1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters1 which have been fulfilled among us2, LUKE'S PREFACE AND DEDICATION. Luke 1:1-4
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning
those matters. Of whom we know nothing and have no tradition.
Which have been fulfilled among us. Completed, or accomplished
according to the divine will.
1:2 even as they delivered them unto us, who
from the beginning were eyewitnesses1 and
ministers of the word2,
Who from the beginning were eyewitnesses. The apostles were
necessarily such and there were some few others.
And ministers of the word. The apostles were ministers and not
1:3 it seemed good to me also, having
traced the course of all things accurately from the first1,
to write unto thee in order2,
most excellent Theophilus3;
Having traced the course of all things accurately from the first.
And being therefore thoroughly fitted to write the gospel.
To write unto thee in order. Not in chronological, but in topical
Theophilus. Luke also dedicated the Book of Acts to this man.
Nothing is known of Theophilus, but he is supposed to have been a Greek of
high official rank.
1:4 that thou
mightest know the certainty1 concerning
the things wherein thou wast instructed2.
That thou mightest know the certainty. Might have a fixed written
record, and not trust to a floating, variable tradition or a treacherous
Concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. The gospel
1:5 There was in the days of Herod,
king of Judaea1, a certain priest named Zacharias, of
the course of Abijah2: and he had a wife of the daughters
of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
ANNUNCIATION TO ZACHARIAS OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. (At Jerusalem.
Probably B.C. 6.) Luke
Herod, king of Judaea. A Jewish proselyte, an Idumean or Edomite by
birth, founder of the Herodian family, king of Judea from 40 B.C. to A.D.
40, made such by the Roman Senate on the recommendation of Mark Antony and
Octavius Caesar. See Matthew
Of the course of Abijah. David divided the priests into twenty-four
bodies or courses, each course serving in rotation one week in the temple (1 Chronicles
His wife was of the daughters of Aaron. The Baptist was of the
priestly race by both parents, a family distinction much esteemed among the
Jews. He who was thus doubly a priest proclaimed Him who changed the
And her name was Elizabeth. She was named after her ancestress
Elisheba, the wife of Aaron.
1:6 And they were
both righteous before God1, walking
in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless2.
And they were both righteous before God. This is, truly righteous
in God's judgment, and not in mere appearance (Genesis
Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Strictly construed, commandments would refer to moral, and ordinances to
ceremonial laws. The two words include all the positive and negative
1:7 And they had no
child1, because that Elisabeth
was barren, and they both were [now] well stricken in years2.
And they had no child. This fact is a reproach and shame to her,
barrenness being considered even a punishment for sin by many.
Because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were [now] well
stricken in years. The births of Isaac (Genesis
21:2), Samson, (Judges
13:2,24), Samuel (1 Samuel
1:2,5,20), and the Baptist were all contrary to nature, and were faint
foreshadowings of the greater miracle which took place in the birth of our
1:8 Now it came to pass, while
he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course1,
While he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his
course. That is, when it came the turn of his course to minister in the
1:9 according to
the custom of the priest's office1, his
lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord2 and
According to the custom of the priest's office. There were many
duties in the temple service, and the priest in each course daily drew lots
for these duties.
His lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord. Not that group of
buildings, courts, and enclosures which are called the temple; but the real
sanctuary itself, the small but holy building which took the place of the
tabernacle of the wilderness.
And burn incense. The incense was made of a mixture of sweet
spices. The temple incense was made of stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure
frankincense, in equal parts, beaten very small (Exodus
1:10 And the whole
multitude of the people1 were
at the hour of incense.
The whole multitude of the people. The presence of the multitude
indicates that it was a sabbath or a feast day.
Were praying. Incense is a symbol of prayer (Psalms
8:3). Each of the multitude prayed in silence.
Without. Outside the sanctuary, in the temple courts, particularly
the court of the women.
At the time of incense. Incense was offered evening and morning (Exodus
30:1-8). Probably at 9 A.M. and at 3 P.M. Compare Acts
3:1. The text favors the idea that Zacharias' vision come in the
1:11 And there appeared unto him an
angel of the Lord1 standing on
the right side2 of altar of incense.
