Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chapter 4 - Praesepe and Luke's Nativity

Praesepe [Latin for "manger"]is a well known asterism, which is visible to the naked eye, and has sometimes been confused as being a comet. Greeks and Romans saw this "nebula" as the manger [Greek: Phatne] associated with two asses who eat from it, Asellus Borealis [the Northern Ass], and Asellus Australis [the Southern Ass]. Aratus in his influential poem, Phaenomena (ca. 276 BCE), commented, "If the Manger darkens and both asterisms [next to it] remain unchanged, they herald rain." Erathosthenes reported that these were the asses on which the gods Dionysus and Silenus rode into the battle against the Titans, who were frightened by the animals' braying so that the gods won. As a reward, the asses were put in sky together with Phatne. Hipparchus (130 BCE) included this object in his star catalog and called it "Little Cloud". Ptolemy mentions it as one of seven "nebulae" he noted in his Almagest, and describes it as "The Nebulous Mass in the Breast (of Cancer)".

The Christian faith emerged within the trailing wake of rapid Roman territorial expansion and civil war. Pompey had successfully engulfed the Mediterranean and extended Roman rule to the countries along the southern coast from Libya to Syria. Pompey's prestige in Rome fell soon thereafter, since his army, acting with the approval of the Roman senate, was unexpectedly defeated by forces lead by Julius Caesar, who were fresh from a successful military campaign north of the Alps. The cycle of civil upheaval continued with the assassination of Caesar, whose body had fallen at the very foot of Pompey's statue on the ides of March in the second year following the Year of Confusion. The succeeding triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Augustus defeated the enemies of Caesar, and then consolidated Roman control over the recently conquered territories.

Jewish politics in Palestine underwent a similar cycle of hostilities during this period. The Hasmonean dynasty, which had lasted for nearly a century from the time of its founding, was split in two by a fratricidal struggle between the two surviving heirs, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. The warring parties exploited the political divisions of the day. In the end both sides lost, because Rome installed Antipater, a prominent Jewish Arab and official in the Hasmonean court, as a military governor over Judaea. Hyrcanus was allowed to hold the office of high priest, and Aristobulus was sent hostage to Rome. During the conflict between Caesar and Pompey, when Caesar had gained control over Rome, Caesar released Aristobulus from his bondage and enlisted Aristobulus' support against the forces of Pompey in Syria. Unfortunately, soon after Aristobulus arrived in Syria, he was outwitted and poisoned.

The seemingly endless cycle of hostilities continued in Jewish Palestine. The Hasmonean dynasty carried on as a house divided against itself. Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, pursued his ambition to rule in the place of his dead father. When the civil hostilities that occurred after the assassination of Julius Caesar had ended in Rome, Antony named the sons of Antipater, Phasaelus and Herod, as tetrarchs over the Jews. At about this time the Parthians, the only formidable enemy against Rome, moved into Syria. Antigonus sided with the Parthians who managed, with the aid of treachery, to install Antigonus as a ruler over Jerusalem. Herod barely escaped to safety, while Hyrcanus and Phasealus were captured. Antigonus took his revenge by cutting off the ears of his brother, Hyrcanus, so his brother could never again assume the office of high priest. Herod's brother, Phasaelus, did not wait for his execution - - he killed himself.

Herod took flight towards Egypt and from there he sailed on towards Rome. When Herod finally arrived in Rome, his fortune began to improve. Antony and Augustus named Herod King of Judaea for the purpose of regaining control over Judaea.[1] Herod, together with the Roman general, Sosius, conquered Jerusalem at a time when the inhabitants were enduring the effects of a Sabbatical year and placed the rebellious city once more under Roman rule. It had been one year short of a twenty-eight year cycle since Jerusalem had first fallen to the forces of Pompey.[2] When the defeated Antigonus was turned over to Antony, Antony had Antigonus killed to please Herod. In this way Herod's unchallenged rule began in Jerusalem, some seven full years after the summer circus games when Caesar's soul was reportedly seen rising into heaven.

