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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 2)

2:1 {Decree from Caesar Augustus} (\dogma para Kaisaros
. Old and common word from \dokeō\, to think, form an
opinion. No such decree was given by Greek or Roman historians
and it was for long assumed by many scholars that Luke was in
error. But papyri and inscriptions have confirmed Luke on every
point in these crucial verses 2:1-7. See W.M. Ramsay's books
(_Was Christ Born at Bethelehem?_ _Luke the Physician_. _The
Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the N.T._)
{The World} (\tēn oikoumenēn\). Literally, {the inhabited}
({land}, \gēn\). Inhabited by the Greeks, then by the Romans,
then the whole world (Roman world, the world ruled by Rome). So
Ac 11:28; 17:6. {Should be enrolled} (\apographesthai\). It was
a census, not a taxing, though taxing generally followed and was
based on the census. This word is very old and common. It means
to write or copy off for the public records, to register.

2:2 {The first enrolment} (\apographē prōtē\). A definite
allusion by Luke to a series of censuses instituted by Augustus,
the second of which is mentioned by him in Ac 5:37. This second
one is described by Josephus and it was supposed by some that
Luke confused the two. But Ramsay has shown that a periodical
fourteen-year census in Egypt is given in dated papyri back to
A.D. 20. The one in Ac 5:37 would then be A.D. 6. This is in
the time of Augustus. The first would then be B.C. 8 in Egypt. If
it was delayed a couple of years in Palestine by Herod the Great
for obvious reasons, that would make the birth of Christ about
B.C. 6 which agrees with the other known data {When Quirinius}
(\Kurēniou\). Genitive absolute. Here again Luke has been
attacked on the ground that Quirinius was only governor of Syria
once and that was A.D. 6 as shown by Josephus (_Ant_. XVIII.
. But Ramsay has proven by inscriptions that Quirinius was
twice in Syria and that Luke is correct here also. See summary of
the facts in my _Luke the Historian in the Light of Research_,
pp. 118-29.

2:3 {Each to his own city} (\hekastos eis tēn heautou polin\). A
number of papyri in Egypt have the heading enrolment by household
(\apographē kat' oikian\). Here again Luke is vindicated. Each
man went to the town where his family register was kept.

2:5 {To enrol himself with Mary} (\apograpsasthai sun Mariam\).
Direct middle. "With Mary" is naturally taken with the infinitive
as here. If so, that means that Mary's family register was in
Bethlehem also and that she also belonged to the house of David.
It is possible to connect "with Mary" far back with "went up"
(\anebē\) in verse 4, but it is unnatural to do so. There is no
real reason for doubting that Mary herself was a descendant of
David and that is the obvious way to understand Luke's genealogy
of Jesus in Lu 3:23-38). The Syriac Sinaitic expressly says
that both Joseph and Mary were of the house and city of David.
{Betrothed} (\emnēsteumenēn\). Same verb as in 1:27, but here
it really means "married" or "espoused" as Mt 1:24f. shows.
Otherwise she could not have travelled with Joseph. {Great with
(\enkuōi\). Only here in N.T. Common Greek word.

2:6 {That she should be delivered} (\tou tekein autēn\). {For the
bearing the child as to her}
. A neat use of the articular
infinitive, second aorist active, with the accusative of general
reference. From \tiktō\, common verb.

2:7 {Her firstborn} (\ton prōtotokon\). The expression naturally
means that she afterwards had other children and we read of
brothers and sisters of Jesus. There is not a particle of
evidence for the notion that Mary refused to bear other children
because she was the mother of the Messiah. {Wrapped in swaddling
(\esparganōsen\). From \sparganon\, a swathing band.
Only here and verse 12 in the N.T., but in Euripides,
Aristotle, Hippocrates, Plutarch. Frequent in medical works. {In
a manger}
(\en phatnēi\). In a crib in a stall whether in a cave
(Justin Martyr) or connected with the inn we do not know. The
cattle may have been out on the hills or the donkeys used in
travelling may have been feeding in this stall or another near.
{In the inn} (\en tōi katalumati\). A lodging-house or khan, poor
enough at best, but there was not even room in this public place
because of the crowds for the census. See the word also in Lu
22:11; Mr 14:14 with the sense of guest-room (cf. 1Ki 1:13).
It is the Hellenistic equivalent for \katagōgeion\ and appears
also in one papyrus. See Ex 4:24. There would sometimes be an
inner court, a range or arches, an open gallery round the four
sides. On one side of the square, outside the wall, would be
stables for the asses and camels, buffaloes and goats. Each man
had to carry his own food and bedding.

