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Luke 2:2 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

2. Cyrenius was governor This verse affirms that the birth of Christ took place at the time of a census which was completed during the rule of Cyrenius. Now the historical fact is that Cyrenius was governor some ten years after the birth of Christ and the death of Herod. This has been for centuries a celebrated difficulty. Some have endeavoured, without authority, to change the text. Plausible but not quite satisfactory interpretations, consistent with the known facts of history, have been put upon the words, which may be found in Clarke’s Commentary. The clear meaning is, that that enrollment, being the first that took place, was completed during the governorship of Cyrenius. The early fathers of the Christian Church did indeed affirm that this census took place under Cyrenius; and Justin Martyr, in the second century, confirms his affirmation thrice made by an appeal to the public registers.

But it was reserved for a German scholar of our own day, A.W. Zumpt, to solve this memorable difficulty and vindicate the accuracy of Luke. By combining a great number of passages from the Roman literature of those times, he proves that not only was Cyrenius governor of Syria ten years after the birth of Christ, but that he was also so at a previous period which probably included that event; or at least might have had such later management of the taxing as that it went under his name. Cyrenius, it is proved, was honoured with a triumph for subduing a tribe of Cilicians; by another train of passages it is shown that Cilicia belonged under the governorship of Syria; so that Cyrenius must have then been governor of Syria. By another series of deductions it is shown that this triumph must have taken place before A.D. 1 or 2; but as the birth of Christ was really four years earlier than our popular A.D. 1, the birth and the governorship are found able to coincide in time.

Consult other comments:

Luke 2:2 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Luke 2:2 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 2:2 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Luke 2:2 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Luke 2:2 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Luke 2:2 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Luke 2:2 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 2:2 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

Luke 2:2 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Luke 2:2 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Luke 2:2 - Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 2:2 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Luke 2:2 - Lightfoot Commentary Gospels

Luke 2:2 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

Luke 2:2 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Luke 2:2 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 2:2 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 2:2 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Luke 2:2 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

Luke 2:2 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 2:2 - Combined Bible Commentary

Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments