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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 1:5

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

Adam Clarke Commentary

In the days of Herod, the king - This was Herod, surnamed the Great, the son of Antipater, an Idumean by birth, who had professed himself a proselyte to the Jewish religion, but regarded no religion, farther than it promoted his secular interests and ambition. Thus, for the first time, the throne of Judah was filled by a person not of Jewish extraction, who had been forced upon the people by the Roman government. Hence it appears plain that the prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:10, was now fulfilled; for the scepter had departed from Judah: and now was the time, according to another prophecy, to look for the governor from Bethlehem, who should rule and feed the people of Israel: Micah 5:1, Micah 5:2. See a large account of the family of the Herods, in the note on Matthew 2:1; (note). This was before Christ six years.

The course of Abiah - When the sacerdotal families grew very numerous, so that all could not officiate together at the tabernacle, David divided them into twenty-four classes, that they might minister by turns, 1 Chronicles 24:1, etc., each family serving a whole week, 2 Kings 11:7; 2 Chronicles 23:8. Abiah was the eighth in the order in which they had been originally established: 1 Chronicles 24:10. These dates and persons are particularly mentioned as a full confirmation of the truth of the facts themselves; because any person, at the time this Gospel was written, might have satisfied himself by applying to the family of John the Baptist, the family of our Lord, or the surrounding neighbors. What a full proof of the Gospel history! It was published immediately after the time in which these facts took place; and among the very people, thousands of whom had been eye-witnesses of them; and among those, too, whose essential interest it was to have discredited them if they could; and yet, in all that age, in which only they could have been contradicted with advantage, no man ever arose to call them in question! What an absolute proof was this that the thing was impossible; and that the truth of the Gospel history was acknowledged by all who paid any attention to the evidences it produced!

Of the daughters of Aaron - That is, she was of one of the sacerdotal families. This shows that John was most nobly descended: his father was a priest and his mother the daughter of a priest; and thus, both by father and mother, he descended from the family of Amram, of whom came Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, the most illustrious characters in the whole Jewish history.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In the days of Herod - See the notes at Matthew 2:1.

Of the course of Abia - When the priests became so numerous that they could not at once minister at the altar, David divided them into 24 classes or courses, each one of which officiated for a week, 1 Chronicles 24:10. Compare 2 Chronicles 8:14. The word “course” means the same as “class,” or order. The Greek-based word “Abia” is the same as the Hebrew-based word “Abijah.”

His wife was of the daughters of Aaron - A descendant of Aaron, the first high priest of the Jews; so that “John the Baptist” was descended, on the father‘s and the mother‘s side, from priests. Our Saviour was not on either side. John would have been legally entitled to a place among the priests; our Saviour, being of the tribe of Judah, would not.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 1:5

A certain priest named Zacharias.
--Mark how immediately the historian betakes himself to the collateral line. Something very suggestive in this. No one life independent of other lives. As every text has its context, so every life has relationships and associations which must in some degree be understood before itself can be made altogether intelligible. Hence we find that biography is much indebted to its background of contemporary and incidental events. The particularity of Luke’s statements is noticeable. He does not hurry his reader over names and circumstances which a critical inquirer would like to know something about. On the contrary, he sets down the names of kings, priests, and others, and so gives the critic the utmost opportunity of testing his accuracy by the light of collateral history
. (Dr. Joseph Parker.)

The priestly descent of the Forerunner

Whereas, alike in narrative and apostolic argument, the Lord Himself is “separated” in His lineage from the priestly race (see Hebrews 7:14), it is otherwise with John the Baptist. By father and by mother he was descended in the “priestly” line. This twofold fact seems to me worth accentuating in three elements of it.

1. It strikingly differentiates historically the priesthood of our Lord from the ancient priesthood, which was a thing simply of inheritance by blood.

2. It is to be emphasized in that John the Baptist never claimed that priestly succession that he might have done as the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth. Surely this declinature to enter himself heir to so august an office is extremely noticeable! It was self-chosen, but also Divinely ordered, seeing that John was to usher in that very kingdom of grace that was destined to unconsecrate and abolish the old order of things.

3. I call attention to it further, because it could scarcely fail that the “blue blood” of the priesthood in John would have its influence in winning him audience and giving him authority with the multitudes who flocked (later) to his imperious summons. (Dr. Grosart.)

Priesthood in the davis of our Lord

As the office was hereditary, the number of the priesthood had become very great in the days of our Lord, so that, according to the Talmud, in addition to those who lived in the country, and came up to take their turn in the temple services, there were no fewer than 24,000 settled in Jerusalem, and half that number in Jericho. This, however, is no doubt an exaggeration. Josephus is more likely correct in estimating the whole number at somewhat over 20,000. But even this was an enormous proportion of clergy to the population of a country like Judaea. They must have been a more familiar sight in the streets of Jerusalem, and in the towns and villages, than the seemingly countless ecclesiastics in the towns and cities of Spain or Italy at this time. (Dr. Geikie.)

“Of the course of Abia”

Abia--Abijah in the Old Testament. When the priests had become numerous, David divided the whole body into twenty-four classes or “courses,” which were appointed to do service in weekly rotation, so that each of the courses had to attend at the temple twice in the year for a week each time. Of the twenty-four courses that of Abijah was the eighth. Of the number that went into captivity only four of the courses returned, and that of Abijah was not one of them. But these four were divided into twenty-four, in order to reproduce the former distribution; and, to render the analogy more complete, they received the same names as the original courses. (Dr. Kitto.)

The priestly orders

The word ephemeris means first “a daily ministry” (Hebrews Mishmereth), and then a class of the priesthood which exercised its functions for a week. Aaron had four sons, but the two elder, Nadab and Abihu, were struck dead for using strange firs in the sanctuary (Leviticus 10:1-20.). From the two remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, had sprung in the days of David twenty-four families, sixteen from the descendants of Eleazar, and eight from those of Ithamar. To these David distributes by lot the order of their service from week to week, each for eight days inclusively from sabbath to sabbath (1 Chronicles 24:1-19; 2 Chronicles 31:2). After the Babylonish exile only four of the twentyfour courses returned--a striking indication of the truth of the Jewish saying, that those who returned from the exile were but the chaff in comparison of the wheat. The four families of which the representatlves returned were those of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim (Ezra 2:36-39). But the Jews concealed the heavy loss by subdividing these four families into twenty-four courses, to which they gave the original names, and this is alluded to in Nehemiah 13:30 (“I… appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business”). This arrangement continued till the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), at which time, on the ninth of the month Abib (August 5th), we are told by Josephus that the course in waiting was that of Jehoiarib. Reckoning back from this, we find that the course of Abijah went out of office on October 9, B.C. 6. The reader should bear in mind that our received era for the birth of Christ was only fixed by the abbot Dionysius Exiguus in the sixth century, and is probably foul years wrong. (Archdeacon Farrar.)

There may be succession in a forsaken Church. It remained when Christ was crucified, the Spirit quenched. (Van Doren.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 1:5". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

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

ANNUNCIATION TO ZACHARIAS

Herod ... This ruler is the one known historically as Herod the Great, a savage Idumean, who had acquired the kingship of several provinces in Palestine from the Roman Senate, influenced by Octavius, to whom Herod had given large sums of money. He was a descendent of Esau and fully as profane as his progenitor. Technically, he reigned from 40 B.C. to the year of his death in 4 B.C.; but his actual control of the country dates from 37 B.C.[7] The event narrated here occurred in either 7 B.C. or 5 B.C., depending upon the exact date assigned to the birth of our Lord. Dummelow favored 6 B.C.,[8] and Boles 4 B.C.[9] The reckoning of time from the birth of Christ began a long time after the event of his birth, the error remaining long undetected; and this accounts for the paradox that Christ was born in a year called B.C.! The uncertainty of the exact year stems from Matthew's statement that Herod slew all the children "two years old" and under (Matthew 2:16). If the two years were those lost by the Wise Men in finding Jesus (which would suppose the star to have appeared two years before he was born), then the date would be 4 B.C.; but if the two years represented the two-year period while Herod searched for Jesus, then his birth would have been no later than 6 B.C. One thing is sure, Jesus was born before the death of Herod on April 1,4 B.C.

