Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 9
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
1901 ASV Translation:
51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart.
52 He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree.
53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away.
There are no textual variants between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
May 23, 2004
- I. Luke continues to record Mary's reaction to God's treatment of her personally. She is the focus of the statement "He hath showed strength with His arm".
- II. She contrasts those who are the objects of His strength in mercy and those who are the objects of His strength in humiliation.
- III. She lumps all of the "proud" into the category of those who operate out of the imagination of their hearts.
- IV. Then she gives two classic examples with a reversed structure.
- A. The classic examples are those who exercise power over others and those who depend upon wealth to supply their need.
- B. The reversed structure is verses 52-53 where she begins and ends with the powerful and the rich and inserts their contrasting opposites of the humble and hungry between them. The powerful [A] and the humble [b] and the hungry [b] and the wealthy [A] in the reversed structural form [AbbA].
- I. The translation "He hath showed strength" is rather loose. The words are "He has accomplished an organizational phenomenon". The word "showed" is only so translated 5 times out of 579 uses in the New Testament and the word "strength" is a term that indicates a person's remarkable organizational skills has brought something to pass. The point is that Mary viewed her pregnancy as a remarkable result of God's phenomenal organizational abilities in responding to two opposing realities: 1) man's depravity and it's function in a cause/effect universe where reaping is according to sowing and 2) God's integrity and its activity in bringing His words to pass in spite of man's intense rebellion. God has two words that seem to be in opposition: You will reap what you have sown; and, I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy. That God's integrity often requires that He do the unusual (i.e. "miraculous") is assumed since He has deliberately limited His reaction to man's depravity in time (so that it looks like it is always just a breath away from breaking over His boundaries and swallowing up the bondservants). God's prejudice toward "mercy" creates an enormously longsuffering self-limitation that simultaneously requires the "humble" to have to endure a great deal of injustice.
- II. According to John 12:37-38, it is the "norm" for men to reject faith and not see the mighty arm of God. Seeing that mighty arm requires that we "believe the report" -- and that is not the norm. The reality of God's program is that it is a program of "a remnant according to the election of grace" and never a massively popular program embraced by the masses. Even when the program of God is in the ascendancy of appearance, it is really only "appearance" since the majority are never faithful and the impetus of the program is carried on the shoulders of the few. Thus it is altogether a mistake for men to get "impressed" with the mega-appearances that are invariably rotten in almost every place where scrutiny is applied. Men simply do not like God's program or His ways so that there is always perversion of both when they have the say-so...and in the mega-appearance situations, there are always a host of the ignorant/rebellious who are having the say-so.