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Luke 2:28-32

Context
2:28 Simeon 1  took him in his arms and blessed God, saying, 2 

2:29 “Now, according to your word, 3  Sovereign Lord, 4  permit 5  your servant 6  to depart 7  in peace.

2:30 For my eyes have seen your salvation 8 

2:31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 9 

2:32 a light, 10 

for revelation to the Gentiles,

and for glory 11  to your people Israel.”

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

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

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

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

5 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.

6 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.”

7 tn Grk “now release your servant.”

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

9 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).

10 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.

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



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