The mission of the Messiah, 1:5-9:50

1. Prophecies concerning the coming messiah, 1:5-2:40

i] Vision in the temple


Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth were childless. While Zechariah was serving in the temple, an angel appears to him and announces the birth of a son. Zechariah's doubt brings with it divine chastisement in the form of short-term deafness, but none-the-less, Elizabeth soon conceives a child as promised. The vision in the temple is typical of visions in that the angel speaks, there is fear and this is dispelled by the angel's message. This is then followed by doubt, settled in a sign.


The messianic age dawns in the conception of the prophet who will announce the coming kingdom of God.


i] Context: See 1:1-4. In the opening section of the gospel, Prophecies concerning the coming messiah, 1:5-2:40, Luke gathers together a group of visions and prophesies covering the infancy narratives. For Luke, these herald the dawning of the messianic era; they testify that Jesus is the long-awaited messiah.

The messianic age dawns with the appearance of two men, John and Jesus. Their births are marked by significance. Linked at birth, they part, one to the wilderness, one to Nazareth. John possesses the spirit of Elijah, and Jesus the throne of David. Although the dawning of the messianic age is shrouded in significance, it intrudes itself with words, a light shining in the darkness in the power of the Holy Spirit, and showing the way that leads to the things that pertain to peace. These divine words call for a response of faith, that we hear the word and keep it as Mary did. All this falls within the national hope of Israel, but through a lack of repentance, the new age will transcend Israel's aspirations.


Vision in the temple. 1:5-25

Vision of Mary. 1:26-38

Prophecy of Mary. 1:39-56

Prophecy of Zechariah. 1:57-80

Vision glorious

    The birth of Jesus, 2:1-7

    The vision of the shepherds. 2:8-21

Prophecy in the temple. 2:22-40


ii] Structure: A vision in the temple:

Situation, v5-7;

A childless couple.

Prophetic intervention, v8-23:

Setting - in the temple, v8-10;

Angelic proclamation, v11-20;

"your wife will bear a son ..."

Consequences, v21-23;

"he could not speak ..."

Resolution, v24-25:

"Elizabeth became pregnant ..."


iii] Interpretation:

Luke, drawing on his sources, develops a comparison between John and Jesus which serves to reveal Jesus' superiority. Yet, although Jesus supersedes John, John's importance as a prophet in the tradition of Elijah, and even Jeremiah (1:15), is by no means diminished. Luke carefully weaves John and Jesus into the world of Old Testament Israel by means of Biblical allusions expressed in the language-style of the LXX. Portents and predictions herald their birth announcing the presence of great-ones in the midst of humanity, particularly the world of Israel, with its centre Jerusalem. In this particular episode we are introduced to the prophet John whose task is the prepare the people for the coming of the Lord.

It seems likely that the apostolic oral tradition evident in Mark's gospel did not include the infancy stories. The different handling by Luke and Matthew of the events leading up to Jesus' baptism, indicate that either Luke had no knowledge of Matthew's gospel, or that he felt free to form this part of the gospel story as he saw fit.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:5

The vision in the temple, v5-25: i] Luke begins by introducing his readers to the main participants in the story, Zechariah and Elizabeth, v5-7. Zechariah was a member of Abijah, the eighth of twenty-four ancient priestly orders. His wife was also of a priestly family. His opportunity to serve comes during Herod's reign in Palestine (Judea means Palestine here). Both Zechariah and his wife were, in an Old Testament sense, godly people, yet they were aged and childless

en + dat. "in the time" - in [the days]. Temporal use of the preposition.

HJrw/dou gen. "of Herod" - of [king] herod. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, limiting "the days; "the days when Herod was the king of Judea." Referring to Herod the Great, 37-4BC.

thV IoudaiaV (a) gen. "of Judea" - of judea. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "over Judea."

egeneto (ginomai) aor. "there was" - there was. This verb is often used to indicate a major transition, new paragraph / episode; "there was, in the day of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest", AV.

onomati (a atoV) dat. "named" - [a certain priest] by name [zechariah]. The dative is adverbial, reference / respect; "with respect to his name, Zachariah.

ex (ek) + gen. "who belonged to" - out of [division of abijah]. Expressing source / origin. A class or group of priests performing certain functions in the Temple. There were 24 such classes, each serving for two weeks in a year.

autw/ dat. pro. "his [wife]" - [and] the wife [to him]. Dative of possession.