2:8 {Abiding in the field} (\agraulountes\). From \agros\, field
and \aulē\, court. The shepherds were making the field their
court. Plutarch and Strabo use the word. {Keeping watch}
(\phulassontes phulakas\). Cognate accusative. They were
bivouacking by night and it was plainly mild weather. In these
very pastures David had fought the lion and the bear to protect
the sheep (1Sa 17:34f.). The plural here probably means that
they watched by turns. The flock may have been meant for the
temple sacrifices. There is no way to tell.

2:9 {Stood by them} (\epestē autois\). Ingressive aorist active
indicative. Stepped by their side. The same word in Ac 12:7 of
the angel there. Paul uses it in the sense of standing by in Ac
22:20. It is a common old Greek word, \ephistēmi\. {Were sore
(\ephobēthēsan phobon megan\). First aorist passive
indicative with cognate accusative (the passive sense gone), they
feared a great fear.

2:10 {I bring you good tidings of great joy} (\euaggelizomai
h–min charan megalēn\)
. Wycliff, "I evangelize to you a great
joy." The active verb \euaggelizō\ occurs only in late Greek
writers, LXX, a few papyri examples, and the N.T. The middle
(deponent) appears from Aristophanes on. Luke and Paul employ
both substantive \euaggelion\ and verb \euaggelizō\ very
frequently. It is to Paul's influence that we owe their frequency
and popularity in the language of Christendom (George Milligan,
_The Epistles to the Thessalonians_, p. 143)
. The other Gospels
do not have the verb save Mt 11:5 and that in a quotation (Isa

2:11 \Is born\ (\etechthē\). First aorist passive indicative from
\tiktō\. Was born. {Saviour} (\sōtēr\). This great word is common
in Luke and Paul and seldom elsewhere in the N.T. (Bruce). The
people under Rome's rule came to call the emperor "Saviour" and
Christians took the word and used it of Christ. See inscriptions
(Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, p. 344). {Christ the
(\Christos Kurios\). This combination occurs nowhere else
in the N.T. and it is not clear what it really means. Luke is
very fond of \Kurios\ ({Lord}) where the other Gospels have
Jesus. It may mean "Christ the Lord," "Anointed Lord," "Messiah,
Lord," "The Messiah, the Lord," "An Anointed One, a Lord," or
"Lord Messiah." It occurs once in the LXX (La 4:20) and is in
Ps. of Sol. 17:36. Ragg suggests that our phrase "the Lord Jesus
Christ" is really involved in "A Saviour (Jesus) which is Christ
the Lord." See on ¯Mt 1:1 for Christ and ¯Mt 21:3 for Lord.

2:13 {Host} (\stratias\). A military term for a band of soldiers
common in the ancient Greek. Bengel says: "Here the army
announces peace." {Praising} (\ainountōn\). Construction
according to sense (plural, though \stratias\ is singular).

2:14 {Among men in whom he is well pleased} (\en anthrōpois
. The Textus Receptus (Authorized Version also has
\eudokia\, but the genitive \eudokias\ is undoubtedly correct,
supported by the oldest and best uncials.)
(Aleph, A B D W). C has
a lacuna here. Plummer justly notes how in this angelic hymn
Glory and Peace correspond, in the highest and on earth, to God
and among men of goodwill. It would be possible to connect "on
earth" with "the highest" and also to have a triple division.
There has been much objection raised to the genitive \eudokias\,
the correct text. But it makes perfectly good sense and better
sense. As a matter of fact real peace on earth exists only among
those who are the subjects of God's goodwill, who are
characterized by goodwill toward God and man. This word \eudokia\
we have already had in Mt 11:26. It does not occur in the
ancient Greek. The word is confined to Jewish and Christian
writings, though the papyri furnish instances of \eudokēsis\.
Wycliff has it "to men of goodwill."

