Luke 2.1-52 tells us about the birth of Yeshua, probably at the festival of Sukkot, the angels and the shepherds; his circumcision and naming, his presentation in the Temple 40 days after his birth according to Lev 12.1-8; his return to Nazareth and early childhood and his visit to the Temple at Passover. There are three ways to determine when Yeshua was born: the date of Gabriel’s visit to Zechariah which has already been discussed in Luke 1, Miriam’s conception six months later, and the date of King Herod’s death in the fall of 4 BC, within 40 days of birth. For more information on this in more detail, see the book called “Rosh Ha Shanah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come” by Joseph Good, Hatikva Ministries, p.155-162.
v 1…Now it came about in those days (revolving around the conception of Yeshua and the birth of John) that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus (grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, whose name was Octavian), that a census (head tax) be taken of all the inhabited earth (over which Rome ruled); God did not want any doubt to the ancestry of Yeshua, and Luke had access to this register).
v 2…This was the first (Greek “proton” or first) census (first enrolled) taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria (the proconsul in Damascus).
v 3…And all were proceeding to register for the census (head tax), everyone to his own city (ancestral home; you did this when you came up for a festival; Miriam and Joseph came at Sukkot; Augustus and his edicts were being dictated by the true King of Kings in order to have the Messiah born in Bethlehem; for those who think that Yehovah does not govern or control the affairs of men are greatly mistaken).
v 4…And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (Hebrew “Beit Lechem” or house of bread-Mic 4.8; Gen 35.16-19; Ruth 4.18-22), because he was of the house and family of David,
v 5…in order to register along with Miriam, who was betrothed (but considered his wife) to him, and was with child.
v 6…And it came about that while they were there (n Bethlehem), the days were completed for her to give birth (to the long-awaited Messiah-Gen 3.15; Isa 7.14).
v 7…And she gave birth to her first-born son (Greek “prototokos” or first of many, not “monogenes” or only as in Luke 7.12, 8.42, 9.38- she would have other sons-Matt 13.55; Mark 6.3); and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes (at Sukkot there were four great lights in the Temple called the “light of the world.” The discarded undergarments, or swaddling clothes, of the priests were used as wicks for these lights), and laid him in a manger (a sable, or “sukkah”-Gen 3.17), because there was no room for them in the inn (because it was the festival of Sukkot and many had come to keep the festival; in 2 Sam 19.37 David gives Chimcham a possession in Bethlehem-Jer 41.17; this later had an inn identical to the inn in this passage).
v 8…And in the same region there were shepherds (Temple sheep were grazed here-Mishnah, Shekalim 7.4) staying out in the fields (at a place called Migdal Eder, meaning “tower of the flock”, in the fields near Bethlehem-Mic 4.6-10) and keeping watch (in the towers) over their flock by night (they were diligent).
v 9…And an angel of the Lord stood before them (notice he did not appear to the priests, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, etc), and the glory (Hebrew “kivod” and a theme of Sukkot with the four poles and the lights-see Luke 1.38 notes on the prayer said in a sukkah) of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened (a reverential awe).
v 10…And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold (see for yourself), I bring you good news (Hebrew “basar”-Isa 40.9, 52.7 about the coming of the Messiah) of great joy (another theme of Sukkot) which shall be for all the people (nations-Sukkot is called the “festival of the nations”);
v 11…for today in the city of Bethlehem there has been born to you a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord (Yehovah is master of all things, one of the divine God-head).
v 12…And this shall be a sign (alluding to Isa 7.14-an identification) for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes (one time a year the priests would take their undergarments and cut them into strips as wicks for the four posts which had vats of oil. These were lit and called the “light of the world”-Mishnah, Sukkah 5.2-3), and laying in a manger (a stable-Greek “phatne” or a place for hitching cattle; Jacob made “sukkot” for his livestock, so phatne is the Greek word for the Hebrew “sukkah”-Gen 33.17).
v 13…And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (army) praising God and saying,
v 14…”Glory to God in the highest (heaven), and on earth peace (the absence of evil or lack) among men with whom he is pleased (a Sukkot theme).
v 15…And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another (among themselves), “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
v 16…And they came in haste and found their way to Miriam and Joseph and the baby as he lay in the manger.
v 17…And when they had seen this they made known the statement which had been told to them about the child (it was not a silent night).
v 18…And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
v 19…But Miriam treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart (considerations, thoughts-all of these memories comforted her as she considered what has happened since 1.11).
