From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015

 

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CHAPTER ONE:

Verses 39-80

 

 

 

Books utilized codes at end of chapter

 

 

 

1:39                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Not long after this, Mary rose up and went in haste into the hill country to a town in Judah.

WEB:              Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah,           

Young’s:         And Mary having arisen in those days, went to the hill-country, with haste, to a city of Judea,
Conte (RC):   And in those days, Mary, rising up, traveled quickly into the hill country, to a city of
Judah.

 

1:39                 and Mary arose.  That is, she at once prepared to go, as one who conceives a resolution, and rises from a seat to put it in execution.  [4]

                        in those days.  That is, soon after she had received the extraordinary message from the angel.  [9]

                        Probably within a month of the annunciation.  [56]

                        And went into the hill country.  The region of the tribe of Judah, lying south of Jerusalem, is rough and hilly for many miles.  [4]

Five-sixths of Judah [is] hilly and barren.  Thirty-eight cities of Judah's mountains are named (Joshua 15:48, 60).  [7]

                        The hill country here alluded to is the elevated district of Judah, Benjamin, and Mount Ephraim, in contradistinction to the low maritime plain on the east—the old Philistia.  [18]

                        The “hill country” in its broader geographic setting:  Palestine west of the Jordan lies in four parallel lines of very different formation:  1.  The coast.  2.  The Shephelah, or maritime plain, broken only by the spur of Carmel.  3.  The Har or Hill country,--the mass of low rounded hills which formed the main part of the Roman provinces of Judaea and Samaria south of the intervening plain of Esdraelon, and of Galilee north of it; and 4.  The Ghor or deep dint of the Jordan Valley.  See Deuteronomy 1:7, “in the plain (Arabah), in the hills (Har), in the vale (Shephelah), and in the south (Negeb), and by the sea side (Chooph hayyam).”  (Joshua 9:1; Judges 5:17.)  The specific meaning of “hill country” is the elevated district of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim.  (Genesis 14:10; Numbers 13:29; Joshua 9:1, 10:40, 11:16.)  [56]     

                        with haste.  The action of eager interest.  [14]

                        Such as results from zeal and eager desire.  [9]

                        Between the annunciation and this journey of Mary to visit her cousin Elisabeth, we must interpose the events narrated in St. Mathew's Gospel, viz. the natural suspicion of her betrothed future husband, Joseph; his action in the matter; and then the dream of Joseph, in which her innocence was vindicated.  As we believe that St. Luke's  story here was derived from Mary's own narrative, we can understand well that these details, related by St. Matthew, were scarcely touched upon, and the mother would hurry on to the real points of interest in that eventful past of hers.  [18]

                        Why such a hurried trip would be necessary—to get out of sight of the rumor-mongerers who would be having a field day with the pregnancy:  The same notion of haste is involved in the aorist participle “anastasa,” rising up.  As a betrothed virgin she would live without seeing her future husband.  When however a few weeks sufficed to shew her condition, the female friends about her would be sure to make it known to Joseph.  Then would occur the enquiries and suspicions, so agonizing to a pure maiden, which are alluded to by Matthew (1:18-25).  After the dream which vindicated her innocence we can understand the “haste” with which she would fly to the sympathy of her holy and aged kinswoman and seek for peace in the seclusion of the priestly home.  Nothing but the peculiarity of her condition could have permitted the violation of Jewish custom involved in the journey of a betrothed virgin.  But for the incidents recorded by Matthew we should be wholly unable to account for this expression.  Its naturalness under the circumstances is an undersigned coincidence.  [56]     

                        a city of Judah.  If we may suppose Hebron to have been Elizabeth's residence, Mary's journey would be about one hundred miles.  [9]

                        Many surmises are ventured concerning this place.  Some suggest Jerusalem; others a new reading, making it Joutta.  It is altogether probable that it was Hebron, which was one of the cities given to the priests by Joshua (Josh. xxi.  11-13), and was expressly described as being in the hill-country.  Josh. xi. 21; xvi. 48-54.  The only question is, why the writer has omitted the name.  [4]

                        On the other hand:  Similarly, Nazareth is described as “a city of Galilee.”  The name of the city is not given.  Had the home of Zacharias been at Hebron it would probably have been mentioned.  Reland (Palestine, page 870) ingeniously conjectures that we should read Jutta, which was in the hill country (Joshua 15:55) and was one of the cities of Judah which were assigned to the priests (Joshua 21:9, 16).  We can hardly venture to alter the reading, but as Juttah was only a large village (Eusebius, Onomast., s.v.) and is not mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:57-59 it may have been the home of Zacharias, and the actual name may easily have been omitted as obscure.  [56]

 

 

1:40                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Here she came to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth;

WEB:              and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.    

Young’s:         and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
Conte (RC):   And she entered into the house of Zechariah, and she greeted
Elizabeth.

 

1:40                 And entered into the house of Zacharias.  In other words, the words that are about to be recorded were spoken in private rather than publicly.  The situation already must have seemed strange enough to the local public what with Elizabeth pregnant at an advanced age.  Now comes in a young woman who claims to have gotten pregnant without a man being involved.  Initial explanations were best said in private in such circumstances and it would not be surprising if Mary spent as much time as she could “out of sight” while there, to avoid conversations that would evoke everything but acceptance of her story.  [rw]

and saluted Elizabeth.  Expressed great joy and gratification at seeing her and used the customary tokens of affectionate salutation.  [11]

 

 

1:41                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the babe leapt within her. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,

WEB:              It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.        

Young’s:         And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe did leap in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
Conte (RC):   And it happened that, as
Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

1:41                 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb.  From verse 44 it is plain that this maternal sensation was something extraordinary--a sympathetic emotion of the unconscious babe at the presence of the mother of his Lord.  [16]

                        Meager support can rationally be got from this occurrence for the opinion of those who find in verse 15, that John was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born.  Just as little does it warrant the old figment of desperate advocates of infant baptism, that unconscious babes can exercise gospel faith.  [52]  

                        and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Spirit--that Spirit of prophecy, so often mentioned in the Old Testament.  [18]

Hence the words that Elizabeth now uttered were [inspired] and she was enabled to address Mary with prophetic words.  [14]

                        Elisabeth was divinely inspired to understand the cause of the sudden motion mentioned, and, as a pious and just woman, expressed her joy at the great favor which was done to her youthful kinswoman, and prophesied concerning her.  It is mentioned that Mary only saluted her, and had as yet told her nothing.  She learned it, therefore, from God.  [4]

                        This seems to have been the accomplishment of the promise made by the angel (verse 15), "He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."  The mother is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the child in her womb becomes sensible of the Divine influence.  [1]

                       

 

1:42                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and uttered a loud cry of joy. "Blest among women are you," she said, "and the offspring of your body is blest!

WEB:              She called out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!    

Young’s:         and spake out with a loud voice, and said, 'Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb;
Conte (RC):   And she cried out with a loud voice and said: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

 

1:42                 And she spake out with a loud voice.  With a loud voice, such as testified the greatness of the emotion of her mind.  [9]

                        Or:  Showing the overwhelming strength of the prophetic impulse which urged her.  [52]

                        and said, Blessed.  See the same salutation in verse 28.  It was plainly no worship of Mary.  Mary is pronounced "blessed," but as the mother of Elizabeth's Lord (Verse 43).  [8]

                        I.e., preeminently blessed as “fairest among women,” Canticles 1:8.  Similar expressions are used of Ruth (Ruth 3:10), and, on a far lower level of meaning, of Jael (Judges 5:24), and of Judith:  “All the women of Israel blessed her,” Judith 15:12.  In the latter instances the blessing is pronounced by women, but here the word means “blessed by God.”  [56]

                        art thou among women.  Peculiarly favored by God, over all other women, as selected to be the mother of the Christ.  [52]

                        and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  Since there is every indication that Mary left for her visit promptly, there is no way the pregnancy could be visible.  Hence the knowledge of it had either already been given Elizabeth by God or is here being made known to her.  This also assured that she would treat the young woman with courtesy and affection.  [rw]      

 

 

1:43                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    But why is this honour done me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

WEB:              Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?      

