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

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


All reproduction of text in paper, electronic, or computer

form both permitted and encouraged so long as authorial

and compiler credit is given and the text is not altered.







Verses 25-52




Books utilized codes at end of chapter



2:25                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Now there was a man in Jerusalem of the name of Symeon, an upright and God-fearing man, who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

WEB:              Behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.       

Young’s:         And lo, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name is Simeon, and this man is righteous and devout, looking for the comforting of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him,
Conte (RC):   And behold, there was a man in
Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and God-fearing, awaiting the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was with him.


2:25                 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem.  Some say he was a priest, because he blessed Joseph and Mary (verse 34).  But it is most likely, if he were a priest, Luke, who mentions other qualities in commendation of him, would not have omitted this.  He might have blessed Mary in the capacity of a venerable [and respected] old man.  [17]

                        whose name was Simeon.  Many have attempted to identify the Simeon of the text:  (1)  with Rabban Simeon, the son of Hillel and the father of Gamaliel, who was president of the Sanhedrin, 13 A.D.; (2) with an aged Essene, who was living after the death of Herod, and who rebuked Archelaus for marrying his brother's widow.  The name, however, was a very common one, and all that we really know of this Simeon is told us in this chapter.  [6]

                        Who this Simeon was ("the first prophet who said that Christ had come," Bengel) is utterly unknown.  The supposition that he was son of Hillel and father of Gamaliel (Michaelis, Paulus, and older commentators), who became president of the Sanhedrin in A. D. 13, does not agree with verses 26, 29, where he appears as an aged man.  [23]    

                        Also:  This cannot be Rabban Shimeon the son of Hillel (whom the Talmud is on this account supposed to pass over almost unnoticed), because he would hardly have been spoken of so slightly as anthropos, “a person.”  The Apocryphal Gospels call him “the great Teacher” (James 26; Nidodemus 16.)  [56]

                        Although age is a natural assumption from these verses that of extreme age may not be intended [rw]:  Christian legend says that he had stumbled at Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive,” and had received a divine intimation that he should not die till he had seen it fulfilled (Nicephorus, A.D. 1450).  The notion of his extreme age is not derived from Scripture but from the “Gospel of the Nativity of Mary,” which says that he was 113.  [56]
                        and the same man was just.  In dealings toward men.  [14]

                        Known as a righteous and careful observer of the law of God.  [4]

                        and devout.  Towards God.  [14] 

                        waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The phrase was common among the Jews to denote the Messiah and was even uttered in oaths ("May I see the consolation of Israel").  It was suggested by Isaiah 40:1 and 49:13.  Jesus called Himself the Comforter, and promised to send His disciple another Comforter.  The word here rendered "consolation" corresponds to that translated "Comforter" in John 14:16 and "Advocate" in 1 John 2:1.  Many devout persons besides Simeon were waiting for the Messiah (Mark 15:43).  [6]

                        There was a general feeling among the more earnest Jews at this time that the advent of Messiah would not be long delayed.  Joseph of Arimathaea is especially mentioned as one who "waited for the kingdom of God" (Mark xv. 43).  Dr. Farrar refers to the common Jewish prayer-formula then in use:  "May I see the consolation of Israel!"  A prayer for the advent of messiah was in daily use.  [18]

                        and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  He was favored with prophetic visions; was divinely inspired, and venerable as a witness.  [4]  



2:26                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    To him it had been revealed by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he had seen the Lord's Anointed One.

WEB:              It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  

Young’s:         and it hath been divinely told him by the Holy Spirit -- not to see death before he may see the Christ of the Lord.
Conte (RC):   And he had received an answer from the Holy Spirit: that he would not see his own death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.


2:26                 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost.  In what way this was done we are not informed.  Sometimes a revelation was made by a dream, at others by a voice, and at others by silent suggestion.  All we know of this is that it was by the Holy Ghost.  [11]

                        that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  The idea of the aged Simeon comes from a notice in the apocryphal "Gospel of the Nativity," which speaks of him as a hundred and thirteen years old.  These legendary "Gospels" are totally devoid of all authority; here and there possibly a true "memory" not preserved in any of the "four" may exist, but in general they are extravagant and improbable.  The Arabic "Gospel of the Infancy" here speaks of Simeon seeing the Babe shining like a pillar of light in his mother's arms.  There is an old and striking legend which speaks of this devout Jew being long puzzled and disturbed by the Messianic prophecy (Isa. vii. 14), "A virgin shall conceive;"  at length he received a supernatural intimation that he should not see death until he had seen the fulfillment of the strange prophecy, the meaning of which he had so long failed to see.  [18] 



2:27                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Led by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do with regard to Him according to the custom of the Law,

WEB:              He came in the Spirit into the temple. When the parents brought in the child, Jesus, that they might do concerning him according to the custom of the law,     

Young’s:         And he came in the Spirit to the temple, and in the parents bringing in the child Jesus, for their doing according to the custom of the law regarding him,
Conte (RC):   And he went with the Spirit to the temple. And when the child Jesus was brought in by his parents, in order to act on his behalf according to the custom of the law,


2:27                 And he came by the Spirit.  By the direction of the Spirit.  [11]

                        into the temple.  Into that part of the temple where the public worship was chiefly performed--into the court of the women.  [11]  

                        And when the parents.  This was evidently the usual expression which the Nazareth family adopted when they spoke of the Child Jesus (see, again, in ver. 48 of this chapter; and also in ver. 33, where the older authorities read  "his father"  instead of  "and Joseph").  The true story, which they both knew so well, was not for the rough Galilaean peasant, still less for the hostile Herodian, and the house of Zacharias the priest, and probably not a few besides among their devout friends and kinsfolk.  The Nazareth family, resting quietly in their simple faith, left the rest to God, who, in his own season, would reveal the secret of the nativity.  [18]

brought in the child Jesus.  It was one of the commonest occurrences in the Temple; but Simeon, when he saw the parents with their baby, felt God saying to him, "This is the promised Messiah," and understood the commonplace scene to be a fulfillment of prophecy (Malachi 3:1).  [6]

                        The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy (vi.) says that he saw Him shining like a pillar of light in His mother’s arms, which is probably derived from verse 32.  [56]       

                        to do for Him after the custom of the law.  That is to make an offering for purification and to present him to God.  [11]



2:28                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

WEB:              then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,   

Young’s:         then he took him in his arms, and blessed God, and he said,
Conte (RC):   he also took him up, into his arms, and he blessed God and said:


2:28                 Then took he him up in his arms.  Hence he is sometimes call Theodokos, “the receive of God,” as Ignatius is sometimes called Theophoros, “borne of God,” from the fancy that he was one of the children whom Christ took in His arms (9:47).  [56]

                        and blessed God, and said.  Thanked or praised God.  [11]



2:29                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Now, O Sovereign Lord, Thou dost send Thy servant away in peace, in fulfilment of Thy word,

WEB:              "Now you are releasing your servant, Master, according to your word, in peace;

Young’s:         'Now Thou dost send away Thy servant, Lord, according to Thy word, in peace,
Conte (RC):   "Now you may dismiss your servant in peace, O Lord, according to your word.


