Explanatory Preface1 Inasmuch as many have set-their-hand1 to produce [an] account concerning all the deeds having been accomplished among you, 2 like [those] the eye-witnesses and ministers of the word from the beginning gave to us, 3 it seemed good for me also, having investigated anew all accurately in order to write to you, noblest Theophilos, 4 in order that you may know the certainty of the words with which you have been instructed.
Birth Announcement of John the Baptist5 It came to pass in the days of Herod king of the Jews [that] there was [a] certain priest Zacharias by name of the division Abia, and his wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name [was] Elizabeth. 6 Now they were both just before God, walking blameless in all the commandments and justice of the Lord. 7 And there was not to them [a] child, as Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in their days.
8 Now it came to pass in the performing of his priestly duties in the fixed succession of his division before God, 9 according to the custom of the priestly service he was appointed to burn incense, having entered into the temple of the Lord, 10 and all the multitude of the people was praying outside in the hour of the incense-offering. 11 Now there appeared to him [an] angel of the Lord standing to the right of the altar of the incense. 12 And seeing [this] Zacharia was shaken, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him:
Be not fearing, Zacharia,
For your entreaty has been heard,
And your wife Elizabeth will bear [a] son to you,
And you will call his name John.
14 And joy and gladness will be to you,
and many will rejoice upon his birth.
15 For he will be great before the Lord,
And wine and strong drink he will not drink2,
And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit
While in his mother's belly,
16 And many of the sons of Israel will he turn
to the Lord their God,
17 and he himself will go forth before Him3
in [the] spirit and power of Elijah,
to turn [the] hearts of fathers to [their] children
and [the] disobedient [to turn] to the attitude of [the] just
to prepare for the Lord [a] people made ready.
18 And Zacharia said to the angel: How will I know this? For I am old and my wife is advanced in days. 19 And answering the angel said to him: I am Gabriel, the [one] having stood before God, sent to speak to you and to proclaim to you these [things]. 20 And behold you shall be silent and not able to speak until that day these [things] come to pass, because4 you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their opportune-time5 .
21 And the people were waiting for Zacharia, and were marveling on his lingering in the temple. 22 So when he came out he was not able to speak to them, and they knew that he had seen [a] vision in the temple; and he was gesturing to them, and he remained mute6. 23 And it came to pass when the days of his ministry were fulfilled, he departed to his house.
24 So after those days Elizabeth conceived, and concealed herself five months, saying 25 that: Thus the Lord has done, in [the] days when he looked [favorably] on me, to take away my disgrace among men.
Birth Announcement of Jesus the Messiah26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to [a] city of Galilee that [is] Nazareth by name 27 to [a] maiden7 betrothed to [a] man by name Joseph, of the house of David, and the name of the maiden7 [is] Mariam. 28 And having entered in to her he said: Greetings, favored [one], the Lord [is] with you. Blessed [are] you among women8. 29 But upon [this] word she was [greatly] perplexed, and was considering what kind of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her:
Be not fearing, Mariam, for you have found grace with God.34 But Mariam said to the angel: How will this be, since I do not know [a] man? 35 And answering the angel said to her:
31 And behold you will conceive in your belly and will bear [a] son,
and you will call his name Jesus.
32 This [one] will be great and will be called son of the most high,
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of David his father.
33 And he will be king over the house of Jacob to eternity,
and of his kingdom there will not be [an] end.
[The] Holy Spirit will come upon you,36 And behold Elizabeth your kinswoman has conceived [a] son in her old age, and this the sixth month for her [who was] called barren; 37 for every word [is] not impossible with God. 38 So Mariam said: Behold the slave of the Lord. May it be to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
and the power of the most high will overshadow you.
Therefore also the [one] born holy will be called the Son of God.
Mary and Elizabeth39 So in those days, Mariam, having arisen, proceeded to the hill country with haste to the city [of] Judah, 40 and entered into the house of Zacharia and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it came to pass as Elizabeth heard Mariam's greeting, the child leapt in her belly, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with [a] great shout and said: Praiseworthy9 [are] you among women,
and praiseworthy9 [is] the fruit [of your] belly. 43 And how is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold as the sound [of your] greeting came to pass to my ears, the fetus in my belly leaped in gladness. 45 And blessed10 [is] she who believed that there will be completion to the [things] spoken to her by [the] Lord.
Mary's Hymn of Praise46 And Mariam said:
My psyche-life11 magnifies the Lord56 And Mariam remained with her [about] three months, and returned to her [own] house.
47 And my spirit has rejoiced upon God my savior
48 Because he has looked upon the humility of his slave
For behold from now [on]
will all generations call me blessed10
49 Because the mighty [one] has done great [things] for12 me
And holy [is] his name.
50 And his mercy [is] to generation and generation
To [those] fearing him.
51 He has done [a] mighty [thing] with his arm,
He has scattered [the] arrogant in the mind[set] of their hearts
52 He has thrown down [the] powerful from their thrones
And has exalted the lowly.
