2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth 1 and laid him in a manger, 2 because there was no place for them in the inn. 3
2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, 4 for I proclaim to you good news 5 that brings great joy to all the people: 2:11 Today 6 your Savior is born in the city 7 of David. 8 He is Christ 9 the Lord.
1 sn The strips of cloth (traditionally, “swaddling cloths”) were strips of linen that would be wrapped around the arms and legs of an infant to keep the limbs protected.
2 tn Or “a feeding trough.”
3 tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, “Birth of Jesus,” DJG, 69-70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives’ house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.
sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance.
4 tn Grk “behold.”
5 tn Grk “I evangelize to you great joy.”
6 sn The Greek word for today (σήμερον, shmeron) occurs eleven times in the Gospel of Luke (2:11; 4:21; 5:26; 12:28; 13:32-33; 19:5, 9; 22:34, 61; 23:43) and nine times in Acts. Its use, especially in passages such as 2:11, 4:21, 5:26; 19:5, 9, signifies the dawning of the era of messianic salvation and the fulfillment of the plan of God. Not only does it underscore the idea of present fulfillment in Jesus’ ministry, but it also indicates salvific fulfillment present in the church (cf. Acts 1:6; 3:18; D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:412; I. H. Marshall, Luke, [NIGTC], 873).
8 tn This is another indication of a royal, messianic connection.
9 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
sn The term χριστός (cristos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.