Young’s:         and whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord might come unto me?
Conte (RC):   And how does this concern me, so that the mother of my Lord would come to me?

 

1:43                 And whence is this to me.   An expression of humility.  Why is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me, as if to honor me?  [11]

                        that the mother of my Lord.  The word "Lord" sometimes denotes Divinity and sometimes superior, master, teacher, or governor.  It was given by the Jews to their expected Messiah; but whether they understood it as denoting Divinity cannot now be ascertained.  It is clear only that Elizabeth used it as denoting great dignity and honor.  [11]

                        should come to me?  The traditional respect that the young should give to the older is reversed:  because of the younger’s unique situation she is the one deserving of special recognition and courtesy.  [rw]  

 

 

1:44                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    For, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the babe within me leapt for joy.

WEB:              or behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!

Young’s:         for, lo, when the voice of thy salutation came to my ears, leap in gladness did the babe in my womb;
Conte (RC):   For behold, as the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

 

1:44                 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears.  Some “coincidences” instinctively call for linkage, for a cause-effect relationship. Though she may well have known nothing of Mary’s pregnancy before she walked in the door, the baby suddenly reacting—well, it would have been rather hard for her not to believe in a cause-effect relationship.  Hence that this young woman was the bearer of yet more good news to add to her own old age pregnancy. [rw] 

                        the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  [She] finds in this experience a confirmation, or reason, of the dignity of the son of Mary, which was due to the prophetic inspiration mentioned in verse 41.  [52]

 

 

1:45                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And blessed is she who has believed, for the word spoken to her from the Lord shall be fulfilled."

WEB:              Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!"           

Young’s:         and happy is she who did believe, for there shall be a completion to the things spoken to her from the Lord.'
Conte (RC):   And blessed are you who believed, for the things that were spoken to you by the Lord shall be accomplished."

 

1:45                 And blessed is she that believed.  The believing Mary, whose faith stood in contrast with Zacharias' unbelief.  [14]

                        Not only in the fact of her faith, but because of the fruit of it.  Had Mary disbelieved or refused to walk in the laws of God as a modest and pious maiden, this grace [would have] passed over her to another.  [4]

                        for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.  Her faith is firm and based on ample precedent:  If the Lord has said it, it will happen.  It may not happen quite the way we expect or with the timing we expect or with the repercussions we expect, but once we take the “we” out of the picture, one is still be left with one core fact:  He spoke, He promised, He carries it out. [rw]

                        from the Lord.  Even though it was an angel who spoke with her, the angel was revealing the message sent by the Lord—acting as His agent. [rw]

 

 

1:46                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then Mary said: "My soul extols the Lord,

WEB:              Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord.  

Young’s:         And Mary said, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord,
Conte (RC):   And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord.

 

1:46                 And Mary said,  My soul doth magnify the Lord.  This hymn (46-55) has been called the Magnificat, from the first word of the Latin version; the Hymn of Zacharias (68-79) is called the Benedictus; and that of Simeon the Nunc Dimittis.  It is divisible into three parts:  (I)  46-49:  Rapturous recognition of God's strange grace upon her own utterly humble person and character; (II) 50-53:  A recognition that it is ever thus that God exalts the humble and brings low the proud; (III) 54-55:  The blessed result is that humble Israel is now to be exalted according to God's ancient promise to Abraham.  [14]

                        Compare throughout the song of Hannah (1 Sam. ii. 1-10).  As connected with the defence of the hymns contained in these two chapters, we may observe, taking the lowest ground, that there is nothing improbable in matter of fact, in holy persons, full of the thoughts which permeate the Old Testament prophecies, breaking out into such songs of praise as these, which are grounded on, and almost expressed in, the words of Scripture.  The Christian believer, however, will take a higher view than this, and attribute to the mother of the Lord that same inspiration of the Holy Spirit which filled Elizabeth (verse 41) and Zachariah (verse 67).  [25]

                        Preservation of the song:  It is, of course, possible that she had committed the beautiful thoughts to writing; but perhaps, in giving them to Luke or Paul, she needed no parchment scroll, but softly repeated to the chronicler of the Divine story the old song in which she had first told her deep imaginings to Elisabeth, and afterwards often had murmured the same bright words of joy and faith over the holy Babe as he lay in his cradle at Bethlehem, in Egypt, or in Nazareth.  [18]

                        my soul.  Distinguished from “spirit,” in the next [verse], as the middle element in the human constitution between the body on one hand and the spirit on the other.  It may be regarded, generally, as the seat of the sensations, perceptions, understanding, emotions, and will of the individual man.  For another view of the terms “soul” and “spirit” see Prof. D. H. Goodwin:  “(1) The words soul and spirit are generally employed in the Scriptures in an indiscriminate way, each as denoting the whole mind or inner man.  (2)  In some few cases ‘spirit’ may be used to denote especially the higher faculties or functions of the mind or soul, but even then not in direct contrast with the soul itself.  (3)  In some cases ‘spirit’ is used for what does not at all belong to man in his natural state; but, for a certain temper, disposition, and direction of the heart, imparted by the Divine Spirit in the life of Christ, by virtue of which Christians are called ‘spiritual’ (pneumatic) men.  But (4) there is no ground in the Scripture use of the words ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ for the trichomistic doctrine of a sharp and radical distinction between the two, as co-ordinate facts of man’s nature—much less as distinct substances in his constitution.”   [52]

                        magnify.  To magnify, in respect to God, is to praise Him with the whole heart, to worship Him as Supreme.  See Ps. xxxiv. 3.  Mary's hymn of praise is very like that of Hannah.  1 Sam. ii. 1-10.  [4]

                        the Lord.  This is nothing that human beings have produced.  This is something the Lord alone, utilizing His mighty power, has brought about.  [rw] 

 

 

1:47                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And my spirit triumphs in God my Saviour;

WEB:              My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,           

Young’s:         And my spirit was glad on God my Saviour,
Conte (RC):   And my spirit leaps for joy in God my Saviour.

                       

1:47                 And my spirit.  It is the meeting-place where all the faculties and experiences of our being may come into [interaction] with God.  It is not always sharply discriminated from soul and body, but is frequently so used, and especially when, as here, one or both the other terms are used in connection with it.  Nothing in this, and nothing in Scripture, warrants us in affirming that the human soul and spirit as distinct entities or separable elements.  [52] 

                        hath rejoiced.  To rejoice in God is to take delight in discovering His plans of mercy to us and by us.  [4]

                        in God my Savior.  Isaiah xlv. 21, “a just God and a Saviour.”  Compare Isaiah 12:2, 25:9.  The expression is also found in the later Epistles of Paul, “God our Saviour,” 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 3:4.  [56]

God is called Savior as He saves people from sin and death.  He was Mary's Savior, as He had redeemed her soul, and given a title to eternal life; and she rejoiced for that, and especially for His mercy in honoring her my her being made the mother of the Messiah.  [11]

 

 

1:48                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Because He has not turned from His maidservant in her lowly position; For from this time forward all generations will account me happy,

WEB:              for he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.      

