθεια τῶν δικαίων παρὰ Θεοῦ σωτῆρος αὐτῶν (3:7); and ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐλπιοῦμεν ἐπὶ Θεὸν τὸν σωτῆρα ἡμῶν (17:3). Comp. Ps. Sol. 8:39, 16:4.

48. ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης αὐτοῦ. Comp. Hannah’s prayer for a child 1 Samuel 1:11. In spite of her humble position as a carpenter’s bride, Mary had been chosen for the highest honour that a human being could receive. For ταπείνωσις comp. Acts 8:33 (from Isaiah 53:8) and Philippians 3:21; and for ἰδεῖν τὴν ταπείνωσιν comp. 2 Kings 14:26 and Psalms 25:18. This use of ἐπιβλέπειν ἐπί is freq. in LXX (Psalms 25:16, Psalms 69:16, Psalms 102:19, Psalms 119:132, etc.); see esp. 1 Samuel 9:16.

ἰδοὺ γὰρ�Genesis 30:13). See Resch, Kindheitsev. p. 104.


The Latin renderings of�

49. ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός. Here the second strophe begins. The reading μεγαλεῖα may come from Acts 2:11: comp. ἃ ἐποίησας μεγαλεῖα (Ps. 70:19). With ὁ δυνατός comp. δύναμις Ὑψίστου (ver. 35) and Κύριος κραταιὸς καὶ δυνατός (Ps. 23:8). In LXX δυνατός is very common, but almost invariably of men. After both δυνατός and αὐτοῦ we should place a colon. The clause καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ is a separate sentence, neither dependent upon the preceding ὅτι, nor very closely connected with what follows.

50. καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν. Comp. Ps. Sol. 10:4, καὶ τὸ ἔλεος Κυρίου ἐπὶ τοὺς�Isaiah 34:17), εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν (Psalms 89:2), and κατὰ γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν (1 Mac. 2:61). “Fearing God” is the O.T. description of piety. Nearly the whole verse comes from Psalms 103:17. Syr-Sin. for καὶ γενεάς has “and on the tribe.”


51. Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν, κ.τ.λ. Beginning of the third strophe. The six aorists in it are variously explained. 1. They tell of things which the Divine power and holiness and mercy (vv. 49, 50) have already accomplished in the past. 2. According to the common prophetic usage, they speak of the future as already past, and tell of the effects to be produced by the Messiah as if they had been produced. 3. They are gnomic, and express God’s normal acts. We may set aside this last. It is very doubtful whether the aor. is ever used of what is normal or habitual (Win. xl. 5. b, 1, p. 346). Of the other two explanations, the second is to be preferred. It is more likely that Mary is thinking of the farreaching effects of the blessing conferred upon herself than of past events unconnected with that blessing. In either case the six aorists must be translated by the English perfect. They show that in this strophe, as in the second, we have a triplet. There it was God’s power, holiness, and mercy. Here it is the contrasts between proud and humble, high and low, rich and poor.

Both ἐποίησεν κράτος and ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ are Hebraisms. For the former comp. δεξιὰ Κυρίου ἐποίησεν δύναμιν (Psalms 118:15). For βραχίων to express Divine power comp. Acts 13:17 ; John 12:38 (from Isaiah 53:1); Psalms 44:3, Psalms 98:1, etc. The phrase ἐν χειρὶ κραταιᾷ καὶ ἐν βραχίονι ὑψηλῷ is frq). in LXX (Deuteronomy 4:34, Deuteronomy 5:15, Deuteronomy 6:21, Deuteronomy 26:8). This use of ἐν is in the main Hebraistic (22:49; Revelation 6:8; Judges 15:15, Judges 15:20:16; 1 Kings 12:18; Judith 6:12, 8:33). Win. xlviii. 3. d, p. 485.

ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν. The dat. limits ὑπερηφάνους: they are proud and overweening in thought. In N.T. ὑπερήφανος is never “conspicuous above” others, but always in a bad sense, “looking down on” others (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2. It is freq. in LXX. Comp. Ps. Sol. 2:35, κοιμίζων ὑπερηφάνους εἰς�1 John 2:16, and Trench, Syn. xxix.

52. καθεῖλεν δυνάστας�1 Timothy 6:15. Comp. δυνάσται Φαραώ (Genesis 50:4). In Acts 8:27 it is an adj. It is probable that ταπεινούς here means primarily the oppressed poor as opposed to tyrannical rulers. See Hatch, Biblical Greek, pp. 73-77. Besides the parallels given in the table (p. 31) comp.�Psalms 147:6); θρόνους�Luke 14:11, Luke 14:18:14; James 1:9, James 1:10. In Clem. Rom. Cor. lix. 3 we have what looks like a paraphrase, but may easily come from O.T. Comp. Enoch xlvi. 5.

53. πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν�1 Samuel 2:5); also Ps. Song of Solomon 5:10-12, 10:7.

