The Meaning of Luke 2:36 Explained

Luke 2:36

KJV: And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

YLT: And there was Anna, a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, she was much advanced in days, having lived with an husband seven years from her virginity,

Darby: And there was a prophetess, Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was far advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,

ASV: And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher (she was of a great age, having lived with a husband seven years from her virginity,

What does Luke 2:36 Mean?

Context Summary

Luke 2:25-39 - The Aged Simeon's Prophetic Blessing
Two aged watchers welcomed the King; but no one else, of all the crowds who went and came, guessed that the Messenger of the Covenant had suddenly come to His Temple, Malachi 3:1-3.
In the Arctic Circle in summer the visitor will behold the magnificent spectacle, on the same sky, of the hues of sunset and of dawn. Dipping only for a brief period beneath the horizon, the setting sun leaves the glorious trail of sunset, and rising, bathes the eastern clouds with the radiance of dawn. So, when Simeon embraced Christ, sunset and sunrise met. There was the glory of the age that was passing, and the glory of the new Christian age that shall ever stand at perfect noon.
Note the concentric circles of Simeon's character: a man; a man in Jerusalem-i.e., a Jew; righteous toward his fellows; devout toward God; looking; Spirit-anointed; to whom it was revealed; Christ in his arms. What more could be said? [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 2

1  Augustus taxes all the Roman empire
6  The nativity of Jesus
8  An angel relates it to the shepherds, and many sing praises to God for it
15  The shepherds glorify God
21  Jesus is circumcised
22  Mary purified
25  Simeon and Anna prophesy of Jesus,
39  who increases in wisdom,
41  questions in the temple with the teachers,
51  and is obedient to his parents

Greek Commentary for Luke 2:36

One Anna a prophetess [αννα προπητις]
The word προπητις — prophētis occurs in the N.T. only here and Revelation 2:20. In old Greek writers it means a woman who interprets oracles. The long parenthesis into Luke 2:37 tells of her great age. Montefiore makes it 106 as she was 15 when married, married 7 years, a widow 84. [source]
A prophetess [προφῆτις]
Only here and Revelation 2:20. [source]
Asher []
That tribe was celebrated in tradition for the beauty of its women, and their fitness to be wedded to high-priests or kings. [source]
Of great age [προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς]
Lit., advanced in many days. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 2:36

