Luke 1:46-56

Luke 1:46-56
A Women’s Lectionary 3


46 And MaryA said,

“My soulB magnifiesC the Lord,D

Notes on verse 46

A “Mary” = Mariam. 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.
B “soul” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
C “magnifies” = megaluno. 8x in NT. From megas (big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc). This is to make great, increase, extoll, magnify. It is increase in a literal or figurative sense.
D “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.

47     and my spiritE rejoicesF in GodG my Savior,H

Notes on verse 47

E “spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
F “rejoices” = agalliao. 11x in NT. From agallomai (to exalt, make glorious) {from agan (much, very) + hallomai (to leap or leap up; when referring to water, springing up or bubbling up; to jump or figuratively to gush)}. This is properly joy that prompts you to jump up. It is a full body experience of joy: exulting, rejoicing, or even boasting from joy.
G “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
H “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.

48 for he has lookedI with favor on the lowlinessJ of his servant.K

Notes on verse 48a

I “looked” = epiblepo. 3x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + blepo (to see, used primarily in the physical sense; figuratively, seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, beware, and acting on the visual information). This is to look at, to regard with favor, to pay focused attention or give special regard to something, to gaze at with pity, to be partial to.
J “lowliness” = tapeinosis. 4x in NT. From tapeinoo (bringing someone or something low; figuratively to humble or humiliate – to depress or abase); from tapeinos (low in position, depressed, low in circumstance; fig humiliated, low in spirit). This is humiliation, lowliness, low state, depression.
K “servant” = doule. 3x in NT– 2x of Mary, 1x of Pentecost. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else, but could be voluntary to pay off debt or involuntary – captured in war and enslaved; a metaphor for serving Christ); perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is female slave or bondservant.

    Surely,L from now on allM generationsN will call me blessed;O

Notes on verse 48b

L “surely” = 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.
M “all” = pas. This is all or every.
N “generations” = genea. From genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is family, generation, kind, or nation. As generation, it implies an age as a period of time. It can also mean infinity. This is the root of the word “generation.
O “call…blessed” = makarizo. 2x in NT. From makarios (blessed, happy, fortunate; when God’s grace/abundance is extended); from makar (happy); from mak- (to enlarge, lengthen). This is to bless, call happy, consider one fortunate.

49 for the Mighty OneP has doneQ great thingsR for me,
    and holyS is his name.T

Notes on verse 49

P “Mighty One” = dunatos. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is mighty or powerful. It speaks of ability of persons, possibility of things. It is what can be given the power or ability that the subject exhibits. The root verb is also related to miracles i.e. deeds of power.
Q “done” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
R “great things” = megas. Related to “magnifies” in v46. See note C above.
S “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
T “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.

50 His mercyU is for those who fearV him
    from generation to generation.

51 He has shownW strengthX with his arm;Y

Notes on verses 50-51a

U “mercy” = eleos. This is mercy, pity, tender mercy, or compassion, whether from humans or from God. This is mercy, generally understood in action by word or deed. When we sing or say “kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy), it is related to this word.
V “fear” = phobeo. 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.
W “shown” = poieo. Same as “done” in v49. See note Q above.
X “strength” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
Y “arm” = brachion. 3x in NT. From brachus (little, few, a short time). This is arm, which can metaphorically refer to strength. It shares a root with the “brachial” artery.

    he has scatteredZ the proudAA in the thoughtsBB of their hearts.CC

Notes on verse 51b

Z “scattered” = diaskorpizo. 9x in NT. From dia (through, on account of, across, thoroughly) + skorpizo (to scatter, distribute, dissipate, waste). This is to separate or disperse. Figuratively, it can be squander or waste.
AA “proud” = huperephanos. 5x in NT. From huper (over, beyond, concerning) + phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is proud, arrogant, disdainful. Properly, this word is to over-shine. To set oneself over others as being haughty.
BB “thoughts” = dianoia. Related to “name” in v49. 12x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + noieo (to perceive, think, understand); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from ginosko (see note T above)}. This is thought, intellect, or insight. It is thorough, critical thinking to reason through issues to reach a conclusion that is both logically sound and personal.
CC “hearts” = 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.