Young’s:         Because He looked on the lowliness of His maid-servant, For, lo, henceforth call me happy shall all the generations,
Conte (RC):   For he has looked with favor on the humility of his handmaid. For behold, from this time, all generations shall call me blessed.

 

1:48                 He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.  There was nothing to have led the eyes of men towards her.  But as the prophet Samuel said of her ancestor David:  "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  1 Sam. xvi. 7, Ps. lccviii. 70.  The Lord had overlooked the proud and wealthy families of her nation, and not despised her poverty, but had chosen her to become the mother of the Great King.  [4]

                        low estate.  So Hagar (Genesis 16:11) and Hannah (1 Samuel 1:11; cf. Psalmx cxxxviii. 6, cii. 17).  The word may be rendered “humiliation,” Acts 8:33; Isaiah 1:9, 10.  The reader will notice in this hymn more than one anticipation of the Beatitudes.  [56]

                        for, behold, from henceforth.  From the time when this event shall become known, for which Elisabeth had already called her blessed.  [4]

                        all generations.  All ages, and men to the end of time.  [4]

                        “Blessed is the womb that bare Thee,” Luke 11:27.  “Leah said, The daughters will call me blessed,” Genesis 30:13; Psalms lxxii. 17.  We cannot but wonder at the vast faith of the despised and persecuted virgin of Nazareth, whose inspired anticipations have been so amply fulfilled.  [56]

                        shall call me blessed.  This does not predict the adoration of the Virgin, but describes a reckoning of her as one highly honored.  [26]

                        Should esteem her so and make mention of her as highly favored by the Almighty, in being chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy.  Isaiah 7:14.  All Christians who partake of the fruits of her faith, will join to pay her that honor which is her due.  [4]              

 

 

1:49                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Because the mighty One has done great things for me--Holy is His name!--

WEB:              For he who is mighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name.       

Young’s:         For He who is mighty did to me great things, And holy is His name,
Conte (RC):   For he who is great has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

 

1:49                 For he that is mighty.  God, the Almighty.  [4]

                        hath done to me.  God has provided every one great blessings but there are still blessings of opportunity and service that are unique to the specific individual, as in this case.  [rw]

great things.  Hath performed things beyond expectation; things which are wonderful and amazing.  [4]

                        and holy is His name.  That is, God was free from sin, injustice, and impurity.  The "name" of God is often put for God Himself.  [11]

 

 

1:50                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And His compassion is, generation after generation, Upon those who fear Him.

WEB:              His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him. 

Young’s:         And His kindness is to generations of generations, To those fearing Him,
Conte (RC):   And his mercy is from generation to generations for those who fear him.

 

1:50                 And his mercy.  The merciful kindness of God has been shown in two ways, to which these words may apply.  1)  In exalting humble and pious persons, as Abraham, Hannah, David and others, to a conspicuous place in His kingdom.  He thus often condescended to the lowly, and exalted them to high places.  Or 2)  In His forgiving sins of His servants, and giving them blessings to which they felt that they had no claim.  [4]

                        is on them.  Or is manifested towards them, protects and guides them, so that they are made distinguished examples of it and the graces that result from it.  [4]

                        that fear Him.  That reverence or honor Him.  One kind of fear is that which a servant has of a cruel master, or a man has of a precipice, the plague, or death.  This is not the fear which we ought to have of God.  Is the fear that a dutiful child has of a kind and virtuous father--a fear of injuring his feelings; of dishonoring him by our life; or doing anything which he would disapprove.  It is on those who have such fear of God that His mercy descends.  [11]

                        from generation to generation.  From one age to another.  That is, it is unceasing; it continues and abounds.  [11]

                        In every age of the past the Scripture shows that the beneficence of God has been shown to His worshippers.  It was no chance, arbitrary mode of dealing with them, but was His constant and unchangeable character.  See James 1:17.  [4]

 

 

1:51                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    He has manifested His supreme strength. He has scattered those who were haughty in the thoughts of their hearts.

WEB:              He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  

Young’s:         He did powerfully with His arm, He scattered abroad the proud in the thought of their heart,
Conte (RC):   He has accomplished powerful deeds with his arm. He has scattered the arrogant in the intentions of their heart.

 

1:51                 He hath shewed strength.  He was often celebrated as One who wrought wonders of deliverance.  Ps. cxviii. 15-16.  Mary having praised His mercy towards His servants, now turns to one exhibition of it; His protection of them from the violence of their enemies.  Thus he preserved Lot from the Sodomites and their destruction; Abram from Abimelech; Jacob from Esau; Joseph from his brethren; David from Saul, and others.  Here "Grotius notes that God's great power is represented by His finger, His greater by His hand, His greatest by His arm.  The production of the lice was 'by the finger of God.'  Ex. iii. 20.  The destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, 'by His arm.'  Ex. xvi. 6.  The following words seem to be taken from the song of Hannah.  1 Sam. ii. 4-6."--Dr. Whitby.  [4]

                        with His arm.  Shows His greatest power; hand, less; finger, least.  [7]

                        The sentiment is expressed in Isaiah 59:16, "Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him," etc.  [8]

                        He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  This is the sentiment so often expressed in the prophets, as to the superiority of God in His counsels to all opposers.  Isaiah 29:14; 44:25-26.  "That turneth wise men backward and maketh their knowledge foolish."  [8]          

                        Those who were lifted up or exalted in their own view.  Those who thought themselves to be superior to other men.  [11]

                        Proud, hostile men, trusting to their plans of enmity.  [4]

 

 

1:52                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    He has cast monarchs down from their thrones, And exalted men of low estate.

WEB:              He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly.

Young’s:         He brought down the mighty from thrones, And He exalted the lowly,
Conte (RC):   He has deposed the powerful from their seat, and he has exalted the humble.

 

1:52                 He hath.  This is the way God acts, not your typical mortal.  The latter give honor and recognition to the “important” people, while God gives it to those who deserve it, including those of such “low degree” that others would pass them by.  In contrast the arrogant and tyrannical He quite happily strips of their prestigious position (“their seats”—literal or symbolic) and allows them to taste the scorn they have so readily heaped upon others.  [rw]

                        put down the mighty from their seats.  The "mighty" here denotes princes, kings, or conquerors.  See Isaiah 14:12-14.  [11]

                        The aorists throughout are gnomic, i.e., they do not express single, but normal acts.  The thought is common throughout the Bible, e.g. Luke 18:14; Daniel 4:30; 1 Samuel 2:6-10; Psalms cxiii. 6-8; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.  [56]

                        their seats.  Their thrones or the places where they sat in pomp and power.  [11] 

                        and exalted them of low degree.  Low or humble birth and condition in life.  This probably has reference to the case of Saul and David.  [11]

                        Those born of humble and/or poor parents.  [4]

 

 

1:53                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    The hungry He has satisfied with choice gifts, But the rich He has sent empty-handed away.

WEB:              He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.   