An angel of the Lord. One of God's invisible messengers who came
visibly (2 Kings
34:7). Luke frequently tells of the ministration of angels (Luke
24:4,23). They are also often mentioned in the Book of Acts (Acts
27:23). There had been no appearance of an angel for about four hundred
Standing on the right side. The place of honor and dignity (Acts
Of the altar of incense. The altar on which Zacharias was burning
incense. It stood in the Holy Place in front of the veil which hung between
the holy and the most holy places. It was a small table twenty-two inches in
breadth and length and forty-four inches in height. It was made of acacia
wood, and overlaid with gold (Exodus
1:12 And Zacharias
was troubled when he saw [him], and fear fell upon him1.
And Zacharias was troubled when he saw [him], and fear fell upon him.
As men always are at the sight of heavenly beings (Genesis
1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear
not1, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and
thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou
shalt call his name John2.
Fear not. These are the first words of the gospel which began at
that hour to unfold itself. Also see Luke
Thou shalt call his name John. This name means "the Lord is
gracious", or "the Lord is merciful".
1:14 And thou
shalt have joy and gladness1; and
many shall rejoice at his birth2.
And thou shalt have joy and gladness. Thou shalt feel as Abraham
did when he named his new-born son Isaac (Genesis
21:3), that is, "Laughter".
And many shall rejoice at his birth. But not all.
1:15 For he shall
be great in the sight of the Lord1, and
he shall drink no wine nor strong drink2; and
he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit3, even
from his mother's womb4.
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord. Compare Genesis
And he shall drink no wine nor strong drink. Any other fermented
liquor. Wycliffe's version calls it "syder", and the Anglo-Saxon
version calls it "beor", of which palm wine was the most common
kind. As to the temperance of the Baptist, compare the history of Samson (Judges
13:3-5) and the Law of the Nazarite (Numbers
And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit. The stimulation of the
Spirit is elsewhere thus contrasted with alcoholic stimulants (Acts
Even from his mother's womb. See Luke
1:16 And many of
the children of Israel shall be turn unto the Lord their God1.
And many of the children of Israel shall be turn unto the Lord their
God. These words were quoted from Malachi
4:6 and resumed the thread of prophecy which had been broken nearly four
centuries before. Roman rule had brought in the vices and profligacy of
Italy and Greece, and the nation needed to turn back to its former godly
1:17 And he shall
go before his face1 in the spirit
and power of Elijah2, to turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children3, and the
disobedient [to walk] in the wisdom of the just; to
make ready for the Lord a people prepared [for him]4.
And he shall go before his face. Messiah, who is also the Lord God
In the spirit and power of Elijah. And thus in fulfillment of the
prophecy that Elijah should come again (Malachi
17:9-13). The Jews still expect Elijah as the forerunner of Messiah.
John showed the spirit of Elijah in his ascetic dress and life (2 Kings
3:4) and in his message of repentance (1 Kings
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.
"These are the last words of the Old Testament, there used by a
prophet; here expounded by an angel; there concluding the law; here
beginning the gospel."
The phrase may mean (1) John will restore unity to the families of
Israel, now divided into political factions, as Herodians or friends of
Rome, and zealots or patriots; and into religious factions, as Pharisees,
Sadducees, Essenes, etc.; or more likely it may mean (2) That John would
restore the broken relationship between the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, and their degenerate descendants (Isaiah
To make ready for the Lord a people prepared [for him]. As in the
East, the "friend", or go-between, prepares the bride to
understand and appreciate her bridegroom (John
1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby
shall I know this1? for I am an
old man, and my wife well stricken in years2.
Whereby shall I know this? In asking for a sign Zacharias showed
his unbelief (Matthew
12:38,39). His question in the original is in four words. Four faithless
words cost him forty weeks of silence.
For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. So said
17:17). The law which retired Levites from service at the age of fifty
8:25,26) did not apply to priests. They served to extreme old age.
1:19 And the angel answering said unto him,
I am Gabriel1, that
stand in the presence of God2; and I was sent to speak
unto thee, and to bring thee these good tidings3.
I am Gabriel. This name means "hero, or mighty one, of
God". Gabriel announced to Daniel the time of Christ's birth and death
9:21,25,26) and the overthrow and final restoration of the Jewish nation
8:16,23-25). He also announced the birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke
1:26). The Bible gives the name of but one other angel; viz., Michael (Daniel
12:7), meaning "Who is like God"? Since Gabriel was the
messenger who announced God's merciful and gracious purposes, and Michael
the one who executed his decrees and punishments, the Jews had a beautiful
saying that "Gabriel flew with two wings, and Michael with only
one". The very ancient book of Enoch gives us the name of two other
archangels; viz., Uriel, meaning "God is light"; and Raphael,
meaning "healer of God". See
That stand in the presence of God. Seven angels are spoken of as
standing in the presence of God (Revelation
8:2) and may probably be called "angels of the presence" (Isaiah
63:9). But to see the face of God is no doubt accorded to all angels (Matthew
18:10). One who stands in the presence of God should be believed by men
without approving signs.