Zacharias, of the course of Abijah ... The name of this priest means" - Jehovah is renowned."[10] Following the events of this chapter, there is no further mention of him in the New Testament. The course of Abijah was one of 24 classes of priests who were rotated in the service of the temple. The great numbers of priests necessitated that particular choice for various functions should be made by casting lots; and no one was allowed to burn incense more than once, many never being permitted to do so at all.

Elisabeth ... was also a descendent of Aaron, her name meaning "God is an oath."[11] It is significant that she was a relative, a cousin of the mother of our Lord (Luke 1:36); but this does not mean that Mary also belonged to the tribe of Levi, for "Male descent alone determined the tribe, and Mary may have been related to Elizabeth on her mother's side."[12]

[7] Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 11, p. 510.

[8] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 627.

[9] H. Leo Boles, Commentary on Matthew (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1936), p. 36.

[10] Herbert Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), p. 339.

[11] F. N. Peloubet, Peloubet's Bible Dictionary (Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Company, 1925) p. 174.

[12] J. R. Dummelow, op. cit., p. 739.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea,.... This was Herod, the son of Antipater, sometimes called Herod the Great, and is rightly here said to be the king of Judea; for, by deputation from the Roman emperor, he had the government of all Judea, which upon his death was divided among his sons. The phrase, "in the days of", is an eastern way, of speaking; see Genesis 14:1; and intends the time of his reign; in which there was

a certain priest named Zacharias: a name famous among the Jews, for an high priest, who was slain by them the court of the temple, 2 Chronicles 24:20, and for one of the later prophets, Zechariah 1:1, who were of this name. This man, the father of John the Baptist, was not an high priest, as this character of him, and the work afterwards ascribed to him, show; though he has been thought to be so by some; and John himself is so called by the JewsF14Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2. : he was

of the course of Abia. The Ethiopic version reads, "in the days of Abia": and it has been the opinion of some, that Zacharias and Abia were two priests, who performed their ministry in succession, one after another; one ministered one time, and another at another time; but such betray their ignorance both of Scripture, and of Jewish affairs. In David's time, there was a division of the sons of Aaron into "twenty four" orders, or courses; and this of Abia was one, and the "eighth" of them; see 1 Chronicles 24:1. The account the JewsF15T Bab. Taanith, fol. 27. 1. give of this matter, and in which they are not agreed, is this,

"says Rab Chama bar Guria, says Rab, Moses ordered for the Israelites eight courses, four from Eleazar, and four from Ithamar; Samuel came and made them "sixteen"; David came and made them twenty four.--It is a tradition, that Moses ordered for the Israelites sixteen courses, eight from Eleazar, and eight from Ithamar; and when the children of Eleazar increased above the children of Ithamar, they divided them, and appointed them twenty four.

The account, as given by MaimonidesF16Hilch. Cele Hamikdash, c. 4. sect. 3. , is as follows:

"Moses, our master, divided the priests into eight courses, four from Eleazar, and four from Ithamar, and so they were until Samuel the prophet; and in the days of Samuel, he and David, the king, divided them into twenty four courses; and over every course one head was appointed, and they went up to Jerusalem to the service of the course every week; and from sabbath to sabbath they changed; one course went out, and another came in, till they finished, and returned again.

Now of these there were but four courses returned from the Babylonish captivity, as appears from Ezra 2:36 and with this the Jewish accounts agreeF17T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 27. 1, 2. Eracin, fol. 12. 9. & 13. 1. T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 68. 1. ,

"The Rabbins teach, that four courses came up from the captivity, Jedaiah, Harim, Pashur, and Immer; the prophets that were among them stood up, and divided them, and appointed four and twenty lots, and put them into a box: Jedaiah came and took his lot, and the lot of his companions, six; Harim came and took his lot, and the lot of his companions, six; and so Pashur and Immer: and so the prophets that were among them taught, that if Jehoiarib, the first course, came up from captivity, he should not drive away Jedaiah out of his place; but Jedaiah should be the principal, and Jehoiarib an appendix to him.

Now, though the course of Abia did not return from captivity, yet its order and name were retained as the rest of the courses, being divided between these four by whom they were supplied; and therefore Zacharias is not said to be of the posterity of Abia, but of his course. To these courses there were added as many stations; and what they were, and their use, may be learnt from what followsF18Misn. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 2. 3. ,

"The former prophets offered four and twenty courses; and to every course there was a station at Jerusalem; consisting of priests, Levites, and Israelites: and when the time came for the course to go up, the priests and Levites went up to Jerusalem, but the Israelites, which were in that course, gathered themselves to their cities, and read in the history of the creation; and the men of the station fasted four days in the week, from the second day, to the fifth.

The sense of which, according to their commentatorsF19Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. , is, that these stations were substituted in the room of, and represented all Israel; and their business was to give themselves up to divine worship, prayer, and sacrifices; and such of them as were near Jerusalem, when the time of their course came, assisted at the sacrifices; and such as were afar off, betook themselves to the synagogues in their cities, and there fasted, prayed, and read. And so another of their authorsF20Piske Toseph. Moed Katon, art. 62. says,

"there were twenty and four courses of the priests, and so twenty and four courses of the Levites; and every week the course of the priests and Levites goes to Jerusalem; and the twenty and four stationary men, half of them go thither, and half are left in their houses, and pray over the offerings:

for they had their stationary cities, where these men dweltF21Misn, Biccurim, c. 3. sect. 2. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. . Jericho was one: they sayF23T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 67. 4. ,

"Jericho was able to produce a complete station itself; but because of dividing the glory to Jerusalem, it furnished out but half an one:

hence you need not wonder to hear of a priest and Levite on the road to Jericho from Jerusalem, as in Luke 10:31 for they say, in the same place, that twenty four thousand, a station consisted of at Jerusalem, and there was half a station at Jericho: as for the heads of the courses of the houses of their fathers,

"there were in a course five, six, seven, eight, nine of them; a course which had five (heads) in it, three offered three days, and two offered four days; a course in which were six, five offered five days, and one offered two days: a course in which were seven, every one offered on his day; a course in which were eight, six offered six days, and two offered one day; a course in which were nine, live offered five days, and four offered two days: and there were some that fixed themselves for ever; and a course that was (or began) on a sabbath day, was always on a sabbath; and that which was at the going out of the sabbath, was always at the going out of the sabbath: and there were some of them that offered at every course: and there were some that cast lots at every courseF24Ib fol. 68. 1. .

But to say no more of these courses and stations, I conclude with what MaimonidesF25Hilch. Cele Hamikdash, c. 6. sect. 1, 2. says of them:

"it is not possible, that a man's offering should be offered up, and he not stand by it; but the offerings of the congregation are the offerings of all Israel; and it is not possible that all Israel should stand, in the court at the time of sacrifice: wherefore the former prophets ordered, that they should chose out of Israel men that were fit, and feared to sin, that they may be the messengers of all Israel to stand by the offerings, and these are called the men of the station; and they divided them into twenty and four stations, according to the number of the courses of the priests and Levites; and at every station one of them was appointed over them all, and he called the head of the station; and every week the men of the station of that week gather together; and such of them as are in Jerusalem, or near to it, go into the temple, with the course of the priests and Levites of that week; and they who are in that station, that are at a distance, when their station comes, they gather together to the synagogue, which is in their place.

Then he goes on to give an account, as before, how often they fast in that week, how many prayers they say, and what they read,

And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron. It is a saying of R. JochananF26T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 49. 1. ,

"he that would be rich, let him join himself to the seed of Aaron; so it is, that the law and the priesthood make rich.--R. Idi bar Abin married a priestess, and from him proceeded that were made doctors, R. Shesheth, the son of R. Idi, and R. Joshua, the son of R. Idi.

This is not so much said in commendation of Zacharias, that he took a wife of the same tribe, and of the priestly line: for it was lawful for the tribe of Levi to take a wife of any other, because it did not make any alteration in the inheritances of tribes; and it a rule with the JewsF1Misn. Kiddushin, c. 4. sect. 1. , that priests, Levites, and Israelites, might marry with one another; as Mary, who was of the tribe of Judah, was akin to Elizabeth: but to point the original of John, and show of what extraction he was, his father and mother being both of the family of Aaron,

And her name was Elizabeth; the same name with אלישבע. "Elisheba", the wife of Aaron, Exodus 6:23, and whom the Septuagint interpreters there call, as here, Elisabeth: and this being the name of Aaron's wife, it is very probable it might be a common name among the daughters of Aaron, in succeeding generations,


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

There 2 was f in the days of g Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the h course of Abia: and his wife [was] of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elisabeth.