54. Ἀντελάβετο Ἰσραὴλ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ. The fourth strophe. The regular biblical meaning of�Acts 20:35; Ecclus. 2:6); hence�1 Corinthians 12:28; Ps. 21:20, Psalms 83:8), and�Psalms 18:3, Psalms 54:6). There is no doubt that παιδὸς αὐτοῦ means “His servant,” not “His son.” The children of God are called τέκνα or υἱοί, but not παῖδες. We have παῖς in the sense of God’s servant used of Israel or Jacob (Isaiah 41:8, Isaiah 41:9, Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 44:1, Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:21, Isaiah 45:4); of David (Luke 1:69; Acts 4:25; Psalms 17:1; Isaiah 37:35); and of Christ (Acts 3:13, Acts 3:26, Acts 3:4:27, 30). Comp. Ps. Sol. 12:7, 17:23; Didaché, 9:2, 3, 10:2, 3.


μνησθῆναι ἐλέους. “So as to remember mercy,” i.e. to prove that He had not forgotten, as they might have supposed. Comp. Ps Sol. 10:4, καὶ μνησθήσεται Κύριος τῶν δούλων αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐλέει.

55. καθὼς ἐλάλησεν πρός. “Even as He spake unto”: see on vv. 2 and 13. This clause is not a parenthesis, but explains the extent of the remembrance of mercy. RV. is the first English Version to make plain that τῷ Ἀβραάμ, κ.τ.λ., depends upon μνησθῆναι and not upon ἐλάλησεν by rendering πρός “unto” and the dat. “toward.” To make this still more plain, “As He spake unto our fathers” is put into a parenthesis, which is not necessary. The Genevan is utterly wrong, “(Even as He promised to our fathers, to wit, to Abraham and his sede) for ever.” It is improbable that Lk. would use both πρός and the simple dat. after ἐλάλησεν in the same sentence; or that he means to say that God spoke to Abraham’s seed for ever. The phrase εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα is common in the Psalms, together with εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος (Hebrews 1:8) and εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος. It means “unto the age,” i.e. the age κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the age of the Messiah. The belief that whatever is allowed to see that age will continue to exist in that age, makes εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα equivalent to “for ever.” This strophe, like ver. 72 harmonizes with the doctrine that Abraham is still alive (20:38), and is influenced by what takes place in the development of God’s kingdom on earth (John 8:56; comp. Hebrews 12:1; Isaiah 29:22, Isaiah 29:23).

For εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα A C F M S here have ἕως αἰῶνος (1 Chronicles 17:16; Ezekiel 25:15?), which does not occur in N.T.


56. Ἔμεινεν δὲ Μαριὰμ σὺν αὐτῇ. Lk. greatly prefers σύν to μετά. He uses σύν much more often than all N.T. writers put together. In his Gospel we find him using, σύν where the parallel passage in Mt. or Mk. has μετά or καί; e.g. 8:38, 51, 20:1, 22:14, 56. We have σύν three times in these first two chapters; here, 2:5 and 13. It is not likely that an interpolator would have caught all these minute details in Lk.’s style: see Introd. § 6.

ὡς μῆνας τρεῖς. This, when compared with μὴν ἕκτος (ver. 36), leads us to suppose that Mary waited until the birth of John the Baptist. She would hardly have left when that was imminent. Lk. mentions her return before mentioning the birth in order to complete one narrative before beginning another; just as he mentions the imprisonment of the Baptist before the Baptism of the Christ in order to finish his account of John’s ministry before beginning to narrate the ministry of Jesus (3:20, 21). That Mary is not named in vv. 57, 58 is no evidence that she was not present. It would be unnatural to say that one of the household heard of the event; and, in fact, οἱ συγγενεῖς would include her, whether it is intended to do so or not. Origen, Ambrose, Bede, and others believe that she remained until the birth of John. For the patristic arguments for and against see Corn. à Lap. Lk. leaves us in doubt, probably because his authority left him in doubt; but Didon goes too far in saying that Lk. insinuates that she was not presents.1

For this use of ὡς comp. 8:42 (not 2:37); Acts 1:15, Acts 1:5:7, 36. Lk. more often uses ὡσεί in thus sense (3:23, 9:14, 28, 22:41, 59, 23:44; Acts 2:41, etc.). In ὑπέστρεψεν we have another very favourite word which runs through both Gospel and Acts. It is found elsewhere only Mark 14:40; Galatians 1:17; Hebrews 7:1; 2 Peter 2:21.

Meyer righly remarks that “the historical character of the Visitation of Mary stands or falls with that of the Annunciation.” The arguments against it are very inconclusive. 1. That it does not harmonize with Joseph’s dream in Matthew 1:20; which has been shown to be incorrect. 2. That there is no trace elsewhere of great intimacy between the two families; which proves absolutely nothing. 3. That the obvious purpose of the narrative is to glorify Jesus, in making the unborn Baptist acknowledge Him as the Messiah; which is mere assertion. 4. That the poetic splendour of the narrative lifts it out of the historical sphere; which implies that what is expressed with great poetic beauty cannot be historically true,—a canon which would be fatal to a great deal of historical material. We may assert of this narrative, as of that of the Annunciation, that no one in the first or second century could have imagined either. Least of all could any one have given us the Magnificat, —“the most magnificent cry of Joy that has ever issued from a human breast.” Nothing that has come down to us of that age leads us to suppose that any writer could have composed these accounts without historic truth to guide him, any more than an architect of that age could have produced Milan cathedral. Comp. the Protevangelium of James xii.-xiv.; the Pseudo-Matthew ix.-xii.; the Hist. of Joseph the Carpenter iii.-vi.