2:15 {Said to one another} (\elaloun pros allēlous\). Imperfect
tense, inchoative, "began to speak," each to the other. It
suggests also repetition, they kept saying, {Now} (\dē\). A
particle of urgency. {This thing} (\to rhēma touto\). A
Hebraistic and vernacular use of \rhēma\ (something said) as
something done. See on ¯Lu 1:65. The ancient Greek used \logos\
in this same way.

2:16 {With haste} (\speusantes\). Aorist active participle of
simultaneous action. {Found} (\aneuran\). Second aorist active
indicative of a common Greek verb \aneuriskō\, but only in Luke
in the N.T. The compound \ana\ suggests a search before finding.

2:17 {Made known} (\egnōrisan\). To others (verse 18) besides
Joseph and Mary. The verb is common from Aeschylus on, from the
root of \ginōskō\ (to know). It is both transitive and
intransitive in the N.T.

2:19 {Kept} (\sunetērei\). Imperfect active. She kept on keeping
together (\sun-\) all these things. They were meat and drink to
her. She was not astonished, but filled with holy awe. The verb
occurs from Aristotle on. She could not forget. But did not Mary
keep also a Baby Book? And may not Luke have seen it? {Pondering}
(\sunballousa\). An old Greek word. Placing together for
comparison. Mary would go over each detail in the words of
Gabriel and of the shepherds and compare the sayings with the
facts so far developed and brood over it all with a mother's high
hopes and joy.

2:21 {His name was called Jesus} (\kai eklēthē to onoma autou
. The \kai\ is left untranslated or has the sense of
"then" in the apodosis. The naming was a part of the ceremony of
circumcision as is shown also in the case of John the Baptist
(Lu 1:59-66).

2:22 {The days of their purification} (\hai hēmerai tou
katharismou autōn\)
. The old manuscripts have "their" (\autōn\)
instead of "her" (\autēs\) of the later documents. But it is not
clear whether "their" refers to Mary and Joseph as is true of
"they brought" or to Mary and the child. The mother was
Levitically unclean for forty days after the birth of a son (Le
. {To present him to the Lord} (\parastēsai tōi Kuriōi\).
Every first-born son was thus redeemed by the sacrifice (Ex
as a memorial of the sparing of the Israelitish
families (Nu 18:15f.). The cost was about two dollars and a
half in our money.

2:23 {In the law of the Lord} (\en nomōi Kuriou\). No articles,
but definite by preposition and genitive. Vincent notes that
"law" occurs in this chapter five times. Paul (Gal 4:4) will
urge that Jesus "was made under the law" as Luke here explains.
The law did not require that the child be brought to Jerusalem.
The purification concerned the mother, the presentation the son.

2:24 {A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons} (\Zeugos
trugonōn ē duo nossous peristerōn\)
. The offspring of the poor,
costing about sixteen cents, while a lamb would cost nearly two
dollars. The "young of pigeons" is the literal meaning.

2:25 {Devout} (\eulabēs\). Used only by Luke (Ac 2:5; 8:2;
in the N.T. Common in ancient Greek from Plato on. It
means taking hold well or carefully (\eu\ and \labein\) and so
reverently, circumspectly. {Looking for the consolation of
(\prosdechomenos paraklēsin tou Israel\). Old Greek verb
to admit to one's presence (Lu 15:2) and then to expect as here
and of Anna in verse 38. {Paraklēsin} here means the Messianic
hope (Isa 11:10; 40:1), calling to one's side for cheer. {Upon
(\ep' auton\). This is the explanation of his lively
Messianic hope. It was due to the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna
are representatives of real piety in this time of spiritual
dearth and deadness.

2:26 {It had been revealed unto him} (\ēn autōi
. Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative.
Common Greek verb. First to transact business from \chrēma\ and
that from \chraomai\, to use, make use of; then to do business
with public officials, to give advice (judges, rulers, kings),
then to get the advice of the Delphic and other oracles
(Diodorus, Plutarch). The LXX and Josephus use it of God's
commands. A Fayum papyrus of 257 B.C. has the substantive
\chrēmastismos\ for a divine response (cf. Ro 11:4). See
Deissmann, _Light From the Ancient East_, p. 153. {Before} (\prin
. Classic Greek idiom after a negative to have subjunctive as
here (only example in the N.T.) or the optative after past tense
as in Ac 25:16 (subjunctive changed to optative in indirect
. Elsewhere in the N.T. the infinitive follows \prin\
as in Mt 1:18.

