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Luke 1:74-80

Context

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

may serve him without fear, 2 

1:75 in holiness and righteousness 3  before him for as long as we live. 4 

1:76 And you, child, 5  will be called the prophet 6  of the Most High. 7 

For you will go before 8  the Lord to prepare his ways, 9 

1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 10  through the forgiveness 11  of their sins.

1:78 Because of 12  our God’s tender mercy 13 

the dawn 14  will break 15  upon us from on high

1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 16 

to guide our feet into the way 17  of peace.”

1:80 And the child kept growing 18  and becoming strong 19  in spirit, and he was in the wilderness 20  until the day he was revealed 21  to Israel.

1 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.

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

3 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.

4 tn Grk “all our days.”

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

6 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.”

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

8 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.

9 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.

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

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

12 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.

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

14 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).

15 tn Grk “shall visit us.”

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

17 tn Or “the path.”

18 tn This verb is imperfect.

19 tn This verb is also imperfect.

20 tn Or “desert.”

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



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