57-80. The Birth and Circumcision of the Forerunner

57. ἐπλήσθη ὁ χρόνος τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν . Expressions about time or days being fulfilled are found chiefly in these two chapters in N.T. (ver. 23, 2:6, 21, 22). They are Hebraistic: e.g. ἐπληρώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν (Genesis 25:24; comp. 29:21; Leviticus 12:4, Leviticus 12:6; Numbers 6:5, etc.). And τοῦ τεκεῖν is gen. after ὁ χρόνος.

ἐμεγάλυνεν Κύριος τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ μετʼ αὐτῆς . The verb is not used in the same sense as in ver. 46, nor yet quite literally as in Matthew 23:5, but rather “made conspicuous,” i.e. bestowed conspicuous mercy. Comp. ἐμεγάλυνας τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου (Genesis 19:19). The μετʼ αὐτῆς does not mean that she co-operates with God, but that He thus deals with her. Comp. ver. 72, 10:37, and εἴδετε ἃ ἐμεγάλυνεν μεθʼ ὑμῶν (1 Samuel 12:24). In συνέχαιρον αὐτῇ we have the first beginning of the fulfilment of ver. 14. It means “rejoiced with her” (15:6, 9; 1 Corinthians 12:26), rather than “congratulated her” (Philippians 2:17).

59. ἦλθαν περιτεμεῖν τὸ παιδίον. The nom. must be understood from the context, amici ad eam rem advocati, viz. some of those mentioned ver. 58. Circumcision might be performed anywhere and by any Jew, even by a woman (Exodus 4:25).

On the mixture of first and second aorist in such forms as ἦλθαν, ἔπεσα, εἴδαμεν,�Acts 2:23, Acts 12:7, Acts 16:37, Acts 22:7, etc.

ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ . Not merely “they wished to call,” but “they began to call, were calling”; comp. 5:6; Acts 7:26; Matthew 3:14. The custom of combining the naming with circumcision perhaps arose from Abram being changed to Abraham when circumcision was instituted. Naming after the father was common among the Jews (Jos. Vita, I; Ant. xiv. I, 3). For the ἐπί comp. ἐκλήθη ἐπʼ ὀνόματι αὐτῶν (Nehemiah 7:63).


60. κληθήσεται Ἰωάνης . It is quite gratuitous to suppose that the name had been divinely revealed to her, or that she chose it herself to express the boon which God had bestowed upon her. Zacharias would naturally tell her in writing what had taken place in the temple. With καλεῖται τῷ ὀνόματι comp. 19:2.

62. ἐνένευον . Here only in N.T., but we have νεύω similarly used Acts 24:10 and John 13:24. Comp. ἐννεύει ὀφθαλμῷ, σημαίνει δὲ ποδί, διδάσκει δὲ ἐννεύμασιν δακτύλων (Proverbs 6:13), and ὁ ἐννεύων ὀφθαλμοῖς μετὰ δόλου (Proverbs 10:10). Some infer that Zacharias was deaf as well as. dumb; and this is often the meaning of κωφός (ver. 22), viz. “blunted in speech or hearing, or both” (7:22). But the question is not worth the amount of discussion which it has received.

τὸ τί ἄν θέλοι . The art. turns the whole clause into a substantive. “They communicated by signs the question, what he,” etc. Comp. Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; Matthew 19:18. The τό serves the purpose of marks of quotation.

This use of τό with a sentence, and especially with a question, is common In Lk. (9:46, 19:48, 22:2, 4, 23, 24, 37; Acts 4:21, Acts 22:30). Note the ἄν: “what he would perhaps wish, might wish.” We have exactly the same use of ἄν John 13:24?; comp. Luke 6:11; Acts 5:24, Acts 21:33?. Win. xlii. 4, p. 386; Blass, Gr. p. 215.


63. αἰτήσας πινακίδιον . Postulans pugillarem (Vulg.), cum petisset tabulam (d). Of course by means of signs, ἐννεύμασιν δακτύλων. One is inclined to conjecture that Lk. or his authority accidentally put the ἐννεύειν in the wrong place. Signs must have been used here, and they are not mentioned. They need not have been used ver. 62, and they are mentioned. The πινακίδιον would probably be a tablet covered with wax: loquitur in stylo, auditur in cera (Tert. De idol. xxiii.).

All four forms, πίναξ, πινακίς, πινάκιον, and πινακίδιον, are used of writing-tablets, and πινακίδα is v.l. (D) here. But elsewhere in N.T. πίναξ is a “dish” or “platter” (11:39; Matthew 14:8, Matthew 14:11; Mark 6:25, Mark 6:28). Note the Hebraistic particularity in ἔγραψεν λέγων, and comp. 2 Kings 10:6; 2Ki_1 Mac. 10:17, 11:57. This is the first mention of writing in N.T.


