Luke 2:8-20

Luke 2:8-20
Narrative Lectionary 118


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.

13 And suddenlyFF there wasGG with the angel a multitudeHH

Notes on verse 13a

FF “suddenly” = exaiphnes. 5x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + aiphnidios (literally not apparent so sudden or unexpected); {from aiphnes (suddenly); {from a (not, without) + phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear); {perhaps from phos (light, radiance; light literal or figurative)}}}. This is suddenly or unexpectedly.
GG “was” = 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.
HH “multitude” = plethos. From pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is fullness, multitude, great number.

of the heavenlyII host,JJ praisingKK GodLL and saying,

Notes on verse 13b

II “heavenly” = ouranios. 9x in NT. From ouranos (air, sky, the atmosphere, heaven; the sky that is visible; the spiritual heaven where God dwells; implies happiness, power, and eternity); {perhaps from oros (mountain, hill)}. This is heavenly or celestial. It can mean in, belonging to, or coming from heaven or the sky.
JJ “host” = stratia. 2x in NT– both times of the heavenly host. From stratos (encamped army); perhaps from stonnuo (to spread, to make a bed, strew).  This is literally an army, but used figuratively for hosts of angels, hosts of heaven (that is to say, stars). It is a group that is ordered or organized in some fashion.
KK “praising” = aineo. 8x in NT. From ainos (praise, saying, story, proverb). This is to praise.
LL “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

14 “Glory to God in the highestMM heaven,
    and on earthNN peaceOO among thosePP whom he favors!”QQ

Notes on verse 14

MM “highest” = hupistos. 13x in NT. 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 highest, heights, heaven. It can also refer to God as Most High or the Supreme One.
NN “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
OO “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)
PP “those” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
QQ “favors” = eudokia. Related to “glory” in v9 & “bringing…good news” in v10. 9x in NT. From eudokeo (to think well of, to be pleased or resolved; properly, what someone finds good or acceptable – approving of some action or generally thinking well of); {from eu (see note O above) + dokeo (see note J above)}. This is goodwill, favor, happiness, delight, satisfaction, or desire. It is something that a person finds good or of benefit.

15 RRWhen the angels had leftSS them and gone into heaven,TT the shepherds said to one another, “Let us goUU now to BethlehemVV

Notes on verse 15a

RR {untranslated} = ginomai. Same as “was” in v13. See note GG above.
SS “left” = aperchomai. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (to come or go). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
TT “heaven” = ouranos. Related to “heavenly” in v13. See note II above.
UU “go” = dierchomai. Related to “left” in v15. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + erchomai (see note SS above). This is to go through, come, depart, pierce, travel, traverse.
VV “Bethlehem” = Bethleem. 8x in NT. From beth lechem (Bethlehem); {from bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively)} + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (to eat, feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction)}. This is Bethlehem, meaning “house of bread.”

and seeWW this thingXX that has taken place,YY which the Lord has made knownZZ to us.” 

Notes on verse 15b

WW “see” = horao. Related to “those” in v14. See note PP above.
XX “thing” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
YY “taken place” = ginomai. Same as “was” in v13. See note GG above.
ZZ “made known” = gnorizo. From ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to declare, know, discover, make known.

16 So they wentAAA with hasteBBB and foundCCC MaryDDD and JosephEEE and the child lying in the manger. 

Notes on verse 16

AAA “went” = erchomai. Related to “left” and “go” in v15. See note SS above.
BBB “haste” = speudo. 6x in NT– shepherds went with hast to find Mary and Joseph and the child in Luke 2:16. Jesus tells Zacchaeus to hurry down from the tree in Luke 19:5-6. Perhaps from pous (foot in a figurative or literal sense). This is to hurry, urge on, await. It implies eagerness or diligence.
CCC “found” = aneurisko. Related to “find” in v12. 2x in NT. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + heurisko (see note AA above). This is to discover, to find from searching.
DDD “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.
EEE “Joseph” = Ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”

17 When they sawFFF this, they made known whatGGG had been told them about this child,HHH 18 and all who heardIII it were amazedJJJ at what the shepherds told them, 

Notes on verses 17-18

FFF “saw” = horao. Same as “see” in v15. See note WW above.
GGG “what” = rhema. Same as “thing” in v15. See note XX above.
HHH “child” = paidion. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is a child as one who is still being educated or trained. Perhaps one seven years old or younger. Used figuratively for an immature Christian.
III “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
JJJ “amazed” = thaumazo. From thauma (a wonder or marvel; used abstractly for wonderment or amazement; something that evokes emotional astonishment); may be from theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance). This is to marvel, wonder, or admire. To be amazed out of one’s senses or be awestruck. Being astonished and starting to contemplate what was beheld. This root is where the word “theatre” comes from.

19 and Mary treasuredKKK all these wordsLLL and ponderedMMM them in her heart.NNN 

Notes on verse 19

KKK “treasured” = suntereo. 3x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + tereo (to guard, observe, keep, maintain, or preserve; figuratively, spiritual watchfulness; guarding something from being lost or harmed; fulfilling commands, keeping in custody, or maintaining; figuratively can mean to remain unmarried.); {from teros (a guard or a watch that guards keep); perhaps related to theoreo (gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning; looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means; the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning); from theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy)}. This is to keep close, preserve, remember and obey, treasure.
LLL “words” = rhema. Same as “thing” in v15. See note XX above.
MMM “pondered” = sumballo. 6x in NT. From sun (with, together with, joined closely) + ballo (to throw, cast, rush, place, put, drop; to throw in a more or less intense/violent way). This is properly to throw together. So, it can mean happening upon someone or something with or without hostile motives. In the sense of combining, it can mean to speak, consult, or dispute. Mentally, it can mean to consider something as throwing multiple ideas together to ponder and weigh them. It can imply coming to someone’s aid, joining them, or attacking.
NNN “heart” = 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.

20 The shepherds returned,OOO glorifyingPPP and praising God for all they had heard and seen,QQQ just as it had been told them.

Notes on verse 20

OOO “returned” = hupostrepho. From hupo (by, under, about) + strepho (to turn, change, turn back, be converted; to turn around completely to take the opposite path or a completely different one); {from trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation); from trepo (to turn)}. This is to turn back or behind in a literal or figurative sense.
PPP “glorifying” = doxazo. Related to “glory” in v9 & “favors” in v14.From doxa (see note J above). This is to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate. This is ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence.
QQQ “seen” = horao. Same as “see” in v15. See note WW above.

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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