Luke 1:15

15 for he will be 1great before the Lord. And 2he must not drink wine or strong 3drink, and 4he will be 5filled with the Holy Spirit, 6even from his mother's womb.

Luke 1:15 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 1:15

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord
Of Jehovah, the Father; with whom, what is highly esteemed among men, is oftentimes an abomination; and of the Lord Jesus Christ, before whom he was to go, and who pronounced him a prophet, and more than a prophet, and even greater than any born of women, ( Matthew 11:9 Matthew 11:11 ) and of the Lord, the Spirit, with whom he was filled from his mother's womb: he was great, not in birth and blood, in worldly riches and grandeur, but in gifts and grace, in his work, office, and usefulness, and in the esteem of God, and even of men too:

and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink;
which were forbidden the Nazarites, ( Numbers 6:3 ) where the Jews, by "wine", understand "new wine"; and by "strong drink", old wine: so all the "three Targums", of Onkelos, Jonathan ben Uzziel, and the Jerusalem, paraphrase the words there, "from wine new and old, he shall separate himself"; and they allow strong drink to a Nazarite, that has no wine in it: their canon F18 runs thus,

``three things are forbidden a Nazarite, defilement, and shaving, and whatever proceeds from the vine, whether fruit, or the refuse of fruit; but strong drink made of dates, or dried figs, and such like, is free for a Nazarite; and the strong drink which is forbidden him in the law, is strong drink made of mixture of wine.''

But the Hebrew word, (rkv) , and which is here retained by the evangelist, signifies F19 any sort of liquor, which is inebriating, whether it is made of fruits, or honey, or what not. The Jews had no such strong drink as ours, which we call beer or ale; but they speak of the strong drink of the Medes, which they say was an inebriating liquor, made of barley F20:

and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's
or "whilst in his mother's womb", as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it: like Jeremiah, he was sanctified, set apart, and ordained to be the prophet of the Highest, before he came out of his mother's womb; and was then under such an influence of the Spirit of God, as to leap in it for joy, at the salutation of the mother of Christ to his, ( Luke 1:41 Luke 1:44 ) and very early appeared to have the extraordinary gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, qualifying him for his work.


F18 Maimon. Hilch. Nezirut, c. 5. sect. 1.
F19 R. David Kimchi in Sepher Shorashim, rad. (rkv)
F20 Misn. Pesach. c. 3. sect. 1. & Jarchi, Maimom. & Bartenora in ib.

Luke 1:15 In-Context

13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

Cross References 6

  • 1. Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:11
  • 2. Luke 7:33; Numbers 6:3; Judg. 13:4, 7, 14; Matthew 11:18
  • 3. [Acts 2:15, 17; Ephesians 5:18]
  • 4. [Acts 2:15, 17; Ephesians 5:18]
  • 5. ver. 41, 67; See Acts 2:4
  • 6. Isaiah 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15