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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Luke 1

 

 

Verse 1

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration , [ epecheireesan (Greek #2021) anataxasthai (Greek #392) dieegeesin (Greek #1335)] - 'have undertaken to draw up a narrative,'

Of those things which are most surely believed, [ toon (G3588) pepleeroforeemenoon (G4135)] among us - not 'believed confidently,' but 'believed on sure grounds.' So the word "surely" is used by our translators in Proverbs 10:9, "He that walketh uprightly walketh surely."


Verse 2

Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning [ ap' (Greek #575) archees (Greek #746) - that is, of Christ's ministry], were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word}, [ autoptai (Greek #845) kai (Greek #2532) hupeeretai (Greek #5257) tou (Greek #3588) logou (Greek #3056)]. Though it would not be strictly proper to understand "the word" here of Christ Himself-since only John applies to Him this exalted title, and He seems never to have been actually so denominated-yet since the term rendered "ministers" [ hupeeretai (Greek #5257)] denotes the servants of a person, it must refer to those apostles of the Lord Jesus, who, in proclaiming everywhere that word which they had heard from His own lips, acted as His servants.


Verse 3

It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of [ pareekoloutheekoti (G3877) - rather, 'having closely followed,' or 'traced along'] all things from the very first , [ anoothen (Greek #509) pasin (Greek #3956) akriboos (Greek #199)] - 'all things with precision from the earliest;' referring particularly to the precious contents of his first two chapters, for which we are indebted to this Evangelist alone,

To write unto thee in order , [ kathexees (Greek #2517) = efexees] - i:e., consecutively; probably in contrast with the disjointed productions he had just referred to. But we need not take this as a claim to rigid chronological accuracy in the arrangement of his materials (as some able Harmonists insist that we should do); a claim which, on a comparison of this with the other Gospels, it would be difficult in every case to make good.

Most excellent, [ kratiste (G2903)] Theophilus. Since the term here applied to Theophilus was given to Felix and Festus, the Roman governors (Acts 23:26; Acts 24:3; Acts 26:25), he probably occupied some similar official position.


Verse 4

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

That thou mightest know - [`know thoroughly' epignoos (Greek #1921)] - the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed}, [ kateecheethees (Greek #2727)] - 'orally instructed;' i:e., as a catechumen, or candidate for Christian baptism.


Verse 5

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

There was, in the days of Herod the king of Judea (see the note at Matthew 2:1), a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia - or Abijah, the 8th of the 24 courses (orders) into which David divided the priests (1 Chronicles 24:1; 1 Chronicles 24:4; 1 Chronicles 24:10). Of these courses only 4 returned after the captivity (Ezra 2:36-39), which were again divided into 24 courses, retaining the ancient name and the original order; and each of these took the whole Temple-service for a week.

And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron. Though the priests, says Lightfoot, might marry into any tribe, it was most commendable of all to marry one of the priests' line.

And her name was Elizabeth.


Verse 6

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

And they were both righteous - not merely virtuous before men, but righteous

Before God who searcheth the heart. What that comprehended is next explained.

Walking - a familiar Biblical term denoting the habitual tenor of one's life, (Psalms 1:1, etc.)

In all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord - the one denoting the moral, the other the ceremonial precepts of the law-a distinction which it is falsely alleged that the ancient Jews were strangers to (see the note at Mark 12:33; and see Ezekiel 11:20; Hebrews 9:1).

Blameless - irreproachable.


Verse 7

And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren; and they both were now well stricken in years. This quiet couple have one trial. Almost everyone has some crook in his lot; but here it was a link in the great chain of the divine purposes. As with Abraham and Sarah before Isaac was given; with Elkanah and Hannah before Samuel was granted them; and with Manoah and his wife before Samson was born; so here with Zacharias and Elizabeth before the Forerunner was bestowed-in each case, doubtless, to make the gift more prized, and raise high expectations from it.


Verse 8

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,

And it came to pass, that, while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,


Verse 9

According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. According to the custom or the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple.

The part assigned to each priest during his week of service was decided by lot. Three were employed at the offering of incense: to remove the ashes of the former service; to bring in and place on the golden altar the pan filled with hot burning coals taken from the altar of burnt offering; and to sprinkle the incense on the hot coals, and, while the smoke of it ascended, to make intercession for the people. This was the most distinguished part of the service (Revelation 8:3), and this was what fell to the lot of Zacharias at this time [Lightfoot].


Verse 10

And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

And the whole multitude of the people were praying without - outside the court fronting the temple, where stood the altar of burnt offering; the men and women worshipping in separate courts, but the altar visible to all.

At the time of incense - which was offered twice every day, along with the morning and evening sacrifice, at the third and ninth hours (or 9 A.M. and 3 P.M.) - a beautiful symbol, fist of the acceptableness of the sacrifice which was then burning on the altar of burnt offering, with coals from which the incense laid on the golden altar was burnt (Leviticus 16:12-13); but next, of the acceptableness of themselves and all their services, as "living sacrifices" presented daily to God. Hence, the language of Psalms 141:2, "Let my prayer come up before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice;" and see Genesis 8:3-4. That the acceptableness of this incense-offering depended on the expiatory virtue presupposed in the burnt offering, and pointed to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, is clear from Isaiah 6:6-7, where the symbolic action of touching the prophet's lips with a live coal from off the altar is interpreted to mean the "taking away of his iniquity, and the purging of his sin," in order that his lips might be clean to speak for God.


