2:23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male 1 will be set apart to the Lord” 2 ), 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves 3 or two young pigeons. 4
2:25 Now 5 there was a man in Jerusalem 6 named Simeon who was righteous 7 and devout, looking for the restoration 8 of Israel, and the Holy Spirit 9 was upon him. 2:26 It 10 had been revealed 11 to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die 12 before 13 he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 14 2:27 So 15 Simeon, 16 directed by the Spirit, 17 came into the temple courts, 18 and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 19 2:28 Simeon 20 took him in his arms and blessed God, saying, 21
for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory 30 to your people Israel.”
1 tn Grk “every male that opens the womb” (an idiom for the firstborn male).
3 sn The offering of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, instead of a lamb, speaks of the humble roots of Jesus’ family – they apparently could not afford the expense of a lamb.
5 tn Grk “And behold.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
7 tn Grk “This man was righteous.” The Greek text begins a new sentence here, but this was changed to a relative clause in the translation to avoid redundancy.
8 tn Or “deliverance,” “consolation.”
sn The restoration of Israel refers to Simeon’s hope that the Messiah would come and deliver the nation (Isa 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 57:18; 61:2; 2 Bar 44:7).
9 sn Once again, by mentioning the Holy Spirit, Luke stresses the prophetic enablement of a speaker. The Spirit has fallen on both men (Zechariah, 1:67) and women (Elizabeth, 1:41) in Luke 1–2 as they share the will of the Lord.
10 tn Grk “And it.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
11 tn The use of the passive suggests a revelation by God, and in the OT the corresponding Hebrew term represented here by κεχρηματισμένον (kecrhmatismenon) indicated some form of direct revelation from God (Jer 25:30; 33:2; Job 40:8).
12 tn Grk “would not see death” (an idiom for dying).
13 tn On the grammar of this temporal clause, see BDF §§383.3; 395.
14 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.
16 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
17 tn Grk “So in the Spirit” or “So by the Spirit,” but since it refers to the Spirit’s direction the expanded translation “directed by the Spirit” is used here.
18 tn Grk “the temple.”
sn The temple courts is a reference to the larger temple area, not the holy place. Simeon was either in the court of the Gentiles or the court of women, since Mary was present.
20 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
21 tn Grk “and said.” The finite verb in Greek has been replaced with a participle in English to improve the smoothness of the translation.
22 sn The phrase according to your word again emphasizes that God will perform his promise.
23 tn The Greek word translated here by “Sovereign Lord” is δεσπότης (despoth").
24 sn This short prophetic declaration is sometimes called the Nunc dimittis, which comes from the opening phrase of the saying in Latin, “now dismiss,” a fairly literal translation of the Greek verb ἀπολύεις (apolueis, “now release”) in this verse.
25 tn Here the Greek word δοῦλος (doulos, “slave”) has been translated “servant” since it acts almost as an honorific term for one specially chosen and appointed to carry out the Lord’s tasks.
sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
26 tn Grk “now release your servant.”
27 sn To see Jesus, the Messiah, is to see God’s salvation.
28 sn Is the phrase all peoples a reference to Israel alone, or to both Israel and the Gentiles? The following verse makes it clear that all peoples includes Gentiles, another key Lukan emphasis (Luke 24:47; Acts 10:34-43).
29 tn The syntax of this verse is disputed. Most read “light” and “glory” in parallelism, so Jesus is a light for revelation to the Gentiles and is glory to the people for Israel. Others see “light” (1:78-79) as a summary, while “revelation” and “glory” are parallel, so Jesus is light for all, but is revelation for the Gentiles and glory for Israel. Both readings make good sense and either could be correct, but Luke 1:78-79 and Acts 26:22-23 slightly favor this second option.
30 sn In other words, Jesus is a special cause for praise and honor (“glory”) for the nation.