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the tribe of Levi in the place of the eldest son, to serve him in the sanctuary, Numb. viii. 13-18. Yet still it was proper to present the child to God, and it was required that it should be done with an offering.

23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord ;)

'As it is written,' Ex. xiii. 2.

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons.

'And to offer a sacrifice.' Those who were able on such an occasion were required to offer a lamb for a burnt-offering, and a pigeon or a turtle-dove for a sin-offering. If not able to bring a lamb, then they were permitted to bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons. 'Turtle-doves.' By Mary's offering these, she showed her poverty. And our Saviour, by coming in a state of poverty, has shown that it is not dishonourable to be poor. No station is dishonourable where God places us. He knows what is best for us, and he often makes a state of poverty an occasion of the highest blessings. If with poverty he grants us, as is often the case, peace, contentment, and religion, it is worth far more than all worldly riches.

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

He was an aged man, of distinguished piety and reputation, and was anxiously expecting the coming of the Messiah. Such an old age is peculiarly honourable. Just.' Righteous before God and man; approved by God as a righteous man, and discharging faithfully his duty to man. Devout.' This word

means a religious man, or a pious man. 'Waiting for the consolation of Israel.' That is, waiting for the Messiah, who is called the Consolation of Israel because he would give comfort to them by his appearing. This name was often applied to the Messiah before he actually appeared. 'The Holy Ghost,' &c. He was a holy man, and was divinely inspired respecting the Messiah about to appear.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

'Was revealed.' In what way this was done we are not


informed. All we know is that it was by the Holy Ghost. 'Not see death.' Should not die. To see death, and to taste of death, was a common way among the Hebrews of expressing death itself. Compare Ps. Ixxxix. 48. 'The Lord's Christ.' Rather, the Lord's Anointed. The word 'Christ' means anointed. To an aged man, who had been long waiting for the Messiah, how grateful must have been this revelation, this solemn assurance that the Messiah was near! But this revelation is now given to every man, that he need not taste of death till, by the eye of faith, he see the Christ of God.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

'By the Spirit.' By the direction of the Spirit. "Into the temple.' Into that part of the temple where the public worship was chiefly performed, into the court of the women. See note on Matt. xxi. 12. The custom of the law. That is, to make an offering for purification, and to present him to God.

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

Now lettest.' Now thou dost permit. God was permitting him to die in peace, by having relieved his anxieties, allayed his fears, fulfilled the promises, and having, by the appearing of the Messiah, removed every reason why he should live any longer, and every wish to live. 'Depart.' Die. According to thy word. To many it might have appeared improbable when such a promise was made to an old man, that it should be fulfilled. But God fulfils all his word; keeps all his promises, and never disappoints those who trust in him.

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

'Thy salvation.' Him who is to procure salvation for his people, or the Saviour.

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

'Before the face of all people.' Whom thou hast provided for all people, or whom thou dost design to reveal to all people.

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

This is in accordance with the prophecies in the Old Testament, Isa. xlix. lx. Ixi. Ps. xcviii. 3. Mal. iv. 2. The Gentiles are represented as sitting in darkness, that is, in ignorance and sin. Christ is a light to them, as by him they are made acquainted

with the character of the true God, his law, and the plan of redemption, Isa. Ix. 2, 3. And the glory,' &c. The first offer of salvation was made to the Jews, John iv. 22. Luke xxiv. 47. Jesus was born among the Jews, among them had been the prophecies respecting him, and his first ministry was among them. Hence he was their glory their honour.