Ἰωάης ἐστὶν ὄνομα αὐτοῦ. Not ἔσται, but ἐστίν: habet vocabulum suum quod agnovimus, non quod elegimus (Bede); quasi dicat nullam superesse consultationem in re quam Deus jam definiisset (Grotius); non tam jubet, quam jussum divinum indicat (Beng.). The ἐθαύμασαν πάντες may be used on either side of the question of his deafness. They wondered at his agreeing with Elisabeth, although he had not heard her choice of name; or, they wondered at his agreeing with her, although he had heard the discussion.

64.�1 Corinthians 3:2; 1 Timothy 4:3; Win. lxvi. I. e, p. 777. The Complutensian Bible, on the authority of two cursives (140, 251), inserts διηρθρώθη after ἡ γλῶσσα αὐτοῦ: see on 2:22. For παραχρῆμα see on 5:25 and comp. 4:39. We are left in doubt as to whether ἐλάλει εὐλογῶν refers to the Benedictus or to some εὐλογία which preceded it. The use of ἐπροφήτευσεν and not εὐλόγησεν in ver. 67 does not prove that two distinct acts of thanksgiving are to be understood. Here Syr-Sin. has “They marvelled all.”


65. ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος. See on 4:36. Zacharias (ver. 12) and Mary (ver. 30) had had the same feeling when conscious of the nearness of the spiritual world. A writer of fiction would have been more likely to dwell upon the joy which the wonderful birth of the future Prophet produced; all the more so as such joy had been predicted (ver. 14). The αὐτούς means Zacharias and Elisabeth.

διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα. This need not be confined to what was said at the circumcision of John. It is probably the Hebraistic use of ῥήματα for the things which are the subject-matter of narration. Comp. 2:19, 51, where RV. has “sayings” in the text and “things” in the margin; and Acts 5:32, where it has “things” in the text and “sayings” in the margin. Comp. LXX Genesis 15:1, Genesis 22:1, Genesis 15:16, Genesis 39:7, Genesis 40:1, Genesis 48:1, and esp. 24:66, πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐποίησεν. The verb διαλαλεῖν occurs only here and 6:11: not in LXX, but in Sym. several times in the Psalms. Syr-Sin. omits πάντα τὰ π̔ήματα.

66. ἔθεντο πάντες οἱ�1 Samuel 21:12); ἔθετο Δανιὴλ ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ (Daniel 1:8); τίθεσθε εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ὑμῶν (Malachi 2:2). Lk. is fond of constructions with ἐν τῇ κ. or ἐν ταῖς κ. (2:19, 3:15, 5:22, 21:14; comp. 2:51, 24:38). In Hom. we have both θεῖναί τι and θέσθαι τι, either ἐν φρεσί or ἐν στήθεσσι. Note that, not only is πᾶς or ἅπας a favourite word with Lk., but either form combined with a participle of�Acts 5:5, Acts 5:11, Acts 5:9:21, Acts 5:10:44, Acts 5:26:29; comp. Acts 4:4, Acts 18:8). See on 6:30.

Τί ἄρα τὸ παιδίον τοῦτο ἔσται; Not τίς; the neut. makes the question more indefinite and comprehensive: comp. τί ἄρα ὁ Πέτρος ἐγένετο (Acts 12:18). The ἄρα, igitur, means “in these circumstances”; 8:25, 12:42, 22:23.

καὶ γὰρ χεὶρ Κυρίου ἦν μετʼ αὐτοῦ. “For besides all that,” i.e. in addition to the marvels which attended his birth. This is a remark of the Evangelist, who is wont now and then to interpose in this manner: comp. 2:50, 3:15, 7:39, 16:14, 20:20, 23:12. The recognition that John was under special Divine influence caused the question, τί ἄρα ἔσται; to be often repeated in after times. Here, as in Acts 11:21, χεὶρ Κυρίου is followed by μετά, and the meaning is that the Divine power interposes to guide and bless. See small print on 1:20 for other parallels between Gospel and Acts. Where the preposition which follows is ἐπί, the Divine interposition is generally one of punishment (Acts 13:11; Judges 2:15; 1 Samuel 5:3, 1 Samuel 5:6, 1 Samuel 5:7:13; Exodus 7:4, Exodus 7:5). But this is by no means always the case (2 Kings 3:15; Ezra 7:6, Ezra 7:8:22, 31), least of all where χείρ has the epithet�Ezra 7:9, Ezra 7:28, Ezra 7:8:18). In N.T. χεὶρ Κυρίου is peculiar to Lk. (Acts 11:21, Acts 11:13:11; comp. 4:28, 30).


67-79. The Benedictus or Song of Zacharias may be the εὐλογία mentioned in ver. 64.1 To omit it there, in order to continue the narrative without interruption, and to give it as a solemn conclusion, would be a natural arrangement. As the Magnificat is modelled on the psalms, so the Benedictus is modelled on the prophecies, and it has been called “the last prophecy of the Old Dispensation and the first in the New.” And while the tone of the Magnificat is regal, that of the Benedictus is sacerdotal. The one is as appropriate to the daughter of David as the other to the son of Aaron. The relation between new and old may again be seen in a table.