Young’s:         The hungry He did fill with good, And the rich He sent away empty,
Conte (RC):   He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

 

1:53                 He hath filled the hungry with good things.  Thus did He feed Israel forty years with bread from heaven, and daily the poor who looked unto Him.  Men go by another rule.  They do good to those who can repay them.  Grace teaches them to give and lend expecting nothing again.  [4]

                        “My servants shall eat but ye shall be hungry, etc.,” Isaiah lxv. 13, 25:6; Psalms 34:10, and the Beatitude Matthew 5:6.  (See Luke 18:14, the Publican and the Pharisee.)  [17]

                        and the rich He hath sent empty away.  The Jews devoutly believed that God "maketh poor and maketh rich," and so sang Hannah centuries before Mary.  1 Sam. ii. 7.  They recognized the folly of such as trusted in uncertain riches, and neglected God.  For the divine Providence mercifully inscribes this same lesson on every page of the world's history, that men may take warning and not lose their souls by an overweening confidence in worldly advantages.  Prov. xi. 28; xxiii. 5.  These things are given us that we may wisely use them and be faithful in the stewardship of them.  1 Tim. vi. 17-18.  [4] 

 

 

1:54                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    His servant Israel He has helped, Remembering His compassion--

WEB:              He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,    

Young’s:         He received again Israel His servant, To remember kindness,
Conte (RC):   He has taken up his servant
Israel, mindful of his mercy,

 

1:54                 He hath holpen.  Hath assisted or given help to.  The word in Greek means, to take a prostrate man by the hands to help him up.  And this God had done to the Jewish nation, which had often been in the sad condition of one sick and beaten down.  The prophets introduced this style, and Isaiah speaks of the Jews as of a sick man.  "The whole head is sick, and the whole  heart is faint, etc."  Is. i. 5-6.  All along for ages God had shown this mercy to them, in forgiving their backslidings, and saving them from the consequences of them.  [4]

                        His servant Israel.  The chosen people, descended from Jacob or Israel.  [4]

                        in remembrance of His mercy.  Remembering the mercy and benefits which He had promised to the patriarchs, He was now about to show His mindfulness of His promises in a grander and richer blessing to these same Jews.  [4]

                        The proper punctuation of the following words [in the next verse] is “to remember His mercy—even as He spake to our fathers—to Abraham and his seed for ever.”  Micah 7:20, “Thou wilt perform . . . the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”  Galatians 3:16, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.”  [56]

 

 

1:55                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    In fulfillment of His promises to our forefathers--For Abraham and his posterity for ever."

WEB:              As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever."      

Young’s:         As He spake unto our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed -- to the age.'
Conte (RC):   just as he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his offspring forever."

 

1:55                 And He spake to our fathers, to Abraham.  This is a reference to the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen. xv. 18), which covenant proceeded from God's eternal mercy, and in which salvation was promised to all the nations of the earth.  (Gen. 12:3; 22:18.)  This covenant was in one form or other given to all the fathers.  [9]

                        and to his seed.  To Isaac.  But she mentions not his name, for the promise was so worded as to have one fulfillment in him, but also to pass over him to all the faithful, and especially to foreshadow Christ.  Gen. xxi. 12; Gal. iii. 16.  Because Christ was yet to come from them, God had preserved the Jewish nation.  When that event came to pass, they were scattered.  [4]

                        for ever.  These words are to be referred to the preceding verse, "In remembrance of His mercy for ever, as he spake," etc.  They denote that the mercy of God, manifested to His people, should be had in everlasting remembrance.  [11]

                        This word may properly be joined to the preceding verse.  God had remembered His mercy, i.e. His promises in all the past history of the Jews.  The other words are then a parenthesis.  Or it may be read as it stands; for that promise made to the seed of Abrham, to the Messiah and His spiritual children, can be narrowed by no age of time.  [4]

                         

 

1:56                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    So Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned home.

WEB:              Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her house.    

Young’s:         And Mary remained with her about three months, and turned back to her house.
Conte (RC):   Then Mary stayed with her for about three months. And she returned to her own house.

 

1:56                 And Mary abode with her about three months.  As this would complete the nine months of Elizabeth’s “full time,” it might seem probable that the Virgin Mary at least remained until the birth of the Baptist.  [56] 

and returned to her own house.  Doubtless the fulfillment of the promise to Elizabeth gave her vast reassurance that the Divine promise made to her would be equally safely brought to fruition.  [rw]

                        returned.  The word used—hupestrepsen—is a favorite word of Luke and almost (Galatians 1:17; Hebrews 7:1) peculiar to him.  It occurs twenty-one times in this Gospel.  [56] 

 

 

1:57                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Now when Elizabeth's full time was come, she gave birth to a son;

WEB:              Now the time that Elizabeth should give birth was fulfilled, and she brought forth a son.           

Young’s:         And to Elisabeth was the time fulfilled for her bringing forth, and she bare a son,
Conte (RC):   Now the time for
Elizabeth to give birth arrived, and she brought forth a son.

 

1:57                 Now Elisabeth's full time came.  She carried the baby fully “to term” in the expected manner and of the expected duration.  This might be mentioned because of her age.  In our modern terminology, “there were no complicating factors.”  [rw]  

that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.  Having a child—her only child—so late in life, beyond any normally expected timeframe, would have brought her extra joy.  A joy that her friends joined in enthusiastically as well (verse 58).

 

 

1:58                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and her neighbours and relatives heard how the Lord had had great compassion on her; and they rejoiced with her.

WEB:              Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and they rejoiced with her.    

Young’s:         and the neighbours and her kindred heard that the Lord was making His kindness great with her, and they were rejoicing with her.
Conte (RC):   And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy with her, and so they congratulated her.

 

1:58                 And her neighbours.  Primarily those living close to her in the same community, but probably intended to include other townspeople who learned of her good fortune since an older woman escaping the stigma of being childless would be of encouragement to all who had been unable to do so though married for years.  [rw]

                        and her cousins.   Greek:  Any kindred near or remote.  [7]

                        heard.  Either directly or through those kinsfolk who had come into contact with her.  [rw]

how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her.  And the greater, because in her old age.  Births, with those that are much older, are with greater danger; so is the new birth in old sinners.  [54]

                        and they rejoiced with her.  Charity bears no envy toward our neighbour, but rejoices at the good which happens to him.  [27]

 

 

1:59                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and were going to call him Zechariah, after his father.

WEB:              It happened on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father.

Young’s:         And it came to pass, on the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child, and they were calling him by the name of his father, Zacharias,
Conte (RC):   And it happened that, on the eighth day, they arrived to circumcise the boy, and they called him by his father's name, Zechariah.

 

1:59                 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day.  The day enjoined, even if it was the Sabbath (Exodus 12:44; John 7:22).  [7]

                        they came to circumcise the child.  To the house probably of Zacharias.  [14]

                        The law for circumcision, Genesis 17:12, Leviticus 12:3, was strictly for it to be performed the eighth day.  We find nothing commanded in Scripture, either as to the person who was to perform the office of the circumciser, or as to the place.  God met Moses in the inn, and sought to kill him, because he had not circumcised his child, and Zipporah his wife did it, Exodus 4:24, 25.  It is said they afterwards did it in the synagogues, but there is no Divine law in the case.  [51]

                        Circumcision, as a rite of the Jewish religion, consisted in cutting around the flesh of the foreskin of all males.  The instrument used was a knife, a razor, or even a sharp stone.  (Exod. iv. 25; Josh. v. 3.)  This rite was established as the token of God's covenant with Abraham (Gen. xvii. 9-14), who immediately subjected himself and all his family to its observance.  By this rite all the natural male descendants of Abraham were separated from all the rest of the world.  The precept of circumcision was renewed to Moses (Exod. xii. 44; Lev. xii. 3; John vii. 22-23), requiring that all should submit to it who would partake of the paschal sacrifice.  (Exod. xii. 43-48.)  [9]

                        This was always, among the Hebrew people, a solemn day of rejoicing:  it resembled in some particulars our [infant] baptismal gatherings.  Relatives were invited to be present, as witnesses that the child had been formally incorporated into the covenant.  It was, too, the time when the name which the newly born was to bear through life was given him.  [18]        

                        and they called him Zacharias.  The name was generally given to the child by the Jews at circumcision.  [14]

                        after the name of his father.  The name commonly given to the eldest son was that of the father.  [11]

 

 

1:60                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    His mother, however, said, "No, he is to be called John."

