Luke 2:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

King James Bible
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Darby Bible Translation
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.

World English Bible
Now it happened in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.

Young's Literal Translation
And it came to pass in those days, there went forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world be enrolled --

Luke 2:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

In those days - About the time of the birth of John and of Christ.

A decree - A law commanding a thing to be done.

Caesar Augustus - This was the Roman emperor. His first name was Octavianus. He was the nephew of Julius Caesar, and obtained the empire after his death. He took the name "Augustus - i. e., august," or honorable - as a compliment to his own greatness; and from him the month "August," which was before called "Sextilis," received its name.

That all the world - There has been much difficulty respecting this passage, from the fact that no such taxing of "all the world" is mentioned by ancient writers. It should have been rendered "the whole land" - that is, the whole land of Palestine. The "whole land" is mentioned to show that it was not "Judea" only, but that it included also "Galilee," the place where Joseph and Mary dwelt. That the passage refers only to the land of Palestine, and not to the whole world, or to all the Roman empire, is clear from the following considerations:

1. The fact that no such taxing is mentioned as pertaining to any other country.

2. The account of Luke demands only that it should be understood of Palestine, or the country where the Saviour was born.

3. The words "world" and "whole world" are not unfrequently used in this limited sense as confined to a single country.

See Matthew 4:8, where Satan is said to have shown to Christ all the kingdoms of "the world," that is, of the land of Judea. See also Joshua 2:3; Luke 4:25 (Greek); Luke 21:26; Acts 11:28.

Should be taxed - Our word "tax" means to levy and raise money for the use of the government. This is not the meaning of the original word here. It means rather to "enroll," or take a "list" of the citizens, with their employments, the amount of their property, etc., equivalent to what was meant by census. Judea was at that time tributary to Rome. It paid taxes to the Roman emperor; and, though Herod was "king," yet he held his appointment under the Roman emperor, and was subject in most matters to him. Farther, as this "enrollment" was merely to ascertain the numbers and property of the Jews, it is probable that they were very willing to be enrolled in this manner; and hence we hear that they went willingly, without tumult - contrary to the common way when they were "to be taxed."

Luke 2:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Boy in the Temple
'And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me! wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?' --LUKE ii. 49. A number of spurious gospels have come down to us, which are full of stories, most of them absurd and some of them worse, about the infancy of Jesus Christ. Their puerilities bring out more distinctly the simplicity, the nobleness, the worthiness of this one solitary incident of His early days, which has been preserved for us. How has it been preserved? If you will look over
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

The Angel's Message and Song
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD . And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Christ Child (Christmas Day. )
LUKE ii. 7. And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapt him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. Mother and child.--Think of it, my friends, on Christmas day. What more beautiful sight is there in the world? What more beautiful sight, and what more wonderful sight? What more beautiful? That man must be very far from the kingdom of God--he is not worthy to be called a man at all--whose heart has not been touched by the sight of his first child in its mother's bosom. The greatest
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Music (Christmas Day. )
LUKE ii. 13, 14. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. You have been just singing Christmas hymns; and my text speaks of the first Christmas hymn. Now what the words of that hymn meant; what Peace on earth and good-will towards man meant, I have often told you. To-day I want you, for once, to think of this--that it was a hymn; that these angels were singing, even as
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Cross References
Matthew 22:17
"Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?"

Matthew 24:14
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Luke 2:3
And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Luke 2:5
in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

Luke 3:1
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,

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