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Heavenly messengers herald the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem—He is circumcised, and Simeon and Anna prophesy of His mission—At twelve years of age, He goes about His Father’s business.


Decree to be taxed

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world the world (his empire [JST]) should be taxed.

The word “taxed” is used in its older English sense of simple “registration,” and in that sense is a true equivalent for the Greek word. It does not involve, as to modern ears it seems to do, the payment of taxes.

2 ( And this And This (same [JST]) taxing was first was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into into (in [JST]) his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

Thus the parents of Christ were providentiatly brought to Bethlehem, the place where the Messiah was to be born, without leaving any room to suspect them of artifice and design.

It is uncertain whether her presence was obligatory (Dion. Hal. iv. 5; Lact. De Mort. Persec. 23) or voluntary; but it is obvious that at so trying a time, and after what she had suffered (Matthew 1:19), she would cling to the presence and protection of her husband. Nor is it wholly impossible that she saw in the providential circumstances a fulfilment of prophecy. Whatever views Mary might have in going up to Bethlehem, her going there was doubtless by the direction of Divine Providence, in order that the Messiah might be born in that city, agreeably to the prophecy of Micah 5:2.

Bethlehem is called the city of David because it was the place of David's birth.

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, (she [JST]) being great with child.

Birth of Christ

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, (The Greek reads literally, her son, the first-born.) and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no no (none to give [JST]) room for them in the inn. inn. (inns. [JST])

Angel visits Shepherds

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock flock (flocks [JST]) by night.

9 And, lo, the the (an [JST]) angel of the Lord came upon came upon (appeared unto [JST]) them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And And (But [JST]) the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings (The verb is formed from the word for glad tidings, which we translate as “gospel”—i.e., good spell, good news.) of great joy, which shall be to all people. (ὁ λαὸς is peculiarly applied to the people of Israel; - all people of the house of Israel.)

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which which (who [JST]) is Christ the Lord.

“God hath made that same Jesus whom ye crucified both Lord and Christ,” Acts 2:36; Php 2:11. ‘Christ’ or ‘Anointed’ is the Greek equivalent of Messiah. In the Gospels it is almost invariably an appellative, ‘the Christ.’ But as time advanced it was more and more used without the article as a proper name.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall be a sign unto you; (is the way you [JST]) shall find the babe, (he is [JST]) wrapped in swaddling clothes, (and is [JST]) lying in a manger.

This was to be the sign. On that night there would, perhaps, be no other children born in the Bethlehem village; certainly the shepherds would find no other newly born infant cradled in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward toward (to [JST]) men.

15 And it came to pass, as as (when [JST]) the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath hath (has [JST]) made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Finding Mary and the child would not be difficult, as the population of Bethlehem was estimated to be about 300 at that time. They may have had only one inn and "so no home for them in 'the' inn." (vs 7). (more...)

17 And when they had seen it, it, it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all And All they that that (who [JST]) heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that that (which [JST]) they had heard and seen, as it was told it was told (they were manifested [JST]) unto them.

They returned to their flocks, (more...)

Why should there be a miraculous announcement at all, and why should it be to these shepherds? (more...)

Eighth day

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Visit to Temple to offer sacrifice for son

22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

The days of her purification for a male would be 40 days. The offering required was a lamb for a burnt offering, and a turtle dove or a young pigeon for a sin offering. (more...)

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that that (which [JST]) openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said said (written [JST]) in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.


25 And, behold, there was a man in in (at [JST]) Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

The consolation of Israel.—This is the first occurrence of this word. In its general use it included the idea of counsel as well as comfort. Here the latter is obviously the dominant thought. We cannot pass over the words without remembering that the Child of whom Simeon spoke called Himself the Comforter, and promised His disciples to send them another, who should bear the same name (John 14:16).

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Christian legend says that he had stumbled at Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive,” and had received a divine intimation that he should not die till he had seen it fulfilled (Nicephorus, a. d. 1450). The notion of his extreme age is not derived from Scripture but from the apocryphal ‘Gospel of the Nativity of Mary,’ which says that he was 113.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child (even [JST]) Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

to lighten the Gentiles - Rather, for revelation to. A memorable prophecy, considering that even the Apostles found it hard to grasp the full admission of the Gentiles, clearly as it had been indicated in older prophecy, as in Psalm 98:2-3. “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God,” Isaiah 52:10. “I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles,” Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6.

33 And Joseph and his mother his mother (Mary, [JST]) marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. him. (the child. [JST])

34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

35 (Yea, a sword sword (spear [JST]) shall pierce through thy thy (him to the wounding of thine [JST]) own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

The JST clarified this prophecy to point to Christ’s body on the cross: “Yea, a spear shall pierce through him [Christ] to the wounding of thine [Mary’s] own soul also” (Inspired Version, Luke 2:35).

Anna the prophetess

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, ("the face of God" (more...) ) of the tribe of Aser: Aser: (Asher, [JST]) she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband (only [JST]) seven years from her virginity; from her virginity; (whom she married from her youth, [JST])

One Anna, a prophetess.—The fact is in many ways remarkable. We find a woman recognised as a prophetess at a time when no man is recognised as a prophet. (more...)

37 And she was was (lived [JST]) a widow of about fourscore and four years, which which (who [JST]) departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

"of a great age...widow eighty-four years" — she had lived seven years with her husband (Lu 2:36), and been a widow eighty-four years; so that if she married at the earliest marriageable age, twelve years, she could not at this time be less than a hundred three years old.

38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that them that (those who [JST]) looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

The childhood of Christ

40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, (being [JST]) filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

His parents went to Jerusalem.—The law of Moses required the attendance of all males at the three feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Exodus 23:17; Deuteronomy 16:16). The dispersion of the Jews had, of course, relaxed the obligation for those who lived at a distance; but it was still more or less generally recognised by those who dwelt in Palestine, for the Passover to be binding upon women as well as men. The yearly journey was an indication of devout obedience. The child remained behind at home at Nazareth.

Jesus teaching in the Temple at age 12

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of of (to [JST]) the feast.

At twelve males became more directly responsible for their obedience to the Law, and on the day when he attained the age of thirteen, put on for the first time the phylacteries which were worn at the recital of his daily prayer. (more...)

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. of it. (that he tarried; [JST])

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk their kinsfolk (his kindred [JST]) and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both both (and they were [JST]) hearing them, them, (him, [JST]) and asking them them (him [JST]) questions.

47 And all that that (who [JST]) heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

48 And when they they (his parents [JST]) saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How How (Why [JST]) is it that ye sought me? wist wist (Know [JST]) ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but but (And [JST]) his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

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