2:29                 Lord, now.  After so long a time.  [52]

                        lettest thou thy servant depart.  Die.  [11]

                        in peace.  On leaving a dying person the Jews said, “Go in peace,” Genesis 15:15.  Otherwise they said, “Go to peace” as Jethro did to Moses.  [56]

                        according to Thy word.  The promise made by revelation.  To many it might have appeared improbable when such a promise was made to an old man, that it should be fulfilled.  But God fulfills all His word; keeps all His promises, and never disappoints those who trust in Him.  [11]



2:30                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Because mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,

WEB:              for my eyes have seen your salvation,                   

Young’s:         because mine eyes did see Thy salvation,
Conte (RC):   For my eyes have seen your salvation,


2:30                 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.  Embodied in the person of the new born Messiah.  [14]   

                        Him who is to procure salvation for His people.  [11]

                        As the result, he can die in peace, having personally seen the fulfillment of his dreams and hopes (verse 29).  [rw]



2:31                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Which Thou hast made ready in the sight of all nations--

WEB:              which you have prepared before the face of all peoples;   

Young’s:         which Thou didst prepare before the face of all the peoples,
Conte (RC):   which you have prepared before the face of all peoples:


2:31                 Which thou hast prepared before the face.  Although few will realize what is happening, it is still being done in public (“before the face”) and is not something being done out of the sight of the human race.  [rw]

                        of all people.  The noun is plural, the peoples, and refers equally to the Gentiles. [2]

                        Jesus Christ is offered to all, but received by few.  [27]



2:32                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    A light to shine upon the Gentiles, And the glory of Thy people Israel."

WEB:              a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel."

Young’s:         a light to the uncovering of nations, and the glory of Thy people Israel.'
Conte (RC):   the light of revelation to the nations and the glory of your people


2:32                 A light to lighten the Gentiles.  The masses fell into the notion that Christ was to be merely a circumcised and exclusively Jewish Messiah; the twelve apostles could hardly be made to resign that notion.  Even after the resurrection it took all the powers of an inspired Paul to assert the full rights of the Gentiles in the Church of God.  Yet the true doctrine on the subject is repeatedly declared in the prophecies of the Old Testament.  Compare Isaiah 9:2; 49:6.  [14]

                        In allusion to such prophecies as Isaiah lx. he hails the Messiah, who was now arising as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.  Mal. iv. 2.  Ignorance of the will of God is to the soul as darkness to the body.  Is. vi. 10.  The world was lying in ignorance, sin, and in spiritual darkness. Is. ix. 2.  [4]  

                        and the glory of thy people Israel.  The first offer of salvation was made to the Jews (John 4:22; Luke 24:47).  Jesus was born among the Jews; among them had been the prophecies respecting Him, and His first ministry was among them.  Hence He was their glory, their honor, their light.  [11]

                        Christ is the glory of the true Israel--the redeemed saints who believe in Him.  [4]



2:33                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And while the child's father and mother were wondering at the words of Symeon concerning Him,

WEB:              Joseph and his mother were marveling at the things which were spoken concerning him,         

Young’s:         And Joseph and his mother were wondering at the things spoken concerning him,
Conte (RC):   And his father and mother were wondering over these things, which were spoken about him.


2:33                 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.  It was not so much that Simeon foretold new things respecting the Child Jesus that they marveled; their surprise was rather that a stranger, evidently of position and learning, should possess so deep an insight into the lofty destinies of an unknown Infant, brought by evidently poor parents into the temple court.  Was their secret then known to others whom they suspected not?  [18]



2:34                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Symeon blessed them and said to Mary the mother, "This child is appointed for the falling and the uprising of many in Israel and for a token to be spoken against; 

WEB:              and Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against.

Young’s:         and Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, 'Lo, this one is set for the falling and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against --
Conte (RC):   And Simeon blessed them, and he said to his mother Mary: "Behold, this one has been set for the ruin and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and as a sign which will be contradicted.


2:34                 And Simeon blessed them.  Joseph and Mary.  On them he sought the blessing of God.  [11]

                        and said unto Mary his mother.  With a prophetic foresight of her future experiences.  [52]

                        Behold, this child is set.  Is appointed or constituted for that, or such will be the effect of His coming.  [11]

                        for the fall and rising again of many.  For the fall, because He will be a stumbling-block to many (Isa. viii. 14; Matt. xxi. 42, 44; Acts iv. 11; Rom. ix. 33; 1 Cor. i.23).  For the rising, because many will be raised up through Him to life and glory (Rom. vi. 4, 9; Eph. ii. 6).  The A.V. predicates the falling and the rising of the same persons:  "the fall and rising again of many."  The Rev., "the falling and rising up of many," is ambiguous.  [2]

                        Or:   The word "again" is not expressed in the Greek.  It seems to suppose, in our translation, that the same persons would fall and rise again.  But this is not its meaning.  It denotes that many would be ruined by His coming; and many others be made happy or be saved.  [11]

                        Not necessarily of those who fall, but the rising up of many who are prostrate, to worship and follow Him.  The word again has the meaning here of rising up.  Some of the hearers of Christ would refuse to obey Him through unbelief, and should fall into ruin.  Others would hear and believe and rise up from the darkness or torpidity, in which they had before been, and follow Him gladly to the salvation of their souls.  [4]

                        in Israel.  Hence he specifically has the Jewish reaction in mind and there is the clear implication that many would be unable or unwilling to accept Him, causing them to “fall” from God’s approval.  Some would reject Him and change their minds (“fall” and “rise”) while yet others to whom their religion had been little more than a polite superficiality engaged in for public acceptance would “rise” to true spirituality for the first time in their lives.  [rw]

                        and for a sign which shall be spoken against.  For nearly three centuries, of course with varying intensity, the name of Jesus of Nazareth and his followers was a name of shame, hateful and despised.  Not only among the Roman idolaters was "the Name" spoken against with intense bitterness (see the expressions used by men like Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny), but also among his own nation, the Jews, was Jesus known as "the Deceiver," "that Man," "the Hung."  [18]

                        “As concerning this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against,” Acts 28:22.  Jesus was called “this deceiver,” “a Samaritan,” “a demoniac.”  To this day [c. 1900] Nuzrani, “Christian,” is—after “Jew”—the most stinging term of reproach throughout Palestine.  Among Pagans the Christians were charged with cannibalism, incest, and every conceivable atrocity, and Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus have no gentler words for Christianity than “an execrable, extravagant, or malefic superstition.”  [56]   


In depth:  How could Simeon, a mere mortal, in propriety, “bless” Jesus—or did he [19]?  If you confine this to Joseph and Mary, there will be no difficulty.  But, as Luke appears to include Christ at the some time, it might be asked, What right had Simeon to take upon him the office of blessing Christ?  "Without all contradiction," says Paul, "the less is blessed of the greater," (Heb. vii. 7.)  Besides, it has the appearance of absurdity, that any mortal man should offer prayers in behalf of the Son of God.

I answer:  The Apostle does not speak there of every kind of blessing, but only of the priestly blessing:  for, in other respects, it is highly proper in men to pray for each other.  Now, it is more probable that Simeon blessed them, as a private man and as one of the people, than that he did so in a public character:  for, as we have already said, we nowhere read that he was a priest.  But there would be no absurdity in saying, that he prayed for the prosperity and advancement of Christ's kingdom:  for in the book of Psalms the Spirit prescribes such a blessing of this nature to all the godly.  "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you in the name of the Lord" (Ps. cxviii. 26). 


