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4. John vii.
ch, i. 27. d Matt. 1.18.
ch. i. 27.
out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world a Acts v. 87. should be o taxed. 2 [a P And] this 9 taxing was first made
when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be o taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also
went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into bị sam, xvi.1, Judæa, unto b the city of David, which is called Beth
Mart. i. 16. lehem; because he was of the house and lineage of a Matt. 1:18. David: 5 to rbe taxed with Mary d his espoused [rr wife],
being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they
were there, the days were accomplished that she should be e Matt. i. 25. delivered. 7 And e she brought forth her firstborn son, o render, enrolled.
.P omit : not in the original. q render, enrolment. I render, enroll himself. rr omit. -or that the first did so, and this was not a Roman province at this time, is no subsequent to it. · Now both of these objection to our text; for the compilation senses till recently seemed to be inad. of Augustus contained the “ kingdoms” of missible. For Quirinus was not known the Roman empire, as well as the proto have been governor of Syria till the vinces. year of Rome 758, after the banishment of 3—5.] There is a mixture here of Ro. Archelaus, and the addition of his territory man and Jewish customs, which is not at to the province of Syria. And the birth all improbable, considering the circumof our Lord occurred at least eight years stances. In the Roman census, men, before this, previous to Herod's death, and women, and children were all obliged to go when Sentius Saturninus was governor of and be enrolled. But then this census was Syria. But it has been made highly made at their dwelling-place, not at that probable, by A. W. Zumpt of Berlin, that of their extraction. The latter practice Quirinus was TWICE governor of Syria. springs from the Jewish genealogical The substance of his researches is given at habits, and its adoption in this case speaks length in the note in my Greek Testament. strongly for the accuracy of the chronoThe result of it is, that Zumpt fixes the logy. If this enrolment was by order of time of his first governorship at from Augustus, and for the whole empire, it of B.C. 4 to B.c. 1. It is true this does not course would be made so as to include all, quite remove our difficulty. But it brings after the Roman manner : but inasmuch it within such narrow limits, that any as it was made under the Jewish king slight error in calculation, or even the Herod, it was done after the Jewish latitude allowed by the words was first manner, in taking this account of each at made might well cover it. I may mention his own place of extraction. Mary it as remarkable, that Justin Martyr being apparently herself sprung from the (Century 2) three times distinctly asserts lineage of David (see ch. i. 32), might on that our Lord was born under Quirinus, this account go to Bethlehem, being, as and appeals to the register then made, as some suppose, an inheritress; but this if from it the fact might, if necessary, be does not seem to be the Evangelist's meanconfirmed.
ing, but that, after the Roman manner, We conclude then, that an assessment she accompanied her husband. . No or enrolment of names with a view to as- stress must be laid on espoused, as if she certain the population of the empire, was were only the betrothed wife of Joseph at commanded and put in force at this time. this time ;-she had been taken to his It was unaccompanied (probably) by any house before this: the history in our text payment of money. We know that Augustus happening during the time indicated by drew up an account or summary of the whole Matt. i. 25. 7.] Now that "firstempire, which took many years to arrange born” has disappeared from the text of and complete, and of which the enrolment St. Matthew (i. 25), it must be here re. of the inhabitants of the provinces would marked, that although the term may unnaturally form a part. Of the data for doubtedly be used of an only child, such this compilation, the enrolment in our use is necessarily always connected with text might be one. That Judæa was the expectation of others to follow, and can
And there s keepidol of the
fch. j. 12.
47. Col. i. 23. hl.a. i1.6.
k Matt. i. 16:
xvi. 16. ch. i. 43. Acts ii. 36: X. 36. Phil.
ii 11. Ich. xix. 38.
Eph. 1. 6: iii. 10, 91.
Rev. v. 13.
ch. i. 70.
and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, s keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And [58 lo] t the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they schen. Nli. s. were sore afraid. 10 ? And the angel said unto them, Fear Marki. not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, 7 .12.3. 8 which shall be to u all people. 11 h For unto you is born Matt.121. this day in the city of David ia Saviour, k which is Christie the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall A . find v the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, w lying in a 10h. xix. 38. manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a kv. 13. multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "sh.., 14 1 Glory to God' in the highest, and on earth m peace, Eph. 17. 8 or, keeping the watches of the night over their flock.
e t render, an. u render, all the people. V render, a babe.
W read, and lying: no longer have place when the whole logy of the divine dealings, to suppose course of events is before the writer and that these shepherds, like Symeon, were no others have followed. The combina- waiting for the consolation of Israel. tion of this consideration with the fact,
10, 11] to all THE people, - i.e. that brethren of our Lord are brought the Jewish people. To thein was the first forward in this Gospel in close connexion message of joy, before the bursting in of with His mother, makes it as certain as the Gentiles - just as here the one angel any implied fact can be, that those brethren gives the prefatory announcement, before were the children of Mary herself.
the multitude of the heavenly host burst Ancient tradition states the birthplace of in with their proclamation of peace on our Lord to have been a cave: and this earth. Christ the Lord] This is the tradition is nowise inconsistent with our only place where these words come totext-for caves are used in most rocky gether. In ch. xxiii. 2 we have “ Christ a countries as stables. the inn] i.e. a King," and in Acts ii. 36 “ Lord and public place of reception for travellers; King." (In Col. iii. 24 we have, in a not 'a room in a private house.' Of what somewhat different meaning said to sersort this inn was, does not appear. It vants), “ye serve the Lord Christ.") probably differs from that mentioned in And I see no way of understanding this ch. x. 34, in not being kept by an host: Lord, but as corresponding to the Hebrew see note there. 8.7 Mr. Greswell JEHOVAH.
