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Teks -- Matthew 2:1-23 (NET)

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Konteks
The Visit of the Wise Men
2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2:2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 2:3 When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 2:5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet: 2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 2:7 Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” 2:9 After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped stopped above the place where the child was. 2:10 When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. 2:11 As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 2:12 After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country.
The Escape to Egypt
2:13 After they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to look for the child to kill him.” 2:14 Then he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and went to Egypt. 2:15 He stayed there until Herod died. In this way what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet was fulfilled: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” 2:16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he became enraged. He sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem and throughout the surrounding region from the age of two and under, according to the time he had learned from the wise men. 2:17 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 2:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud wailing, Rachel weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted, because they were gone.”
The Return to Nazareth
2:19 After Herod had died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 2:20 saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 2:21 So he got up and took the child and his mother and returned to the land of Israel. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. After being warned in a dream, he went to the regions of Galilee. 2:23 He came to a town called Nazareth and lived there. Then what had been spoken by the prophets was fulfilled, that Jesus would be called a Nazarene.
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Nama Orang, Nama Tempat, Topik/Tema Kamus

Nama Orang dan Nama Tempat:
 · Archelaus A son of Herod the Great
 · Bethlehem a town 8 km south of Jerusalem,a town of Zebulun 10 km west of Nazareth and 15 km SW of Cana SMM,a town of Judah 8 km south. of Jerusalem
 · Egypt descendants of Mizraim
 · Galilee the region of Palestine north of Sameria and west of the upper Jordan River,a region west of Lake Galilee and north of the Jezreel Valley
 · Herod son of Antipater; king over Judea when Christ was born,a son of Herod the Great,a grandson of Herod the Great and son of Aristobulus and Berenice
 · Israel a citizen of Israel.,a member of the nation of Israel
 · Jeremiah a prophet of Judah in 627 B.C., who wrote the book of Jeremiah,a man of Libnah; father of Hamutal, mother of Jehoahaz, king of Judah,head of an important clan in eastern Manasseh in the time of Jotham,a Benjamite man who defected to David at Ziklag,the fifth of Saul's Gadite officers who defected to David in the wilderness,the tenth of Saul's Gadite officers who defected to David in the wilderness,a man from Anathoth of Benjamin; son of Hilkiah the priest; a major prophet in the time of the exile,an influential priest who returned from exile with Zerubbabel, who later signed the covenant to obey the law, and who helped dedicate Nehemiah's wall,one of Saul's Gadite officers who defected to David in the wilderness
 · Jerusalem the capital city of Israel,a town; the capital of Israel near the southern border of Benjamin
 · Jews the people descended from Israel
 · Joseph the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus,a Jewish man from Arimathea in whose grave the body of Jesus was laid,two different men listed as ancestors of Jesus,a man nominated with Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot as apostle,a son of Jacob and Rachel; the father of Ephraim and Manasseh and ruler of Egypt,a brother of Jesus; a son of Mary,a man who was a companion of Paul,son of Jacob and Rachel; patriarch of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh,a tribe, actually two tribes named after Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh,father of Igal, of Issachar, who helped spy out Canaan,son of Asaph the Levite; worship leader under Asaph and King David,a man who put away his heathen wife; an Israelite descended from Binnui,priest and head of the house of Shebaniah under High Priest Joiakim in the time of Nehemiah
 · Judah the son of Jacob and Leah; founder of the tribe of Judah,a tribe, the land/country,a son of Joseph; the father of Simeon; an ancestor of Jesus,son of Jacob/Israel and Leah; founder of the tribe of Judah,the tribe of Judah,citizens of the southern kingdom of Judah,citizens of the Persian Province of Judah; the Jews who had returned from Babylonian exile,"house of Judah", a phrase which highlights the political leadership of the tribe of Judah,"king of Judah", a phrase which relates to the southern kingdom of Judah,"kings of Judah", a phrase relating to the southern kingdom of Judah,"princes of Judah", a phrase relating to the kingdom of Judah,the territory allocated to the tribe of Judah, and also the extended territory of the southern kingdom of Judah,the Province of Judah under Persian rule,"hill country of Judah", the relatively cool and green central highlands of the territory of Judah,"the cities of Judah",the language of the Jews; Hebrew,head of a family of Levites who returned from Exile,a Levite who put away his heathen wife,a man who was second in command of Jerusalem; son of Hassenuah of Benjamin,a Levite in charge of the songs of thanksgiving in Nehemiah's time,a leader who helped dedicate Nehemiah's wall,a Levite musician who helped Zechariah of Asaph dedicate Nehemiah's wall
 · Judea a region that roughly corresponded to the earlier kingdom of Judah
 · Mary mother of Jesus and wife of Joseph,a woman from Magdala in Galilee,the mother of James and Joses,the wife of Cleophas,the sister of Lazarus and Martha in Bethany,the mother of John Mark who was a nephew of Barnabas,a Christian woman in Rome who helped Paul
 · Nazarene a town in lower Galilee about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea
 · Nazareth a town in lower Galilee about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea
 · Rachel a daughter of Laban; wife of Jacob; mother of Joseph and Benjamin,Jacob's favorite wife
 · Ramah a town 8 km north of Jerusalem,a town of Simeon,a town of Benjamin 9 km north of Jerusalem and 8 km south of Bethel (OS),a town on the border of Asher (OS),a town of Ephraim 10 km SE of Aphek, and 25 km east of Joppa,a town in Gilead 50-60 km east of Beth-Shan


Topik/Tema Kamus: Bethlehem | Herod | Magi | Jesus | Trumpet | JESUS CHRIST, 4A | Mary | Jesus, The Christ | Herod the Great | Miracles | JOSEPH, HUSBAND OF MARY | Stars | Wise Men | Heathen | ZOROASTRIANISM | Magic | Wisdom | Egypt | Joseph | Dream | selebihnya
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Evidence

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Robertson: Mat 2:1 - Now when Jesus was born Now when Jesus was born ( tou de Iēsou gennēthentos ). The fact of the birth of Jesus is stated by the genitive absolute construction (first aori...

Now when Jesus was born ( tou de Iēsou gennēthentos ).

The fact of the birth of Jesus is stated by the genitive absolute construction (first aorist passive participle of the same verb gennaō used twice already of the birth of Jesus, Mat 1:16, Mat 1:20, and used in the genealogy, Mat 1:2-16). Matthew does not propose to give biographic details of the supernatural birth of Jesus, wonderful as it was and disbelieved as it is by some today who actually deny that Jesus was born at all or ever lived, men who talk of the Jesus Myth, the Christ Myth, etc. "The main purpose is to show the reception given by the world to the new-born Messianic King. Homage from afar, hostility at home; foreshadowing the fortunes of the new faith: reception by the Gentiles, rejection by the Jews"(Bruce).

Robertson: Mat 2:1 - In Bethlehem of Judea In Bethlehem of Judea ( en Bēthleem tēs Ioudaias ). There was a Bethlehem in Galilee seven miles northwest of Nazareth (Josephus, Antiquities X...

In Bethlehem of Judea ( en Bēthleem tēs Ioudaias ).

There was a Bethlehem in Galilee seven miles northwest of Nazareth (Josephus, Antiquities XIX. 15). This Bethlehem (house of bread, the name means) of Judah was the scene of Ruth’ s life with Boaz (Rth 1:1.; Mat 1:5) and the home of David, descendant of Ruth and ancestor of Jesus (Mat 1:5). David was born here and anointed king by Samuel (1Sa 17:12). The town came to be called the city of David (Luk 2:11). Jesus, who was born in this House of Bread called himself the Bread of Life (Joh 6:35), the true Manna from heaven. Matthew assumes the knowledge of the details of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem which are given in Luk 2:1-7 or did not consider them germane to his purpose. Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem from Nazareth because it was the original family home for both of them. The first enrolment by the Emperor Augustus as the papyri show was by families (kat' oikian ). Possibly Joseph had delayed the journey for some reason till now it approached the time for the birth of the child.

Robertson: Mat 2:1 - In the days of Herod the King In the days of Herod the King ( en hēmerais Hērōidou tou Basileōs ). This is the only date for the birth of Christ given by Matthew. Luke giv...

In the days of Herod the King ( en hēmerais Hērōidou tou Basileōs ).

This is the only date for the birth of Christ given by Matthew. Luke gives a more precise date in his Gospel (Luk 2:1-3), the time of the first enrolment by Augustus and while Cyrenius was ruler of Syria. More will be said of Luke’ s date when we come to his Gospel. We know from Matthew that Jesus was born while Herod was king, the Herod sometimes called Herod the Great. Josephus makes it plain that Herod died b.c. 4. He was first Governor of Galilee, but had been king of Judaea since b.c. 40 (by Antony and Octavius). I call him "Herod the Great Pervert"in Some Minor Characters in the New Testament. He was great in sin and in cruelty and had won the favour of the Emperor. The story in Josephus is a tragedy. It is not made plain by Matthew how long before the death of Herod Jesus was born. Our traditional date a.d. 1, is certainly wrong as Matthew shows. It seems plain that the birth of Jesus cannot be put later than b.c. 5. The data supplied by Luke probably call for b.c. 6 or 7.

Robertson: Mat 2:1 - Wise men from the east Wise men from the east ( magoi apo anatolōn ). The etymology of Magi is quite uncertain. It may come from the same Indo-European root as (megas)...

Wise men from the east ( magoi apo anatolōn ).

The etymology of Magi is quite uncertain. It may come from the same Indo-European root as (megas) magnus , though some find it of Babylonian origin. Herodotus speaks of a tribe of Magi among the Medians. Among the Persians there was a priestly caste of Magi like the Chaldeans in Babylon (Dan 1:4). Daniel was head of such an order (Dan 2:48). It is the same word as our "magician"and it sometimes carried that idea as in the case of Simon Magus (Act 8:9, Act 8:11) and of Elymas Barjesus (Act 13:6, Act 13:8). But here in Matthew the idea seems to be rather that of astrologers. Babylon was the home of astrology, but we only know that the men were from the east whether Arabia, Babylon, Persia, or elsewhere. The notion that they were kings arose from an interpretation of Isa 60:3; Rev 21:24. The idea that they were three in number is due to the mention of three kinds of gifts (gold, frankincense, myrrh), but that is no proof at all. Legend has added to the story that the names were Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior as in Ben Hur and also that they represent Shem, Ham, and Japhet. A casket in the Cologne Cathedral actually is supposed to contain the skulls of these three Magi. The word for east (apo anatolōn ) means "from the risings"of the sun.

Robertson: Mat 2:2 - For we saw his star in the east For we saw his star in the east ( eidomen gar autou ton astera en tēi anatolēi ). This does not mean that they saw the star which was in the east...

For we saw his star in the east ( eidomen gar autou ton astera en tēi anatolēi ).

This does not mean that they saw the star which was in the east. That would make them go east to follow it instead of west from the east. The words "in the east"are probably to be taken with "we saw"i.e. we were in the east when we saw it, or still more probably "we saw his star at its rising"or "when it rose"as Moffatt puts it. The singular form here (tēi anatolēi ) does sometimes mean "east"(Rev 21:13), though the plural is more common as in Mat 2:1. In Luk 1:78 the singular means dawn as the verb (aneteilen ) does in Mat 4:16 (Septuagint). The Magi ask where is the one born king of the Jews. They claim that they had seen his star, either a miracle or a combination of bright stars or a comet. These men may have been Jewish proselytes and may have known of the Messianic hope, for even Vergil had caught a vision of it. The whole world was on tiptoe of expectancy for something. Moulton ( Journal of Theological Studies , 1902, p. 524) "refers to the Magian belief that a star could be the fravashi , the counterpart or angel (cf. Mat 18:10) of a great man"(McNeile). They came to worship the newly born king of the Jews. Seneca ( Epistle 58) tells of Magians who came to Athens with sacrifices to Plato after his death. They had their own way of concluding that the star which they had seen pointed to the birth of this Messianic king. Cicero ( Deuteronomy Divin. i. 47) "refers to the constellation from which, on the birthnight of Alexander, Magians foretold that the destroyer of Asia was born"(McNeile). Alford is positive that no miracle is intended by the report of the Magi or by Matthew in his narrative. But one must be allowed to say that the birth of Jesus, if really God’ s only Son who has become Incarnate, is the greatest of all miracles. Even the methods of astrologers need not disturb those who are sure of this fact.