Luke 23:27 Bewailed [εκοπτοντο]
Imperfect middle of κοπτω — koptō to cut, smite, old and common verb. Direct middle, they were smiting themselves on the breast. “In the Gospels there is no instance of a woman being hostile to Christ” (Plummer). Luke‘s Gospel is appropriately called the Gospel of Womanhood (1:39-56; Luke 2:36-38; Luke 7:11-15, Luke 7:37-50; Luke 8:1-3; Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:27; Luke 13:11-16).Lamented (ετρηνουν — ethrēnoun). Imperfect active of τρηνεω — thrēneō old verb from τρεομαι — threomai to cry aloud, lament. [source]
Acts 2:17 I will pour forth [εκχεω]
Future active indicative of εκχεω — ekcheō This future like εδομαι — edomai and πιομαι — piomai is without tense sign, probably like the present in the futuristic sense (Robertson, Grammar, p. 354). Westcott and Hort put a different accent on the future, but the old Greek had no accent. The old Greek had εκχευσω — ekcheusō This verb means to pour out. Of my Spirit (απο του πνευματος — apo tou pneumatos). This use of απο — apo (of) is either because of the variety in the manifestations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) or because the Spirit in his entirety remains with God (Holtzmann, Wendt). But the Hebrew has it: “I will pour out my Spirit” without the partitive idea in the lxx. And your daughters Anna is called a prophetess in Luke 2:36 and the daughters of Philip prophesy (Acts 21:9) and Acts 2:18 (handmaidens). See also 1 Corinthians 11:5 Visions (ορασεις — horaseis). Late word for the more common οραμα — horama both from οραω — horaō to see. In Revelation 4:3 it means appearance, but in Revelation 9:17 as here an ecstatic revelation or vision. Dream dreams Shall dream with (instrumental case) dreams. First future passive of ενυπνιαζω — enupniaz from ενυπνιος — enupnios Intensive particle γε — ge added to και — kai (and), an emphatic addition (=Hebrew vegam). Servants Slaves, actual slaves of men. The humblest classes will receive the Spirit of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). But the word “prophesy” here is not in the lxx (or the Hebrew). [source]
Acts 2:17 And your daughters [και αι τυγατερες μων]
Anna is called a prophetess in Luke 2:36 and the daughters of Philip prophesy (Acts 21:9) and Acts 2:18 (handmaidens). See also 1 Corinthians 11:5 Visions (ορασεις — horaseis). Late word for the more common οραμα — horama both from οραω — horaō to see. In Revelation 4:3 it means appearance, but in Revelation 9:17 as here an ecstatic revelation or vision. Dream dreams Shall dream with (instrumental case) dreams. First future passive of ενυπνιαζω — enupniaz from ενυπνιος — enupnios Intensive particle γε — ge added to και — kai (and), an emphatic addition (=Hebrew vegam). Servants Slaves, actual slaves of men. The humblest classes will receive the Spirit of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). But the word “prophesy” here is not in the lxx (or the Hebrew). [source]
Acts 21:9 Virgins which did prophesy [παρτενοι προπητευσαι]
Not necessarily an “order” of virgins, but Philip had the honour of having in his home four virgin daughters with the gift of prophecy which was not necessarily predicting events, though that was done as by Agabus here. It was more than ordinary preaching (cf. Acts 19:6) and was put by Paul above the other gifts like tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1-33). The prophecy of Joel (Luke 1:46-5563.) about their sons and daughters prophesying is quoted by Peter and applied to the events on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17). Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:5 gives directions about praying and prophesying by the women (apparently in public worship) with the head uncovered and sharply requires the head covering, though not forbidding the praying and prophesying. With this must be compared his demand for silence by the women in 1 Corinthians 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:8-15 which it is not easy to reconcile. One wonders if there was not something known to Paul about special conditions in Corinth and Ephesus that he has not told. There was also Anna the prophetess in the temple (Luke 2:36) besides the inspired hymns of Elizabeth (Luke 1:42-45) and of Mary (1618481629_4). At any rate there was no order of women prophets or official ministers. There were Old Testament prophetesses like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah. Today in our Sunday schools the women do most of the actual teaching. The whole problem is difficult and calls for restraint and reverence. One thing is certain and that is that Luke appreciated the services of women for Christ as is shown often in his writings (Luke 8:1-3, for instance) before this incident. [source]
Revelation 2:20 Which calleth herself a prophetess [η λεγουσα εαυτην προπητιν]
Nominative articular participle of λεγω — legō in apposition with the accusative γυναικα — gunaika like ο μαρτυς — ho martus in apposition with Αντιπας — Antipas in Revelation 2:13. Προπητις — Prophētis is an old word, feminine form for προπητης — prophētēs in N.T. only here and Luke 2:36 (Anna), two extremes surely. See Acts 21:9 for the daughters of Philip who prophesied. [source]
Revelation 2:20 The woman Jezebel [την γυναικα Ιεζαβελ]
Symbolical name for some prominent woman in the church in Thyatira, like the infamous wife of Ahab who was guilty of whoredom and witchcraft (1 Kings 16:31; 2 Kings 9:22) and who sought to drive out the worship of God from Israel. Some MSS. here (A Q 40 min.s) have σου — sou (thy wife, thy woman Ramsay makes it), but surely Aleph C P rightly reject σου — sou Otherwise she is the pastor‘s wife!Which calleth herself a prophetess (η λεγουσα εαυτην προπητιν — hē legousa heautēn prophētin). Nominative articular participle of λεγω — legō in apposition with the accusative γυναικα — gunaika like ο μαρτυς — ho martus in apposition with Αντιπας — Antipas in Revelation 2:13. Προπητις — Prophētis is an old word, feminine form for προπητης — prophētēs in N.T. only here and Luke 2:36 (Anna), two extremes surely. See Acts 21:9 for the daughters of Philip who prophesied.And she teacheth and seduceth A resolution of the participles (διδασκουσα και πλανωσα — didaskousa kai planōsa) into finite verbs (present active indicatives) as in Revelation 1:5. This woman was not a real prophetess, but a false one with loud claims and loose living. One is puzzled to know how such a woman had so much shrewdness and sex-appeal as to lead astray the servants of God in that church. The church tolerated the Nicolaitans and this leader whose primary object was sexual immorality (Charles) and became too much involved with her to handle the heresy. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 2:36 mean?

And there was Anna a prophetess daughter of Phanuel of [the] tribe of Asher she being advanced in years great having lived with a husband years seven from the marriage of herself
Καὶ ἦν Ἅννα προφῆτις θυγάτηρ Φανουήλ ἐκ φυλῆς Ἀσήρ αὕτη προβεβηκυῖα ἐν ἡμέραις πολλαῖς ζήσασα μετὰ ἀνδρὸς ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς

ἦν  there  was 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
Ἅννα  Anna 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: Ἅννα  
Sense: A prophetess in Jerusalem at the time of the Lord’s presentation in the Temple.
προφῆτις  a  prophetess 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: προφῆτις  
Sense: a prophetess.
θυγάτηρ  daughter 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: θυγάτηρ  
Sense: a daughter.
Φανουήλ  of  Phanuel 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Φανουήλ  
Sense: the father of Anna, the prophetess of the tribe of Asher.
φυλῆς  [the]  tribe 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: φυλή  
Sense: a tribe.
Ἀσήρ  of  Asher 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἀσήρ  
Sense: the eighth son of Jacob.
αὕτη  she 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
προβεβηκυῖα  being  advanced 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Active, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: προβαίνω  
Sense: to go forwards, go on.
ἡμέραις  years 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Plural
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
πολλαῖς  great 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Plural
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
ζήσασα  having  lived 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ζάω  
Sense: to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead).
ἀνδρὸς  a  husband 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: ἀνήρ  
Sense: with reference to sex.
ἔτη  years 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἔτος  
Sense: year.
ἑπτὰ  seven 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ἑπτά  
Sense: seven.
παρθενίας  marriage 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: παρθενία  
Sense: virginity.
αὐτῆς  of  herself 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Feminine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.