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Luke 1


 1 Forasmuch as (1) many have (a) taken in hand to set forth the story of those things, whereof we are fully persuaded,


(1) Luke commendeth the witness that saw this history.
(a) Many took it in hand, but did not perform; Luke wrote his Gospel before Matthew and Mark.


 2  (b) (*) As they have delivered them unto us, which from the beginning saw them theirselves, and were ministers of the (♣) word,


(b) Luke was not an eye witness, and therefore it was not he to whom the Lord appeared when Cleopas saw him; and he was taught not only by Paul, but by others of the Apostles also.

(*) Meaning the Apostles with whom he was conversant.

(♣) Or of the thing; and it may be referred either to Christ or to the Gospel and hereby is meant that they were the ministers of Christ who is called the word; or ministers of that word, that is to say, of the Gospel; and this commendeth the authority of his doctrine, seeing he received it of the Apostles.


 3 It seemed good also to me ( (c) most noble Theophilus) as soon as I had searched out perfectly all things (d) from the beginning, to write unto thee thereof from point to point,


(c) It is most mighty, and therefore Theophilus was a very honorable man, and in a place of great dignity.

(d) Luke began his Gospel a great deal farther off, than the others did.


 4 That thou mightest (e) acknowledge the certainty of those things, whereof thou hast been instructed.


(e) Have fuller knowledge of those things, which before thou knewest but meanly.


 5 In (2) the (f) time of (g) (♣) Herod King of Judea, there was a certain Priest named Zacharias, of the (*) (h) course of Abia; and his wife was of the (♠) daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.


(2) John who was another Elijah, and appointed to be herald of Christ, coming of the stock of Aaron, and of two famous and blameless parents, hath shewed in his conception, which was against the course of nature, a double miracle, to the end that men should be more readily stirred up to the hearing of his preaching, according to the forewarning of the Prophets.
(f) Word for word, in the days; so speak the Hebrews, giving us to understand, how short and frail a thing the power of princeís is.
(g) Herod the great.

(♣) The son of Antipater.

(*) 1 Chronicles 24:10 .
(h) For the posterity of Aaron was divided into courses.

(♠) By her father; for by her motherís line she was of the house of David.


 6 Both were (i) (*) just before God, and (k) walked in all the (l) commandments and (♠) ordinances of the Lord, (m) without reproof.


(i) The true mark of righteousness is, to be liked and allowed of in the judgment of God.

(*) This perfection or justice is judged by the fruits and outward appearance, and not by the cause; which only cometh of Godís free mercy through Christ.
(k) Lived, so speak the Hebrews; for our life is as a way, wherein we must walk, until we come to the mark.
(l) In all the moral and ceremonial law.

(♠) The Greek word signifieth justifications, whereby is meant the outward observation of the ceremonies commanded by God.
(m) Whom no man could justly reprove; now so it is, that the fruits of justification are set forth here, and not the cause, which is faith only, and nothing else.


 7 And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and both were well stricken in age.


 8 And it came to pass, as he executed the Priestís office before God, as his course came in order,


 9  (*) According to the custom of the Priestís office, his lot was to (♣) burn incense, when he went into the (n) (♠) Temple of the Lord.


(*) Exodus 30:7 .

(♣) That is, the evening and morning sacrifice according to the Law.

(n) The Temple was one, and the Court another; for Zacharias went out of the Court or outward room, where all the people were, and therefore are said to be without, into the Temple.

(♠) The Temple was divided into three parts: the first was the body of the Temple called Atrium, where the people were; the second called Sanctum, where the Priests and Levites were; and the third Sanctum Sanctorum, into the which the high Priest entered once a year to sacrifice.


 10 And the whole multitude of the people were without in prayer, (*) while the incense was burning.


(*) Exodus 30:7; Leviticus 16:17 .


 11 Then appeared unto him an Angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.


 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.


 13 But the Angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name (*) John.


(*) Which signifieth the grace of the Lord.


 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.


 15 For he shall be great in the (o) sight of the Lord, and shall neither drink wine, nor (p) (*) strong drink, and he shall be filled with the holy Ghost, even from his motherís womb.


(o) So speak the Hebrews when it signifieth a rare kind of excellency; so is it said of Nimrod, Genesis 10:9 . He was a valiant hunter before God.
(p) Any drink that may make drunk.

(*) The word signifieth all manner of drink which maketh men drunk.


 16  (*) And many of the children of Israel shall he (q) turn to their Lord God.


(*) Malachi 4:5 .

(q) Shall be a means to bring many to repentance, and turn themselves to the Lord from whom they fell.