                        [or:  18]  It is noticeable that, while Simeon blesses Mary and Joseph, he refrains from blessing the Child, of whom, however, he pointedly speaks.  It was not for one like Simeon to speak words of blessing over "the Son of the Highest."  The words which follow are expressly stated to have been addressed only to Mary.  Simeon knew that she was related--but not Joseph--to the Babe in his arms; he saw, too, that her heart, not Joseph's, would be pierced with the sword of many sorrows for that Child's sake.  [18]



2:35                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and a sword will pierce through your own soul also; that the reasonings in many hearts may be revealed."

WEB:              Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."     

Young’s:         (and also thine own soul shall a sword pass through) -- that the reasonings of many hearts may be revealed.'
Conte (RC):   And a sword will pass through your own soul, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." 


2:35                 (Yea, a sword.  Strictly, a large Thracian broad-sword.  Used in Septuagint of the sword of Goliath (1 Sam. xvii. 51).  A figure of Mary's pang when her son should be nailed to the cross.  [2]

                        Only occurs elsewhere in the New Testament in Revelation 1:16, etc., but it is used in the LXX, as in Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd.” [56]

                        Some would infer from these words, that the Virgin suffered martyrdom by the sword.  They probably refer only to the grief which she was to feel at the death of Jesus.  It pierced her soul as a sword, rending it as none but a mother's imagination can conceive. [4]

                        The childhood in the Nazareth home, and the early manhood in the Nazareth carpentry, were no doubt her happiest days, though, in those quiet years, expectation, fears, dread, curiously interwoven, must have ever torn that mother's heart.  The days of the public ministry for Mary must have been sad, and her heart full of anxious forebodings, as she watched the growing jealousies, the hatred, and the unbelief on the part of the leading men of her people.  Then came the cross.  We know she stood by it all the while.  And, after the cross and the Resurrection, silence.  Verily the words of Simeon were awfully fulfilled.  [18]

shall pierce through thy own soul also).  Although it will be her son who will have His flesh pierced by the beating, the thorns, and the crucifixion, it will “also” be driving a sword through her heart as well.  Not all wounds are physical and, in some ways, the most severe can be those inflicted on the human psyche.  [rw]

that the thoughts.  These words seem to belong to the preceding verse, though not necessarily.  For the sword piercing Mary's heart is the climax of the foregoing words, alluding to the Crucifixion.  That event must occur, and her heart must be grieved, before the thoughts of other hearts would be revealed.  Jesus was to be crucified in order to fulfill His great work.  Then the cross would bring out the secret thoughts and intentions of all men.  [4]

                        Rather, “reasonings.”  The word dialogismoi generally has a bad sense as in 5:22; Matthew 15:19; Romans 1:21.  By way of comment see the reasonings of the Jews in John 9:16; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 John 2:19.  [56]

                        of many hearts may be revealed.  In the betrayal of Jesus through suborning an apostle, through the willingness to abuse their position to ram through a religious court conviction and then one before the secular podium of Herod—who really wanted no part in the affair—the intents of “many hearts” were revealed in all their naked savagery and hate.  All the pious rhetoric was stripped bare and what was left was a very visible exposure of their true nature.  [rw] 



2:36                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    There was also Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, belonging to the tribe of Asher. She was of a very great age, having had after her maidenhood seven years of married life,

WEB:              There was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity,        

Young’s:         And there was Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, she was much advanced in days, having lived with an husband seven years from her virginity,
Conte (RC):   And there was a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, from the tribe of Asher. She was very advanced in years, and she had lived with her husband for seven years from her virginity.


2:36                 And there was one, Anna, a prophetess.  One in whom the spirit of prophecy had appeared, as in Simeon (verse 25).  [8]

                        Such an appellation must have been caused by some earlier and frequent utterances, dictated by the Spirit of prophecy.  [9]

                        the daughter of Phanuel.  The particularity with which her parentage and lineage is given shows that she was a person whose family as well as personal history was well known to the public.  [9]

                        of the tribe of Asher.  This tribe was located in the northwestern part of Canaan, in Galilee.  Like her Lord, she came out of Galilee.  [8]  

                        That tribe was celebrated in tradition for the beauty of its women, and their fitness to be wedded to high-priests or kings.  [2]

                        Her native province stretched its whole eastern side along the margin of the Mediterranean, and included those among the most ancient cities of the earth, Tyre and Sidon.  [9]

                        It is true that at this period the ten tribes had been long lost, the "Jews" being made up of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; but yet certain families preserved their genealogies, tracing their descent to one or other of the lost divisions of the people.  Thus Anna belonged to Asher.  [18]

                        Thus Tobit was of the tribe of Naphthali (Tobit 1:1).  Compare “our twelve tribes,” Acts 16:7; James 1:1.  [56]

                        she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity.  A very short span compared with how many years she had lived after his death (verse 37).



2:37                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and then being a widow of eighty-four years. She was never absent from the Temple, but worshipped, by day and by night, with fasting and prayer.

WEB:              and she had been a widow for about eighty-four years), who didn't depart from the temple, worshipping with fastings and petitions night and day.

Young’s:         and she is a widow of about eighty-four years, who did depart not from the temple, with fasts and supplications serving, night and day,
Conte (RC):   And then she was a widow, even to her eighty-fourth year. And without departing from the temple, she was a servant to fasting and prayer, night and day.


2:37                 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years.  She had lived seven years in the married state, and was now eighty-four years old.  [4]

                        which departed not from the temple.  Was there whenever it was open to worshippers.  [52]

                        Or:  Probably, in virtue of her reputation as a prophetess, some small chamber in the temple was assigned to her.  This seems to have been the case with Huldah (2 Chron. xxxiv. 22).  It has also been suggested that she lovingly performed some work in or about the sacred building.  Farrar suggests such as trimming the lamps (as is the rabbinic notion about Deborah), derived from the word lapidoth, splendour.  Such sacred functions were regarded among all nations as a high honour.  The great city of Ephesus boasted her name of “temple-sweeper,” as her proudest title to honour.  [18]

                        An ancient symbolic application of the principle:  You waste the whole day in the concerns of the body; and you cannot spare two short hours for the care of your soul. You frequent the theatre, and never leave it, till the close, when it is said, Valete et plaudite; and yet you depart from the Church, before the celebration of the Divine mysteries. S. Mark xiv. 37.—8. Chrysostom.  [36]

                        but served God with fastings and prayers.  Constant religious service.  Spending her time in prayer and in all the ordinances of religion.  [11]

                        fastings.  The Law of Moses had only appointed one yearly fast, on the Great Day of Atonement.  But the Pharisees had adopted the practice of “fasting twice in the week,” viz. on Monday and Thursday, when Moses is supposed to have ascended, and descended from, Sinai, and had otherwise multiplied and extended the simple original injunction (verse 33).  [56]

                        night and day.  Continually, i.e., at the usual times of public worship and in private.  [11]

                        There were times when she would leave the sacred hill, but she was there so constantly that it may be said she lived in it during that long period.  [4]        

                        “Night” is put first by the ordinary Hebrew idiom which arose from their notion that “God made the world in six days and seven nights.”  Compare Acts 26:7, “unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God night and day, hope to come.’  1 Timothy 5:5, “She that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.”  [56]



2:38                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And coming up just at that moment, she gave thanks to God, and spoke about the child to all who were expecting the deliverance of Jerusalem.