Robertson: Mat 2:3 - He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him ( etarachthē kai pāsa Ierosoluma met' autou ). Those familiar with the story of Herod the Great in Jo...

He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him ( etarachthē kai pāsa Ierosoluma met' autou ).

Those familiar with the story of Herod the Great in Josephus can well understand the meaning of these words. Herod in his rage over his family rivalries and jealousies put to death the two sons of Mariamne (Aristobulus and Alexander), Mariamne herself, and Antipater, another son and once his heir, besides the brother and mother of Mariamne (Aristobulus, Alexandra) and her grandfather John Hyrcanus. He had made will after will and was now in a fatal illness and fury over the question of the Magi. He showed his excitement and the whole city was upset because the people knew only too well what he could do when in a rage over the disturbance of his plans. "The foreigner and usurper feared a rival, and the tyrant feared the rival would be welcome"(Bruce). Herod was a hated Idumaean.

Robertson: Mat 2:4 - He inquired of them where the Christ should be born He inquired of them where the Christ should be born ( epunthaneto par' autōn pou ho Christos gennātai ). The prophetic present (gennātai ) is ...

He inquired of them where the Christ should be born ( epunthaneto par' autōn pou ho Christos gennātai ).

The prophetic present (gennātai ) is given, the very words of Herod retained by Matthew’ s report. The imperfect tense (epunthaneto) suggests that Herod inquired repeatedly, probably of one and another of the leaders gathered together, both Sadducees (chief priests) and Pharisees (scribes). McNeile doubts, like Holtzmann, if Herod actually called together all the Sanhedrin and probably "he could easily ask the question of a single scribe,"because he had begun his reign with a massacre of the Sanhedrin (Josephus, Ant. XIV. ix. 4). But that was thirty years ago and Herod was desperately in earnest to learn what the Jews really expected about the coming of "the Messiah."Still Herod probably got together not the Sanhedrin since "elders"are not mentioned, but leaders among the chief priests and scribes, not a formal meeting but a free assembly for conference. He had evidently heard of this expected king and he would swallow plenty of pride to be able to compass the defeat of these hopes.

Robertson: Mat 2:5 - And they said unto him And they said unto him ( hoi de eipan autōi ). Whether the ecclesiastics had to search their scriptures or not, they give the answer that is in acc...

And they said unto him ( hoi de eipan autōi ).

Whether the ecclesiastics had to search their scriptures or not, they give the answer that is in accord with the common Jewish opinion that the Messiah was to come from Bethlehem and of the seed of David (Joh 7:42). So they quote Mic 5:2, "a free paraphrase"Alford calls it, for it is not precisely like the Hebrew text or like the Septuagint. It may have come from a collection of testimonia with which J. Rendel Harris has made the world familiar. He had consulted the experts and now he has their answer. Bethlehem of Judah is the place. The use of the perfect passive indicative (gegraptai ) is the common form in quoting scripture. It stands written.

Robertson: Mat 2:5 - Shall be shepherd Shall be shepherd ( poimanei ). The Authorized Version had "shall rule,"but "shepherd"is correct. "Homer calls kings ‘ the shepherds of the peop...

Shall be shepherd ( poimanei ).

The Authorized Version had "shall rule,"but "shepherd"is correct. "Homer calls kings ‘ the shepherds of the people’ "(Vincent). In Heb 13:20 Jesus is called "the great shepherd of the sheep."Jesus calls himself "the good shepherd"(Joh 10:11). Peter calls Christ "the chief shepherd"(1Pe 2:25). "The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd"(Rev 7:17). Jesus told Peter to "shepherd"the lambs (Joh 21:16). Our word pastor means shepherd.

Robertson: Mat 2:7 - Then Herod privily called the wise men Then Herod privily called the wise men ( tote Hērōidēs lathrai kalesas tous magous ). He had manifestly not told members of the Sanhedrin why h...

Then Herod privily called the wise men ( tote Hērōidēs lathrai kalesas tous magous ).

He had manifestly not told members of the Sanhedrin why he was concerned about the Messiah. So he conceals his motives to the Magi. And yet he "learned of them carefully"(ekribōsen ), "learned exactly"or "accurately."He was anxious to see if the Jewish prophecy of the birthplace of the Messiah agreed with the indications of the star to the Magi. He kept to himself his purpose. The time of the appearing star (ton chronon tou phainomenou asteros ) is not "the time when the star appeared,"but the age of the star’ s appearance.

Robertson: Mat 2:8 - Sent them to Bethlehem and said Sent them to Bethlehem and said ( pempsas autous eis Bēthleem eipen ). Simultaneous aorist participle, "sending said."They were to "search out accu...

Sent them to Bethlehem and said ( pempsas autous eis Bēthleem eipen ).

Simultaneous aorist participle, "sending said."They were to "search out accurately"(exetasate akribōs ) concerning the child. Then "bring me word, that I also may come and worship him."The deceit of Herod seemed plausible enough and might have succeeded but for God’ s intervention to protect His Son from the jealous rage of Herod.

Robertson: Mat 2:9 - Went before them Went before them ( proēgen autous ). Imperfect tense, kept on in front of them, not as a guide to the town since they now knew that, but to the pla...

Went before them ( proēgen autous ).

Imperfect tense, kept on in front of them, not as a guide to the town since they now knew that, but to the place where the child was, the inn according to Luk 2:7. Justin Martyr says that it was in a cave. The stall where the cattle and donkeys stayed may have been beneath the inn in the side of the hill.

Robertson: Mat 2:10 - They rejoiced with exceeding great joy They rejoiced with exceeding great joy ( echarēsan charan megalēn sphodra ). Second aorist passive indicative with cognate accusative. Their joy ...

They rejoiced with exceeding great joy ( echarēsan charan megalēn sphodra ).

Second aorist passive indicative with cognate accusative. Their joy was due to the success of the search.

Robertson: Mat 2:11 - Opening their treasures Opening their treasures ( anoixantes tous thēsaurous autōn ). Here "treasures"means "caskets"from the verb (tithēmi ), receptacle for valuable...

Opening their treasures ( anoixantes tous thēsaurous autōn ).

Here "treasures"means "caskets"from the verb (tithēmi ), receptacle for valuables. In the ancient writers it meant "treasury"as in 1 Maccabees 3:29. So a "storehouse"as in Mat 13:52. Then it means the things laid up in store, treasure in heaven (Mat 6:20), in Christ (Col 2:3). In their "caskets"the Magi had gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all found at that time in Arabia, though gold was found in Babylon and elsewhere.

Robertson: Mat 2:12 - Warned in a dream Warned in a dream ( chrēmatisthentes kat' onar ). The verb means to transact business (chrēmatizō from chrēma , and that from chraomai , to...

Warned in a dream ( chrēmatisthentes kat' onar ).

The verb means to transact business (chrēmatizō from chrēma , and that from chraomai , to use. Then to consult, to deliberate, to make answer as of magistrates or an oracle, to instruct, to admonish. In the Septuagint and the New Testament it occurs with the idea of being warned by God and also in the papyri (Deissmann, Bible Studies , p. 122). Wycliff puts it here: "An answer taken in sleep."

Robertson: Mat 2:15 - Until the death of Herod Until the death of Herod ( heōs tēs teleutēs Hērōidou ). The Magi had been warned in a dream not to report to Herod and now Joseph was warn...

Until the death of Herod ( heōs tēs teleutēs Hērōidou ).

The Magi had been warned in a dream not to report to Herod and now Joseph was warned in a dream to take Mary and the child along (mellei zētein tou apolesai gives a vivid picture of the purpose of Herod in these three verbs). In Egypt Joseph was to keep Mary and Jesus till the death of Herod the monster. Matthew quotes Hos 11:1 to show that this was in fulfilment of God’ s purpose to call his Son out of Egypt. He may have quoted again from a collection of testimonia rather than from the Septuagint. There is a Jewish tradition in the Talmud that Jesus "brought with him magic arts out of Egypt in an incision on his body"( Shabb. 104b). "This attempt to ascribe the Lord’ s miracles to Satanic agency seems to be independent of Matthew, and may have been known to him, so that one object of his account may have been to combat it"(McNeile).

Robertson: Mat 2:16 - Slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem Slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem ( aneilen pantas tous paidas tous en Bēthleem ). The flight of Joseph was justified, for Herod wa...

Slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem ( aneilen pantas tous paidas tous en Bēthleem ).

The flight of Joseph was justified, for Herod was violently enraged (ethumōthē lian ) that he had been mocked by the Magi, deluded in fact (enepaichthē ). Vulgate illusus esset. Herod did not know, of course, how old the child was, but he took no chances and included all the little boys (tous paidas , masculine article) in Bethlehem two years old and under, perhaps fifteen or twenty. It is no surprise that Josephus makes no note of this small item in Herod’ s chamber of horrors. It was another fulfilment of the prophecy in Jer 31:15. The quotation (Mat 2:18) seems to be from the Septuagint. It was originally written of the Babylonian captivity but it has a striking illustration in this case also. Macrobius ( Sat. II. iv. II) notes that Augustus said that it was better to be Herod’ s sow (hus ) than his son (huios ), for the sow had a better chance of life.

Robertson: Mat 2:20 - For they are dead For they are dead ( tethnēkasin ). Only Herod had sought to kill the young child, but it is a general statement of a particular fact as is common w...

For they are dead ( tethnēkasin ).

Only Herod had sought to kill the young child, but it is a general statement of a particular fact as is common with people who say: "They say."The idiom may be suggested by Exo 4:19 : "For all are dead that sought thy life."

Robertson: Mat 2:22 - Warned in a dream Warned in a dream ( chrēmatistheis kat' onar ). He was already afraid to go to Judea because Archelaus was reigning (ruling, not technically king, ...

Warned in a dream ( chrēmatistheis kat' onar ).

He was already afraid to go to Judea because Archelaus was reigning (ruling, not technically king, basileuei ). In a fret at last before his death Herod had changed his will again and put Archelaus, the worst of his living sons, in the place of Antipas. So Joseph went to Galilee. Matthew has had nothing about the previous dwelling of Joseph and Mary in Nazareth. We learn that from Luke who tells nothing of the flight into Egypt. The two narratives supplement one another and are in no sense contradictory.

Robertson: Mat 2:23 - Should be called a Nazarene Should be called a Nazarene ( Nazōraios klēthēsetai ). Matthew says "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets"(dia tōn pro...

Should be called a Nazarene ( Nazōraios klēthēsetai ).

Matthew says "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets"(dia tōn prophētōn ). It is the plural and no single prophecy exists which says that the Messiah was to be called a Nazarene. It may be that this term of contempt (Joh 1:46; Joh 7:52) is what is meant, and that several prophecies are to be combined like Psa 22:6, Psa 22:8; Psa 69:11, Psa 69:19; Isa 53:2, Isa 53:3,Isa 53:4. The name Nazareth means a shoot or branch, but it is by no means certain that Matthew has this in mind. It is best to confess that we do not know. See Broadus on Matthew for the various theories. But, despised as Nazareth was at that time, Jesus has exalted its fame. The lowly Nazarene he was at first, but it is our glory to be the followers of the Nazarene. Bruce says that "in this case, therefore, we certainly know that the historic fact suggested the prophetic reference, instead of the prophecy creating the history."The parallels drawn by Matthew between the history of Israel and the birth and infancy of Jesus are not mere fancy. History repeats itself and writers of history find frequent parallels. Surely Matthew is not beyond the bounds of reason or of fact in illustrating in his own way the birth and infancy of Jesus by the Providence of God in the history of Israel.

