Overview of the Contents of Luke 1—2:
Prologue: Literary Introduction to the Gospel
Angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah to announce the birth of John (the Baptist)
Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus (the “Annunciation”)
Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth (the “Visitation”; incl. Mary's “Magnificat”)
Elizabeth gives birth to her son (John the Baptist)
|1:59-80||8th day: circumcision & naming of John the Baptist (incl. Zechariah's “Benedictus”)|
Joseph and Mary journey to Bethlehem
Mary gives birth to her baby in Bethlehem of Judea (the “Nativity”)
|2:8-14||Angels appear to some shepherds (incl. the angels' “Gloria”)|
Shepherds visit Mary and Joseph and their infant
8th day: circumcision and naming of Jesus
40th day: Jesus is presented to God in the Jerusalem Temple (the “Presentation”)
Jesus' family returns to Nazareth
Twelve-year-old Jesus is found in the Temple (incl. Simeon's “Nunc Dimittis”)
Parallels in Biblical Birth Narratives:
|.||Birth of Ishmael
(Gen 15:1-21; 16:1-16)
|Birth of Isaac
(Gen 17:15-22; 18:9-15; 21:1-8)
|Birth of Samson
|Birth of Samuel
(1 Sam 1:1—2:11)
|Birth of John
(Luke 1:5-25, 57-80)
|Birth of Jesus
(Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-40)
|Sarai: barren (11:30; 16:1-2)||Sarah: old (17:17; 18:11-12)||Anonymous Wife: barren||Hannah: barren||Elizabeth: barren, old||Mary: virgin, not yet married|
|Father's Role||Abram: questions God||Abraham: listens to God||Manoah: dialogues with wife||Elkanah: comforts Hannah||Zechariah: priest in temple||Joseph: no major role|
|Child Requested||by Abram (15:3)||(not explicit)||(not explicit)||by Hannah's prayer||by Zechariah's prayer (implicit)||(not requested)|
|Announcement of Birth*||many descendants (15:5)||by God to Abraham||by an angel to the woman||by Eli's assurance to Hannah||by angel Gabriel to Zechariah||by angel Gabriel to Mary|
|Initial Reaction||Abram believed (15:6)||Abraham laughs||Woman tells her husband||Eli thinks Hannah is drunk||Zechariah questions / doubts||Mary questions / believes|
|Result of Announcement||Sarai gives Hagar to Abram||delay of several chapters||Angel appears again to both||Hannah conceives from husband||Elizabeth conceives from husband||Mary conceives from Holy Spirit|
|Birth of Child||conflict before birth (16:4-16)||brief mention (21:1-3)||brief mention (13:24a)||very brief mention (1:20)||brief narration (1:57-58)||extensive narration (2:1-20)|
|Circumcision||first instituted (17:1-27)||brief mention (21:4)||(not mentioned)||(not mentioned)||extensive narration (1:59-79)||brief mention (2:21)|
|Boy's Name||Ishmael (16:11, 15-16)||Isaac (17:19; 21:3-5)||Samson (13:24a)||Samuel (1:20)||John (1:13, 59-63)||Jesus (1:31, 35; 2:21)|
|Reaction [Praising God]||(not explicit)||by Sarah (21:6-7)||(sacrifice offered before birth)||by Hannah (2:1-10)||by Zechariah (1:67-79)||by Mary (1:46-55);
by angels (2:8-14);
by shepherds (2:20);
by Simeon (2:28-32)
|Child Grows||driven away (21:9-21)||great feast (21:8)||brief mention (13:24b-25)||(1:24-28; 2:11)||brief mention (1:80)||incident at age twelve (2:40-52)|
*Note: Raymond Brown (Birth of the Messiah, p. 156) subdivides these Biblical Annunciations into five steps, most of which occur in most of the above stories:
Biblical Hymns Compared:
|Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55 - NAB)||Hannah's Song of Praise (1 Sam 2:1-10 - NAB)|
|46 And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
47 my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
48 For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
49 The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.
51 He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
52 He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.
53 The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy,
55 according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
|1 And Hannah prayed: "My heart exults in the LORD, my horn is exalted by my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in your victory.
2 There is no Holy One like the LORD; there is no Rock like our God.
3 Speak boastfully no longer, Do not let arrogance issue from your mouths.
For an all-knowing God is the LORD, a God who weighs actions.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering gird on strength.
5 The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry no longer have to toil.
The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes.
6 The LORD puts to death and gives life, casts down to Sheol and brings up again.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich, humbles, and also exalts.
8 He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he has set the world upon them.
9 He guards the footsteps of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall perish in the darkness;
for not by strength does one prevail.
10 The LORD's foes shall be shattered; the Most High in heaven thunders;
the LORD judges the ends of the earth.
May he give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!"
|Zechariah's Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79 - NAB)||Various OT Texts (NAB)|
68 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
69 He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,
76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
Ps 41:14 - Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from all eternity and forever. Amen. Amen.
1 Sam 2:10b - May he give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!"
Ps 106:10 - He rescued them from hostile hands, freed them from the power of the enemy.
Gen 17:7 - I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages
Gen 22:16-18 - "I swear by my very self-- oracle of the LORD--
Wis 9:3 - And to govern the world in holiness and righteousness, and to render judgment in integrity of heart:
Isa 40:3 - A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Isa 60:1-2 - Arise! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the LORD has dawned upon you. /
Ps 23:4 - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Note: MANY more OT texts also parallel such common concepts as God's mercy, forgiveness, peace, and salvation.
Nazareth & Bethlehem:
Electronic New Testament Educational Resources
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October 30, 2015
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