WEB:              Coming up at that very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of him to all those who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem.     

Young’s:         and she, at that hour, having come in, was confessing, likewise, to the Lord, and was speaking concerning him, to all those looking for redemption in Jerusalem.
Conte (RC):   And entering at the same hour, she confessed to the Lord. And she spoke about him to all who were awaiting the redemption of


2:38                 And she coming in that instant.  To the part of the temple where Mary and Joseph were.  Why, we aren’t told.  The important thing was that their paths crossed and Anna immediately grasped the significance of it.  [rw]     

                        gave thanks unto the Lord.  When one’s dreams are finally realized, what more appropriate thing to do than give thanks?  [rw]

                        and spake of Him to all them.  We gain a glimpse of the saints, who were at that time looking for a Redeemer.  We are apt to believe that the Jews were altogether wicked.  Many were waiting and ready to confess the Messiah, and though slowly yet surely did believe on Him.  Mal. iii. 16.  [4]

                        spake.  The tense of the verb translated “spake” indicates continued action—was speaking—doubtless to one after another, or to group after group, as she had opportunity to do so, as devout persons came into the temple courts—persons whom she knew to be waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  --  A.H.  [52]

                        that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  The Redeemer.  The One who was to redeem Israel.  [4]

                        in Jerusalem.  The readings vary.  Perhaps it should be “for the redemption of Jerusalem.”  [56]



2:39                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then, as soon as they had accomplished all that the Law required, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

WEB:              When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.      

Young’s:         And when they finished all things, according to the Law of the Lord, they turned back to Galilee, to their city Nazareth;
Conte (RC):   And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to
Galilee, to their city, Nazareth.


2:39                 And when they had performed all things according to the Law of the Lord.  Another note, which tells us of the rigid obedience which Mary and Joseph paid to the Law of Israel, under which they lived.  Marcion, the famous Gnostic heretic (second century), who adopted this Gospel of St. Luke, to the exclusion of the other three, as the authoritative Gospel for his sect (the Marcionites), omitted, however, all these passages of St. Luke's narrative in which the old Mosaic Law was spoken of with reverence.  [18]

                        they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.  Not immediately, but after a time.  Luke has omitted the flight into Egypt recorded by Matthew.  But he has not denied it; nor are his words to be pressed as if he meant to affirm that they went immediately to Nazareth.  A parallel case we have in the life of Paul.  When he was converted, it is said that he came to Jerusalem--leaving us there to infer that he went directly (Acts 9:26).  Yet we learn in another place that this was after an interval of three years (Galatians 1:17-18).  In the case before us, there is no improbability in supposing that they returned to Bethlehem, then went to Egypt, and then to Galilee.  [11]

                        Had the visit of the Magi, and the flight to Egypt happened before the visit of Mary to the temple, then the visit would have been impossible.  [4]


In depth:  Typical family life in a lower class Jewish home such as that in which Jesus lived before and after the return from Egypt [55].  It was into a Jewish home of the humbler sort that Jesus was born.  Industry must have excluded bitter poverty, but the home of Joseph, the village carpenter, was not one of elegance or wealth.

                        Family life begins with marriage; but among the Jews betrothal was a matter of as much seriousness and solemnity as marriage itself.  Even the property of the bride belonged to the husband from the time of the betrothal, and they could be separated only by divorce, precisely as after marriage.  The marriage was a festal occasion and included the removal of the bride to her husband’s house.

                        The house in which the new family took up its abode would depend on the wealth of the husband, but among the humbler classes consisted of one or two square rooms on the ground floor, with a roof of straw and mud laid upon timbers or boughs.  A flight of steps outside the house frequently led to the roof.

                        The furniture was of the simplest kind.  Bedsteads were scarcely used at all; couches were found only in the houses of the wealthy.  Sometimes there was a ledge on the side of the room, and on this, or on mats woven of palm leaves and laid upon the clay floor, the family slept, wrapped in their cloaks.

                        Pictures and statuary, being forbidden by the law (Exodus 20:4), would not be seen in a Jewish house at all.  Books were rare and confined almost wholly to copies of the Scriptures.

                        The position of the wife and mother was an honorable one.  Perhaps the saddest blot upon the family customs was the laxity of their divorce customs, which permitted the husband to divorce his wife at will.  Yet even in this there was a tendency toward a stricter practice in the teachings of one school of the scribes; and with this tendency the teaching of Jesus agreed, though striking at the root of the matter as neither school had done.

                        The love of children was always singularly strong among the Jews, and this both on the side of the father and of the mother.  Law, narrative, and poetry all alike bear witness to this fact.  See Leviticus 26:9; 1 Samuel 1; Psalms 127:3; etc.  Destruction of children, by exposure or otherwise, so terribly common among the Gentiles, was almost or wholly unknown among the Jews.  As among the ancients and orientals generally, a boy was more highly esteemed than a girl, yet the depreciation of the daughter was only relative; both sons and daughters were desired and welcomed.  In ancient times the boy was named at his birth, and sometimes at least, by his mother (Genesis 29:32 and chapter 30), but in later times on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:59; 2:21).

                        The law enjoined upon the parents the duty of instructing their children both in the history and in the religion of their nation—two things which were to the Jew almost inseparable (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:7, 20; 11:19).  To the injunction of Deuteronomy 6:6-9, and the similar words in Exodus 13:9, 16; Deuteronomy 11:18, he gave a very literal interpretation, fastening little boxes containing pieces of parchment, on which were written the words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21, on his doorposts, and binding little leather-boxes containing Exodus 13:2-10; 11-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21 on the forehead and arms when he prayed.  Yet, with a truer appreciation of the real sense of the injunction, he (surely) took great pains to teach his children the law, so that, as Josephus says, the people knew the statutes of the law better than their own names.

The care of the children fell in most cases directly upon the mother; nurses and other servants were found only in the wealthier families.  Manual labor was never despised by a true Hebrew.  Even the boy who was destined to be a scribe learned a trade.  It was no reproach to Jesus that He was a carpenter.

It was in such a home, humble, pious, and, we may believe, happy, that Jesus lived with his brothers and sisters during the thirty years of His childhood and youth.             



2:40                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And the child grew and became strong and full of wisdom, and the favour of God rested upon Him.

WEB:              The child was growing, and was becoming strong in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Young’s:         and the child grew and was strengthened in spirit, being filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Conte (RC):   Now the child grew, and he was strengthened with the fullness of wisdom. And the grace of God was in him.