WEB:              His mother answered, "Not so; but he will be called John."        

Young’s:         and his mother answering said, 'No, but he shall be called John.'
Conte (RC):   And in response, his mother said: "Not so. Instead, he shall be called John."

 

1:60                 And his mother answered.  Having her intervene—especially to contravene their consensus—would have startled them.  Their choice was the traditional one.  What possible reason could there be for choosing something else?  [rw] 

and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.  Presumably the mother had learned this from the father, by writing on a tablet as on the present occasion.  The older commentators (Meyer also) supposed a Divine revelation.  [12]

 

 

1:61                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "There is not one of your family," they said, "who has that name."

WEB:              They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name."

Young’s:         And they said unto her -- 'There is none among thy kindred who is called by this name,'
Conte (RC):   And they said to her, "But there is no one among your relatives who is called by that name."

 

1:61                 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred.  We find a John among hierarchs in Acts 4:6, 5:17.  Those priests however who passed the High Priesthood from one to another—a clique of Herodian Sadducees—were partly of Babylonian and Egyptian origin, and had been introduced by Herod to support his purposes.  They would not be of the kin of Zacharias.  [56]

that is called by this name.  What she wished to do was without precedent.  Why in the world do it?  [rw]

                        This objection used by the relatives would imply that it was usual to keep names within certain limits.  They seem to have been unwilling to go out of the family for a name without some reason.  [4]  

The Jewish tribes and families were kept distinct.  To do this, and to avoid confusion in their genealogical tables, they probably gave only those names which were found among their ancestors.  Another reason for this, common to all people, is the respect which is felt for honored parents and ancestors.  [11]

                         

 

1:62                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    They asked his father by signs what he wished him to be called.

WEB:              They made signs to his father, what he would have him called.    

Young’s:         and they were making signs to his father, what he would wish him to be called,
Conte (RC):   Then they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him to be called.

 

1:62                 And they made signs to his father.  Zacharias was deaf as well as dumb, or they could have told him their doubt in words, and received his assent by signs.  [4]

Or:  They made signs, which seems to imply that Zechariah is supposed to be deaf as well as dumb.  Various suggestions have been made to evade this conclusion; e.g., that men are very apt to treat a dumb person as if he were also deaf (Bengel, De Wette, Godet); that they communicated by signs instead of by speech to spare the feelings of Elizabeth, whose judgment was being appealed from (Meyer); that a sign was all that was needed, Zechariah having heard all that was said (Bleek, J. Weiss, Hahn).  [12]

                        how he would have him called.  Even though it was his mother who wished the idea—and the unusual circumstances of the late-in-life pregnancy required that her insistent plea not be brushed aside with no respect—it was so out of the norm that confirmation (or rejection) by the father seemed clearly called for.  [rw]

 

 

1:63                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    So he asked for a writing-tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." And they all wondered.

WEB:              He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." They all marveled.

Young’s:         and having asked for a tablet, he wrote, saying, 'John is his name;' and they did all wonder;
Conte (RC):   And requesting a writing tablet, he wrote, saying: "His name is John." And they all wondered.

 

1:63                 And he asked.  Of cource by signs.  [4]

                        for a writing table.  It was a small, flat piece of wood, like a slate, overspread with a surface of wax.  The writing was done with an iron stylus or bodkin, sharp at one end, and broad and smooth at the other, so that the opposite ends could be used for writing and erasing.  [14]

                        and wrote, saying.  Which shows he was literate.  A non-technological society need not be a non-literate one.  [rw]

                        his name is John.  His name is, not shall be called, as his mother had said. On this St. Ambrose well notes:  "We give no name to him who has received his name from God."  [4]

                        Thus “John,” “the grace of Jehovah,” is the first word written under the Gospel; the aeon of the written Law had ended with Cherem, “curse,” in Malachi 3:24 (Bengel).  [56]

                        they marvelled all.  He had been dumb for many months.  They had heard rumors of the events at the temple the preceding year.  Now he gives his child an unusual name, gives it not as of himself, but as if he had been directed by another, and for the first time breaks his long silence.  [4]

 

 

1:64                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Instantly his mouth and his tongue were set free, and he began to speak and bless God.

WEB:              His mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God. 

Young’s:         and his mouth was opened presently, and his tongue, and he was speaking, praising God.
Conte (RC):   Then, at once, his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosened, and he spoke, blessing God.

 

1:64                 And his mouth was opened immediately.  That is, he was enabled to speak.  [11]

                        and his tongue loosed.  For nine months he had been dumb and it is probable that they supposed he would not recover.  [11]  

                        and he spake and praised God.  “Praised,” not criticized for “needless severity” for keeping him speechless for what were nine very long silent months to him.  Instead he honored and glorified God.  Which dominates our way of thinking:  the “inconveniences” that God sends our way or the thankfulness for what God has blessed us with?  [rw]   

 

 

1:65                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And all who lived round about them were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judaea reports of all these things were spread abroad.

WEB:              Fear came on all who lived around them, and all these sayings were talked about throughout all the hill country of Judea.

Young’s:         And fear came upon all those dwelling around them, and in all the hill-country of Judea were all these sayings spoken of,
Conte (RC):   And fear fell upon all of their neighbors. And all these words were made known throughout all the hill country of
Judea.

 

1:65                 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them.  Something was going on and it scared them even though there was every indication it involved God:  a child born to a man and woman beyond child bearing time plus the sudden re-ability to speak by a man whose words “praised God.”  Did the strangeness of the situation spook them or was it the fact that it somehow involved God?  Vague unfocused guilt perhaps?  Did this, somehow, envolve a judgement on them?   [rw]   

                        and all these sayings were noised abroad [discussed, NKJV].  This is mentioned as a fact which could be ascertained, and which manifested that the life of John had been remarkable from the first.  It was the design of Providence to manifest him in this manner, that he might afterwards challenge attention as a genuine prophet of the Lord.  [4]

                        throughout all the hill country of Judaea.  [Word] extended not only to all the neighboring people, but to the whole mountain land of Judea.  [52]

 

 

1:66                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    All who heard the story treasured it in their memories. "What then will this child be?" they said. For the lord's hand was indeed with him.

WEB:              All who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, "What then will this child be?" The hand of the Lord was with him.

Young’s:         and all who heard did lay them up

in their hearts, saying, 'What then shall this

child be?' and the hand of the Lord was with him.
Conte (RC):   And all those who heard it stored it

up in their heart, saying: "What do you think

this boy will be?" And indeed, the hand of the

Lord was with him.

 

1:66                 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts.  That is, treasured them in mind and pondered them, as full of meaning.  So it is said of Mary (2:19), "Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."  [8]

                        But since “fear” had come upon them at what had happened (verse 65), this may not have a positive sense of looking forward to their accomplishment but of alarm at that possibility.  What might these strange events foreshadow?  [rw]

                        saying, What manner of child shall this be!  As there have been so many extraordinary things in his conception and birth, surely God has designated him for some extraordinary purpose.  [1]

                        Doubtless these facts were still remembered by many when John finally came forth as a prophet and stirred the nation with his powerful preaching.  [14]

                        And the hand of the Lord was with him.  This is Luke's statement, not the people's.  [14] 

                        The word "hand" is used to denote aid, protection, favor.  We stretch out the hand to aid those whom we wish to help.  The expression means that God aided him, protected him, or showed him favor.  Some think that these words are a part of the speech of the neighbors, "What manner of child shall this be!  God is so evidently with him!"  [11]

                        By this we are to understand that there were certain manifestations of the Divine favor towards the child, probably in preserving him from danger; events which would be noticed by observers living in Hebron, but which the writer has not seen fit to record.  Many absurd legends were propagated in the early ages of the Church concerning the period which intervenes between the births of John and the Saviour, and their public ministry, but we may safely reject them.  Had the inspired writers seen fit, they could have given them to us.  [4]

                       

 

1:67                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in a rapture of praise.