Verse 11

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord - not while at home, but in the act of discharging his sacerdotal duties; yet not when engaged outside at the altar of burnt offering, but during his week of inside-service, and so while alone with God. It is impossible not to observe here a minuteness of providential arrangement, proclaiming in every detail the hand of Him who as "wonderful in counsel and excellent in working."

Standing [the attitude of service], on the right side of the altar of incense - i:e., the south side, between the golden altar and the candlestick or lampstand; Zacharias being on the north side, and fronting the altar as he offered the incense. Why did the angel appear on the right side? Because, say some, the right was regarded as the favourable side [Schottgen, and Wetstein in Meyer]. See Matthew 25:33; and cf. Mark 16:5. But perhaps it was only to make the object more visible.


Verse 12

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled [`discomposed,'] and fear fell upon him. And what wonder? The unseen world is so veiled from us, and so different from ours in its nature and laws, that when in any of its features it breaks in unexpectedly upon mortals, it cannot but startle and appal them, as it did Daniel (Daniel 10:7-8; Daniel 10:17), and the beloved disciple in Patmos (Revelation 1:17). 'He that had wont to live and serve in presence of the Master was now astonished at the presence of the servant. So much difference is there between our faith and our senses, that the apprehension of the presence of the God of spirits by faith goes down sweetly with us, whereas the sensible apprehension of an angel dismays us. Holy Zachary, that had wont to live by faith, thought he should die when his sense began to be set on work. It was the weakness of him that served at the altar without horror, to be daunted with the face of his fellow-servant' (Dr. Hall.)


Verse 13

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

But the angel said unto him, Fear not. Thus by two familiar endeared, exhilarating words, was the silence of four centuries broken, and thus unexpectedly, yet all noiselessly, was the curtain of a stupendous and enduring Economy in this world's history at once drawn up! And was it not worth all the terror which Zacharias experienced to be greeted with so gladsome a salutation! It is God's prerogative, indeed, to dispel our fears - "Thou drewest near (sings Jeremiah) in the day that I called upon Thee; Thou saidst, Fear not" (Lamentations 3:57) - but angels, we see, are privileged to convey the message from heaven; nay, all who have themselves been divinely cheered are bidden "Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not" (Isaiah 35:4).

Zacharias! How sweet is it to hear the name of this lowly mortal man sounded forth by an exalted messenger from the very presence-chamber of the Most High! Does it not bring vividly before us the nearness of heaven to earth, God's intimate knowledge of those who serve Him here below, and the tender interest which He takes in them?

For thy prayer is heard - doubtless for offspring, which, by some presentiment, perhaps, he had even until now been kept from quite despairing of.

And thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John , [ Yowchaanaan (Hebrew #3076), Y


Verse 14

And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

And thou shalt have joy and gladness [`exultation,'] and many shall rejoice - i:e., shall have sense to rejoice at his birth - through whose ministry they were "turned to the Lord their God."


Verse 15

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord - i:e., great officially beyond all the prophets that went before him (as is evident from Matthew 11:11). In personal character John was indeed among the greatest of men; but it is the supereminent dignity of his office, as Messiah's Forerunner, that is here meant.

And shall drink neither wine nor strong drink - that is he, shall be a Nazarite, or ' separated one.' See Numbers 6:1, etc. As the leper was the living symbol of sin, so was the Nazarite of holiness: nothing inflaming was to cross his lips; no razor was to come on his head; no ceremonial defilement was to be contracted. Thus was he to be ceremonially "holy to the Lord all the days of his separation." In ordinary cases this separation was voluntary and temporary: we read of three only who were Nazarites from the womb-Samson (Judges 13:7), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), and here John Baptist. It was fitting that the utmost severity of legal consecration should be in the Forerunner. In Christ Himself we see the REALITY and PERFECTION of the Nazarite without the symbol, which perished in that living realization of it. "Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, SEPARATE FROM SINNERS" (Hebrews 7:26).

And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 1:18), even from his mother's womb - a holy vessel for future service. This is never said of the supernatural endowments of ungodly men; and indeed of John it is expressly said that he "did no miracle" (John 10:41). Nor can the reference be to inspiration, because this does not appear to have come upon John until his public ministry commenced, when "the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness" (Luke 3:2). It is sanctification from the womb-a truth of high import in personal Christianity, of weighty bearing on the standing of the infants of believers in the Church of God, and ministering precious encouragement to religious parents.


Verse 16

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.


Verse 17

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

And he shall go before him - i:e., before "the Lord their God" just spoken of; showing that Messiah, before whom John was to go, as a herald to announce his approach and as a pioneer to prepare his way, was to be "the Lord God of Israel" manifested in the flesh (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). So Calvin, Olshausen, etc.