2:40                 And the child grew.  The design of the evangelists was to give an account of His public ministry and not His private life.  Hence they say little of Him in regard to His first years.  What they do say, however, corresponds with what we might expect.  He was wise, pure, pleasing God, and deeply skilled in the knowledge of the Divine law.  [11]

                        and waxed strong in spirit.  Many manuscripts lack this; if included the idea would likely be grew in confidence in the inner being, caused, in large part, surely by His becoming “filled with wisdom,” which is mentioned next.  Confidence grows when there is the insight and knowledge necessary to deal with what is happening.  [rw]

                        filled with wisdom.  More exactly, becoming filled.  [52]

See verse 52, where it is plain, that having a human mind, as man, He advanced in knowledge and in natural powers.  Here it is declared that He was remarkable for wisdom in His childhood.  [8]

The growth of our Lord is here described as a natural human growth.  The nature of the “Hypostatic Union” of His Divine and Human nature—what is called the Perichoresis or Communicatio idiomatum—is one of the subtlest and least practical of mysteries.  The attempt to define and enter into it was only forced upon the Church by the speculations of Oriental heretics who vainly tried “to sear into the secrets of the Deity on the waxen wings of the senses.”  This verse (and still more verse 52) is a stronghold against the Apollinarian heresy which held that in Jesus the Divine Logos took the place of the human soul.  Against the four conflicting heresies of Arius, Apollinarius, Nestorius and Eutyches, which respectively denied the true Godhead, the perfect manhood, the indivisible union, and the entire distinctness of the Godhead and manhood in Christ, the Church, in the four great Councils of Nicea (A.D. 325), Constantinople (A.D. 381), Ephesus (A.D. 431), and Chalcedon (A.D. 451), established the four words which declare her view of the nature of Christ—alethos, teleos, adiairetos, asunchutos—“truly” God; “perfectly” Man; “indivisibly” God-Man, “distinctly” God and Man.  [56]      

and the grace of God was upon Him.  He enjoyed the fruits of God in all His experience.  It is the necessary result of the just before stated.  [52]

                        Isaiah 11:2, 3.  “Full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.  The worthless legends and inventions of many of the Apocryphal Gospels deal almost exclusively with the details of the Virginity of Mary, and the Infancy of Christ, which are passed over in the Gospels in these few words.  [56]


                        In depth:  Possible childhood experiences of Jesus reflected in the parables [29].  The influence of a home is marked on every man's life.  Though Jesus is not recorded as speaking of His home, yet there is no doubt that He learned much there that He embodies later in the parables.  Are these not definite reminiscences of Mary's thriftiness--the salt that had lost its savor, the little leaven that made the loaf rise, the old garment that had not outlived the new patch, the woman sweeping the house to find the lost coin?  Read how Jesus draws on home scenes for His parables:

                        The salt.  Matthew 5:13

                        The bread.  Matthew 13:33.

                        The patched garment.  Matthew o:16.

                        The lost coin.  Luke 15:8.

                        Perhaps we see Joseph in the story of the householder who calls out to some neighbor, come by night to borrow of him, that the children are in bed and he cannot come down; or perhaps, too, Joseph is seen in the parable of the father who would give his children the best gifts.

                        The householder seeking assistance.  Luke 11:5-8.

                        The father's gifts.  Matthew 7:9-11.

                        Occasionally with a sense of humor Jesus recalls to the worldly minded Pharisees the simple things of home, comparing their haughty spirits to a cup or a platter poorly washed (Luke 11:37-39), it being considered irreligious to use a cup not ceremonially washed for the occasion. 



2:41                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Now His parents used to go up year by year to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover.

WEB:              His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover.      

Young’s:         And his parents were going yearly to Jerusalem, at the feast of the passover,
Conte (RC):   And his parents went every year to
Jerusalem, at the time of the solemnity of Passover.


2:41                 Now his parents.  According to Exodus 23:17, Deuteronomy 16:16, men were to present themselves at the sanctuary at the three feasts of Passover, Pentecost,  and Tabernacles.  There was no such obligation for women.  But the school of Hillel required them to make at least the Passover pilgrimage.  [13]

                        went to Jerusalem.  Since the Temple was there and it was the proper place to observe the feast.  [rw]

                        every year.  They made a yearly pilgrimage.  [6]

                        at the feast of the Passover.  Exodus 23:15-17; Deuteronomy 16:1-16.  The custom of going up three times a year seems long to have fallen into abeyance with most Jews.  1 Samuel 1:21, “the yearly sacrifice.”  [56]


                        In depth:  Milestones in the spiritual growth of a typical Jewish boy [6].  At three a Jewish boy began to wear the fringed garment (Numbers 15:38-41; Deuteronomy 22:12) and was educated till five by his mother.   At five he was set to learn the law, the creed of Deuteronomy 6:4 and the Hallel in Psalms cxiv-cxxxvi; during this period his father was supposed to be responsible for him. 

                        "On his son's thirteenth birthday his father may say, Blessed be He who has made me free from the burden of my son's sins."  On this day the father brought the boy to the synagogue on the "Sabbath of Phylacteries," and presented him with phylacteries, which the son thenceforth wore at the recital of his daily prayer.  The boy then became a visible member of the Jewish Church, and was called "a son of the law."   

                        And [56]:  Up to this age a Jewish boy was called “little,” afterwards he was called “grown up,” and became a “Son of the Law,” or “Son of the Precepts.”  At this age he was presented on the Sabbath called the “Sabbath of Phylacteries” in the Synagogue, and began to wear the phylacteries with which his father presented him.  According to the Jews twelve was the age at which Moses left the house of Pharaoh’s daughter, and Samuel was called, and Solomon gave his judgment, and Josiah carried out his reform.  (Josephus, Antiquities, ii. 9.6, v. 10.4.)    


                        In depth:  The yearly Jewish feasts and when held [55].  Besides New Year’s day, the cycle of Jewish feasts in Jesus’ day included the following each year:

                        1.  The Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread, first month (Nisan, March-April), 14th to 21st days.

                        2.  The Feast of Acra, on the 23rd day of the second month.

                        3.  The Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, about the 6th day of the third month.

                        4.  The Feast of Woodcarrying, on the 15th day of the fifth month.

                        5.  The Feast of Tabernacles, from the 15th to the 22nd of the seventh month, the last day of it constituting the Feast of Waterdrawing.

                        6.  The Feast of Dedication, lasting eight days and beginning on the 25th day of the eighth month (November-December).

                        7.  The Feast of Purim, on the 14th day of the twelfth month.

                        Of these feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were celebrated in Jerusalem, to which Jews came from all quarters for that purpose.  The others required no such journey to Jerusalem.



2:42                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And when He was twelve years old they went up as was customary at the time of the Feast, and,

WEB:              When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast,       

Young’s:         and when he became twelve years old, they having gone up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,
Conte (RC):   And when he had become twelve years old, they ascended to
Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast day.