12.] Olshausen hazards has made it highly probable that our Lord a conjecture, that the stable or cave may was born on the evening of (i. e. which possibly have belonged to these shepherds. began) the 5th of April, the 10th of the But I think the words even unto, or as Jewish Nisan : on which same day of far as to Bethlehem, ver. 15, do not look April, and the 14th of Nisan, He suffered as if Bethlehem were their home. It thirty-three years after. Before this time seems clear that the spot was somehow there would be abundance of grass in the known to them by the angel's description. pastures—the spring rains being over :
Not “ the babe," as A. V. ;-the but much after it, and till after the angel, in giving the sign, generalizes the autumnal equinox again, the pastures term : they were to know the truth of his would be comparatively bare : see note on words, by finding a child wrapped in John vi. 10. 9.] the glory of the Lord swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. -the brightness of God's presence - the
14.7 It has been disputed whether Shechinah (see reff.) which also accom- Glory to God means There is, or Let there panied His angels when they appeared to be, glory to God. But there can be no men. It is agreeable at least to the ana- doubt that the sense of both these is
Lev. xii. 3. ch. i. 59
25. ch. i. 31.
Lev, xii. 2, 3, 4, 6.
n Gen. xxxvii. w n good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, X as the
angels were gone away from them into heaven, y the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see 2 this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. ]6 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in & a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known [aa abroad] b the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these c things, dand pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. o Gen, 21:12. 21 ° And when eight days were accomplished for the p State: 1.21, circumcising of e the child, his name was called P Jesus,
which was so f named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when 9 the days of 8 her purification according to
the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to W read, among men of good pleasure : see note. i.e. when. y many ancient authorities read, the men the shepherds. z render, this word.
& render, the. b render, concerning the saying.
Crender, words. d render, pondering é read, him. render, called by.
8 read, their, with most of the ancient authorities : one has his; but not one has, “her." included.
among men of good Godhead (1 Pet. ii. 18). In the fulfilpleasure] This reading is found in the ment therefore of His great work of regreater part of the ancient authorities and demption, He became subject to legal rites Fathers, including the Alexandrine, Vati- and purifications not that they were ab. can, and Sinaitic MSS. It does not mean, solutely necessary for Him, but were inas the Roman Catholic interpreters gene- cluded in those things which were berally explain it, “men of good wil,”— coming for Him, in Éis humiliation and “those that like it,” which would be un- making perfect :' and in His lifting up tenable in Greek as well as in theology. The of that human nature, for which all these only admissible rendering is, ' Among men things were absolutely necessary (Gen. of God's good pleasure,' i.e. among the xvii. 14), into the Godhead. elect people of God. 19.] kept, in 22—38.] THE PURIFICATION IN THE her memory.
words, viz. those TEMPLE. SYMEON AND ANNA RECOGspoken by the shepherds.
NIZE AND PROPHESY OF HIM. * 21.] His CIRCUMCISION. The Lord 22.] See Lev. xii. 1-8, where however was made like unto His brethren (Heb. ii. the child is not, as here, expressly included 17; iv. 15) in all weakness and bodily in the purification. The reading his is infirmity, from which legal uncleannesses remarkable, and hardly likely to have been arose. The body which He took on a correction : "her," adopted by the A.V., Him, though not a body of sin, was is almost without authority, and is a mortal, subject to the consequence of sin, manifest correction. Bengel denies
-in the likeness of sinful flesh: but that either the Lord or His mother incorruptible by the indwelling of the wanted purification; and mentions that
viii. 17: xviii.
s Lev. xii. 2, 6,
xlix. 6: Ix.1,
Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord, ? Every male that openeth the r Exod, uli. 2: womb shall be called holy to the Lord ; 24 and to offer a Num. il:13 sacrifice according to s that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25 And 8. behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon; and the same man was just and devout, . waiting Warkia for the consolation of Israel : and the Holy Ghost was upon him ; 26 and it h was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not "see death, before he had seen u Ps. Inuzix. the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came " i by the Spirit into Matt. iv.1. the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, "now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, " Sen. 1.71: 30. according to thy word : 30 for mine eyes have seen thy Isa. lii. 10. salvation, 31 which thou hast prepared before the face of all people ; 32 9 a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the 1901.6 glory of thy people Israel. 33 And « Joseph and his mother , Matt. marvelled at those things which were spoken l of him. B h render, had been.
i literally, in. k read, his father and mother, as most of the ancient authorities, and the express testimony of Origen.