In the spirit and power of Elias - i:e., after the model of that distinguished reformer, and with like success, in "turning hearts." Strikingly indeed did John resemble Elias: both fell on evil times; both witnessed fearlessly for God; neither was much seen except in the direct exercise of their ministry; both were at the head of schools of disciples; the result of the ministry of both might be expressed in the same terms - "many (not all, nor even the majority, but still many) of the children of Israel did they to the Lord their God."

To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children This, if taken literally, with Meyer and others, denotes the restoration of parental fidelity, the decay of which is certainly the beginning of religious and social corruption. In this case it is just one prominent feature of the coming revival put for the whole.

And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just But this next clause, "And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just" - which seems designed to give the sense of the preceding one, rather suggests a figurative meaning: 'He shall bring back the ancient spirit of the nation to their degenerate children.' So Calvin, Bengel, etc. Thus prayed Elijah, "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again" (1 Kings 18:36-37).

To make ready a people prepared for the Lord , [ hetoimasai (Greek #2090) Kurioo (Greek #2962) laon (Greek #2992) kateskeuasmenon (Greek #2680)] - rather, 'to make ready for the Lord a prepared people;' prepared, that is, to welcome Him. Such preparation for welcoming the Lord is required, not only in every age, but in every soul.

Remarks:

(1) Works such as Jesus performed and Teaching such as poured from His lips, as He walked up and down Judea and Galilee, in the days of His flesh, could not but be carried on the wings of the wind, especially after He rose from the dead, ascended up into heaven, and at the Pentecostal festival made His handful of adherents proclaim, in the tongues of all the nationalities then assembled at Jerusalem, the wonderful works of God. These Jewish strangers and proselytes would carry them to their homes, and the first preachers-and every Christian would be more or less a preacher-would tell the tale to all who had ears to hear them. Of such astonishing tidings eager listeners would take notes; and digests, more or less full, would be put into circulation. For lack of better, such summaries would be read aloud at prayer-meetings and other small assemblies of Christians; and of these a few would be pretty full, and, on the whole, pretty correct narratives of the Life, Acts, and Sayings of Christ.

To such it is that our Evangelist here refers, and in terms of studied respect, as narratives of what was 'on sure grounds believed among Christians, and drawn up from the testimony of eye-witnesses and ministers of the word.' But when he adds that it seemed good to him also, having traced down all things with exactness from its first rise, to write a consecutive History, he virtually claims, by this Gospel of his own, to supersede all these narratives. Accordingly while not one of them has survived the wreck of time, this and the other canonical Gospels live, and shall live, the only worthy vehicles of those life-bringing facts which have made all things new. Apocryphal or spurious gospels-such as sprang up in swarms at a later period to feed a prurient curiosity and minister to the taste of those who could not rise to the tone of the canonical Gospels-have not altogether perished: but those well-meant and substantially correct narratives here referred to, used only while better were not to be had, were by tacit consent allowed to merge in the four peerless documents which, as one Gospel, have from age to age, even from the very time of their publication, and with astonishing unanimity, been accepted as the written charter of all Christianity.

(2) The diversity which obtains among these Four Gospels is as beautiful a feature of them as their inner harmony. Each has an invaluable character of its own which the others want. And although a comparison of the four different streams of narration with each other, with the view of tracing out the unity of incident and discourse, and so shaping out as perfectly as possible. The Life of Jesus, has been the laudable, and delightful, and fruitful occupation of Biblical students in every age; one cannot but feel, the longer he studies these matchless productions, that every detail of them is so much fresher just where it lies than in any combination of them into one, that every such attempt as Tatian's DIATESSARON (about A.D. 170 AD), and that of Professor White of Oxford (1803) - that is, one continuous History woven out of the text of the Four Gospels-is a mistake. Let that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, flow, like the river that watered the garden of Eden, in its four crystal streams and in their own native beds, until that which is perfect is come, when that which is in part shall be done away.

(3) How beautiful is the spectacle of husband and wife, in advancing years, when "joint-heirs [ sungkleeronomoi (Greek #4789)] of the grace of life," and "their prayers [together] are not hindered" (1 Peter 3:7) by misunderstandings or inconsistencies! (Luke 1:7; Luke 1:13).

(4) When God has any special blessing in store for His people, He usually creates in them a longing for it, and yet withholds it from them until all hope of it is dying within them. By this He makes the blessing, when at length it comes, the more surprising and the more welcome, an object of deeper interest and dearer delight (Luke 1:7).

(5) The most cheering visitations of Heaven are accustomed to come to us in the discharge of duty. It was when Elijah "still went on and talked" with Elisha, who was to succeed him in office, that the chariots and horses of fire appeared to take him up to heaven (2 Kings 2:11): more gloriously still-when Jesus had led His disciples out "as far as to Bethany, and lifted up His hands and blessed them-it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51). So here; it was "while Zacharias was executing the priest's office in the order of his course, burning incense in the temple of the Lord, and the whole multitude of the people were praying without," that the angel of the Lord appeared to him with the glad announcement of a son who should usher in and prepare the way of Christ Himself (Luke 1:8-11).

(6) If the heart is ready to sink when the thin partitions between heaven and earth are, even in a small degree, (6) If the heart is ready to sink when the thin partitions between heaven and earth are, even in a small degree, rent asunder, how re-assuring is it to find such exceptional visitations only confirming the teaching of Moses and the prophets, and strengthening the expectations built upon them! (Luke 1:13-17).