53 [The] hungering he has filled with good [things]
And the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped Israel his servant13 .
[Because he] remembered [his] mercy
55 Just as he spoke to our fathers
To Abraham and to his seed to eternity.
The Birth of John57 Now to Elizabeth was fulfilled the time of her bearing, and she gave birth to [a] son. 58 And her neighbors and kin heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy with her, and rejoiced with her.
59 And it came to pass on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were calling him by the name of his father Zacharia. 60 And answering, his mother said: No, rather he will be called John. 61 And they said to her that: There are none of your kinsmen called by that name. 62 But they were making signs14 to his father what he might wish it to be called. 63 And having requested15 [a] tablet16 he wrote, saying: John is his name. And all marveled. 64 But his mouth was opened immediately and [also] his tongue, and he was speaking praising God. 65 And fear came upon all those dwelling around, and in the whole hill country of Judea they were discussing all these words. 66 And all who heard placed17 [these things] in their hearts, saying: What therefore will this child be? For indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Zachariah's Praise and Prediction67 And Zacharia his father was filled of the Holy Spirit and prophesied saying:
68 Praiseworthy9 [be the] Lord God of Israel
Because he has cared for and made ransom for his people.
69 And he raised the horn of salvation to us
In the house of David his servant18 .
70 Just as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets
from [the] eons,
71 Salvation from our enemies
And from the hand of all hating us,
72 To do mercy with our fathers
And to remember his holy contract,
73 The oath that he swore to Abraham our father,
74 To grant us, having been rescued from the hand of [our] enemies,
To be serving him fearlessly
75 In piety and justice
Before him all our days.
76 And you, child, you will be called [a] prophet of the most high,
For you will proceed before the Lord to prepare his way,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to his people
through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God's merciful viscera19
The dawn will break upon us from on high,
79 To shine upon those dwelling in darkness and [the] shadow of death,
To direct our feet to the way of peace.
80 And the child was growing and becaming strong in [the] spirit, and was in the wilderness until the day of his installation20 before Israel.
1That is, `attempted'). Suggests prior written accounts, not (just) oral.
2Num.6:3, Lev.10:9, 1 Sam.1:11
3the pronoun `him' must refer to 'the Lord' in the previous verse, so `Him' is capitalized here for clarity
4or "in return for which"
5KAIROS (καιρoς ) `opportune time', `proper time', `season'
6KOPHOS (κωφoς ) can also mean 'deaf'. See BDAG, and vs. 62
7PARTHENOS (παρθενoς ). Scholars agree that in general Greek usage-outside of the N.T.-PARTHENOS means simply `maiden' or `young woman', that `virginity' is not an essential characteristic of a PARTHENOS. Many N.T. scholars argue, however, that it has a special meaning that specifies `virginity'-only in the N.T. This has been a matter of debate among Greek scholars literally for 2000 years (see Rahlfs (ed.), Septuaginta, Würrtembergische Bibelanstalt Stuttgart (1935, repr. 1971), I:vii). I've used `maiden' because it suggests an innocent-and virginal-young girl.
8"Blessed are you among women" A D K vg; omit: ℵ B W
9EULOGEO (ευλoγεω) 1) to say something commendatory, speak well of, praise, extol; 2) to ask for bestowal of special favor, esp. of calling down God's gracious power. As opposed to MAKARIOS `blessed'-the state of the gods-as in Matt.5:3ff. Perhaps EULOGEO is more like the act of invoking a blessing, where MAKARIOS is the state of being that exists when that blessing comes to pass.
11from PSYCHE (ψυχη): an individual manifestation of life/consciousness. Animals have PSYCHEs as well as humans. Contrast ZOE (ζωη)—Life 'collectively', interdependent, interconnected.
12or "to", "with"
13PAIS (παις ): `child' or `servant' (and not DIAKONOS (`servant') or DOULOS (`slave')). But recall this is a very patriarchal society-complete obedience was expected of children.
14normally means 'to motion', but can also refer to communication to a deaf person
15AITEO "ay-TEH-oh" (αιτεω) "request", "demand", "beg" something for oneself. Far from humbly requesting—it's more like 'demanding'. Jesus uses AITEO only of the prayer of others, not of His own (cf. John.16:26)—and not requesting things for Himself, only for others. AITEO seems to suppose a lesser degree of intimacy than EROTAO (ερωταω), hence AITEO is used of the requests of the disciples to God, but EROTAO of the requests of the disciples to Jesus, and of those of Jesus to the Father ( John.14:16). AITEO is demanding/begging/pleading, EROTAO is polite and friendlier. Both AITEO and EROTAO occur in John.16:26.
16refers to a wood tablet covered with wax
18PAIS (παις ): `child' or `servant' (and not DIAKONOS (`servant') or DOULOS (`slave')). But recall this is a very patriarchal society-complete obedience was expected of children.
19SPLAGCHNA (σπλαγχνα)-as opposed to `heart', KARDIA (καρδια). In the ancient world, your SPLAGCHNA (viscera) were the seat of affection and compassion.