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1: That all the world should be enrolled - That all the
inhabitants, male and female, of every town in the Roman empire,
with their families and estates, should be registered.
2: When Cyrenius was governor of Syria - When Publius Sulpicius
Quirinus governed the province of Syria, in which Judea was
6: And while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she
should be delivered - Mary seems not to have known that the child
must have been born in Bethlehem, agreeably to the prophecy.
But the providence of God took care for it.
7: She laid him in the manger - Perhaps it might rather be
translated in the stall. They were lodged in the ox stall,
fitted up on occasion of the great concourse, for poor guests.
There was no room for them in the inn - Now also, there is seldom
room for Christ in an inn. (Mt 1:25)
11: To you - Shepherds; Israel; mankind.
14: Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will
toward men - The shouts of the multitude are generally broken into
short sentences. This rejoicing acclamation strongly represents
the piety and benevolence of these heavenly spirits: as if they
had said, Glory be to God in the highest heavens: let all the
angelic legions resound his praises. For with the Redeemer's
birth, peace, and all kind of happiness, come down to dwell on
earth: yea, the overflowings of Divine good will and favour are
now exercised toward men.
20: For all the things that they had heard - From Mary; as it was
told them - By the angels.
21: To circumcise the child - That he might visibly be made under
the law by a sacred rite, which obliged him to keep the whole
law; as also that he might be owned to be the seed of Abraham,
and might put an honour on the solemn dedication of children to God.
22: The days - The forty days prescribed,(Le 12:2,4).
23: (Ex 13:2).
24: A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons - This offering
sufficed for the poor. (Le 12:8).
25: The consolation of Israel - A common phrase for the Messiah,
who was to be the everlasting consolation of the Israel of God.
The Holy Ghost was upon him - That is, he was a prophet.
27: By the Spirit - By a particular revelation or impulse from him.
30: Thy salvation - Thy Christ, thy Saviour.
32: And the glory of thy people Israel - For after the Gentiles
are enlightened, all Israel shall be saved.
33: Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were
spoken - For they did not thoroughly understand them.
34: Simeon blessed them - Joseph and Mary. This child is set for
the fall and rising again of many - That is, he will be a savour
of death to some, to unbelievers: a savour of life to others, to
believers: and for a sign which shall be spoken against - A sign
from God, yet rejected of men: but the time for declaring this
at large was not yet come: that the thoughts of many hearts may
be revealed - The event will be, that by means of that contradiction,
the inmost thoughts of many, whether good or bad, will be made
35: A sword shall pierce through thy own soul - So it did, when
he suffered: particularly at his crucifixion.
37: Fourscore and four years - These were the years of her life,
not her widowhood only. Who departed not from the temple - Who
attended there at all the stated hours of prayer. But served
God with fastings and prayers - Even at that age. Night and day
- That is, spending therein a considerable part of the night, as
well as of the day.
38: To all that were waiting for redemption - The sceptre flow
appeared to he departing from Judah, though it was not actually
gone: Daniel's weeks were plainly near their period. And the
revival of the spirit of prophecy, together with the memorable
occurrences relating to the birth of John the Baptist, and of
Jesus, could not but encourage and quicken the expectation of
pious persons at this time.
Let the example of these aged saints animate those, whose hoary
heads, like theirs, are a crown of glory, being found in the way
of righteousness. Let those venerable lips, so soon to be silent
in the grave, be now employed in the praises of their Redeemer.
Let them labour to leave those behind, to whom Christ will be as
precious as he has been to them; and who will be waiting for God's
salvation, when they are gone to enjoy it.
40: And the child grew - In bodily strength and stature; and waxed
strong in spirit - The powers of his human mind daily improved;
filled with wisdom - By the light of the indwelling Spirit, which
gradually opened itself in his soul; and the grace of God was
upon him - That is, the peculiar favour of God rested upon him,
even as man.
43: The child Jesus - St. Luke describes in order Jesus
the fruit of the womb,(Lu 1:42);
an infant,(Lu 2:12);
a little child,(Lu 2:40);
here, and afterward
So our Lord passed through and sanctified every stage of human
life. Old age only did not become him.
44: Supposing him to have been in the company - As the men and
women usually travelled in distinct companies.
46: After three days - The first day was spent in their journey,
the second, in their return to Jerusalem: and the third, in
searching for him there: they found him in the temple - In an
apartment of it: sitting in the midst of the doctors - Not one
word is said of his disputing with them, but only of his asking
and answering questions, which was a very usual thing in these
assemblies, and indeed the very end of them. And if he was,
with others, at the feet of these teachers (where learners
generally sat) he might be said to be in the midst of them, as
they sat on benches of a semicircular form, raised above their
hearers and disciples.
49: Why sought ye me? - He does not blame them for losing, but for
thinking it needful to seek him: and intimates, that he could not
be lost, nor found any where, but doing the will of a higher parent.
50: It is observable that Joseph is not mentioned after this
time; whence it is probable, he did not live long after.
52: Jesus increased in wisdom - As to his human nature, and in
favour with God - In proportion to that increase. It plainly
follows, that though a man were pure, even as Christ was pure,
still he would have room to increase in holiness, and in
consequence thereof to increase in the favour, as well as in
the love of God.