Verse 18

And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby [ kata (G2596) ti (G5101)] shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. Had such a promise never been made and fulfilled before, the unbelief of Zacharias would have been more easily accounted for, and less sinful. But when the like promise was made to Abraham, at a more advanced age, "he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God" (Romans 4:20). "Through faith Sara herself also received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Hebrews 11:11). As God is glorified by implicit confidence in His promises-and just in proportion to the natural obstacles in the way of fulfillment-so unbelief like that of Zacharias here is regarded as a dishonour put upon His word, and resented accordingly.


Verse 19

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel - `man of God' [ Gaabriy'eel (Hebrew #1403)]. He appeared to Daniel, and at the same time of incense (Daniel 9:21); to Mary also he was sent (Luke 1:26).

That stand in the presence of God [as His attendant (cf. 1 Kings 17:1)] and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings.


Verse 20

And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

And, behold, thou shalt be dumb [`speechless' sioopoon (G4623)] until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. He asked for a sign, and now he got one.


Verse 21

And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.

And the people waited for Zacharias - to receive from him the usual benediction (Numbers 6:23-27).

And marveled that he tarried so long in the temple. It was not usual to tarry long, lest it should be thought vengeance had stricken the people's representative for something wrong. (Lightfoot).


Verse 22

And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.

And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them - by some motion of his hands and eyes, signifying what had happened,

And remained speechless - `mute' [ koofos (Greek #2974)], and deaf also, as appears from Luke 1:62.


Verse 23

And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.


Verse 24

And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

And Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months - that is, until the event was put beyond doubt.

Saying,


Verse 25

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. There was here more than true womanly simplicity and gratitude to the Lord for the gift of offspring. She has respect to the manner in which that reproach was to be taken away, in connection with the great Hope of Israel.

The curtain of the first scene of this wonderful story has dropped, but only to rise again and disclose a scene of surpassing sacredness and delicacy, simplicity and grandeur.


Verse 26

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

And in the sixth month of Elizabeth's conception the angel Gabriel was sent from God. I could envy thee, O Gabriel, these most exalted of all errands. But I remember that true greatness lies, not in the dignity of our calling, but in the right discharge of its duties-not in the loftiness of our talents, but in the use we make of them.

Unto a city named Nazareth. "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" asked the guileless Nathanael, having respect to its proverbially bad name. But the Lord selects His own places as well as persons.


Verse 27

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

To a virgin espoused [rather 'betrothed' memneesteumeneen (G3423)] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. See the note at Matthew 1:16.

And the virgin's name was Mary , [ Maryaam (Hebrew #4813)] - equivalent to "Miriam" in the Old Testament.


Verse 28

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail! highly favoured - a word [ kecharitoomenee (Greek #5487)] only once used elsewhere (Ephesians 1:6, "made accepted"). That our translators have given the right sense of it here seems plain not only from the import of verbs of that termination, but from the next clause,

The Lord is with thee, and Luke 1:30, "Thou hast found favour with God." The Vulgate's mistaken rendering - "full of grace" [gratia plena] - has been taken abundant advantage of by the Romish Church. As the mother of our Lord, she was indeed "the most blessed among women;" but His own reply to the woman who once said this to Himself (see the notes at Luke 11:27-28) is enough to teach us that this blessedness of His virgin-mother is not to be mixed up or confounded with her personal character-high as no doubt that was.

Blessed art thou among women! This clause is excluded from the text here by Tischendorf, and Tregelles brackets it as of doubtful authority, though admitted to be without question in Luke 1:42. Alford excludes it from his text, and Meyer pronounces against it. But the authority in favour of the clause here also is immensely preponderating. Lachmann inserts it. The expression, "Blessed among women," is Old, Testament language for "Most blessed of women."


Verse 29

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

And when she saw him, she was troubled ...


Verse 30

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

And the angel said unto her, Fear not ...


Verse 31

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

See the notes at Matt. ,32-33 .

He shall be great ... The whole of this magnificent announcement is purposely couched in almost the terms of Isaiah's sublime prediction (Isaiah 9:6). "He shall be great." Of His Forerunner too it had been said by the same Gabriel, "He shall be great;" but it was immediately added, "in the sight of the Lord" - an explanation highly suitable in the case of a mere servant, but omitted, with evident purpose, in the present case. Indeed, the words that follow,

And shall be called the Son of the Highest - or, "of the Most High" [ huios (Greek #5207) hupsistou (Greek #5310) = ben (Hebrew #1121) `Elyown (Hebrew #5945)], would have forbidden such an explanation, as altogether unsuitable here. And is there one reader of unsophisticated and teachable spirit who can take these last words as designed to express a merely figurative relation of a creature to God? But see the note at John 5:18; and at Romans 8:32.


Verse 32

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 33

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob - (God's visible people, who then stood in Jacob's descendants, but soon to take in all the families of the earth who should come under the Redeemer's ample wing.