Vincent: Mat 2:1 - Bethlehem Bethlehem Hebrew, House of Bread, probably from its fertility. The birthplace of him who calls himself the Bread of Life (Joh 6:35), and iden...

Bethlehem

Hebrew, House of Bread, probably from its fertility. The birthplace of him who calls himself the Bread of Life (Joh 6:35), and identified with the history of his human ancestry through Ruth, who was here married to Boaz, and was the ancestress of David (Mat 1:5, Mat 1:6), and through David himself, who was born there, and anointed king by Samuel (compare Luk 2:11, city of David ) .

Vincent: Mat 2:1 - Wise men, Magi Wise men, or Magi (μάγοι ) Wycliffe renders kings . A priestly caste among the Persians and Medes, which occupied itself principally with...

Wise men, or Magi (μάγοι )

Wycliffe renders kings . A priestly caste among the Persians and Medes, which occupied itself principally with the secrets of nature, astrology, and medicine. Daniel became president of such an order in Babylon (Dan 2:48). The word became transferred, without distinction of country, to all who had devoted themselves to those sciences, which were, however, frequently accompanied with the practice of magic and jugglery; and, under the form magician , it has come to be naturalized in many of the languages of Europe. Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord's cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art. They were said to be kings, and three in number; they were said to be representatives of the three families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and therefore one of them is pictured as an Ethiopian; their names are given as Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, and their three skulls, said to have been discovered in the twelfth century by Bishop Reinald of Cologne, are exhibited in a priceless casket in the great cathedral of that city.

Vincent: Mat 2:2 - The east The east ( ἀνατολή ) Literally, the rising. Some commentators prefer to render at its rising, or when it rose. In Luk 1:78, the ...

The east ( ἀνατολή )

Literally, the rising. Some commentators prefer to render at its rising, or when it rose. In Luk 1:78, the word is translated dayspring, or dawn . The kindred verb occurs in Mat 4:16, " light did spring up " (ἀνέτειλεν )

Vincent: Mat 2:4 - All the chief priests All the chief priests We should expect only one chief priest to be mentioned; but the office had become a lucrative one, and frequently changed...

All the chief priests

We should expect only one chief priest to be mentioned; but the office had become a lucrative one, and frequently changed hands. A rabbi is quoted as saying that the first temple, which stood about four hundred and ten years, had only eighteen high-priests from first to last; while the second temple, which stood four hundred and twenty years, had more than three hundred high-priests. The reference here is not to a meeting of the Sanhedrin, since the elders, who are not mentioned, belonged to this; but to an extraordinary convocation of all the high-priests and learned men. Besides the high-priest in actual office, there might be others who had been his predecessors, and who continued to bear the name, and in part the dignity. It may possibly have included the heads of the twenty-four courses of priests.

Vincent: Mat 2:6 - Land of Judah Land of Judah To distinguish it from Bethlehem in the territory of Zebulon.

Land of Judah

To distinguish it from Bethlehem in the territory of Zebulon.

Vincent: Mat 2:6 - Shall be shepherd of ποιμήν Shall be shepherd of ( ποιμανεῖ ) , from ποιμήν , a shepherd So Rev., rightly, instead of shall rule. The word involves the whole...

Shall be shepherd of ( ποιμανεῖ ) , from ποιμήν , a shepherd

So Rev., rightly, instead of shall rule. The word involves the whole office of the shepherd - guiding, guarding, folding, as well as feeding. Hence appropriate and often applied to the guides and guardians of others. Homer calls kings " the shepherds of the people." To David the people said, " The Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed (as a shepherd) my people Israel" (2Sa 5:2; compare Psa 78:70-72). God is often called a shepherd (Gen 48:15; Psa 23:1; Psa 77:20; Psa 80:1; Isa 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11-31). Jesus calls himself the good shepherd (Joh 10:11). Peter, who is bidden by Jesus to sheph erd his sheep (Joh 21:16, ποίμαινε , Rev., tend), calls him the Shepherd of Souls (1Pe 2:25), and the Chief Shepherd (1Pe 5:4); and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 13:20), he is styled the great Shepherd of the sheep . In Rev 2:27, rule is literally to shepherd (compare Rev 19:15); but Christ will shepherd his enemies, not with the pastoral crook, but with a sceptre of iron. Finally, Jesus will perpetuate this name and office in heaven among his redeemed ones, for " the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall be their shepherd (Rev 7:17, Rev.). In this verse the word governor is in harmony with the idea of shepherding, since the word ἡγούμενος originally means one who goes before, or leads the way, and suggests Christ's words about the good shepherd in Joh 10:3, Joh 10:4 : " He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out....He goeth before them, and the sheep follow him."

Vincent: Mat 2:6 - Inquired diligently Inquired diligently ( ἠκρίβωσεν ) Better learned accurately. The verb is formed from ἄκρος , at the point or end. The id...

Inquired diligently ( ἠκρίβωσεν )

Better learned accurately. The verb is formed from ἄκρος , at the point or end. The idea is, therefore, he ascertained to the last point; denoting the exactness of the information rather than the diligence of the search for it. Compare Mat 2:8, " Search out carefully " (ἀκριβῶς ). So the Rev. for diligently.

Vincent: Mat 2:6 - What time the star appeared What time the star appeared ( τὸν χρόνον τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος ) Lit., the time of the appearing star....

What time the star appeared ( τὸν χρόνον τοῦ φαινομένου ἀστέρος )

Lit., the time of the appearing star. Herod asks, " How long does the star make itself visible since its rising in the East ? rather than " At what time did it appear? "

Vincent: Mat 2:12 - Being warned Being warned ( χρηματισθέντες ) The verb means to give a response to one who asks or consults: hence, in the passive, as here, ...

Being warned ( χρηματισθέντες )

The verb means to give a response to one who asks or consults: hence, in the passive, as here, to receive an answer. The word therefore implies that the wise men had sought counsel of God; and so Wycliffe, " And answer taken in sleep. "

Vincent: Mat 2:16 - The children The children ( τούς παῖδας ) Male children, as is indicated by the masculine form of the article, and so Rev.

The children ( τούς παῖδας )

Male children, as is indicated by the masculine form of the article, and so Rev.

Vincent: Mat 2:23 - The prophets The prophets Note the plural, as indicating not any one prediction in particular, but a summary of the import of several prophetic statements, su...

The prophets

Note the plural, as indicating not any one prediction in particular, but a summary of the import of several prophetic statements, such as Psa 22:6, Psa 22:8; Psa 69:11, Psa 69:19; Isa 53:2, Isa 53:3, Isa 53:4.

Vincent: Mat 2:23 - A Nazarene A Nazarene A term of contempt (compare Joh 1:46, and Joh 7:52). The very name of Nazareth suggested insignificance. In Hebrew it meant sprout o...

A Nazarene

A term of contempt (compare Joh 1:46, and Joh 7:52). The very name of Nazareth suggested insignificance. In Hebrew it meant sprout or shoot. The name is prophetically given to the Messiah (Isa 11:1). In Isa 10:33, Isa 10:34, the fate of Assyria is described under the figure of the felling of a cedar forest. The figure of the tree is continued at the opening of ch. 11 concerning the Jewish state. The cedar throws out no fresh suckers, but the oak is a tree " in which, after the felling, a stock remaineth" (Isa 6:13; compare Job 14:9). There is a future then for Israel, represented by the oak. " There shall come forth a shoot from the stock of Jesse, and a twig from his roots shall bear fruit." As David sprang from the humble family of Jesse, so the Messiah, the second David, shall arise out of great humiliation. The fact that Jesus grew up at Nazareth was sufficient reason for his being despised. He was not a lofty branch on the summit of a stately tree; not a recognized and honored son of the royal house of David, now fallen, but an insignificant sprout from the roots of Jesse; a Nazarene, of an upstart sprout-town.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - Bethlehem of Judea There was another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon.

There was another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - In the days of Herod commonly called Herod the Great, born at Ascalon. The sceptre was now on the point of departing from Judah. Among his sons were Archelaus, mentioned M...

commonly called Herod the Great, born at Ascalon. The sceptre was now on the point of departing from Judah. Among his sons were Archelaus, mentioned Mat 2:22; Herod Antipas, mentioned Mat 14:1; &c., and Philip, mentioned Luk 3:19. Herod Agrippa, mentioned Act 12:1; &c., was his grandson.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - Wise men The first fruits of the Gentiles. Probably they were Gentile philosophers, who, through the Divine assistance, had improved their knowledge of nature,...

The first fruits of the Gentiles. Probably they were Gentile philosophers, who, through the Divine assistance, had improved their knowledge of nature, as a means of leading to the knowledge of the one true God. Nor is it unreasonable to suppose, that God had favoured them with some extraordinary revelations of himself, as he did Melchisedec, Job, and several others, who were not of the family of Abraham; to which he never intended absolutely to confine his favours. The title given them in the original was anciently given to all philosophers, or men of learning; those particularly who were curious in examining the works of nature, and observing the motions of the heavenly bodies.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - From the east So Arabia is frequently called in Scripture. It lay to the east of Judea, and was famous for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

So Arabia is frequently called in Scripture. It lay to the east of Judea, and was famous for gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - We have seen his star Undoubtedly they had before heard Balaam's prophecy. And probably when they saw this unusual star, it was revealed to them that this prophecy was fulf...

Undoubtedly they had before heard Balaam's prophecy. And probably when they saw this unusual star, it was revealed to them that this prophecy was fulfilled.

Wesley: Mat 2:1 - In the east That is, while we were in the east.

That is, while we were in the east.

Wesley: Mat 2:2 - To do him homage To pay him that honour, by bowing to the earth before him, which the eastern nations used to pay to their monarchs.

To pay him that honour, by bowing to the earth before him, which the eastern nations used to pay to their monarchs.

Wesley: Mat 2:4 - The chief priests That is, not only the high priest and his deputy, with those who formerly had borne that office: but also the chief man in each of those twenty - four...

That is, not only the high priest and his deputy, with those who formerly had borne that office: but also the chief man in each of those twenty - four courses, into which the body of priests were divided, 1Ch 24:6-19. The scribes were those whose peculiar business it was to explain the Scriptures to the people. They were the public preachers, or expounders of the law of Moses. Whence the chief of them were called doctors of the law.

Wesley: Mat 2:6 - Thou art in nowise the least among the princes of Judah That is, among the cities belonging to the princes or heads of thousands in Judah. When this and several other quotations from the Old Testament are c...

That is, among the cities belonging to the princes or heads of thousands in Judah. When this and several other quotations from the Old Testament are compared with the original, it plainly appears, the apostles did not always think it necessary exactly to transcribe the passages they cited, but contented themselves with giving the general sense, though with some diversity of language. The words of Micah, which we render, Though thou be little, may be rendered, Art thou little? And then the difference which seems to be here between the prophet and the evangelist vanishes away. Mic 5:2.

Wesley: Mat 2:8 - And if ye find him, bring me word Probably Herod did not believe he was born; otherwise would not so suspicious a prince have tried to make sure work at once?

Probably Herod did not believe he was born; otherwise would not so suspicious a prince have tried to make sure work at once?

Wesley: Mat 2:10 - Seeing the star Standing over where the child was.

Standing over where the child was.

Wesley: Mat 2:11 - They presented to him gifts It was customary to offer some present to any eminent person whom they visited. And so it is, as travellers observe, in the eastern countries to this ...

