Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 1
57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
1901 ASV Translation:
57 Now Elisabeth's time was fulfilled that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
58 And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her; and they rejoiced with her.
There are no textual variants between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
July 18, 2004
- I. The term "delivered" (translated "be delivered" even though it is an active voice verb) is used in 18 verses of the New Testament and refers to the birth of a child in all but two of them.
- II. The term "fulfilled" is used in 24 verses of the New Testament and Luke is responsible for 21 of those uses. It is never used beyond the book of Acts. It seems to be a favorite of Luke.
- III. The term "brought forth" is a word that is used extensively in the New Testament. It is used of men, and is translated "begat" and it is used of women and is translated "bring forth". It seems to have the idea that a person is 'depositing an active agent within a setting where that agent will 'generate' changes that will carry their impact on and on'. A man's sperm is deposited within proximity to the egg and, by vigorous action, penetrates that egg to produce an on-going cellular reproduction that eventuates in an entire life of activities. A woman 'deposits' her 'child' into the world and, by its vigorous action, it actively alters the world into which it has been deposited. In John 18:37, Jesus develops this idea by saying "...to this end I was born...". He meant that His being deposited into this world had a divine objective and that objective was to be the result of all manner of individual actions in this cause/effect universe.
- IV. Luke writes of the "neighbors" and "relatives" in words that are interesting. The "neighbors" are those who are "around the house" [a picture of people whose houses surround Elizabeth's -- the "folks" who called her "barren"] and the "relatives" are those who were "deposited in the world from the same set of connected men and women who were making their 'deposits' in their contexts".
- A. These folks "heard" and "rejoiced together" with Elizabeth.
- B. The word "magnified" ("showed") is the same word Mary used to describe how her soul magnified the Lord. Here the Lord "magnified" His mercy. This is what the neighbors and relatives "heard".
- 1. Interestingly, it is "mercy" that has been "magnified" -- the very characteristic that Mary had focused upon in 1:50 and 1:54. Obviously Luke is trying to make a point.
- 2. Clearly, "mercy" is a good done; but, in this context, it is a good done that is in accord with earlier commitments. Elizabeth means "Yahweh has promised"; Gabriel told Zacharias that Yahweh had heard his "supplication" and was "promising" that his request would be answered; Mary twice puts her entire experience into the "mercy" of Yahweh "just as He spoke to our fathers". In other words, in this context, "mercy" is not simply meeting a need as it is presented, it is anticipating the need from a long way off in time and making commitments to address it in a timely manner.
- 3. The "magnification" was obviously deliberate on Yahweh's part. He deliberately withheld child bearing from Zacharias and Elizabeth; He deliberately did not use any of the "seed" of the neighbors and relatives in the way He intended to use John; and He deliberately made the appearance of "John" to be "of note" -- in other words, He darkened the stage before He sent forth the light because He wanted people to focus on His message: Yahweh is gracious.
- 4. It could probably be concluded that the level of rejoicing was tied to His process. People do not respond with joy to the same degree when they are sated with benefit as they do if they get a drink of water after having been denied for 2 days of hot sun and dry winds.