And of his kingdom there shall be no end. The perpetuity of Messiah's kingdom, stretching even into eternity, was one of its brightest prophetic features. See 2 Samuel 7:13; Psalms 14:1; Psalms 72:7; Psalms 72:17; Psalms 89:36, etc.; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14.


Verse 34

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Then said Mary ... How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? There was here none of the unbelief of Zacharias. On the contrary taking the fact for granted, the simple import of the question seems to be-On what principle is this to be, so contrary to the hitherto unbroken law of human generation? Accordingly, instead of reproof, she receives an explanation on that very point, and in mysterious detail.


Verse 35

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (see the note at Matthew 1:18), and the power of the Highest (the immediate energy of the Godhead, conveyed by the Holy Spirit), shall overshadow thee. What exquisite delicacy is there in the use of this word, suggesting how gentle, while yet efficacious, would be this power, and its mysterious secrecy too, as if withdrawn by a cloud from human scrutiny-as Calvin hints.

Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born [of thee] , [ to (Greek #3588) gennoomenon (Greek #1080) hagion (Greek #40)] - an expression denoting the singularity and consequent sanctity of this birth. The words "of thee" [ ek (Greek #1537) sou (Greek #4675)] are wanting in the best manuscripts, and even in the received text as printed by Stephens and the Elzevirs.

Shall be called the Son of God. That Christ is the Son of God in His divine and eternal nature is clear from all the New Testament; yet here we see that Sonship efflorescing into human and palpable manifestation by His being born, through "the power of the Highest," an Infant of days. We must neither think of a double Sonship-a divine and a human-as some do, harshly and groundlessly, nor yet deny what is here plainly expressed, the connection between His human birth and His proper personal Sonship.


Verse 36

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

And, behold, thy cousin - rather, 'relative' [ sungenees (Greek #4773)]; for how nearly they were related the word does not decide. Though Elizabeth was of the tribe of Levi and Mary of Judah, as will afterward appear, they might still be related, as inter-marriage among the tribes was permitted.

She hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. This was to Mary an unsought sign, in reward of a faith so simple; and what a contrast to the demanded sign which unbelieving Zacharias got!


Verse 37

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

For with God nothing shall be impossible - reminding her, for her encouragement, of what had been said to Abraham in like case (Genesis 18:14.) The future tense here employed [ adunateesei (Greek #101)], "shall be impossible," is designed to express an enduring principle-q.d., 'With God nothing ever has been nor ever shall be impossible.'


Verse 38

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. Marvellous faith, in the teeth of natural law, and in a matter which to one betrothed and already in law the wife of one of the royal line, fitted to inspire feelings in the last degree painful and embarrassing! Meet vessel for such a treasure!

Remarks: The reflections most naturally suggested by this section are best conveyed by the blessed Virgin herself, in the exalted Hymn which she uttered under the roof of Elizabeth. But such as she could not express may here be indicated. (1) The language in which the angel conveyed to the Virgin the mode in which her Offspring was to come into the world is nearly as remarkable as the event itself. It is too far removed from ordinary phraseology, and, considering the low state of tone and feeling then prevalent-which is well reflected in the apocryphal gospels of a somewhat later date-too lofty in its delicate simplicity to admit of any doubt that it is the very phraseology employed by the angel. And when it is remembered how every word and turn of expression in this most remarkable verse-containing all the information we possess on this subject-has been scrutinized by friends and foes in every age, and compared with all we otherwise know of the Person and Character of Jesus of Nazareth; and that not a word or shade of thought in it has been found unsuitable to the occasion, but everything in keeping with circumstances of surpassing sacredness and delicacy, what a character of divine authority does it stamp upon this Third Gospel!

(2) The information given us in this verse furnishes the only adequate key to the sinless life of the Virgin's Son. As the facts of His recorded History show Him to here been throughout the "Undefiled and Separate from sinners," so we have here the root of it all, in that operation of the Holy Spirit which after His birth had merely to be continued as an indwelling energy, in order to develop all that was seminally there from the first.

This is the third scene in the great Story of Redemption, beautifully knitting up the two former.


Verse 39

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country - a mountain-range, running north to south from the one extremity of Palestine to the other, in a parallel course to the Jordan, and nearly dividing the country in two. It is the most striking of all the physical features of the country. In Judea this "hill country" stands well out from the flat parts around it, and it was there that Mary hied her.

With haste - the haste, not of trepidation, but of transport, not only at the wonderful announcement she had to make to her relative, but at the scarcely less astonishing news she expected to receive from her of her own condition.

Into a city of Juda. Writing in the first instance to Gentiles, it was not necessary to be more particular; but without doubt the city was Hebron: see Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:11.


Verse 40

And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth - now returned from her seclusion (Luke And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth - now returned from her seclusion (Luke 1:24).


Verse 41

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation, the babe leaped in her womb. That this was like nothing of the same kind which she had felt before, and with which mothers are familiar, is plain from Luke 1:44 : nor does Elizabeth ascribe to it merely an extraordinary character; she describes it, and this when "filled with the Holy Spirit," as a sympathetic emotion of the unconscious babe at the presence of her and his Lord.