It was customary to offer some present to any eminent person whom they visited. And so it is, as travellers observe, in the eastern countries to this day. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh - Probably these were the best things their country afforded; and the presents ordinarily made to great persons. This was a most seasonable, providential assistance for a long and expensive journey into Egypt, a country where they were entirely strangers, and were to stay for a considerable time.

Wesley: Mat 2:15 - That it might be fulfilled That is, whereby was fulfilled. The original word frequently signifies, not the design of an action, but barely the consequence or event of it.

That is, whereby was fulfilled. The original word frequently signifies, not the design of an action, but barely the consequence or event of it.

Wesley: Mat 2:15 - Which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet on another occasion: Out of Egypt have I called my Son - which was now fulfilled as it were anew; Christ being in a far higher sense the Son of God th...

on another occasion: Out of Egypt have I called my Son - which was now fulfilled as it were anew; Christ being in a far higher sense the Son of God than Israel, of whom the words were originally spoken. Hos 11:1.

Wesley: Mat 2:16 - Then Herod, seeing that he was deluded by the wise men So did his pride teach him to regard this action, as if it were intended to expose him to the derision of his subjects.

So did his pride teach him to regard this action, as if it were intended to expose him to the derision of his subjects.

Wesley: Mat 2:16 - Sending forth a party of soldiers: In all the confines thereof - In all the neighbouring places, of which Rama was one.

a party of soldiers: In all the confines thereof - In all the neighbouring places, of which Rama was one.

Wesley: Mat 2:17 - Then was fulfilled A passage of Scripture, whether prophetic, historical, or poetical, is in the language of the New Testament fulfilled, when an event happens to which ...

A passage of Scripture, whether prophetic, historical, or poetical, is in the language of the New Testament fulfilled, when an event happens to which it may with great propriety be accommodated.

Wesley: Mat 2:18 - Rachel weeping for her children The Benjamites, who inhabited Rama, sprung from her. She was buried near this place; and is here beautifully represented risen, as it were out of her ...

The Benjamites, who inhabited Rama, sprung from her. She was buried near this place; and is here beautifully represented risen, as it were out of her grave, and bewailing her lost children.

Wesley: Mat 2:18 - Because they are not that is, are dead. The preservation of Jesus from this destruction, may be considered as a figure of God's care over his children in their greatest da...

that is, are dead. The preservation of Jesus from this destruction, may be considered as a figure of God's care over his children in their greatest danger. God does not often, as he easily could, cut off their persecutors at a stroke. But he provides a hiding place for his people, and by methods not less effectual, though less pompous, preserves them from being swept away, even when the enemy comes in like a flood. Jer 31:15.

Wesley: Mat 2:22 - He was afraid to go thither into Judea; and so turned aside into the region of Galilee - a part of the land of Israel not under the jurisdiction of Archelaus.

into Judea; and so turned aside into the region of Galilee - a part of the land of Israel not under the jurisdiction of Archelaus.

Wesley: Mat 2:23 - He came and dwelt in Nazareth (where he had dwelt before he went to Bethlehem) a place contemptible to a proverb. So that hereby was fulfilled what has been spoken in effect by sev...

(where he had dwelt before he went to Bethlehem) a place contemptible to a proverb. So that hereby was fulfilled what has been spoken in effect by several of the prophets, (though by none of them in express words,) He shall be called a Nazarene - that is, he shall be despised and rejected, shall be a mark of public contempt and reproach.

JFB: Mat 2:1 - Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea So called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun, near the Sea of Galilee (Jos 19:15); called also Beth-lehem-judah, as bein...

So called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun, near the Sea of Galilee (Jos 19:15); called also Beth-lehem-judah, as being in that tribe (Jdg 17:7); and Ephrath (Gen 35:16); and combining both, Beth-lehem Ephratah (Mic 5:2). It lay about six miles southwest of Jerusalem. But how came Joseph and Mary to remove thither from Nazareth, the place of their residence? Not of their own accord, and certainly not with the view of fulfilling the prophecy regarding Messiah's birthplace; nay, they stayed at Nazareth till it was almost too late for Mary to travel with safety; nor would they have stirred from it at all, had not an order which left them no choice forced them to the appointed place. A high hand was in all these movements. (See on Luk 2:1-6).

JFB: Mat 2:1 - in the days of Herod the king Styled the Great; son of Antipater, an Edomite, made king by the Romans. Thus was "the sceptre departing from Judah" (Gen 49:10), a sign that Messiah ...

Styled the Great; son of Antipater, an Edomite, made king by the Romans. Thus was "the sceptre departing from Judah" (Gen 49:10), a sign that Messiah was now at hand. As Herod is known to have died in the year of Rome 750, in the fourth year before the commencement of our Christian era, the birth of Christ must be dated four years before the date usually assigned to it, even if He was born within the year of Herod's death, as it is next to certain that He was.

JFB: Mat 2:1 - there came wise men Literally, "Magi" or "Magians," probably of the learned class who cultivated astrology and kindred sciences. Balaam's prophecy (Num 24:17), and perhap...

Literally, "Magi" or "Magians," probably of the learned class who cultivated astrology and kindred sciences. Balaam's prophecy (Num 24:17), and perhaps Daniel's (Dan 9:24, &c.), might have come down to them by tradition; but nothing definite is known of them.

JFB: Mat 2:1 - from the east But whether from Arabia, Persia, or Mesopotamia is uncertain.

But whether from Arabia, Persia, or Mesopotamia is uncertain.

JFB: Mat 2:1 - to Jerusalem As the Jewish metropolis.

As the Jewish metropolis.

JFB: Mat 2:2 - Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? From this it would seem they were not themselves Jews. (Compare the language of the Roman governor, Joh 18:33, and of the Roman soldiers, Mat 27:29, w...

From this it would seem they were not themselves Jews. (Compare the language of the Roman governor, Joh 18:33, and of the Roman soldiers, Mat 27:29, with the very different language of the Jews themselves, Mat 27:42, &c.). The Roman historians, SUETONIUS and TACITUS, bear witness to an expectation, prevalent in the East, that out of Judea should arise a sovereign of the world.

JFB: Mat 2:2 - for we have seen his star in the east Much has been written on the subject of this star; but from all that is here said it is perhaps safest to regard it as simply a luminous meteor, which...

Much has been written on the subject of this star; but from all that is here said it is perhaps safest to regard it as simply a luminous meteor, which appeared under special laws and for a special purpose.

JFB: Mat 2:2 - and are come to worship him To do Him homage, as the word signifies; the nature of that homage depending on the circumstances of the case. That not civil but religious homage is ...

To do Him homage, as the word signifies; the nature of that homage depending on the circumstances of the case. That not civil but religious homage is meant here is plain from the whole strain of the narrative, and particularly Mat 2:11. Doubtless these simple strangers expected all Jerusalem to be full of its new-born King, and the time, place, and circumstances of His birth to be familiar to every one. Little would they think that the first announcement of His birth would come from themselves, and still less could they anticipate the startling, instead of transporting, effect which it would produce--else they would probably have sought their information regarding His birthplace in some other quarter. But God overruled it to draw forth a noble testimony to the predicted birthplace of Messiah from the highest ecclesiastical authority in the nation.

JFB: Mat 2:3 - When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled Viewing this as a danger to his own throne: perhaps his guilty conscience also suggested other grounds of fear.

Viewing this as a danger to his own throne: perhaps his guilty conscience also suggested other grounds of fear.

JFB: Mat 2:3 - and all Jerusalem with him From a dread of revolutionary commotions, and perhaps also of Herod's rage.

From a dread of revolutionary commotions, and perhaps also of Herod's rage.

JFB: Mat 2:4 - And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together The class of the "chief priests" included the high priest for the time being, together with all who had previously filled this office; for though the ...

The class of the "chief priests" included the high priest for the time being, together with all who had previously filled this office; for though the then head of the Aaronic family was the only rightful high priest, the Romans removed them at pleasure, to make way for creatures of their own. In this class probably were included also the heads of the four and twenty courses of the priests. The "scribes" were at first merely transcribers of the law and synagogue readers; afterwards interpreters of the law, both civil and religious, and so both lawyers and divines. The first of these classes, a proportion of the second, and "the elders"--that is, as LIGHTFOOT thinks, "those elders of the laity that were not of the Levitical tribe"--constituted the supreme council of the nation, called the Sanhedrim, the members of which, at their full complement, numbered seventy-two. That this was the council which Herod now convened is most probable, from the solemnity of the occasion; for though the elders are not mentioned, we find a similar omission where all three were certainly meant (compare Mat 26:59; Mat 27:1). As MEYER says, it was all the theologians of the nation whom Herod convened, because it was a theological response that he wanted.

JFB: Mat 2:4 - he demanded of them As the authorized interpreters of Scripture.

As the authorized interpreters of Scripture.

JFB: Mat 2:4 - where Christ The Messiah.

The Messiah.

JFB: Mat 2:4 - should be born According to prophecy.

According to prophecy.

JFB: Mat 2:5 - And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea A prompt and involuntary testimony from the highest tribunal; which yet at length condemned Him to die.

A prompt and involuntary testimony from the highest tribunal; which yet at length condemned Him to die.

JFB: Mat 2:5 - for thus it is written by the prophet (Mic 5:2).

(Mic 5:2).

JFB: Mat 2:6 - And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda The "in" being familiarly left out, as we say, "London, Middlesex."

The "in" being familiarly left out, as we say, "London, Middlesex."

JFB: Mat 2:6 - art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, &c. This quotation, though differing verbally, agrees substantially with the Hebrew and the Septuagint. For says the prophet, "Though thou be little, yet ...

This quotation, though differing verbally, agrees substantially with the Hebrew and the Septuagint. For says the prophet, "Though thou be little, yet out of thee shall come the Ruler"--this honor more than compensating for its natural insignificance; while our Evangelist, by a lively turn, makes him say, "Thou art not the least: for out of thee shall come a Governor"--this distinction lifting it from the lowest to the highest rank. The "thousands of Juda," in the prophet, mean the subordinate divisions of the tribe: our Evangelist, instead of these, merely names the "princes" or heads of these families, including the districts which they occupied

JFB: Mat 2:6 - that shall rule Or "feed," as in the Margin.

Or "feed," as in the Margin.

JFB: Mat 2:6 - my people Israel In the Old Testament, kings are, by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds" (Eze 34:1-10, &c.). The classical writers use the same figure. The pastoral...

In the Old Testament, kings are, by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds" (Eze 34:1-10, &c.). The classical writers use the same figure. The pastoral rule of Jehovah and Messiah over His people is a representation pervading all Scripture, and rich in import. (See Psa 23:1-6; Isa 40:11; Eze 37:24; Joh 10:11; Rev 7:17). That this prophecy of Micah referred to the Messiah, was admitted by the ancient Rabbins.

The Wise Men Despatched to Bethlehem by Herod to See the Babe, and Bring Him Word, Make a Religious Offering to the Infant King, but Divinely Warned, Return Home by Another Way (Mat 2:7-12).

JFB: Mat 2:7 - Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men Herod has so far succeeded in his murderous design: he has tracked the spot where lies his victim, an unconscious babe. But he has another point to fi...

Herod has so far succeeded in his murderous design: he has tracked the spot where lies his victim, an unconscious babe. But he has another point to fix--the date of His birth--without which he might still miss his mark. The one he had got from the Sanhedrim; the other he will have from the sages; but secretly, lest his object should be suspected and defeated. So he

JFB: Mat 2:7 - inquired of them diligently Rather, "precisely."

Rather, "precisely."

JFB: Mat 2:7 - what time the star appeared Presuming that this would be the best clue to the age of the child. The unsuspecting strangers tell him all. And now he thinks he is succeeding to a w...

