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Matt. xiv. 35:

xxvi. 63, 04. Mark i. 1.

John i. 34:

viii. 37.

xx. 31. Acts Rom. i. 4.

power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called ithe Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For * with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. ch.xviii. 27. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 and entered 1 Josh. xxi. 9, into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Gen. xviii. 14.

Jer. xxxii. 17.
Zech. viii. 6.
Matt. xix. 26.
Mark x. 21.

Rom. iv. 21.

10, 11.

41 And

trender, kinswoman. ▾ render, no word.

As Christ was made of the substance of the Virgin, so He was not made of the substance of the Holy Ghost, Whose essence cannot at all be made. And because the Holy Ghost did not beget Him by any communication of His essence, therefore He is not the Father of Him, though He were conceived by Him." (Pearson on the Creed, p. 165, 166.) shall overshadow thee] The figure is perhaps from a bird (as Grotius: see Ps. xci. 4), or from a cloud: see Mark ix. 7. holy thing] Some render, that which shall be born (of thee) shall be called holy, the Son of God. But it is more simple to take it as A. V., that holy thing, &c. 36. thy kinswoman] What relation, nowhere appears in Scripture; and traditions are not worth recounting. But we must take the word in the narrower sense, not in the wider reference of Rom. ix. 3. Elisabeth was of the tribe of Levi : but this need not hinder connexion by marriage with other tribes. Aaron himself married into Judah, Exod. vi. 23. We find in Judges xvii. 7 a young man of the family of Judah who was a Levite. Philo says, "Moses ordered the high priest to marry not only a virgin, but one of priestly descent... but the other priests were permitted to marry other than the daughters of priests." 38.] Her own faithful and humble assent is here given to the divine announcement which had been made to her. I believe that her conception of the Lord is to be dated from the utterance of these words. So Euthymius, and similarly Irenæus, Tertullian, Athanasius, Maldonatus, Grotius. Lightfoot, holding a different opinion, says, “I own, that it is the general opinion, that the Virgin conceived at Nazareth, in the instant when the Angel spoke with her." She was no unconscious vessel of the divine

u render, is called. W render, these.

will, but (see ver. 45), in humility and faith, a fellow-worker with the purpose of the Father; and therefore her own unity with that purpose was required, and is here recorded. 39-56.] VISITATION OF ELISABETH BY MARY. 39.] The situation of Elisabeth was not before this known to Mary; and on the intelligence of it from the angel, she arose and went to congratulate her kinswoman. But before this the events related in Matt. i. 18-25 had happened. Mary being betrothed to Joseph, had no communications with him, except through the bridesmaids; who, on the first indications of her pregnancy, represented it to him. This would not take longer time than the expression might include-possibly three or four weeks. Then happened Matt. i. 19, 20; and immediately Joseph took her home. As a betrothed virgin she could not travel: but now immediately, and perhaps for the very reason of the circumstances under which Joseph had taken her home, she visits Elisabeth - remaining with her about three months, ver. 56. So that we have, five months, during which Elisabeth hid herself, together with the sixth month, during which takes place the Annunciation, the discovery of Mary's pregnancy, her taking home by Joseph, together with three months visit of Mary, making up together nine months, nearly her full time: see ver. 57. The words rendered a city of Juda may possibly mean "the city of Juttah," which (Josh. xxi. 16) was given, together with Hebron (in the hill country of Judæa: ib. ver. 11), and other neighbouring cities, to the children of Aaron the priest. But it may also mean a city of Juda;' and this is perhaps more likely, as no place of residence is mentioned for Zacharias in


it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, m Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. 46 And Mary said, " My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Ps. cxxxviii. Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his


Ps. xxxiv. 2, 3: XXXV. 9.

Hab. i. 18.

o 1 Sam. i. 11,


m ver. 28. Judg. v. 24.