2:27 {When the parents brought in the child Jesus} (\en tōi
eisagagein tous goneis to paidion Iēsoun\)
. A neat Greek and
Hebrew idiom difficult to render into English, very common in the
LXX; {In the bringing the Child Jesus as to the parents}. The
articular infinitive and two accusatives (one the object, the
other accusative of general reference)
. {After the custom of the
(\kata to eithismenon tou nomou\). Here the perfect passive
participle \eithismenon\, neuter singular from \ethizō\ (common
Greek verb, to accustom)
is used as a virtual substantive like
\to ethos\ in 1:8. Luke alone in the N.T. uses either word save
\ethos\ in Joh 19:40, though \eiōtha\ from \ethō\, occurs also
in Mt 27:15; Mr 10:1.

2:28 {Then he} (\kai autos\). \Kai\ as in 2:21. \Autos\,
emphatic subject, he after the parents. {Arms} (\agkalas\). Old
Greek word, here only in the N.T. It means the curve or inner
angle of the arm.

2:29 {Now lettest thou} (\nun apolueis\). Present active
indicative, {Thou art letting}. The _Nunc Dimittis_, adoration
and praise. It is full of rapture and vivid intensity (Plummer)
like the best of the Psalms. The verb \apoluō\ was common for the
manumission of slaves and Simeon here calls himself "thy slave
(\doulon sou\), Lord (\Despota\, our despot)." See 2Pe 2:1.

2:31 {Of all the peoples} (\pantōn tōn laōn\). Not merely Jews.
Another illustration of the universality of Luke's Gospel seen
already in 1:70 in the hymn of Zacharias. The second strophe of
the song according to Plummer showing what the Messiah will be to
the world after having shown what the Messiah is to Simeon.

2:32 {Revelation to the Gentiles} (\apokalupsin ethnōn\).
Objective genitive. The Messiah is to be light (\phōs\) for the
Gentiles in darkness (1:70) and glory (\doxa\) for Israel (cf.
Ro 9:1-5; Isa 49:6)
. The word \ethnos\ originally meant just a
crowd or company, then a race or nation, then the nations other
than Israel (the people, \ho laos\) or the people of God. The
word Gentile is Latin from _gens_, a tribe or nation. But the
world-wide mission of the Messiah comes out clearly in these
early chapters in Luke.

2:33 {His father and his mother} (\ho patēr autou kai hē mētēr\).
Luke had already used "parents" in 2:27. He by no means intends
to deny the Virgin Birth of Jesus so plainly stated in 1:34-38.
He merely employs here the language of ordinary custom. The late
MSS. wrongly read "and Joseph" instead of "his father." {Were
(\ēn thaumazontes\). The masculine gender includes
the feminine when both are referred to. But \ēn\ is singular, not
\ēsan\, the normal imperfect plural in this periphrastic
imperfect. This is due to the wide space between copula and
participle. The copula \ēn\ agrees in number with \ho patēr\
while the participle coming last agrees with both \ho pater kai
hē mētēr\ (cf. Mt 17:3; 22:40). If one wonders why they
marvelled at Simeon's words after what they had heard from
Gabriel, Elisabeth, and the Shepherds, he should bear in mind
that every parent is astonished and pleased at the fine things
others see in the child. It is a mark of unusual insight for
others to see so much that is obvious to the parent. Simeon's
prophecy had gone beyond the angel's outline and it was
surprising that he should know anything about the child's

2:34 {Is set for the falling and the rising up of many in Israel}
(\Keitai eis ptōsin kai anastasin pollōn en tōi Israēl\). Present
indicative of the old defective verb appearing only in present
and imperfect in the N.T. Sometimes it is used as the passive of
\tithēmi\ as here. The falling of some and the rising up of
others is what is meant. He will be a stumbling-block to some
(Isa 8:14; Mt 21:42,44; Ro 9:33; 1Pe 2:16f.) who love darkness
rather than light (Joh 3:19), he will be the cause of rising
for others (Ro 6:4,9; Eph 2:6). "Judas despairs, Peter repents:
one robber blasphemes, the other confesses" (Plummer). Jesus is
the magnet of the ages. He draws some, he repels others. This is
true of all epoch-making men to some extent. {Spoken against}
(\antilegomenon\). Present passive participle, continuous action.
It is going on today. Nietzsche regarded Jesus Christ as the
curse of the race because he spared the weak.

