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Luke 2:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— But it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census should be made of all the habitable world.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Now it came to pass, in those days, that there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, for all the inhabited earth to be enrolled:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And it came to pass in those days, there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world be enrolled—
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And it came to passe in those dayes, that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— NOW it was in those days that there went forth a mandate from Augustus Caesar to enrol the people of his dominion.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And in those days it occurred, that a decree went forth from Augustus Caesar, that all the people of his dominion should be enrolled.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And 1161
{1161} Prime
δέ
de
{deh}
A primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.
it came to pass 1096
{1096} Prime
γίνομαι
ginomai
{ghin'-om-ahee}
A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be ('gen' -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.).
z5633
<5633> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Middle Deponent (See G5788)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 260
in 1722
{1722} Prime
ἐν
en
{en}
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
those 1565
{1565} Prime
ἐκεῖνος
ekeinos
{ek-i'-nos}
From G1563; that one (or [neuter] thing); often intensified by the article prefixed.
days, 2250
{2250} Prime
ἡμέρα
hemera
{hay-mer'-ah}
Feminine (with G5610 implied) of a derivative of ἧμαι [[hemai]] (to sit; akin to the base of G1476) meaning tame, that is, gentle; day, that is, (literally) the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hours (but several days were usually reckoned by the Jews as inclusive of the parts of both extremes); figuratively a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context).
that there went out 1831
{1831} Prime
ἐξέρχομαι
exerchomai
{ex-er'-khom-ahee}
From G1537 and G2064; to issue (literally or figuratively).
z5627
<5627> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2138 plus 1 in a variant reading in a footnote
a decree 1378
{1378} Prime
δόγμα
dogma
{dog'-mah}
From the base of G1380; a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical).
from 3844
{3844} Prime
παρά
para
{par-ah'}
A primary preposition; properly near, that is, (with genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively), (with dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the proximity with (local [especially beyond or opposed to] or causal [on account of]). In compounds it retains the same variety of application.
Caesar 2541
{2541} Prime
Καῖσαρ
Kaisar
{kah'-ee-sar}
Of Latin origin; Caesar, a title of the Roman emperor.
Augustus, 828
{0828} Prime
Αὐγοῦστος
Augoustos
{ow'-goos-tos}
From Latin ('august'); Augustus, a title of the Roman emperor.
that all 3956
{3956} Prime
πᾶς
pas
{pas}
Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
world 3625
{3625} Prime
οἰκουμένη
oikoumene
{oy-kou-men'-ay}
Feminine participle present passive of G3611 (as noun, by implication of G1093); land, that is, the (terrene part of the) globe; specifically the Roman empire.
should be taxed. 583
{0583} Prime
ἀπογράφω
apographo
{ap-og-raf'-o}
From G0575 and G1125; to write off (a copy or list), that is, enrol.
z5729
<5729> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Either Middle or Passive (See G5787)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 2
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Luke 2:1

_ _ Luke 2:1-7. Birth of Christ.

_ _ Caesar Augustus — the first of the Roman emperors.

_ _ all the world — so the vast Roman Empire was termed.

_ _ taxed — enrolled, or register themselves.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Luke 2:1-7

_ _ The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law; and it was foretold that he should be born at Bethlehem. Now here we have an account of the time, place, and manner of it.

_ _ I. The time when our Lord Jesus was born. Several things may be gathered out of these verses which intimate to us that it was the proper time.

_ _ 1. He was born at the time when the fourth monarchy was in its height, just when it was become, more than any of the three before it, a universal monarchy. He was born in the days of Augustus Caesar, when the Roman empire extended itself further than ever before or since, including Parthia one way, and Britain another way; so that it was then called Terraram orbis imperium — The empire of the whole earth; and here that empire is called all the world (Luke 2:1), for there was scarcely any part of the civilized world, but what was dependent on it. Now this was the time when the Messiah was to be born, according to Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 2:44): In the days of these kings, the kings of the fourth monarchy, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.

