The virgin Mary (Lk 1:27-1:27)

“The angel Gabriel

Went

To a virgin

Engaged to a man,

Whose name was Joseph,

Of the house of David.

The virgin’s name

Was Mary.”

 

πρὸς παρθένον ἐμνηστευμένην ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ, ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ, καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ.

 

Luke has the angel Gabriel appear to Mary, as opposed to Matthew, chapter 1:20, who had an unnamed angel appear to Joseph in a dream.  This angel Gabriel went to a virgin (πρὸς παρθένον), who was engaged (ἐμνηστευμένην) to a man named Joseph (ἀνδρὶ ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰωσὴφ) from the house of David (ἐξ οἴκου Δαυείδ).  The name of this virgin was Mary (καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῆς παρθένου Μαριάμ).  Thus, both stories from these 2 gospels concur that Mary and Joseph were the parents of Jesus.  Matthew said that Joseph had resolved to get rid of Mary, instead of taking her as his wife until the angel of the Lord appeared to him.  This unnamed angel reassured Joseph that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife.  Thus, God, via his angel, was trying to show Joseph that everything would be alright.  Here the emphasis is on Mary, a common name in first century Judaism based on the name of Mariam, the sister of Moses.  Mary was a virgin (παρθένου), someone who did not have sexual relations with the opposite sex, which would have been normal at this time for young girls before they were married.  However, she was engaged or betrothed to Joseph, who had Davidic ancestry.  In other words, the wedding contact had not been signed.  Thus, they were still involved with prenuptial arrangements.

Elizabeth conceived a child (Lk 1:24-1:24)

“After those days,

His wife,

Elizabeth

Conceived.

For five months,

She remained

In seclusion.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας συνέλαβεν Ἐλεισάβετ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ, καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε,

 

Luke indicated that sometimes afterwards (Μετὰ δὲ ταύτας τὰς ἡμέρας), Elisabeth (Ἐλεισάβετ), the wife of Zechariah (ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ), conceived a child or became pregnant (συνέλαβεν).  There is no indication whether this was a supernatural event or a natural event.  Zechariah would have had to tell Elisabeth about his encounter with the angel Gabriel in the Temple sanctuary.  Perhaps, he was able to write.  However, Elizabeth remained in seclusion for 5 months, as she hid or concealed herself (καὶ περιέκρυβεν ἑαυτὴν μῆνας πέντε,).  There was no great announcement about this future birth.

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.

 

The dream of Joseph (Mt 1:20-1:20)

“But just when he resolved

To do this,

An angel of the Lord

Appeared to him

In a dream.

Saying.

‘Joseph!

Son of David!

Do not be afraid

To take Mary

As your wife.

The child conceived

In her is

From the Holy Spirit.”

 

ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐνθυμηθέντος ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος Κυρίου κατ’ ὄναρ ἐφάνη αὐτῷ λέγων Ἰωσὴφ υἱὸς Δαυείδ, μὴ φοβηθῇς παραλαβεῖν Μαρίαν τὴν γυναῖκά σου, τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ Πνεύματός ἐστιν Ἁγίου·

 

Joseph had resolved (αὐτοῦ ἐνθυμηθέντος) to put away Mary, instead of taking her as his wife. Then an angel of the Lord (ἄγγελος Κυρίου) appeared to him in a dream (ὄναρ ἐφάνη αὐτῷ). This is somewhat reminiscent of Joseph in Egypt, who interpreted dreams, but said that only God could tell them what they meant in Genesis, chapters 40-41. The various Israelite prophets often got their oracle messages in dreams. Notice that it is an angel of the Lord, “Κυρίου.” There will be no mention of Yahweh in the New Testament, since the Greek Old Testament had translated “Yahweh” into “Lord.” However, the sense was that this was God, the Father, the God of the Old Testament. Angels were the messengers of God, especially in the Book of Tobit, chapter 5, where the angel Raphael appeared to him. This angel goes unnamed here, not like the angel Gabriel of Luke, chapter 1. This angel told Joseph, the son of David, not to be afraid (μὴ φοβηθῇς) to take Mary (παραλαβεῖν Μαρίαν) as his wife (τὴν γυναῖκά σου). He had nothing to be worried about. Thus, God, via his angel, was trying to reassure Joseph that everything would be alright. This angel then told Joseph that the child that had been conceived in her (ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν) was from the Holy Spirit (ἐκ Πνεύματός ἐστιν Ἁγίου). In a somewhat awkward phrasing, this text said the conception was from a Spirit that is holy rather than a Holy Spirit as earlier in this text. This shows a developing sense of the divine Holy Spirit.