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render for perspicuity (see note), Mary's salutation. y literally, cry.

ver. 23,-and one would hardly be intro-
duced so abruptly here.
It is not
Jerusalem; for that would hardly have
been described as in the hill country; and
from vv. 23, 65, the Evangelist clearly in-
dicates some other place than Jerusalem
as the residence of the parents of John.
41.] The salutation uttered by
Elisabeth is certainly implied to have been
an inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No
intimation had been made to her of the
situation of Mary. The movement of the
babe in her womb (possibly for the first
time) was part of the effect of the same
spiritual influence. The known mysterious
effects of sympathy in such cases, at least
lead us to believe that there may be cor-
responding effects where the causes are of
a kind beyond our common experience.
"The salutation of Mary' might be
taken to mean the Annunciation: better
therefore as in margin, Mary's salutation.
42.] The word rendered Blessed has
a double meaning that of blessed,—from
above-blessed among women, i. e. beyond
other women; and praised,-from below
-i. e. called blessed by women. The former
is the best rendering here: and then among
women will be the Hebrew superlative, as
in Jer. xlix. 15, and Song of Sol. i. 8.
43.] The word Lord, as applied to
the unborn babe, can no otherwise be
explained than as uttered in the spirit of
prophecy, and expressing the divine nature
of our Lord: see especially Ps. cx. 1,
from which Bleek thinks the expression is
45.] The words may be
rendered either as in A. V. (so also the
Vulgate, Erasmus, Beza, Meyer), blessed
is she that believed, for, &c.-or as in


Z render, in exultation.

margin of A. V., blessed is she that be-
lieved that there shall be. The last is
maintained by Bengel and De Wette, and
supported by Acts xxvii. 25. I much
prefer the former rendering, as agreeable
likewise to the analogy of Scripture, where
faith, in the recipient of the divine purposes,
is so often represented as a co-ordinate cause
of the fulfilment of those purposes. Light-
foot well suggests, that there may have been
present to the mind of Elisabeth the unbelief
of her husband, as contrasted with Mary's
46-55.] Compare through-
out the song of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 1-10.
As connected with the defence of the
hymns contained in these two chapters, we
may observe, taking the very lowest ground,
that there is nothing improbable, as matter
of fact, in holy persons, full of the thoughts
which run through the O. T. prophecies,
breaking out into such songs of praise as
these, which are grounded on and almost
expressed in the words of Scripture. The
Christian believer however will take a
higher view than this, and attribute to the
mother of our Lord that same inspiration
of the Holy Spirit which filled Elisabeth (ver.
41) and Zacharias (ver. 67).
46. My
soul... my spirit] the whole inner being :
see on 1 Thess. v. 23.
my Saviour]
not merely Deliverer from degradation,
as a daughter of David'-but, in a
higher sense, author of that salvation
which God's people expected: among
whom the Holy Virgin reckons herself.
Only sinners need a Saviour.
regarded, i. e. looked upon.
marks, that "look upon my son
ix. 38, is "have mercy
in Matt. xvii. 15.


Bleek re


in Luke on my son low estate, or con

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xi. 27.

cxxvi. 2, 3.

50 And

Ps. cxi. 9.


handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations P Mal. iii. 12. shall a call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath 9 Ps. lxxi. 19: done to me great things; and holy is his name. his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; " he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 v He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 w He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy 55 (as he spake to our fathers) to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with z ver. 14. her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they a Gen. xvii, 12. came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. ver. 13. 61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is c ver. 13.


Lev xii. 3.



Gen. xvi. 7.

Exod. xx. 6. Ps. ciii. 17, 18.

t Ps. xcviii. 1:

exviii. 15.



dition, not humility; the noun is an objec-
tive one.
Ver. 55 is not rendered in
the A. V. according to the construction;
from Ps. xcvii. 3 it will be seen that in
remembrance of his mercy to Abraham
are to be joined together, and therefore
as he spake to our fathers will be paren-
thetical. See Micah vii. 20. 57-79.]
BAPTIST. 59.] they were calling-
wished to call: the imperfect tense is here
in its strict meaning, as in Matt. viii. 24.
The names of children were given at cir-
cumcision, because, at the institution of
that rite, the names of Abram and Sarai

li. 9: lii. 10.

Ps. xxxii. 10.

1 Pet. v. 5.

Sam. ii. 6,

&c. Job v.



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Ps. criii.

w 1 Sam. ii. 5.

P. xxxiv. 10.

x Ps. xcviii. 3.


Jer. xxxi. 3,
Gen. xvii. 19.