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

'Simeon blessed them." Joseph and Mary. On them he sought the blessing of God. 'Is set.' Is appointed, or constituted for that, or such shall be the effect of his coming. The fall.' There is a plain reference here to the passage where it is said that he should be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, Isa. viii. 14, 15. Many expected a temporal prince, and in this they were disappointed. Many loved darkness rather than light, and rejected him, and fell into ruin. Many that were proud, were brought low by his preaching. The nation also rejected him, and put him to death, and as a judgment fell into the hands of the Romans, thousands were led into captivity, and hundreds of thousands perished. See Rom. ix. 32, 33. I Pet. ii. 8. 1 Cor. i. 23, And rising again.' It denotes, that many would be ruined by his coming; and many others be made happy, or be saved. Many of the poor and humble, that were willing to receive him, should obtain pardon of sin and peace, should rise from their sins and sorrows here, and finally ascend to eternal life. And for a sign. The word sign' here denotes a conspicuous or distinguished object. And the Lord Jesus was such an object of contempt and rejection by all the people. He was despised and rejected, and his religion has been the common mark or sign for all the wicked, the profligate, and the profane, to curse and ridicule, and oppose. Compare Isa. viii. 18, and Acts xxviii. 22. Never was a prophecy more exactly fulfilled than this.


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35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Yea, a sword.' The sufferings and death of thy son shall deeply afflict thy soul. And if Mary had not been thus forewarned and sustained by strong faith, she could not have borne the trials which came upon her son. That the thoughts,' &c. That is, that they might show how much they hated holiness. Nothing so brings out the feelings of sinners as to tell them of

Jesus Christ: many treat him with silent contempt: all show how much by nature the heart is opposed to religion, and thus are really, in spite of themselves, fulfilling the scriptures and the prophecies. So true is it that none can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost,' 1 Cor. xii. 3.

36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

The tribe of Aser, or Asher, dwelt in the northern part of Canaan. Why she was called a prophetess is not known. It might be because she had been the wife of a prophet for seven years; or because she herself had foretold future events, being inspired.

37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

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Fourscore and four years.' Eighty-four years old. Fastings and prayers.' Constant religious service. Spending her time in prayer, and in all the ordinances of religion. 'Night and day.' Continually, that is, at the usual times of public worship, and in private. When it is said that she departed not from the temple, it is meant that she was constant and regular in all the public services at the temple, or was never absent from those services.

39 And when they had performed all things accord ing to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

'They returned into Galilee.' Not immediately, but after a time. Luke has omitted the flight into Egypt recorded by Matthew. A parallel case we have in the life of Paul. When he was converted, it is said that he came to Jerusalem, leaving us there to infer that he went directly, Acts ix. 26. Yet we learn in another place that this was after an interval of three years, Gal. i. 17, 18.

40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

'Strong in spirit.' In mind, intellect, understanding. Jesus had a human soul, and that soul was subject to all the proper laws of a human spirit. It, therefore, increased in knowledge, strength, and character. Filled with wisdom.' That is, exhi

biting an extraordinary and wise understanding, to flee from every thing sinful and evil. And the grace of God.' God showed him favour, or was pleased with him and blessed him.

This is all that is recorded of the infancy of Jesus. And with the short account that follows of his going to Jerusalem is all that we know of him for thirty years of his life. The design of the Evangelists was to give an account of his public ministry, and not his private life. Hence they say little of him in regard to his first years. What they do say, however, corresponds entirely with what we might expect. He was wise, pure, pleasing God, and deeply skilled in the knowledge of the divine law. He set a lovely example for all children; was subject to his parents, and increased in favour with God and man.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

The males were directed to appear three times a year before God, to attend on the ordinances of religion in the temple, Ex. xxiii. 14-17. Deut. xvi. 16. 'To Jerusalem.' Where the feasts of the Jews were all held. This was a journey from Nazareth of about seventy miles. 'After the custom of the feast.' cording to the usual manner of the feast.


43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it,

'Had fulfilled the days.' The days of the passover. Eight days in all, one day for killing the paschal lamb, and seven days for the observance of the feast of unleavened bread, Ex. xii. 15. Lev. xxiii. 5, 6.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

In going to these great feasts families and neighbours would join together, and form a large collection. It is not improbable that Jesus was with them as they were about to start from Jerusalem, and making preparations. A part of the company might have left before the others, and Joseph and Mary have supposed that he was with them, until they overtook them at night, and ascertained their mistake. 'Kinsfolk.' Relatives. Acquaintances.' Neighbours who had gone up with them in the same company to Jerusalem.

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