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xxvi. 63, 61. Mark i. 1. John i. 34:
xx. 31. Acts Rom. i. 4.
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called i the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, Matt. xiv. 33: she hath also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For k with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. ch. xviii. 27. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 and entered 1 Josh. xxi. 9, into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
▾ render, no word.
As Christ was made of the substance of
Her own faithful and humble assent is here given to the divine announcement which had been made to her. I believe that her conception of the Lord is to be dated from the utterance of these words. So Euthymius, and similarly Irenæus, Tertullian, Athanasius, Maldonatus, Grotius. Light foot, holding a different opinion, says, “I own, that it is the general opinion, that the Virgin conceived at Nazareth, in the instant when the Angel spoke with her." She was no unconscious vessel of the divine
u render, is called.
Gen. xviii. 14.
Jer. xxxii. 17.
Rom. iv. 21.
will, but (see ver. 45), in humility and
OF ELISABETH BY MARY.
may also mean a city of Juda;' and
m ver. 28.
Judg. v. 24.
it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, m Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her n1 Sam. ii. 1, from the Lord. 46 And Mary said, " My soul doth magnify
Ps. xxxiv. 2,
3: XXXV. 9.
Hab. 18. the Lord, 47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my
o 1 Sam. i. 11,
Ps. cxxxviii. Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his render for perspicuity (see note), Mary's salutation.
y literally, cry.
ver. 23,-and one would hardly be introduced so abruptly here.
It is not Jerusalem; for that would hardly have been described as in the hill country; and from vv. 23, 65, the Evangelist clearly indicates some other place than Jerusalem as the residence of the parents of John.
41.] The salutation uttered by Elisabeth is certainly implied to have been an inspiration of the Holy Spirit. intimation had been made to her of the situation of Mary. The movement of the babe in her womb (possibly for the first time) was part of the effect of the same spiritual influence. The known mysterious effects of sympathy in such cases, at least lead us to believe that there may be corresponding effects where the causes are of a kind beyond our common experience.
'The salutation of Mary' might be taken to mean the Annunciation: better therefore as in margin, Mary's salutation.
42.] The word rendered Blessed has a double meaning: that of blessed,-from above-blessed among women, i. e. beyond other women; and praised,-from below -i.e. called blessed by women. The former is the best rendering here: and then among women will be the Hebrew superlative, as in Jer. xlix. 15, and Song of Sol. i. 8.
43.] The word Lord, as applied to the unborn babe, can no otherwise be explained than as uttered in the spirit of prophecy, and expressing the divine nature of our Lord: see especially Ps. cx. 1, from which Bleek thinks the expression is adopted. 45.] The words may be rendered either as in A. V. (so also the Vulgate, Erasmus, Beza, Meyer), blessed is she that believed, for, &c.-or as in
z render, in exultation.
margin of A. V., blessed is she that believed that there shall be. The last is maintained by Bengel and De Wette, and supported by Acts xxvii. 25. I much prefer the former rendering, as agreeable likewise to the analogy of Scripture, where faith, in the recipient of the divine purposes, is so often represented as a co-ordinate cause of the fulfilment of those purposes. Lightfoot well suggests, that there may have been present to the mind of Elisabeth the unbelief of her husband, as contrasted with Mary's faith.
46-55.] Compare throughout the song of Hannah, Sam. ii. 1-10.
As connected with the defence of the hymns contained in these two chapters, we may observe, taking the very lowest ground, that there is nothing improbable, as matter of fact, in holy persons, full of the thoughts which run through the O. T. 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 our Lord that same inspiration of the Holy Spirit which filled Elisabeth (ver. 41) and Zacharias (ver. 67). 46. My soul... my spirit] the whole inner being: see on 1 Thess. v. 23. my Saviour] not merely Deliverer from degradation, as a daughter of David'-but, in a higher sense, author of that salvation which God's people expected: among whom the Holy Virgin reckons herself. Only sinners need a Saviour. 48.] regarded, i. e. looked upon. Bleek remarks, that look upon my son' ix. 38, is "have mercy in Matt. xvii. 15.
" in Luke on my son low estate, or con
mighty from their
ch. xi. 27.
cxxvi. 2, 3.
Ps. cxi. 9.
Exod. xx. 6. Ps. ciii. 17, 18.
t Ps. xcviii. 1:
exviii. 15. Ps.xxxii. 10. Sam. ii. 6,
Isa. xl. 10: li. 9: ii. 10.
1 Pet. v. 5.
&c. Job v. 11.
w 1 Sam. ii. 5.
P. xxxiv. 10.
x Ps. xcviii. 3.
Jer. xxxi. 3,
Ps. cxxxii. 11.
Gal. iii. 16.
handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth P all generations P Mal. ii, 12. shall a call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath 4 Ps. xxi. 19: done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And s his mercy bis on them that fear him from generation to s Gen. xvii. 7. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; generation. " he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 v He hath put down the seats, and exalted them of low degree. the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, * in remembrance of his mercy 55 ( as he spake to our fathers) to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with z ver. 14. her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they a Gen. xvii, 12. came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, "Not so; but he shall be called John. ver. 13. 61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is ever. 13.
Lev xii. 3.
a literally, shall congratulate me, or account me happy. brender and read, is unto generations and generations to them that fear him.
render, potentates from thrones.
d render, kinsfolk. render, for the purpose of circumcising; to avoid the ambiguity in render, were calling.
dition, not humility; the noun is an objec-
were changed to Abraham and Sarah,-
d ver. 20.
e ver. 39.
fch. ii. 19, 51.
g Gen. xxxix. 2.
