And the angel answered and said unto her
The angel gave her an account of the manner in which what he had said should be effected, as well as observed some things for the strengthening of her faith.
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee.
The words, "upon thee", are left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; but are retained in others, and in all copies: the formation of Christ's human nature, though common to all the three persons, yet is particularly, and most properly ascribed to the Spirit; not to the first person, the Father, lest it should be thought that he is only the Father of him, as man; nor to the second person, the Son, since it is to him that the human nature is personally united; but to the third person, the Spirit, who is the sanctifier; and who separated, and sanctified it, the first moment of its conception, and preserved it from the taint of original sin. His coming upon the virgin must be understood in consistence with his omnipresence, and immensity; and cannot design any local motion, but an effectual operation in forming the human nature of her flesh and substance; and not in the ordinary manner in which he is concerned in the formation of all men, ( Job 33:4 ) but in an extraordinary way, not to be conceived of, and explained. The phrase most plainly answers to (le ab) , in frequent use with the Jews F24, as expressive of coition.
And the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.
By "the power of the Highest" is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is sometimes called the power of God; but rather the Holy Ghost, as before, who is styled the finger of God, and power from on high, ( Luke 11:20 ) ( 24:49 ) unless it should be thought that the perfection of divine power common to all the three persons is intended: and so points out the means by which the wondrous thing should be performed, even by the power of God; and which should not only be employed in forming the human nature of Christ, but in protecting the virgin from any suspicion and charge of sin, and defending her innocence and virtue, by moving upon Joseph to take her to wife. In the word, "overshadow", some think there is an allusion to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, in ( Genesis 1:2 ) when, (tpxrm) , he brooded upon them, as the word may be rendered; and which is the sense of it, according to the Jewish writers
therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be
called the Son of God.
The human nature of Christ is here called a "thing"; for it was not a person; it never subsisted of itself, but was taken at once into union with the person of the Son of God, otherwise there would be two persons in Christ, whereas he is God, and man, in one person; and it is said to be "holy", being free from that original pollution and sin, in which all that descend from Adam, by ordinary generation, are conceived, and brought forth; and is, moreover, said to be born of a virgin, "of thee", or "out of thee". Christ's flesh was formed out of the Virgin's; he took flesh of her; his body did not descend from heaven, or pass through her, as water through a pipe, as some heretics of old said: nor did his human nature, either as to soul or body, pre-exist his incarnation; but in the fulness of time he was made of a woman, and took a true body of her, and a reasonable soul, into union with his divine person; and "therefore should be called the Son of God": not that he was now to become the "the Son of God"; he was so before his incarnation, and even from all eternity; but he was now to be manifested as such in human nature: nor does the angel predict, that he should, for this reason, be called the Son of God; for he never was, on this account, so called, either by himself, or others: nor is the particle, "therefore", causal, but consequential: the angel is not giving a reason why Christ should be the Son of God, but why he should be owned, and acknowledged, as such by his people: who would infer, and conclude from his wonderful conception and birth, that he is the "Emmanuel", God with us, the child that was to be born, and the Son given, whose name should be Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God ( Isaiah 7:14 ) ( 9:6 ) . Moreover, the word, "also", is not to be overlooked; and the sense is, that seeing that human nature, which should be born of the virgin, would be united to the Son of God, it likewise should bear the same name, being in personal union with him, who was so from all eternity.
F24 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7, sect. 4. & passim alibi
F25 R. Sol. Jarchi, R. Aben Ezra, & R. Levi ben Gerson in Gen. 1. 2.
F26 T. Bab. Sota, fol. 49. 2. Vid. David de Pomis, Lex. Heb p. 67. 2.
F1 Targum, Jarchi, & Aben Ezra in loc.