52 He has brought downDD the powerfulEE from their thrones,FF
    and lifted upGG the lowly;HH

Notes on verse 52

DD “brought down” = kathaireo. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to; down from a higher to a lower place) + haireo (to choose, take). Properly, this is to take someone or something down by personal choice – to yank down with some force. To destroy totally, cast down. To lower with or without violence, demolish literally or figuratively. Could be pull down, tear down, depose, or dethrone.
EE “powerful” = dunastes. Related to “Mighty One” in v49. 3x in NT. From dunamai (see note P above). This is ruler, powerful, or court official. It is someone who has power and authority or, by extension, someone in the royal court.
FF “thrones” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.
GG “lifted up” = hupsoo. 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 to elevate in a literal or figurative sense. So it could be to raise up or set something in a high place or to exalt or make something great.
HH “lowly” = tapeinos. Related to “lowliness” in v48. 8x in NT. See note J above.

53 he has filledII the hungryJJ with good things,KK

Notes on verse 53a

II “filled” = empiplemi. 5x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + same as pleistos (most, very great, much, very numerous); {from polus (much, many, often, plenteous, abundant)}. This is to fill up or satisfy literally or figuratively.
JJ “hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
KK “good things” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.

    and sent the richLL awayMM empty.NN

Notes on verse 53b

LL “rich” = plouteo. Related to “filled” in v53. 12x in NT. From ploutizo (to enrich, cause abundance, bring fullness); from ploutos (abundance, wealth, or riches; money, possessions, spiritual abundance, or a valuable bestowment); from polus (see note II above) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is to be rich or abound in. It is to be or get wealth in a literal or figurative sense.
MM “sent…away” = exapostello. 13x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + apostello (to send, send away, send forth as a messenger, to commission); {from apo (from, away from) + stello (to set, arrange, prepare, provide for)}. This is to send away, dismiss, send someone for a mission.
NN “empty” = kenos. 18x in NT. Properly, this is something that is empty or void. Hence, it is worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false.

54 He has helpedOO his servantPP Israel,QQ
    in remembranceRR of his mercy,

Notes on verse 54

OO “helped” = antilambano. 3x in NT. From anti (over against, instead of, corresponding to) + lambano (to take or receive actively or aggressively – with initiative and not passively). This is to take instead of, take hold of, help, share in, partake of, enjoy. Properly, to take hold in a way that is proportional or fitting – acting in a way that corresponds to what is needed in the situation. In terms of helping, this is giving the help that matches what is really needed.
PP “servant” = pais. Perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is child, youth, servant, or slave.
QQ “Israel” = Israel. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); {from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god)}. This is Israel the people and the land.
RR “remembrance” = mimnesko. From mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is to remind or remember. It is memory through an active, intentional process or being mindful of. It is not incidentally or accidentally remembering.

55 according to the promiseSS he made to our ancestors,TT
    to AbrahamUU and to his descendantsVV forever.”WW

56 And Mary remainedXX with her about three months and then returnedYY to her home.ZZ

Notes on verses 55-56

SS “promise” = laleo. From lalos (talkative). This is to talk, say, or preach.
TT “ancestors” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
UU “Abraham” = Abraam. From Hebrew Abraham (exalted father); from the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
VV “descendants” = sperma. From speiro (to sow seed, spread, scatter); perhaps from spao (to pull, to draw a sword). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.
WW “forever” = eis + ho + aion. Literally, “to the age.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.
XX “remained” = meno. Related to “remembrance” in v55. See note RR above.
YY “returned” = hupstrepho. 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.
ZZ “home” = oikos. This is house – the building, the household, the family, descendants, the temple.

Image credit: “Bath Abbey 105 Diptychs 01a Magnificat” by Peter, 2014.

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