And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit;


Verse 42

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

And she spake out. This word [ anefooneese (Greek #400)] is often used classically of persons who burst into poetic exclamations:

With a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women (that is, most blessed of all women), and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. In the case of Mary, there was, as yet, no visible evidence that she had even conceived, nor does she appear to have had time to communicate to Elizabeth the tidings she came to bring her. But the rapt spirit of this honoured woman sees all as already accomplished.


Verse 43

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? What beautiful superiority to envy have we here? High as was the distinction conferred upon herself, Elizabeth loses sight of it altogether, in presence of one more honoured still; upon whom, and on her unborn Babe, in an ecstasy of inspiration, she pronounces a benediction, feeling it to be a wonder unaccountable that, "the mother of her Lord should come to her." 'Turn this as we will,' says Olshausen, 'we shall never be able to see the propriety of calling an unborn child "Lord," but by supposing Elizabeth, like the prophets of old, enlightened to perceive the Messiah's divine nature.' Compare Luke 20:42; John 20:28.


Verse 44

For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

For, lo, as soon ...


Verse 45

And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

And blessed is she that believed: for [ hoti (Greek #3754)] there shall be a performance of those of things which were told her from the Lord - or, rather perhaps (as in margin) "Blessed is she that believed that there shall be a performance," etc. But the word will bear either sense. This is an additional benediction on the Virgin for her implicit faith, in tacit and delicate contrast with her own husband.


Verse 46

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

And Mary said - Magnificent canticle! in which the strain of Hannah's ancient song, in like circumstances, is caught up, and just slightly modified and sublimed. Is it unnatural to suppose that the spirit of the blessed Virgin had been drawn beforehand into mysterious sympathy with the ideas and the tone of this hymn, so that when the life and fire of inspiration penetrated her whole soul it spontaneously swept the chords of this song, enriching the Hymnal of the Church with that spirit-stirring canticle which has resounded ever since from its temple walls? In both songs those holy women-filled with wonder to behold "the proud, the mighty, the rich," passed by, and, in their persons, the lowliest chosen to usher in the greatest events-sing of this as being no exceptional movement but a great law of the kingdom of God, by which He delights to "put down the mighty from their seats, and exalt them of low degree." In both songs the strain dies away on CHRIST in Hannah's, under the name of "Yahweh's King," to whom, through all His line from David onwards to Himself, He will "give strength," and as His "Anointed," whose horn He with exalt (1 Samuel 2:10); in the Virgin's song, it is as the "Help" promised to Israel by all the prophets. My soul doth magnify the Lord,


Verse 47

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

And my spirit - or, "all that is within me" (Psalms 103:1),

Hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Mary never dreamt, we see, of her 'own immaculate conception'-to use the offensive language of the Romanists-anymore than of her own immaculate life.


Verse 48

For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden - for the family of David was now very low in Israel (as predicted, Isaiah 11:1).

For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. In spirit, her eye stretching into all succeeding time, and beholding the blessed fruits of Messiah's benign and universal scepter, her heart is overpowered with the honour in which herself shall be held in every succeeding age, as having been selected to give Him birth.


Verses 49-53

For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

For he that is mighty hath done to me great things ...

Verse 50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

Verse 51. He hath showed strength with his arm ... Verse 52. He hath put down the mighty ...

Verse 53. He hath filled the hungry ... , [The aorists here - epoieesen (Greek #4160), down to exapesteilen (Greek #1821) - express a general principle, as seen in a succession of single examples; according to a known, though special application of that tense.] Mary here recognizes, in God's procedure toward herself-in His passing by all those families and individuals whom He might have been expected to select for such an honour, and pitching upon one so insignificant as herself-one of the greatest laws of His kingdom in overpowering operation, (cf. Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14, etc.)


Verse 54

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. Compare Psalms 89:19, "I have laid help on One that is mighty."


Verse 55

As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

(As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham) - These words should be read as a parenthesis, "(to Abraham)" - that is, in remembrance of His mercy to Abraham,

And to his seed forever. See the note at Luke 1:33, and cf. Micah 7:20; Psalms 98:3.


Verse 56

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

And Mary abode with her about three months - that is, until there should be visible evidence of the fulfillment of the promise regarding her,

And returned to her own house - at Nazareth. She had not yet been taken home by Joseph; but that was the next, or fourth scene in this divine History. See the notes at Matthew 1:18-25, where alone it is recorded. Remarks:

(1) 'Only the meeting of saints in heaven,' as Dr. Hall well remarks, 'can parallel the meeting of these two cousins: the two wonders of the world are met under one roof, and congratulate their mutual happiness.'

(2) What an honoured roof was that which for the period of three months overarched those holy women, whose progeny-though the one was but the herald of the other-have made the world new! And yet not a trace of it is now to be seen, nor can it even be known, except by inference, what "city of Juda" is meant to which the Virgin hied her to visit her relative.

This remark, applicable to most of the so-called 'holy places,' not only rebukes the childish superstition of the Greek and Latin Churches, which have built convents at nearly all these places, and filled them with lazy monks, whose monotonous and dreary services are designed to commemorate the events of which they were the scenes, but may also suggest matter for useful reflection to a class of Protestants whose religion is not free from the same tincture.