During the ensuing period of hostility between Mark Antony and Augustus, Herod supported Antony. Herod adroitly managed to retain his position of King of Judaea even after Augustus defeated Antony. Herod strengthened his power over his Jewish subjects by marrying a Hasmonean princess, arranging several other political marriages, and with acts of both violence and good will. The Hasmonean branch of his family, who smarted from their change in fortune, seemed to pose a constant threat to Herod's life and received the most brutal treatment. Herod killed his Hasmonean wife and two sons when he learned of rumored threats against his life. Even Augustus quipped how it was safer to be a pig in Jewish Palestine than a member of Herod's family.[3] On the other hand, Herod built several cities, an outstanding harbor; pursued several worthwhile public work projects; sustained his subjects in times of famine and natural disaster; and rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple into a structure, which was admired by pilgrims and visitors from around the world.

Herod suffered from poor health towards the end of his life. His enemies continued to plot against him and anxiously awaited his death. Herod's son Antipater was discovered as having been involved in one such plot. Herod placed Antipater in prison, and finally executed him when Herod learned how his disloyal son had misspoken himself, upon hearing a woeful lamentation, which Antipater had taken to indicate the death of his father. Herod had also seen fit to detain many of the prominent men who were from every part of the Jewish nation at this very time. Herod feared that his death would promote a joyous occasion instead of a time of mourning, so he threatened his prominent prisoners with death if they chose not to cooperate. Herod's concern probably stemmed from the rapidly approaching Passover festival. If everyone chose to observe Passover immediately after Herod's death, then his death could be seen as cause for celebration. But, if his prominent subjects would contract ritual impurity, mourn, and show respect at Herod's demise, then these same mourners could commemorate the Passover festival at the second Passover on the following month.[4] Herod was, most likely, making sure that everyone would make the proper choice. Herod's death occurred within a month following an eclipse of the moon,[5] and probably just a few days after the first of Nisan. His reign was reported as having lasted "thirty-four years" from the time he took control of Jerusalem and had Antigonus killed, and "thirty-seven years" from the time he was named king in Rome.[6] For all this period Herod appeared to exercise complete autonomy over the property and lives of his subjects. He gathered the taxes and made all of the necessary tribute payments to Rome.

After Herod's death, Augustus divided the kingdom into three parts. Herod Archelaeus received the territory surrounding Jerusalem; Herod Antipas received Galilee; and Herod Phillip received the trans-Jordan territory. At first, Archelaeus tried his best to assert himself as king. He nonetheless fell short of his goal when, instead of confirming Archelaus as king, Augustus bestowed the title of ethnarch on him, and bestowed the title of tetrarch on his stepbrothers. Archelaeus could not discipline his subjects as effectively as his father. Domestic hostilities broke out. Roman forces intervened. Archelaeus was deposed after ruling nearly ten years, and Judaea was reduced to the status of being incorporated into the Syrian province.[7] The region surrounding Jerusalem became, for the first time, subject to the Roman Census, which was already in progress. Hostilities broke out again. Judas of Galilee, who became known as the founder of the Zealot movement, led an uprising against Roman rule with the motto, "No ruler, but God."

The gospel author, Luke, begins his narrative with the nativity of John the Baptist by saying "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea" a childless couple by the names of Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were well along in their years.[8] This reference to Herod, king of Judaea, is ambiguous when taken by itself. The most repeated conclusion assumes that Luke means Herod the Great and not his son, Herod Archelaeus, who had proclaimed himself as King of Judaea and circulated coins bearing the name of Herod. There certainly is need for further consideration when one takes into account the statement made by Origen, a Christian author at the time of Constantine, who in his work, "Contra Celsum" (Book 1, section 58), refers without contradiction to a statement made by Celsum that the occurrence of a new star and the birth of Jesus happened while "Herod the tetrarch" ruled in Jerusalem. Luke's narrative gives no further historical detail describing the extent of this period, or whether the political situation in Judea could be changing. However, the narrative goes on to say "And it came to pass" that Zacharias was informed by an angel that his wife shall bear a child who will be named John; how later Mary also learns from an angel concerning her designation as future mother to the redeemer of Israel; and how Mary shares this knowledge with Elizabeth, who is already six months with child. Mary departs from Elizabeth, and then John the Baptist is born. In the end, it is far from clear when we follow Luke's account whether John the Baptist was born before the death of Herod the Great, or sometime thereafter.