Aarwn gen. "[a descendent] of Aaron" - [of the daughters] of aaron [and the name of her was elizabeth]. The genitive is adjectival, relational. Indicating that Elizabeth was born to a priestly family, as was Zechariah. "His wife, whose name was Elizabeth, was also of priestly descent", REB.


dikaioi adj. "upright" - [but/and they were] righteous. Predicate nominative adjective. Probably used in the sense of a life lived with exemplary Jewish piety rather than in the sense of morally perfect or justified, although note the next clause.

enantion + gen. "in the sight of" - before [god]. Spatial. The literal sense of the preposition "before, in the sight of, in the presence of", expresses the sense that he was serving in the temple before / in front of the throne of God. Expressed as service under the authority of God, or service to God, makes better sense.

poreuomenoi (poreuomai) pres. part. "observing" - walking about. The participle is adverbial, possibly causal; "for they lived in blameless obedience to all the commandments", Barclay. Yet, the adverbial sense could also be consecutive, expressing result, or modal, expressing manner; "walking in all the commandments", AV. A noncommittal attendant circumstance participle may be better given that it would be wrong to assume that a person's standing in the sight of God was the result of their obedience; "were righteous before God and lived in conformity with all the commands and decrees of God", Culy. They were "going" in God's way.

en + dat. "-" in. The preposition here is adverbial, introducing a prepositional phrase expressing the manner of their "walking"; "they conducted their lives in conformity with all God's commandments and ordinances", Cassirer.

tou kuriou (oV) "the Lord's [commands]" - all the commandments and regulations] of the lord. Usually referring to Jesus with the article, but here obviously "God", LXX = Yahweh. The genitive may be classified as ablative, source / origin, or verbal, subjective..

amemptoi adj. "blamelessly" - blameless. The NIV treats this adjective as if adverbial. Culy treats it as the predicate adjective of an implied h\san, "they were walking in the commandments in such a way that they were blameless", TH; "both were righteous in the sight of God, living a blameless life in full observance of the commandments and precepts of the Lord", Rieu. Best taken as emphasising their piety, not their perfection; "they were good people", CEV.


kai "but" - and. NIV takes the particle as an adversative, although Luke may just want to add a coordinate point, "and ....." Luke is gentle in his description, given the shame of being childless. A state commonly regarded as punishment for sin.

autoiV dat. pro. "they [had no children]" - a child was not [to them]. Dative of possession.

kaqoti "because" - because. This conjunction is often causal, as here, so introducing a causal clause explaining why they had no children, "because, for ......."

probebhkoteV (probainw) perf. part. "they were [both] well along" - [elizabeth was barren and they were] having been advanced. The participle with the imperfect verb to-be h\san forms a periphrastic pluperfect construction, possibly emphasising aspect, an ongoing state. Luke provides us with information to further emphasise the wonder of John's birth. "They were both getting on in years", Phillips.

en + dat. "very old" - in [years]. Temporal use of the preposition, idiomatic; "advanced in age", Cassirer.


ii] The story of the annunciation, v8-23. a) Setting, v8-10. It was in his old age that the lottery for service at the Temple fell on Zechariah. Events unfold as he keeps the incense burning on the altar in front of the Most Holy Place while hidden from the worshippers outside.

