A popular song asks what Mary knew. But as is often true in the Bible, the people in question knew much more then we think, sometimes more than we ourselves know.
For example, have you ever wondered why so many women are named Mary in the Gospels? The name Mary comes from the Hebrew “Miriam” -the sister of Moses. It would be too obvious to name all the boys under Roman occupation “Moses,” but to name all the girls Miriam is a way of expressing, the expectation of a Moses in that generation. The “Miriams”would become the faithful women who worked as did Jochabed, Shiphrah, Puah, and Moses’s sister to set the stage for God’s delivering work.
Mary also knew why her family lived in Nazareth instead of her ancestral land of Bethlehem in Judea “the city of David “. As long as a Rome-appointed, Idumean King, hostile to the royal family remained on the throne, Mary’s family needed to be as out of sight as possible.
We need not picture Mary as an innocent or ignorant peasant girl. We might consider that Mary grew up among whispered discussions about her family‘s history and heard in synagogue and around the evening fire the prophecies of her family‘s future. Her heart was nourished on the prophecies of Messiah found in Genesis 49, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 11, and Micah chapters 4-5.
So when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a Son by the Lord, what did Mary know? Much more than we think!