Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 3
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.
There are no differences between the text of the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
March 14, 2004
- 1. Elizabeth explains her outburst of blessedness and her question by basically repeating the content of verse 41 with the addition of "for joy" as the explanation of the cause of John's "leap".
- 2. She then ascribes "blessedness" to Mary for believing what she had been told.
- 1. Elizabeth injects the issue of "joy" into the mix by explaining John's "leap".
- 2. She also injects the issue of "blessedness" in respect to the impact of faith.
- a. The word translated here as "blessed" is a completely different word than the one the translators rendered "blessed" in verse 42. That different words are treated as though they are the same in translation makes the English text at least somewhat inscrutable and at most misleading. The problem is this: how do translators differentiate between words in one language as they attempt to find a word in another language that has the same field of meaning? There are no two languages which have exact correspondence between all of their respective vocabularies; therefore, it becomes quite a task to find equivalent words between languages...making the translator's task difficult.
- 1) The "blessedness" of verse 42 refers to 'the condition one is in when he/she is held in very high esteem by God'. The statement "blessed are you..." is a recognition by the speaker of this enviable state possessed by the one called "blessed".
- 2) From this recognition, there are multiple shifts in meaning. The first such shift is one in which there is a recognition of the significance that this "blessedness" of the one so recognized has upon the on-looker who recognizes it (i.e., the "blessedness of the one" has a beneficial impact upon me as the one who recognizes it: the crowds who celebrated the triumphal entry of Jesus cried "Blessed in He Who comes..." in recognition of His special status in God's eyes, but their high exuberance was caused, not by what He possessed, but by how it would bring them to fulfillment -- He was to bring them the kingdom). Then, there is another shift. This one moves from recognition of personal good from the "blessed one", to acknowledgment of that good in gratitude (Paul calls our "blessing" of God a "giving of thanks" in 1 Corinthians 14:16). And, finally, there is one further shift: this one is a shift from recognition of blessing to appeal for blessing ("bless" those who curse you). So, the word is used...
- a) To announce one's recognition of another's privileged state before God (You are blessed).
- b) To express joy in one's graced life because of how the other's actions as the Privileged One spill over into benefit to the one rejoicing (I am blessed because you are).
- c) To give thanks to God for the benefits of privilege (I give thanks to God for the benefits I have for standing in the flow of your blessing from God).
- d) To appeal to God to put someone else into the flow of His good ("bless" those who curse you...).
- e) The overall idea can be illustrated in the following manner. The river of life that flows from God is what is in view. They are "blessed" who are touched by this river's flow. As the flow touches someone, the touching creates a diverted flow from the touched one that creates a new direction of flow that has the potential to touch others that the original flow would not have touched. Those that are touched react in joy. Then, they react to joy with gratitude and something else...the desire to be useful to the flow to divert it to even more. Ideally, this would create a segmentation of the original flow that would eventually reach out to everyone. But, there is this problem: the flow can only touch the ones who are willing to recognize the goodness of the God of the Flow and who are wishing to be a part of that flow. There are two problems. First, there are those who are afraid of the flow and will not let it touch them; and, second, there are those who think the flow is only for them so that they refuse to permit its touch to move on through them (in effect, they try to dam it up and hold it for themselves).
- b. The "blessedness" of verse 45 is a different, though related, issue.
- 1) This "blessedness" is a description of the impact of faith in the former "blessedness". It is also called "blessedness" by the translators, but its concept is different. It's concept is that of being in a present position that, by reason of its characteristics, underwrites one's future experience as desirable and filled with joy. This meaning is most easily seen in both the beatitudes (where a currently undesirable state will lead to a future state that is very desirable) and in Revelation 14:13 (where what happens in the present is being followed by really good results in the future). The issue of whether one possesses present "joy" in the negative circumstances is not as crucial as the realization that one will experience that "joy" in the final outworking of those circumstances.
- 2) But it is possible for "joy" to exist in the present if one deeply believes in the "blessedness" that is built into the circumstances.
- 3. The word translated "for" is misleading in that it indicates that there is a reason that Mary is considered "blessed". Actually, the word should be translated "that" because it is indicating the content of her faith. These options are: "...you are blessed "for" there shall be a fulfillment..." as opposed to "...blessed is she that believed "that" there would be a fulfillment of the words spoken to her..."
- a. It is more than likely that Elizabeth sees the difference between Mary and her husband who did not believe "that" there would be a fulfillment of the words spoken to him. In both cases, there was going to be a fulfillment, whether they believed or not, but Mary's experience, because of her faith, was far better than Zacharias' discipline because of his unbelief.
- b. Gabriel had said that there is no word of God that comes unempowered. "Blessed" is the person who grasps that reality and lives on its foundation.
- 4. Believing "that" there shall be a "teleiosis" [an "end"] of the words spoken means that the words were spoken regarding the future and they would find themselves in absolute harmony with that future when it became the present...i.e., "there would be a fulfillment" in the sense that the "end" they described would be the "end" that transpired. When one "believes" what is predicted, and the prediction is filled with hope, the "believer" is "blessed" (i.e., "set up for" the experience that is predicted).
- 5. Summary: Mary is "blessed above all women" [eulogetos] because the stream of the life of God has narrowed, in its historical outworking, to her alone. But, there is also the "blessedness" of the fruit of her womb because the stream of the life is further narrowed to her "baby". And, being such a chosen vessel of God has underwritten a very great position of privilege for her in the eschatological kingdom, so that she is "blessed" [macharios].