Nolland, referring to Hubbard, The Matthean Redaction of a Primitive Apostolic Commissioning, notes the elements of a commissioning found in this story: circumstantial introduction, v8-10; confrontation between the commissioner and the commissioned, v11; reaction to the holy presence, v12; commission proper, v13-17; protest to commission, v18; reassurance, v19-20; conclusion, v21-23.

egeneto "once" - it came to pass, it happened. For Luke, this verb, usually with de or kai and followed by a temporal en, often serves to indicate narrative transition / a paragraph marker. In Luke it appears some 40 times. Most often used at the beginning of a narrative (24 times), with the other uses related to the beginning of a narrative, or transition within a narrative, or the climax of a narrative. "Now while he was serving as a priest before God", ESV.

en tw/ + inf. "when" - in the [to perform priestly duties of him]. This construction, en + a dative articular infinitive, forms a temporal clause, contemporaneous time; "it came to pass, while he was performing his priestly duties."

en + dat. "when" - in = when [the order of the division of him]. Forming a prepositional phrase which is either local, expressing state / context, "in the sequence of his series as customary among the priests", Berkeley, or temporal, as NIV. Phillips nicely treats the phrase as a paresis; "(it was the turn of his division to be on duty)".

iJerateuein (iJerateuw) pres. inf. "was serving as priest" - to perform priestly duties. The infinitive with en tw/ above. "To take part in the temple service", REB.

enanti + gen. "before [God]" - before [god]. Spatial, see enantion, v6; "in the presence of God."


elace (lagcanw) aor. "he was chosen by lot" - he received / he was chosen by lot / he chose by lot. It is unclear who does the choosing, but it is probably done on behalf of the priests, so "he was chosen by lot". According to Josephus, there were some 8,000 priests in Jerusalem. There was a morning and evening offering of incense which was allocated to a priest by means of a lottery. A person would be lucky to receive this honour once or twice in their life.

kata + acc. "according to" - according to. Expressing a standard: "in accordance with, corresponding to." Not, "he was serving as a priest according to custom", but "according to custom he was chosen."

thV iJerateiaV (a) gen. "of the priesthood" - [the custom] of the priestly office. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic; "the custom followed by those in the priestly office", Culy.

eiselqwn (eisercomai) aor. part. "to go" - having entered. The participle is possibly temporal, as AV, "when he went into the temple of the Lord", but probably better attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the infinitive "to burn incense"; "he was chosen by lot, as the custom is in the priestly office, to go into the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense", Cassirer.

ton naon (oV) "the temple" - [into] the temple [of the lord]. This is not the usual word used by Luke for the temple precincts. Here used to refer to the holy place where the sacrifice is offered, which was in front of the great curtain hanging before the holy of holies, so "holy place." The genitive "of the Lord" is adjectival, possessive.

tou qumiasai (qumiaw) aor. inf. "burn incense" - to burn incense. This construction, the genitive articular infinitive, usually forms a purpose clause, "in order to burn", or hypothetical result, "so that he could burn."


th/ w{ra/ (a) dat. "when the time .... came" - [and] at the hour. The dative is adverbial, temporal, serving to introduce a temporal clause; "the hour when the incense was burnt."

tou qumiamatoV (a atoV) gen. "for the burning of incense" - of the incense burning. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, limiting "hour"; "the hour when the incense was offered", Culy.

to plhqoV (oV) "the assembled" - [all] the multitude, the whole body. Nominative subject of the periphrastic imperfect. "The crowded congregation", Phillips.

tou laou (oV) gen. "worshipers" - of the people. The genitive is adjectival, partitive / wholative. "People" here probably takes the more religious sense of "congregation."

hn ... proseucomenon (proseucomai) pres. part. "were praying" - were praying [outside]. A periphrastic imperfect, possibly used to emphasise durative aspect, they continued in their praying; "the mass of the people all remained in prayer outside", Moffatt. The people's prayer is an act of participation in the priestly function.


b) The angelic proclamation, v11-20: In the quietness and solitude of the Holy Place, an angel appears and speaks with Zechariah. Fear is a reasonable response, given the circumstances. The term "angel of the Lord" probably means "the angel who serves the Lord." The angel tells how Zechariah and Elizabeth's prayer for a child is about to be answered. The child will be a son and they must name him John. He will be a "joy and delight" to them. His birth will cause great rejoicing. He will be "great in the sight of the Lord". He is not to drink alcohol and will be "filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth" - he will be stimulated by the Spirit rather than alcohol. The Holy Spirit had come on the Old Testament prophets intermittently, but John is to reflect the dawning of the new age where the Spirit is poured out permanently. The angel's prophecy continues with the announcement that John will gather many of the lost of Israel into the kingdom. He will be the long-awaited Elijah who will turn the hearts of the people in preparation for the coming of the messiah, Mal.4:5. This is all a bit much for Zechariah and so he doubts the veracity of the vision. The angel then gives his name, although it is more rightly his function; Gabriel foretold the messiah's coming and now he proclaims that the day has come, Dan.9:25, and it is he who will sound the trumpet at the parousia. Doubt has its cost, and so Zechariah is given a sign; he is rendered speechless until the birth of John.