(2) John, who was another Elias and appointed to be the herald of Christ, coming from the family of Aaron, and of two famous and blameless parents, has shown in his conception (which was against the course of nature) a double miracle, to the end that men should be more readily prepared for the hearing of his preaching, according to the forewarning of the prophets.

(f) This is a Hebrew idiom which shows us how short and frail a thing the power of princes is.

(g) Herod the great.

(h) For the posterity of Aaron was divided into courses.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Luke 1:5-25. Announcement of the forerunner.

Herod — (See on Matthew 2:1).

course of Abia — or Abijah; the eighth of the twenty-four orders of courses into which David divided the priests (see 1 Chronicles 24:1, 1 Chronicles 24:4, 1 Chronicles 24:10). Of these courses only four returned after the captivity (Ezra 2:34-39), which were again subdivided into twenty-four - retaining the ancient name and order of each. They took the whole temple service for a week each.

his wife was of the daughters of Aaron — The priests might marry into any tribe, but “it was most commendable of all to marry one of the priests‘ line” [Lightfoot].


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

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.

[Of the course of Abia.] They are very little versed in the Holy Scriptures, and less in the Jewish learning, that could imagine this Zacharias to have been the high priest, when he is said to have been but of the eighth course, and to have attained this turn of attendance by lot.

As to the institution of the courses under the first Temple, there is no need to say anything, because every one hath it before him, 1 Chronicles 24. But under the second Temple there was indeed some difference, not as to the order of their courses, but as to their heads and families. Of which thing the Talmudists treat largely, and indeed not altogether from the purpose: let them comment in my stead:

"Four courses of priests went up out of Babylon; Jedaiah, Harim, Pashur, and Immer, Ezra 2:36, &c. The prophets, who were conversant amongst them at that time, obliged them, that if Jehoiarib himself should come up from the captivity, that he should not thrust out the course that preceded him, but be, as it were, an appendix to it. The prophets come forth, and cast in four-and-twenty lots into the urn; Jedaiah comes, and having drawn five, himself was the sixth. Harim comes, and having drawn five, himself was the sixth. Pashur comes, and having drawn five, himself was the sixth. Immer comes, and having drawn five, himself was the sixth. It was agreed amongst them that if Jehoiarib himself should return out of captivity, he should not exclude the foregoing course, but be, as it were, an appendix to it. The heads of the courses stand forth, and divide themselves into the houses of their fathers," &c. We have the same thing in Babyl. Erachin, fol. 12. 1.

If these things be true (and, indeed, by comparing them with the place in Ezra before quoted, we may believe they are not much amiss), then the course of Abiah, both here and Nehemiah 12:17, must not so much be understood of the stock or race of Abijah, as that that course retained the name of Abijah still. For though there were four-and-twenty classes made up of the four only named, yet did they retain both their ancient order and ancient names too. If therefore Jehoiarib, i.e. his course, should come up out of Babylon (which, however, did not happen), it was provided that he should not disturb the fixed and stated order by intruding into the first place; but retaining the name of Jehoiarib in the first class, which consisted now of those of Jedaiah, his course, should be distributed amongst those orders.

II. The Rabbins have a tradition: there were twenty-four courses of priests in the land of Israel, and twelve courses in Jericho. What! twelve in Jericho? This would increase the number too much. No; but there were twelve of those in Jericho; that when the time came about that any course should go up to Jerusalem, half a course went up from the land of Israel, and half a course from Jericho, that by them might come a supply both of water and food to their brethren that were at Jerusalem.

Gloss:--"When the time came that any course should go up to Jerusalem, it divided itself, that half of it should go to Jericho, that they might supply their brethren with water and food," &c.

III. As to the circulation of these courses or turns, we may guess something of it from the Gloss in Midras Coheleth. The Midras itself hath these words: "It is R. Chaija's tradition: It is written, Seven weeks shall be complete, i.e. between the Passover and Pentecost, Leviticus 23:15. But when are they so? When Joshua and Shecaniah do not interfere."

Where the Gloss, from another author, hath it thus: "when the calends of the month Nisan fall in with the sabbath, then doth the Passover fall in with the sabbath too: and then let them begin to number from the going out of the sabbath, and the weeks will be complete according to the days of the creation. He takes an instance from Joshua and Shecaniah. For there were twenty-four courses, which took their turns alternately every sabbath: amongst which Joshua was the ninth, and Shecaniah the tenth. On the first week of the month Nisan, Jehoiarib was the first course; on the second week Jedaiah; on the paschal week, all the courses attended together. The six weeks to that sabbath that immediately preceded the Pentecost, there ministered six courses, Harim, Seorim, Malchijah, Mijamin, Hakkos, Abiah. In the sabbath that precedes the Pentecost, Joshua enters, but does not attend till after Pentecost. Behold, Joshua and Shecaniah are not between the Passover and Pentecost: for if Joshua was between the Passover and Pentecost, the weeks would not be complete according to the days of the creation."

He adds a great deal more, but, I confess, it is beyond my reach: such is that that immediately follows: "They are not complete as the days of the creation; for we may number from three to three, or from five to five, and so Joshua and Shecaniah will enter [upon their course] before the Pentecost. For behold, the sabbath before Nisan, let it be Jehoiarib's turn, and let there be seven weeks to the Passover," &c.; which must either be some fault in the printer, or a riddle to me that I cannot tell what to make of.

However, by the whole series of the discourse it appears, that the beginning of the double circulation of the courses was with the twofold beginning of the year, Nisan and Tisri: as also that all the courses performed their ministry together in the feasts. Here, indeed, is mention only as to the Passover; but we do not want for authorities to make it out, that as they did so then, so also at the feast of Pentecost and Tabernacles. Let Jehoiarib, therefore, begin the first course in the beginning of the month Nisan; and (remembering, that all the courses together performed their service at the Passover and Pentecost) the courses will all have run out in half the year; for so (taking in those two feasts) six-and-twenty weeks are spent off. Then let Jehoiarib begin again with the month Tisri; and suppose all the courses jointly ministering at the feast of Tabernacles, and they will have finished their round (excepting one week over) by the month Nisan again: which gap of that one week how it is filled up, as also the intercalar month when it happened, would be too much for us to discuss in this place.

IV. The course of Bilgah is put out of its just order, and thrown into the last place, if that be true, which we meet with in Jerusalem Succah. They say, "All that went into the Mountain of the Temple made their entry on the right hand, and went out at the left: but Bilgah went towards the south, because of the apostasy of his daughter Mary: for she went and married a certain soldier of the kingdom of the Grecians. He came and struck the top of the altar, saying, 'O wolf, wolf, thou that devourest all the good things of Israel, and yet in a time of straits helpest them not.' There are also that say, that the reason why this was thus ordered was, because Bilgah's course was once neglected, when it came about to them to have gone up to have performed their ministry. Bilgah, therefore, was always amongst those that went out, as Isbab was amongst those that came in; having cast that course out of their order."

V. "For every course there was a stationary assembly of priests, Levites, and Israelites, at Jerusalem. When the time came, wherein the course must go up, the priests and the Levites went up to Jerusalem; but the Israelites that were within that course, all met within their own cities, and read the history of the creation, Genesis 1; and the stationary men fasted four days in that week; viz. from the second to the fifth."

Gloss: "There was a stationary assembly for every course stated and placed in Jerusalem, who should assist in the sacrifices of their brethren: and besides these that were stated in Jerusalem, there was a stationary assembly in every city. All Israel was divided into twenty-four stations, according to the twenty-four courses. There was the station of priests, Levites, and Israelites, at Jerusalem; the priests of the course went up to Jerusalem to their service, the Levites to their singing; and of all the stations, there were some appointed and settled at Jerusalem that were to assist at the sacrifices of their brethren. The rest assembled in their own cities, poured out prayers that the sacrifices of their brethren might be accepted; fasting, and bringing forth the book of the law on their fast-day," &c. So the Gloss hath it.