2:42                 And when he was twelve years old.  At this age, the Jewish boy began to assume a position in the community which he did not occupy before.  He was now called “a son of the law;” began to practice the fastings and prescribed prayers; to wear the phylactery, like adult men.  Scrupulous, but not Pharisaic regard for the Mosaic law, is marked in the piety of this family.  [52]

                        No single word breaks the silence of the Gospels respecting the childhood of Jesus from the return to Nazareth till this time.  We infer indeed from scattered hints in Scripture that He “began to do” His work before He “began to teach,” and being “tempted in all points like as we are” won the victory from His earliest years, alike over positive and negative temptations (Hebrews 5:8). [56]

                        they.  The entire family.  It is hard to imagine the other children being left behind since they were all younger than Jesus’ 12 years of age.  This passage—through the plural “they” and the explicit mention of Joseph in verse 43—tells us that Joseph lived at least this long into the youth’s maturation process.  [rw]    

went up to Jerusalem.  Where the feasts of the Jews were all held.  This was a journey from Nazareth of about seventy miles.  [11]

                        after the custom of the feast.  According to the usual manner of the feast.  The way in which it was properly observed.  [11]

                        Or, in particular:  After the custom of the Jews of going to Jerusalem to this feast, from all the villages and towns of Judea.  Lev. xxiii. 5-6.  [4]


                        In depth:  What we can infer about Jesus’ childhood period prior to this [56].  This silence of the Evangelists is a proof of their simple faithfulness, and is in striking contrast with the blaze of foolish and dishonouring miracles with which the Apocryphal Gospels degrade the Divine Boyhood.  Meanwhile we are permitted to see

                        (i)  That our Lord never attended the schools of the Rabbis (Mark 6:2; John 6:42, 7:15), and therefore that His teaching was absolutely original, and that He would therefore be regarded by the Rabbis as a “man of the people,” or “unlearned person.”  (See Acts 4:13.)

                        (ii)  That He had learnt to write (John 8:6).

                        (iii)  That He was acquainted not only with Aramaic, but with Hebrew, Greek, and perhaps Latin; and

                        (iv)  That He had been deeply impressed by the lessons of nature [as reflected in certain of His teachings and parables].  



2:43                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    after staying the full number of days, when they started back home the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not discover this,

WEB:              and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and his mother didn't know it,           

Young’s:         and having finished the days, in their returning the child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, and Joseph and his mother did not know,
Conte (RC):   And having completed the days, when they returned, the boy Jesus remained in
Jerusalem. And his parents did not realize this.


2:43                 And when they had fulfilled the days.  The days of the Passover.  Eight days in all--one day for killing the paschal lamb, and seven days for the observance of the feast of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 23:5-6).  [11]

                        This was not absolutely incumbent; some went home after the first two days, but such people as Joseph and Mary would do their duty thoroughly.  [12]

                        Now, a boy in the East, twelve years old, is usually far more advanced than is ever the case in our Northern nations, where development is much slower.  We may well suppose that the Boy was left much to Himself during these days of the feast.  It requires no stress of imagination to picture him absorbed in the temple and all that was to be seen and learned there.  [18]

                        as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem.  Among the countless throngs of Jews who flocked to the Passover—nearly three millions according to Josephus (Antiquities vi. 9.3)—nothing would be easier than to lose sight of one young boy in the thronged streets, or among the thousands of booths outside the city walls.  Indeed it is an incident which to this day [c. 1900] often occurs at Jerusalem in similar cases.  [56] 

                        and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.  The fact is very interesting as shewing the naturalness and unconstraint in which our Lord was trained.  [56]

We are left uncertain whether it was unawares to the boy [himself] that they departed without Him.  Nor does anything indicate whether this was His first visit to Jerusalem at the Passover.  It may been only the first at which anything specially noteworthy occurred.  [52] 



2:44                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    but supposing Him to be in the travelling company, they proceeded a day's journey. Then they searched up and down for Him among their relatives and acquaintances;

WEB:              but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and they looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances.          

Young’s:         and, having supposed him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and were seeking him among the kindred and among the acquaintances,
Conte (RC):   But, supposing that he was in the company, they went a day's journey, seeking him among their relatives and acquaintances.


2:44                 But they, supposing him to have been in the company.  That is, the band of fellow travelers, relatives, neighbors and friends, who usually journeyed together to and from the feasts, for company and safety.  [8]

                        Scores, if not hundreds of families journeying slowly from and to the holy city.  In order to rest during the heat of noontide, it was their custom to start before light in the morning.  To get all together on the road, and to settle arrangements for the night’s encampment, might occupy a considerable part of one day.  [52] 

                        In the numerous and rejoicing caravans of kinsmen and fellow-countrymen relations are often separated without feeling any anxiety.  [56]

                        went a day's journey.  This is sometimes put for a distance of twenty or thirty miles, but here it means that they traveled a day, according as the caravan might move, more or less rapidly.  [8]

                        This day’s journey would be but a few miles, perhaps not more than six or eight.  [52]

                        and they sought him.  At the day's close, when they would naturally collect in families for the night, they looked for Him, but in vain.  So [in the mid-nineteenth century] we saw the trains of pilgrims to the feast at Jerusalem camping for the night, at various points along the road.  [8]

                        The Greek is nearly like our “tried to hunt him up.”  [52]

                        The word implies anxious and careful search.  [56]  Up to now His non-presence would have been dismissed as just another case of what could happen easily enough in any large caravan of travelers.  At this point, however, it would start to become a matter of concern.  [rw]

                        among their kinsfolk.   Relatives.  [11]

                        and acquaintance.   Neighbors who had gone up with them in the same company to Jerusalem.  [11]



2:45                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    but being unable to find Him they returned to Jerusalem, making anxious inquiry for Him.

WEB:              When they didn't find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him.      

Young’s:         and not having found him, they turned back to Jerusalem seeking him.
Conte (RC):   And not finding him, they returned to
Jerusalem, seeking him.


2:45                 And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem.  He wasn’t with them, they had been in Jerusalem; therefore Jerusalem was the only logical place for Him to be.  Especially if they had already seen manifestations of His religious interests—and it would be more than a little amazing if they had not.  [rw]       

seeking Him.  Some make this clause simply mean “to seek Him there;” but it may suppose a search on the way back, as well as after they arrived.  The next morning they would begin their scrutiny of the city.  From the question of Jesus (verse 49), we may, perhaps, infer that they did not go directly to the temple; but in the course of the day they reached the place.  [52]  However see verse 46 on this also.  [rw]      



2:46                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    On the third day they found Him in the Temple sitting among the Rabbis, both listening to them and asking them questions,

WEB:              It happened after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions.      

Young’s:         And it came to pass, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them,
Conte (RC):   And it happened that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, listening to them and questioning them.


2:46                 And it came to pass, that after three days.  As it is improbable that they had sought for Jesus for two or three days without going to the temple, the three days must certainly date from the time of separation.  The first was occupied with the journey, the second with the return, and the third with the meeting.  [13]

                        they found Him in the temple.  Two words in the original are rendered temple; one meaning the actual Tabernacle, containing only the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the other including all the courts.  The latter is here used, as only the priests could enter the former.  [4]

Inside a temple synagogue:  Three rooms in the Temple were set apart for the members of the Sanhedrin, in which to receive their pupils.  [6]

Probably in one of the numerous chambers which ran round the Court, and abutted on the actual building.  [56]

In the temple enclosure, says the Talmud, there were three synagogues--one at the gate of the court of the Gentiles, another at the entrance of the court of the Israelites, a third in the south-east part of the inner court:  it was in these that the rabbis expounded the Law.  Among the famous doctors, or rabbis, then living and teaching in Jerusalem, were the famous Hillel, then very aged, verging, we are told, on his hundredth year; his almost equally illustrious rival, Shammai; Gamaliel, the master of Saul of Tarsus; Jonathan, the compiler of the Chaldee Paraphrase of the sacred books; Simeon, the son and successor of Hillel; Nicodemus, who, some years afterwards, came to Jesus by night, and, when the end was come, reverently assisted in laying the King's Son with all honour in his tomb in Joseph of Arimathaea's garden.  [18]