2:35 {A sword} (\rhomphaia\). A large sword, properly a long
Thracian javelin. It occurs in the LXX of Goliath's sword (1Sa
. How little Mary understood the meaning of Simeon's words
that seemed so out of place in the midst of the glorious things
already spoken, a sharp thorn in their roses, a veritable
bitter-sweet. But one day Mary will stand by the Cross of Christ
with this Thracian javelin clean through her soul, \stabat Mater
Dolorosa\ (Joh 19:25). It is only a parenthesis here, and a
passing cloud perhaps passed over Mary's heart already puzzled
with rapture and ecstasy. {May be revealed} (\apokaluphthōsin\).
Unveiled. First aorist passive subjunctive after \hopōs an\ and
expresses God's purpose in the mission of the Messiah. He is to
test men's thoughts (\dialogismoi\) and purposes. They will be
compelled to take a stand for Christ or against him. That is true

2:36 {One Anna a prophetess} (\Hanna prophētis\). The word
\prophētis\ occurs in the N.T. only here and Re 2:20. In old
Greek writers it means a woman who interprets oracles. The long
parenthesis into verse 37 tells of her great age. Montefiore
makes it 106 as she was 15 when married, married 7 years, a widow

2:37 {Which departed not} (\hē ouk aphistato\). Imperfect
indicative middle. She kept on not leaving. The Spirit kept her
in the temple as he led Simon to the temple (Plummer). The case
of "the temple" (\tou hierou\) is ablative. {Night and day}
(\nukta kai hēmeran\). Accusative of duration of time, all night
and all day. She never missed a service in the temple.

2:38 {Coming up} (\epistāsa\). Second aorist active participle.
The word often has the notion of coming suddenly or bursting in
as of Martha in Lu 10:40. But here it probably means coming up
and standing by and so hearing Simeon's wonderful words so that
her words form a kind of footnote to his. {Gave thanks}
(\anthōmologeito\). Imperfect middle of a verb (\anthomologeō\)
in common use in Greek writers and in the LXX though here alone
in the N.T. It had the idea of a mutual agreement or of saying
something before one (\anti\). Anna was evidently deeply moved
and repeated her thanksgiving and kept speaking (\elalei\,
imperfect again)
"to all them that were looking for
(\prosdechomenois\, as in 1:35 of Simeon) the redemption of
Jerusalem (\lutrōsin Ierousalēm\)." There was evidently a group
of such spirits that gathered in the temple either men around her
and Simeon or whom she met from time to time. There was thus a
nucleus of old saints in Jerusalem prepared for the coming of the
Messiah when he at last appears as the Messiah in Jerusalem (John
2 and 3)
. These probably all passed away. But they had a happy
hour of hope and joy. The late MSS. have "in Jerusalem" but "of
Jerusalem" is correct. What they meant by the "redemption of
Jerusalem" is not clear, whether political or spiritual or both.
Simeon was looking for the consolation of Israel (2:25) and
Zacharias (1:68) sang of redemption for Israel (Isa 40:2).