Presuming that this would be the best clue to the age of the child. The unsuspecting strangers tell him all. And now he thinks he is succeeding to a wish, and shall speedily clutch his victim; for at so early an age as they indicate, He would not likely have been removed from the place of His birth. Yet he is wary. He sends them as messengers from himself, and bids them come to him, that he may follow their pious example.

JFB: Mat 2:8 - And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently "Search out carefully."

"Search out carefully."

JFB: Mat 2:8 - for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also The cunning and bloody hypocrite! Yet this royal mandate would meantime serve as a safe conduct to the strangers.

The cunning and bloody hypocrite! Yet this royal mandate would meantime serve as a safe conduct to the strangers.

JFB: Mat 2:9 - When they had heard the king, they departed But where were ye, O Jewish ecclesiastics, ye chief priests and scribes of the people? Ye could tell Herod where Christ should be born, and could hear...

But where were ye, O Jewish ecclesiastics, ye chief priests and scribes of the people? Ye could tell Herod where Christ should be born, and could hear of these strangers from the far East that the Desire of all nations had actually come; but I do not see you trooping to Bethlehem--I find these devout strangers journeying thither all alone. Yet God ordered this too, lest the news should be blabbed, and reach the tyrant's ears, before the Babe could be placed beyond his reach. Thus are the very errors and crimes and cold indifferences of men all overruled.

JFB: Mat 2:9 - and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east Implying apparently that it had disappeared in the interval.

Implying apparently that it had disappeared in the interval.

JFB: Mat 2:9 - went before them, and stood over where the young child was Surely this could hardly be but by a luminous meteor, and not very high.

Surely this could hardly be but by a luminous meteor, and not very high.

JFB: Mat 2:10 - When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy The language is very strong, expressing exuberant transport.

The language is very strong, expressing exuberant transport.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - And when they were come into the house Not the stable; for as soon as Bethlehem was emptied of its strangers, they would have no difficulty in finding a dwelling-house.

Not the stable; for as soon as Bethlehem was emptied of its strangers, they would have no difficulty in finding a dwelling-house.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - they saw The received text has "found"; but here our translators rightly depart from it, for it has no authority.

The received text has "found"; but here our translators rightly depart from it, for it has no authority.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - the young child with Mary his mother The blessed Babe is naturally mentioned first, then the mother; but Joseph, though doubtless present, is not noticed, as being but the head of the hou...

The blessed Babe is naturally mentioned first, then the mother; but Joseph, though doubtless present, is not noticed, as being but the head of the house.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - and fell down and worshipped him Clearly this was no civil homage to a petty Jewish king, whom these star-guided strangers came so far, and inquired so eagerly, and rejoiced with such...

Clearly this was no civil homage to a petty Jewish king, whom these star-guided strangers came so far, and inquired so eagerly, and rejoiced with such exceeding joy, to pay, but a lofty spiritual homage. The next clause confirms this.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - and when they had opened their treasures they presented Rather, "offered."

Rather, "offered."

JFB: Mat 2:11 - unto him gifts This expression, used frequently in the Old Testament of the oblations presented to God, is in the New Testament employed seven times, and always in a...

This expression, used frequently in the Old Testament of the oblations presented to God, is in the New Testament employed seven times, and always in a religious sense of offerings to God. Beyond doubt, therefore, we are to understand the presentation of these gifts by the Magi as a religious offering.

JFB: Mat 2:11 - gold, frankincense, and myrrh Visits were seldom paid to sovereigns without a present (1Ki 10:2, &c.; compare Psa 72:10-11, Psa 72:15; Isa 60:3, Isa 60:6). "Frankincense" was an ar...

Visits were seldom paid to sovereigns without a present (1Ki 10:2, &c.; compare Psa 72:10-11, Psa 72:15; Isa 60:3, Isa 60:6). "Frankincense" was an aromatic used in sacrificial offerings: "myrrh" was used in perfuming ointments. These, with the "gold" which they presented, seem to show that the offerers were persons in affluent circumstances. That the gold was presented to the infant King in token of His royalty; the frankincense in token of His divinity, and the myrrh, of His sufferings; or that they were designed to express His divine and human natures; or that the prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices of Christ are to be seen in these gifts; or that they were the offerings of three individuals respectively, each of them kings, the very names of whom tradition has handed down--all these are, at the best, precarious suppositions. But that the feelings of these devout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, and that the gold, at least, would be highly serviceable to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unexpected journey to Egypt and stay there--that much at least admits of no dispute.

JFB: Mat 2:12 - And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed Or, "withdrew."

Or, "withdrew."

JFB: Mat 2:12 - to their own country another way What a surprise would this vision be to the sages, just as they were preparing to carry the glad news of what they had seen to the pious king! But the...

What a surprise would this vision be to the sages, just as they were preparing to carry the glad news of what they had seen to the pious king! But the Lord knew the bloody old tyrant better than to let him see their face again.

JFB: Mat 2:13 - And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother Observe this form of expression, repeated in Mat 2:14 --another indirect hint that Joseph was no more than the Child's guardian. Indeed, personally co...

Observe this form of expression, repeated in Mat 2:14 --another indirect hint that Joseph was no more than the Child's guardian. Indeed, personally considered, Joseph has no spiritual significance, and very little place at all, in the Gospel history.

JFB: Mat 2:13 - and flee into Egypt Which, being near, as ALFORD says, and a Roman province independent of Herod, and much inhabited by Jews, was an easy and convenient refuge. Ah! bless...

Which, being near, as ALFORD says, and a Roman province independent of Herod, and much inhabited by Jews, was an easy and convenient refuge. Ah! blessed Saviour, on what a checkered career hast Thou entered here below! At Thy birth there was no room for Thee in the inn; and now all Judea is too hot for Thee. How soon has the sword begun to pierce through the Virgin's soul (Luk 2:35)! How early does she taste the reception which this mysterious Child of hers is to meet with in the world! And whither is He sent? To "the house of bondage?" Well, it once was that. But Egypt was a house of refuge before it was a house of bondage, and now it has but returned to its first use.

JFB: Mat 2:13 - and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him Herod's murderous purpose was formed before the Magi had reached Bethlehem.

Herod's murderous purpose was formed before the Magi had reached Bethlehem.

JFB: Mat 2:14 - When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt Doubtless the same night.

Doubtless the same night.

JFB: Mat 2:15 - And was there until the death of Herod Which took place not very long after this of a horrible disease; the details of which will be found in JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 17.6.1,5,7,8].

Which took place not very long after this of a horrible disease; the details of which will be found in JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 17.6.1,5,7,8].

JFB: Mat 2:15 - that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying (Hos 11:1).

JFB: Mat 2:15 - Out of Egypt have I called my son Our Evangelist here quotes directly from the Hebrew, warily departing from the Septuagint, which renders the words, "From Egypt have I recalled his ch...

Our Evangelist here quotes directly from the Hebrew, warily departing from the Septuagint, which renders the words, "From Egypt have I recalled his children," meaning Israel's children. The prophet is reminding his people how dear Israel was to God in the days of his youth; how Moses was bidden to say to Pharaoh, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, My first-born; and I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born" (Exo 4:22-23); how, when Pharaoh refused, God having slain all his first-born, "called His own son out of Egypt," by a stroke of high-handed power and love. Viewing the words in this light, even if our Evangelist had not applied them to the recall from Egypt of God's own beloved, Only-begotten Son, the application would have been irresistibly made by all who have learnt to pierce beneath the surface to the deeper relations which Christ bears to His people, and both to God; and who are accustomed to trace the analogy of God's treatment of each respectively.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - Then Herod, &c. As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera: "She looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry t...

As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera: "She looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Have they not sped?" so Herod wonders that his messengers, with pious zeal, are not hastening with the news that all is ready to receive him as a worshipper. What can be keeping them? Have they missed their way? Has any disaster befallen them? At length his patience is exhausted. He makes his inquiries and finds they are already far beyond his reach on their way home.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - when he saw that he was mocked Was trifled with.

Was trifled with.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - of the wise men No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the wise men, but of a Higher than they. He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath thee in de...

No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the wise men, but of a Higher than they. He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath thee in derision. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong (Psa 2:4; Job 5:12-13). That blessed Babe shall die indeed, but not by thy hand. As He afterwards told that son of thine--as cunning and as unscrupulous as thyself--when the Pharisees warned Him to depart, for Herod would seek to kill Him--"Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Luk 13:32-33). Bitter satire!

JFB: Mat 2:16 - was exceeding wroth To be made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings cannot stand. Herod burns with rage and is like a wild bull in a net. So he

To be made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings cannot stand. Herod burns with rage and is like a wild bull in a net. So he

JFB: Mat 2:16 - sent forth A band of hired murderers.

A band of hired murderers.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - and slew all the children Male children.

Male children.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof Environs.

Environs.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently Carefully.

Carefully.

JFB: Mat 2:16 - inquired of the wise men In this ferocious step Herod was like himself--as crafty as cruel. He takes a large sweep, not to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace hi...

In this ferocious step Herod was like himself--as crafty as cruel. He takes a large sweep, not to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace his victim. And so it had, if He had been there. But He is gone. Heaven and earth shall sooner pass away than thou shalt have that Babe into thy hands. Therefore, Herod, thou must be content to want Him: to fill up the cup of thy bitter mortifications, already full enough--until thou die not less of a broken heart than of a loathsome and excruciating disease. Why, ask skeptics and skeptical critics, is not this massacre, if it really occurred, recorded by JOSEPHUS, who is minute enough in detailing the cruelties of Herod? To this the answer is not difficult. If we consider how small a town Bethlehem was, it is not likely there would be many male children in it from two years old and under; and when we think of the number of fouler atrocities which JOSEPHUS has recorded of him, it is unreasonable to make anything of his silence on this.

JFB: Mat 2:17 - Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying (Jer 31:15, from which the quotation differs but verbally).

(Jer 31:15, from which the quotation differs but verbally).

JFB: Mat 2:18 - In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not These words, as they stand in Jeremiah, undoubtedly relate to the Babylonish captivity. Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, was buried in the n...

These words, as they stand in Jeremiah, undoubtedly relate to the Babylonish captivity. Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, was buried in the neighborhood of Bethlehem (Gen 35:19), where her sepulchre is still shown. She is figuratively represented as rising from the tomb and uttering a double lament for the loss of her children--first, by a bitter captivity, and now by a bloody death. And a foul deed it was. O ye mothers of Bethlehem! methinks I hear you asking why your innocent babes should be the ram caught in the thicket, while Isaac escapes. I cannot tell you, but one thing I know, that ye shall, some of you, live to see a day when that Babe of Bethlehem shall be Himself the Ram, caught in another sort of thicket, in order that your babes may escape a worse doom than they now endure. And if these babes of yours be now in glory, through the dear might of that blessed Babe, will they not deem it their honor that the tyrant's rage was exhausted upon themselves instead of their infant Lord?

JFB: Mat 2:19 - But when Herod was dead Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe from a dreaded Rival; but it was He only that was safe from thee; and thou hast not long enjoyed even th...

Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe from a dreaded Rival; but it was He only that was safe from thee; and thou hast not long enjoyed even this fancied security. See on Mat 2:15.

JFB: Mat 2:19 - behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt Our translators, somewhat capriciously, render the same expression "the angel of the Lord," Mat 1:20; Mat 2:13; and "an angel of the Lord," as here. A...

Our translators, somewhat capriciously, render the same expression "the angel of the Lord," Mat 1:20; Mat 2:13; and "an angel of the Lord," as here. As the same angel appears to have been employed on all these high occasions--and most likely he to whom in Luke is given the name of "Gabriel," Luk 1:19, Luk 1:26 --perhaps it should in every instance except the first, be rendered "the angel."

