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Luke 1:76-79

Context

1:76 And you, child, 1  will be called the prophet 2  of the Most High. 3 

For you will go before 4  the Lord to prepare his ways, 5 

1:77 to give his people knowledge of salvation 6  through the forgiveness 7  of their sins.

1:78 Because of 8  our God’s tender mercy 9 

the dawn 10  will break 11  upon us from on high

1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 12 

to guide our feet into the way 13  of peace.”

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

2 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.”

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

4 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.

5 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.

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

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

8 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.

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

10 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).

11 tn Grk “shall visit us.”

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

13 tn Or “the path.”



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