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Luke 2:21-27

Context

2:21 At 1  the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel 2  before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus’ Presentation at the Temple

2:22 Now 3  when the time came for their 4  purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary 5  brought Jesus 6  up to Jerusalem 7  to present him to the Lord 2:23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male 8  will be set apart to the Lord 9 ), 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves 10  or two young pigeons. 11 

The Prophecy of Simeon

2:25 Now 12  there was a man in Jerusalem 13  named Simeon who was righteous 14  and devout, looking for the restoration 15  of Israel, and the Holy Spirit 16  was upon him. 2:26 It 17  had been revealed 18  to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die 19  before 20  he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 21  2:27 So 22  Simeon, 23  directed by the Spirit, 24  came into the temple courts, 25  and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 26 

1 tn Grk “And when eight days were completed.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

2 sn Jesus’ parents obeyed the angel as Zechariah and Elizabeth had (1:57-66). These events are taking place very much under God’s direction.

3 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

4 tc The translation follows most mss, including early and important ones ({א A B L}). Some copyists, aware that the purification law applied to women only, produced mss ({76 itpt vg} [though the Latin word eius could be either masculine or feminine]) that read “her purification.” But the extant evidence for an unambiguous “her” is shut up to one late minuscule ({codex 76}) and a couple of patristic citations of dubious worth ({Pseudo-Athanasius} whose date is unknown, and the {Catenae in euangelia Lucae et Joannis}, edited by J. A. Cramer. The Catenae is a work of collected patristic sayings whose exact source is unknown [thus, it could come from a period covering hundreds of years]). A few other witnesses (D pc lat) read “his purification.” The KJV has “her purification,” following Beza’s Greek text (essentially a revision of Erasmus’). Erasmus did not have it in any of his five editions. Most likely Beza put in the feminine form αὐτῆς (auths) because, recognizing that the eius found in several Latin mss could be read either as a masculine or a feminine, he made the contextually more satisfying choice of the feminine. Perhaps it crept into one or two late Greek witnesses via this interpretive Latin back-translation. So the evidence for the feminine singular is virtually nonexistent, while the masculine singular αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) was a clear scribal blunder. There can be no doubt that “their purification” is the authentic reading.

tn Or “when the days of their purification were completed.” In addition to the textual problem concerning the plural pronoun (which apparently includes Joseph in the process) there is also a question whether the term translated “purification” (καθαρισμός, kaqarismo") refers to the time period prescribed by the Mosaic law or to the offering itself which marked the end of the time period (cf. NLT, “it was time for the purification offering”).

sn Exegetically the plural pronoun “their” creates a problem. It was Mary’s purification that was required by law, forty days after the birth (Lev 12:2-4). However, it is possible that Joseph shared in a need to be purified by having to help with the birth or that they also dedicated the child as a first born (Exod 13:2), which would also require a sacrifice that Joseph would bring. Luke’s point is that the parents followed the law. They were pious.

5 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Joseph and Mary) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

8 tn Grk “every male that opens the womb” (an idiom for the firstborn male).

9 sn An allusion to Exod 13:2, 12, 15.

10 sn The offering of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, instead of a lamb, speaks of the humble roots of Jesus’ family – they apparently could not afford the expense of a lamb.

11 sn A quotation from Lev 12:8; 5:11 (LXX).

12 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).

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

14 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.

15 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).

16 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.

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

18 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).

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

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

21 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.

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

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

24 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.

25 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.

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



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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