Simeon (Lk 2:25-2:25)

“Now there was a man

In Jerusalem,

Whose name

Was Simeon.

This man

Was righteous

And devout.

He was looking forward

To the consolation

Of Israel.

The Holy Spirit

Rested upon him.”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν·

 

Next Luke brought a man named Simeon into this scene in the Jerusalem Temple.  We know nothing else about him, except what is written here in Luke.  Simeon (ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών,) was a righteous (καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος) and devout God-fearing man (καὶ εὐλαβής) living in Jerusalem (Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ).  He was looking forward to the consolation of Israel (προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ).  The Holy Spirit rested upon him (καὶ Πνεῦμα ἦν Ἅγιον ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  Once again, Luke emphasized that the Holy Spirit was on Simeon, just he had been on John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah, 5 people filled with the Holy Spirit.  The consolation that Simeon was expecting was the redemption of Israel or the messianic happening of the end times.

 

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The holy child (Lk 2:23-2:23)

“As it is written

In the law

Of the Lord.

‘Every firstborn male

Shall be designated

As holy

To the Lord.”

 

καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν νόμῳ Κυρίου ὅτι Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται,

 

Luke further elaborated about the written Law of the Lord (καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν νόμῳ Κυρίου).  In a paraphrase of Exodus, chapter 13:2, he said that every male born or opening the womb (ὅτι Πᾶν ἄρσεν διανοῖγον μήτραν) shall be designated or called holy to the Lord (ἅγιον τῷ Κυρίῳ κληθήσεται).  It no longer is the Law of Moses, but the Law of the Lord God.  Notice that Luke did not say first born, but just male.  This presentation of the male child is similar to Hannah presenting Samuel in 1 Samuel, chapter 1:24-27.  Hannah brought her young son Samuel to the Temple of Yahweh at Shiloh.  There they saw the prophet Eli.  Thus, she gave or lent Samuel to Yahweh and the prophet Eli.  Luke made sure to point out that Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joseph, and Mary were all very good law-abiding Jewish parents.

Peace (Lk 1:79-1:79)

“God will give light

To those who

Sit in darkness.

He will give light

To those who

Sit in the shadow

Of death.

He will

Guide our feet

Into the way

Of peace.”

 

ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις, τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης.

 

Luke concluded Zechariah’s canticle with a call to peace for all Israelites.  Zechariah said that God would give light or shine upon those who sat in darkness (ἐπιφᾶναι τοῖς ἐν σκότει).  He would also give light to those who sat in the shadow of death (καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου καθημένοις).  He would guide their feet (τοῦ κατευθῦναι τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν) into the way of peace (εἰς ὁδὸν εἰρήνης).  Once again, returning to prophetic expectations, Zechariah said that things would be good for those living in darkness or the shadow of death.  Hope or the messiah would come so that they would have the lasting peace that they so desired.

 

The tender mercy of God (Lk 1:78-1:78)

“By the tender mercy

Of our God,

The dawn

From on high

Will break

Upon us.”

 

διὰ σπλάγχνα ἐλέους Θεοῦ ἡμῶν, ἐν οἷς ἐπισκέψεται ἡμᾶς ἀνατολὴ ἐξ ὕψους,

 

Luke continued Zechariah’s canticle with an insistence on the mercy of their God.  Zechariah said that by the heart felt tender mercy and compassion of their God (διὰ σπλάγχνα ἐλέους Θεοῦ ἡμῶν), a new day or a sunrise (ἀνατολὴ) from on high (ἐξ ὕψους) would break out upon them or visit them (ἐν οἷς ἐπισκέψεται ἡμᾶς).  As many of the prophets had pointed out already. the messiah or savior would come like a sunrise to break into their lives.  So too, John, his son, would be part of this process that would culminate in Jesus.

The prophet of the Most High (Lk 1:76-1:76)

“You!

Child!

Will be called

The prophet

Of the Most High!

You will go

Before the Lord

To prepare

His ways.”

 

Καὶ σὺ δέ, παιδίον, προφήτης Ὑψίστου κληθήσῃ· προπορεύσῃ γὰρ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου ἑτοιμάσαι ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ,

 

Finally, Zechariah, via Luke in this canticle, turned to his child John.  He said to him (Καὶ σὺ δέ, παιδίον) that he would be called the prophet of the Most High (προφήτης Ὑψίστου κληθήσῃ).  He would go before or precede the Lord (προπορεύσῃ γὰρ ἐνώπιον Κυρίου) to prepare his ways (ἑτοιμάσαι ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ).  The term Most High was an attempt to translate the Hebrew word for God “Elohim.”  There was no Greek word equivalent for Yahweh, so that the tendency was to use the word “Lord” or “Κυρίου.”  Notice that Jesus was going to be the Son of the Most High, while John was going to be the prophet of the Most High.  John was to prepare the ways for the Lord, as in Isaiah, chapters 40:3 and 57:14.

 

Serve without fear (Lk 1:74-1:75)

“Grant that we,

Being rescued

From the hands

Of our enemies,

Might serve God

Without fear

In holiness

And righteousness

Before him

All our days.”

 

ἀφόβως ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν ῥυσθέντας λατρεύειν αὐτῷ

ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἡμῶν.

 

Next Zechariah, via Luke, turned to the present day.  He wanted to be rescued or saved (ῥυσθέντας) from the hands of his enemies (ἐκ χειρὸς ἐχθρῶν).  Thus, he might serve God (λατρεύειν αὐτῷ) without fear (ἀφόβως) in holiness (ἐν ὁσιότητι) and righteousness (καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ) before God (ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ) all the days of his life (πάσαις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἡμῶν).  Zachariah wanted to continue to worship the Lord, God, correctly during his whole life.

The covenant with Abraham (Lk 1:73-1:73)

“God has remembered

The oath

That he swore

To our ancestor

Abraham.”

 

ὅρκον ὃν ὤμοσεν πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν

 

In case there was any doubt about what covenant or agreement Zechariah was talking about, he made it clear, via this canticle in Luke, that this was the covenant or agreement with Abraham to have him and his many descendants be prosperous as in Genesis, chapter 22:16-18.  Zechariah said that God had remembered or given them (τοῦ δοῦναι ἡμῖν) the oath (ὅρκον) that he swore (ὃν ὤμοσεν) to Abraham (πρὸς Ἀβραὰμ), their ancestor or father (τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν).  The covenant was coming about right before their very eyes.  Notice it was not the Mosaic, but the older Abrahamic covenant that Luke emphasized.