The Benedictus. The Old Testament.

Εὐλογητὸς Κύριος ὁ θεὸς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, 1Εὐλογητὸς Κύριος ὁ θεὸς Ἰσραήλ.

ὅτι ἐπεσκέψατο καὶ ἐποίησεν λύτρωσιν 2λύτρωσιν�

In some texts ἐπροφήτευσεν has been altered into the more regular προεφήτευσεν, but everywhere in N.T. (even Jude 1:14) the augment should precede the prep. in this compound. This is intelligible, seeing that there is no simple verb φητεύω. Comp. Numbers 11:25, Numbers 11:26; Ecclus. 48:13, and the similar forms ἤφιεν and ἤνοιξεν. Win. xii. 5, p. 84.

68. Εὐλογητὸς κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. Not ἐστίν but εἴη is to be supplied. The line is verbatim as Ps. 41:14, Psalms 72:18, Psalms 106:48, excepting that in LXX τοῦ is omitted. In N.T. εὐλογητός is used of God, but never of men: see on ver. 42. In LXX there are a few exceptions: Deuteronomy 7:14; Ruth 2:20; 1 Samuel 15:13, 1 Samuel 25:33.

ἐπεσκέψατο καὶ ἐποίσεν λύτρωσιν τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ. Here, as in Ecclus. 32:17, an acc. is to be supplied after ἐπεσκέψατο; there τὸν ταπεινόν, here τὸν λαόν. See on 7:16. Excepting Hebrews 2:6, where it is a quotation from Psalms 8:5, this verb is used in the Hebrew sense (Exodus 4:31) of Divine visitation by Lk. alone in N.T. Comp. Ps. Sol. 3:14. No doubt λύτρωσιν has reference to political redemption (ver. 71), but accompanied by and based upon a moral and spiritual reformation (vv. 75, 77). Comp. Psalms 129:7.

69. καὶ ἤγειρεν κέρας σωτηρίας ἡμῖν. For this use of ἐγείρω comp. ἤγειρεν Κύριος σωτῆρα τῷ Ἰσραήν (Judges 3:9, Judges 3:15). In Ezekiel 29:21 and Psalms 132:17 the verb used is�1 Samuel 2:10; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalms 75:5, Psalms 75:6, 11, etc.), and is taken neither from the horns of the altar, nor from the peaks of helmets or head-dresses, but from the horns of animals, especially bulls. It represents, therefore, primarily, neither safety nor dignity, but strength. The wild-ox, wrongly called “unicorn” in AV., was Proverbial for strength (Numbers 24:8; Job 39:9-11 ; Deuteronomy 33:17). In Horace we have addis cornua pauperi, and to Ovid tum pauper cornua sumit. In Psalms 18:3 God is called a κέρας σωτηρίας. See below on ver. 71. For παιδὸς αὐτοῦ see on ver. 54. “In the house of His servant David” is all the more true if Mary was of the house of David. But the fact that Jesus was the heir of Joseph is sufficient, and this verse is no proof of Mary’s descent from David.

70. Second strophe. Like ver. 55, this is not a parenthesis, but determines the preceding statement more exactly. As a priest, Zacharias would be familiar with O.T. prophecies. Even if the τῶν before�Acts 3:21, Acts 10:22, Acts 21:28). He is also fond of the periphrasis διὰ στόματος (Acts 1:16, Acts 1:3:18, Acts 1:21, Acts 1:4:25): comp. 2 Chronicles 36:22. And the expression�Acts 3:21, Acts 15:18). It is used vaguely for “of old time.” Here it does not mean that there have been Prophets “since the world began.” Comp. οἱ γίγαντες οἱ�Genesis 6:4), and καταβροντᾷ καὶ καταφέγγει τοὺς�

71. σωτηρίαν ἐξ ἐχθρῶν ἡμῶν. This is in app. with κέρας σωτηρίας and epexegetic of it. That the ἐχθρῶν ἡμῶν and τῶν μισούντων ἡμᾶς are identical is clear from Psalms 18:18 and 106:10 (see table). The heathen are meant. Gentile domination prevents the progress of God’s kingdom, and the Messiah will put an end to this hindrance. Comp. Exodus 18:10.

Neither σωτηρία (vv. 69, 77, 19:9; Acts 4:12, etc.) nor τὸ σωτήριον (2:30, 3:6; Acts 28:28) occur in Mt. or Mk. The former occurs once in (John 4:22). Both are common in LXX. The primary meaning is preservation from bodily harm (Genesis 26:31; 2 Samuel 19:2), especially of the great occasions on which God had preserved Israel (Exodus 14:13, Exodus 14:15:2; 2 Chronicles 20:17); and hence of the deliverance to be wrought by the Messiah (Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 49:8), which is the meaning here. Comp. τοῦ κυρίου ἡ σωτηρία ἐπʼ οἶκον Ἰσραὴλ εἰς εὐφροσύνην αἰώνιον (Ps. Sol. 10:9; and very similarly 12:7). As the idea of the Messianic salvation became enlarged and purified, the word which so often expressed it came gradually to mean much the same as “eternal life.” See on Romans 1:16.

