For my friends on this Christmas Eve, here is a fresh translation of the Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) I just now did. Merry Christmas to you all!

And Mary said:

My soul glorifies the Lord
And my spirit exults in God, my Savior!

For He has looked with favor upon the lowly state of his slave girl.
For behold! In time to come all ages shall call me blessed.

For the Almighty has done great things for me;
Holy is His name.

And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.

He has displayed might with His arm,
He has scattered those who in their hearts think themselves preeminent.

He has deposed rulers from their thrones,
And exalted the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
But the rich He has sent away empty.

He has taken His son Israel by the hand
Remembering His mercy,

Just as He promised our fathers
For Abraham and his descendants forever!


  1. Awesome Kevin. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  2. nice

  3. What a great thing to find waiting for me on this Christmas Eve. Thank you.

  4. very nice.

    I know one of the themes is upending the world, but the part about sending the rich away hungry always unnerves me.

  5. Very nice. Thanks Kevin. For a recent Christmas concert we sang Buxtehude’s setting of the Magnificat. Revisiting these verses is one of the best parts of Christmas for me each year.

  6. Kevin Barney: I love the fact that you took the time to translate the beloved Magnificat.

    However, where did you come up with “slave girl”? The KJV translation “handmaiden” produces the image of a servant, or attendant. “Slave girl,” however, calls forth a totally different dynamic.

    I suppose the difference between the two translations doesn’t actually matter much, since both terms evoke Mary’s apparent feeling of humility. But still, “slave girl”?

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    The Greek doulos (feminine doulE) means “slave.” The KJV famously and consistently euphemizes this translation in English with softening renderings such as “servant,” which simply isn’t strong enough. Paul doesn’t call himself a servant of Jesus Christ, but rather a slave of Jesus Christ.

    I rendered doulE as “slave girl” with the idea of slapping KJV readers up-side the head and shocking them a little bit with the implications of what the text is really saying.

  8. Well, consider your work a success, Kevin Barney. You were definitely effective in slapping this KJV [handmaiden] and NIV [servant] reader up-side the head!

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