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Matthew 1:18-23 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together,[a] she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph, her husband to be,[b] was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her[c] privately. 20 When he had contemplated this, an[d] angel of the Lord[e] appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son and you will name him[f] Jesus,[g] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: 23 Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him[h] Emmanuel,”[i] which means[j]God with us.”[k]


  1. Matthew 1:18 tn The connotation of the Greek is “before they came together in marital and domestic union” (so BDAG 970 s.v. συνέρχομαι 3).
  2. Matthew 1:19 tn Grk “husband.” See following note for discussion.
  3. Matthew 1:19 tn Or “send her away.”sn In the Jewish context, “full betrothal was so binding that its breaking required a certificate of divorce, and the death of one party made the other a widow or widower (m. Ketub. 1:2; m. Sota 1:5; m. Git. passim…)” (R. H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art, 21).
  4. Matthew 1:20 tn Grk “behold, an angel.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
  5. Matthew 1:20 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” Linguistically, “angel of the Lord” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of the Lord” or “the angel of the Lord” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35.
  6. Matthew 1:21 tn Grk “you will call his name.”
  7. Matthew 1:21 sn The Greek form of the name Iēsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (“Yahweh” is typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). It was a fairly common name among Jews in 1st century Judea and Galilee, as references to a number of people by this name in the LXX and Josephus indicate.
  8. Matthew 1:23 tn Grk “they will call his name.”
  9. Matthew 1:23 sn A quotation from Isa 7:14. It is unclear whether the author is citing the MT or the LXX. The use of the word παρθένος (parthenos, “virgin”) may be due to its occurrence in the LXX, but it is also possible that it is the author’s translation of the Hebrew term עַלְמָה (’almah, “young woman”). The second phrase of the quotation is modified slightly from its original context; both the MT and LXX have a second person singular verb, but here the quotation has a third person plural verb form. The spelling of the name here (Emmanuel) differs from the spelling of the name in the OT (Immanuel) because of a different leading vowel in the respective Greek and Hebrew words. In the original context, this passage pointed to a child who would be born during the time of Ahaz as proof that the military alliance of Syria and Israel against Judah would fail. Within Isaiah’s subsequent prophecies this promise was ultimately applied to the future Davidic king who would one day rule over the nation.
  10. Matthew 1:23 tn Grk “is translated.”
  11. Matthew 1:23 sn A quotation from Isa 7:14; 8:8, 10. The Hebrew name Emmanuel literally means “God (is) with us.” This phrase occurs three times in the OT in close proximity, and subsequent uses are likely related to preceding ones. Thus it is very likely the present author had each in mind when he defined the name in v. 23.
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

Luke 2:1-7 New English Translation (NET Bible)

The Census and the Birth of Jesus

Now[a] in those days a decree[b] went out from Caesar[c] Augustus[d] to register[e] all the empire[f] for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor[g] of Syria. Everyone[h] went to his own town[i] to be registered. So[j] Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth[k] in Galilee to Judea, to the city[l] of David called Bethlehem,[m] because he was of the house[n] and family line[o] of David. He went[p] to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him,[q] and who was expecting a child. While[r] they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.[s] And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth[t] and laid him in a manger,[u] because there was no place for them in the inn.[v]


  1. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “Now it happened that.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
  2. Luke 2:1 sn This decree was a formal decree from the Roman Senate.
  3. Luke 2:1 tn Or “from the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
  4. Luke 2:1 sn Caesar Augustus refers to Octavian, who was Caesar from 27 b.c. to a.d. 14. He was known for his administrative prowess.
  5. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “to be registered.” The passive infinitive ἀπογράφεσθαι (apographesthai) has been rendered as an active in the translation to improve the English style. The verb is regarded as a technical term for official registration in tax lists (BDAG 108 s.v. ἀπογράφω a).sn This census (a decree…to register all the empire) is one of the more disputed historical remarks in Luke. Josephus (Ant. 18.1.1 [18.1-2]) only mentions a census in a.d. 6, too late for this setting. Such a census would have been a massive undertaking; it could have started under one ruler and emerged under another, to whose name it became attached. This is one possibility to explain the data. Another is that Quirinius, who became governor in Syria for the later census, may have been merely an administrator for this census. See also Luke 2:2.
  6. Luke 2:1 tn Grk “the whole (inhabited) world,” but this was a way to refer to the Roman empire (L&N 1.83).
  7. Luke 2:2 tn Or “was a minister of Syria.” This term could simply refer to an administrative role Quirinius held as opposed to being governor (Josephus, Ant. 18.4.2 [18.88]). See also Luke 2:1.
  8. Luke 2:3 tn Grk “And everyone.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  9. Luke 2:3 tn Or “hometown” (so CEV).
  10. Luke 2:4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the consequential nature of the action.
  11. Luke 2:4 sn On Nazareth see Luke 1:26.
  12. Luke 2:4 tn Or “town.” The translation “city” is used here because of its collocation with “of David,” suggesting its importance, though not its size.
  13. Luke 2:4 sn The journey from Nazareth to the city of David called Bethlehem was a journey of about 90 mi (150 km). Bethlehem was a small village located about 7 miles south-southwest of Jerusalem.
  14. Luke 2:4 sn Luke’s use of the term “house” probably alludes to the original promise made to David outlined in the Nathan oracle of 2 Sam 7:12-16, especially in light of earlier connections between Jesus and David made in Luke 1:32. Further, the mention of Bethlehem reminds one of the promise of Mic 5:2, namely, that a great king would emerge from Bethlehem to rule over God’s people.
  15. Luke 2:4 tn Or “family,” “lineage.”
  16. Luke 2:5 tn The words “He went” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to begin a new sentence in the translation. The Greek sentence is longer and more complex than normal contemporary English usage.
  17. Luke 2:5 tn Traditionally, “Mary, his betrothed.” Although often rendered in contemporary English as “Mary, who was engaged to him,” this may give the modern reader a wrong impression, since Jewish marriages in this period were typically arranged marriages. The term ἐμνηστευμένῃ (emnēsteumenē) may suggest that the marriage is not yet consummated, not necessarily that they are not currently married. Some mss read “the betrothed to him wife”; others, simply “his wife.” These readings, though probably not autographic, may give the right sense.
  18. Luke 2:6 tn Grk “And it happened that while.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
  19. Luke 2:6 tn The words “her child” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to clarify what was being delivered. The wording here is like Luke 1:57. Grk “the days for her to give birth were fulfilled.”
  20. Luke 2:7 sn The strips of cloth (traditionally, “swaddling cloths”) were strips of linen that would be wrapped around the arms and legs of an infant to keep the limbs protected.
  21. Luke 2:7 tn Or “a feeding trough.”
  22. Luke 2:7 tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, “Birth of Jesus,” DJG, 69-70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives’ house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance.
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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