72. ποιῆσαι ἔλεος μετά, κ.τ.λ. This is the purpose of ἤγειρεν κέρας. The phrase is freq. in LXX (Genesis 24:12; Judges 1:24, Judges 1:8:35; Ruth 1:8; 1 Samuel 20:8, etc.). Comp. μετʼ αὐτῆς, ver. 58. “In delivering us God purposed to deal mercifully with our fathers.” This seems to imply that the fathers are conscious of what takes place: comp. vv. 54, 55. Besides the passages given in the table, comp. Leviticus 26:42, and see Wsctt. on Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 9:16.

73. ὅρκον ὃν ὤμοσεν πρὸς Ἀβραάμ. Third strophe. The oath is recorded Genesis 22:16-18: comp. Ep. of Barnabas, xiv. 1.

It is best to take ὅρκον in app. with διαθήκης, but attracted in case to ὅν: comp. vv. 4, 20, and see on 3:19. It is true that in LXX μνησθῆναι is found with an acc. (Exodus 20:8; Genesis 9:16). But would Lk. give it first a gen. and then an acc. in the same sentence? For the attraction of the antecedent to the relative comp. 20:17 and perhaps Acts 10:36.


ὤμοσεν πρός Ἀ. So also in Hom. (Od. xiv. 331, xix. 288): but see on ver. 13.

74. τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν. This is probably to be taken after ὅρκον as the contents and purpose of the oath: and the promise that “thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Genesis 22:17) is in favour of this. But it is possible to take τοῦ δοῦναι as epexegetic of ver. 72; or again, as the purpose of ἥγειρεν κέρας, and therefore parallel to ver. 72. This last is not likely, because there is no τοῦ with ποιῆσαι. This τοῦ c. infin. of the purpose or result is a favourite constr. with Lk. (vv. 77, 79. 2:24. where see reff.). It marks the later stage of the language, in which aim and purpose become confused with result. Perhaps the gen. of the aim may be explained on the analogy of the part. gen. after verbs of hitting or missing.

ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν. It does not follow from ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ that spiritual enemies are meant. The tyranny of heathen conquerors was a hindrance to holiness. In addition to the parallel passages quoted in the table, comp. Psalms 18:18, ῥύσεταί με ἐξ ἐχθρῶν μου δυνατῶν καὶ ἐκ τῶν μισούντων με.


For the acc. ῥυσθέντας after ἡμῖν comp. σοὶ δὲ συγγνώμη λέγειν τάδʼ ἐστί, μὴ πάσχουσαν ὡς ἐγὼ κακῶς (Eur. Med. 814).

75. λατρεύειν αὐτῷ. Comp. λατρεύσετε τῷ Θεῷ ἐν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ (Exodus 3:12). We must take ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ with λατρεύειν αὐτῷ. The service of the redeemed and delivered people is to be a priestly service, like that of Zacharias (ver. 8). For ἐνώπιον see on ver. 15, and for λατρεύειν on 4:8. The combination ὁσιότης καὶ δικαιοσύνη becomes common; but perhaps the earliest instance is Wisd. 9:3. We have it Ephesians 4:24 and Clem Rom. 48.: comp. Titus 1:8 and 1 Thessalonians 2:10.


76. καὶ σὺ δέ, παιδίον. Here the second part of the hymn, and the distinctively predictive portion of it, begins. The Prophet turns from the bounty of Jehovah in sending the Messiah to the work of the Forerunner. “But thou also, child,” or “Yea and thou, child” (RV.). Neither the καί nor the δέ must be neglected. There is combination, but there is also contrast. Not “my child”: the personal relation is lost in the high calling. The κληθήσῃ has the same force as in ver. 32: not only “shalt be,” but “shalt be acknowledged as being.”

προπορεύσῃ γὰρ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου. Comp. Κύριος ὁ Θεός σου ὁ προπορευόμενος πρὸ προσώπου σου, καθὰ ἐλάλησεν Κύριος (Deuteronomy 31:3). Here Κυρίου means Jehovah, not the Christ, as is clear from vv. 16, 17.

77. τοῦ δοῦναι γνῶσιν σωτηρίας τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ. This is the aim and end of the work of the Forerunner. In construction it comes after ἑτοιμάσαι ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ. We may take ἐν�Acts 5:31). The Messiah brings the σωτηρία (vv. 69, 71): the Forerunner gives the knowledge of it to the people, as consisting, not in a political deliverance from the dominion of Rome, but in a spiritual deliverance from the dominion of sin. This is the first mention of the “remission of sins” in the Gospel narrative.


78. διὰ σπλάγχνα ἐλέους Θεοῦ ἡμῶν. The concluding strophe, referring to the whole of the preceding sentence, or (if we take a single word) to προπορεύσῃ. It is because of God’s tender mercy that the child will be able to fulfil his high calling and to do all this. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. Levi 4., ἕως ἐπισκέψηται Κύριος πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐν σπλάγχνοις υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ ἕως αἰῶνος: also Lev_7. and 8.