 17  (*) For he shall go (r) (♣) before him (s) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the (t) hearts of the (♠) fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the (u) wisdom of the just men, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.


(*) Matthew 11:14 .

(r) As they use to go before kings, and when you see them, you know the king is not far off.

(♣) As a King in his royalty hath one to go before him, who signifieth the King to be at hand.
(s) This is spoken by the figure Metonymy, taking the spirit, for the gift of the spirit, as you would say, the cause, for that which cometh of the cause.
(t) By this figure Synecdoche, he sheweth that he shall take away all kinds of enmities, which use to breed great troubles and turmoils amongst men.

(♠) When Christ saith he came to set the father against the son, he meaneth the success which cometh of the Gospel through the malice of men; but here he speaketh of the true end and prosperity of the Gospel.
(u) Wisdom and goodness are two of the chiefest causes which make men reverence and honor their fathers.


 18 Then Zacharias said unto the Angel, Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is of a great age.


 19 And the Angel answered, and said unto him, I am (*) Gabriel (x) that stand in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these good tidings.


(*) Which signifieth, the strength or sovereignty of God.

(x) That appear, for so the Hebrews use this word (to stand) meaning that they are ready to do his commandment.


 20 And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not be able to speak, until (*) the day that these things be done, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.


(*) We must not measure Godís promises by our weak senses.


 21 Now the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he tarried so long in the Temple.


 22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them; then they perceived that he had seen a vision in the Temple; for he made signs unto them, and remained dumb.


 23 And it came to pass, when the days of his office were fulfilled, that he departed (*) to his own house.


(*) Whiles their course endured to sacrifice, they might not lie with their wives, nor drink any liquor that might make one drunk.


 24 And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,


 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the days wherein he looked on me, to take from me (*) my rebuke among men.


(*) For the barren women enjoyed not the promise which God made to them that were married, to have issue; but principally they were deprived of that promise which God made to Abraham, that he would increase his seed.


 26  ∂ (3) And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,


(3) The Angel serving the Lord which should be born, is sent to the virgin Mary, in whom the Son of the most high promised to David, is conceived by the virtue of the holy Ghost.


 27  (*) To a virgin affianced to a man whose name was Joseph, of the (y) house of David, and the virginís name was Mary.


(*) Matthew 1:18 .

(y) As much is to be said of Mary, otherwise Christ had not have been of the stock, not the son of David.


 28 And the Angel went in unto her, and said, (*) Hail thou that art (z) (♣) freely beloved, the Lord is with thee; (a) blessed art thou among women.


(*) Or, gladness be to thee.

(z) It might be rendered word for word, full of favor and grace, and he sheweth straight after, laying out plainly unto us, what that favor is, in that he saith, the Lord is with thee.

(♣) Or, received into favor.
(a) Of God.


 29 And when she saw him, she was (b) troubled at his saying, and thought what manner of salutation that should be.


(b) Moved at the strangeness of the matter.


 30 Then the Angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for (*) thou hast (c) found favor with God.


(*) Not for her merits, but only through Godís free mercy, who loved us when we were sinners, that whosoever rejoiceth, should rejoice in the Lord.

(c) So speak the Hebrews, saying, that men have found favor, which are in favor.


 31  (*) For lo, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bear a son, (♣) and shalt call his name JESUS.


(*) Isaiah 7:14 .

(♣) Luke 2:21; Matthew 1:21 .


 32 He shall be great, and shall be (d) called the Son (*) of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.


(d) He shall be declared so to be, for he was the Son of God from everlasting, but was made manifest in the flesh in his time.

(*) Because he is the true Son of God, begotten from before all beginning, and manifested in flesh at the determinate time.


 33  (*) And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom shall be none end.


(*) Daniel 7:14-27, Micah 4:7 .


 34 Then said Mary unto the Angel, (e) (*) How shall this be, seeing (f) I know not a man?


(e) The greatness of the matter causeth the Virgin to ask this question, not that she distrusteth any whit at all, for she asketh only of the manner of the conceiving, so that it is plain she believed all the rest.

(*) She would be resolved of all doubts to the end that she might more surely embrace the promise of God.
(f) So speak the Hebrews, signifying by this modest kind of speech the company of man and wife together, and this is the meaning of it; how shall this be, foreseeing, I shall be Christ his mother, I am very sure I shall not know any man; for the godly virgin had learned by the Prophets, that the Messiah should be born of a Virgin.


 35 And the Angel answered, and said unto her, The holy Ghost (g) shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall (*) overshadow thee; therefore also that (h) (♣) holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be (i) called the Son of God.


(g) That is, the holy Ghost shall cause thee to conceive by his mighty power.

