Luke 2:8-12

Luke 2:8-12
Narrative Lectionary 218


Now in that same regionA there were shepherdsB living in the fields,C

Notes on verse 8a

A “region” = chora. From chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is space, land, region, fields, open area – the countryside in contrast to the town.
B “shepherds” = poimen. 18x in NT. This is shepherd or pastor – one who protects. It is also used figuratively to mean ruler. 
C “living in the fields” = agrauleo. 1x in NT. From agros (field, the country; particularly a field that has a crop; lands, country, estate, farm; a field where one drives cattle); {from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive)} + aule (courtyard, court, sheepfold; palace as a place that would have a courtyard); {from the same as aer (air that we breathe); from aemi (to breathe or blow without thinking about it; natural breath)}. This is camping in the fields – spending the night out in the open.

keepingD watchE over their flockF by night. 

Notes on verse 8b

D “keeping” = phulasso. This is to guard something so that it doesn’t escape – to watch over it vigilantly. This is being on guard in a literal or figurative sense.
E “watch” = phulake. Related to “keeping” in v8. From phulasso (see note D above). This is the act of guarding, the person who guards, the place where guarding occurs (i.e. a prison), or the times of guarding (the various watches).
F “flock” = poimne. Related to “shepherds” in v8. 5x in NT. Probably from poimen (see note B above). This is flock or fold in a literal or figurative sense – usually sheep or goats.

Then an angelG of the LordH stoodI before them,

Notes on verse 9a

G “angel” = aggelos. Related to “living in the fields” in v8. Probably from ago (see note C above) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
H “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.
I “stood” = ephistemi. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to stand upon, happen, be present. Usually, it is used in a literal sense.

and the gloryJ of the Lord shone aroundK them, and they were terrified.L 

Notes on verse 9b

J “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
K “shone around” = perilampo. 2x in NT– of the angels at the nativity in Luke 2:9 & of the light that was part of Saul/Paul’s Damascus conversion in Acts 26:13. From peri (about, concerning, around, comprehensive) + lampo (to shine, beam, literally or figuratively). This is to illuminate around.
L “terrified” = phobeo + phobos + megas. Literally, “they feared great fear.” Phobeo is 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. Phobos is related to “terrified” in v9. See above. Megas is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid,M for see,N I am bringing you good newsO

Notes on verse 10a

M “be afraid” = phobeo. Same as “terrified” in v9. See note L above.
N “see” = 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.
O “bringing…good news” = euaggelizo. Related to “living in the fields” in v8 & “angel” in v9. From eu (well, good, rightly) + aggelos (see note G above). This is evangelize – literally to preach the good news. It can be those who hear the news, the news, or a way to say gospel.

of greatP joyQ for allR the people:S 

Notes on verse 10b

P “great” = megas. Same as “terrified” in v8. See note L above.
Q “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
R “all” = pas. This is all or every.
S “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.

11 to you is bornT this dayU in the cityV

Notes on verse 11a

T “born” = 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.
U “day” = semeron. From hemera (day, time, daybreak); perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is today, now, at present.
V “city” = 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.

of DavidW a Savior,X who is the Messiah,Y the Lord. 

Notes on verse 11b

W “David” = Dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
X “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.
Y “Messiah” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

12 This will be a signZ for you: you will findAA a childBB

Notes on verse 12a

Z “sign” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.
AA “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
BB “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.

wrapped in bands of clothCC and lyingDD in a manger.”EE 

Notes on verse 12b

CC “wrapped in bands of cloth” = sparganoo. 2x in NT. From sparganon (swathing band, a strip); from the same as sparasso (to tear, rend, mangle, convulse); related to spairo (to grasp); from spao (to pull out as one draws a sword). This is to swaddle an infant, to wrap in cloths or strips.
DD “lying” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
EE “manger” = phatne. 4x in NT– 3x of Jesus in a manger, 1x Jesus argues “Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to give it water?” in Luke 13:15. May be from pateomai (to eat). This is a manger, which is a feeding trough, or a stall where one feeds cattle.

Image credit: “The Adoration of the Shepherds.” From “Illuminated Armenian Gospels with Eusebian canons.” Shelfmark MS. Arm. d.13. from 1609. Photo by MartinPoulter, 2015.

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