(3) How beautiful does womanhood appear in the light of the foregoing scenes-the grace of God making the "spices" of modesty, simplicity, and religious susceptibility, which are the characteristics of the sex, so charmingly to "flow out!" And yet these are but premonitions of what we shall meet with throughout all this History of Him to whom woman owes not only the common salvation but the recovery of her proper relation to the other sex.

(4) 'How should our hearts leap within us,' to use again the words of Dr. Hall, 'when the Son of God vouchsafes to come into the secret of our souls, not to visit us, but to dwell with us, to dwell in us!'


Verse 57

Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.

Now Elizabeth's full time came ... and she brought forth a son.


Verse 58

And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

And her neighbours ... rejoiced with her.


Verse 59

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. The law which required circumcision to be performed on the eighth day (Genesis 17:12) was so strictly observed, that it was done even on the Sabbath if it fell on that day; although it was of the nature of servile work, which on the Sabbath day was prohibited. See John 7:22-23; and Philippians 3:5.

And they called him. [ ekaloun (Greek #2564)] - rather, 'were calling,' that is, 'were going to call him ' Zacharias. The naming of children at baptism has its origin in this Jewish custom at circumcision (Genesis 21:3-4; Luke 2:21), and the names of Abram and Sarai were changed at its first performance (Genesis 17:5; Genesis 17:15).

After the name of his father.


Verses 60-63

And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John ... And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called - showing that he was deaf as well as dumb.

And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marveled all - at his concurring with his wife in giving to the child a name so new in the family; not knowing of any communication between them on the subject.


Verse 64

And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed - on his thus showing how entirely the unbelief for which he had been truck dumb had passed away. Probably it ceased immediately on his receiving the sign, so different from what he expected; and as the truth of the promise became palpable in Elizabeth, and was so gloriously confirmed during the visit of Mary, it would ripen doubtless into full assurance. But the words of the angel behoved to be fulfilled to the letter, "Thou shalt be dumb until the day that these things shall be performed;" and since one of these things was "Thou shall call his name John," it was fitting that not before, but "immediately" upon his doing this, his mouth should be opened.

And he spake, and praised God. The song in which he did this being long, the Evangelist postpones it until he has recorded the effect which these strange doings produced upon the neighbourhood.


Verse 65

And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.

And fear-or a religious awe, came on all that dwelt round about them - under the conviction that God's hand was specially in these events (cf. Luke 5:26; Luke 7:16).

And all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.


Verse 66

And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

And all they that heard them laid up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! Yet there is every reason to believe that long before John appeared in public all these things were forgotten, nor were recalled even after that by his wonderful success.

And the hand of the Lord was with him - by special tokens marking him out as destined to some great work (cf. 1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 3:15; Acts 11:21).


Verse 67

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied - or, spoke by inspiration, according to the Scripture sense of that term. It did not necessarily include the prediction of future events, though here it certainly did.

Saying, Saying,


Verse 68

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

Blessed. There is not a word in this noble burst of divine song about his own relationship to this child, nor about the child at all, until it has expended itself upon Christ. Like rapt Elizabeth, Zacharias loses sight entirely of self in the glory of a Greater than both.

Be the Lord God of Israel - the ancient covenant-God of the special people;

For he hath visited and redeemed his people - that is, visited in order to redeem "his people" - returning to His own after long absence, and now for the first time breaking the silence of centuries. In the Old Testament God is said to "visit" chiefly for judgment, in the New Testament for mercy. Zacharias-looking from the Israelite point of view-would as yet have but imperfect apprehensions of the design of this "visit" and the nature of this "redemption." But though, when he sang of "salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hated us," the lower and more outward sense would naturally occur first to Zacharias as a devout Jew, his words are equally adapted, when viewed in the light of a loftier and more comprehensive kingdom of God, to convey the most spiritual conceptions of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (But see the note at Luke 1:77.)


Verse 69

And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us - that is, a 'strength of salvation,' or 'a mighty salvation;' meaning the Saviour Himself, whom Simeon in his song calls "Thy Salvation" (Luke 2:30). The metaphor is taken from those animals whose strength lies in their horns, and was familiar in the Psalmody of the agricultural Jews, (Psalms 132:17; Psalms 75:10; Psalms 18:2, etc.)

In the house of his servant David. This shows that Mary must have been of the royal line, independent of Joseph-of whom Zacharias could not know that after this he would recognize his legal connection with Mary. The Davidic genealogy of the Messiah, as it was one of the most prominent of His predicted characteristics, and one by which the Jews were warranted and prepared to test the pretensions of any claimant of that office who should arise, so it is here emphatically sung of as fulfilled in the unborn Offspring of the blessed Virgin.


Verse 70

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began - or, from the earliest period.


Verse 71

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;


Verse 72

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant,


Verse 73

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham. The whole work of Messiah, and the kingdom He was to establish on the earth, are represented here as a mercy promised, and pledged on oath, to Abraham and his seed, to be at an appointed period - "the fullness of time" - gloriously made good. Hence, not only "grace," or the thing promised, but "truth," or fidelity to the promise, are said to "come by Jesus Christ" (see the notes at John 1:14; John 1:16-17).


