Abraham and the ancestors (Lk 1:55-1:55)

“God had made

Promises

To our ancestors,

To Abraham,

And to his descendants,

Forever.”

 

καθὼς ἐλάλησεν πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν, τῷ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

 

This canticle of Mary concluded by remembering the promises that God had made to their ancestors, especially to Abraham in Genesis, chapters 12:3, 15:5, 17:7, 18:18, and 22:17. and his eternal descendants.  Notice that there is no mention of Jacob, Moses, or David, but the wider Abraham covenant.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God had spoken (καθὼς ἐλάλησεν) to their ancestors (πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν), to Abraham (τῷ Ἀβραὰμ), and to his descendants (καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ) for all time or forever (εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).

The hungry are filled (Lk 1:53-1:53)

“God

Has filled

The hungry

With good things.

He has sent

The rich away

Empty.”

 

πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς.

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son the prophet Samuel.  Luke had Mary elaborate on Hannah’s thought about how the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the low and the poor would succeed.  Mary said that God had filled or satisfied the needy hungry people with good things (πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν), while at the same time he had sent away (ἐξαπέστειλεν) the rich people (καὶ πλουτοῦντας) empty handed (κενούς.).  God was going to reverse the human order of rich and poor as far as food was concerned.  The rich would have nothing, but the poor would be satisfied.

The mighty and the lowly (Lk 1:52-1:52)

“God has brought down

The powerful

From their thrones.

He has lifted up

The lowly.”

 

καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:4, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel.  Just like here, Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble, but the lowly and the poor would succeed.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God had brought down the powerful (καθεῖλεν δυνάστας) from their thrones (ἀπὸ θρόνων), while he has lifted up the lowly (καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς).  There is almost an exact equivalency between Hannah and Mary.  Mary had mentioned nothing about lowly people until now.  Luke emphasized this theme of the poor or lowly as important throughout his gospel.

The strength of God (Lk 1:51-1:51)

“God

Has shown strength

With his arm.

He has scattered

The proud thinking

In their hearts.”

 

Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ, διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:3-4, that praised Yahweh for her son, Samuel the prophet.  Hannah said that the mighty and the rich would stumble but the low and the poor would succeed.  Here Luke indicated that Mary said that God had shown strength with his arm (Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ).  Thus, he has scattered the proud thinking in their hearts (διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν).  The power of God would scatter the proud people.

Mercy and fear (Lk 1:50-1:50)

“His mercy

Is for those

Who fear him

From generation

To generation.

 

καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν.

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel.  Luke indicated that Mary said that God’s mercy (καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ) was from generation to generation (εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς) to those who feared him (τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν).  Fear of the Lord was the first step towards seeking mercy from God, no matter when you lived.

The name of God is holy (Lk 1:49-1:49)

“The Mighty One

Has done great things

For me.

Holy

Is his name.”

 

ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός. καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:2-6, that praised Yahweh for the birth of her son, the prophet Samuel.  Yahweh was the rock of Hannah’s knowledge.  Luke indicated that Mary said that the Mighty One (ὁ δυνατός) had done great things for Mary (ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα).  Thus, Holy is his name (καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ).  Mary appreciated that the powerful holy God had gone great things for her.

All generations will call Mary blessed (Lk 1:48-1:48)

“God had looked

On the lowliness

Of his slave.

Surely,

From now on,

All generations

Will call me blessed!”

 

ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης αὐτοῦ. ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν μακαριοῦσίν με πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί·

 

This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh for the birth of her son, Samuel the prophet.  Mary’s lowliness was like Hannah’s misery.  Luke had Mary say that God had looked (ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν) on her lowliness or the humiliation of his slave (ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης αὐτοῦ), Mary.  However, from now on (ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν) all generations (πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί) would count Mary blessed or happy (μακαριοῦσίν με).  Thus, the phrase “Blessed Mary, Mother of Jesus!”  By extension, as Jesus was the son of God, Mary became known as the Mother of God.