                        sitting in the midst of the doctors [teachers, NKJV].  Not occupying a teacher's place, but sitting in the circle among the doctors and their hearers.  [2]

                        The narrative in no way attributes to Him the part of a doctor [of the Law].  In order to find support for this sense, some critics have alleged the detail "seated in the midst of the doctors."  The disciples, it is said, listened around.  Paul's expression "seated at the feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3), would be sufficient to prove the contrary.  [13] 

                        Both hearing them and asking them questions.  As the Rabbinical method of teaching was by questions--by proposing, for example, a problem taken from the Law--both master and disciples had an opportunity of showing their [insight].  Jesus had given some remarkable answer, or put some original question; and, as is the case when a particularly intelligent pupil presents himself, He had attracted for the moment all the interest of His teachers.  Josephus, in his autobiography (c. i), mentions a very similar fact respecting his own youth.  When he was only fourteen years of age, the priests and eminent men of Jerusalem came to question him on the explanation of the law.  [13]

                        We may, with great probability, assume that amongst those "doctors" whom the Boy questioned at that Passover Feast, some if not all of [the] well-known men were sitting.  The apocryphal Gospels, as usual, profess to give us details where the true story is reverently silent.  The "Gospel of Thomas" (second century), for instance, tells us that Jesus, when on the road to Nazareth, returned of his own accord to Jerusalem, and amazed the rabbis of the temple by his solution of the hardest and most difficult questions of the Law and the prophets.  In an Arabic Gospel of somewhat later date than that of Thomas, we find the Boy even teaching the astronomers the secrets of their own difficult study.  Probably Stier's simple words approach the nearest to the truth here, when he suggests that his questions were "the pure questions of innocence and of truth, which keenly and deeply penetrated into the confused errors of the rabbinical teaching."  [18]    



2:47                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    while all who heard Him were astonished at His intelligence and at the answers He gave.

WEB:              All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  

Young’s:         and all those hearing him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Conte (RC):   But all who listened to him were astonished over his prudence and his responses.


2:47                 And all that heard him.  Those there as teachers, those present as students, and those who happened by pure chance to be there upon temple or other business.  [rw]

were astonished at his understanding and answers.  To discover a young, perceptive mind like this was counted as a joyous event.  Not everyone had either the interest or inclination to be an analyst of scripture and to discover a youth who did have such a temperament was counted a great blessing.  [rw] 

                        Examples of such a reaction:  Besides the self-attested instance of the young Josephus we find that “when Shimon Ben Gamaliel and Rabbi Jehoshua Ben Korcha were seated in the debating room upon divans Rabbi Elazer Ben Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi [i.e. Judah the Holy] sat before them on the ground asking questions and starting objections.  The other Rabbis exclaimed ‘We drink of their water’ (i.e. of their wisdom) ‘and they sit upon the ground!’  Seats were therefore brought in, and the two children were seated upon them.”  Babha Metsia, f. 84b.  [56]  



2:48                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    When they saw Him, they were smitten with amazement, and His mother said to Him, "My child, why have you behaved thus to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in anguish."

WEB:              When they saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, your father and I were anxiously looking for you."       

Young’s:         And, having seen him, they were amazed, and his mother said unto him, 'Child, why didst thou thus to us? lo, thy father and I, sorrowing, were seeking thee.'
Conte (RC):   And upon seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: "Son, why have you acted this way toward us? Behold, your father and I were seeking you in sorrow."


2:48                 And when they saw Him, they were amazed.  Even His parents were not prepared for what they saw.  This argues that however perceptive He might have appeared in His home town environment, it did not come anywhere close to what He was exhibiting here in Jerusalem.  [rw]

                        Quiet country people from Galilee held these Jerusalem Rabbis in high esteem; and Mary, notwithstanding the sayings which she kept in her heart, could not help feeling surprise when the quiet reserved Son did His first deed alone.  It is always a shock to a parent to know that his child is not himself over again; and not all a mother's aspirations can prevent the feeling of the wrench that the first deliberate independent act produces.  [6]

                        His mother said unto Him.  [I.e.,] privately.  She could not rebuke after such a scene.  [7]

                        Son.  Mary's words have in them something of reproach.  Joseph, it is noticeable, stands evidently apart; but the mother, strangely as it would seem at first, associates him in "thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing."  Had she, then, forgotten the past?  Who but Mary could have repeated this sacred memory of her mistake, and of the Boy's far-reaching answer?  What forger could have imagined such a verse?  [18]

                        why hast thou thus dealt with us?  Why hast thou given us all this trouble and anxiety?  [11]

                        behold thy father.  Joseph was not the real father of Jesus, but he was legally so; and as the secret of His birth was not commonly known, he was called His Father.  Mary, in accordance with that usage, also called him so.  [11]

                        and I have sought thee sorrowing.  Anxious, lest in the multitude He might not be found; or lest some accident might have happened to Him.  [11]



2:49                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Why is it that you have been searching for me?" He replied; "did you not know that it is my duty to be engaged upon my Father's business?"

WEB:              He said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?"

Young’s:         And he said unto them, 'Why is it that ye were seeking me? did ye not know that in the things of my Father it behoveth me to be?'
Conte (RC):   And he said to them: "How is it that you were seeking me? For did you not know that it is necessary for me to be in these things which are of my Father?"


2:49                 And He said unto them.  The first saying of Jesus which is preserved to us.  [2]

                        How is it that ye sought Me?  Why have ye sought Me with so much anxiety?  Mary should have known that the Son was safe; that His heavenly Father would take care of Him.  [11]

                        wist [knew, NKJV?] ye not.  This was something she should have automatically understood, but had failed to.  [rw]

                        It is remarkable that He does not accept the phrase “Thy father” which Mary had employed.  “Did ye not know?” recalls their fading memory of Who He was; and the “I must” lays down the law of devotion to His Father by which He was to walk even to the Cross.  Psalms xl. 7-9.  My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work,” John 4:34.  [56]

                        that I must be.  Lit., it is necessary, or it behoves.  A word often used by Jesus concerning his own appointed work, and expressing both the inevitable fulfillment of the divine counsels and the absolute constraint of the principle of duty upon himself.  See Matt. xvi. 2; xxvi. 54; Mark viii. 31; Luke iv. 43; ix. 22; xiii. 33; xxiv. 7, 26, 46; John iii. 14; iv. 4; xii. 34.  [2]

Men, be they pleased or displeased, God must be obeyed.  [54] 

                        about My Father's business.  He did not enter upon His public work for eighteen years after this; yet still the work of God was His work--and always, even in childhood, it was proper for Him to be engaged in the great business for which He came.  [11]

                        It is to be noted that while this reply was unintelligible to the bystanders, it was perfectly satisfactory to His parents.  He knew His Father to be God.  The words admit of another rendering which seems still more pointed--"In My Father's house"--that is, in the temple.  Why then seek Me elsewhere?  [4]


                        In depth:  What was Jesus doing during the days when He was not attending the religious discussions [30]?  How the Child maintained Himself during the two nights and the day in which He was without His parents in Jerusalem, we are not told.  Very likely He gave no thought to food or to sleep, but was content to spend His nights in prayer.  But some have believed that He chose to humble Himself by begging for His bread, and throwing Himself on the charity of His people. 