Next, Luke's narrative describes the time surrounding the birth of Jesus. The text states, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was first made governor of Syria.)"[9] All of the available evidence assigns the first Roman census in Judaea to the "thirty seventh year after Augustus' victory over Antony off Actium."[10] This marks the birth of Jesus as occurring in the seventh year of the corrected Julian calendar (that is 6/7 A.D., as it came to be reckoned many years afterward). This birth date, as tentative as it might appear, is definitely about ten years after the death of Herod the Great, and just after Herod Archelaeus had been exiled from Jerusalem.

Most early Christian commentators (including Eusebius) tended to accept a year for the birth of Jesus close to the forty-second year into the reign of Augustus or some twenty-eight years from the death of Antony and Cleopatra[11], which seems, according to Josephus, to have occurred while Archelaus still ruled in Judaea. Eusebius even refers to the census mentioned by Josephus, but fails to reconcile his dating with the "thirty-seventh year after Augustus' victory over Antony off Actium" as reported by Josephus. This questionable assignment for the birth of Jesus to the forty-second year of Augustus does not appear to relate to the historical events surrounding the Roman Census, but most likely uses a conflated interpretation of events described in Luke's gospel as a basis to reckon "thirty years" backwards from the "fifteenth year of Tiberius" (i.e. 15 years for Tiberius, and then 57 - 15 = 42).

Luke's narrative continues to relate how Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the sake of the Census. Critical commentators say this was not necessary, but the possibility of a trip to, and a temporary stay in, Bethlehem cannot be ruled out.[12] When the expectant parents are said to arrive in Bethlehem they seek shelter in a kahn or traveler's inn. They are turned away from the inn and find comfort in a stable. Luke doesn't tell his readers that a Jewish mother who gives birth needs to separate or hide herself from the community for a time of forty days. A Jewish woman about to give birth separates herself from casual contact, because any person who subsequently shares a bed or a chair after the object has been in touch with someone who is "unclean" acquires a state of ritual impurity.[13] However, oral tradition states that animals, unlike furniture, cannot transfer ritual impurity.[14] Thus, a woman giving birth among animals cannot inadvertently transmit ritual impurity. Nonetheless, Mary and Joseph seem to be comfortable in their temporary shelter.

Illustration prepared using
Starry Night Deluxe - Sienna Software
Luke's account, then, describes a scene where the heavens have been opened and an angel proclaims a message of good news to some shepherds tending their flocks. The message of good news is followed by, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."[15] Thereupon, a multitude of the heavenly host appeared and highlighted the event by saying, "Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Illustration prepared using
Starry Night Deluxe - Sienna Software
Luke could possibly have implied a great deal more in this brief account than one not sufficiently familiar with astrology or the "signs" in heaven might realize. It is plausible for those who were close to Luke's way of thinking, and the symbolism found in Jacob's heavenly dream, to understand the heavenly host to be one and the same with the stars, so that the planets and constellations could have actually given "audible"[16] expression to the good news proclaimed to the shepherds. A conjunction occurring between the two favorable planets, Jupiter and Venus, within a constellation such as Aries, would be a likely representation to signal the good news to the shepherds watching over their flocks. Astronomical tables confirm the fact that just such a conjunction took place during the time of the first Roman census in Judaea.

Furthermore, the migration of souls from heaven was said to pass through Cancer on the way to earth. In a general sense Cancer means "that which is securely protected" such as a crab, a turtle, a scarabaeus beetle, a manger, a kahn, or even a crib, as many have said that the constellation contains a Celestial Crib. A small cluster of stars, known as Praesepe, the Manger, marks off the middle of the constellation. A pair of bovine figures, located on either side of the manger, is called Asseli Borealis and Asseli Australis, the northern ass and the southern ass.[17] The sign of an "infant lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes" could reasonably suggest the positioning of a prominent planet at a stationary position within Cancer. Indeed, astronomical tables confirm a nascent planet Mars resting at a stationary point near the manger in Cancer at the same time as the conjunction between Jupiter and Venus, and concurrent with the first Roman Census in Judaea.