2:39 {To their own city Nazareth} (\eis polin heautōn Nazaret\).
See on Mt 2:23 about Nazareth. Luke tells nothing of the flight
to Egypt and the reason for the return to Nazareth instead of
Bethlehem, the place of the birth of Jesus as told in Mt
2:13-23. But then neither Gospel gives all the details of this
period. Luke has also nothing about the visit of the wise men
(Mt 2:1-12) as Matthew tells nothing of the shepherds and of
Simeon and Anna (Lu 2:8-28). The two Gospels supplement each

2:40 {The child grew} (\ēuxane\). Imperfect indicative of a very
ancient verb (\auxanō\). This child grew and waxed strong
(\ekrataiouto\, imperfect middle), a hearty vigorous little boy
(\paidion\). Both verbs Luke used in 1:80 of the growth of John
the Baptist as a child. Then he used also \pneumati\, in spirit.
Here in addition to the bodily development Luke has "filled with
wisdom" (\plēroumenon sophiāi\). Present passive participle,
showing that the process of filling with wisdom kept pace with
the bodily growth. If it were only always true with others! We
need not be troubled over this growth in wisdom on the part of
Jesus any more than over his bodily growth. "The intellectual,
moral, and spiritual growth of the Child, like the physical, was
real. His was a perfect humanity developing perfectly, unimpeded
by hereditary or acquired defects. It was the first instance of
such a growth in history. For the first time a human infant was
realizing the ideal of humanity" (Plummer). {The grace of God}
(\charis theou\). In full measure.

2:41 {Every year} (\kat' etos\). This idiom only here in the
N.T., a common Greek construction. Every male was originally
expected to appear at the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles
(Ex 23:14-17; 34:23; De 16:16). But the Dispersion rendered
that impossible. But pious Palestinian Jews made a point of going
at least to the passover. Mary went with Joseph as a pious habit,
though not required by law to go.

2:42 {Twelve years old} (\etōn dōdeka\). Predicate genitive. Luke
does not say that Jesus had not been to Jerusalem before, but at
twelve a Jewish boy became a "son of the law" and began to
observe the ordinances, putting on the phylacteries as a
reminder. {They went up} (\anabainontōn autōn\). Genitive
absolute with present active participle, a loose construction
here, for the incident narrated took place _after_ they had gone
up, not _while_ they were gong up. "On their usual going up"

2:43 {When they had fulfilled the days} (\teleiōsantōn tas
. Genitive absolute again, but aorist participle
(effective aorist). "The days" may mean the full seven days (Ex
12:15f.; Le 23:6-8; De 16:3)
, or the two chief days after which
many pilgrims left for home. {As they were returning} (\en tōi
hupostrephein antous\)
. The articular infinitive with \en\, a
construction that Luke often uses (1:21; 2:27). {The boy,
(\Iēsous ho pais\). More exactly, "Jesus the boy." In
verse 40 it was "the child " (\to paidion\), here it is "the
boy" (\ho pais\, no longer the diminutive form). It was not
disobedience on the part of "the boy" that made him remain
behind, but intense interest in the services of the temple;
"involuntary preoccupation" (Bruce) held him fast.

2:44 {In the company} (\en tēi sunodiāi\). The caravan going
together on the road or way (\sun, hodos\), a journey in company,
then by metonymy the company itself. A common Greek word
(Plutarch, Strabo, etc.). The women usually went ahead and the
men followed. Joseph may have thought Jesus was with Mary and
Mary that he was with Joseph. "The Nazareth caravan was so long
that it took a whole day to look through it" (Plummer). {They
sought for him}
(\anezētoun auton\). Imperfect active. Common
Greek verb. Note force of \ana\. They searched up and down, back
and forth, a thorough search and prolonged, but in vain.

2:45 {Seeking for him} (\anazētountes auton\). Present participle
of the same verb. This was all that was worth while now, finding
the lost boy.

2:46 {After three days} (\meta hēmeras treis\). One day out, one
day back, and on the third day finding him. {In the temple} (\en
tōi hierōi\)
. Probably on the terrace where members of the
Sanhedrin gave public instruction on sabbaths and feast-days, so
probably while the feast was still going on. The rabbis probably
sat on benches in a circle. The listeners on the ground, among
whom was Jesus the boy in a rapture of interest. {Both hearing
them and asking them questions}
(\kai akouonta autōn kai
eperōtōnta autous\)
. Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel (Ac
. Picture this eager boy alive with interest. It was his
one opportunity in a theological school outside of the synagogue
to hear the great rabbis expound the problems of life. This was
the most unusual of all children, to be sure, in intellectual
grasp and power. But it is a mistake to think that children of
twelve do not think profoundly concerning the issues of life.
What father or mother has ever been able to answer a child's

2:47 {Were amazed} (\existanto\). Imperfect indicative middle,
descriptive of their continued and repeated astonishment. Common
verb \existēmi\ meaning that they stood out of themselves as if
their eyes were bulging out. The boy had a holy thirst for
knowledge (Plummer), and he used a boy's way of learning. {At his
(\epi tēi sunesei\). Based on (\epi\), the grasp
and comprehension from \suniēmi\, comparing and combining things.
Cf. Mr 12:33. {His answers} (\tais apokrisesin autou\). It is
not difficult to ask hard questions, but this boy had astounding
answers to their questions, revealing his amazing intellectual
and spiritual growth.