de "then" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

aggeloV "an angel" - an angel. Nominative subject of the verb "to appear." Often an anarthrous (without an article) aggeloV means a definite "the angel [of the Lord]", serving as a general term for a theophany. Here though it is obviously "an angel."

kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - of the lord. The genitive may be classified as ablative, source / origin, "an angel from the Lord", or adjectival, idiomatic, limiting "angel"; "and angel who serves the Lord / in service to the Lord."

wfqh (oJraw) aor. pas. + dat. "appeared" - appeared. An objective appearing is intended. Interestingly, announcements of a divinely instigated birth are usually to the wife.

autw/ "to him" - to him. Dative of direct object after the passive oJraw, "to appear"; dative of persons.

eJstwV (iJsthmi) perf. part. "standing" - having stood. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting angel, "who was standing", although since it is anarthrous it may be adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the angel's appearing.

ek dexiwn adj. "at the right side" - out of right side. A technical phrase meaning "at the right side", as NIV - the side of favour. Plummer notes that the angel is therefore standing between the altar and the candlestick in the Holy Place.

tou qusiasthriou (on) gen. "of the altar" - of the altar. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

tou qumimatoV (a atoV) gen. "of incense" - of incense. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / locative; "the altar where the incense is burned."


idwn (eidon) aor. part. "when [Zechariah] saw" - [and] seeing the apparition. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

etaracqh (tarassw) aor. pas. "he was startled" - [zechariah] was terrified, troubled. The position is emphatic, while the word itself expresses real terror: "alarmed", Barrett, better than "troubled", Moffatt, etc. For Luke, such a response is a long way from faith.

ep (epi) + acc. "-" - [and fear fell] upon [him]. Spatial, "down upon, on."


mh fobou pres. imp. "do not be afraid" - [but/and the angel said toward him] do not fear [zechariah]. It is often argued that mh with the present imperative serves as a command to cease an action which is already underway, so "don't be afraid any longer." This classification is no longer widely accepted; see Porter.

dioti "-" - because. Causal conjunction introducing a causal clause, "for your petition has been heard", Weymouth.

sou gen. pro. "your [prayer]" - [the prayer] of you. The genitive may be classified as: adjectival, possessive; ablative, expressing source, "from you"; verbal, subjective.

eishkousqh (eisakouw) aor. pas. "has been heard" - was heard. What prayer was heard; his prayer for a son or the redemption of Israel? If it's his prayer in the sanctuary, then it is probably his prayer for the redemption of Israel. Luke makes a point of stating that the prayers of the righteous are answered, 18:7-8.

kai "-" - and. Culy opts for a consecutive sense here, serving to introduce the result of the previous event; "because God has hard your prayer, your wife Elizabeth is going to bear a son for you." Yet, this then gives the impression that Zechariah's prayer is for a son, when his prayer is more likely for the redemption of Israel. The gift of a son to Elizabeth and Zechariah is a byproduct of that redemption. "Do not be afraid, Zacharias: your prayers have been heard. Elisabeth you wife will bear you a son ................... and he will make a people fully ready for their Lord (ie., the redemption of Israel)", Phillips.

sou gen. pro. "your [wife]" - [the wife] of you [elizabeth]. A genitive of relationship.

soi dat. pro. "you [a son]" - [will bear a son] to you [and you will call the name of him john]. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage. Culy corrects Wallace's dative of indirect object, stating that it is a dative of interest, advantage, "a son for you." As Turner notes, most datives can be classed as a dative of interest, so surely both are right.


