Luke 2:22-40; Feb 2 2014 lectionary gospel text

Luke 2:22-40

Gospel lection for Feb. 2, 2014

On the left is the SBL text (pretty close to the best Greek texts).  On the right is my translation–as literal as possible while maintaining at least roughly comprehensible English. (Words I’ve added that I think are implied in the text, but not actually present, are enclosed in [brackets].)  I’ve also added footnotes to the Greek text in places where I’ve offered brief comments.  The goal here is not to offer a complete commentary on the text, but simply to highlight some issues where looking at the original language may help to illumine what is going on overall here.  One of my purposes for this whole approach is to encourage those who are preaching and teaching the lectionary text to explore the original languages, and to give them a head start on what they might discover.

Lk 2:22  Καὶ ὅτε ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν[A] κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μωϋσέως, ἀνήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παραστῆσαι τῷ κυρίῳ, And when the days of their purification were fulfilled according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present [him] to the Lord,
Lk 2:23  καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν νόμῳ κυρίου ὅτι Πᾶν ἄρσεν[B] διανοῖγον μήτραν ἅγιον τῷ κυρίῳ κληθήσεται, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male [child] opening a womb shall be called holy to the Lord,”
Lk 2:24  καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι[C] θυσίαν κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον ἐν τῷ νόμῳ κυρίου, ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν. and to offer a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of pigeons or two young doves.”
Lk 2:25  Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ [D] ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ πνεῦμα ἦν ἅγιον[E] ἐπ’ αὐτόν· And look!  A man was in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon, and this man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.
Lk 2:26  καὶ ἦν αὐτῷ κεχρηματισμένον[F] ὑπὸ τοῦ[G] πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου μὴ ἰδεῖν θάνατον[H] πρὶν ἢ ἂν ἴδῃ τὸν χριστὸν κυρίου. And it was made known to him by the Spirit [that he would] not see death until he would see the Lord’s Christ [or Messiah].
Lk 2:27  καὶ ἦλθεν ἐν τῷ πνεύματι[I] εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ ἐν τῷ εἰσαγαγεῖν τοὺς γονεῖς[J] τὸ παιδίον Ἰησοῦν τοῦ[K] ποιῆσαι αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὸ εἰθισμένον[L] τοῦ νόμου περὶ αὐτοῦ And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and while the parents were bringing in the child Jesus, so that they might do concerning him according to what was customary [in] the law,
Lk 2:28  καὶ αὐτὸς ἐδέξατο αὐτὸ εἰς τὰς ἀγκάλας[M] καὶ εὐλόγησεν τὸν θεὸν καὶ εἶπεν· and he received [the child] into [his] arms, and blessed God, and said,
Lk 2:29  Νῦν ἀπολύεις[N] τὸν δοῦλόν σου, δέσποτα, κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου ἐν εἰρήνῃ· Now, master, you are dismissing your servant, according to your word, in peace,
Lk 2:30  ὅτι εἶδον[O] οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου τὸ σωτήριόν[P] σου because my eyes saw your saving act
Lk 2:31  ὃ ἡτοίμασας κατὰ πρόσωπον πάντων τῶν λαῶν[Q], which you prepared in the presence of all the peoples,
Lk 2:32  φῶς εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν[R] καὶ δόξαν λαοῦ σου Ἰσραήλ. a light for [the purpose of] revelation of Gentiles, and [for the purpose of the] glory of your people Israel.
Lk 2:33  καὶ ἦν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ θαυμάζοντες ἐπὶ τοῖς λαλουμένοις περὶ αὐτοῦ. And his father and mother were marveling at the things spoken about him,
Lk 2:34  καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς Συμεὼν καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς Μαριὰμ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ· Ἰδοὺ οὗτος κεῖται εἰς πτῶσιν καὶ ἀνάστασιν πολλῶν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ εἰς σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον[S], and Symeon blessed them and said to Mary his morther, “Look!  This one is appointed for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign [that is] opposed,
Lk 2:35  καὶ σοῦ δὲ αὐτῆς[T] τὴν ψυχὴν διελεύσεται ῥομφαία, ὅπως ἂν ἀποκαλυφθῶσιν ἐκ πολλῶν καρδιῶν διαλογισμοί. (and your own soul will be pierced with a sword), in order that the disputations [flowing from] many hearts may be revealed.
Lk 2:36  Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις[U], θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ, ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ (αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς, ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς, And there was a prophet Anna, daughter of Phanuel, from the tribe of Asher.  (She was advanced in many days, having lived with [her] husband seven years after her virginity,
Lk 2:37  καὶ αὐτὴ χήρα ἕως ἐτῶν ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων,) ἣ οὐκ ἀφίστατο τοῦ ἱεροῦ νηστείαις καὶ δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν. and [by] herself as a widow [all the way to] 84 years.)  She did not depart from the temple, worshipping night and day with fastings and prayers.
Lk 2:38  καὶ αὐτῇ[V] τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐπιστᾶσα ἀνθωμολογεῖτο[W] τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐλάλει περὶ αὐτοῦ πᾶσιν τοῖς προσδεχομένοις λύτρωσιν Ἰερουσαλήμ. And she, coming upon [or standing above] [them] at that hour, began to give thanks to God and to speak about him to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
Lk 2:39  Καὶ ὡς ἐτέλεσαν πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον κυρίου, ἐπέστρεψαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν εἰς πόλιν ἑαυτῶν Ναζαρέθ. And when they finished everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
Lk 2:40  Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν[X] καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις[Y] θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ’ αὐτό. And the child continued to grow and strengthen, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