JFB: Mat 2:20 - Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel Not to the land of Judea, for he was afterward expressly warned not to settle there, nor to Galilee, for he only went thither when he found it unsafe ...

Not to the land of Judea, for he was afterward expressly warned not to settle there, nor to Galilee, for he only went thither when he found it unsafe to settle in Judea but to "the land of Israel," in its most general sense; meaning the Holy Land at large--the particular province being not as yet indicated. So Joseph and the Virgin had, like Abraham, to "go out, not knowing whither they went," till they should receive further direction.

JFB: Mat 2:20 - for they are dead which sought the young child's life A common expression in most languages where only one is meant, who here is Herod. But the words are taken from the strikingly analogous case in Exo 4:...

A common expression in most languages where only one is meant, who here is Herod. But the words are taken from the strikingly analogous case in Exo 4:19, which probably suggested the plural here; and where the command is given to Moses to return to Egypt for the same reason that the greater than Moses was now ordered to be brought back from it--the death of him who sought his life. Herod died in the seventieth year of his age, and thirty-seventh of his reign.

JFB: Mat 2:21 - And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel Intending, as is plain from what follows, to return to Bethlehem of Judea, there, no doubt, to rear the Infant King, as at His own royal city, until t...

Intending, as is plain from what follows, to return to Bethlehem of Judea, there, no doubt, to rear the Infant King, as at His own royal city, until the time should come when they would expect Him to occupy Jerusalem, "the city of the Great King."

JFB: Mat 2:22 - But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod Archelaus succeeded to Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; but Augustus refused him the title of king till it should be seen how he conducted himself; giving ...

Archelaus succeeded to Judea, Samaria, and Idumea; but Augustus refused him the title of king till it should be seen how he conducted himself; giving him only the title of ethnarch [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 17.11,4]. Above this, however, he never rose. The people, indeed, recognized him as his father's successor; and so it is here said that he "reigned in the room of his father Herod." But, after ten years' defiance of the Jewish law and cruel tyranny, the people lodged heavy complaints against him, and the emperor banished him to Vienne in Gaul, reducing Judea again to a Roman province. Then the "scepter" clean "departed from Judah."

JFB: Mat 2:22 - he was afraid to go thither And no wonder, for the reason just mentioned.

And no wonder, for the reason just mentioned.

JFB: Mat 2:22 - notwithstanding Or more simply, "but."

Or more simply, "but."

JFB: Mat 2:22 - being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside Withdrew.

Withdrew.

JFB: Mat 2:22 - into the parts of Galilee Or the Galilean parts. The whole country west of the Jordan was at this time, as is well known, divided into three provinces--GALILEE being the northe...

Or the Galilean parts. The whole country west of the Jordan was at this time, as is well known, divided into three provinces--GALILEE being the northern, JUDEA the southern, and SAMARIA the central province. The province of Galilee was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, the brother of Archelaus, his father having left him that and Perea, on the east side of the Jordan, as his share of the kingdom, with the title of tetrarch, which Augustus confirmed. Though crafty and licentious, according to JOSEPHUS--precisely what the Gospel history shows him to be (see on Mark 6:14-30; Luk 13:31-35) --he was of a less cruel disposition than Archelaus; and Nazareth being a good way off from the seat of government, and considerably secluded, it was safer to settle there.

JFB: Mat 2:23 - And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth A small town in Lower Galilee, lying in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun, and about equally distant from the Mediterranean Sea on the west and th...

A small town in Lower Galilee, lying in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun, and about equally distant from the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Sea of Galilee on the east. Note--If, from Luk 2:39, one would conclude that the parents of Jesus brought Him straight back to Nazareth after His presentation in the temple--as if there had been no visit of the Magi, no flight to Egypt, no stay there, and no purpose on returning to settle again at Bethlehem--one might, from our Evangelist's way of speaking here, equally conclude that the parents of our Lord had never been at Nazareth until now. Did we know exactly the sources from which the matter of each of the Gospels was drawn up, or the mode in which these were used, this apparent discrepancy would probably disappear at once. In neither case is there any inaccuracy. At the same time it is difficult, with these facts before us, to conceive that either of these two Evangelists wrote his Gospel with that of the other before him--though many think this a precarious inference.

JFB: Mat 2:23 - that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene Better, perhaps, "Nazarene." The best explanation of the origin of this name appears to be that which traces it to the word netzer in Isa 11:1 --the s...

Better, perhaps, "Nazarene." The best explanation of the origin of this name appears to be that which traces it to the word netzer in Isa 11:1 --the small twig, sprout, or sucker, which the prophet there says, "shall come forth from the stem (or rather, 'stump') of Jesse, the branch which should fructify from his roots." The little town of Nazareth, mentioned neither in the Old Testament nor in JOSEPHUS, was probably so called from its insignificance: a weak twig in contrast to a stately tree; and a special contempt seemed to rest upon it--"Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (Joh 1:46) --over and above the general contempt in which all Galilee was held, from the number of Gentiles that settled in the upper territories of it, and, in the estimation of the Jews, debased it. Thus, in the providential arrangement by which our Lord was brought up at the insignificant and opprobrious town called Nazareth, there was involved, first, a local humiliation; next, an allusion to Isaiah's prediction of His lowly, twig-like upspringing from the branchless, dried-up stump of Jesse; and yet further, a standing memorial of that humiliation which "the prophets," in a number of the most striking predictions, had attached to the Messiah.

Clarke: Mat 2:1 - Bethlehem of Judea Bethlehem of Judea - This city is mentioned in Jdg 17:7, and must be distinguished from another of the same name in the tribe of Zebulon, Jos 19:15....

Bethlehem of Judea - This city is mentioned in Jdg 17:7, and must be distinguished from another of the same name in the tribe of Zebulon, Jos 19:15. It is likewise called Ephrath, Gen 48:7, or Ephratah, Mic 5:2, and its inhabitants Ephrathites, Rth 1:2; 1Sa 17:12. It is situated on the declivity of a hill, about six miles from Jerusalem. בית לחם Beth -lechem , in Hebrew, signifies the house of bread. And the name may be considered as very properly applied to that place where Jesus, the Messiah, the true bread that came down from heaven, was manifested, to give life to the world. But לחם lehem also signifies flesh, and is applied to that part of the sacrifice which was burnt upon the altar. See Lev 3:11-16; Lev 21:6. The word is also used to signify a carcass, Zep 1:17. The Arabic version has Beet lehem , and the Persic Beet allehem : but lehem , in Arabic, never signifies bread, but always means flesh. Hence it is more proper to consider the name as signifying the house of flesh, or, as some might suppose, the house of the incarnation, i.e. the place where God was manifested in the flesh for the salvation of a lost world

Clarke: Mat 2:1 - In the days of Herod the king In the days of Herod the king - This was Herod, improperly denominated the Great, the son of Antipater, an Idumean: he reigned 37 years in Judea, re...

In the days of Herod the king - This was Herod, improperly denominated the Great, the son of Antipater, an Idumean: he reigned 37 years in Judea, reckoning from the - time he was created - king of that country by the Romans. Our blessed Lord was born in the last year of his reign; and, at this time, the scepter had literally departed from Judah, a foreigner being now upon the throne

As there are several princes of this name mentioned in the New Testament, it may be well to give a list of them here, together with their genealogy

Herod, the Great, married ten wives, by whom he had several children, Euseb. l. i. c. 9. p. 27. The first was Doris, thought to be an Idumean, whom he married when but a private individual; by her he had Antipater, the eldest of all his sons, whom he caused to be executed five days before his own death

His second wife was Mariamne, daughter to Hircanus, the sole surviving person of the Asmonean, or Maccabean, race. Herod put her to death. She was the mother of Alexander and Aristobulus, whom Herod had executed at Sebastia, (Joseph. Antiq. l. xvi. c. 13. - De Bello, l. i. c. 17), on an accusation of having entered into a conspiracy against him. Aristobulus left three children, whom I shall notice hereafter

His third wife was Mariamne, the daughter of Simon, a person of some note in Jerusalem, whom Herod made high priest, in order to obtain his daughter. She was the mother of Herod Philippus, or Herod Philip, and Salome. Herod or Philip married Herodias, mother to Salome, the famous dancer, who demanded the head of John the Baptist, Mar 6:22. Salome had been placed, in the will of Herod the Great, as second heir after Antipater; but her name was erased, when it was discovered that Mariamne, her mother, was an accomplice in the crimes of Antipater, son of Herod the Great. Joseph de Bello, lib. i. c. 18,19,20

His fourth wife was Malthake, a Samaritan, whose sons were Archelaus and Philip. The first enjoyed half his father’ s kingdom under the name of tetrarch, viz. Idumea, Judea, and Samaria: Joseph. Antiq. l. xvii. c. 11. He reigned nine years; but, being accused and arraigned before the Emperor Augustus, he was banished to Vienna, where he died: Joseph. Antiq. l. xvii. c. 15. This is the Archelaus mentioned in Mat 2:22

His brother Philip married Salome, the famous dancer, the daughter of Herodias; he died without children, and she was afterwards married to Aristobulus

The fifth wife of Herod the Great was Cleopatra of Jerusalem. She was the mother of Herod surnamed Antipas, who married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, while he was still living. Being reproved for this act by John the Baptist, Mat 14:3; Mar 6:17; Luk 3:19, and having imprisoned this holy man, he caused him to be beheaded, agreeable to the promise he had rashly made to the daughter of his wife Herodias, who had pleased him with her dancing. He attempted to seize the person of Jesus Christ, and to put him to death. It was to this prince that Pilate sent our Lord, Luk 13:31, Luk 13:32. He was banished to Lyons, and then to Spain, where both he and his wife Herodias died. Joseph. Antiq. l. xv. c. 14. - De Bello, l. ii. c. 8

The sixth wife of Herod the Great was Pallas, by whom he had Phasaelus: his history is no ways connected with the New Testament

The seventh was named Phoedra, the mother of Roxana, who married the son of Pheroras

The eighth was Elpida, mother of Salome, who married another son of Pheroras

With the names of two other wives of Herod we are not acquainted; but they are not connected with our history, any more than are Pallas, Phoedra, and Elpida, whose names I merely notice to avoid the accusation of inaccuracy

Aristobulus, the son of Herod the Great by Mariamne, a descendant of the Asmoneans, left two sons and a daughter, viz. Agrippa, Herod, and Herodias, so famous for her incestuous marriage with Antipas, in the life-time of his brother Philip

Agrippa, otherwise named Herod, who was imprisoned by Tiberius for something he had inconsiderately said against him, was released from prison by Caligula, who made him king of Judea: Joseph. Antiq. l. xviii. c. 8. It was this prince who put St. James to death, and imprisoned Peter, as mentioned in 12. of Acts. He died at Caesarea, in the way mentioned in the Acts, as well as by Josephus, Antiq. l. xix. c. 7. He left a son named Agrippa, who is mentioned below

Herod, the second son of Aristobulus, was king of Chalcis, and, after the death of his brother, obtained permission of the emperor to keep the ornaments belonging to the high priest, and to nominate whom he pleased to that office: Joseph. Antiq. l. xx. c. 1. He had a son named Aristobulus, to whom Nero gave Armenia the lesser, and who married Salome, the famous dancer, daughter to Herodias

Agrippa, son of Herod Agrippa, king of Judea, and grandson to Aristobulus and Mariamne; he was at first king of Chalcis, and afterwards tetrarch of Galilee, in the room of his uncle Philip: Joseph. Antiq. l. xx. c. 5. It was before him, his sister Berenice, and Felix, who had married Drusilla, Agrippa’ s second daughter, that St. Paul pleaded his cause, as mentioned Acts 26

Herodias, the daughter of Mariamne and Aristobulus, is the person of whom we have already spoken, who married successively the two brothers Philip and Antipas, her uncles, and who occasioned the death of John the Baptist. By her first husband she had Salome, the dancer, who was married to Philip, tetrarch of the Trachonitis, the son of Herod the Great. Salome having had no children by him, she was married to Aristobulus, her cousin-german, son of Herod, king of Chalcis, and brother to Agrippa and Herodias: she had by this husband several children

This is nearly all that is necessary to be known relative to the race of the Herods, in order to distinguish the particular persons of this family mentioned in the New Testament. See Basnage, Calmet, and Josephus

Clarke: Mat 2:1 - There came wise men from the east There came wise men from the east - Or, Magi came from the eastern countries. "The Jews believed that there were prophets in the kingdom of Saba and...