Ps. cxxxii. 11.
Rom. xi. 28.
Gal. iii. 16.

a literally, shall congratulate me, or account me happy.

brender and read, is unto generations and generations to them that fear him.

© render, potentates from thrones.

d render, kinsfolk.

render, for the purpose of circumcising; to avoid the ambiguity in came to. frender, were calling.

were changed to Abraham and Sarah,--
Gen. xvii. 5, 15.
60.] There is no
reason for supposing, with some Commen-
tators, that Elisabeth had had the name
supernaturally intimated to her. She must
necessarily have learnt it, in the course of
communication by writing, from her hus-
62.] The natural inference
(see on ver. 22) from this verse is, that
Zacharias was deaf as well as dumb; nor
do I think that the objectors have suc-
ceeded in invalidating this inference. There
could have been no reason for beckoning,
had Zacharias been able to hear articulate
63. a writing table] A


d ver. 20.

John. And they marvelled all.
64 d And his mouth was
opened immediately, and his tongue [ loosed], and he
spake, and praised God. 65 And fear came on all that
dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised
abroad throughout all the hill country of Judæa.
66 And

all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts,
saying, What manner of child shall this be! h And the
hand of the Lord was with him. 67 And his father Za-
charias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,

iv. 31. Ps.

exi. 9. ch. vii. saying, 68 i Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he


1 Ps. exxxii. 7. hath visited and i redeemed his people, 69 and hath raised

m Jer. xxiii. 5, 6: xxx. 10.

Dan. ix. 24.

up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant

Acts iii. 21.

Rom. i. 2.

e ver. 39.

fch. ii. 19, 51.

g Gen. xxxix. 2.

Ps. 1xxx. 17:

lxxxix. 21.

Acts xi. 21. h Joel ii. 28. i1 Kings i. 48. Ps. xli. 13: lxxii. 18:

cvi. 48.

Exod. ii, 18,

iii. 16:

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David; 70 m as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,

n Lev. xxvi. 42.

Ps.xcviii. 3: which have been since the world began: 71 that we should

cv. 8, 9: cvi.

45. Ezek.

xvi. 60. ver. be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that


o Gen. xii. 8: hate us;

xvii. 4: xxii. 16, 17. Heb.

vi. 18, 17. p Rom. vi. 18,

22. Heb. ix. which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 that he would


r Isa. xl. 3.

72 n to perform the mercy promised to our

fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 ° the oath

q Jer. xxxii. 39,

40. Eph. iv. grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of

24. 2 Thess.

ii. 13. 2 Tim. our enemies might P serve him without fear, 75 9 in holiness

i. 9. Tit. ii. 12.

i. 4.

1Pet. 1:15 Mali. 1:

iv. 5. Matt. xi. 10. ver.


and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 761 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to

8 not in the original. read, For also.

k literally, mercy with our fathers. tablet smeared with wax, on which they wrote with a style, or sharp iron point. they marvelled all] This also confirms the view that Zacharias was deaf. There would be nothing wonderful in his acceding to his wife's suggestion, if he had known it: the coincidence, apparently without this knowledge, was the matter of wonder. 64.] For now first had the angel's words, "thou shalt call his name John," ver. 13, received their fulfilment. 66. For also...] A remark inserted by the Evangelist himself, not a further saying of the speakers in the verse before, as Kuinoel and others maintain. The for refers back to the question just asked, And they might well enquire thus, for ' &c. 68-79.] This Hymn of thanksgiving appears to have been uttered at the time of the circumcision of the child (in which case the matters related in vv. 65, 66 are parenthetical and anticipatory) and, as the Magnificat, under the immediate influence of inspiration of the Holy

render, wrought redemption for. 1 read, Moreover.

