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Luke 2:22-23

Context
Jesus’ Presentation at the Temple

2:22 Now 1  when the time came for their 2  purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary 3  brought Jesus 4  up to Jerusalem 5  to present him to the Lord 2:23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male 6  will be set apart to the Lord 7 ),

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

2 tc The translation follows most mss, including early and important ones ({א A B L}). Some copyists, aware that the purification law applied to women only, produced mss ({76 itpt vg} [though the Latin word eius could be either masculine or feminine]) that read “her purification.” But the extant evidence for an unambiguous “her” is shut up to one late minuscule ({codex 76}) and a couple of patristic citations of dubious worth ({Pseudo-Athanasius} whose date is unknown, and the {Catenae in euangelia Lucae et Joannis}, edited by J. A. Cramer. The Catenae is a work of collected patristic sayings whose exact source is unknown [thus, it could come from a period covering hundreds of years]). A few other witnesses (D pc lat) read “his purification.” The KJV has “her purification,” following Beza’s Greek text (essentially a revision of Erasmus’). Erasmus did not have it in any of his five editions. Most likely Beza put in the feminine form αὐτῆς (auths) because, recognizing that the eius found in several Latin mss could be read either as a masculine or a feminine, he made the contextually more satisfying choice of the feminine. Perhaps it crept into one or two late Greek witnesses via this interpretive Latin back-translation. So the evidence for the feminine singular is virtually nonexistent, while the masculine singular αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) was a clear scribal blunder. There can be no doubt that “their purification” is the authentic reading.

tn Or “when the days of their purification were completed.” In addition to the textual problem concerning the plural pronoun (which apparently includes Joseph in the process) there is also a question whether the term translated “purification” (καθαρισμός, kaqarismo") refers to the time period prescribed by the Mosaic law or to the offering itself which marked the end of the time period (cf. NLT, “it was time for the purification offering”).

sn Exegetically the plural pronoun “their” creates a problem. It was Mary’s purification that was required by law, forty days after the birth (Lev 12:2-4). However, it is possible that Joseph shared in a need to be purified by having to help with the birth or that they also dedicated the child as a first born (Exod 13:2), which would also require a sacrifice that Joseph would bring. Luke’s point is that the parents followed the law. They were pious.

3 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Joseph and Mary) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn Grk “every male that opens the womb” (an idiom for the firstborn male).

7 sn An allusion to Exod 13:2, 12, 15.



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