estai (eimi) fut. "he will be" - [and] he will be. The subject of the verb to-be is unclear. Is it an assumed John, as NIV, or is it the singular collective "you"? The dative "you" would be a dative of direct object if John is the subject, and a dative of interest, advantage if "you" is the subject, "for you will be joy and gladness"; "your heart will be filled with joy and exaltation", Cassirer.

cara (a) "a joy" - a joy [and gladness]. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. A word often used by Luke to describe a person's reaction to a confrontation with the divine in Jesus. Both joy and gladness have messianic overtones which express the reaction of God's people to the coming kingdom. "His birth will make you very happy", CEV.

soi dat. pro. "to you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

polloi adj. "many" - [and] many, much. Some argue it means "all", but "a lot will be exceedingly happy" is better.

epi + dat. "because of" - on. A causal sense is probably intended; "because of, on the basis of."

autou gen. pro. "his" - [the birth] of him [will rejoice]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, although an active / verbal noun can prompt a classification of either a subjective, or objective, possibly objective since the genitive "him" receives the action of the verbal noun "birth", but better subjective since the genitive "of him" prompts his birth from within the womb. It is examples like this which spawn suspicion of a verbal classification!!!


gar "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why people will rejoice at the birth of John.

megaV adj. "great" - [he will be] great. The adjective serves as a predicate nominative. In the sense that John has an important part to play in God's plans.

enwpion + gen. "in the sight" - before, in front of [the lord]. Spatial. As with enanti, v8, and enantion, v6; see v6. Possibly: "your son will be a servant of the Lord", CEV; "God will give him a great task to do", Barclay; "he will be one of God's great men", Phillips ..., all attempting to give some sense to being "before" the Lord.

ou mh + subj. "never" - [and] not not [may he drink]. A subjunctive of emphatic negation; "he will never ever take strong wine ..."

sikera "fermented drink" - [wine and] spirits. Accusative direct object of the verb "to drink." Possibly "beer", but then any alcoholic drink, so "wine and spirits." There is no argument here that such are evil, but rather that John will take on the role of an ascetic, a Nazarite, (although there is no mention of not cutting his hair) as an expression of his prophetic office.

plhsqhsetai (pimplhmi) fut. pas. "he will be filled" - [and] he will be filled. Unlike the prophets of old, the abiding presence of the Spirit will be continuous, rather than intermittent. As to when he is "filled", some argue at birth, others argue for "in his mother's womb", cf., 1:41. For Luke, this "filling" is for proclamation. Following Old Testament precedence, a person is filled and then speaks for God.

pneumatoV aJgiou gen. "the Holy Spirit" - of = with the holy spirit. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / content; "filled full of the Holy Spirit." "Spirit" is usually regarded as a monadic noun, that is, taking an assumed definite article rather than being anarthrous, thus "the [God's] Holy Spirit."

eti ek + gen. "even from" - yet out of = while in. An emphatic construction serving to identify a particular point of time.

autou gen. pro. "[birth]" - [mother's belly] of him. The genitive is adjectival, relational.


epistreyei (epistrefw) fut. "he will bring back" - [and] he will turn back, turn around. The sense is of "repentance", a turning to, or better, a returning to God; an action constantly required of the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Although this turning around involves a return to righteousness, of piety toward God and compassion toward one's neighbour, it is Israel's inability to love either God or neighbour that will focus John's message on the greater one who comes after him, the one righteous Israelite in whose righteousness the unrighteous may find salvation.

twn uiJwn (oV) gen. "of the people" - [many] of the sons / descendants [of israel]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. John's ministry is limited to Israel.

epi + acc. "to" - upon. Probably here expressing influence / control, "to their God."

autwn gen. pro. "their [God]" - [the god] of them. Genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "the God over them."