There came wise men from the east - Or, Magi came from the eastern countries. "The Jews believed that there were prophets in the kingdom of Saba and Arabia, who were of the posterity of Abraham by Keturah; and that they taught in the name of God, what they had received in tradition from the mouth of Abraham."- Whitby. That many Jews were mixed with this people there is little doubt; and that these eastern magi, or philosophers, astrologers, or whatever else they were, might have been originally of that class, there is room to believe. These, knowing the promise of the Messiah, were now, probably, like other believing Jews, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Persic translator renders the Greek Μαγοι by mejooseean , which properly signifies a worshipper of fire; and from which we have our word magician. It is very probable that the ancient Persians, who were considered as worshippers of fire, only honored it as the symbolical representation of the Deity; and, seeing this unusual appearance, might consider it as a sign that the God they worshipped was about to manifest himself among men. Therefore they say, We have seen his star - and are come to worship him; but it is most likely that the Greeks made their Μαγοι magi , which we translate wise men, from the Persian mogh , and moghan , which the Kushuf ul Loghat, a very eminent Persian lexicon, explains by atush perest , a worshipper of fire; which the Persians suppose all the inhabitants of Ur in Chaldea were, among whom the Prophet Abraham was brought up. The Mohammedans apply this title by way of derision to Christian monks in their associate capacity; and by a yet stronger catachresis, they apply it to a tavern, and the people that frequent it. Also, to ridicule in the most forcible manner the Christian priesthood, they call the tavern-keeper, peeri Mughan , the priest, or chief of the idolaters. It is very probable that the persons mentioned by the evangelist were a sort of astrologers, probably of Jewish extraction, that they lived in Arabia-Felix, and, for the reasons above given, came to worship their new-born sovereign. It is worthy of remark, that the Anglo-saxon translates the word Μαγοι by astrologers, from a star or planet, and to know or understand .

Clarke: Mat 2:2 - We have seen his star We have seen his star - Having discovered an unusual luminous appearance or meteor in the heavens, supposing these persons to have been Jews, and kn...

We have seen his star - Having discovered an unusual luminous appearance or meteor in the heavens, supposing these persons to have been Jews, and knowing the prophecies relative to the redemption of Israel, they probably considered this to be the star mentioned by Balaam, Num 24:17. See the note there

Clarke: Mat 2:2 - In the east In the east - Εν τη ανατολη, At its rise. Ανατολη and δυσμη are used in the New Testament for east and west

In the east - Εν τη ανατολη, At its rise. Ανατολη and δυσμη are used in the New Testament for east and west

Clarke: Mat 2:2 - To worship him To worship him - Or, To do him homage; προσκυνησαι αυτω . The word προσκυνεω, which is compounded of προς, to, and ...

To worship him - Or, To do him homage; προσκυνησαι αυτω . The word προσκυνεω, which is compounded of προς, to, and κυων, a dog, signifies to crouch and fawn like a dog at his master’ s feet. It means, to prostrate oneself to another, according to the eastern custom, which is still in use. In this act, the person kneels, and puts his head between his knees, his forehead at the same time touching the ground. It was used to express both civil and religious reverence. In Hindostan, religious homage is paid by prostrating the body at full length, so that the two knees, the two hands, forehead, nose, and cheeks all touch the earth at the same time. This kind of homage is paid also to great men. Ayeen Akbery, vol. iii. p. 227

As to what is here called a star, some make it a meteor, others a luminous appearance like an Aurora Borealis; others a comet! There is no doubt, the appearance was very striking: but it seems to have been a simple meteor provided for the occasion. See on Mat 2:9 (note).

Clarke: Mat 2:3 - When Herod - heard these things, he was troubled When Herod - heard these things, he was troubled - Herod’ s consternation was probably occasioned by the agreement of the account of the magi, ...

When Herod - heard these things, he was troubled - Herod’ s consternation was probably occasioned by the agreement of the account of the magi, with an opinion predominant throughout the east, and particularly in Judea, that some great personage would soon make his appearance, for the deliverance of Israel from their enemies; and would take upon himself universal empire

Suetonius and Tacitus, two Roman historians, mention this. Their words are very remarkable: -

Percrebuerat Oriente toto, vetus et constans opinio, esse in fatis, ut eo tempore Judaea profecti rerum potirentur. Id de imperatare Romano, quantum eventu postea predictum patuit, Judaei ad se trahentes, rebellarunt

Sueton. Vesp

"An ancient and settled persuasion prevailed throughout the east, that the fates had decreed some to proceed from Judea, who should attain universal empire. This persuasion, which the event proved to respect the Roman emperor, the Jews applied to themselves, and therefore rebelled.

The words of Tacitus are nearly similar: -

Pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis sacerdotum literis contineri, eo ipso tempore fore, ut valesceret Oriens, profectique Judaea rerum potirentur. Quae ambages Vespasianum ac Titum praedixerant

"Many were persuaded, that it was contained in the ancient books of their priests, that at that very time the east should prevail: and that some should proceed from Judea and possess the dominion. It was Vespasian and Titus that these ambiguous prophecies predicted.

Histor. v.

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Clarke: Mat 2:4 - The chief priests The chief priests - Not only the high priest for the time being, called כהן הראש cohen ha -rosh , 2Ki 25:18, and his deputy, called כהן...

The chief priests - Not only the high priest for the time being, called כהן הראש cohen ha -rosh , 2Ki 25:18, and his deputy, called כהן משנה cohen mishneh , with those who had formerly borne the high priest’ s office; but also, the chiefs or heads of the twenty four sacerdotal families, which David distributed into so many courses, 1 Chronicles 24. These latter are styled סרי הכהנים sarey ha -cohanim , chief of the priests, 2Ch 36:14; Ezr 8:24; and ראשי הכהנים roshey ha -cohanim , heads of the priests, Neh 12:7. Josephus calls them by the same name as the writers of the New Testament. In his Life, sect. 8, he mentions πολλους - των Αρχιερεων, Many of the chief priests. The word is used in the singular in this last sense, for a chief of the priests, Act 19:14

Clarke: Mat 2:4 - Scribes Scribes - The word Γραμματευς, in the Septuagint, is used for a political officer, whose business it was to assist kings and civil magist...

Scribes - The word Γραμματευς, in the Septuagint, is used for a political officer, whose business it was to assist kings and civil magistrates, and to keep an account in writing of public acts and occurrences. Such an officer is called in Hebrew ספר המלך seper hamelech , ὁ γραμματευς του βασιλεως, the king’ s scribe, or secretary. See Lxx. 2Ki 12:10

The word is often used by the Lxx. for a man of learning, especially for one skilled in the Mosaic law: and, in the same sense, it is used by the New Testament writers. Γραμματευς is therefore to be understood as always implying a man of letters, or learning, capable of instructing the people. The derivation of the names proves this to be the genuine meaning of the word γραμμα : a letter, or character, in writing: or γραμματα, letters, learning, erudition, and especially that gained from books. The Hebrew ספר or סופר sopher , from saphar , to tell, count, cypher, signifies both a book, volume, roll, etc., and a notary, recorder, or historian; and always signifies a man of learning. We often term such a person a man of letters

The word is used Act 19:35, for a civil magistrate at Ephesus, probably such a one as we would term recorder. It appears that Herod at this time gathered the whole Sanhedrin, in order to get the fullest information on a subject by which all his jealous fears had been alarmed.

Clarke: Mat 2:5 - In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet - As there have been several confused notions among the Jews, relative not only to the ...

In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet - As there have been several confused notions among the Jews, relative not only to the Messiah, and his character, but also to the time of his birth, it may be necessary to add, to what has already been said on this subject, the following extracts from the Talmudists and Gemarists, quoted by Lightfoot. At the close of a long dissertation on the year of our Lord’ s birth, (which he places in the 35th of the reign of Herod, not the last or 37th as above), he says: "It will not be improper here to produce the Gemarists themselves openly confessing that the Messias had been born, a good while ago before their times. For so they write: After this the children of Israel shall be converted, and shall inquire after the Lord their God, and David their king: Hos 3:5. Our rabbins say, That is King Messias, If he be among the living, his name is David, or if dead, David is his name. R. Tanchum said, Thus I prove it: He showeth mercy to David his Messiah. (Psa 18:50). R. Joshua ben Levi saith, His name is צמח tsemach , a Branch. (Zec 3:8). R. Juban bar Arbu saith, His name is Menahem. (That is, παρακλητος, the Comforter). ‘ And that which happened to a certain Jew, as he was ploughing, agreeth with this business. A certain Arabian travelling, and hearing the ox bellow, said to the Jew at plough, O Jew, loose thy oxen, and loose thy ploughs, for behold! The temple is laid waste. The ox belloweth the second time; the Arabian saith to him, O Jew, Jew, yoke thy oxen, and fit thy ploughs: והא יליר מלכא משיחא For behold! King Messiah is born. But, saith the Jew, What is his name? Menahem, saith he (i.e. the Comforter). And what is the name of his Father? Hezekiah, saith the Arabian. To whom the Jew, But whence is He? The other answered, From the palace of the king of Bethlehem Judah. Away he went, and sold his oxen and his ploughs, and became a seller of infants’ swaddling clothes, going about from town to town. When he came to that city, (Bethlehem), all the women bought of him, but the mother of Menahem bought nothing. He heard the voice of the women saying, O thou mother of Menahem, thou mother of Menahem, carry thy son the things that are here sold. But she replied, May the enemies of Israel be strangled, because on the day that he was born, the temple was laid waste. To whom he said, But we hoped, that as it was laid waste at his feet, so at his feet it would be built again. She saith, I have no money. To whom he replied, But why should this be prejudicial to him? Carry him what you buy here, and if you have no money today, after some days I will come back and receive it. After some days, he returned to that city, and saith to her, How does the little infant? And she said, From the time you saw me last, spirits and tempests came, and snatched him away out of my hands. R. Bon saith, What need have we to learn from an Arabian? Is it not plainly written, And Lebanon shall fall before the powerful one? (Isa 10:34). And what follows after? A branch shall come out of the root of Jesse. (Isa 11:1)

"The Babylonian doctors yield us a confession not very unlike the former. R. Charinah saith: After four hundred years are passed from the destruction of the temple, if any one shall say to you, Take to thyself for one penny a field worth a thousand pence, do not take it. And again, After four thousand two hundred thirty and one years from the creation of the world, if any shall say to you, Take for a penny a field worth a thousand pence, take it not. The gloss is, For that is the time of redemption, and you shall be brought back to the holy mountain, to the inheritance of your fathers; why, therefore, should you misspend your penny

"You may fetch the reason of this calculation, if you have leisure, out of the tract Sanhedrin. The tradition of the school of Elias, the world is to last six thousand years, etc. And a little after, Elias said to Rabh Judah, The world shall last not less than eighty-five jubilees: and in the last jubilee shall the Son of David come. He saith to him, Whether in the beginning of it, or in the end? He answered him, I know not. Whether is this whole time to be finished first, or not? He answered him, I know not. But Rabh Asher asserted, that he answered thus, Until then, expect him not, but from thence expect him. Hear your own countrymen, O Jew! How many centuries of years are passed by and gone from the eighty-fifth jubilee of the world, that is, the year MMMMCCL, and yet the Messias of your expectation is not yet come

"Daniel’ s weeks had so clearly defined the time of the true Messias, his coming, that the minds of the whole nation were raised into the expectation of him. Hence, it was doubted of the Baptist, whether he were not the Messias, Luk 3:15. Hence it was, that the Jews are gathered together from all countries unto Jerusalem, Acts 2:, expecting and coming to see, because at that time the term of revealing the Messias, that had been prefixed by Daniel, was come. Hence it was that there was so great a number of false Christs, Mat 24:5, etc., taking the occasion of their impostures hence, that now the time of that great expectation was at hand, and fulfilled: and in one word, They thought the kingdom of God should presently appear, Luk 19:11

"But when those times of expectation were past, nor did such a Messias appear as they expected, (for when they saw the true Messias, they would not see him), they first broke out into various, and those wild, conjectures of the time; and at length, all those conjectures coming to nothing, all ended in this curse (the just cause of their eternal blindness) של מתשכי קצי הפת רות, May their soul be confounded who compute the times!"They were fully aware that the time foretold by the prophets must be long since fulfilled; and that their obstinacy must be confounded by their own history, and the chronology of their own Scriptures; and therefore they have pronounced an anathema on those who shall attempt to examine, by chronological computations, the prophecies that predict his coming. Who can conceive a state of willful blindness or determined obstinacy superior to this!

