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Luke 2:25-35

Context
The Prophecy of Simeon

2:25 Now 1  there was a man in Jerusalem 2  named Simeon who was righteous 3  and devout, looking for the restoration 4  of Israel, and the Holy Spirit 5  was upon him. 2:26 It 6  had been revealed 7  to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die 8  before 9  he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 10  2:27 So 11  Simeon, 12  directed by the Spirit, 13  came into the temple courts, 14  and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 15  2:28 Simeon 16  took him in his arms and blessed God, saying, 17 

2:29 “Now, according to your word, 18  Sovereign Lord, 19  permit 20  your servant 21  to depart 22  in peace.

2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation 23 

2:31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 24 

2:32 a light, 25 

for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory 26  to your people Israel.”

2:33 So 27  the child’s 28  father 29  and mother were amazed 30  at what was said about him. 2:34 Then 31  Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “Listen carefully: 32  This child 33  is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising 34  of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. 35  2:35 Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts 36  of many hearts will be revealed 37  – and a sword 38  will pierce your own soul as well!” 39 

1 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).

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

3 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.

4 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).

5 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.

6 tn Grk “And it.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

7 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).

8 tn Grk “would not see death” (an idiom for dying).

9 tn On the grammar of this temporal clause, see BDF §§383.3; 395.

10 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn The revelation to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lords Christ is yet another example of a promise fulfilled in Luke 1-2. Also, see the note on Christ in 2:11.

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.

12 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

13 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.

14 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.

15 tn Grk “to do for him according to the custom of the law.” See Luke 2:22-24.

16 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Simeon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Grk “and said.” The finite verb in Greek has been replaced with a participle in English to improve the smoothness of the translation.

18 sn The phrase according to your word again emphasizes that God will perform his promise.

19 tn The Greek word translated here by “Sovereign Lord” is δεσπότης (despoth").

20 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.

21 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.”

22 tn Grk “now release your servant.”

23 sn To see Jesus, the Messiah, is to see God’s salvation.

24 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).

25 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.

26 sn In other words, Jesus is a special cause for praise and honor (“glory”) for the nation.

27 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.

28 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the child) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

29 tc Most mss ([A] Θ [Ψ] Ë13 33 Ï it) read “Joseph,” but in favor of the reading ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ (Jo pathr autou, “his father”) is both external (א B D L W 1 700 1241 pc sa) and internal evidence. Internally, the fact that Mary is not named at this point and that “Joseph” is an obviously motivated reading, intended to prevent confusion over the virgin conception of Christ, argues strongly for ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ as the authentic reading here. See also the tc note on “parents” in 2:43.

30 tn The term refers to the amazement at what was happening as in other places in Luke 1–2 (1:63; 2:18). The participle is plural, while the finite verb used in the periphrastic construction is singular, perhaps to show a unity in the parents’ response (BDF §135.1.d: Luke 8:19).

31 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

32 tn Grk “behold.”

33 tn Grk “this one”; the referent (the child) is supplied in the translation for clarity.

34 sn The phrase the falling and rising of many emphasizes that Jesus will bring division in the nation, as some will be judged (falling) and others blessed (rising) because of how they respond to him. The language is like Isa 8:14-15 and conceptually like Isa 28:13-16. Here is the first hint that Jesus’ coming will be accompanied with some difficulties.

35 tn Grk “and for a sign of contradiction.”

36 tn Or “reasonings” (in a hostile sense). See G. Schrenk, TDNT 2:97.

37 sn The remark the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed shows that how people respond to Jesus indicates where their hearts really are before God.

38 sn A sword refers to a very large, broad two-edged sword. The language is figurative, picturing great pain. Though it refers in part to the cross, it really includes the pain all of Jesus’ ministry will cause, including the next event in Luke 2:41-52 and extending to the opposition he faced throughout his ministry.

39 sn This remark looks to be parenthetical and addressed to Mary alone, not the nation. Many modern English translations transpose this to make it the final clause in Simeon’s utterance as above to make this clear.



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