(*) It shall be a secret operation of the holy Ghost.
(h) That pure thing and void of all spot of uncleanliness; for he that was to take away sin, must needs be void of sin.

(♣) He must be pure and without sin, which must take away the sins of the world.
(i) Declared and shewed to the world, to be the Son of God.


 36 And behold, thy (k) (*) cousin, Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age; and this is her (l) sixth month, which was called barren.


(k) Though Elizabeth were of the tribe of Levi, yet she might be Mary's cousin; for whereas it was forbidden by the Law, for maidens to be married to men of other tribes, this could not let, but that the Levites might take them wives out of any tribe; for the Levites had no portion allotted them, when the land was divided among the people.

(*) Notwithstanding that Elizabeth was married to one of the tribe of Levi, yet she was Maryís cousin which was of the stock of David. For the law which forbade marriage out of their own tribe, was only that the tribes should not be mixed and confounded, which could not be in marrying with the Levites; for they had no portion assigned unto them.
(l) This is now the sixth month from the time when she conceived.


 37 For with God shall nothing be impossible.


 38 Then Mary said, Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. So the Angel departed from her.


 39  ∂ (4) And Mary arose in those days, and went into the (m) hill country with haste to a (n) (*) city of Judah,


(4) Elizabeth being great with child of John, and Mary with Christ, by the inspiration of the holy Ghost, do rejoice each for other.
(m) Which is on the Southside of Jerusalem.
(n) That is to say, Hebron; which was in times past called Kirjatharba, which was one of the towns, that was given to the Levites, in the tribe of Judah, and is said to be in the mountains of Judah; Joshua 14:15; Joshua 21:11 .

(*) Which was also called, Kirjath-arba or Hebron, Joshua 14:15; Joshua 21:11 .


 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elizabeth.


 41 And it came to pass, as Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe (o) (*) sprang in her belly, and Elizabeth was filled with the holy Ghost.


(o) This was no ordinary nor usual kind of moving.

(*) This moving was extraordinary and not natural, which was to commend the miracle.


 42 And she cried with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, because (p) the (*) fruit of thy womb is blessed.


(p) Christ is blessed in respect of his humanity.

(*) He sheweth the cause why Mary was blessed.


 43 And whence cometh 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 my ears, the babe sprang in my belly for joy,


 45 And blessed is she that believed, for those things shall be performed, which were told her (*) from the Lord.


(*) By the message of the Angel.


 46  (5) Then Mary said, My (*) soul magnifieth the Lord,


(5) Christ the redeemer of the afflicted, and revenger of the proud, of long time promised to the fathers, is now at length exhibited indeed.

(*) The soul, and spirit signify the understanding and affection, which are the two principal parts of the soul.


 47 And my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.


 48 For he hath (q) looked on the (r) (*) poor degree of his servant; for behold, from henceforth shall all ages call (♣) me blessed,


(q) Hath freely and graciously loved.
(r) Word for word, My baseness, that is, my base estate, so that the Virgin vaunteth not her deserts, but the grace of God.

(*) Or, low estate.

(♣) This favor that God hath shewed me, shall be spoken of forever.


 49 Because he that is mighty hath done for me great things, and holy is his Name.


 50 And his (*) mercy is from generation to generation on them (s) that fear him.


(*) According to the promise made to Abraham that he would be his God, and the God of his seed forever.

(s) To them that live godly and religiously, so speak the Hebrews.


 51 (*) He hath shewed strength with his (t) arm; (♣) he hath (u) scattered the proud in the (x) (♠) imagination of their hearts.


(*) Isaiah 51:9; Psalm 33:10 .

(t) That is, a heaping up of words more than needs, which the Hebrews use very much, and the arm is taken for strength.

() Isaiah 29:15 .
(u) Even as the wind doth the chaff.
(x) He hath scattered them, and the imagination of their hearts; or by and through the imagination of their own hearts; so that their wicked counsel turned to their own destruction.

(♠) The wicked lay snares for others, wherein they themselves are taken.


 52  (*) He hath (y) put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of (z) low degree.


(*) 1 Samuel 2:6 .

(y) The mighty and rich men.
(z) Such as none account is made of, who are vile in men's eyes, which are indeed the poor in spirit, that is, such as challenge nothing to themselves in the sight of God.


 53  (*) He hath filled the (a) hungry with good things, and sent away the rich empty.


(*) Psalm 34:10 .

(a) Them that are brought to extreme poverty.


 54  (b) (*) He hath upholden Israel his servant to be mindful of his mercy.


(b) He has helped up Israel with his arm, being clean cast down.

(*) Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 31:5 .


