Luke 2:2

2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of 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 a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3 All went to their own towns to be registered.
4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.