The child of Elizabeth is born (Lk 1:57-1:57)

“Now the time came

For Elizabeth

To give birth.

She bore a son.”

 

Τῇ δὲ Ἐλεισάβετ ἐπλήσθη ὁ χρόνος τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν, καὶ ἐγέννησεν υἱόν.

 

Luke said that the time had been completed for Elizabeth (Τῇ δὲ Ἐλεισάβετ ἐπλήσθη ὁ χρόνος) to give birth (τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν).  Elizabeth had gone through her 9 months of pregnancy.  Thus, with a normal birth, she bore a son (καὶ ἐγέννησεν υἱόν).  There was nothing spectacular here.

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The prayer of Mary (Lk 1:46-1:46)

“Mary said.

‘My soul

Magnifies

The Lord!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν Μαριάμ Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον,

 

Next Luke has a series of canticles or songs.  This first canticle of Mary is modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh. Hannah had prayed for a son.  Thus, she had a semi-miracle son called Samuel.  She wanted him to be dedicated like a Nazirite.  This prayer of Hannah took place after she had dedicated her 3-year-old son to Yahweh.  Thus, Samuel grew up with the prophet Eli.  Hannah and Samuel then became the prototypes for Mary and Jesus.  Luke indicated that Mary said (Καὶ εἶπεν Μαριάμ) that her soul magnified, extended, or enlarged the Lord (ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον).  Thus, this Marian canticle became known as the “Magnificat,” after the Latin translated word used here.

Mute Zechariah (Lk 1:20-1:20)

“Now,

You will become mute!

You will be

Unable to speak

Until the day

That these things

Will happen!

You did not

Believe my words!

They will be fulfilled

In their due time!”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα, ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου, οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν

 

Luke pointed out that Zechariah would receive a punishment, because he doubted that he and his wife would have a son, as in verse 18.  Thus, the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that he would become silent or mute (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔσῃ σιωπῶν).  He would not be able to speak (καὶ μὴ δυνάμενος λαλῆσαι) until the day when all these things would happen (ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα).  This was his punishment for not believing the words of the angel Gabriel (ἀνθ’ ὧν οὐκ ἐπίστευσας τοῖς λόγοις μου).  He did not believe that they would come to pass or be fulfilled in the right or correct season or time (οἵτινες πληρωθήσονται εἰς τὸν καιρὸν αὐτῶν).  He would be punished, but not with a permanent punishment or death penalty.  Zechariah would be mute for a short period of time.

 

All things are possible with God (Mt 19:26-19:26)

“But Jesus looked

At them.

He said to them.

‘For men,

This is impossible.

But with God,

All things are possible.’”

 

ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν, παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά.

 

This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, word for word, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different.  Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything.  This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation.  What humans were not able to do, God was able to do.

The fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 1:22-1:23)

“All this took place

To fulfil

What had been spoken

By the Lord

Through the prophet.

‘Look!

The virgin young woman

Shall conceive.

She shall bear a son.

They shall name him

Emmanuel.’

This translated means.

‘God with us.’”

 

Τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ Κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος

Ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουήλ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Μεθ’ ἡμῶν ὁ Θεός.

 

This dream with the angelic message took place (Τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν), so that the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 7, would be fulfilled (πληρωθῇ). Matthew said that these were the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet (τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑπὸ Κυρίου διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος), without explicitly naming Isaiah. When you look at the context of this saying in Isaiah, he was talking to King Ahaz and the whole house of David. He said that Yahweh was going to give them a sign that a young woman, who is presumed to be a virgin, would have a child. This child would be called Emmanuel that meant “God is with us.” Christians have used this passage as a prophecy about the virgin birth of Jesus, as here in Matthew. However, the original context in Isaiah seems to indicate that King Ahaz would have a son to carry on his royal name. That son of Ahaz turned out to be the great holy King Hezekiah who ruled Judah from 716-687 BCE. A key to understanding this interpretation of Isaiah is the Greek word ἡ παρθένος. Does this mean a young woman or a virgin? The assumption was that all young women who were not married were virgins, without explicitly saying that this Greek word meant virgin. This young virgin girl had a child in her womb (ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει). She was going to have a son (καὶ τέξεται υἱόν). They were going to name this son Emmanuel (καλέσουσιν τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἐμμανουήλ,). Matthew seems to imply that this Hebrew word Emmanuel needed to be translated (ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον) into Greek for his readers. Thus, he explained that it meant “God is with us.” This actually was in the original Isaiah statement, but Isaiah never used the word translated (μεθερμηνευόμενον). Thus, God will be with us in the person of Jesus, the Savior, Emmanuel. There is no mention of an anointed one or Christ here.

The son of Hosea is called Jezreel (Hos 1:3-1:5)

“Gomer conceived.

She bore him a son.

Yahweh said to him,

‘Name him Jezreel!

In a little while,

I will punish

The house of Jehu

For the blood of Jezreel.

I will put an end

To the kingdom

Of the house of Israel.

On that day,

I will break

The bow of Israel

In the valley of Jezreel.’”

Gomer then conceived and bore a son. Yahweh, spoke directly to Hosea. He told him to name his son, Jezreel, meaning that God sows. All the children of this union between Hosea and Gomer will have symbolic prophetic names. In a little while, Yahweh was going to punish the house of Jehu, who had been king nearly a century earlier in 841-814 BCE. The current king of Israel, King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE) was a descendant of King Jehu. Jezreel was also the name of the royal palace where King Jehu had killed the descendants of King Omri (885-874 BCE). The dynasty of King Jehu actually ended with the son of King Jeroboam II, King Zachariah in 743 BCE, after the death of King Jeroboam. Yahweh also said that the house of Israel would come to an end, which it did in 724 BCE. Thus, Yahweh was going to break the bow of Israel in Jezreel, the northern royal palace. Jezreel was also the name of the valley of Megiddo. The so-called history of the northern Israelite kings, especially King Jehu, can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 9-10.

The defilement of the dead (Ezek 44:25-44:27)

“‘They shall not defile

Themselves

By getting near

To a dead person.

However,

They may defile

Themselves

For a father,

For a mother,

For a son,

For a daughter,

For a brother,

Or for an unmarried sister.

After he has become clean,

They shall count

Seven days for him.

Then he shall be clean.

On the day

That he goes

Into the holy place,

Into the inner court,

To minister

In the holy place,

He shall offer

His sin offering.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel what to do about the Zadok Levitical priests who defiled themselves by going near a dead person. They were not supposed to go close to a dead person. However, there were occasions when these priests could go near a dead person, and thus, defile themselves. In particular, this usually meant a close family member, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister. Yet they would have to become clean again. They would have to wait 7 days before they could be clean. Then they would have to offer a sin offering for themselves in the holy place.