Luke 1:39-57

Luke 1:39-57
Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth ABC


39 In those days MaryI set outII and wentIII with hasteIV to a JudeanV townVI in the hill country, 

Notes on verse 39

I “Mary” = Maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
II “set out” = anistemi. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
III “went” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
IV “haste” = spoude. 12x in NT. From speudo (to hurry, urge on, await); probably from pous (foot in a figurative or literal sense). This is haste, diligence, earnestness, effort. It is being swift to demonstrate one’s enthusiasm. It is doing what one is told right away and with full effort.
V “Judean” = Iouda. 8x in NT. From the same as Ioudas (Judah, Juadas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, Judas, or Jude.
VI “town” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.

40 where she entered the houseVII of ZechariahVIII and greetedIX Elizabeth.X 

Notes on verse 40

VII “house” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.
VIII “Zechariah” = Zacharias. 11x in NT. From Hebrew Zekaryah (Zechariah, “the Lord has remembered”); {from zakar (to remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}}. This is Zechariah, Zacharias, meaning “the Lord has remembered.”
IX “greeted” = aspazomai. Perhaps from a (with, together with) + a form of spao (to draw, draw out, pull). This is to welcome, salute, or greet. It can also be to embrace or acclaim.
X “Elizabeth” = Elisabet. 9x in NT. From Hebrew Elisheba (Elisheba, “God is an oath”); {from el (God or god) + sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness); {from shaba (to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant; properly, to be complete; this is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times)}}. This is Elizabeth or Elisabet, meaning “God is an oath.”

41 XIWhen Elizabeth heardXII Mary’s greeting,XIII the childXIV leapedXV in her womb.XVI

Notes on verse 41a

XI {untranslated} = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
XII “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
XIII “greeting” = aspasmos. Related to “greeted” in v40. 10x in NT. From aspazomai (see note IX above). This is a greeting whether face to face or in a letter.
XIV “child” = brephos. 8x in NT. This is used of a fetus (as when the child leapt in Elizabeth’s womb on seeing Mary in Luke 1:41) or a newborn (as the child found in the manger in Luke 2:12). It is a young child or an infant in a literal or figurative sense.
XV “leaped” = skirtao. 3x in NT. From skairo (to skip). This is to leap or jump, to bound. It can refer to a quickening.
XVI “womb” = koilia. From koilos (hollow). This is belly or organs in the abdomen. So, it could be stomach, womb, or heart. Figuratively, this refers to one’s inner self.

 And Elizabeth was filledXVII with the HolyXVIII SpiritXIX 

Notes on verse 41b

XVII “filled” = pleitho. This is to fill to the highest level possible – to accomplish, supply, or complete.
XVIII “Holy” = Hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
XIX “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

42 and exclaimedXX with a loudXXI cry,XXII

Notes on verse 42a

XX “exclaimed” = anaphoneo. 1x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + phoneo (to call out, summon, shout, address; making a sound whether of an animal, a person, or an instrument); {from phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is to exclaim, cry out, shout.
XXI “loud” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
XXII “cry” = krauge. 6x in NT. From krazo (to cry out, scream, shriek; onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call; figuratively, this is means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt). This is a very emotional shout or cry generally or clamor against someone else. It can express alarm, trouble, or grief.

“Blessed areXXIII you among women,XXIV and blessed is the fruitXXV of your womb. 

Notes on verse 42b

XXIII “blessed are” = eulogeo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.
XXIV “women” = gune. Related to {untranslated} in v41. Perhaps from ginomai (see note XI above). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
XXV “fruit” = karpos. Perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take). This is a fruit or vegetable, through sometimes it refers to an animal. Figuratively, it is deeds, results, profits, or gain.

43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my LordXXVI comes to me? 44 XXVIIFor as soon as I heardXXVIII the soundXXIX of your greeting,XXX the child in my womb leaped for joy.XXXI 

Notes on verses 43-44

XXVI “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XXVII {untranslated} = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
XXVIII “heard” = ginomai. Same as {untranslated} in v41. See note XI above.
XXIX “sound” = phone. Related to “exclaimed” in v42. See note XX above.
XXX Literally “as soon as the voice of your greeting came to my ears.”
XXXI “joy” = agalliasis. 5x in NT. From agalliao (joy that prompts you to jump up. It is a full body experience of joy: exulting, rejoicing, or even boasting from joy); from agallomai (to exalt, make glorious) {from agan (much, very) + hallomai (to leap or leap up; when referring to water, springing up or bubbling up; to jump or figuratively to gush)}. This is exultation, wild joy, exhilaration, gladness, or welcome.

