18 Now the birthA of JesusB the MessiahC took place in this way. When his mother MaryD had been engagedE to Joseph,F but before they lived together, she was found to be with childG from the HolyH Spirit.I 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous manJ and unwillingK to expose her to public disgrace,L plannedM to dismissN her quietly.O
A “birth” = genesis. 5x in NT. From ginomai (to come into being, happen, become, be born; properly to emerge from one status or realm to another). This is origin, birth, lineage, descent, genealogy, life, nativity. It is used figuratively for nature, generation. Unsurprisingly, this is where the name of the book “Genesis” comes from.
B “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
C “Messiah” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ, messiah.
D “Mary” = Maria. 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.
E “engaged” = mnesteuo. 3x in NT – all in reference to Mary and Joseph’s engagement. From mnaomai (to be mindful, remember); from meno (to stay, abide, remain, wait, continue, endure; to stay in a certain place or state). This is to be engaged or betrothed. This was more than engagement as we would think of it. To be engaged was more like two-thirds married. For example, if there was sexual infidelity at this stage, it was still considered adultery.
F “Joseph” = ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; son of Jacob and other Israelites as well); from yasaph (to add, again, increase, continue, exceed; to add or augment). This is Joseph.
G “with child” = gaster + echo. Literally “in womb having.” Gaster is 9x in NT. It is used for belly, womb, or pregnant.
H “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.
I “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.
J “righteous man” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
K “unwilling” = me + thelo. Literally “not willing.” Thelo is to will, wish, desire, intend, or to be willing. It speaks to intentions for action from subjective impulse. These are not wistful desires, but ones that will be acted on soon.
L “expose…to public disgrace” = deigmatizo. 2x in NT. May be related to “righteous man” in v19. From deigma (example, specimen, type – something that is shown); from deiknumi (see note J above). This is to expose or make a show of. To hold someone or something up as an example. By implication, it can mean to disgrace someone.
M “planned” = boulomai. This is will, intend, desire, or wish. This word refers to planning that is focused and intended to achieve a specific goal.
N “dismiss” = apoluo. From apo (from, away from) + luo (to loose, dissolve, untie; used figuratively to mean break, destroy, or annul; so, this is to break something apart so that it doesn’t hold together any more). This is properly to release, let go, discharge, or dismiss. It is used for an annulment as in a divorce – to free fully.
O “quietly” = lathra. 4x in NT. From lanthano (to escape notice, be hidden or concealed, to act without realizing it, to shut your eyes to something; to be hidden literally or figuratively). This is secretly or privately.
20 But just when he had resolved to doP this,Q an angelR of the LordS appearedT to him in a dreamU and said, “Joseph, son of David,V do not be afraidW to takeX Mary as your wife,Y for the child conceivedZ in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bearAA a son, and you are to name himBB Jesus, for he will saveCC his peopleDD from their sins.”EE
P “resolved to do” = enthumeomai. 3x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + thumos (passion, wrath; passion that drives action; so, behavior that comes from strong impulses or feelings and is expressed; e.g. rage, fierceness, indignation); from the same as thuella (whirlwind, storm); from thuo (breathe violently, rage, seethe; also used for offering sacrifice, particularly animal sacrifice since there is a rush of smoke and fire to immolate it). This word refers to passionate thoughts that agitate or move the mind that are then reflected on and weighed.
Q (untranslated) = idou. From eido (to be away, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
R “angel” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove) [also from ago (lead, bring, carry, guide)]. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
S “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.
T “appeared” = phaino. Perhaps from phos (light or a light source, radiance; includes natural or artificial light, the abstract notion of light, literal light, or figurative light); from phao (to shine or make manifest; particularly referring to rays of light). This is to bring to light literally – to shine or shed light. Also, to make something appear or become visible or clear. This is to lighten or shine; to show literally or figuratively.
U “dream” = onar. 6x in NT – 3x of Joseph’s dreams, 1x in the Wise Men’s dreams, and 1x of Pilate’s wife’s dream. This is specifically a dream that one has while asleep and does not refer to daydreams.
V “David” = dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
W “be afraid” = 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.
X “take” = paralambano. From para (from beside, by) + lambano (to take, receive, get; to actively take or receive – emphasizes the individual’s choice. Not meant in a passive receiving or violent taking sense). This is to receive, take, acknowledge with initiative. It can also mean to associate with. By analogy, it can mean taking an office and figuratively it can be used for learning.
Y “wife” = gune. Perhaps related to “birth” in v18. Perhaps 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 woman, wife, or bride.
Z “conceived” = gennao. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (family, offspring, birth, kin – literally or figurative; stock); from ginomai (see note A & Y above). This is to beget – originally used of a father begetting a child, but later referred also to the mother giving birth. Can mean produce offspring or conceive. Can be used figuratively to mean regenerate. Note that the word “child” does not appear in this sentence in Greek.
AA “bear” = tikto. 18x in NT. This is used of creating new life whether as a mother or a plant or the earth as a whole. It can be rendered bright forth, bear, give birth, labor, produce, or yield. It can also refers to the pains of childbirth.
BB “you are to name him” = Literally “you will call his name” – kaleo + ho + onoma + autos. Kaleo is summon, name, call forth. 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.
CC “save” = sozo. From sos (safe, rescued, well). This is to save, heal, preserve, or rescue. Properly, this is taking someone from danger to safety. It can be delivering or protecting literally or figuratively.
DD “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
EE “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin). Hamartano is from a (not) + meros (a part or share). Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
FF “all” = holos. This is whole, complete, entire. This is a situation in which every part is there and they work together in sync. This is where the word “whole” comes from.
GG “took place” = ginomai. Related to “birth” in v18, perhaps “wife” in v19, & “conceived” in v20. See note A above.
HH “fulfill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its induvial capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
II “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view). Phemi is from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a prophet or poet. One who speaks with inspiration from God
JJ “look” = idou. Same as the untranslated word in v20 (see note Q above).
KK “virgin” = Parthenos. 15x in NT. This is maiden, virgin, or chaste. It is used of the ten bridesmaids as well as Paul’s opinion concerning virgins in 1 Corinthians 7. This word can also be used for virgin men. Here, it describes a woman who has gone through puberty but is as yet unmarried.
LL “conceive” = gaster + echo. Literally “in womb having” as in v20. See note G above.
MM “shall name him” = kaleo + ho + onoma + autos. Literally “will call his name.” See note BB above.
NN “Emmanuel” = emmanouel. 1x in NT. From Hebrew immanu–el. 2x in OT. From im (with, among, near, together) + nu (a prefix for first person plural i.e. us) + el (God, also used for gods generally). This is literally “with us God.”
OO “means” = methermeneuo. 8x in NT. From meta (with, among, beyond) + hermeneuo (to interpret, translate, explain the meaning of) [this may be from Hermes, the god of language and a proper name]. This is to explain beyond i.e. to translate or interpret.
PP “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
24 When Joseph awokeQQ from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relationsRR with her until she had borne a son; and he named himSS Jesus.
QQ “awoke” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
RR “marital relations” = ginosko. May be related to “name” in v21 & v23. See note BB above. Literally, “did not know her,” which is a biblical euphemism for sex.
SS “named him” = kaleo + ho + onoma. Literally “called his name” as in v21 & v23.
Image credit: Amy & Carly of Fishnet Bible Stories, from FreeBibleImages