2:48 {They were astonished} (\exeplagēsan\). Second aorist
passive indicative of an old Greek word (\ekplēssō\), to strike
out, drive out by a blow. Joseph and Mary "were struck out" by
what they saw and heard. Even they had not fully realized the
power in this wonderful boy. Parents often fail to perceive the
wealth of nature in their children.

2:49 {Son} (\teknon\). Child, literally. It was natural for Mary
to be the first to speak. {Why} (\Ti\). The mother's reproach of
the boy is followed by a confession of negligence on her part and
of Joseph ({sorrowing}, \odunōmenoi\). {Thy father} (\ho pater
. No contradiction in this. Alford says: "Up to this time
Joseph had been so called by the holy child himself, but from
this time never." {Sought} (\ezētoumen\). Imperfect tense
describing the long drawn out search for three days. {How is it
(\Ti hoti\). The first words of Jesus preserved to us. This
crisp Greek idiom without copula expresses the boy's amazement
that his parents should not know that there was only one possible
place in Jerusalem for him. {I must be} (\dei einai me\).
Messianic consciousness of the necessity laid on him. Jesus often
uses \dei\ (must) about his work. Of all the golden dreams of any
boy of twelve here is the greatest. {In my Father's house} (\en
tois tou patros mou\)
. Not "about my Father's business," but "in
my Father's house" (cf. Ge 41:51). Common Greek idiom. And note
"my," not "our." When the boy first became conscious of his
peculiar relation to the Father in heaven we do not know. But he
has it now at twelve and it will grow within him through the
years ahead in Nazareth.

2:50 {They understood not} (\ou sunēkan\). First aorist active
indicative (one of the k aorists). Even Mary with all her
previous preparation and brooding was not equal to the dawning of
the Messianic consciousness in her boy. "My Father is God," Jesus
had virtually said, "and I must be in His house." Bruce observes
that a new era has come when Jesus calls God "Father," not
\Despotes\. "Even we do not yet fully understand" (Bruce) what
Jesus the boy here said.

2:51 {He was subject unto them} (\ēn hupotassomenos autois\).
Periphrastic imperfect passive. He continued subject unto them,
this wondrous boy who really knew more than parents and rabbis,
this gentle, obedient, affectionate boy. The next eighteen years
at Nazareth (Lu 3:23) he remained growing into manhood and
becoming the carpenter of Nazareth (Mr 6:3) in succession to
Joseph (Mt 13:55) who is mentioned here for the last time. Who
can tell the wistful days when Jesus waited at Nazareth for the
Father to call him to his Messianic task? {Kept} (\dietērei\).
Imperfect active. Ancient Greek word (\diatēreō\), but only here
and Ac 15:29 in the N.T. though in Ge 37:11. She kept
thoroughly (\dia\) all these recent sayings (or things,
. In 2:19 \sunetērei\ is the word used of Mary after
the shepherds left. These she kept pondering and comparing all
the things. Surely she has a full heart now. Could she foresee
how destiny would take Jesus out beyond her mother's reach?

2:52 {Advanced in wisdom and stature} (\proekopten tēi sophiāi
kai hēlikiāi\)
. Imperfect active, he kept cutting his way forward
as through a forest or jungle as pioneers did. He kept growing in
stature (\hēlikia\ may mean age, as in 12:25, but stature here)
and in wisdom (more than mere knowledge). His physical,
intellectual, moral, spiritual development was perfect. "At each
stage he was perfect for that stage" (Plummer). {In favour}
(\chariti\). Or grace. This is ideal manhood to have the favour
of God and men.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 2)