WEB:              His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,

Young’s:         And Zacharias his father was filled

with the Holy Spirit, and did prophesy, saying,
Conte (RC):   And his father Zechariah was filled

with the Holy Spirit. And he prophesied, saying:

 

1:67                 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost.  This phrase has reference here to prophetic gifts of the Spirit.  See verse 41; 2:25.  [8]

                        He was inspired by the Holy Spirit for this one occasion, to compose the following sacred hymn.  [4]

                        and prophesied, saying.  Of events shortly to occur.  This was uttered by Zacharias, either on the very day of circumcision or after the facts were widely circulated.  [24]

                        The hymn may be divided into:  (1)  the coming of the Messiah, 68-70; (2)  His mission and work, 71-75; (3) the relation between the Messiah and the infant, 76-77; (4)  the story of the Messianic advent and salvation, 78-79.  Almost every phrase is taken from the Old Testament.  [6]

                        When did he prophesy?  At the circumcision, one naturally assumes.   Hahn, however, connects the prophesying with the immediately preceding words concerning the hand of the Lord being with the boy.  That is, Zechariah prophesied when it began to appear that his son was to have a remarkable career.  [12]

                       

 

1:68                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel," he said, "Because He has not forgotten His people but has effected redemption for them,

WEB:              "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and worked redemption for his people;           

Young’s:         Blessed is the Lord, the God of

Israel, Because He did look upon, And wrought

redemption for His people,
Conte (RC):   "Blessed is the Lord God of
Israel.

For he has visited and has wrought the redemp-

tion of his people.

 

1:68                 Blessed.  It is usually divided into five strophes, but it is more obviously divisible into two main parts.  [12]

                        be the Lord God of Israel.  This title is used to indicate God's faithfulness to His covenant people, which was now so [clearly] to appear.  [8]

                        Who is also the God of the spirits of all flesh.  Jehovah was in a peculiar sense the God of Israel (Rom. ix. 4).  But this did not forbid the induction of other nations into like relationship and privileges.  Israel, as a chosen people, was a type of the people of God, to be called out of all nations and ages, whom God had a particular eye to in sending the Saviour.  [9]      

                        for He hath visited.  The word here rendered "visited" means, properly, to look upon; then to look upon in order to know the state of any one; then to visit for the purpose of aiding those who need aid or alleviating misery.  Compare Matthew 25:43.  [11]

                        and redeemed His people.  Has provided a redemption, a means by which to escape from evils.  Zacharias would use the word as a pious Jew, and by it he signified the deliverance from sin which was to be effected, doubtless expecting that a temporal freedom from all enemies would attend it.  The mode of saving the Israelites from Egypt by the hand of Moses, was a type of this spiritual redemption.  [4]

 

 

1:69                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And has raised up a mighty Deliverer for us In the house of David His servant--

WEB:              and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David

Young’s:         And did raise an horn of salva-

tion to us, In the house of David His servant,
Conte (RC):   And he has raised up a horn of

alvation for us, in the house of David his

servant,

 

1:69                 And hath raised up.  The sign of this strength being applied.  [8]

                        a horn of salvation.  Emblem:  (1)  Of victory, Psalms 18:2; (2) of  power, Psalms 32:17; (3) of glory, 1 Samuel 2:1; (4)  of strength, Micah 4:13; (5)  safety, 1 Kings 2:28; (6) plenty, Isaiah 5:1; (7) honor, Job 16:15; (8) kingdom, Daniel 7:8.  [7]

                        Moses compared Joseph to a young bullock, and says,  "His horns are like the horns of unicorns," Deut. xxxiii. 17.  The words used by Zacharias occur in Psalm xviii. 2, and mean that God is a great defence and safety.  The horn was also a symbol of royal power, which sense has place here (Ps. xcccii. 17; Dan. vii. 7-8), as that kingdom was now to be set up by Christ, which would be a great salvation to all redeemed sinners.  [4]

                        The reference is not to the horns of the altar, on which criminals seeking sanctuary used to lay hold; nor to the horns with which warriors used to adorn their helmets; but to the horns of a bull--in which the chief power of this animal resides.  This was a figure especially familiar among an agricultural folk like the Israelites.  [18]    

                        for us in the house.  In the family of the descendants of King David this Saviour and kingdom would now appear.  [4]    

                        of His servant David.  Proving Mary to be of his royal line.  [7]

                        Clearly Zacharias looked on Mary, as the angel had done (ver. 32), as belonging to the royal house of David.  [18]    

 

 

1:70                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    As He has spoken from all time by the lips of His holy Prophets--

WEB:              (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old),

Young’s:         As He spake by the mouth of His

holy prophets, Which have been from the age;
Conte (RC):   just as he spoke by the mouth of

his holy Prophets, who are from ages past:

 

1:70                 As he spake by the mouth.  Prophecy was either delivered first orally and then committed to writing or written and read from.  The written form guaranteed their accurate preservation from generation to generation.  [rw]

                        There were many prophets, yet they had all but one mouth, so [great] is their harmony.  [54]

                        of His holy prophets.  Those by whom the prophecies of salvation by Christ were uttered were persons who dared not deceive, and who aimed at promoting holiness among men.  They were all holy, so far as this term is applicable to frail and erring man.  Balaam, who was a very bad man, does not constitute an exception to this remark, for, as it was against his will he was forced to bless Israel (Num. xxiv. 17), he cannot properly be regarded as a prophet in the sense here meant.  [9]

                        Zacharias looked on all that was then happening as clearly foretold in those sacred prophetic writings preserved in the nation with so much care and reverence.  [18]    

                        prophets, which have been since the world began [from of old, ESV, NASB].  From Adam himself to whom the first promise was made (Gen. iii. 15); or from the earliest times in which prophecies were made concerning Christ.  [4] 

The Messiah is the theme of prophecy.  Even in the garden of Eden the first prediction of the Saviour was given (Genesis 3:15).  Peter, in Acts 3:21, uses similar words, "All his holy prophets since the world began;" by which he plainly means Moses and the prophets following.  The words "world began" are a very loose translation.  The original means not "from the creation," but "from an ancient age," from "of old."  The same phrase is used by the Septuagint in Genesis 6:4 and Psalms 25:6.  [14]

                                                    

 

1:71                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    To deliver us from our foes and from the power of all who hate us.