I render for perspicuity, concerning. some render their of the Jews,' but does It was a common form of adjuration not approve of it (John ii. 6 is certainly no among the Jews, “ So may I see consola. case in point). See the last note, on the tion, if &c.” referring to Isa. xl. 1. necessity of purification for both.
On the general expectation of deliverance 23.] God had taken the tribe of Levi at this time see on Matt. ii. 1 ff. instead of the firstborn that openeth the 26.] Of the nature of this intimation, womb, Num. ii. 12, and required only the nothing is said. Symeon was the subject excess in number of the firstborn over the of an especial indwelling and leading of Levites to be redeemed (ib. vv. 44—51). the Holy Ghost, analogous to that higher This arrangement appears afterwards to form of the spiritual life expressed in the have been superseded by a general com earliest days by walking with God-and mand to redeem all the firstborn at five according to which God's saints have often shekels of the sanctuary (Num. xviii. 15, been directed and informed in an extra16). 24.] The offering (ref. Lev.) ordinary manner by His Holy Spirit. In was, a lamb for a burnt-offering, and a the power of this intimation, and in the pigeon for å sin-offering : but if the spirit of prophecy consequent on it, he parties were too poor to bring a lamb, came into the Temple on this occasion. then two pigeons. But we are not hereby
29.] lettest thou depart, not from justified in assuming extreme poverty to life, or out of the earth,but as being thy have been the condition of our Lord's servant, he thinks of his death as the ter. family. This no where appears from the mination of, and so dismissal from, his serGospel history.
25.] It appears vitude. 32.] See Isa. xlix. 6. The that this Symeon might have been Symeon general term of the last verse,- all the the son of Hillel, -and father of Gamaliel, peoples (so literally), is here divided into mentioned in Acts v. 34 ff. But we have two, the Gentiles, and Israel. 33. no means of ascertaining this. the his father] In ver. 48 we have Joseph consolation of Israel] See Acts xxviii. 20. again called by this name. Our Lord
z Isa. viii. 14.
Hos. xiv. 9.
ii. 16. 1 Pet.
ii. 7, 8. & Acts xxviii.
d Mark xv. 43.
Ver. 25. ch. niv. 21.
34 And Symeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his 2 Isa. viii. 14. mother, Behold, this child is set for the ' fall and rising
Komt. In again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which shall be 23:21. CoCor. spoken against; 35 yea, a sword shall pierce through thy
Zemesvill. own soul also; that m the thoughts of many hearts may be b Ps. xlii. 10. revealed. 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser : she was n of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the
temple, but served [° God] with fastings and prayers e Acts havi:?night and day. 38 And she P coming in that instant gave
thanks likewise unto 9 the Lord, and spake of him to all a Markes mines them that d looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according m render, reasonings out of many hearts. n literally, far advanced in many days. o omit : not in the original.
P render, coming in at the same hour. 9 read, God. Himself would not speak of him thus, see sorrow for sin must pierce her heart also ver. 49; but in the simplicity of the nar. (cf. esp. Acts ii. 37); and the general end rative we may read his parents, and such follows; that reasonings out of many expressions, without any danger of for hearts may be revealed; that they who getting the momentous history of the receive the Lord Jesus may be manifest, Conception and Nativity. 34.) fall, as a and they who reject Him : see John ix. 39. stone of stumbling and rock of offence We may find moreover, in the traces of her (see references), at which they should connexion with our Lord in the Evangelic fall through unbelief. rising again, history, the piercing and dividing of her -or, rising up-in the sense of ch. i. soul, and in the last notice of her in Acts i., 52-by faith and holiness; or, the fall the triumph of her faith after the Ascenand rising up may refer to the same per. sion. 37. fastings and prayers] Not sons ; as it is said by our Lord, .He that merely in the ordinary hours of prayer, at humbleth himself shall be exalted. I vine, and three, or the ordinary fasts on prefer this last interpretation, as cohering Monday and Thursday, but in an asceticbest with the next verse : see note on it. devotional method of life. night is
35.] This prophecy I do not believe said to be put first, because fasts were to have its chief reference to the deep reckoned from one evening to another. Is sorrows of the mother of our Lord on it not rather because the greater solemnity beholding His sufferings, much less to her and emphasis rests on the religious exercise future death by martyrdom; least of all by night ? 38.] It was possibly at to the Crucifixion, which by shedding the the hour of prayer; as she spoke of Him blood of her Son, would also pierce her to numbers, who would at such a time be heart and drain it of its life-blood and flocking to the temple. make it childless. None of these interpre. 39, đ0.] RETURN TO NAZARETH. tations satisfy us : for the words stand in 39.] Certainly the obvious inference from a totally different connexion, and one far this verse is, that Joseph and Mary re. worthier of the honour of that holy turned from Jerusalem to Nazareth direct. woman, and of the spiritual character of But it is only an inference, and not the Symeon's prophecy : that prophecy is, of assertion of the text. This part of the the struggle of many in Israel through Gospel History is one where the Harmorepentance to faith in this Saviour; among nists, by their arbitrary reconcilements of which number even His mother herself the two Evangelistic accounts, have given was to be included. The sharp pangs of great advantage to the eneinies of the