Ghost. It is entirely Hebrew in its cast and idioms, and might be rendered in that language almost word for word. It serves, besides its own immediate interest to every Christian, to show to us the exact religious view under which John was educated by his father. 69.] an horn -a metaphor from horned beasts, who are weak and defenceless without, but formidable with their horns. There does not seem to be any allusion to the horns of the altar-the mere notion of a refuge is never connected with the Messiah's Kingdom. 74, 75.] The attempts to remove the Jewish worship by Antiochus Epiphanes and by the Romans, had been most calamitous to the people. This

in holiness and righteousness sufficiently refutes the idea of some, that the whole subject of this song is the temporal theocratic greatness of the Messiah. 76.1 It is not necessary to interpret the Lord of the Messiah: it may be said of God, whose people (ver. 77) Israel was. But


prepare his ways; 77 to give knowledge of salvation unto
his peoplem by the remission of their sins 78 through the Marki..
tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on
high hath visited us, 79 t to give light to them that sit in
darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet xlii. 7 xlix.
into the way of
80 And the child
and waxed
strong in spirit, and ▾
was in the deserts till the day of his ch
shewing unto Israel.

s 4.
ch. iii. 3.
Num. xxiv.
17. Isa. xi.
1. Zech. iii.
8: vi. 12.
Mal. iv. 2.
t Isa. ix. 2:

9. Matt. iv.
10. Acts


xxvi. 18.


v Matt. iii. 1:
xi. 7.

II. 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went
▲ render, on account of the bowels of mercy.

m render, in.

the believing Christian will find it far
more natural thus to apply it, especially in
connexion with Matt. i. 21. 77. in
remission, the element in which the former
blessing was to be conferred. The remis-
sion of sin is the first opening for the
knowledge of salvation: see ch. iii. 7.

should be inconsistent with dogmatic
truth, is impossible: that it should unfold
it minutely, is in the highest degree im-
probable, 80.] A very similar con-
clusion to those in ch. ii. 40, 52, and
denoting probably the termination of that
record or document of the birth of the
Baptist, which the Evangelist has hitherto
been translating, or perhaps transcribing
already translated. That this first
chapter is such a separate document,
appears from its very distinct style.
Whether it had been preserved in the
holy family, or how otherwise obtained by
St. Luke, no trace now appears. It has a
certain relation to, and at the same time
is distinguished from, the narration of the
next chapter. The Old Testament spirit
is stronger here, and the very phraseology
more in unison with Hebrew usage.
in the deserts] The hill country of Judæa
was very near this wilderness, and from
the character of John's official life after-
wards, it is probable that in youth he
would be given to solitude and abstemious-
ness. It cannot be supposed that the
Essenes, dwelling in those parts, had any,
or only the most general kind of influence
over him, as their views were wholly different
from his. his shewing] i. e. the opening
of his official life: the same word is used of
the appointment of the seventy in ch. x. 1.


1, 2.] We go back again now to the birth
of John, or shortly after it.
In an-
notating on these verses, I will first state
the difficulty in which they appear to be
involved, then the remarkable way in
which a solution has recently been found.
The assertion in these verses is
this that a decree went forth, &c., and
that this enrolment first took place when
Cyrenius (Quirinus) was governor of Syria.
It would then appear, either that this
very enrolment took place under Quirinus,


78. dayspring] The springing up, or, the East, is in Jer. xxiii. 5, Zech. iii. 9, vi. 12, the LXX rendering for the Hebrew word for a branch or sprout-and thus, that which springs up or rises,' as Light:-which, from the clauses following, seems to be the meaning here. from on high may be taken with dayspring, as in A. V. :-or perhaps with the verb to give light. But however taken, the expression is not quite easy to understand. The word had come apparently to be a name for the Messiah: thus in Zech. iii. 9 (LXX. see above), behold a man, his name is "the springing up," or "the East" (the A.V. has the branch): and then figures arising from the meaning of the word itself, became mixed with that which was said of Him. The dayspring does not come from on high, but from beneath the horizon; but the Messiah does. Again, to give light, &c. of the next verse belongs to the dayspring, and only figuratively to the Messiah. 79.] Care must be taken on the one hand not to degrade the expressions of this song of praise into mere anticipations of temporal prosperity, nor, on the other, to find in it (except in so far as they are involved in the inner and deeper sense of the words, unknown save to the Spirit who prompted them) the minute doctrinal distinctions of the writings of St. Paul. It is the expression of the aspirations and hopes of a pious Jew, waiting for the salvation of the Lord, finding that salvation brought near, and uttering his thankfulness in Old Testament language, with which he was familiar, and at the same time under prophetic influence of the Holy Spirit. That such a song

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