[A] I.e., both Jesus’ and Mary’s, apparently.

[B] This is neuter because the implied noun is “child,” which is neuter in gender in Greek.

[C] A second infinitive grammatically parallel to παραστῆσαι in 2:22.

[D] Greek never uses the genitive with respect to names, to speak of “his” name, but always the dative—the name “for him.”

[E] Note the absence of a definite article, making it ambiguous whether we should render “a holy Spirit was upon him,” or “the Holy Spirit was upon him.”

[F] Could be either “revealed to him” or “prophesied to him” by someone else.

[G] This time we get the article with the Holy Spirit! Go figure.

[H] Grammatically, could be either a command (“Don’t die until you see the Lord’s Messiah,”) or a promise (“you will not die until you see the Lord’s Messiah.”)  Most commentators rightly opt for the latter one.

[I] i.e., in the power, or by the direction of the Holy Spirit, rather than coming in some immaterial way.  The Spirit is active in these verses!

[J] Remember that in Greek, the subject of infinitive clauses is in the accusative case, which is what we see here.

[K] τοῦ with infinitive clauses commonly expresses purpose.

[L] A somewhat odd juxtaposition of “custom” and “law.”

[M] The only time this word occurs in the NT.  The focus is on bent arms cradling the child.

[N] Neither future nor imperative, but simple indicative second singular.  “You are dismissing . . .”

[O] Many translations render this as a perfect (“my eyes have seen”), but it is aorist tense—simple past.

[P] Not the abstract noun “salvation,” but neuter singular “saving act.”

[Q] i.e. people-groups, not just a general collective.  One of these “people groups”—Israel—is singled out in the next verse.

[R] Could be either “revelation of Gentiles [who belong to God], or “revelation directed to the Gentiles,” though the latter would be clearer if it were in the dative case.

[S] Note the strongly oppositional/controversial character of these words!

[T] This is probably the intensive use of autos.  “The soul of you yourself.”

[U] The feminine form.  Could also be rendered “prophetess.”

[V] A textual problem here.  Should we read this as a dative with an iota subscript under the last letter, or as a nominative?  If the latter, it reads as I have translated; if the former, it is better rendered “at that very hour.”

[W] This and the next verb are imperfect, which I have rendered as the inchoative imperfect (began to . . .), indicating the beginning of a continuous action in the past.

[X] Again, note the imperfect tenses here, which indicate ongoing or continuous action in the past.

[Y] Or “the favor of God was upon him.”