The reason of this institution as to stationary-men is given us in the Misna; For how could every man's offering be made, if he himself were not present? Now, whereas the daily sacrifice, and some other offerings, were made for all Israel, and it was not possible that all Israel should be present, these stationaries were instituted, who, in the stead of all Israel, should put their hands upon the daily sacrifice, and should be present at the other offerings that were offered for all Israel. And while these were performing this at Jerusalem, there were other stationaries in every course, who, by prayers and fasting in their own cities, helped forward, as much as they could, the services of their brethren that were at Jerusalem.

"The children of Israel lay on their hands, but the Gentiles do not. The men of Israel lay on their hands, but the women do not. R. Jose saith, Abba Eliezer said to me, We had once a calf for a peace offering: and bringing it into the Court of the Women, the women put their hands upon it: not that this belonged to the women so to do, but that the women's spirits might be pleased." A remarkable thing.

The priests, throughout all the courses grew into a prodigious number, if that be true in Jerusalem Taanith; "R. Zeora in the name of Rabh Houna said, That the least of all the courses brought forth eighty-five thousand branches of priests." A thing not to be credited.

[And he wife was of the daughters of Aaron.] In the Talmudists, a priestess; viz. one born of the lineage of priests. It was lawful for a priest to marry a Levites, or indeed a daughter of Israel: but it was most commendable of all to marry one of the priests' line. Hence that story in Taanith, "Fourscore pair of brethren-priests took to wife fourscore pair of sister-priestesses in Gophne, all in one night."

There was hardly any thing among the Jews with greater care and caution looked after than the marrying of their priests; viz. that the wives they took should not by any means stain and defile their priestly blood: and that all things which were fit for their eating should be hallowed. Hence that usual phrase for an excellent woman, She deserves to marry with a priest.

Josephus speaks much of this care, that the whole priestly generation might be preserved pure and unblended.

[Elisabeth.] The Seventy give this name to Aaron's wife, Exodus 7:23.


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Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-1.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

There was in the days of Herod. For Herod, see notes on Matthew 2:1.

A priest. Not a chief priest, but one belonging to the courses.

Course of Abijah. All the priests were divided into twenty-four courses, or classes. That of Abijah was the eighth course (1 Chronicles 24:10); each course took charge of the temple worship in succession, for a week at the time, beginning on a Sabbath. The heads of these twenty-four courses are "the chief priests" so often spoken of in the New Testament.

Had a wife of the daughters of Aaron. Elisabeth also was of priestly family.


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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-1.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

There was (εγενετοegeneto). Not the usual ενen for “was,” but there arose or came into notice. With this verse the literary Koiné of Luke 1:1 to Luke 1:4 disappears. To the end of chapter 2 we have the most Hebraistic (Aramaic) passage in Luke‘s writings, due evidently to the use of documents or notes of oral tradition. Plummer notes a series of such documents ending with Luke 1:80, Luke 2:40, Luke 2:52. If the mother of Jesus was still alive, Luke could have seen her. She may have written in Aramaic an account of these great events. Natural reserve would keep her from telling too much and from too early publicity. Luke, as a physician, would take special interest in her birth report. The supernatural aspects disturb only those who do not admit the real Incarnation of Jesus Christ and who are unable to believe that God is superior to nature and that the coming of the Son of God to earth justifies such miraculous manifestations of divine power. Luke tells his story from the standpoint of Mary as Matthew gives his from the standpoint of Joseph. The two supplement each other. We have here the earliest documentary evidence of the origins of Christianity that has come down to us (Plummer).

Herod, King of Judea (ηρωιδου βασιλεως της ΙουδαιαςHērōidou basileōs tēs Ioudaias). This note of time locates the events before the death of Herod the Great (as he was called later), appointed King of Judea by the Roman Senate b.c. 40 at the suggestion of Octavius and Antony. He died b.c. 4.

Of the course of Abijah (εχ επημεριας Αβιαex ephēmerias Abia). Not in old Greek, but in lxx and modern Greek. Papyri have a verb derived from it, επημερεωephēmereō Daily service (Nehemiah 13:30; 1 Chronicles 25:8) and then a course of priests who were on duty for a week (1 Chronicles 23:6; 1 Chronicles 28:13). There were 24 such courses and that of Abijah was the eighth (1 Chronicles 24:10; 2 Chronicles 8:14). Only four of these courses (Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, Harim) returned from Babylon, but these four were divided into twenty-four with the old names. Each of these courses did duty for eight days, sabbath to sabbath, twice a year. On sabbaths the whole course did duty. At the feast of tabernacles all twenty-four courses were present.

Of the daughters of Aaron (εκ των τυγατερων Ααρωνek tōn thugaterōn Aarōn). “To be a priest and married to a priest‘s daughter was a double distinction” (Plummer). Like a preacher married to a preacher‘s daughter.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

King

A title decreed to Herod by the Roman Senate on the recommendation of Antony and Octavius. The Greek style now gives place to the Hebraized style. See Introduction.

Course ( ἐφημερίας )

Lit., daily service. The college of priests was divided into twenty-four courses. Each of these did duty for eight days, from one Sabbath to another, once every six months. The service of the week was subdivided among the various families which constituted a course. On Sabbaths the whole course was on duty. On feast-days any priest might come up and join in the ministrations of the sanctuary; and at the Feast of Tabernacles all the twenty-four courses were bound to be present and officiate. The course of Abijah was the eighth of the twenty-four. See 1 Chronicles 24:10.


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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

The course of Abia — The priests were divided into twenty - four courses, of which that of Abia was the eighth, 1 Chronicles 24:10. Each course ministered in its turn, for seven days, from Sabbath to Sabbath. And each priest of the course or set in waiting, had his part in the temple service assigned him by lot.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-1.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

There was in the days of Herod, king of Judaea1, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah2: and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
    ANNUNCIATION TO ZACHARIAS OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. (At Jerusalem. Probably B.C. 6.) Luke 1:5-25

  1. Herod, king of Judaea. A Jewish proselyte, an Idumean or Edomite by birth, founder of the Herodian family, king of Judea from 40 B.C. to A.D. 40, made such by the Roman Senate on the recommendation of Mark Antony and Octavius Caesar. See Luke 1:5-25.

  2. Of the course of Abijah. David divided the priests into twenty-four bodies or courses, each course serving in rotation one week in the temple (1 Chronicles 24:3-19).

  3. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron. The Baptist was of the priestly race by both parents, a family distinction much esteemed among the Jews. He who was thus doubly a priest proclaimed Him who changed the priesthood.

  4. And her name was Elizabeth. She was named after her ancestress Elisheba, the wife of Aaron.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-1.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Herod. Judea had been conquered by the Romans a short time before this, and held in imperfect subjugation, until, at length, Herod, who was appointed to the government of it, completed the conquest, and induced the Roman emperor to grant it to him as a kingdom; and he had been reigning over it now, in great power and splendor, for more than thirty years. He acquired great celebrity for his political and military talents, his influence with the Roman government, the energy of his administration, the violence of his passions, and for his cruelties and his crimes. He is called in history Herod the Great. The individuals mentioned in the subsequent parts of the Scripture history, under the name of Herod, were his descendants.--Of the course of Abia. In 1 Chronicles 24:1-31: the arrangement of the priests into courses is given, and, in the 1 Chronicles 24:10 the course of Abijah is mentioned as the eighth in order.


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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-1.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Luke very properly begins his Gospel with John the Baptist, just as a person who was going to speak about the daylight would commence with the dawn. For, like the dawn, he went before the Sun of Righteousness, which was shortly to arise. Others also mention him, but they bring him forward as already discharging his office. Luke secures our respect for him, while he is yet unborn, by announcing the miracles of divine power which took place at the earliest period of his existence, and by showing that he had a commission from heaven to be a prophet, ere it was possible for men to know what would be his character. His object was that John might afterwards be heard with more profound veneration, when he should come forth invested with a public office to exhibit the glory of Christ.