The kings of Persia (Dan 11:2-11:2)

“Now I will announce

The truth

To you.

Three more kings

Shall arise

In Persia.

The fourth shall be

Far richer

Than all of them.

When he has become strong,

Through his riches,

He shall stir up all

Against the kingdom of Greece.”

Next this angel Gabriel was going to tell Daniel the truth about 3 or 4 more Persian kings. This assumes that Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE) was the king at that time. The 3 more are probably Cambyses II (530-522 BCE), Darius I (522-486 BCE), and Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), who all went to war with Greece. The 4th Persian ruler might have been Artaxerxes (465-424 BCE). Notice that most of these Persian rulers ruled for long periods of time with their biggest enemy being Greece.

Someone touches Daniel’s lips to let him speak (Dan 10:16-10:17)

“Then one in human form

Touched my lips.

I opened

My mouth

To speak.

I said to the one

Who stood

Before me.

‘My lord!

Because of the vision,

Such pains

Have come upon me,

That I retain no strength.

How can

My lord’s servant

Talk with my lord?

I am shaking.

No strength remains

In me.

No breath

Is left in me.’”

The human form, probably the angel Gabriel, touched his lips, so that Daniel was able to speak. Then, Daniel told him, his lord, that he was in pain with no strength because of the vision. He was shaking and out of breath.

The present battle and the future (Dan 10:13-10:14)

“The prince

Of the kingdom

Of Persia

Opposed me

For twenty-one days.

Then,

Michael,

One of the chief princes,

Came to help me.

I left him there

With the prince

Of the kingdom

Of Persia.

I have come

To help you understand

What is to happen

To your people

At the end of the days.

There is a further vision

For those days.”

Somehow or other this man or angel Gabriel got involved in a conflict with the King of Persia for 21 days. However, the good angel Michael, one of the chief princes or archangels, came to help him against this prince of Persia. This man or angel Gabriel then came to help Daniel understand what was going to happen to his people in the future, at the end of days.

Gabriel speaks to Daniel (Dan 9:22-9:23)

“Gabriel came.

He said to me.

‘Daniel!

I have now come out

To give you wisdom,

To give you understanding.

At the beginning

Of your supplications,

A word went out.

I have come

To declare it.

You are greatly beloved.

Thus,

Consider the word!

Understand the vision!”

Gabriel had heard the prayer and supplications that Daniel had made to God. Thus, that this was the Angel Gabriel is not out of place, especially based on the last chapter. This Gabriel said to Daniel that he had come to give him wisdom and understanding. Something that he had said at the beginning of his prayers and supplications needed a further explanation. There was no doubt that Daniel was greatly loved. However, he had to consider the words and vision that was about to take place.

Gabriel comes (Dan 9:20-9:21)

“I was speaking.

I was praying,

I was confessing my sins,

As well as the sins

Of my people Israel.

I was presenting

My supplication

Before Yahweh

My God,

On behalf

Of the holy mountain

Of my God.

While I was speaking

In prayer,

The man Gabriel,

Whom I had seen before

In the vision,

Came to me

In swift flight,

At the time

Of the evening sacrifice.”

Daniel was continuing with his prayers and supplications to Yahweh. He was confessing his sins and the sins of his people Israel. He was praying for the holy mountain of God that had been desolated. Then a man called Gabriel came flying in. Daniel said that he was the same Gabriel that was in the preceding chapter that helped Daniel interpret his vision before. There, he had the appearance of a man. Here, he is referred to as a flying man who arrived at the time of the evening sacrifice. Was this the angel Gabriel?