WEB:              salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; 

Young’s:         Salvation from our enemies, And

out of the hand of all hating us,
Conte (RC):   salvation from our enemies, and

from the hand of all those who hate us,

 

1:71                 That we should be saved from our enemies.  The enemies of man are his sins, his [immoral tendencies], his lusts, and the great adversary Satan and his angels.  From these the Messiah came to save us.  Compare Genesis 3:15; Matthew 1:21.  [11]

                        No doubt in the first instance the “enemies” from which the prophets had promised deliverance were literal enemies (Deuteronomy 33:29; Isaiah 14:2, li. 22, 23, etc.), but every pious Jew would understand these words as applying also to spiritual enemies.  [56]

                        Or:  When Zacharias spoke these words, his mind, no doubt, was on Rome and its creatures, Herod and his party, whom Rome had set up.  The deliverance of Israel, in every Hebrew heart, was the first and great work of the coming Deliverer; but the inspired words had a far broader reference than to Rome, and the enemies of Israelitic prosperity.  The expression includes those spiritual evil agencies which war their ceaseless warfare against the soul of man.  It was from these that the coming Deliverer would free his people.  It was only after the fall of Jerusalem, and the total extinction of the national existence of the people, that, to use Dean Plumptre's language,  "what was transitory in the hymn vanished, and the words gained the brighter permanent sense which they have had for centuries in the worship of the Church of Christ."  [18]    

                        and from the hand.  From the power.  [4]

                        of all who hate us.  Reason:  because of their animosity they would be the ones most likely to do major harm.  [rw]

 

 

1:72                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    He dealt pitifully with our forefathers, And remembered His holy covenant,

WEB:              to show mercy towards our fathers, to remember his holy covenant,       

Young’s:         To do kindness with our fathers, And to be mindful of His holy covenant,
Conte (RC):   to accomplish mercy with our fathers, and to call to mind his holy testament,

 

1:72                 To perform the mercy promised.  To show the mercy promised.  The expression in the original is, "to make mercy with our fathers;" i.e., to show kindness to our fathers.  And the propriety of it is founded on the fact that mercy to children is regarded as kindness to the parent.  Blessing the children was blessing the nation, was fulfilling the promises made to the fathers, and showing that he regarded them in mercy.  [11]

to our fathers.  The promise first made to the “fathers” was not fulfilled in their time.  That did not mean it would never be fulfilled, but that it awaited that point in time that God judged as the best moment to translate it from “promise” into “living reality.”  When God “delays” he does so not to avoid acting but to assure that it is done at the perfectly right moment—something we as mere transitory mortals have no way of determining.  [rw] 

                        and to remember his holy covenant.  The mercy promised was delivered orally to the ancients but it was recorded in writing in the covenant so that following generations would be able to learn of it and to look forward to its fulfillment as well.  [rw]

 

 

1:73                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    The oath which He swore to Abraham our forefather,

WEB:              the oath which he spoke to Abraham, our father,     

Young’s:         An oath that He sware to Abraham our father,
Conte (RC):   the oath, which he swore to Abraham, our father, that he would grant to us,

 

1:73                 The oath.  According to the oath.  The oath is found in Genesis 22:16-17, and is referred to in Hebrews 6:13-14.  The "two immutable things," are the promise and the oath.  The oath to bless Abraham and his seed, is shown to have included the whole gospel provision--"the hope set before us."  [8]

                        which He sware to our father Abraham.  Genesis 12:3, 17:4, 22:16, 17; compare Hebrews 7:13, 14, 17.  [56]

He could swear by no greater [so] He swore by Himself (Hebrews 6:13).  [7]

                       

 

1:74                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    To grant us to be rescued from the power of our foes And so render worship to Him free from fear,

WEB:              to grant to us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, should serve him without fear,        

Young’s:         To give to us, without fear, Out of the hand of our enemies having been delivered,
Conte (RC):   so that, having been freed from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,

 

1:74                 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies.  Being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, especially our spiritual enemies--the devil, the wicked, and the flesh.  [9]

                        might serve Him.  Might obey, honor, and worship Him.  [11]

                        without fear.  Fear of death, of spiritual enemies, or of any external foes.  In the sure hope of God's eternal favor beyond the grave.  [11]

                         

 

1:75                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    In piety and uprightness before Him all our days.

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

Young’s:         To serve Him, in holiness and righteousness Before Him, all the days of our life.
Conte (RC):   in holiness and in justice before him, throughout all our days.

 

1:75                 In holiness and righteousness.  Purity and righteousness have been distinguished in several ways.  Bleek and others refer the former of these terms to the inward disposition, the latter to the outward conduct.  But righteousness, in the Scriptures, [includes] more than the outward act.  Others apply the former to relations with God, the latter to relations with men.  But righteousness also comprehends man's relations with God.  It appears to us rather that purity is a negative quality, the absence of stain; and righteousness a positive quality, the presence of all those religious and moral virtues which render worship acceptable to God.  Compare Ephesians 4:24.  [13]

                        before Him.  In the presence of God.  Performed as in His presence and with the full consciousness that God sees the heart.  The "holiness" was not to be merely external, but spiritual, internal, pure, such as God would see and approve.  [11]

                        all the days of our life.  To death.  True religion increases and expands till death.  [11]

                        What Zacharias looked on to was a glorious theocracy based upon national holiness.  Israel, freed from foreign oppression and internal dissensions, would serve God with a worship at once uninterrupted and undefiled.  [18]

 

 

1:76                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And you moreover, O child, shall be called Prophet of the Most High; For you shall go on in front before the Lord to prepare the way for Him,

WEB:              And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,

Young’s:         And thou, child, Prophet of the Highest Shalt thou be called; For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, To prepare His ways.
Conte (RC):   And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High. For you will go before the face of the Lord: to prepare his ways,

 

1:76                 And thou, child.  He does not call the infant by name.  He speaks as a prophet and not as a parent.  [24]

                        Zacharias predicts in this and the following verses the dignity, the [work], and the success of John.  He declares what would be the subject of his preaching, and what his success.  [11]

                        shalt be called.  Equivalent to “shall be,” as in verse 35.  [52]

the prophet of the Highest.  The prophet of the Highest, or Most High.  Prophet has two acceptations:  1.  A person who foretells future events; and, 2.  A teacher of men in the things of God.  (1 Cor. xiv. 3.)  John was a prophet in both senses; he proclaimed the mercy which should be communicated, announced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and taught men how to leave their sins, and how to find the salvation of God.  [9]

                        for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord.  To go before the face of one is the same as to go immediately before one or to be immediately followed by another.  [11]

                        to prepare His ways.  An allusion to the prophecies of the Forerunner in Isaiah xl. 3; Malachi 3:1.  [56]

 

 

1:77                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    To give to His People a knowledge of salvation In the forgiveness of their sins,

WEB:              to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins,          

Young’s:         To give knowledge of salvation to His people In remission of their sins,
Conte (RC):   to give knowledge of salvation to his people for the remission of their sins,

 

1:77                 To give knowledge of salvation.  Knowledge of the way of salvation:  that it was provided and that the Author of salvation was about to appear.  [11]

                        This was John’s first aim, “preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  He should teach that salvation involved pardon; that pardon was required because of sins, and could be received through a new view, a new heart, new purposes, a new life before God.  [52]

                        A clear proof that these prophecies had not the local and limited sense of national prosperity which some have supposed.  [56]

                        unto His people.  Whoever else it might ultimately be granted to—the Gentiles—it all began with it first being granted to those of the covenant nation.  [rw]

                        by the remission of their sins.  The word "remission" means pardon, forgiveness; or it denotes a treatment of the sinner as if he had not committed the sin.  This implies that the "salvation" about to be offered was what which was connected with the pardon of sin.  [11]

 

 

1:78                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Through the tender compassion of our God, Through which the daybreak from on high will come to us,

WEB:              because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dawn from on high will visit us,

Young’s:         Through the tender mercies of our God, In which the rising from on high did look upon us,
Conte (RC):   through the heart of the mercy of our God, by which, descending from on high, he has visited us,

 

1:78                 Through the tender mercy of our God.  This is not something we accomplish by our own power or on our own merits.  It is something accomplished by God.  Indeed, by his “tender mercy” in particular.  Another way of saying that we really don’t deserve it, but that God has washed away what we deserve and substituted what we need.  [rw]

                        whereby the day-spring from on high.  Lit., the rising.  The word occurs in the Septuagint as a rendering of branch, as something rising or springing up, by which the Messiah is denoted (Jer. xxiii. 5; Zech. vi. 12).  Also of the rising of a heavenly body (Isa. lx. 19, Sept.).  [2]

                        Either Christ Himself, as the "Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2), arising on a dark world, or the light which He sheds.  The sense, of course, is one.  [16]

                        The dawning of the celestial day hath visited us from on high.  Here is doubtless a reference to such texts as Mal. iv. 2, and Isa. lx. 1-3, and possibly to Jer. xxiii. 5, and Zech. iii. 8.  [9]

                        The beautiful imagery here is derived from the magnificence of an Eastern sunrise.  In his temple service at Jerusalem the priest must have seen the ruddy dawn rise grandly over the dark chain of the distant mountains, and lighting up with a blaze of golden glory the everlasting hills as they stood round about Jerusalem.  The thought which pictured the advent of Messiah as a sunrise was a favourite one with the prophets.  We see it in such prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi as, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.  For behold . . . Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Isa. lx. 1-3).  "Unto you that fear my Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings"  (Mal. iv. 2).  [18]

                        hath visited us.  He has already started to accomplish this result.  How great the folly to turn our back on God at the very time He has begun to carry out His long promised plans!  [rw]

 

 

1:79                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Dawning on those who now dwell in the darkness and shadow of death--To direct our feet into the path of peace."