5.In the days of Herod This was the son of Antipater, whom his father elevated to the throne, and labored with such assiduity and toil to advance, that he was afterwards surnamed Herod the Great Some think that he is here mentioned by Luke, because he was their first foreign king; and that this was a suitable time for their deliverance, because the scepter had passed into a different nation. But they who speak in this manner do not correctly understand Jacob’s prophecy, (Genesis 49:10,) in which the advent of the Messiah is promised not merely after the royal authority had been taken from the Jews, but after it had been removed from the tribe of Judah. The holy patriarch did not even intimate that the tribe of Judah would be stripped of its supremacy, but that the government of the people would steadily remain in it until Christ, in whose person its permanency would at length be secured. When the Maccabees flourished, the tribe of Judah was reduced nearly to a private rank; and shortly afterwards, John, the latest leader of that race, was slain. But even at that time, its power was not completely annihilated; for there still remained the Sanhedrim, or Council selected out of the family and descendants of David, which possessed great authority, and lasted till the time of Herod, who, by a shocking slaughter of the judges, revenged the punishment formerly inflicted on himself, when he was condemned for murder, and forced to undergo voluntary exile, in order to escape capital punishment.

It was not, therefore, because he was of foreign extraction, that the reign of Herod broke the scepter of the tribe of Judah, (Genesis 49:10;) but because whatever relics of superior rank still lingered in that tribe were entirely carried off by his robbery. That its royal dignity had crumbled down long before, and that by slow degrees its supremacy had nearly given way, does not imply such a discontinuance as to be at variance with Jacob’s prophecy. For God had promised two things seemingly opposite; that the throne of David would be eternal, (Psalms 89:29,) and that, after it had been destroyed, he would raise up its ruins, (Amos 9:11;) that the sway of his kingly power would be eternal, and yet that there should come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, (Isaiah 11:1.) Both must be fulfilled. That supremacy, therefore, which God had bestowed on the tribe of Judah, was suffered by him to be broken down for a time, that the attention of the people might be more strongly directed to the expectation of Christ’s reign. But when the destruction of the Sanhedrim appeared to have cut off the hope of believers, suddenly the Lord shone forth. Now, it belongs to the arrangement of history to mark the date of the transaction; but for no light reason did the word king mark, at the same time, the wretchedness of that period, in order to remind the Jews, that their eyes ought now to be turned to the Messiah, if they would sincerely keep the covenant of God.

Zacharias, of the course of Abia We learn from sacred history, (1 Chronicles 24:3,) that the families of the priests were arranged by David in certain classes. In this matter David attempted nothing contrary to what the law enjoined. God had bestowed the priesthood on Aaron and his sons, (Exodus 28:1.) The other Levites were set apart to inferior offices, (Numbers 3:9.) David made no change in this respect; but his object was, partly to secure that nothing should be done in tumult and disorder, partly to oppose ambition, and at the same time to provide that it should not be in the power of a few persons, by taking the whole service into their own hands, to leave the greater number unemployed at home. Now in that arrangement, Abijah, son of Eleazar, held the eighth rank, (1 Chronicles 24:10.) Zacharias, therefore, belonged to the priestly family, and to the posterity of Eleazar who had succeeded his father in the high priest’s office, (Numbers 20:28.) In what manner Elisabeth, who was of the daughters of Aaron, could be Mary’s cousin, ( v. 36,) I will explain in the proper place. It is certainly by way of respect that Luke mentions the genealogy of Elisabeth; for Zacharias was permitted by the law to take to wife a daughter of any private Levite. From the equal marriage, therefore, it is evident that he was a man respected among his own rank.


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-1.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Herod

Herod the Great. (See Scofield "Matthew 2:1")


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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Luke 1:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/luke-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 5. In the days of Herod] Herod a stranger, upon the death of Antigonus, last of the Maccabeans, by Augustus’ favour, was made King of Judea, and reigned 34 years. After his and his son’s death, Judea was again reduced into a Roman province, and the government thereof committed unto Pontius Pilate, then to Petronius, after him to Felix, Festus, Albinus, and Florus, whose cruelty provoked the Jews to rebellion and war, to their utter overthrow.

Of the course of Abia] According to their weekly waitings at the altar, 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. God would not have his ministers over wrought, though he require them to labour according to their strength, even to weariness. But how thankless is their labour that do wilfully overspend themselves!


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 1:5

Man's Extremity—God's Opportunity.

Reflect:—

I. On the low ebb to which the fortunes of the house of Israel were reduced at the period when St. John the Baptist was miraculously born. The very language in which the sacred books are written, had long ceased to be a spoken language. The noble spirit of the ancient days had, in a great measure, died out. The very nationality of the Jews had been broken up. Mixed races inhabited Galilee; aliens dwelt in the cities of Samaria; Judea itself had become a conquered province. An Idumæan was king, and even he was but the viceroy of a higher Gentile power. A Roman governor dwelt at Cæsarea, and had his law court in the capital. The descendants of Abraham were heard to declare: "We have no king but Cæsar."

II. The state of religion and morals. What a degraded people the Jews must have been, that the very ministers of religion should have deserved such reproaches as our Lord showered down upon them in the twenty-third chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel! Their shameful way of evading the law of God—even the law of nature—by a system of quibbling traditions; their shameful violation of the law of marriage; their neglect of the Fifth Commandment; their hollowness about the Fourth; all that happened in the highest quarters in the matter of our Lord's betrayal, death, resurrection, showing such an utter contempt for truth, justice, right;—you cannot read and weigh the story carefully without feeling that the race must have been degraded and corrupt; that, indeed, things had sunk to a miserably low ebb everywhere.

III. Now it was at such a time as this, that the message of the Angel Gabriel to Zacharias, as he officiated in the Temple at Jerusalem, conveyed the first tidings of the coming Gospel. When night was darkest the day began to dawn, and the first faint streak of light—the harbinger and earnest of the glory that was to follow—was that message of the Angel. The lesson is to us a consolation, a help, and a warning. Be content to leave the future of thy Church, thy country, in the hand of God. In His own good time He will work—work wondrously, but not yet. The night is darkest before the springing of the day. The gathering clouds are meant to conceal the coming glory. Let the shadows, therefore, yet deepen apace, and be thou patient.

J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 60.

References: Luke 1:6.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 40. Luke 1:6-80.—A. B. Bruce, The Gospel of the Kingdom, p. 14. Luke 1:8-23.—Ibid., p. 41. Luke 1:10.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vii., p. 175.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-1.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 1:5. In the days of Herod, &c.— See on Matthew 2:1. The descendants of Aaron multiplied to such a degree, that they could not all do duty in the temple at once; David therefore divided them into twenty-four courses, who ministered weekly in their turns. The time of their ministration was, called εφημερια, as was likewise the course itself; but the name belonged originally to the Athenian magistrates, called Prytaneis, who, being fifty men chosen by lot out of a tribe, and each man governing the city a single day, the days which any tribe governed, as well as its fifty Prytaneis succeeding one another, were called εφημερια . Hence, because the Jewish courses of priests resembled the Athenian Prytaneis in several respects, they had their name applied to them by those who wrote in Greek. The course of Abia, to which Zacharias belonged, was the eighth in David's regulation; but whether the courses were the same now as at the first institution, it is impossible to determine. Comp. 1 Chronicles 23:6; 1 Chronicles 24:10 and see Potter's Antiquities.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In this and the following verses, the Holy Ghost gives us a description of John the Baptist, who was the harbinger and forerunner of our Saviour Christ; he is described, first by his parentage, being the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. This Zacharias was a priest, who had a course in the temple, or a right to officiate there when it came to his turn; for we read that David appointed the priests, the sons of Aaron, to minister by turns, and divided them into four and twenty courses, 1 Chronicles 24 every one ministering in the temple by their weeks.

Here note, that Zacharias, a priest, and attending the service of the temple, was a married person, having one of the daughters of Aaron to wife, according to the command of God, Leviticus 21:14 where the priest is required to marry one of his own people.

Learn hence, that neither the priests under the law did, nor the ministers of Christ under the gospel ought, to abhor the marriage-bed; nor judge themselves too pure for an institution of their Maker. The doctrine of the church of Rome, which forbids to marry, St. Paul calls a doctrine of devils.


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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-1.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

5.] ἐξ ἐφ. ἀβ., which was the eighth of the four and twenty courses of the priests (see ref. 1 Chron.). These courses kept their names and order, though not their descent, after the captivity. The courses, though called ἐφημερίαι, were of a week’s duration each: ἀπὸ σαββάτου ἐπὶ σάββατον, Jos. Antt. vii. 14. 7. Meyer observes that if any use is to be made of this note of time of fix the date, our reckoning must be made backward from the destruction of the temple, not forward from the restoration of the courses by Judas Maccabæus, because it is not certain what course then began the new order of things; whereas we have a fixed note for the destruction of the temple, that it was on the 9th of Ab, and the course in waiting was that of Jehoiar ib. Comm. ii. p. 194.

