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Verses 48-50

Luke 2:48-50. And when they saw him they were amazed The clause, thus rendered, signifies, that Joseph and Mary were amazed when they saw him, but it may be translated, They who saw him were amazed, namely, not his parents only, or chiefly, but others. In this sense Dr. Campbell understands it, as suiting better the scope of the passage. “His parents,” says he, “may be said to have had reason of surprise, or even amazement, when they discovered that he was not in their company; but surely, to them at least, there was nothing peculiarly surprising in finding that he was not amusing himself with boys, but was in the temple, among the doctors, discoursing on the most important subjects. I may say justly, that to them who knew whence he was, there was less ground of amazement at the wisdom and understanding displayed in his answers than to any other human being. Again: it appears to be the intention of the evangelist, in this passage, to impress us with a sense of the extraordinary attainments of our Lord in wisdom and knowledge, even in childhood, from the effect which the discovery of them produced on others. All in the temple, who, though they did not see him, were within hearing, and could judge from what they heard, were astonished at the propriety, the penetration, and the energy they discovered in every thing he said; but those whose eye-sight convinced them of his tender age were confounded, as persons who were witnesses of something preternatural.” His mother said, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us Why hast thou put us into such fear for thy safety? Why hast thou given us such occasion for anxiety and distress? Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing Being not only troubled that we lost thee, but vexed at ourselves for not taking more care of thee. The word οδυνωμενοι , here rendered sorrowing, is expressive of the most racking anguish, and is often applied to the distress and pains of a woman in travail; it has therefore been rendered, with great concern with inexpressible anxiety and distress. And he said, How is it that ye sought me? He does not blame them for losing, but for thinking it needful to seek him; and intimates that he could not be lost nor found anywhere but doing the will of a higher Parent. Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business His words imply, that they had no reason to be angry with him for leaving them without their knowledge, nor even to be grieved on that account, since they might have understood by his miraculous conception, and the revelations which accompanied it, that he was not to continue always with them, but was to employ himself in the business of Him who really was his father. The original expression here used, εν τοις του πατρος μου δει ειναι με , is ambiguous, and is translated by Dr. Waterland and many other learned men, following the Syriac version, Knew ye not that I must be in my Father’s house; a translation which the words will very well bear; and, so understood, the reply of Christ will signify, that though they thought him lost, yet he was at home; he was in his Father’s house, John 2:16; and that, in staying behind at Jerusalem, he had not left his true Father. “It is to be remembered,” says Dr. Doddridge, “that this is the first visit Christ had ever made to the temple since he was a child in arms; and it is no wonder, therefore, that the delight he found there inclined him to prolong it.” How happy those children who, like the holy Jesus, love the house and ordinances of God, and thirst for the instructions of his good word! They understood not the saying Christ having expressed himself in a somewhat concise and ambiguous manner, his parents did not fully comprehend his meaning; either because they now doubted his being the Messiah, or because they had few just conceptions of the end for which the Messiah was to come into the world. It is observable that Joseph is not mentioned after this time, whence it is probable he did not live long after.

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