Originally the σπλάγχνα were the ‘inward arts,” esp. the upper portions, the heart, lungs, and liver (viscera thoracis), as distinct from the ἔντερα or bowels (viscera abdominis). The Greeks made the σπλάγχνα the seat of the emotions, anger, anxiety, pity, etc. By the Jews these feelings were placed in the ἔντερα; and hence in LXX we have not only σπλάγχνα (which may include the ἔντερα), but also κοιλία and ἔγκατα used for the affections. Moreover in Hebr. literature these words more often represent compassion or love, whereas σπλάγχνα in class. Grk. is more often used of wrath (Aristoph. Ran. 844, 1006; Eur. Alc. 1009). “Heart” is the nearest English equivalent for σπλάγχνα (RV. Col, iii. 12; Philemon 1:12, Philemon 1:20). See Lft. on Philippians 1:8. “Because of our God’s heart of mercy,” i.e. merciful heart, is the meaning here. For this descriptive or characterizing gen. comp. James 1:25, James 1:2:4; Jude 1:18. Some would make γνώσιν σωτηρίας an instance of it, “saving knowledge,” i.e. that brings salvation. But this is not necessary. For ἐν οἶς see on ἐν βραχίονι, ver. 51. For ἐπισκέψεται1 comp. 7:17; Ecclus. 46:14; Judith 8:33; and see on ver. 68.

ἀνατολὴ ἐξ ὕψους. “Rising from on high.” The word is used of the rising of the sun (Revelation 7:2, Revelation 7:14:12; Hom. Od. xii. 4) and of stars (Æsch. P.V. 457; Eur. Phœn. 504). Here the rising of the heavenly body is put for the heavenly body itself. Comp. the use of�Isaiah 60:1 and Malachi 4:2. Because sun, moon, and stars do not rise from on high, some join ἐξ ὕψους with ἐπισκέψεται, which is admissible. But, as�Jeremiah 23:5, Jeremiah 23:33:15; Zechariah 3:8, Zechariah 6:12), and that in LXX this is expressed by�

79. ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις . For ἐπιφᾶναι comp. Acts 27:20, and for the form Ps. 30:17, 117:27. In 3 Mac. 6:4 we have Σὺ Φαραὼ …�Isaiah 42:7 and the σκίᾳ θανάτου of Isaiah 9:1 are combined here as in Psalms 107:10 (see table). Those who hold that these hymns are written in the interests of Ebionism have to explain why πεπεδημένουος ἐν πτωχείᾳ (Psalms 107:10) is omitted.

τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης . For the constr. comp. vv. 74, 77. Those who sat in darkness did not use their feet: the light enables them to do so, and to use them profitably. The ἡμῶν shows that Jews as well as Gentiles are regarded as being in darkness until the Messianic dawn. “The way of peace” is the way that leads to peace, especially peace between God and His people (Psalms 29:11, 85:9, 119:165; Jeremiah 14:13). It was one of the many blessings which the Messiah was to bring (2:14, 10:5, 24:36). See on. Romans 1:7 and comp. ὁδὸν σωτηρίας (Acts 16:17).

80. τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανε καὶ ἐκραρταιοῦτο πνεῦματι. The verse forms a set conclusion to the narrative, as if here one of the Aramaic documents used by Lk. came to an end. Comp. 2:40, 52; Judges 13:24, Judges 13:25; 1 Samuel 2:26. In LXX αὐξάνω is never, as here, intrans. Thus αὐξανῶ σε σφόδρα (Genesis 17:6); ηὐξήθη τὸ παιδίον (Genesis 21:8). In N.T. it is used of physical growth (2:40, 12:27, 13:19), and of the spread of the Gospel (Acts 6:7, Acts 12:24, Acts 19:20). With ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι comp. Ephesians 3:16; and for the dat. Romans 4:20? and 1 Corinthians 14:20.


ἦν ἐν ταῖς ἐρήμοις. The wilderness of Judaea, west of the Dead Sea, is no doubt meant. But the name is not given, because the point is, not that he lived in any particular desert, but that he lived in desert places and not in towns or villages. He lived a solitary life. Hence nothing is said about his being “in favour with men”; for he avoided men until his�

More than any other Evangelist Lk. makes use of the Hebr. formula, ἐγένετε δέ or ἐγένετο. But with it he uses a variety of constructions, some of which are modelled on the classical use of συνέβη, which Lk. himself employs Acts 21:35. The following types are worth noting.


(α) The ἐγέντο and that which came to pass are placed side by side as parallel statements in the indicative mood without a conjunction.

1:8. ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ ἱερατεύειν αὐτὸν … ἔλαχε τοῦ θυμιᾶσαι.

1:23. καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτου ργίας αὐτοῦ,�

Of the same type are 5:12, 9:51, 14:1, 17:11, 19:15, 24:4 ; Acts 5:7. It will be observed that in nearly all cases the καί is followed by αὐτός or αὐτοί. In 5:12 and 24:4 it is followed by the Hebraistic ἰδού and in 19:15 we have simply καὶ εἶπεν.


