04.03.05 Lk. 1:46-56
MARY GIVES PRAISE TO GOD.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, (Ps. 34:3)
47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, (Ps. 35:9; 1 Sam. 2:1)
48 because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed, (Gen. 30:13)
49 because the Mighty One
has done great things for me, (Ps. 71:19; 126:2-3)
and His name is holy. (Ps. 111:9)
50 His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him. (Ps. 103:17)
51 He has done a mighty deed with His arm; (Ps. 98:1; 89:10; 118:15-16)
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts; (Ex. 15:16; 1 Sam. 2:4)
52 He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly. (1 Sam. 2:8; Ps. 113:7)
53 He has satisfied the hungry with good things (1 Sam. 2:6)
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel, (Ps. 41:8)
mindful of His mercy, (Ps. 30:4; 97:12) 55 just as He spoke to our ancestors, (Micah 7:20)
to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” The phrase in Latin is my soul megalyne, the Lord. It means to enlarge or to tell out. The entire passage is known as The Song of Mary, or The Magnificat. Her words begin with a quiet mood and build to a crescendo. She expresses her deepest thoughts and her heartfelt joy to God for selecting her to bring forth the Christ child. Her words are reflective of twelve Old Testament passages and Hannah’s prayer of 1 Samuel 2:1-10. This work has four strophes:
- Her joy and gratitude,
- The gracious mercy of God to all who honor and love him,
- His special work for the peasants of this world, and
- His mercy to Israel.
Her words were quite insightful, powerful, and characterized the nationalistic tenor and language of Psalms of Solomon 17-18 where a royal national political deliverer is anticipated. She reflected the national attitude of the expected messiah, not one who would suffer for the sins of humanity. Verses 46-55 have been recited throughout Church history by those who believed they were called to the ministry of prayer and intercession. Mary and Joseph were poor in economic terms, but were rich in the knowledge of God.
Finally, it is amazing that some scholars believe that girls were not educated in the Galilee region. When Mary praised God with her Magnificat, she referred to no less than twenty Old Testament references. This is a clear demonstration that she knew her Bible, and leaves modern scholars wonder how much more she knew at her young age.
“He has done a mighty deed with his arm.” How are the love, mercy, and majesty of God described? The Jews ascribed to God positive human passions and physical actions.
. Liefeld, “Luke.” 8:35.
. See “Strophe” in Appendix 26.
. Liefeld, “Luke.” 8:835; Ellis, “Magnificat.” 2:936; Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 46-49.
. It is doubtful that many seminary students today could do this without a computer or concordance. Mary was a well-educated teenaged girl.
. See also the comments by the first century sage Ben Azzai, in 02.03.04 “Education” who encouraged education for all girls.
. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible. 877, 894.