Verse 74

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,

That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,


Verse 75

In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. How rich and comprehensive is the view here given of Messiah's work! First, the grand purpose of redemption - "that we should serve Him," that is, "the Lord God of Israel" (Luke 1:68): the word [ latreuein (Greek #3000)] signifies religious service, and points to the priesthood of believers under the New Testament (Hebrews 13:10; Hebrews 13:15). Second, the nature of this service - "in holiness and righteousness before Him" - or, in His presence (cf. Psalms 56:13). Third, its freedom - "being delivered out of the hand of our enemies." Fourth, its fearlessness - "might serve Him without fear." Fifth, its duration - "all our days." [The words tees (Greek #3588) zooees (Greek #2222) are quite lacking in authority.]


Verses 76-79

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

Here are the dying echoes of this song: and very beautiful are these closing notes-like the setting sun, shorn indeed of its noon-tide radiance, but skirting the horizon with a wavy and quivering light, as of molten gold-on which the eye delights to gaze, until it disappears from the view. The song passes not here from Christ to John, but only from Christ direct, to Christ as heralded by his Forerunner.

Verse 76. And thou, child - not, 'thou, my son,' for this child's relation to himself was lost in his relation to a Greater than either;

Shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord - that is, "before the face of the Most High." Since this epithet is in Scripture applied to the supreme God, it is inconceivable that Inspiration should here so plainly apply it to Christ, if He were not "over all, God blessed forever" (Romans 9:5).

Verse 77. To give knowledge of salvation. To sound the note of a needed and provided salvation-now at the door-was the noble, the distinguishing office of the Forerunner. By (rather, 'in') the remission of their sins , [ en (Greek #1722) afesei (Greek #859) hamartioon (Greek #266) autoon (Greek #846)] - this forgiveness being, not the way, but rather the primary element of salvation (cf. 1 John 2:12). This view of salvation throws great light upon the Jewish language of Luke 1:71; Luke 1:74, about "deliverance from enemies," stamping an undeniably spiritual character upon it.

Verse 78. Through the tender mercy of our God - which is, and must be, the sole spring of all salvation for sinners;

Whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us. This may mean either Christ Himself, as "the Sun of Righteousness" arising on a dark world (so Calvin, Beza, Grotius, de Wette, Olshausen, etc., understand it), or the glorious light which He sheds: the sense is the same.

Verse 79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death - rather, 'in the darkness and shadow' of death-meaning, 'in the most utter darkness.' So this expression should always be understood in the Old Testament, from which it is taken. Even in Psalms 23:4, its application to the dying hour is but one, though certainly the most resistless and delightful, application of a great comprehensive truth-that believers have no reason to fear the most unrelieved darkness through which, in the mysterious providence of "the Lord their Shepherd," they may be called to pass.

To guide our feet into the way of peace. Christianity is distinguished from all other religions, not only in bringing to men what the troubled spirit most needs - "peace," even "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" - but in opening up the one only "way of peace?"


Verse 80

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

And the child grew, and waxed strong [ eeuxanen (G837) kai (G2532) ekrataiouto (G2901)] in spirit. The grammatical tenses here employed denote the continuance of the action-`kept growing (that is, bodily) and waxing strong in spirit,' or in mental development.

And was in the deserts - probably "the wilderness of Judea," whence we find him issuing on his entrance into public life (Matthew 3:1).

Till the day of his showing unto Israel - or of his presenting himself before the nation as Messiah's Forerunner. Retiring into this wilderness in early life, in the true Nazarite spirit, and there free from rabbinical influences and alone with God, his spirit would be educated, like Moses in the desert of Sinai, for his future high vocation.

Remarks:

(1) While to the believing Gentiles - "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the (1) While to the believing Gentiles - "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise" - the Gospel came with all the freshness of an over-powering novelty; it came to the devout Israelite with all the charm of ancient and oft-repeated promises at length fulfilled, of hopes, divinely kindled but long deferred, in the end unexpectedly realized. It is this latter view of the Gospel which reigns in Zacharias' noble song, in which God is seen 'mindful of His grace and truth' to the house of Israel, accomplishing the high objects of the ancient economy, and introducing His people into the blessedness of a realized salvation, and the dignity of a free and fearless service of their covenant-God.

(2) The "Fearlessness" of the Christian life is no less emphatically celebrated here (Luke 1:74) than its priestly sanctity and enduring character (Luke 1:75): but is this a leading and manifest feature in our current Christianity?

(3) If "the remission of our sins" be the primary element of our salvation (Luke 1:77), why is it that there are so many of God's dear children who "through fear of death are all their lifetime subject to bondage"? For if "the sting of death be [unpardoned] sin," what else than the sense of forgiveness can dissolve that fear? And surely it cannot be God's will that His children should have to meet the last enemy without that weapon which effectually disarms him.

(4) Seasons of comparative retirement have usually preceded and proved a precious preparative for great public usefulness: for example, Moses' sojourn in Midian; the Baptist's stay in the Judean desert (Luke 1:80); our Lord's own privacy at Nazareth; Paul's three years in Arabia; Luther's ten month's seclusion at Wartburg; and Zwingli's two and a half years at Einsiedeln.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

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