(γ) That which takes place is put in the infinitive mood, and this depends upon ἐγένετο.

3:21. ἐγένετο δέ ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι ἄπαντα τὸν λαὸν …�

1 “It has been argued that the different modes in which God is recorded to have communicated with men, in St. Matthew by dreams and in St. Luke by Angels, show the extent of the subjective influence of the writer’s mind upon the narrative. But surely those are right who see in this difference the use of various means adapted to the peculiar state of the recipient. Moreover, as St. Matthew recognizes the ministry of Angels (28:2), so St. Luke relates Visions (Acts 10:9-16, Acts 10:16:9, Acts 10:18:9, Acts 10:10). … It is to be noticed that the contents of the divine messages (Matthew 1:20, Matthew 1:21 ; Luke 1:30-33) are related conversely to the general character of the Gospels, as a consequence of the difference of character in those to whom they are addressed. The promise of Redemption is made to Joseph; of a glorious Kingdom to the Virgin” (Wsctt. Int. to Gospels, p. 317, 7th ed.). See Hastings, D.B. 1. p. 93.


1 The Ave Maria as a liturgical address to the Virgin consists of three two of which are scriptural and one not. The first two parts, “Hail, Mary full of grace; the Lord is with thee,” and “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (ver. 42), are first found in the Liber Antiphonianus attributed to Gregory the Great; and they were authorized as a formula to be taught with the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, c. a.d. 1198. The third part, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death,” was added in the fifteenth century, and was authorized by Pope Pius v. in 1568.

X X. Cod. Monacensis, sæc. ix. In the University Library at Munich. Contains 1:1-37, 2:19-3:38, 4:21-10:37, 11:1-18:43, 20:46-24:53.

Δ̠Δ. Cod. Sangallensis, sæc. ix. In the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.

Aeth. Ethiopic.

Goth. Gothic.

Tert. Tertullian.

L L. Cod. Regius Parisiensis, sæc. viii. National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

Aegyptt. Egyptian.

Arm. Armenian.

1 H. Lasserre renders puisgue je n’ai nul rapport avec mon mari, and explains that�

1 1 Samuel 2:1.

2 1 Samuel 1:11.

3 Genesis 30:13.

4 Deuteronomy 10:21.

5 Psalms 111:9.

6 Psalms 103:17.

1 Psalms 89:11.

2 Job 12:19.

3 Job 5:11.

4 1 Samuel 2:7.

5 Psalms 107:9.

6 Isaiah 41:8.

7 Psalms 98:3.

8 Micah 7:20.

9 2 Samuel 22:51.


10

On the structure of Hebrew poetry, see Driver, Literature of the O. T. pp. 338-345. T. & T. Clark, 1891.

On the use of the Magnificat, first at Lauds in the Gallican Church, from a.d. 507, and then at Vespers on Saturday in the Sarum Breviary, see Blunt, Annotated Prayer-Book.

M M. Cod. Campianus, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

S S. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. x. In the Vatican. The earliest dated MS. of the Greek Testament. Contains the whole Gospel.

1

Didon has some excellent remarks on the poetical portion of this narrative. La poésie est le langage des impressions véhémentes et des idées sublimes. Chez les Juifs, comme chez tous les peuples d’Orient, elle jaillait d’inspiration. Tout âme est poète, la joie ou la douleur la fait chanter. Si jamais un coeur a diû faire explosion dans quelque hymne inspirée, c’est bien celui de la jeune fille élue de Dieu pour être la mère du Messie.

Elle emprunte à l’histoire biblique des femmes qui, avant elle, ont tressailli dans leur maternité, comme Liah et la mère de Samuel des expressions qu’ elle élargit et transfigure. Les hymnes nationaux qui célèbrent la gloire de son peuple, la miséricorde, la puissance, la sagesse et la fidélité de Dieu, reviennent sur ses lèures habituées à les chanter (Jésus Christ, p. 112, ed. 1891). The whole passage is worth consulting.

1 Like most of the canticles, the Benedictus was originally said at Lauds: and it is still said at Lauds, in the Roman Church daily, in the Greek Church on special occasions. See footnote on p. 67.

1 Ps. 41:14, Psalms 72:18, Psalms 106:48.

2 Psalms 111:9.

3 Psalms 132:17.

4 Ezekiel 29:21.

5 1 Samuel 2:10.

6 Psalms 106:10.

7 Micah 7:20.

8 Psalms 106:45.

9 Exodus 2:24.

10 Jeremiah 11:5

11 Psalms 105:8, Psalms 105:9.

12 Malachi 3:1.

13 Isaiah 40:3.

14 Isaiah 42:7.

15 Isaiah 9:1.

16 Psalms 107:10.


1 This is the reading of א B Syr. Arm. Goth. Bob. and virtually of L, which has ἐπεσκέψαιται. Godet defends ἐπεσκέψατο, because Zacharias would not suddenly turn from the past to the future; but this thought would lead tc the corruption of the more difficult reading.



Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Luke 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/luke-1.html. 1896-1924.
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