1:68 “Blessed 1 be the Lord God of Israel,
because he has come to help 2 and has redeemed 3 his people.
1:69 For 4 he has raised up 5 a horn of salvation 6 for us in the house of his servant David, 7
1:70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from long ago, 8
1:71 that we should be saved 9 from our enemies, 10
and from the hand of all who hate us.
1:72 He has done this 11 to show mercy 12 to our ancestors, 13
and to remember his holy covenant 14 –
1:73 the oath 15 that he swore to our ancestor 16 Abraham.
This oath grants 17
1:74 that we, being rescued from the hand of our 18 enemies,
may serve him without fear, 19
1:75 in holiness and righteousness 20 before him for as long as we live. 21
1:76 And you, child, 22 will be called the prophet 23 of the Most High. 24
For you will go before 25 the Lord to prepare his ways, 26
1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 27 through the forgiveness 28 of their sins.
1:78 Because of 29 our God’s tender mercy 30
the dawn 31 will break 32 upon us from on high
1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 33
to guide our feet into the way 34 of peace.”
1 sn The traditional name of this psalm, the “Benedictus,” comes from the Latin wording of the start of the hymn (“Blessed be…”).
2 sn The verb come to help can refer to a visit, but can also connote concern or assistance (L&N 85.11).
3 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.
4 tn Grk “and,” but specifying the reason for the praise in the psalm.
5 sn The phrase raised up means for God to bring someone significant onto the scene of history.
6 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.”
7 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.
8 tn Grk “from the ages,” “from eternity.”
9 tn Grk “from long ago, salvation.”
10 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.
11 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.
12 sn Mercy refers to God’s loyal love (steadfast love) by which he completes his promises. See Luke 1:50.
13 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.
14 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).
15 tn This is linked back grammatically by apposition to “covenant” in v. 72, specifying which covenant is meant.
16 tn Or “forefather”; Grk “father.”
17 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.
18 tc Many important early
19 tn This phrase in Greek is actually thrown forward to the front of the verse to give it emphasis.
20 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.
21 tn Grk “all our days.”
22 sn Now Zechariah describes his son John (you, child) through v. 77.
23 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.”
24 sn In other words, John is a prophet of God; see 1:32 and 7:22-23, 28.
25 tc Most
26 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.
27 sn John’s role, to give his people knowledge of salvation, is similar to that of Jesus (Luke 3:1-14; 5:31-32).
28 sn Forgiveness is another major Lukan theme (Luke 4:18; 24:47; Acts 10:37).
29 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.
30 sn God’s loyal love (steadfast love) is again the topic, reflected in the phrase tender mercy; see Luke 1:72.
31 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).
32 tn Grk “shall visit us.”
33 sn On the phrases who sit in darkness…and…death see Isa 9:1-2; 42:7; 49:9-10.
34 tn Or “the path.”