These good tidings. Our word "gospel" means good tidings.
1:20 And behold, thou
shalt be silent and not able to speak1, until the day that
these things shall come to pass, because thou believedst not my words, which
shall be fulfilled in their season.
Thou shalt be silent and not able to speak. It was a sign; and also
a punishment for having sought a sign.
1:21 And the people were waiting for
Zacharias, and they marvelled while he tarried in the
They marvelled while he tarried in the temple. The Jews considered
slow service as irreverent and displeasing to God. The punishment attached
to displeasing service made them fearful (Leviticus
1:22 And when he
came out, he could not speak unto them1: and
they perceived2 that he had seen
a vision in the temple3: and he continued making signs
unto them, and remained dumb.
And when he came out, he could not speak unto them. Could not
dismiss them with the usual blessing (Numbers
6:23-26). Disbelief is always powerless to bless.
And they perceived. Probably by his excited manner.
That he had seen a vision in the temple. The most vivid and
objective of all spiritual phenomena (Luke
26:19; 2 Corinthians
1:23 And it came to pass, when
the days of his ministration were fulfilled1, he
departed unto his house2.
When the days of his ministration were fulfilled. They are said to
have lasted from the evening of one Sabbath (Friday at sundown) to the
morning of the next. Though doubtless chagrined at the punishment which had
come upon him, the old priest remained at his post, and dwelt in the temple
until his week was finished.
He departed unto his house. Some guess that he lived at Hebron,
others at Jutta, five miles south of Hebron, others at Ain Karim, four miles
west of Jerusalem, but no one knows.
1:24 And after
these days Elisabeth his wife conceived; and she hid herself1
five months2, saying,
And after these days Elisabeth his wife conceived; and she hid herself.
Probably through mingled feelings of modesty, humility, devotion, and joy.
Five months. At the end of which time her seclusion was interrupted
by the visit of Mary.
1:25 Thus hath the
Lord done unto me in the days wherein he looked upon [me]1,
to take away my reproach among men2.
Thus hath the Lord done unto me in the days wherein he looked upon [me].
Graciously and mercifully.
To take away my reproach among men. The reproach of being childless
1:26 Now in the
sixth month1 the angel Gabriel
was sent from God2 unto a city of
Galilee, named Nazareth3,
ANNUNCIATION OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS. (At Nazareth, B.C. 5.) Luke
Now in the sixth month. This is the passage from which we learn
that John was six months older than Jesus.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God. See Luke
Unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. Luke alone tells us where
Mary lived before the birth of Jesus. That Nazareth was an unimportant town
shown by the fact that it is mentioned nowhere in the Old Testament, nor in
the Talmud, nor in Josephus, who mentions two hundred four towns and cities
of Galilee. The way in which Luke introduces Galilee and Nazareth shows that
he wrote to those unfamiliar with Palestine. Compare the conversation at John
1:45,46. Galilee comprised the lands of Zebulun, Naphtali, Issachar, and
Asher. It was rich in trees and pastures. Its people were hardy and warlike.
1:27 to a virgin
betrothed to a man1 whose name
was Joseph, of the house of David2; and
the virgin's name was Mary3.
To a virgin betrothed to a man. In the East, the betrothal or
engagement was entered into with much ceremony, and usually took place a
year before the marriage. It was so sacred that the parties entering into it
could not be separated save by a bill of divorcement (Matthew
Whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. That is, Joseph was
of the house of David.
And the virgin's name was Mary. The same as Miriam (Exodus
1:28 And he came in unto her, and said, Hail,
thou that art highly favored, the Lord [is] with thee1.
Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord [is] with thee. See
1:29 But she was
greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation
this might be1.