_ _ 2. He was born when Judea was become a province of the empire, and tributary to it; as appears evidently by this, that when all the Roman empire was taxed, the Jews were taxed among the rest. Jerusalem was taken by Pompey the Roman general, about sixty years before this, who granted the government of the church to Hyrcanus, but not the government of the state; by degrees it was more and more reduced, till now at length it was quite subdued; for Judea was ruled by Cyrenius the Roman governor of Syria (Luke 2:2): the Roman writers call him Sulpitius Quirinus. Now just at this juncture, the Messiah was to be born, for so was dying Jacob's prophecy, that Shiloh should come when the sceptre was departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet, Genesis 49:10. This was the first taxing that was made in Judea, the first badge of their servitude; therefore now Shiloh must come, to set up his kingdom.

_ _ 3. There is another circumstance, as to the time, implied in this general enrolment of all the subjects of the empire, which is, that there was now universal peace in the empire. The temple of Janus was now shut, which it never used to be if any wars were on foot; and now it was fit for the Prince of peace to be born, in whose days swords should be beaten into plough-shares.

_ _ II. The place where our Lord Jesus was born is very observable. He was born at Bethlehem; so it was foretold (Micah 5:2), the scribes so understood it (Matthew 2:5, Matthew 2:6), so did the common people, John 7:42. The name of the place was significant. Bethlehem signifies the house of bread; a proper place for him to be born in who is the Bread of life, the Bread that came down from heaven. But that was not all; Bethlehem was the city of David, where he was born, and therefore there he must be born who was the Son of David. Zion was also called the city of David (2 Samuel 5:7), yet Christ was not born there; for Bethlehem was that city of David where he was born in meanness, to be a shepherd; and this our Saviour, when he humbled himself, chose for the place of his birth; not Zion, where he ruled in power and prosperity, that was to be a type of the church of Christ, that mount Zion. Now when the virgin Mary was with child, and near her time, Providence so ordered it that, by order from the emperor, all the subjects of the Roman empire were to be taxed; that is, they were to give in their names to the proper officers, and they were to be registered and enrolled, according to their families, which is the proper signification of the word here used; their being taxed was but secondary. It is supposed that they made profession of subjection to the Roman empire, either by some set form of words, or at least by payment of some small tribute, a penny suppose, in token of their allegiance, like a man's atturning tenant. Thus are they vassals upon record, and may thank themselves.

_ _ According to this decree, the Jews (who were now nice in distinguishing their tribes and families) provided that in their enrolments particular care should be had to preserve the memory of them. Thus foolishly are they solicitous to save the shadow, when they had lost the substance.

_ _ That which Augustus designed was either to gratify his pride in knowing the numbers of his people, and proclaiming it to the world, or he did it in policy, to strengthen his interest, and make his government appear the more formidable; but Providence had another reach in it. All the world shall be at the trouble of being enrolled, only that Joseph and Mary may. This brought them up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, because they were of the stock and lineage of David (Luke 2:4, Luke 2:5); and perhaps, being poor and low, they thought the royalty of their extraction rather than a burden and expense to them than a matter of pride. Because it is difficult to suppose that every Jew (women as well as men) was obliged to repair to the city of which their ancestors were, and there be enrolled, now, at a time when they kept not to the bounds of their tribes, as formerly, it may be offered as a conjecture that this great exactness was used only with the family of David, concerning which, it is probable, the emperor gave particular orders, it having been the royal family, and still talked of as designed to be so, that he might know its number and strength. Divers ends of Providence were served by this.

_ _ 1. Hereby the virgin Mary was brought, great with child, to Bethlehem, to be delivered there, according to the prediction; whereas she had designed to lie in at Nazareth. See how man purposes and God disposes; and how Providence orders all things for the fulfilling of the scripture, and makes use of the projects men have for serving their own purposes, quite beyond their intention, to serve his.