Illustration prepared using
Starry Night Deluxe - Sienna Software
Lastly, the venerable planet, Saturn, which was the planet known as the "Sun of the Night" and most frequently associated with the fortune of the Jews, was prominently located in Virgo, a constellation most readily identified with the city of David, that is, Bethlehem. The constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, identifies well with Bethlehem, because Bethlehem literally means the house of life, or house of bread, whereas the most prominent star, Spica, within the constellation of Virgo, represents a shaft of wheat held in the virgin's hand, who perennially nurtures new life into the world. In the virgin's other hand we find a branch, which can be paired with the branch of Jesse, an alternate designation for the House of David. Saturn rose naturally enough above the horizon just at sunset in the company of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, who jointly proclaimed the heavenly semaphore of glad tidings on this eventful night. The planet known as the "Sun of the night" positioned itself in Virgo while being in opposition to the sun, which was stationed in Pisces. The moon stood under the constellation of Ophiuchus, the sign of which belongs to those physicians who descend from the line of venerable healers, namely Aesculapius and Hippocrates. The day fell on a sabbath, the 21st of the Jewish month, Shevat, or alternately on the fortieth day before the first day of Nisan in the twentieth year into the jubilaic era of temple reconstruction (begun by Herod the Great), or the thirtieth year before the upcoming Jubilee. The Roman calendar date was recorded as February twenty-sixth during the fiftieth year of Augustus.

Luke continues: "And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning the child."[18]
On the eighth day, a sabbath, the infant was circumcised, and received his name, Joshua, which was alternately translated into Greek as Jesus. Joshua is the name, which Moses had given to Oshea, son of Nun (literally, "fish"), who had faithfully served Moses, and finally led the Israelites into the promised land. Jesus, too, was a "son of Nun", because he had been born when the sun stood under the sign of Pisces, the Fish. It seems likely that Christians adopted the sign of the fish when they were baptized to serve as a symbol of having been reborn, and adopted the same heavenly sign as identified with the infant Jesus.

Luke then tells us, how, when the days of "purification were accomplished," a period which spans the nominal forty day hiding period for stars lying along the ecliptic, Mary and Joseph took their newborn male child to the Temple for his first public appearance so they could perform the necessary rites. In the birth year of Jesus (7 CE) this date fell on Wednesday, Nisan 1, which began both the new year for kings and the new year for the religious calendar.

Once every twenty-eight years, or dominical cycle, on the first Wednesday of the New Year, a special religious festival was observed known as the "Blessing of the Sun." This anniversary commemorated the fourth day of Creation as reported in Genesis when the sun, moon, and stars were placed in their stations in the heavenly vault. The occasion included prayers of thanksgiving and messianic expectation. It seems likely that the Maccabees observed a Creation Day anniversary when they had rededicated the Temple some six heavenly weeks earlier, and it seems just as likely that Simeon and Anna had visited the Temple to participate in this same ceremonial event when they had seen the infant Jesus. Simeon proclaimed a message suited to the event, when he said, "Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which the hast prepared before the face of thy people; a light to light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."[19] Anna followed Simeon, "And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."[20]

Simeon quotes in part from a haftarah passage from Isaiah 42:5-7, which underscores the role of the Creator, his relationship with his chosen people of Israel, and their special role in the world. This citation, as handed down over time, normally follows the first liturgical scripture reading from the opening of Genesis at the beginning of the religious year.

In Luke's brief nativity story we read how the heavenly host, the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna all had taken public notice of what had occurred. In a world dominated by Roman military power the occasion for the Blessing of the Sun assumed special prominence. It was most likely the precise time when Jesus was presented at the Temple and was suitably recognized as marking the date of the expected appearance of a messiah who would herald the dawn of a new age.