45 And blessedXXXII is she who believedXXXIII that there would be a fulfillmentXXXIV of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Notes on verse 45

XXXII “blessed” = makarios. From makar (happy); from mak– (to become long or large). This is blessed, happy, fortunate. It is when God’s grace/abundance is extended.
XXXIII “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
XXXIV “fulfillment” = teleiosis. 2x in NT. From teleioo (to finish, accomplish, bring to an end, complete, reach a goal, finish a race, to consummate; completing stages or phases to get to an ultimate conclusion; to consecrate or fulfill); from teleios (going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one; reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect”; also full grown or mature); from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax). This is completion, consummation, fulfillment, perfection, absolution.

46 And Mary said,

“My soulXXXV magnifiesXXXVI the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoicesXXXVII in GodXXXVIII my Savior,XXXIX

Notes on verses 46-47

XXXV “soul” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
XXXVI “magnifies” = megaluno. Related to “loud” in v42. 8x in NT. From megas (see note XXI above). This is to make great, increase, extoll, magnify. It is increase in a literal or figurative sense.
XXXVII “rejoices” = agalliao. Related to “joy” in v44. 11x in NT. See note XXXI above.
XXXVIII “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
XXXIX “Savior” = soter. From sozo. (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively.); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is savior, deliverer, preserver.

48 for he has looked with favorXL on the lowlinessXLI of his servant.XLII

Notes on verse 48a

XL “looked with favor” = epiblepo. 3x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + blepo (to see, used primarily in the physical sense; figuratively, seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, beware, and acting on the visual information). This is to look at, to regard with favor, to pay focused attention or give special regard to something, to gaze at with pity, to be partial to.
XLI “lowliness” = tapeinosis. 4x in NT. From tapeinoo (bringing someone or something low; figuratively to humble or humiliate – to depress or abase); from tapeinos (low in position, depressed, low in circumstance; fig humiliated, low in spirit). This is humiliation, lowliness, low state, depression.
XLII “servant” = doule. 3x in NT– 2x of Mary, 1x of Pentecost. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else, but could be voluntary to pay off debt or involuntary – captured in war and enslaved; a metaphor for serving Christ); perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is female slave or bondservant.

    Surely,XLIII from now on all generationsXLIV will call me blessed;XLV

Notes on verse 48b

XLIII “surely” = idou. Same as {untranslated} in v44. See note XXVII above.
XLIV “generations” = genea. Related to {untranslated} in v41 & “women” in v42. From genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note XI above). This is family, generation, kind, or nation. As generation, it implies an age as a period of time. It can also mean infinity. This is the root of the word “generation.
XLV “call…blessed” = makarizo. Related to “blessed” in v45. 2x in NT. From makarios (see note XXXII above). This is to bless, call happy, consider one fortunate.

49 for the Mighty OneXLVI has doneXLVII great thingsXLVIII for me,
    and holy is his name.XLIX

Notes on verse 49

XLVI “Mighty One” = dunatos. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is mighty or powerful. It speaks of ability of persons, possibility of things. It is what can be given the power or ability that the subject exhibits. The root verb is also related to miracles i.e. deeds of power.
XLVII “done” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XLVIII “great things” = megas. Same as “loud” in v42. See note XXI above.
XLIX “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.

50 His mercyL is for those who fearLI him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shownLII strengthLIII with his arm;LIV

Notes on verses 50-51a

L “mercy” = eleos. This is mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion, whether from humans or from God. This is mercy, generally understood in action by word or deed. When we sing or say “kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy), it is related to this word.
LI “fear” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.
LII “shown” = poieo. Same as “done” in v49. See note XLVII above.
LIII “strength” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
LIV “arm” = brachion. 3x in NT. From brachus (little, few, a short time). This is arm, which can metaphorically refer to strength. It shares a root with the “brachial” artery.

    he has scatteredLV the proudLVI in the thoughtsLVII of their hearts.LVIII

Notes on verse 51b

LV “scattered” = diaskorpizo. 9x in NT. From dia (through, on account of, across, thoroughly) + skorpizo (to scatter, distribute, dissipate, waste). This is to separate or disperse. Figuratively, it can be squander or waste.
LVI “proud” = huperephanos. Related to “exclaimed” in v42 & “sound” in v44. 5x in NT. From huper (over, beyond, concerning) + phaino (see note XX above). This is proud, arrogant, disdainful. Properly, this word is to over-shine. To set oneself over others as being haughty.
LVII “thoughts” = dianoia. Related to “name” in v49. 12x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from ginosko (see note XLIX above)}. This is thought, intellect, or insight. It is thorough, critical thinking to reason through issues to reach a conclusion that is both logically sound and personal.
LVIII “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.