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and cast in her mind what
manner of salutation this might be. Whether it meant a present sorrow or
joy, for God's salutations all mean joy, but usually is in the distant
12:11; 2 Corinthians
1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear
not1, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Fear not. The gospel is full of "fear nots" (Matthew
27:24; 1 Peter
2:10); it teaches us that perfect love which casts out fear (1 John
1:31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy
womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name
And shalt call his name JESUS. The same as Hoshea, Joshua, and
3:1). It means the "salvation of Jehovah". It was one of the
most common Jewish names, but was given to Jesus by divine direction because
of its fitness (Matthew
1:32 He shall be
great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High1: and
the Lord God shall give unto him2 the
throne3 of his father David4:
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. A
common Hebrew way of saying, "He shall be". Even the evil spirits
called Jesus by his name (Mark
And the Lord God shall give unto him. He shall not receive his
kingdom as a bribe from Satan (Matthew
4:9), nor win it by force of arms (John
26:53), but as the gift of God (Acts
The throne. See Psalms
Of his father David. This must refer to Mary's descent from David,
for she is expressly told that her son would have no earthly father (Luke
1:33 and he shall
reign over the house of Jacob1 for
ever2; and of his kingdom there
shall be no end3.
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob. That is, over the
family or descendants of Jacob; but the expression includes his spiritual,
rather than his carnal, descendants (Galatians
3:7,28,29). This name therefore includes the Gentiles as the name of a
river includes the rivers which flow into it.
For ever. See Daniel
And of his kingdom there shall be no end. See Isaiah
7:9. Christ shall reign his mediatorial kingdom to the Father at the
close of this dispensation (1 Corinthians
15:24-28); but as being one with his Father he shall rule forever.
1:34 And Mary said unto the angel, How
shall this be, seeing I know not a man1?
How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Mary's question
indicates surprise, not disbelief. Unlike Zacharias (Luke
1:18), she asked no sign. The youthful village maiden, amid her humble
daily duties, shows a more ready faith in the far more startling message
than the aged priest in the holy place of the temple in the atmosphere of
the sacred incense.
1:35 And the angel answered and said unto
her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee2,
and the power of the Most High shall overshadow1 thee: wherefore
also the holy thing3 which is
begotten4 shall be called the Son
The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High
shall overshadow. The Spirit of God is thus spoken of as "brooding
over" or overshadowing creation to develop it (Genesis
Thee. This indicates that the Holy Spirit himself created the body
of Christ (Hebrews
10:5). The spirit, or divine nature, of Christ was from the beginning,
and was unbegotten--that is, in the sense of being created.
Wherefore also the holy thing. The body of Jesus (Hebrews
7:26 1 Peter
Which is begotten. See Galatians
Shall be called the Son of God. As the Evangelist is here talking
about the bodily and human nature of Jesus, it is possible that he may here
speak of Jesus as the Son of God in the same sense in which he called Adam
the Son of God (Luke
3:38); that is, his body and human nature were the direct and miraculous
production of the divine power. If so, we find Jesus called the Son of God
in three several senses: (1) Here, because he was born into the world in a
supernatural manner. (2) Elsewhere, because by his resurrection he was
begotten from the dead (Romans
2:7). (3) Also elsewhere, because of the eternal, immutable, and
unparalleled relationship which he sustains to the Father (John
1:36 And behold,
Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age1;
and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren.
And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in
her old age. The angel tells of Elizabeth's condition, that it may
encourage the faith of Mary, and lead her to trust in Him with whom nothing
is impossible (Jeremiah
1:37 For no word
from God shall be void of power1.
For no word from God shall be void of power. See Isaiah
1:38 And Mary said, Behold,
the handmaid of the Lord1; be it unto me according to thy
word. And the angel departed from her.
Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Literally, slave or bondservant.
It is the feminine form ("doule") of the Greek word
"doulos" which Paul so often applies to himself (Romans
1:1). Mary uses it to indicate her submissive and obedient spirit.
Be it to me according to thy word. In great faith she not only
believes the promise, but prays for its fulfillment. She bowed to the will
of God like Eli (1 Samuel
3:18), and became the mother of Him who prayed, "Not my will, but
thine, be done" (Luke
1:39 And Mary
arose in these days1 and went
into the hill country2 with haste3,
into a city of Judah;
MARY, FUTURE MOTHER OF JESUS, VISITS ELIZABETH, FUTURE MOTHER OF JOHN THE
BAPTIST. (In the Hill Country of Judea, B.C. 5.) Luke
And Mary arose in these days. Within a week or two after the angel
appeared to her.
And went into the hill country. The district of Judah lying south
of Jerusalem, of which the city of Hebron was the center.