v 20…And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
v 21…And when eight days were completed (if Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot, an eight-day festival, he will be circumcised on Shemini Atzeeret or Tishri 22; they were probably in Egypt by this time-Matt 2.13-15) before his circumcision, his name as called Yeshua, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
v 22…And when the days for their purification according to the law (Torah) of Moses were completed (40 days according to Lev 12.1-8-the family departed for Egypt the night he was born, and stayed there until King Herod was dead; they then came back to the Temple for this ceremony within 40 days to complete this ritual), they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
v 23…as it is written in the law (Torah ) of the Lord (already documented), “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy (have a kedusha) to the Lord (Yehovah-Exo 13.12-15)”,
v 24…and to offer a sacrifice (an offering-“korban”) according to what is said in the law (Torah), “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons (Lev 12.8-they gave this because they were poor; the gifts the chachamim, or wise men, gave were dedicated to the Lord and were not for their personal use).”
v 25…Behold (see), there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon and this man was righteous (by faith) and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel (true Israel, and the Ruach Ha Kodesh was with him (the shepherds told everyone that the Messiah had been born in Luke 2.17-18; he is waiting here knowing they had to come to the Temple to fulfill the Torah in Lev 12.1-9).
v 26…And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach Ha Kodesh that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
v 27…And he came in the Spirit (under his control and purposes) into the Temple (he knew it was the fortieth day and the family and child had to come for the ritual); and when the parents brought the child Yeshua , to carry out for him the custom of the law (Torah),
v 28…then he took him into his arms and blessed God, and said,
v 29…”Now Lord, thou dost let thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
v 30…for my eyes have seen thy salvation (Yeshua means “Yehovah saves”),
v 31…which thou hast prepared in the presence of all the peoples,
v 32…’A light of revelation to the Gentiles (Matt 12.16-21); and the glory of thy people Israel (because God performed what he had promised to them-Gen 3.15, 12.3, 49.10; Isa 53.1-2).’ “
v 33…And Joseph (Joseph was not the biological father so father is not used) and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about him.
v 34…And Simeon blessed them, and said to Miriam his mother, “Behold (see), this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign (identification) to be opposed (a stumbling block for some-Matt 21.42-46),
v 35…and a sword (of anguish) will pierce even your own soul-to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed (for what they really are-the wicked are revealed by their lies, contradictions, actions and heresies; but the righteous are revealed also).”
v 36…And there was a prophetess named Anna (Chanah meaning grace, favor), the daughter of Phanuel (face of God), of the tribe of Asher (one of the so-called Lost tribes.” She wasn’t lost here and there were many more-Jam 1.1. 2 Chr 30.1-11 says that all twelve tribes were invited to come for the Passover after the Assyrians came). She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage,
v 37…and then was a widow to the age of 84 (a long time). And she never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayer (there seems to be a group of women who served in the Mishkan like this, and later in the Temple-Exo 38.8; Judges 11.39-40; 1 Sam 2.22).
v 38…And at that moment (instant) she came up (still vigorous) and giving thanks to God, continued to speak of him (Yeshua as Messiah) to all who were looking for the redemption (second redemption) of Jerusalem (this was a time of great expectation of the Messiah-Luke 1.65-66, 2.18, 3.15).
v 39…And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord (Torah), they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth (they finally went home).
v 40…And the child continued to grow strong (in spirit), increasing in wisdom (“chachmah”- which is knowing what to do when you have an understanding of Torah facts); and the grace (“chessed” or kindness, mercy) of God was upon him.
v 41…And his parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the feast of Passover (in obedience to the Torah-Deut 16.16; Exo 23.14-17).
v 42…And when he became twelve they went up according to the custom of the feast (just mentioned);
v 43…and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days (for Passover and all seven days of Unleavened Bread), the boy Yeshua stayed behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and his mother were unaware of it (of his intention to stay),
v 44…but supposed him to be in the caravan (they traveled in these for safety) and went a days journey (about ten miles); and they began looking for him among their relatives and acquaintances.
v 45…And when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for him.
v 46…And it came about that after three days (from their first setting out to go home; the concept of “three days” is very important in the Scriptures-Hos 6.1-3; John 2.1, 2.19; Luke 13.32, etc) they found him in the Temple sitting in the midst of the teachers (of the Sanhedrin, possibly Hillel and Shammai who were alive, including Simeon Ben Hillel, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Joshua, Yochanon Ben Zakkai, and Yonaton Ben Uzziel who wrote a targum on the prophets), both listening to them and asking them questions.
v 47…And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers (about the Torah).
v 48…And when they saw him, they were astonished (at what they saw, and the teachers he was with); and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us this way (reminding him he was still under their authority)? Behold, your father (as his guardian) and I have been anxiously (with breaking heart) looking for you.”
v 49…And he said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be involved in my Father’s business (he was not away from his Father, but involved in the business of his Father’s house)?”
v 50…And they did not understand the statement which he had made to them.
v 51…And he went down (from the Temple) with them and came to Nazareth; and he continued in subjection to them; and his mother treasured all these things in her heart (in her memory and inward thoughts).
v 52…And Yeshua kept increasing (Hebrew “hosif” and related to “yosef” the name of his father-Gen 49.22, 30.24) in wisdom (chachmah) and stature (physically), and in favor (chessed) with God and men (socially).