52 He has brought downLIX the powerfulLX from their thrones,LXI
    and lifted upLXII the lowly;LXIII

Notes on verse 52

LIX “brought down” = kathaireo. Related to “fruit” in v42. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to; down from a higher to a lower place) + haireo (see note XXV above). Properly, this is to take someone or something down by personal choice – to yank down with some force. To destroy totally, cast down. To lower with or without violence, demolish literally or figuratively. Could be pull down, tear down, depose, or dethrone.
LX “powerful” = dunastes. Related to “Mighty One” in v49. 3x in NT. From dunamai (see note XLVI above). This is ruler, powerful, or court official. It is someone who has power and authority or, by extension, someone in the royal court.
LXI “thrones” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.
LXII “lifted up” = hupsoo. From hupsos (height, high position, heaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is to elevate in a literal or figurative sense. So it could be to raise up or set something in a high place or to exalt or make something great.
LXIII “lowly” = tapeinos. Related to “lowliness” in v48. See note XLI above.

53 he has filledLXIV the hungryLXV with good things,LXVI

Notes on verse 53a

LXIV “filled” = empiplemi. 5x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + same as pleistos (most, very great, much, very numerous); {from polus (much, many, often, plenteous, abundant)}. This is to fill up or satisfy literally or figuratively.
LXV “hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
LXVI “good things” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.

    and sent the richLXVII awayLXVIII empty.LXIX

Notes on verse 53b

LXVII “rich” = plouteo. Related to “filled” in v53. 12x in NT. From ploutizo (to enrich, cause abundance, bring fullness); from ploutos (abundance, wealth, or riches; money, possessions, spiritual abundance, or a valuable bestowment); from polus (see note LXIV above) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is to be rich or abound in. It is to be or get wealth in a literal or figurative sense.
LXVIII “sent…away” = exapostello. Related to “set out” in v39. 13x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for); {probably from histemi (see note II above)}}. This is to send away, dismiss, send someone for a mission.
LXIX “empty” = kenos. 18x in NT. Properly, this is something that is empty or void. Hence, it is worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false.

54 He has helpedLXX his servantLXXI Israel,LXXII
    in remembranceLXXIII of his mercy,

Notes on verse 54

LXX “helped” = antilambano. 3x in NT. From anti (over against, instead of, corresponding to) + lambano (to take or receive actively or aggressively – with initiative and not passively). This is to take instead of, take hold of, help, share in, partake of, enjoy. Properly, to take hold in a way that is proportional or fitting – acting in a way that corresponds to what is needed in the situation. In terms of helping, this is giving the help that matches what is really needed.
LXXI “servant” = pais. Perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is child, youth, servant, or slave.
LXXII “Israel” = Israel. Related to “Elizabeth” in v40. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note X above)}. This is Israel the people and the land.
LXXIII “remembrance” = mimnesko. From mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is to remind or remember. It is memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful of. It is not incidentally or accidentally remembering.

55 according to the promiseLXXIV he made to our ancestors,LXXV
    to AbrahamLXXVI and to his descendantsLXXVII forever.”LXXVIII

Notes on verse 55

LXXIV “promise” = laleo. Literally to talk or say.
LXXV “ancestors” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
LXXVI “Abraham” = Abraam. From Hebrew Abraham (exalted father); from the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
LXXVII “descendants” = sperma. Related to “greeted” in v40 & “greeting” in v41. From speiro (to sow seed, spread, scatter); perhaps from spao (see note IX above). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.
LXXVIII “forever” = eis + ho + aion. Literally “to the age.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

56 And Mary remainedLXXIX with her about three months and then returned to her home.

57 Now the timeLXXX cameLXXXI for Elizabeth to give birth,LXXXII and she boreLXXXIII a son.

Notes on verses 56-57

LXXIX “remained” = meno. Related to “remembrance” in v54. See note LXXIII above.
LXXX “time” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
LXXXI “came” = pleitho. Same as “filled” in v41. See note XVII above.
LXXXII “give birth” = tikto. 18x in NT. This is used of creating new life whether as a mother or a plant or the earth as a whole. It can be rendered bright forth, bear, give birth, labor, produce, or yield. It can also refers to the pains of childbirth.
LXXXIII “bore” = gennao. Related to {untranslated} in v41 & “women” in v42 & “generations” in v48. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (see note XLIV above). This is to beget, give birth to, or bring forth. Properly, it refers to procreation by the father, but was used of the mother by extension. Figuratively, this can mean to regenerate.

Image credit: “Two Miraculous Babies” by Didier Martin.

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