2:50                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    But they did not understand the significance of these words.

WEB:              They didn't understand the saying which he spoke to them.       

Young’s:         and they did not understand the saying that he spake to them,
Conte (RC):   And they did not understand the word that he spoke to them.


2:50                 And they understood not the saying.  Jesus was constantly misunderstood or not understood at all (Luke 9:45; 18:34; Mark 9:32; John 10:6; 11:10); and yet Joseph and Mary had both intimations that the boy was the Christ; and we can imagine both at Nazareth, "each with a reticent consciousness of the greatness of the Life committed to their charge; each at times half losing count of the true measure of that greatness in the familiarity of daily [association]" (Plumptre).     [6]

                        which He spake unto them.  Henceforth Joseph disappears from the Gospels.  [7]


                        In depth:  Why did Mary not understand Jesus' point in light of His supernatural birth [14]?  Sceptics like Strauss have pronounced it unaccountable when Mary had been assured by Gabriel that Jesus was the son of the Most High, [that] she and Joseph [w]ould not understand that Jesus now claimed God as His Father.

                        1.  But they understood not the great transition that had taken place within Him at this age of becoming a son of the law.  Since the time of the angel's declaration the word "father" at Joseph's home had been Joseph's name.  This sudden transfer of the title to God was without warning to these parents.  Mary had just called Joseph his "father," and she naturally understood Jesus's use of the term in the same sense.  She cannot therefore at the moment understand how loosing himself from his father's company was being about His Father's business.

                        2.  The parent's views of the Messiahship included the idea of royalty, righteous dominion, and perhaps war-like heroism and bold exploit.  Mary's song at His conception was strongly tinged with the Old Testament images of this nature.  It might not, therefore, be very obvious to her at the [moment] how a quiet interview with the doctors in the temple was any part of His business as Messiah.

                        3.  But "his mother kept all these sayings in her heart" [verse 51].  When this first doubtful sign of His conscious divine Sonship was confirmed by other proofs, she soon saw, we may believe, its joyful meaning.  The predictions of His infancy will be fulfilled; he is the great Messiah.  This first saying was so felt by her heart and preserved by her memory as to be recorded in this Gospel.   



2:51                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was always obedient to them; but His mother carefully treasured up all these incidents in her memory.

WEB:              And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth. He was subject to them, and his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 

Young’s:         and he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and he was subject to them, and his mother was keeping all these sayings in her heart,
Conte (RC):   And he descended with them and went to
Nazareth. And he was subordinate to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart.


2:51                 He went down with them and came to Nazareth.  Down from Jerusalem, which was in a high, mountainous region.  [11]

                        Down from Jerusalem, which is elevated above the sea about 2,200 feet.  [4]

                        Nazareth.  In many respects there was a divine fitness in this spot for the human growth of Jesus—“as a tender plant and a root out of the dry ground.”  Apart from the obscurity and evil fame of Nazareth which were meant to teach lessons similar to those of which we have just spoken [about humility?], we may notice (i)  its seclusion.  It lies in a narrow cleft in the limestone hills which form the boundary of Zabulon entirely out of the ordinary roads of commerce.  (ii)  Its beauty and peacefulness.  The flowers of Nazareth are famous, and the appearance of its inhabitants shews its healthiness.  It was a home of humble peace and plenty.  The fields of its green valley are fruitful, and the view from the hill which overshadows it is one of the loveliest and most historically striking in all Palestine.  [56]

                        and was subject.  Greek, habitually subject.  [7]

                        Performed the duty of a faithful and obedient child; and not improbably was engaged in the trade of Joseph--that of a carpenter.  [11]

                        unto them.  We may infer from the subsequent omission of Joseph’s name, and from the traditional belief of his age, that he died shortly after this event, as the Apocryphal Gospels assert.  [56]

                        but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.  Who should remember them but that mother?  And from whom could Luke, or whoever was the writer of this account, derive it but from her lips?  [14]


                        In depth:  Jesus’ temporal career education [56].  With the exception of these two verses, the Gospels preserve but one single word to throw light on the life of our Lord between His infancy and His baptism.  That word is “the carpenter” in Mark 6:3, altered in some manuscripts out of irreverent and mistaken reverence into “the son of the carpenter.”  They shew that (i) our Lord’s life was spent in poverty but not in pauperism; (ii) that He sanctified labour as a pure and noble thing; (iii) that God looks on the heart, and that the dignity or humility, the fame or obscurity, of the outer lot is of no moment [= importance] in His eyes.  Romans 14:17, 18.  [56]



2:52                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And as Jesus grew older He gained in both wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

WEB:              And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Young’s:         and Jesus was advancing in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and men.
Conte (RC):   And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and in age, and in grace, with God and men.


2:52                 And Jesus increased.  Rather, “advanced.”  The word is derived from pioneers cutting down trees in the path of an advancing army.  Compare 1 Samuel 2:26, and the description of an ideal youth in Proverbs 3:3, 4.  [56]

                        in wisdom.  That is in intellectual acquirements and moral adaptation of all to the uses of life.  [52]

                        and stature.  His physical growth.  To translate “in age,” which the Greek word would in itself allow, would be inappropriate here, where advancement in age is self-evident.  [52]

                        and in favor with God and man.  He was counted praiseworthy by both His fellow residents of Nazareth as well as His heavenly Father.  [rw]

                        Proverbs 3:4, “So shalt thou find favour and good success (margin) in the sight of God and man.”  Pirke Abhoth, iii. 10, “In whomsoever the mind of men delights, in him also the Spirit of God delights.”  [56]


                        In depth:  Jesus’ youthful education [22].  Jewish method of child training:  (a)  As soon as Jewish children could talk they were made to commit the "Shema,"  the Jewish creed, consisting of 19 verses from Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21; Num. 15:37-41, and named from the first Hebrew word (as our Creed from "credo") and as they grew older (boys at least) were taught to write them out.

                        (b) When six years of age boys were sent to school.  Schools in most cases were attached to the synagogues in town (Luke 4:20).  Compulsory attendance upon schools, according to the Talmud, dates from the famous Rabbi Simon Ben Shatach, the brother of queen Alexandria (About 75 B.C.).  From this we infer that Jesus as a child also attended the village school of Nazareth.

                        (c)  There were institutions of higher learning in Jerusalem, corresponding somewhat to our theological and law schools, but these He never attended, John 7:15.

                        (d)  Besides, the education at school, the Jewish child was educated in His father's house, in the synagogue and the workshop.

                        (e)  The character of education among the Jews was exclusively religious and patriotic, its aim being to stimulate the custom, Jesus followed the trade of His father.  The Talmud says, "On the father lies the task of circumcising his son, of instructing him in the law, of teaching him a craft; for not to teach him a trade, is to teach him to steal." 

                        Language.  The mother tongue of Jesus was Aramaic.  He no doubt understood classical Hebrew, for although at His time it was a dead language, it was familiar to the Palestinian Jews.  It is almost certain that He knew Greek for He seems to have spoken to non-Jews (Greeks, Pilate, centurion) without an interpreter            





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,



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,



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,



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,



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.



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

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,



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

1914.  Computerized.


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



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

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



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.