What does Luke 2:17 mean?
ESV: And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
NIV: When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
NASB: When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
CSB: After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child,
NLT: After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
KJV: And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
NKJV: Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
Verse Commentary:
Mary has recently given birth to Jesus, in humble circumstances (Luke 2:1–7). Shortly afterwards, a throng of angels announced the birth—but not to kings and scholars. Instead, the angels presented their news to local shepherds. After overcoming their initial terror, these men quickly followed the angels' description and found Jesus exactly as predicted (Luke 2:8–16).

Here, the shepherds explain how they came to find Mary and Joseph. "The saying" they relate would have included everything they were told by the angels, including the celebratory song. The next verse indicates that more people are present other than just Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:18). This probably means other people staying in the same location, or possibly local neighbors. It's also entirely possible that the shepherds told others—perhaps even everyone they saw—as they made their way to Christ's location.

Traditional "nativity scenes" set out during Christmas celebrations include many people and animals that aren't included in the text of the Bible itself. All we know, for sure, is that this meeting involves Jesus' immediate family and the arriving herdsmen.
Verse Context:
Luke 2:8–21 describes shepherds who are visited by numerous angels. These beings proclaim the birth of Christ and explain where He can be found. The men follow the angels' directions and find Jesus, Joseph, and Mary just as predicted. Jesus' family celebrates these events, as God continues to use simple people to proclaim His most important truths. When Jesus is eight days old, in accordance with Jewish tradition, he is circumcised and officially given His prophesied name.
Chapter Summary:
The early part of this chapter is famously read at Christmas, while celebrating the birth of Jesus. Luke gives a relatively brief description of how Mary came to give birth in a stable, laying Jesus in a feeding trough. Nearby shepherds are informed of the news by multiple angels. Two people speak in praise of God at Jesus' circumcision. Years later, Joseph and Mary lose track of Jesus on the way back from Jerusalem, only to find Him astounding teachers in the temple with His wisdom.
Chapter Context:
Luke began his well-organized account by explaining the conceptions of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, in chapter 1. In chapter 2, he briefly summarizes Jesus' birth and the arrival of shepherds directed by angels. Prophecies and prayers celebrate His dedication at the temple. After briefly losing track of a twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple, Jesus' parents take Him home to Nazareth. There, He grows up relatively normally. Chapter 3 leaps forward many years to the beginning of John the Baptist's preaching. This is followed by Jesus' genealogy. Chapter 4 relates Jesus' temptations by Satan and the start of His public ministry.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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