 55 ( (*) As he hath (c) spoken to our fathers, to wit, to Abraham, and his (♣) seed) forever.


(*) Genesis 17:19; Genesis 22:17; Psalm 132:12 .

(c) Promised.

(♣) Or, posterity.


 56  ∂ And Mary abode with her about three months, after, she returned to her own house.


 57  ∂ (6) Now Elizabethís time was fulfilled, that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son.


(6) John's nativity is set out with new miracles.


 58 And her neighbors, and cousins heard tell how the Lord had shewed his great mercy upon her, and they (*) rejoiced with her.


(*) Luke 1:14 .


 59 And it was so that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the babe, and called him Zacharias after the name of his father.


 60 But his mother answered, and said, Not so, but he shall be called John.


 61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred, that is named with this name.


 62 Then they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.


 63 So he asked for writing tablets, and wrote, saying, His name is John, and they marveled all.


 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, (*) and he (♣) spake and praised God.


(*) Was restored to itís former state, is read in some copies.

(♣) Not only for his benefit in pardoning his fault, but also to shew that he was justly punished for his incredulity.


 65 Then fear came on all them that dwelt near unto them, and all (d) these words were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea.


(d) All this that was said and done.


 66 And all they that heard them, (e) laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner child shall this be? And the (f) (*) hand of the Lord was with him.


(e) Thought upon them diligently and earnestly, and as it were, printed them in their hearts.
(f) That is, the present favor of God, and a singular kind of virtue appeared in him.

(*) The mighty power of God and his grace which declared that he should be an excellent person.


 67  (7) Then his father Zacharias was filled with the holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,


(7) John scarce born, by the authority of the holy Ghost, is appointed to his office.


 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he hath (g) (♣) visited (*) and (h) redeemed his people,


(g) That he hath shewed himself mindful of his people, insomuch that he came down from heaven himself, to visit us in person, and to redeem us.

(♣) In declaring himself mindful of his people, and therefore is come from heaven to visit and redeem them.

(*) Luke 2:30; Matthew 1:21 .
(h) Hath paid the ransom, that is to say, the price of our redemption.


 69  (*) And hath raised up the (i) (♣) horn of salvation unto us, in the house of his servant David,


(*) Psalm 132:17 .

(i) This word Horn in the Hebrew tongue signifieth might, and it is a Metaphor, taken from beasts, that fight with their horns; and by raising up the might of Israel, is meant, that the kingdom of Israel was defended, and the enemies thereof laid on the ground, even then when the strength of Israel seemed to be utterly decayed.

(♣) When the promises of God seemed to have failed, and the state of Israel to have perished, then sent he his Christ who by his invincible strength, as with a strong horn overthrew his enemies.


 70  (*) As he spake by the mouth of his holy Prophets, which were since the world began, saying,


(*) Jeremiah 23:6; Jeremiah 30:10 .


 71 That he would send us deliverance from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us,


 72 That he might shew (*) mercy towards our fathers, and (k) remember his holy covenant,


(*) He declareth the cause and fountain of our redemption.

(k) Declared indeed that he was mindful.


 73  (*) And the oath, which he sware to our father Abraham.


(*) Genesis 22:16; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 6:13-17 .


 74 Which was, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, should (*) serve him without fear,


(*) This is the end of our redemption.


 75 All the days of our life, in (*) holiness and righteousness (l) (♣) before him.


(*) 1 Peter 1:13 .

(l) To God's good liking.

(♣) To whom no hypocrite can be acceptable.


 76 And thou, (m) babe, shalt be called the Prophet of the most High; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways,


(m) Though thou be at this present never so little.


 77 And to (n) give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the (o) (*) remission of their sins,


(n) Open the way.
(o) Forgiveness of sins, is the means whereby God saveth us; Romans 4:7 .

(*) He sheweth that our salvation consisteth in the remission of sins, which is the principal part of the Gospel.


 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby (*) the (p) (♣) dayspring from on high hath visited us,


(*) Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12; Malachi 4:2 .

(p) Or, bud, or branch, he alludeth unto the places in Jeremiah 23:5. Zechariah 3:8 and Zechariah 6:12; and he is called a bud from on high, that is, sent from God unto us, and not as other buds which bud out of the earth.

(♣) Or, branch of a tree, meaning the Messiah, who is the son of righteousness which shineth from heaven.


 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of (q) (*) peace.


(q) Into the way which leadeth us to true happiness.

(*) That is, of all felicity.


 80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in (*) the wilderness, till the day came that he should shew himself unto Israel.


(*) He meaneth that part of Judea which was least inhabited where also the gross and rude people dwelled.




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