_ _ 2. Hereby it appeared that Jesus Christ was of the seed of David; for what brings his mother to Bethlehem now, but because she was of the stock and lineage of David? This was a material thing to be proved, and required such an authentic proof as this. Justin Martyr and Tertullian, two of the earliest advocates for the Christian religion, appeal to these rolls or records of the Roman empire, for the proof of Christ's being born of the house of David.

_ _ 3. Hereby it appeared that he was made under the law; for he became a subject of the Roman empire as soon as he was born, a servant of rulers, Isaiah 49:7. Many suppose that, being born during the time of the taxing, he was enrolled as well as his father and mother, that it might appear how he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. Instead of having kings tributaries to him, when he came into the world he was himself a tributary.

_ _ III. The circumstances of his birth, which were very mean, and under all possible marks of contempt. He was indeed a first-born son; but it was a poor honour to be the first-born of such a poor woman as Mary was, who had no inheritance to which he might be entitled as first-born, but what was in nativity.

_ _ 1. He was under some abasements in common with other children; he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, as other children are when they are new-born, as if he could be bound, or needed to be kept straight. He that makes darkness a swaddling band for the sea was himself wrapped in swaddling bands, Job 38:9. The everlasting Father became a child of time, and men said to him whose out-goings were of old from everlasting, We know this man, whence he is, John 7:27. The Ancient of days became an infant of a span long.

_ _ 2. He was under some abasements peculiar to himself.

_ _ (1.) He was born at an inn. That son of David that was the glory of his father's house had no inheritance that he could command, no not in the city of David, no nor a friend that would accommodate his mother in distress with lodgings to be brought to bed in. Christ was born in an inn, to intimate that he came into the world but to sojourn here for awhile, as in an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. An inn receives all comers, and so does Christ. He hangs out the banner of love for his sign, and whoever comes to him, he will in no wise cast out; only, unlike other inns, he welcomes those that come without money and without price. All is on free cost.

_ _ (2.) He was born in a stable; so some think the word signifies which we translate a manger, a place for cattle to stand to be fed in. Because there was no room in the inn, and for want of conveniences, nay for want of necessaries, he was laid in a manger, instead of a cradle. The word which we render swaddling clothes some derive from a word that signifies to rend, or tear, and these infer that he was so far from having a good suit of child-bed linen, that his very swaddles were ragged and torn. His being born in a stable and laid in a manger was an instance, [1.] Of the poverty of his parents. Had they been rich, room would have been made for them; but, being poor, they must shift as they could. [2.] Of the corruption and degeneracy of manners in that age; that a woman in reputation for virtue and honour should be used so barbarously. If there had been any common humanity among them, they would not have turned a woman in travail into a stable. [3.] It was an instance of the humiliation of our Lord Jesus. We were become by sin like an out-cast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one Christ was. Thus he would answer the type of Moses, the great prophet and lawgiver of the Old Testament, who was in his infancy cast out in an ark of bulrushes, as Christ in a manger. Christ would hereby put a contempt upon all worldly glory, and teach us to slight it. Since his own received him not, let us not think it strange if they receive us not.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Luke 2:1

That all the world should be enrolled — That all the inhabitants, male and female, of every town in the Roman empire, with their families and estates, should be registered.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Luke 2:1

And (1) it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the (a) world should be (b) taxed.

(1) Christ, the son of God, taking upon himself the form of a servant, and making himself of no reputation, is poorly born in a stable: and by the means of Augustus, the mightiest prince in the world, (thinking nothing of it) has his cradle prepared in Bethlehem, as the prophets foretold.

(a) As far as the empire of the Romans stretched.

(b) That is, the inhabitants of every city should have their names recorded, and their goods rated at a certain value, that the emperor might understand how rich every country, city, family, and house was.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Caesar:

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
Acts 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Acts 25:11 For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
Acts 25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.

all:

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Mark 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, [this] also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

taxed:
or, enrolled
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Mt 24:14. Mk 14:9; 16:15. Lk 3:1. Ac 11:28; 25:11, 21. Ro 1:8. Php 4:22.

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