2:1 Now 1 in those days a decree 2 went out from Caesar 3 Augustus 4 to register 5 all the empire 6 for taxes. 2:2 This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor 7 of Syria. 2:3 Everyone 8 went to his own town 9 to be registered. 2:4 So 10 Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth 11 in Galilee to Judea, to the city 12 of David called Bethlehem, 13 because he was of the house 14 and family line 15 of David. 2:5 He went 16 to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, 17 and who was expecting a child. 2:6 While 18 they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 19 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth 20 and laid him in a manger, 21 because there was no place for them in the inn. 22
2:8 Now 23 there were shepherds 24 nearby 25 living out in the field, keeping guard 26 over their flock at night. 2:9 An 27 angel of the Lord 28 appeared to 29 them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. 30 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, 31 for I proclaim to you good news 32 that brings great joy to all the people: 2:11 Today 33 your Savior is born in the city 34 of David. 35 He is Christ 36 the Lord. 2:12 This 37 will be a sign 38 for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 39 2:13 Suddenly 40 a vast, heavenly army 41 appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
2:15 When 45 the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem 46 and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord 47 has made known to us.” 2:16 So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. 48 2:17 When 49 they saw him, 50 they related what they had been told 51 about this child, 2:18 and all who heard it were astonished 52 at what the shepherds said. 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. 53 2:20 So 54 the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising 55 God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told. 56
2:22 Now 59 when the time came for their 60 purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary 61 brought Jesus 62 up to Jerusalem 63 to present him to the Lord 2:23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male 64 will be set apart to the Lord” 65 ), 2:24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves 66 or two young pigeons. 67
2:25 Now 68 there was a man in Jerusalem 69 named Simeon who was righteous 70 and devout, looking for the restoration 71 of Israel, and the Holy Spirit 72 was upon him. 2:26 It 73 had been revealed 74 to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die 75 before 76 he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 77 2:27 So 78 Simeon, 79 directed by the Spirit, 80 came into the temple courts, 81 and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, 82 2:28 Simeon 83 took him in his arms and blessed God, saying, 84
for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory 93 to your people Israel.”
2:33 So 94 the child’s 95 father 96 and mother were amazed 97 at what was said about him. 2:34 Then 98 Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “Listen carefully: 99 This child 100 is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising 101 of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. 102 2:35 Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts 103 of many hearts will be revealed 104 – and a sword 105 will pierce your own soul as well!” 106
2:36 There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, 107 having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. 2:37 She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. 108 She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 109 2:38 At that moment, 110 she came up to them 111 and began to give thanks to God and to speak 112 about the child 113 to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 114
2:39 So 115 when Joseph and Mary 116 had performed 117 everything according to the law of the Lord, 118 they returned to Galilee, to their own town 119 of Nazareth. 120 2:40 And the child grew and became strong, 121 filled with wisdom, 122 and the favor 123 of God 124 was upon him.
2:41 Now 125 Jesus’ 126 parents went to Jerusalem 127 every 128 year for the feast of the Passover. 129 2:42 When 130 he was twelve years old, 131 they went up 132 according to custom. 2:43 But 133 when the feast was over, 134 as they were returning home, 135 the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His 136 parents 137 did not know it, 2:44 but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) 138 they went a day’s journey. Then 139 they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 140 2:45 When 141 they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem 142 to look for him. 2:46 After 143 three days 144 they found him in the temple courts, 145 sitting among the teachers, 146 listening to them and asking them questions. 2:47 And all who heard Jesus 147 were astonished 148 at his understanding and his answers. 2:48 When 149 his parents 150 saw him, they were overwhelmed. His 151 mother said to him, “Child, 152 why have you treated 153 us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 154 2:49 But 155 he replied, 156 “Why were you looking for me? 157 Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 158 2:50 Yet 159 his parents 160 did not understand 161 the remark 162 he made 163 to them. 2:51 Then 164 he went down with them and came to Nazareth, 165 and was obedient 166 to them. But 167 his mother kept all these things 168 in her heart. 169
[2:1] 1 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
[2:1] 5 tn Grk “that all the empire should be registered for taxes.” The passive infinitive ἀπογράφεσθαι (apografesqai) has been rendered as an active in the translation to improve the English style. The verb is regarded as a technical term for official registration in tax lists (BDAG 108 s.v. ἀπογράφω a).
[2:1] sn This census (a decree…to register all the empire) is one of the more disputed historical remarks in Luke. Josephus (Ant. 18.1.1 [18.1-2]) only mentions a census in
[2:4] 14 sn Luke’s use of the term “house” probably alludes to the original promise made to David outlined in the Nathan oracle of 2 Sam 7:12-16, especially in light of earlier connections between Jesus and David made in Luke 1:32. Further, the mention of Bethlehem reminds one of the promise of Mic 5:2, namely, that a great king would emerge from Bethlehem to rule over God’s people.
[2:5] 16 tn The words “He went” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to begin a new sentence in the translation. The Greek sentence is longer and more complex than normal contemporary English usage.