Note the Old Testament allusions in this verse, Mal.2:6, 3:1, 3:24, 4:5.

proeleusetai (proercomai) fut. "will go on" - [and] will go forward [before him]. The sense of leading or going before the Lord means "introducing", "representing", thus "proclaiming" the Lord (God, rather than the messiah, Jesus) to the people. Probably not referring to John as Jesus' "forerunner", even though he is.

en + dat. "in" - in. The preposition here is probably adverbial, expressing manner, "John proclaims God, with spirit and power / with God's powerful Spirit, as Elijah proclaimed God." Possibly instrumental, means, guided by, "possessed by the spirit and power of Elijah", NEB; "with the same spirit and power that Elijah had", CEV.

pneumati kai dunamei "the spirit and power" - spirit and power. Is the "spirit" here God's Spirit. If so, possibly better rendered "powerful Spirit."

Hliou "of Elijah" - of elijah. The genitive is adjectival, relational; "the spirit and power that were associated with Elijah", Culy. John ministers / preaches in the same manner as Elijah, although without miracles.

epistreyai (epistrefw) inf. "to turn" - to turn back [the hearts of the fathers]. The infinitive is adverbial, probably final, expressing purpose, "in order to." See above. Possibly family reconciliation, Mal.3:24, or reconciliation with God. Many commentators argue for symbolic, or spiritual, interpretations of this dual reconciliation, eg. the fathers represent Israel and the son's represent the Gentiles. Obviously, this is a call for a return to the business of loving God and loving neighbour. Both elements are present in John's preaching.

epi + acc. "to [their children]" - to [the = their children]. Here again expressing influence / control; "It will be his task to reconcile fathers and children", Barclay.

en + dat. "to [the wisdom]" - [and the disobedient] in [wisdom, thinking, thoughtfulness, understanding]. Culy suggests that the use of en here is simply a stylistic change from epi, so here with the same sense, as NIV. A rare use for this preposition; "to turn the disobedient."

dikaiwn gen. adj. "of the righteous" - of the righteous. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "wisdom". Luke has just identified John's task as a social one, restoring relationships, but it is also a spiritual one, of turning the disobedient to "righteous thoughts." Note that Culy also suggests a classification of verbal, subjective, "to the wisdom of the righteous", and ablative, source / origin, "wisdom from the righteous."

etoimasai (etoimazw) aor. inf. "to make ready" - to prepare [to = for the lord a people having been made ready]. Again, the infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose. The participle kateskeuasmenon "having been made ready" ("prepared", NIV), probably functions adjectivally; "in order to prepare a people who are made ready for the Lord" (the dative kuriw/, "to Lord", is a dative of interest, advantage). This serves to emphasise the preparedness, so "to make a people perfectly ready for the Lord", Goodspeed.


kata + acc. "[how can I be sure of this]?" - [and zechariah said to the angel.] according to [what will i know this]? Expressing a standard; "in accordance with." Another Old Testament allusion, Gen.15:8, LXX. Zechariah is actually asking for a sign, which is understandable in the circumstances, and for this he has Old Testament precedence. None-the-less, such a request evidences little faith, and so he is treated accordingly. Zechariah got his sign; he was struck dumb. "How shall I know that this is really going to happen", Barclay.

gar "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Zechariah is sceptical of the promise.

egw "I [am an old man]" - i [i am old]. Emphatic use of the personal pronoun.

probebhkuia (probainw) perf. part. "is well along [in years]" - [and the wife of me] having advanced [in the days of her]. The participle is adjectival, predicative, limiting "wife", a "wife well stricken in years", AV, although Culy suggests it is best to assume an implied estin, so forming a periphrastic pluperfect. "My wife is advanced in years", Moffatt; "My wife and I are both very old", CEV.


apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "[the angel] answered" - [and] having answered [the angel said]. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant / pleonastic, expressing action accompanying the verb "said." This very common Semitic construction serves to introduce direct speech and so is often followed by a dative of indirect object of the verb "to say"; "he answered and said '.........' to ....." It will often indicate a change in speaker - dialogue transition. Both Runge Gk., and Levinsohn Gk., argue for a more detailed discourse purpose, but generally the construction functions as a "speed hump, attracting attention to what follows", Runge; See Culy p.29-30.

autw/ dat. pro. "-" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

egw pro. "I [am]" - i [i am gabriel]. Emphatic use of the pronoun. Possible meanings for Gabriel include: "God is my hero", "God has shown himself strong." It was commonly held that he was one of a small number of angels who had direct access to God.