Jesus projected a protean personality as reported in all of the gospels. This multifaceted identity may well have shown his intimacy with the planetary place markers set in the heavenly scroll at the time of his birth. He said, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness," "I am the good shepherd," "I will make you to become fishers of men," "I am the living bread which came down from heaven", "I am the true vine," "I am the door of the sheep," "I came not to send peace, but a sword," "Take my yoke (an alternative designation for the stars located in Cancer) upon you," and many more such sayings, which underscored his heavenly pedigree at the time of his birth.

The twofold diptych-styled nativities in Luke describe the birth of both John the Baptist and Jesus. If we take Mary's visit to Elizabeth as both an apologetic and liturgical attempt to form a polychronic image that attempts to conflate two separate time periods together, then we can move the birth of John the Baptist back to a period which spanned not six months, but six signs of the zodiac, and possibly back to the time of Herod the Great, and the same set of historical circumstances as reported by Matthew's nativity. It is just as likely that John's birth was heralded by a special event in heaven as it would be for the birth of Jesus, or even Augustus. Many scholars have fixed upon the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in about the 38th year into the extended reign of Augustus (6/7 BCE) as being the most significant astrological event, which also occurred late in the life of Herod the Great. The specific calendar date of Tuesday on the 15th of September (7 BCE) stands out over the other potential candidates for the birth date of a prominent figure such as John, because, while the sun was in Virgo, Saturn stood in opposition in the sign of Pisces. If this were the case, then John, "born of woman," and Jesus, "son of Nun," were born under opposite signs of the Zodiac. This could possibly explain why Luke suggested a framework where Jesus could have been born six months after the birth of John, and could go on to narrate a span of "490 days" from the time an angel appeared to Zacharias in the Temple, through to the time when the infant Jesus is brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph. Whatever the case, Luke's account blurs the chronological events that are associated with the respective nativities for Jesus and John.

Later, in Luke's gospel, where Luke describes the beginning of John's public ministry as occurring in the fifteenth year of Tiberius (say 28 CE), the same sort of distortion occurs again. The length of John's career is not stated but seems to be compressed into a relatively short time frame. The baptism of Jesus occurs near the end of John's ministry because the synoptics lead us to believe that by the time Jesus returns from the wilderness, we find John imprisoned by Herod Antipas. This has the effect of placing Jesus and John at the same level of maturity and commanding a similar sense of public awareness, instead of showing a possible age difference of ten years or more, which would place Jesus as a much more junior successor than might seem suitable. The strong possibility exists that John did not die until after the death of Herod Philip, who Josephus reported as having died in the twentieth year of Tiberius (33 CE). This would allow for the possibility of John's public ministry lasting from five to seven years, where the length of Jesus' active ministry, following his return from the wilderness, probably spans little more than a year, as described by the synoptic gospels.

If we examine the events in Matthew's nativity, we don't hear anything about heavenly messengers or public pronouncements at the time when Jesus was born. Neither do we learn anything about the birth of John the Baptist, even though his birth may well have occurred in the hill country of Judaea, supposedly near the same time frame. Matthew does tell us about an unidentified, wonderful star, the visit of some anonymous magi, and the unsubstantiated slaughter of the infants. The perilous slaughter of the infants may well be questionable, but the status of a political refugee, and one who is openly opposed to the Herodian dynasty, fits the personality of John the Baptist who grew up in the wilderness much more than Jesus, who was said to have visited the Temple in Jerusalem every year with his parents. The historical traditions surrounding the personalities of John and Jesus could possibly have been confused with each other over the course of time and overlaid with midrashic embellishments. Matthew apparently constructed his nativity from the material gathered from Jewish scripture that suited him best, with little concern to history. Some scholars maintain that Luke's nativity and Matthew's nativity both fit into the category of pure legend. Others emphatically maintain that a perfect historical harmony exists between the two. Those among this last group have tried to fit Matthew and Luke together even when they seem to disagree. Trying to sort through the alternating claims in a rational manner offers a worthwhile challenge, but if the reader cares to venture forward it is a situation where we must temporarily suspend our final judgment. At the very least, we should be convinced that Jesus laid claim to a heavenly provenance, which provided him with a unique destiny among mankind. At best, the evening of 26 February in the year of the first Roman census in Jerusalem stands out as the likely time for the birth of Jesus when a heavenly message of exceptional good news was proclaimed to the world.