With the reading κ. γυνὴ αὐτῷ, we must render, and he had a wife from among …

ἐλισ.] The LXX rendering, Exodus 6:23, of אֱלִישֶׁבַע, the wife of Aaron: signifying, Deus juramentum. John was thus of priestly descent by both parents. Cf. Jos. Vit. i. init., ἐμοὶ δὲ γένος ἐστὶν οὐκ ἄσημον, ἀλλ ʼ ἐξ ἱερέων ἄνωθεν καταβεβηκός. ὥσπερ δὴ παρʼ ἑκάστους ἄλλη τίς ἐστιν εὐγενείας ὑπόθεσις, οὕτως παρʼ ἡμῖν ἡ τῆς ἱερωσύνης μετουσία τεκμήριόν ἐστι γένους λαμπρότητος.


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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-1.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

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

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

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

ἱερεύς τις] therefore not high priest.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 1:5. ἐγένετο, there was) Following close upon the Preface itself, Luke exhibits the History of Jesus Christ from His entrance into the world, up to the time of His ascension into heaven. In this History we may note—

I. THE BEGINNING: wherein we have

1. The conception of John, Luke 1:5-25

2. The conception of Jesus Himself, Luke 1:26-56

3. The nativity and circumcision of John: the hymn of Zacharias: the youth of John, Luke 1:57-80

4. Jesus Christ’s (a) Nativity, Luke 2:1-20

(b) Circumcision and name given, Luke 2:21

(c) Presentation to the Lord in the temple, Luke 2:22-38

(d) His own country and growth, Luke 2:39-40

II. THE MIDDLE: when He was twelve years of age, and subsequently, Luke 2:41-52

III. HIS COURSE [MINISTRY] itself.

1. The entrance on it: wherein is described the Baptist; His baptism, His temptation, Luke 3:1-2; Luke 3:21-22; Luke 4:1-13

2. The acceptable year in Galilee,

A. Set forth before His hearers at Nazareth, Luke 4:14-30

B. Made good in actual performance:

α. At Capernaum, and in that region. Here are to be noted—

1. His acts not censured by his adversaries; whereby Jesus

1. Powerfully teaches, Luke 4:31-32

2. Delivers one demoniacally possessed, Luke 4:33-37

3. Cures the mother-in-law of Peter, and many sick persons, Luke 4:38-41

4. Teaches everywhere, Luke 4:42-44

5. Calls Peter, and also James and John, Luke 5:1-11

6. Cleanses the leper, Luke 5:12-16

2. His acts censured by His adversaries, and that with gradually increasing severity.

To this class belong—

1. The man with palsy, Luke 5:17-26

2. The call of Levi, and the eating with publicans and sinners, Luke 5:27-32

3. The question as to fasting answered, Luke 5:33-39

4. The plucking of the ears of corn, Luke 6:1-5

5. The withered hand restored, and the plotting against Jesus, Luke 6:6-11

3. His acts, of which the issue [result] was different in the case of the different persons with whom He had to do:

1. In the case of His chosen apostles, Luke 6:12-16

2. In the case of His other hearers, Luke 6:17-18; Luke 6:20-49

3. In the case of the centurion, Luke 7:1-10

4. In the case of the disciples of John, in connection with whom we have—

a. The occasion of the raising of the young man at Nain, Luke 7:11-18

b. The embassy from John, Luke 7:18-23

c. The reproof, Luke 7:24-35

5. In the case of Simon the Pharisee, and the sinner, the woman who showed Him much love, Luke 7:36-50

6. In the case of His own immediate attendants, Luke 8:1-3

7. In the case of the people, Luke 8:4-18

8. In the case of His mother and brethren, Luke 8:19-21

β. On the sea, Luke 8:22-26

And beyond the sea, Luke 8:27-39

γ. On this side of the sea, again:

1. Jairus, and the woman with the issue of blood, Luke 8:40-56

2. The apostles sent forth, Luke 9:1-6

3. The doubts of Herod, Luke 9:7-9

4. The report of the apostles, Luke 9:10

5. The eagerness of the people: the kindness of the Lord: the five thousand fed, Luke 9:11-17

3. The preparation for His passion, etc.

A. The recapitulation of His doctrine concerning the person of Jesus Christ. Silence enjoined; His passion foretold; following Him enjoined, Luke 9:18-19; Luke 9:21-27

B. His transfiguration on the mountain; the lunatic healed; His passion again foretold; humility and moderation commanded, Luke 9:28-29; Luke 9:37-38; Luke 9:43-44; Luke 9:46-47; Luke 9:49-50

C. His great journey to Jerusalem when about to suffer. Herein we may fix eighteen intervals [incidents marking divisions]:

I. THE SAMARITANS, unwilling to receive Him, yet tolerated, Luke 9:51-57

II. On the way: unsuitable followers repulsed: suitable ones constrained, Luke 9:57-62

III. AFTERWARDS, seventy messengers sent before Him: and received back with joy Luke 10:1-24

AND a lawyer taught love to his neighbour by the example of the Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37

IV. In a certain village, Mary preferred to Martha, Luke 10:38-42

V. In a certain place, the disciples are taught to pray, Luke 11:1-13

In a certain place, the demon is cast out: this act is defended, Luke 11:14-26

In a certain place, the exclamation of the woman of the company is corrected, Luke 11:27-28

In a certain place, the people who were eagerly desirous of a sign, are reproved, Luke 11:29-36

VI. In a certain house, the Pharisees and Scribes are refuted, Luke 11:37-38; Luke 11:45-54

VII. A discourse is addressed to the disciples, Luke 12:1-12

A discourse is addressed to one interrupting Him with a request, Luke 12:13-21

A discourse is addressed to the disciples, Luke 12:22-40

A discourse is addressed to Peter, Luke 12:41-53

A discourse is addressed to the people, Luke 12:54-59

VIII. The need of repentance is shown, Luke 13:1-9

In the synagogue the woman is healed on the Sabbath, the kingdom of God thus increasing as the mustard-seed, Luke 13:10-21

IX. On the journey, He declares the fewness of those about to be saved, Luke 13:22-30

X. On that day Herod is called a fox; Jerusalem is reproved, Luke 13:31-35

XI. In the house of the Pharisee, a man with a dropsy is healed on the Sabbath, Luke 14:1-6

Humility is taught, Luke 14:7-11

True hospitality, Luke 14:12-14

The principle [ratio] of the great feast, Luke 14:15-24

Self-denial required, Luke 14:25-35

XII. Joy over repenting sinners is defended, Luke 15:1-2; Luke 15:11-12

Their duty as stewards is enjoined on the disciples, Luke 16:1-13

And the avarice and derision of the Pharisees are refuted, Luke 16:14-31

They are cautioned against ‘Offences,’ Luke 17:1-4

The faith of the apostles is increased, Luke 17:5-10

XIII. On the borders of Samaria and Galilee, He cures ten lepers, Luke 17:11-19

XIV. He answers the question as to the time of the coming of the kingdom of God, Luke 17:20-37

He recommends continual and humble prayer, Luke 18:1-2; Luke 18:9-14

XV. He blesses little children, Luke 18:15-17

He answers the rich ruler, Luke 18:18-27

And Peter, Luke 18:28-30

XVI. He foretells the Passion a third time, Luke 18:31-34

XVII. Nigh Jericho, a blind man given sight, Luke 18:35-43

XVIII. In Jericho, salvation is conferred on Zaccheus, Luke 19:1-10

An answer is given as to the sudden appearance of the kingdom of God, Luke 18:11-28

4. His acts at Jerusalem.

A. The first days of the great week.

1. His royal entry into Jerusalem, Luke 19:29-44

2. In the temple,

α. The abuse of it corrected and chastised, Luke 19:45-46

β. Its right use restored, Luke 19:47-48

And vindicated, Luke 20:1-8

3. Discourses in the temple:

α. The parable concerning the husbandmen, Luke 20:9-19

β. The answer concerning the tribute-money, Luke 20:20-26

And concerning the resurrection, Luke 20:27-40

γ. The question concerning David’s Lord, Luke 20:41-44

δ. The disciples warned of the Scribes, Luke 20:45-47

ε. The widow’s offering praised, Luke 21:1-4

4. The end foretold, of the temple, of the city, of the universe, Luke 21:5-6; Luke 21:8-9; Luke 21:25-26; Luke 21:28-29

5. The covenant of His adversaries and the traitor, Luke 22:1-6

B. Thursday.

a. The preparations for the Passover made by Peter and John, Luke 22:7-13

b. The Supper, and words spoken at it, Luke 22:14-23

c. Who is the greatest? Luke 22:24-30

Peter and the rest of the disciples are admonished, Luke 22:31-32; Luke 22:35-38

d. On the Mount of Olives:

1. Jesus prays to the Father, is strengthened by an angel, and rouses His disciples Luke 22:39-46

2. Is betrayed: is unseasonably defended [by Peter’s sword] against His assailants. Bears Himself holily, Luke 22:47-53

e. Being seized, He is led into the high priest’s house, Luke 22:54

Peter denies Him and weeps, Luke 22:55-62

The Lord is mocked, Luke 22:63-65

C. Friday.

α. His Passion and Death. His acts,

1. In the Council, etc., Luke 22:66-71

2. In the Governor’s hall, Luke 23:1-5

3. Before Herod, Luke 23:6-12

4. Again in the Governor’s hall, Luke 23:13-14; Luke 23:17-25

5. On the way to the cross, Luke 23:26-32

6. At Golgotha; where we have the description of—

a. The cross itself; and Jesus’ prayer for their forgiveness, Luke 23:33-34

b. The parting of His garments, Luke 23:34-35

c. The taunts uttered against Him, and among these the inscription on the Cross Luke 23:35-39

d. One of the robbers, however, converted, Luke 23:40-43

e. The miraculous portents, and the death of Jesus, Luke 23:44-46

f. The spectators, Luke 23:47-49

β. His burial, Luke 23:50-53

D. The preparation and the Sabbath, Luke 23:54-56

E. The Insurrection: it becomes known—

a. To the women, Luke 24:1-12

b. To two going into the country, and to Simon, Luke 24:13-35

c. To the rest also, Luke 24:36-37; Luke 24:44-45

F. The instruction of the apostles; the Ascension of our Lord; the joyous alacrity of the apostles, Luke 24:46-53

ἡρώδου, of Herod) All the particulars are set down clearly: the names, the times, and the places. [Not a few of the false prophets—for instance, Mahomet—without premeditated foresight, have by slow and imperceptible degrees gained over parties of retainers, and afterwards deceived both themselves and others: accordingly, the circumstances of their birth and their condition, in their early years, are in the case of such impostors unknown, unworthy of trust, and fictitious. But the conception of Jesus Christ, His nativity, His infancy, His boyhood, etc., are supported as to their credibility by signally striking proofs. From eternity God hath definitely foreordained them, and hath by His ancient prophets declared them, and confirms their fulfilment subsequently by the instrumentality of irrefragable witnesses.—Harm., p. 59.]— τῆς ἰουδαίας, of Judea) The theatre or scene of all the events.— ἱερεὺς, priest) not the high priest, but one from among the regular courses of priests.— ἐξ ἐφημερίας ἀβιά, of the course of Abia) The priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes: and the course of Abia was the eighth, according to 1 Chronicles 24:10 [Abijah = Abia]. ἐφημερία in the usage of the LXX. answers to the Hebrew מחלקת, sometimes also משמרת . Each course in its order had the discharge of the priestly duties devolving on it for seven days, from Sabbath to Sabbath. [Hence it is allowable to infer that Zacharias discharged his turn of duty from the 2d of September to the 9th of September: see Ord. Temp., pp. 230, 231 (Ed. ii. pp. 200, 201): and the 2d of September that year among the people of Israel corresponded to the I. Tisri. Behold how, at the commencement of the year,(4) simultaneously with the angel’s message which was brought to Zachariah, the New Testament took its commencement.—V. g.]


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Holy Ghost, for infinitely wise reasons, giveth us here an account both of the time when John the Baptist was born, and also of his parentage. It was

in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, that is, he who was the son of Antipater: not Herod the tetrarch of Galilee, of whom you read Luke 3:1, who put John Baptist to death, that was thirty-one or thirty-two years after this. He is usually called Herod the Great; who fought his way to the government of the Jews under the Romans, and came to his throne by the slaughter of the Jewish Sanhedrim; by which means he also extinguished all the government, which till his time held in the tribe of Judah, though not in a single person, (for that was destroyed in John, soon after the time of Judas Maccabeus), yet in a select number out of that royal tribe. So that in this Herod’s time the prophecy of dying Jacob, Genesis 49:10, was fulfilled. The sceptre, that is, the government, departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from his feet, which was a certain sign (in order to the fulfilling of that prophecy) that Shiloh, that is, the Messias, was coming. This for the time.

A certain priest, named Zacharias; some will have him to have been the high priest, or his deputy, but that cannot be, for the high priest was but one, and so not within the courses of the priests, but of the eldest family from Aaron; and though it be said, Luke 1:9, that his lot was to burn incense, yet it must not be understood of the incense mentioned Leviticus 16:12, to be burned upon the yearly day of expiation, (which indeed none but the high priest might do), but of the daily incense mentioned in the law, Exodus 30:7,8, which any of the priests did in their courses. This Zacharias was

of the course of Abia. The eldest son of Aaron was always the high priest; his other sons were priests. In a long course of time, their descendants so multiplied, that they were too many all at the same time to minister in the temple. David therefore divided them into courses; each course waited their month. 1 Chronicles 24:4,5, there is an account of the distribution of the priests into twenty-four courses. In David’s time the eighth course was the course of Abijah. It appeareth by Nehemiah 12:1-47, that after the captivity they kept the denominations of these courses, but it is probable the order of them was altered. We read of Abijah in Nehemiah 12:17, but whether his was then, or at this time when Luke wrote his Gospel, the eighth course I cannot tell. It is enough for us that Zacharias was one of the ordinary priests of the course of Abia; whose office it was to serve in the temple in his course, which was the course of such as derived from the Abijah mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:10.

And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. This is added not to signify Zacharias’s obedience to the Divine law, which obliged the priests to marry within their own tribes; for the reason of that law being only to prevent the confusion of the inheritances, which fell by lot to the several tribes, and by the will of God were to be so kept distinct, the tribe of Levi having no such inheritance, might intermix with any other tribe, and did so; the high priest only was obliged to marry one of his own people, Leviticus 21:14, and Jehoiada, 2 Chronicles 22:11, married one of the tribe of Judah; but it is added to show the honourableness of Elisabeth’s stock. Moses and Aaron were the two first governors of the Israelites. Elisabeth was not only of the tribe of Levi, but descended from Aaron, whom God made the noblest family of the Levites. Her name was Elisabeth. It is a Hebrew name, Exodus 6:23, and (as you may see there) was the very name of Aaron’s wife, the daughter of Amminadab, and sister of Naashon. As it may be variously written it signifieth, the rest, or the oath, or the rod of my God.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-1.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Course of Abia; the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes. 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. Each officiated a week, from one Sabbath to the next. The course of Abia, to which Zacharias belonged, was the eighth in order. 1 Chronicles 24:10. Abia in Greek is the same as Abijah in Hebrew.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

5. Ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις. The elaborate style of the Preface is at once replaced by one of extreme directness and simplicity, full of Hebraic expressions; shewing that here St Luke begins to use, and probably to translate, some Aramaic document which had come into his hands. The remainder of this chapter is known as the Protevangelium—the Gospel History before the Birth of Christ. The sweetness and delicate reserve of the narrative, together with the incidents on which it dwells, have led to the not unreasonable conjecture that the Virgin Mary had written down some of those things which she long ‘kept in her heart.’ Something however of the ‘lofty and lyric beauty’ of the narrative must be due to St Luke, for his peculiar expressions occur even amid the Hebraic idioms. In this new material we may note:


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-1.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Days of Herod—Herod, surnamed the Great. See note on Matthew 2:1.

Course of Abia—Abijah. See 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 24:10; 1 Chronicles 24:19; also, Nehemiah 12:1; Nehemiah 12:4; Nehemiah 12:17. When the sons of Aaron became too numerous, David divided them into twenty-four courses, or classes. Each class had supervision of the daily service of the temple for a week. The priests for each day of the week were selected from the class by lot. On the return from the captivity but four courses were left, which were again divided into twenty-four. The course of Abia, being the eighth, it has been calculated officiated April 17-23, and in October 3-9.