oJ paresthkwV (paristhmi) perf. part. "I stand" - the one having stood [before god]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "Gabriel"; "I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God", Berkeley.

apestalhn (apostellw) aor. "I have been sent" - [and] i was sent. Aorist indicating completed action. The sense is "I was commissioned." The passive can be viewed as theological / divine, "sent by God."

lalhsai (lalew) aor. inf. "to tell" - to speak, say. This infinitive, as with "to speak", is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "I was sent in order to speak to you and announce these things to you."

soi dat. pro "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

euaggelisasqai (euaggelizw) aor, inf. "to tell" - [and] to announce / communicate important news [these things to you]. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to announce." Accusative direct object of the infinitive is "these things", accusative of respect, "about these things"; about "good news", "glad tidings, Berkeley, "happy news", Cassirer, .... etc. This verb technically means to announce important news, the "these things" being the words / divine message; "I have been sent to speak to you in order to communicate to you this important news."


idou "-" - [and] behold. Interjection. Serving to introduce a significant statement or event.

esh/ siwpwn "you will be silent" - you will be mute. As with the negated participle dunamenoV "not being able", Luke has formed a future periphrastic construction, the future of the verb "to be" + the pres. part., serving to emphasise durative aspect; "you shall live in silence", Phillips.

lalhsai (lalew) aor. inf. " to speak" - [and not being able] to speak. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated participle "not being able".

acri + subj. "until [the day this happens]" - until [which day these things happen]. The construction forms an indefinite temporal clause expressing time up to. Referring to the birth of John.

anq (anti) wJn "because" - instead of which = because. The preposition anti + gen. pro. forms a relative causal construction; "and this will be so because you have put no trust in my words", Cassirer.

toiV logoiV (oV) dat. " words" - [you did not believe] in the words [of me]. Dative of direct object.

eiV + acc. "at" - [which will be fulfilled] into [the time of them. Here used instead of en, adverbial, temporal; "in the time appointed by God for the fulfilment of Gabriel's words." Time is taken as not "point of time", "duration of time", "time at which", but most likely "the proper / appropriate time"; "appointed time", JB.


c) The consequences, v21-23: The sacrificial service is proceeding outside while Zechariah continues to serve before the Most Holy Place. As part of the ceremony, the priest would come out and pronounce a blessing. Zechariah is delayed by the vision, and when he does come out, the best he can do is gesture to the gathered worshippers. They reasoned rightly that he had seen a vision.

kai "meanwhile" - and. More transitional than coordinate, introducing a change of scene.

hn .... prosdokwn (prosdokew) "were waiting" - [the people] were expecting, waiting for [zechariah]. The imperfect of the verb to-be with the present participle forms an imperfect periphrastic construction emphasising aspect / duration. As Thompson notes, it may stand in parallel with the imperfect "they were amazed, wondering", as NIV, or ingressive, "the people were waiting ...... and they began to wonder", NET. "The people were waiting impatiently for something to happen."

eqaumazon (qaumazw) imperf. "wondering why" - [and] they were amazed. They, the people, "were surprised that he was lingering so long", Barclay.

en tw/ cronizein (cronizw) pres. inf. "stayed so long" - [he] in to stay long, delay. This construction, the preposition en with the dative articular infinitive, forms a temporal clause, contemporaneous time, "while, during", but it could also be causal, "because he delayed", NET. The accusative subject of the infinitive is auton, "him".

en + dat. "in" - in [the temple]. Locative, expressing space.


exelqwn (exercomai) aor. part. "when he came out" - [and] having come out. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.

lalhsai (lalew) aor. inf. "speak" - [he was not able] to speak. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "he was not able." This negated imperfect verb "to not be able" may be conative, "trying to speak, but not being able", Thompson.

autoiV dat. pro. "to them" - to them. Dative of indirect object.

kai "-" - and. Culy, noting the work of Titrud, makes the point that kai can have a greater force than just introducing a conjoined clause, but implies that the clause introduces the result of the previous event; "when he came out he was unable to speak and so they realised that he had a vision in the sanctuary."

