Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
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(19) Mary kept all these things.—On the assumption that the whole narrative is traceable to the Virgin herself as its first author, these brief and simple touches as to her own feelings are of singular interest. She could not as yet understand all that had been said and done, but she received it in faith, and waited till it should be made clear. It was enough for her to know that her Child was, in some sense, the Son of God and the hope of Israel. The contrast between the simplicity and purity of St. Luke’s narrative, and the fantastic and often prurient details of the Apocryphal Gospel of the Infancy is every way suggestive.

2:8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to us from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men, is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.Mary kept all these things - All that happened, and all that was said respecting her child. She "remembered" what the angel had said to "her;" what had happened to Elizabeth and to the shepherds - all the extraordinary circumstances which had attended. the birth of her son. Here is a delicate and beautiful expression of the feelings of a mother. A "mother" forgets none of those things which occur respecting her children. Everything they do or suffer - everything that is said of them, is treasured up in her mind; and often she thinks of those things, and anxiously seeks what they may indicate respecting the future character and welfare of her child.

Pondered - Weighed. This is the original meaning of the word "weighed." She kept them; she revolved them; she "weighed" them in her mind, giving to each circumstance its just importance, and anxiously seeking what it might indicate respecting her child.

In her heart - In her mind. She "thought" of these things often and anxiously.

17. made known abroad—before their return (Lu 2:20), and thus were the first evangelists [Bengel].Ver. 19,20. The different effect of these things upon the generality of the people, upon Mary, and upon the shepherds, is worthy of our notice. The people only wondered, thinking the story of the shepherds a strange story. Mary suffereth them not to pass out of her thoughts, nor entertains them with a mere passion, which suddenly is extinguished; but she pondereth them in her heart, both those things she had learned from her husband, and what herself had heard from the angel, and this also, which was related to her of or by the shepherds. The shepherds return, that is, to the care of their flocks. Religion gives none a discharge from their secular duties: the disciples had a special call and command, that left their nets, and their parents, and followed Christ. The shepherds were only made occasional preachers, Proverbs hac vice; they return, but

glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them; which argued that they gave a firm and full assent to them, and that they were the first fruits of believers under the gospel dispensation. True faith produces great joy and thanksgiving to God, and needs must produce joy, because of the union it maketh betwixt a soul and its desired object.

But Mary kept all these things,.... Which the shepherds had related to her:

and pondered them in her heart; or compared them in her mind, with what had been said to herself by the angel, and also by her husband, as well as what was said by Elisabeth at the time she made her a visit; but she said nothing of them to others, lest she should be thought an enthusiast, or a vain boaster; and therefore left things, till time should make a discovery of them in a proper way, and in the best season.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19 f. Δέ] leading over to the special thing, which Mary amidst this general amazement did—she, who, in accordance with the revelations made to her, was more deeply struck with the tidings of the shepherds, and saw matters in a deeper light. She kept all these utterances (τὰ ῥήματα) of the shepherds. Observe in the narrative the emphasis of πάντα, as well as the purposely chosen adumbrative tense συνετήρει (previously the aorist). On συντηρεῖν, alta mente repositum servare, comp. Daniel 7:28; Sir 13:12; Sir 39:2; Sir 28:3.

συμβάλλουσα κ.τ.λ.] The Vulgate well renders: conferens, inasmuch as she put them together, i.e. in silent heart-pondering she compared and interpreted them to herself. Comp. Plat. Crat. p. 348 A: συμβαλεῖν τὴν Κρατύλου μαντείαν, p. 412 C; Soph. Oed. C. 1472; Pind. Nem. xi. 43; Eur. Or. 1394.

ὑπέστρεψ.] to their flocks, Luke 2:8.

δοξάζοντες καὶ αἰνοῦντες] Glorifying and giving approval. The latter is more special than the former.

ἐπὶ πᾶσιν κ.τ.λ.] over all things, which they had just heard and seen in Bethlehem after such manner as was spoken to them by the angel at Luke 2:10-12.