His wife was of the daughters of Aaron—Both John’s parents were of priestly rank, the most honourable nobility among the Jews. It is a saying of R. Jochanan, “He that would be rich, let him join himself to the seed of Aaron; for so it is, that the law and the priesthood make rich. R. Idi bar Abin married a priestess, and from him proceeded those that were made doctors, namely, R. Shecheth, and R. Joshua.” And so Josephus says, “As among different nations there are different sorts of nobility, so with us the sharing of the priesthood is token of illustrious rank.” And so the learned Greek Jew of Alexandria, the celebrated Philo, a contemporary of Jesus, loftily said, “As far as God surpasses man in greatness, so far the high-priesthood surpasses the royalty; for the former is the service of God, the latter the care of men.” The two illustrious births now about to be announced were to be from the daughters of the sacred line of Aaron and the royal line of David.

[image]


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Herod the Great ruled over Judea, the large Roman province that included all of Israel, from37 B.C. to A.D4.

Luke pointed out that both of John"s parents had a priestly heritage. The priests in Israel had the great privilege of intimate association with God through their worship and service in the sanctuary. Zechariah"s name means "Yahweh remembers" and is significant here because the birth of John was a fulfillment of a prophecy that God would send a forerunner before Israel"s Messiah. The etymological derivation of Elizabeth"s name is unclear, but possibly it means "God"s covenant." [Note: Bailey, p107.] Normally John would have become a priest and served in the temple as his father did.

David had divided the priesthood into24divisions and had placed the leader of one priestly family at the head of each group ( 1 Chronicles 23-24).

"Actually only four divisions returned from the Exile ( Ezra 2:36-39), but the four were subdivided to make up twenty-four again with the old names." [Note: Leon Morris, The Gospel According to St. Luke , p68.]

Abijah was the leader of the division to which Zechariah belonged ( 1 Chronicles 24:10). The Exile had interrupted these divisions, but Israel"s leaders established them again following the restoration as best they could. In Zechariah"s day, each division served for one week twice a year plus during the major festivals. [Note: J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, pp198-207.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-1.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 1:5. In the days of Herod. See on Matthew 2:1.

A certain priest. Not the high-priest

Zacharias, i.e., ‘the Lord remembers.’

Of the course of Abijah. The eighth of the twenty-four classes, into which the descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron, were divided (1 Chronicles 24). Each of these ministered in the temple for one week, from the days of Solomon until the destruction of the first temple, and from the restoration of the courses by Judas Maccabæus until the final destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. In the latter period the names and order of the courses were preserved, but not the descent. At the destruction of the temple by the Romans, the course in waiting was that of Jehoiarib (the first), and date was the 9th day of the Jewish month Ab. But these data do not determine the ‘date of the occurrence before us, since each course must serve at least twice in a year, and ‘after those days’ (Luke 1:24) is indefinite.

Elisabeth, i.e., ‘God’s oath.’ The wife of Aaron bore the same name (Exodus 6:23 : ‘Elisheba’).


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-1.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 1:5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea — This is he who is commonly known by the name of Herod the Great, a cruel, ambitious man, who, without any title, obtained the crown of Judea from the Roman senate, to whom he was recommended by Mark Antony. Under his government the Jews were very uneasy, because he was a foreigner. Nevertheless, the Roman generals in those parts having given him possession of the throne, by his own prudence and address he maintained himself in it for the space of forty years. His reign, though celebrated on many accounts, was remarkable for nothing so much as that, toward the conclusion of it, the Messiah and his forerunner were born. Besides Herod the king, there are two others of this name mentioned in Scripture, namely, Herod surnamed Antipas, his son, who was inferior to his father both in dignity and dominion, being only a tetrarch, and having no dominions but Galilee and Perea: it was this Herod that beheaded the Baptist, and with his men of war mocked our Lord. The other was Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the king by Aristobulus, and brother to Herodias, Philip’s wife. He killed James the apostle with the sword, and imprisoned Peter to please the Jews; and was himself eaten up of worms for his affecting divine honours. Agrippa, before whom Paul pleaded his cause, was the son of this Herod, for which reason he is commonly called Agrippa. Of the course of Abia — The priests were become so numerous in David’s time, that they could not all minister at the tabernacle at once. He therefore divided them into twenty-four courses, or companies, who were to serve in rotation, each company by itself for a week. The time of their ministration, as well as the course itself, was called εφημερια, a name which originally belonged to the Athenian magistrates, who being fifty men chosen by lot out of each tribe, and each man governing the city a single day, the days which any tribe governed, as well as its fifty governors succeeding one another, were called εφημεριαι. Now there being a considerable resemblance between this division and succession of the Athenian magistrates, and that of the Jewish priests, the Greek interpreters of the Old Testament applied the same name to the courses of the priests, though somewhat improperly, as their ministry lasted not for a day but a week. The course of Abia, (that is, that of which Abia, or Abijah, was the head in David’s time,) was the eighth. See the notes on 1 Chronicles 24:3-10.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

===============================

[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

De vice Abia, Greek: ex ephemerias.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

There was = There came to be. A Hebraism, Compare Luke 1:8, and see on Luke 2:1.

in. Greek en. App-104. Not the same word as in verses: Luke 1:15, Luke 1:20, Luke 1:44-47.

in the days. A Hebraism. See Matthew 2:1. Compare Esther 1:1.

Herod. See App-109.

the king. This title had been conferred by the Roman Senate on the recommendation of Antony and Octavius.

of = out of. Greek. ek, App-104.

Abia is named in 1 Chronicles 24:10, and Nehemiah 12:17. Out of the four who returned from Babylon twenty-four courses were formed (by lot) with the original names. See App-179.

the daughters of Aaron. The female descendants of Aaron always married priests

Elisabeth. Aaron"s wife, Elisheba (Exodus 6:23)is spelled Elizabethin the Septuagint.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-1.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

During the time when Herod was king. Herod the Great (see note on Matthew 2:1). A priest named Zechariah. Not a "chief priest," one of the lower ranks. Order of Abijah. All the priests were grouped in twenty-four orders. The "Order of Abijah" was the eighth (1 Chronicles 24:10). Each Order took charge of the temple worship in sequence, for a week at a time beginning on the Sabbath. The "heads" of these twenty-four Orders are the "chief priests." His wife's name was Elizabeth. She is also from a priestly family, so John the Baptist is of "priestly descent" on both sides of his family.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) There was in the days of Herod.—The writer begins, as he had promised, with the first facts in the divine order of events. The two chapters that follow have every appearance of having been based originally on an independent document, and that probably a Hebrew one. On its probable sources, see Introduction. On Herod and this period of his reign, see Notes on Matthew 2:1.

Zacharias.—The name (= “he who remembers Jehovah,” or, perhaps, “he whom Jehovah remembers,”) had been borne by many in the history of Israel, among others by the son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20), and by the prophet of the return from the Babylonian Captivity.

Of the course of Abia.—The Greek word so translated implies a system of rotation, each “set” or “course” of the priests serving from Sabbath to Sabbath. That named after Abia, or Abijah, appears in 1 Chronicles 24:10 as the eighth of the twenty-four courses into which the houses of Eleazar and Ithamar were divided by David. On the first return from the Captivity only four of these courses are mentioned as having come back to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:36-39), and the name Abijah is not one of them. It appears, however, in later lists (Nehemiah 10:7; Nehemiah 12:4; Nehemiah 12:17), and the four-and-twenty sets were probably soon re-organised.

His wife was of the daughters of Aaron.—The priests were free to marry outside the limits of their own caste under certain limitations as to the character of their wives (Leviticus 21:7), and the fact of a priestly descent on both sides was therefore worth noticing.

Her name was Elisabeth.—The name in its Hebrew form of Elisheba had belonged to the wife of Aaron, who was of the tribe of Judah (Exodus 6:23), and was naturally an honoured name among the daughters of the priestly line. It appears in an altered form (Jehovah being substituted for El) in Jehosheba, the wife of the priest Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:2).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Herod
Matthew 2:1
of the course
1 Chronicles 24:10,19; Nehemiah 12:4,17
Abijah

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 1:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-1.html.

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