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Luke 1:27-38

Context
1:27 to a virgin engaged 1  to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of David, 2  and the virgin’s name was Mary. 1:28 The 3  angel 4  came 5  to her and said, “Greetings, favored one, 6  the Lord is with you!” 7  1:29 But 8  she was greatly troubled 9  by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting. 10  1:30 So 11  the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, 12  Mary, for you have found favor 13  with God! 1:31 Listen: 14  You will become pregnant 15  and give birth to 16  a son, and you will name him 17  Jesus. 18  1:32 He 19  will be great, 20  and will be called the Son of the Most High, 21  and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father 22  David. 1:33 He 23  will reign over the house of Jacob 24  forever, and his kingdom will never end.” 1:34 Mary 25  said to the angel, “How will this be, since I have not had sexual relations with 26  a man?” 1:35 The angel replied, 27  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow 28  you. Therefore the child 29  to be born 30  will be holy; 31  he will be called the Son of God.

1:36 “And look, 32  your relative 33  Elizabeth has also become pregnant with 34  a son in her old age – although she was called barren, she is now in her sixth month! 35  1:37 For nothing 36  will be impossible with God.” 1:38 So 37  Mary said, “Yes, 38  I am a servant 39  of the Lord; let this happen to me 40  according to your word.” 41  Then 42  the angel departed from her.

1 tn Or “promised in marriage.”

2 tn Grk “Joseph, of the house of David.”

sn The Greek word order here favors connecting Davidic descent to Joseph, not Mary, in this remark.

3 tn Grk “And coming to her.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

4 tn Grk “And coming to her, he said”; the referent (the angel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Grk “coming to her, he said.” The participle εἰσελθών (eiselqwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

6 tn The address, “favored one” (a perfect participle, Grk “Oh one who is favored”) points to Mary as the recipient of God’s grace, not a bestower of it. She is a model saint in this passage, one who willingly receives God’s benefits. The Vulgate rendering “full of grace” suggests something more of Mary as a bestower of grace, but does not make sense here contextually.

7 tc Most mss (A C D Θ Ë13 33 Ï latt sy) read here εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν (euloghmenh su en gunaixin, “blessed are you among women”) which also appears in 1:42 (where it is textually certain). This has the earmarks of a scribal addition for balance; the shorter reading, attested by the most important witnesses and several others (א B L W Ψ Ë1 565 579 700 1241 pc co), is thus preferred.

8 tc Most mss (A C Θ 0130 Ë13 Ï lat sy) have ἰδοῦσα (idousa, “when [she] saw [the angel]”) here as well, making Mary’s concern the appearance of the angel. This construction is harder than the shorter reading since it adds a transitive verb without an explicit object. However, the shorter reading has significant support (א B D L W Ψ Ë1 565 579 1241 sa) and on balance should probably be considered authentic.

9 sn On the phrase greatly troubled see 1:12. Mary’s reaction was like Zechariah’s response.

10 tn Grk “to wonder what kind of greeting this might be.” Luke often uses the optative this way to reveal a figure’s thinking (3:15; 8:9; 18:36; 22:23).

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate that Gabriel’s statement is a response to Mary’s perplexity over the greeting.

12 sn Do not be afraid. See 1:13 for a similar statement to Zechariah.

13 tn Or “grace.”

sn The expression found favor is a Semitism, common in the OT (Gen 6:8; 18:3; 43:14; 2 Sam 15:25). God has chosen to act on this person’s behalf.

14 tn Grk “And behold.”

15 tn Grk “you will conceive in your womb.”

16 tn Or “and bear.”

17 tn Grk “you will call his name.”

18 tn See v. 13 for a similar construction.

sn You will name him Jesus. This verse reflects the birth announcement of a major figure; see 1:13; Gen 16:7; Judg 13:5; Isa 7:14. The Greek form of the name Ihsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in 1st century Palestine, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate.

19 tn Grk “this one.”

20 sn Compare the description of Jesus as great here with 1:15, “great before the Lord.” Jesus is greater than John, since he is Messiah compared to a prophet. Great is stated absolutely without qualification to make the point.

21 sn The expression Most High is a way to refer to God without naming him. Such avoiding of direct reference to God was common in 1st century Judaism out of reverence for the divine name.

22 tn Or “ancestor.”

23 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. A new sentence is begun here in the translation because of the length of the sentence in Greek.

24 tn Or “over Israel.”

sn The expression house of Jacob refers to Israel. This points to the Messiah’s relationship to the people of Israel.

25 tn Grk “And Mary.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

26 tn Grk “have not known.” The expression in the Greek text is a euphemism for sexual relations. Mary seems to have sensed that the declaration had an element of immediacy to it that excluded Joseph. Many modern translations render this phrase “since I am a virgin,” but the Greek word for virgin is not used in the text, and the euphemistic expression is really more explicit, referring specifically to sexual relations.

27 tn Grk “And the angel said to her.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. The pronoun αὐτῇ (auth, “to her”) has not been included in the translation since it is redundant in contemporary English.

28 sn The phrase will overshadow is a reference to God’s glorious presence at work (Exod 40:34-35; Ps 91:4).

29 tn Or “the one born holy will be called the Son of God.” The wording of this phrase depends on whether the adjective is a predicate adjective, as in the text, or is an adjective modifying the participle serving as the subject. The absence of an article with the adjective speaks for a predicate position. Other less appealing options supply a verb for “holy”; thus “the one who is born will be holy”; or argue that both “holy” and “Son of God” are predicates, so “The one who is born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

30 tc A few mss (C* Θ Ë1 33 pc) add “by you” here. This looks like a scribal addition to bring symmetry to the first three clauses of the angel’s message (note the second person pronoun in the previous two clauses), and is too poorly supported to be seriously considered as authentic.

31 tn Or “Therefore the holy child to be born will be called the Son of God.” There are two ways to understand the Greek phrase τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον (to gennwmenon {agion) here. First, τὸ γεννώμενον could be considered a substantival participle with ἅγιον as an adjective in the second predicate position, thus making a complete sentence; this interpretation is reflected in the translation above. Second, τὸ ἅγιον could be considered a substantival adjective with γεννώμενον acting as an adjectival participle, thus making the phrase the subject of the verb κληθήσεται (klhqhsetai); this interpretation is reflected in the alternative reading. Treating the participle γεννώμενον as adjectival is a bit unnatural for the very reason that it forces one to understand ἅγιον as substantival; this introduces a new idea in the text with ἅγιον when an already new topic is being introduced with γεννώμενον. Semantically this would overload the new subject introduced at this point. For this reason the first interpretation is preferred.

32 tn Grk “behold.”

33 tn Some translations render the word συγγενίς (sungeni") as “cousin” (so Phillips) but the term is not necessarily this specific.

34 tn Or “has conceived.”

35 tn Grk “and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren.” Yet another note on Elizabeth’s loss of reproach also becomes a sign of the truth of the angel’s declaration.

36 tn In Greek, the phrase πᾶν ῥῆμα (pan rJhma, “nothing”) has an emphatic position, giving it emphasis as the lesson in the entire discussion. The remark is a call for faith.

37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

38 tn Grk “behold.”

39 tn Traditionally, “handmaid”; Grk “slave woman.” Though δούλη (doulh) is normally translated “woman servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free woman serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times… in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. δοῦλος). The most accurate translation is “bondservant,” sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος (doulos), in that it often indicates one who sells himself or herself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

40 tn Grk “let this be to me.”

41 sn The remark according to your word is a sign of Mary’s total submission to God’s will, a response that makes her exemplary.

42 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.



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