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Luke 1:67-80

Context
Zechariah’s Praise and Prediction

1:67 Then 1  his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, 2 

1:68 “Blessed 3  be the Lord God of Israel,

because he has come to help 4  and has redeemed 5  his people.

1:69 For 6  he has raised up 7  a horn of salvation 8  for us in the house of his servant David, 9 

1:70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, 10 

1:71 that we should be saved 11  from our enemies, 12 

and from the hand of all who hate us.

1:72 He has done this 13  to show mercy 14  to our ancestors, 15 

and to remember his holy covenant 16 

1:73 the oath 17  that he swore to our ancestor 18  Abraham.

This oath grants 19 

1:74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our 20  enemies,

may serve him without fear, 21 

1:75 in holiness and righteousness 22  before him for as long as we live. 23 

1:76 And you, child, 24  will be called the prophet 25  of the Most High. 26 

For you will go before 27  the Lord to prepare his ways, 28 

1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 29  through the forgiveness 30  of their sins.

1:78 Because of 31  our God’s tender mercy 32 

the dawn 33  will break 34  upon us from on high

1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 35 

to guide our feet into the way 36  of peace.”

1:80 And the child kept growing 37  and becoming strong 38  in spirit, and he was in the wilderness 39  until the day he was revealed 40  to Israel.

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

2 tn Grk “and he prophesied, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

sn Prophesied. The reference to prophecy reflects that Zechariah is enabled by the Spirit to speak God’s will. He does so in this case through a praise psalm, which calls for praise and then gives the reason why God should be praised.

3 sn The traditional name of this psalm, the “Benedictus,” comes from the Latin wording of the start of the hymn (“Blessed be…”).

4 sn The verb come to help can refer to a visit, but can also connote concern or assistance (L&N 85.11).

5 tn Or “has delivered”; Grk “has accomplished redemption.”

sn Has redeemed is a reference to redemption, but it anticipates the total release into salvation that the full work of Messiah will bring for Israel. This involves both spiritual and material benefits eventually.

6 tn Grk “and,” but specifying the reason for the praise in the psalm.

7 sn The phrase raised up means for God to bring someone significant onto the scene of history.

8 sn The horn of salvation is a figure that refers to the power of Messiah and his ability to protect, as the horn refers to what an animal uses to attack and defend (Ps 75:4-5, 10; 148:14; 2 Sam 22:3). Thus the meaning of the figure is “a powerful savior.”

9 sn In the house of his servant David is a reference to Messiah’s Davidic descent. Zechariah is more interested in Jesus than his own son John at this point.

10 tn Grk “from the ages,” “from eternity.”

11 tn Grk “from long ago, salvation.”

12 sn The theme of being saved from our enemies is like the release Jesus preached in Luke 4:18-19. Luke’s narrative shows that one of the enemies in view is Satan and his cohorts, with the grip they have on humanity.

13 tn The words “He has done this” (referring to the raising up of the horn of salvation from David’s house) are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to allow a new sentence to be started in the translation. The Greek sentence is lengthy and complex at this point, while contemporary English uses much shorter sentences.

14 sn Mercy refers to God’s loyal love (steadfast love) by which he completes his promises. See Luke 1:50.

15 tn Or “our forefathers”; Grk “our fathers.” This begins with the promise to Abraham (vv. 55, 73), and thus refers to many generations of ancestors.

16 sn The promises of God can be summarized as being found in the one promise (the oath that he swore) to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3).

17 tn This is linked back grammatically by apposition to “covenant” in v. 72, specifying which covenant is meant.

18 tn Or “forefather”; Grk “father.”

19 tn Again for reasons of English style, the infinitival clause “to grant us” has been translated “This oath grants” and made the beginning of a new sentence in the translation.

20 tc Many important early mss (א B L W [0130] Ë1,13 565 892 pc) lack “our,” while most (A C D [K] Θ Ψ 0177 33 Ï pc) supply it. Although the addition is most likely not authentic, “our” has been included in the translation due to English stylistic requirements.

21 tn This phrase in Greek is actually thrown forward to the front of the verse to give it emphasis.

22 sn The phrases that we…might serve him…in holiness and righteousness from Luke 1:74-75 well summarize a basic goal for a believer in the eyes of Luke. Salvation frees us up to serve God without fear through a life full of ethical integrity.

23 tn Grk “all our days.”

24 sn Now Zechariah describes his son John (you, child) through v. 77.

25 tn Or “a prophet”; but since Greek nouns can be definite without the article, and since in context this is a reference to the eschatological forerunner of the Messiah (cf. John 1:17), the concept is better conveyed to the English reader by the use of the definite article “the.”

26 sn In other words, John is a prophet of God; see 1:32 and 7:22-23, 28.

27 tc Most mss, especially the later ones (A C D L Θ Ψ 0130 Ë1,13 33 Ï sy), have πρὸ προσώπου κυρίου (pro proswpou kuriou, “before the face of the Lord”), but the translation follows the reading ἐνώπιον κυρίου (enwpion kuriou, “before the Lord”), which has earlier and better ms support (Ì4 א B W 0177 pc) and is thus more likely to be authentic.

28 tn This term is often translated in the singular, looking specifically to the forerunner role, but the plural suggests the many elements in that salvation.

sn On the phrase prepare his ways see Isa 40:3-5 and Luke 3:1-6.

29 sn John’s role, to give his people knowledge of salvation, is similar to that of Jesus (Luke 3:1-14; 5:31-32).

30 sn Forgiveness is another major Lukan theme (Luke 4:18; 24:47; Acts 10:37).

31 tn For reasons of style, a new sentence has been started in the translation at this point. God’s mercy is ultimately seen in the deliverance John points to, so v. 78a is placed with the reference to Jesus as the light of dawning day.

32 sn God’s loyal love (steadfast love) is again the topic, reflected in the phrase tender mercy; see Luke 1:72.

33 sn The Greek term translated dawn (ἀνατολή, anatolh) can be a reference to the morning star or to the sun. The Messiah is pictured as a saving light that shows the way. The Greek term was also used to translate the Hebrew word for “branch” or “sprout,” so some see a double entendre here with messianic overtones (see Isa 11:1-10; Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8; 6:12).

34 tn Grk “shall visit us.”

35 sn On the phrases who sit in darkness…and…death see Isa 9:1-2; 42:7; 49:9-10.

36 tn Or “the path.”

37 tn This verb is imperfect.

38 tn This verb is also imperfect.

39 tn Or “desert.”

40 tn Grk “until the day of his revealing.”



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