With haste. She fled to those whom God had inspired, so that they
could understand her condition and know her innocence--to those who were as
Joseph needed to be inspired, that he might understand (Matthew
In a city of Judah. Where Zacharias dwelt. See Luke
1:41 And it came to pass, when Elisabeth
heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her
womb1; and Elisabeth was filled
with the Holy Spirit2;
The babe leaped in her womb. See Luke
And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Sufficiently to have
a supernatural knowledge of things and to utter prophecy.
1:42 and she
lifted up her voice with a loud cry1, and said, Blessed
[art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb2.
And she lifted up her voice with a loud cry. Indicating intense,
ecstatic joy. What joy must have filled the hearts of these two women as
they realized that one was to be the mother of the long-expected Messiah,
and the other of his Elijah-like forerunner!
Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.
1:43 And whence is this to me, that the
mother of my Lord2 should come
Why is this granted to me? Why am I thus honored? See Matthew
My Lord. This word imported sometimes divinity, and sometimes mere
superiority. The Jews employed this term in connection with the Messiah; but
in which sense cannot now be determined. Inspired writers employ it in the
higher sense when applying it to Jesus (Matthew
22:41-45), and in that sense it is no doubt used here.
1:44 For behold, when the voice of thy
salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my
womb for joy1.
The babe leaped in my womb for joy. See Luke
1:45 And blessed
[is] she that believed1; for there shall be a fulfilment
of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.
Blessed [is] she that believed. Elisabeth may have here remembered
how her own husband failed to believe.
1:46 And Mary said1,
My soul doth magnify2 the Lord,
And Mary said. She speaks in poetic strain. Her song closely
resembles that of Hannah (1 Samuel
Magnify. Mary's song is called "The Magnificat" from this
1:48 For he hath
looked upon the low estate of his handmaid1: For
behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed2.
For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid. This refers
to the contrast between her present condition and that of the former glories
of David's house, from which she sprang.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Here ends the first section of her song. In it she speaks of herself, and
her adoration toward God for his condescending blessing. Mary was blessed in
her motherhood, Abraham in his covenant and promises, Paul in his
apostleship, etc., but none of these human beings are to be worshiped
because of the blessings which they received. Rather should we bestow the
more worship on God, from whom these their blessings flow (James
1:49 For he that is mighty hath done to me
great things; And holy is his name1.
And holy is his name. See Exodus
1:50 And his mercy
is unto generations and generations1 On
them that fear him2.
And his mercy is unto generations and generations. That is, it is
On them that fear him. Here ends the second division of her song.
In it Mary glorifies God for his power, holiness, and mercy.
1:51 He hath
showed strength with his arm1; He hath scattered the proud
in the imagination of their heart.
He hath showed strength with his arm. "God's efficacy is
represented by his finger (Exodus
8:19); his great power by his hand (Exodus
3:20); and his omnipotence by his arm (Exodus
1:53 The hungry he
hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away1.
The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent
empty away. These expressions are hyperboles for the disappointment of
the proud, the princely, and the rich, in whose families the Messiah was
expected. God has passed these by, and exalted a lowly one. Here ends the
third section or verse of the hymn. It speaks of the changes which the
Messiah should work as if he had already worked them.
1:55 (As he spake unto our fathers) Toward
Abraham1 and his seed for ever2.
Toward Abraham. See Micah
And his seed for ever. The hymn closes with an expression of
gratitude to God for his faithfulness in keeping his covenants.
1:56 And Mary
abode with her about three months1, and returned2
unto her house.
Mary abode with her about three months. Or until John was born. See
Returned. A favorite word with Luke, used twenty-one times in his
1:57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled
that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
THE BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. (Hill Country of Judea, B.C. 5.)
1:58 And her
neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards
her1; and they rejoiced with her.
And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified
his mercy towards her. Mercy in granting a child; great mercy in
granting so illustrious a child.
1:59 And it came to pass on
the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child1; and
they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father2.
On the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child. See Genesis
And they would have called him Zacharias, after the name of the father.
Male children were named at their circumcision, probably because at that
time the names of Abram and Sarai had been changed (Genesis
17:5,15). Females were named when they were weaned.
1:60 And his
mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John1.
And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
Zacharias had evidently written, and thus communicated to his wife all that
the angel had told him, and how the child was to be named John.
1:61 And they said unto her, There
is none of thy kindred that is called by this name1.
There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. Family
names were even more thought of, and honored, among the Jews than among us.
They had no taste for romantic and eccentric names.
1:62 And they made
signs to his father, what he would have him called1.
And they made signs to his father, what he would have him called.