WEB:              to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace."          

Young’s:         To give light to those sitting in darkness and death-shade, To guide our feet to a way of peace.'
Conte (RC):  to illuminate those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to direct our feet in the way of peace."

 

1:79                 To give light to them that sit in darkness.  The figure in these verses is taken from travellers, who being overtaken by night know not what to do, and who wait patiently for the morning light, that they may know which way to go.  [11]

                        It would seem that for a moment the Hebrew priest saw beyond the narrow horizon of Israel, and that here, in the close of his glorious song, he caught sight of the distant far-reaching isles of the Gentiles, over which so deep a darkness brooded for ages.  [18]

                        and in the shadow of death.  Two different dangers, though overlapping.  Sitting in darkness exposes one to the possibility of something worse, like unexpected death arriving.  But some of those described actually sit in its very shadow, i.e., death was so imminent it could reach out and grab them if it weren’t for God providing the rescue.  [rw]

                        to guide our feet into the way of peace.  “Peace” was to the Hebrew a summary designation of complete welfare.  This “way of peace” was in the Old Testament the way of wisdom, or the pious conformity of all one’s spirit and conduct to the requirements of Jehovah (Proverbs 3:13, 17); in the New Testament it will be found in wearing the yoke of Jesus (Matthew 11:32; compare John 14:27; 16:33).  [52]

                        our feet.  Zacharias includes himself among those who needed this direction.  [52]          

 

 

1:80                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And the child grew and became strong in character, and lived in the Desert till the time came for him to appear publicly to Israel.

WEB:              The child was growing, and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Young’s:         And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and he was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
Conte (RC):   And the child grew, and he was strengthened in spirit. And he was in the wilderness, until the day of his manifestation to
Israel.

 

1:80                 And the child grew, and waxed strong in in spirit.  That is, in courage, understanding, and purposes of good, fitting him for his future work.  [11]

                        The description resembles that of the childhood of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:26) and of our Lord (Luke 2:40-52).  Nothing however is said of “favour with men.”  In the case of the Baptist, as of others, “the boy was father to the man,” and he probably shewed from the first that rugged sternness which is wholly unlike the winning grace of the child Christ.  “The Baptist was no Lamb of God.  He was a wrestler with life, one to whom peace does not come easily, but only after a long struggle.  His restlessness had driven him into the desert, where he had contended for years with thoughts he could not master, and from whence he uttered his startling alarms to the nation.  He was among the dogs rather than among the lambs of the Shepherd.”  (Ecc Homo.)  [56]   

                        and was in the deserts.  In Hebron and the hill country where his father resided.  He resided in obscurity and was not known publicly by the people.  [11]

                        Or:  Not in sandy deserts like those of Arabia, but in the wild waste region south of Jericho and the fords of Jordan to the shores of the Dead Sea.  This was known as Araboth or ha-Arabah, 2 Kings 25:4, 5 (Hebrew); Jeremiah 39:5, lii. 8.  This region, especially where it approached the Ghor and the Dead Sea, was lonely and forbidding in its physical features, and would suit the stern spirit on which it also reacted.  In 1 Samuel 23:19 it is called Jeshimon or “the Horror.”  John was by no means the only hermit.  The political unsettlement, the shamelessness of crime, the sense of secular exhaustion, the wide-spread Messianic expectation, marked “the fullness of time.”  Banus the Pharisee also lived a life of ascetic hardness in the Arabah, and Josephus tells us that he lived with him for three years in his mountain-cave on fruits and water.  (Josephus, Vit. 2.)  But there is not in the Gospels the faintest trace of any intercourse between John, or our Lord and His disciples, with the Essenes.  The great Italian paints follow a right conception when they paint even the boy John as emaciated with early asceticism.  In 2 Esdras 9:24 the seer is directed to go into a field where no house is and to “taste no flesh, drink no wine, and eat only the flowers of the field,” as a preparation for “talking with the Most High.”  [56]    

                        till the day of his shewing unto Israel.  Until he entered on his public ministry as recorded in Matthew 3.  That is, probably, until he was about thirty years of age.  See Luke 3.  [11]

                        But Zacharias and Elisabeth, we know, were aged persons when John was born.  They probably lived only a short time after his birth.  Hence his solitary desert life.  Of it we know nothing.  In those wild regions at that time dwelt many grave ascetics and hermit teachers, like the Pharisee Banus, the master of Josephus.  From some of these the orphan boy probably received his training.  It is clear, from such passages as John i. 31-33 and ch. iii. 2, that some direct communication from the Highest put an end to the ascetic desert life and study.  Some theophany, perhaps, like the appearance of the burning bush which called Moses to his great post, summoned the pioneer of Christ to his dangerous and difficult work.  But we possess no account of what took place on this occasion when God spoke to his servant John, the evangelist simply recording the fact, "The word of God came unto the son of Zacharias in the wilderness" (ch. iii. 2).  [18]

 

                        In depth:  Did Jesus and John know each other in childhood [56]?  It is doubtful whether Christian art is historically correct in representing the infant Jesus and John as constant friends and playmates.  Zacharias and Elizabeth, being aged, must have early left John an orphan, and his desert life began with his boyish years.  Further the habits of Orientals are exceedingly stationary, and when once settled it is only on the rarest occasions that they leave their homes.  The training of the priestly boy and the “Son of the Carpenter” (Matthew 13:55) of Nazareth had been widely different, nor is it certain that they had ever met each other until the baptism of Jesus (John 1:31).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books Utilized

(with number code)

 

 

1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.

 

2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.

 

3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]

 

4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,

1871.

 

5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.

 

6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.

           

7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament:  

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,

1868. 

 

8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.

 

9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.

 

10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.

 

11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.

 

12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 

13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.

 

14        =          D.D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   

 

15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  

 

16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.

 

17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.

 

18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,

1950.

 

19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 

20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible ...with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.

 

21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.

 

22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.

 

23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 

 

24        =          John Albert Bengel.  Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.

 

25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.

 

26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.

 

27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 

 

28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.

 

29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.

 

30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.

 

31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.

 

32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.

 

33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.

 

34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.

 

35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 

 

36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.

 

37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 

 

38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,

1884.

 

39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 

 

40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.

 

41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.

 

42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.

 

43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 

 

44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  

 

45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.

 

46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.

 

47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].

 

48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878. 

 

49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        tureMark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.

 

50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.

 

51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.

Computerized.

 

52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,

1884.

                       

53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.

 

54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.

                        Computerized.

                       

55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,

1904.

 

56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.