[1] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV Ch xiv. 6
[2] Josephus, Antiquities, Book XIV,Ch xvi.4
Here, Josephus places the death of Antigonus in the summer of 37 BCE during the waxing of a Sabbatical year.
[3] Macrobius, Saturnalia II.4.11, translated by P. V. Davies
"I would rather be Herod's pig than his son."
[4] Concerning second Passover see Numbers 9:9-12; II Chronicles 30:1-15
[5] Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, Ch v1.4
The date for this eclipse has been generally taken to be March 13th in 4 BCE. Some commentators, such as Ernest L. Martin, have tried to move Herod's death to a date some three years later, but this view appears to contradict the available historical record.
[6] Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVII, Ch vii.1
In contrast, Josephus had written in The Jewish Wars, "Reckoning from the date when he put Antigonus to death and became master of the state, his reign had lasted thirty-three years; reckoning from his proclamation by the Romans as king, thirty-six." The difference of one year between the two accounts probably stems from the fact that Nisan 1 was counted as the New Year for Kings. Josephus probably came across information some time after he had written The Jewish Wars, which recorded a date for the death of Herod as falling just after the start of the new year. He accordingly added one year to the reign of Herod to account for the small fraction of a year that fell after Nisan 1. Since Josephus also records the defeat of Antony [August 31 BCE] as happening in the seventh year of Herod's reign, we may safely place his first year back to the death of Antigonus in the summer of 37 BCE. By subtracting something just short of thirty-three years (namely, a full 32 years and 9 months) we come once more to the spring of 4 BCE.
[7] Cassius Dio, The Roman History, Book 55.27
"Herod [Archelaus] of Palestine, who was accused by his brothers of some misdemeanor or other, was exiled beyond the Alps, and his portion of the kingdom was annexed to the Roman state."
Josephus, Antiquities Book XVIII, Ch i.1
"Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, ... came at this time into Syria with a few others, being sent by Augustus to be a judge of that nation, and to take a valuation of their substance. Coponius also, a man of equestrian order, was sent to have the supreme power over the Jews. Cyrenius also came into Judaea, which was added to the province of Syria, to take a valuation of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus' money. But the Jews, although at first they took the report of taxation very ill, yet left off any further opposition to it, at the persuasion of Joazar, who was high priest, and the son of Bethus."
[8] Luke 1:5-13
[9] Luke 2:1-2
[10] Josephus, Antiquities Ch 11.1
"When Cyrenius had disposed of Archelaus' money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which was made in the thirty-seventh year after Augustus' victory over Antony off Actium, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood ..."
[11] Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, translated by Christan F. Cruse, Book I, Ch 5.1
[12] The Date of the Nativity in Luke (2000), Richard Carrier, internet address:
Carrier outlines two reasons for the trip to Bethlehem: 1) "ancestral connection with Bethlehem would require them to journey there for the Census of Judaea (so much as a tiny plot of ancestral land would be enough ...)," 2) "it is a well known fact that that even Roman citizens had to enroll in one of several tribes to be counted, and getting provincials to organize according to locally-established tribal associations would be practical."
[13] Leviticus 12; 15:19-31; Mishna Sixth Division: Tohoroth, Zabim 5.7
[14] Midras uncleanliness is uncleanliness transmitted by touch or treading. Only those items specifically mentioned in Lev. 15:4-12 communicate "midras" uncleanliness. Living cattle or beasts of burden cannot inadvertently communicate ritual impurity, even in the extreme case where a person rides on an animal and travels through a cemetery. (Oholoth 18:6a)
[15] Luke 2:12
[16] In Romans 10:14 -18 Paul quotes specifically from Psalm 19 where verses 1-4 support the view that the heavens are capable of giving audible expression to the "the gospel of peace," and "glad tidings of good things." Job 38:4-7 conveys the same idea: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
[17] Richard Hinkley Allen, Star Names, Their Law and Meaning, Cancer, the Crab
[18] Luke 2:15-17
[19] Luke 2:29-32
[20] Luke 2:38

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