This seems to indicate that Zacharias was deaf as well as dumb.
1:63 And he asked
for a writing tablet1, and wrote, saying, His name is
John. And they marvelled all2.
And he asked for a writing tablet. Tablets were sometimes made of
lead, but were usually small wooden boards, either smeared with wax, or
having sand sprinkled over them, on which words were written with an iron
stylus or pencil.
And they marvelled all. Being surprised that both parents should
thus unite upon an unexpected name.
1:64 And his mouth
was opened immediately, and his tongue [loosed]1, and
he spake, blessing God2.
And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue [loosed]. See
the punishment for disbelief was removed.
And he spake, blessing God. Probably the words recorded in Luke
1:65 And fear came
on all that dwelt round about them1: and
all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea2.
And fear came on all that dwelt round about them. The miraculous
phenomena attending the birth of John made the people so conscious of the
presence of God as to fill them with awe.
And all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill
country of Judaea. The influence of this fear spread far and wide until
the chills and tremors of expected changes and revolutions were felt even by
the citizens of Rome, as their poets and historians testify.
1:66 And all that heard them laid them up
in their heart, saying, What then shall this child be1?
For the hand of the Lord was with him.
What then shall this child be? We probably find an echo of this
question thirty years later when John entered upon his ministry (John
1:67 And his
father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied1,
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and
prophesied. This his prophecy is the last of the old dispensation, and
the first of the new, or Christian, era. It also is poetry, and is a hymn of
thanksgiving for the time of Messiah's advent.
[be] the Lord, the God of Israel; For he hath visited2
and wrought redemption for his people,
Blessed. This hymn gets its name from this word, and is called the
For he hath visited. Come back, in the person of his Spirit, to his
people. And some four hundred years of absence the Holy Spirit, as the
spirit of prophecy, had again returned to God's people. Malachi, the last of
the prophets, had been dead about four centuries.
1:69 And hath
raised up a horn of salvation for us1 In
the house of his servant David2
And hath raised up a horn of salvation for us. The horn is a symbol
of power (Daniel
In the house of his servant David. This also indicates that Mary
was of the house of David.
1:70 (As he spake
by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from of old)1,
(As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets that have been from of
old). See Genesis
24:17; 2 Peter
from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us1;
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
Not only Rome, the enemy of Israelitish prosperity, but also those evil
agencies which wage ceaseless warfare against the souls of men (Ephesians
1:72 To show mercy towards, our fathers, And
to remember his holy covenant1;
And to remember his holy covenant. Contract or agreement.
1:73 The oath
which he spake unto Abraham our father1,
The oath which he spake unto Abraham our father. See Genesis
1:75 In holiness
and righteousness before him all our days1.
In holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Holiness is
good conduct toward God; righteousness is good conduct toward men.
1:76 Yea and thou,
child1, shalt be called the
prophet of the Most High2: For
thou shalt go before the face of the Lord3 to
make ready his ways4;
Yea and thou, child. The rest of the psalm is addressed to the
Shalt be called the prophet of the Most High. See Matthew
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord. The Lord Jesus
To make ready his ways. See Isaiah
1:77 To give
knowledge of salvation unto his people1 In
the remission of their sins2,
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people. Israel had a false
idea that the Messiah's salvation would be from political evil. John was
needed to tell them that it was from sin that God proposed to deliver them.
Perdition does not consist in political wrongs, but in divine condemnation.
In the remission of their sins. Through Christ's work (Acts
1:78 Because of the tender mercy of our
God, Whereby the dayspring from on high1
shall visit us,
The dayspring from on high. One of the many names for Jesus or his
kingdom. The prophets loved to picture Messiah's advent as a sunrise (Isaiah
1:4,5). Christ's coming was the dawn of a new day for Israel and for
1:79 To shine upon them that sit in
darkness and the shadow of death; To guide our feet
into the way of peace1.
To guide our feet into the way of peace. Travelers in the Judean
mountains often waited patiently for the morning light, lest they should
lose their lives by a false step taken in the darkness (Isaiah
1:80 And the child
grew, and waxed strong in spirit1, and
was in the deserts2 till the day
of his showing unto Israel3.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit. See 1 Samuel
And was in the deserts. The thinly settled region west of the Dead
Sea. It is called Jeshimon, or "the Horror", in 1 Samuel
Till the day of his showing unto Israel. The day when he commenced
his ministry and declared his commission as Messiah's forerunner.