Ps. lxxx. 17:
lxxxix. 21. Acts xi. 21. h Joel ii. 28.
i 1 Kings i. 48. Ps. xli. 13: lxxii. 18:
64 d And his mouth was
John. And they marvelled all.
all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be ! h And & the hand of the Lord was with him. 67 And his father Za
Exod. iii, 16: charias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, cxi. 9. ch. vii. saying, 68 i Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he
iv. 31. Ps.
1 P. xxxii. 17. hath visited and i redeemed his people, 69 and hath raised
m Jer. xxiii. 5,
6: xxx. 10.
Acts iii. 21.
Rom. i. 2.
n Lev. xxvi. 42. Ps. xcviii. 3:
xvi. 60. ver.
Dan. ix. 24. up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 m as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 n to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 ° the oath Heb. ix. which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 that he would 40. Eph. iv. grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of
o Gen. xii. 3
xvii. 4: xxii.
16, 17. Heb. vi. 18, 17.
p Rom. vi. 18,
q Jer. xxxii. 39,
24. 2 Thess.
i. 9. Tit. ii. 12.
ii. 13. 2 Tim. our enemies might Pserve him without fear, 75 9 in holiness 1Pet. 15 and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 1 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to
r Isa. xl. 3. Mal. iii. 1: iv. 5. Matt.
xi. 10. ver.
not in the original.
read, For also.
k literally, mercy with our fathers.
tablet smeared with wax, on which they wrote with a style, or sharp iron point.
they marvelled all] This also confirms the view that Zacharias was deaf. There would be nothing wonderful in his acceding to his wife's suggestion, if he had known it: the coincidence, apparently without this knowledge, was the matter of wonder. 64.] For now first had the angel's words, "thou shalt call his name John," ver. 13, received their fulfilment.
66. For also...] A remark inserted by the Evangelist himself, not a further saying of the speakers in the verse before, as Kuinoel and others maintain. The for refers back to the question just asked, And they might well enquire thus, for '
68-79.] This Hymn of thanksgiving appears to have been uttered at the time of the circumcision of the child (in which case the matters related in vv. 65, 66 are parenthetical and anticipatory) and, as the Magnificat, under the immediate influence of inspiration of the Holy
read, Moreover. Ghost. It is entirely Hebrew in its cast and idioms, and might be rendered in that language almost word for word. It serves, besides its own immediate interest to every Christian, to show to us the exact religious view under which John was educated by his father. 69.] an horn
-a metaphor from horned beasts, who are
ch. iii. 3. Num. xxiv. 17. Isa. xi. 1. Zech.iii. 8: vi. Mal. iv. 2. t Isa. ix. 2:
prepare his ways; 77 to give knowledge of salvation unto his people sm by the remission of their sins 78 n through the s Marki. 4. tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 t to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80 And "the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his
shewing unto Israel.
II. 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went
m render, in.
the believing Christian will find it far more natural thus to apply it, especially in connexion with Matt. i. 21. 77.j in remission, the element in which the former blessing was to be conferred. The remission of sin is the first opening for the knowledge of salvation: see ch. iii. 7.
xlii. 7 xlix. 16. Acts ch
9. Matt. iv.
v Matt. iii. 1: xi. 7.
n render, on account of the bowels of
78. dayspring] The springing up, or, the East, is in Jer. xxiii. 5, Zech. iii. 9, vi. 12, the LXX rendering for the Hebrew word for a branch or sprout-and thus, that which springs up or rises,' as Light:-which, from the clauses following, seems to be the meaning here. from on high may be taken with dayspring, as in A. V. :-or perhaps with the verb to give light. But however taken, the expression is not quite easy to understand. The word had come apparently to be a name for the Messiah: thus in Zech. iii. 9 (LXX. see above), behold a man, his name is "the springing up," or "the East" (the A.V. has the branch): and then figures arising from the meaning of the word itself, became mixed with that which was said of Him. The dayspring does not come from on high, but from beneath the horizon; but the Messiah does. Again, to give light, &c. of the next verse belongs to the dayspring, and only figuratively to the Messiah. 79.] Care must be taken on the one hand not to degrade the expressions of this song of praise into mere anticipations of temporal prosperity, nor, on the other, to find in it (except in so far as they are involved in the inner and deeper sense of the words, unknown save to the Spirit who prompted them) the minute doctrinal distinctions of the writings of St. Paul. It is the expression of the aspirations and hopes of a pious Jew, waiting for the salvation of the Lord, finding that salvation brought near, and uttering his thankfulness in Old Testament language, with which he was familiar, and at the same time under prophetic influence of the Holy Spirit. That such a song
chapter is such a separate document, appears from its very distinct style. Whether it had been preserved in the holy family, or how otherwise obtained by St. Luke, no trace now appears. It has a certain relation to, and at the same time is distinguished from, the narration of the next chapter. The Old Testament spirit is stronger here, and the very phraseology more in unison with Hebrew usage. in the deserts] The hill country of Judæa was very near this wilderness, and from the character of John's official life afterwards, it is probable that in youth he would be given to solitude and abstemiousness. It cannot be supposed that the Essenes, dwelling in those parts, had any, or only the most general kind of influence over him, as their views were wholly different from his. his shewing] i. e. the opening of his official life: the same word is used of the appointment of the seventy in ch. x. 1.
CHAP. II. 1-20.] BIRTH OF Christ. ITS ANNOUNCEMENT AND CELEBRATION BY THE HOSTS OF HEAVEN.
1, 2.] We go back again now to the birth of John, or shortly after it. In annotating on these verses, I will first state the difficulty in which they appear to be involved,-then the remarkable way in which a solution has recently been found.
The assertion in these verses is this-that a decree went forth, &c., and that this enrolment first took place when Cyrenius (Quirinus) was governor of Syria. It would then appear, either that this very enrolment took place under Quirinus,