Luke 2:2

2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Luke 2:2 in Other Translations

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
2 This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

Luke 2:2 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 2:2

And this taxing was first made
Or "this was the first enrolment, or taxing" in the Jewish nation; for there was another afterwards, when Judas the Galilean arose, and drew many after him, ( Acts 5:38 ) .

When Cyrenius was governor of Syria;
or "of Cyrenius" "governor of Syria"; that is, it was the first that he was, concerned in; who not now, but afterwards was governor of Syria; and because he had been so before Luke wrote this history, and this being a title of honour, and what might distinguish him from others of that name, it is given him; for as Tertullian says F3, Sentius Saturninus was now governor of Syria, when Cyrenius was sent into Judea, to make this register, or taxing; and which is manifestly distinguished from that, which was made during his being governor of Syria, when Archelaus was banished from Judea, ten or eleven years after Herod's death; which Josephus F4 gives an account of, and Luke refers to, in ( Acts 5:37 ) . Moreover, the words will bear to be rendered thus, "and this tax, or enrolment, was made before Cyrenius was governor of Syria"; (prwth) , being used for (protera) , as in ( John 1:15 John 1:30 ) . This Cyrenius is the same whom the Romans call Quirinius, and Quirinus; a governor of Syria had great power in Judea, to which it was annexed, when Cyrenius was governor there. It is reported of R. Gamaliel, that he went to take a licence, (ayrwob Nwmghm) , "from a governor of Syria" F5; i.e. to intercalate the year: and Syria was in many things like to the land of Judea, particularly as to tithes, and the keeping of the seventh year F6.


F3 Contr. Marcion, l. 4. c. 19.
F4 Antiqu. l. 18. c. 1.
F5 Misn. Ediot. c. 7. sect. 7.
F6 T. Bab. Gittin. fol. 8. 1.

Luke 2:2 In-Context

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Matthew 4:24; Acts 15:23,41; Acts 21:3; Galatians 1:21

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "This census took place before"
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