oJti "-" - [they knew = realised] that [he had seen a vision in the temple]. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they "realised / knew"; "they realised that he had seen ("has seen" in the tense of their actual thought) a vision."

h|n dianeuwn (dianeuw) pres. part. "he kept making signs" - [and he] was motioning [to them and he remained mute, unable to speak (a word sometimes used of a deaf person)]. Imperfect periphrastic again indicating continued action, "he continued making signs to them." The actual sequence of events is unclear as a number of priests would be present leading different parts of the liturgy. Clearly, Zechariah had been alone at one point in the service, and was now unable to perform his part of the concluding liturgy. The "making signs" may well be the final blessing which he performed with hand gestures.


kai egeneto (ginomai) aor. "-" - and it came about. "And it came to pass", AV; See 1:8.

wJV "when" - when, while [the days]. Here this comparative conjunction takes a temporal sense, as NIV. This is a common usage in the LXX, but only so in Luke in the NT. "The days" generally takes the sense "the time", as NIV.

thV leitourgiaV (a) gen. "of service" - of the service [of him]. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / temporal; "the time when his administration was completed."

eplhsqhsan (pimplhmi) aor. pas. "were completed" - were fulfilled. "Were accomplished".

eiV "-" - [he went] to, into [the house of him]. Local, expressing the direction of the action and/or arrival at. "He went home", CEV. Zechariah lived in the hill country South of Jerusalem, cf. 1:39


iii] Conclusion; the preliminary fulfilment of the promise, v24-25. The service completed, Zechariah and Elizabeth return home. Elizabeth concealed her pregnancy for as long as possible, most likely to saviour its joy for herself. In Jewish society, to be found childless was regarded as a "disgrace", a "reproach".

meta + acc. "after" - [and] after [these days]. Here the preposition takes on a temporal sense; "after those days ..."

autou gen. pro. "his [wife]" - [the wife] of him, [elizabeth, was seized = conceived]. the genitive is adjectival, relational.

periekruben (perikrubw) imperf. "remained in seclusion" - [and] she was hiding [herself for five months]. "She entirely concealed the fact that she was pregnant for over five months." Numerous suggestions have been put forward as to why she did this, but all are a matter of speculation. In my own experience, I have noted that older women are more aware of the possibility of a miscarriage, and so they don't jump the gun. They also like to savour the surprise of their friends when finally, the bump can no longer be put down to a weight problem. "Kept herself in seclusion", NASB.

legousa (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to hide", but also possibly modal, expressing the manner of her hiding; "saying", AV, "remarking", Berkeley, "declaring", Junkins.


oJti "-" - that. Recitative, introducing a dependent statement, direct speech, expressing what she was legousa perf. part. "saying", v24, "she said that ....", v25.

ou{twV adv. "this" - [the lord has done] thus. The adverb here is modal expressing manner; "the Lord has acted in this way on my behalf." Pointing either back to the fulfilment of the Lord's promise in v24, or pointing forward to the second clause of this verse, namely "This is what the Lord has done for me, he saw fit to take away the public humiliation which I was suffering."

moi dat. pro. "for me" - to me. Dative of interest, advantage; "for me".

en + dat. "in" - in [these days]. Temporal use of the preposition.

ai|V dat. pro. "-" - in which. Dative of time, "during which."

epeiden (epeidon) aor. "he has shown favour" - he looked on, gazed on me. Idiomatic for looking with favour upon; "He smiled upon me", Williams.

afelein (afairew) aor. inf. "taken away" - to take away. The infinitive probably serves to form a final clause, "in order that", or better a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that ...."; "What the Lord has done will keep people from looking down on me", CEV.

mou "my [disgrace]" - [reproach] of me. The genitive is adjectival, possibly verbal, objective, "the disgrace I have endured", Goodspeed, or simply possessive, expressing the possession of a derivative characteristic. The disgrace is the assumed divine chastisement that goes with being childless.

en "among" - in = among [men]. Taking a local sense / association. "He has taken away the thing that was a public humiliation to me", Barclay.


Luke Introduction


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Exegetical Commentaries


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