[2:5] 17 tn Traditionally, “Mary, his betrothed.” Although often rendered in contemporary English as “Mary, who was engaged to him,” this may give the modern reader a wrong impression, since Jewish marriages in this period were typically arranged marriages. The term ἐμνηστευμένῃ (emnhsteumenh) may suggest that the marriage is not yet consummated, not necessarily that they are not currently married. Some
[2:6] 18 tn Grk “And it happened that while.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
[2:6] 19 tn The words “her child” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to clarify what was being delivered. The wording here is like Luke 1:57. Grk “the days for her to give birth were fulfilled.”
[2:7] 22 tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, “Birth of Jesus,” DJG, 69-70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives’ house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.
[2:7] sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance.
[2:8] 24 sn Some argue that shepherds were among the culturally despised, but the evidence for this view of shepherds is late, coming from 5th century Jewish materials. December 25 as the celebrated date of Jesus’ birth arose around the time of Constantine (ca.
[2:11] 33 sn The Greek word for today (σήμερον, shmeron) occurs eleven times in the Gospel of Luke (2:11; 4:21; 5:26; 12:28; 13:32-33; 19:5, 9; 22:34, 61; 23:43) and nine times in Acts. Its use, especially in passages such as 2:11, 4:21, 5:26; 19:5, 9, signifies the dawning of the era of messianic salvation and the fulfillment of the plan of God. Not only does it underscore the idea of present fulfillment in Jesus’ ministry, but it also indicates salvific fulfillment present in the church (cf. Acts 1:6; 3:18; D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:412; I. H. Marshall, Luke, [NIGTC], 873).
[2:11] sn The term χριστός (cristos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.
[2:14] 44 tc Most witnesses (א2 B2 L Θ Ξ Ψ Ë1,13 Ï sy bo) have ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία (en anqrwpoi" eudokia, “good will among people”) instead of ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας (en anqrwpoi" eudokia", “among people with whom he is pleased”), a reading attested by א* A B* D W pc (sa). Most of the Itala witnesses and some other versional witnesses reflect a Greek text which has the genitive εὐδοκίας but drops the preposition ἐν. Not only is the genitive reading better attested, but it is more difficult than the nominative. “The meaning seems to be, not that divine peace can be bestowed only where human good will is already present, but that at the birth of the Saviour God’s peace rests on those whom he has chosen in accord with his good pleasure” (TCGNT 111).
[2:15] 45 tn Grk “And it happened that when.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
[2:18] 52 tn Grk “marveled.” It is a hard word to translate with one term in this context. There is a mixture of amazement and pondering at work in considering the surprising events here. See Luke 1:21, 63; 2:33.
[2:19] 53 tn The term συμβάλλουσα (sumballousa) suggests more than remembering. She is trying to put things together here (Josephus, Ant. 2.5.3 [2.72]). The words “what they might mean” have been supplied in the translation to make this clear. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
[2:22] 60 tc The translation follows most
[2:22] 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”).
[2:22] 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.
[2:25] 68 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).
[2:25] 72 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.
[2:26] 74 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).
[2:27] 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.
[2:29] 87 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.
[2:29] 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.”
[2:31] 91 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).
[2:32] 92 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.
[2:33] 96 tc Most
[2:33] 97 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).
[2:34] 101 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.
[2:35] 105 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.
[2:35] 106 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.
[2:37] 108 tn Grk “living with her husband for seven years from her virginity and she was a widow for eighty four years.” The chronology of the eighty-four years is unclear, since the final phrase could mean “she was widowed until the age of eighty-four” (so BDAG 423 s.v. ἕως 1.b.α). However, the more natural way to take the syntax is as a reference to the length of her widowhood, the subject of the clause, in which case Anna was about 105 years old (so D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:251-52; I. H. Marshall, Luke, [NIGTC], 123-24).
[2:38] 111 tn Grk “And coming up.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. The participle ἐπιστᾶσα (epistasa) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
[2:38] 112 tn The imperfect ἐλάλει (elalei) here looks at a process of declaration, not a single moment. She clearly was led by God to address men and women about the hope Jesus was. The testimony of Luke 1—2 to Jesus has involved all types of people.
[2:38] 114 tc A few
[2:40] 121 tc Most
[2:42] 132 tc Most
[2:43] 137 tc Most
[2:46] 143 tn Grk “And it happened that after.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
[2:47] 148 sn There was wonder (all who heard…were astonished) that Jesus at such a young age could engage in such a discussion. The fact that this story is told of a preteen hints that Jesus was someone special.
[2:49] 158 tn Or “I must be about my Father’s business” (so KJV, NKJV); Grk “in the [things] of my Father,” with an ellipsis. This verse involves an idiom that probably refers to the necessity of Jesus being involved in the instruction about God, given what he is doing. The most widely held view today takes this as a reference to the temple as the Father’s house. Jesus is saying that his parents should have known where he was.