To make of these angelic appearances a natural (phosphoric) phenomenon, which had first been single and then had divided itself and moved to and fro, and which the shepherds, to whom was known Mary’s hope of bringing forth the Messiah, interpreted to themselves of this birth (Paulus; comp. Ammon, L. J. I. p. 203, who likewise assumes a meteor), is a pecided and unworthy offence against the contents and purpose of the narrative, which is to be left in its charming, thoughtful, and lofty simplicity as the most distinguished portion of the cycle of legend, which surrounded the birth and the early life of Jesus. The truth of the history of the shepherds and the angels lies in the sphere of the idea, not in that of historical reality, although Luke narrates it as a real event. Regarded as reality, the history loses its truth, as a premiss, with which the notorious subsequent want of knowledge and non-recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, as well as the absolute silence of evangelic preaching as to this heavenly evangelium, do not accord as a sequel,—apart from the fact, that it is not at all consistent with Matthew’s narrative of the Magi and of the slaying of the children, which is to be explained from the circumstance that various wreaths of legend, altogether independent one of another, wove themselves around the divine child in His lowliness.[52] The contrast of the lowliness of Jesus and of His divine glory, which pervade His entire history on earth until His exaltation (Php 2:6 ff.), is the great truth, to which here, immediately upon the birth, is given the most eminent and most exhaustive expression by the living and creative poetry of faith, in which with thoughtful aptness members of the lowly and yet patriarchally consecrated class of shepherds receive the first heavenly revelation of the Gospel outside the family circle, and so the πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται (Luke 7:22) is already even now realized.

[52] In opposition to Schleiermacher, who in the case of our passage lays stress, in opposition to the mythical view, on the absence of lyrical poetry, failing to see that precisely the most exalted and purest poetry is found in the contents of our passage with all its simplicity of presentation; see the appropriate remarks of Strauss, I. p. 245. Lange, L. J. II. p. 103, in his own manner transfers the appearances to the souls of the shepherds, which were of such elevated and supramundane mood that they could discern the joy of an angelic host; and holds that the appearance of the angel and the glory of the Lord, ver. 9, point to a vision of the Angel of the Covenant.

19. all these things] or ‘words.’

pondered] Literally, “casting together,” i. e. comparing and considering; like our ‘casting in mind.’ Comp. Genesis 37:11, “his father observed the saying.” She did not at once understand the full significance of all these events.

Luke 2:19. Συνετήρει, was keeping up) So Luke 2:51. She may have borne her testimony to the facts a long while after: Acts 1:14.—[ταῦτα, these) Without doubt the shepherds reported the angels’ words to Mary also.—V. g.]—συμβάλλουσα, comparing [pondering] them) considering the several parts in their mutual relation.

Verse 19. - But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Such a note as this could only have been made by Mary herself. She knew her Child was in some mysterious sense the Son of God. A glorious being not of earth had told her that her Boy would be the Savior of Israel. The visit of the rough shepherds to her in the crowded caravanserai, and their strange but quiet and circumstantial story of the angel's visit to them, was only another link in the wondrous chain of events which was day by day influencing her young pure life. She could not as yet grasp it all, perhaps she never did in its mighty gracious fullness; but, as at the first, when Gabriel the angel spoke to her, so at each new phase of her life, she bowed herself in quiet trustful faith, and waited and thought, writing down, we dare to believe, the record of all that was passing, and this record, we think, she showed to Luke or Paul. Luke 2:19Kept (συνετήρει)

See on the simple verb τηρέω, on 1 Peter 1:4. The word signifies not merely to guard, but to keep, as the result of guarding. Hence the compound verb is very expressive: kept, σύν, with or within herself: closely. Note the imperfect tense: was keeping all the while.

Pondered (συμβάλλουσα)

The present participle, pondering. Lit., bringing together: comparing and weighing facts. Wyc., bearing together in her heart. Vulg., conferens. Compare Sophocles, "Oedipus Coloneus," 1472-4.

"Oedipus. My children, the heaven-ordained end of life has come upon him who stands here, and there is no avoiding it.

"Antigone. How dost thou know, and with what (fact) having compared (συμβαλὼν) thine opinion hast thou this ?"

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