Clarke: Mat 2:6 - And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda - To distinguish it from Bethlehem, in the tribe of Zebulon. Jos 19:15. See on Mat 2:1 (note)

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda - To distinguish it from Bethlehem, in the tribe of Zebulon. Jos 19:15. See on Mat 2:1 (note)

Clarke: Mat 2:6 - Art not the least Art not the least - In Mic 5:2, it is read, Though thou be little - צעיר להיות tsdir lehayoth , little to be. Houbigant, struck with the o...

Art not the least - In Mic 5:2, it is read, Though thou be little - צעיר להיות tsdir lehayoth , little to be. Houbigant, struck with the oddness of the construction of the Hebrew, by dividing the last word, and making a small change in two of the letters, makes the prophet agree with the evangelist, צעיר לא היית ,tsilegna tsdir lo hayita , thou art not the least. Several learned men are of opinion, that the copy from which St. Matthew quoted, had the text in this way. However, some MSS. of very good note, among which is the Codex Bezae, have μη ελαχιστη ει, for ουδαμως ελαχιστη ει, Art thou not the least? This reconciles the prophet and evangelist without farther trouble. See the authorities for this reading in Griesbach and Wetstein

Clarke: Mat 2:6 - Among the princes of Juda Among the princes of Juda - In Mic 5:2, it is, the thousands of Judah. There is much reason to believe that each tribe was divided into small portio...

Among the princes of Juda - In Mic 5:2, it is, the thousands of Judah. There is much reason to believe that each tribe was divided into small portions called thousands, as in England certain small divisions of counties are called hundreds. For the proof of the first, the reader is referred to Jdg 6:15, where, instead of my Family is poor in Manasseh, the Hebrew is, my Thousand ( אלפי ) is the meanest in Manasseh: and to 1Sa 10:19, Present yourselves before the Lord by your Tribes and by your Thousands: and to 1Ch 12:20, Captains of the Thousands of Manasseh. Now these Thousands being petty governments, Matthew renders them by the word ηγεμοσιν, because the word princes or governors was more intelligible in the Greek tongue than thousands, though, in this case, they both signify the same. See Wakefield

Clarke: Mat 2:6 - That shall rule my people Israel That shall rule my people Israel - Οστις ποιμανει, Who shall Feed my people. That is as a shepherd feeds his flock. Among the Greeks, ...

That shall rule my people Israel - Οστις ποιμανει, Who shall Feed my people. That is as a shepherd feeds his flock. Among the Greeks, kings are called, by Homer, λαων ποιμενες, shepherds of the people. This appellation probably originated from the pastoral employment, which kings and patriarchs did not blush to exercise in the times of primitive simplicity; and it might particularly refer to the case of David, the great type of Christ, who was a keeper of his father’ s sheep, before he was raised to the throne of Israel. As the government of a good king was similar to the care a good shepherd has of his flock, hence ποιμην signified both shepherd and king; and ποιμαινω, to feed and to rule among the ancient Greeks.

Clarke: Mat 2:8 - That I may come and worship him also That I may come and worship him also - See Mat 2:2, and on Gen 17:3 (note), and Exo 4:31 (note). What exquisite hypocrisy was here! he only wished t...

That I may come and worship him also - See Mat 2:2, and on Gen 17:3 (note), and Exo 4:31 (note). What exquisite hypocrisy was here! he only wished to find out the child that he might murder him; but see how that God who searches the heart prevents the designs of wicked men from being accomplished!

Clarke: Mat 2:9 - In the east In the east - Or, at its rise. See Mat 2:2

In the east - Or, at its rise. See Mat 2:2

Clarke: Mat 2:9 - Stood over where the young child was Stood over where the young child was - Super caput pueri , Over the head of the child, as the Opus Imperfectum, on this place, has it. See Griesbach...

Stood over where the young child was - Super caput pueri , Over the head of the child, as the Opus Imperfectum, on this place, has it. See Griesbach’ s Var. Lect. So it appears to have been a simple luminous meteor in a star-like form, and at a very short distance from the ground, otherwise it could not have ascertained the place where the child lay. But the last quoted reading, from the Opus Imperfectum, justifies the opinion that the luminous appearance which had hitherto directed them now encompassed the head of the child; and probably this gave the first idea to the ancient painters, of representing Christ in the manger, with a glory surrounding his head. This glory, or nimbus, is usually given also to saints and eminent persons, especially in the Roman Church, by all Roman Catholic painters.

Clarke: Mat 2:11 - They presented unto him gifts They presented unto him gifts - The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. ...

They presented unto him gifts - The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. This custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Sea Islands

Clarke: Mat 2:11 - Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh - Some will have these gifts to be emblematic of the Divinity, regal office, and manhood of Christ. "They offered ...

Gold, and frankincense, and myrrh - Some will have these gifts to be emblematic of the Divinity, regal office, and manhood of Christ. "They offered him incense as their God; gold as their king; and myrrh, as united to a human body, subject to suffering and death." Aurum, thus, myrrham, regique, Deo, Hominique, dona ferunt . Juvencus. Rather, they offered him the things which were in most esteem among themselves; and which were productions of their own country. The gold was probably a very providential supply, as on it, it is likely, they subsisted while in Egypt.

Clarke: Mat 2:13 - Flee into Egypt Flee into Egypt - Many Jews had settled in Egypt; not only those who had fled thither in the time of Jeremiah, see Jeremiah 48; but many others who ...

Flee into Egypt - Many Jews had settled in Egypt; not only those who had fled thither in the time of Jeremiah, see Jeremiah 48; but many others who had settled there also, on account of the temple which Onias IV. had built at Heliopolis. Those who could speak the Greek tongue enjoyed many advantages in that country: besides, they had the Greek version of the Septuagint, which had been translated nearly 300 years before this time. Egypt was now a Roman province, and the rage of Herod could not pursue the holy family to this place. There is an apocryphal work in Arabic, called the Gospel of the infancy, which pretends to relate all the acts of Jesus and Mary while in Egypt. I have taken the pains to read this through, and have found it to be a piece of gross superstition, having nothing to entitle it to a shadow of credibility.

Clarke: Mat 2:15 - Out of Egypt have I called my son Out of Egypt have I called my son - This is quoted from Hos 11:1, where the deliverance of Israel, and that only, is referred to. But as that delive...

Out of Egypt have I called my son - This is quoted from Hos 11:1, where the deliverance of Israel, and that only, is referred to. But as that deliverance was extraordinary, it is very likely that it had passed into a proverb, so that "Out of Egypt have I called my son,"might have been used to express any signal deliverance. I confess, I can see no other reference it can have to the case in hand, unless we suppose, which is possible, that God might have referred to this future bringing up of his son Jesus from Egypt, under the type of the past deliverance of Israel from the same land. Midrash Tehillin, on Psa 2:7, has these remarkable words: I will publish a decree: this decree has been published in the Law, in the Prophets, and in the Hagiographia. In the Law, Israel is my first-born son: Exo 4:22. In the Prophets, Behold, my servant shall deal prudently: Isa 52:13. In the Hagiographia, The Lord said unto my lord: Psa 110:1. All these passages the Jews refer to the Messiah. See Schoetgen.

Clarke: Mat 2:16 - Slew all the children Slew all the children - This cruelty of Herod seems alluded to in very decisive terms by Macrobius, who flourished toward the conclusion of the four...

Slew all the children - This cruelty of Herod seems alluded to in very decisive terms by Macrobius, who flourished toward the conclusion of the fourth Century. In his chapter De jocis Augusti in alios, et aliorum rursus in ipsum , he says, Cum audisset inter pueros, quos in Syria Herodes, rex Judeorum, intra bimatum jussit interfici, filium quoque ejus occisum, ait, Melius est Herodis Porcum esse, quam Filium . "When he heard that among those male infants about two years old, which Herod, the king of the Jews, ordered to be slain in Syria, one of his sons was also murdered, he said: ‘ It is better to be Herod’ s Hog than his Son.’ "Saturn. lib. ii. c. 4. The point of this saying consists in this, that Herod, professing Judaism, his religion forbade his killing swine, or having any thing to do with their flesh; therefore his hog would have been safe, where his son lost his life.

Clarke: Mat 2:18 - In Rama was there a voice heard In Rama was there a voice heard - These words, quoted from Jer 31:15, were originally spoken concerning the captivity of the ten tribes; but are her...

In Rama was there a voice heard - These words, quoted from Jer 31:15, were originally spoken concerning the captivity of the ten tribes; but are here elegantly applied to the murder of the innocents at Bethlehem. As if he had said, Bethlehem at this time resembled Rama; for as Rachel might be said to weep over her children, which were slaughtered or gone into captivity; so in Bethlehem, the mothers lamented bitterly their children, because they were slain. The word θρηνος, lamentation is omitted by the Codd. Vatic. Cypr. one of Selden’ s MSS. the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, Ethiopic, all the Itala, (except that in the Cod. Bezae), Vulgate, and Saxon, several of the fathers, and above all Jeremiah, Jer 31:15, from which it is quoted. Griesbach leaves it in the text with a note of doubtfulness. This mourning may refer to cases far from uncommon in the east, where all the children have been massacred. The lamentations of a Hindoo mother for her child are loud and piercing; and it is almost impossible to conceive of a scene more truly heart-rending than that of a whole town of such mothers wailing over their massacred children. See Ward.

Clarke: Mat 2:20 - They are dead They are dead - Both Herod and Antipater his son; though some think the plural is here used for the singular, and that the death of Herod alone is h...

They are dead - Both Herod and Antipater his son; though some think the plural is here used for the singular, and that the death of Herod alone is here intended. But as Herod’ s son Antipater was at this time heir apparent to the throne, and he had cleared his way to it by procuring the death of both his elder brothers, he is probably alluded to here, as doubtless he entered into his father’ s designs. They are dead - Antipater was put to death by his father’ s command, five days before this execrable tyrant went to his own place. See Josephus, Antiq. xvi. 11; xvii. 9.

Clarke: Mat 2:22 - When he heard that Archelaus did reign When he heard that Archelaus did reign - Herod, having put Antipater his eldest son to death, altered his will, and thus disposed of his dominions: ...

When he heard that Archelaus did reign - Herod, having put Antipater his eldest son to death, altered his will, and thus disposed of his dominions: he gave the tetrarchy of Galilee and Petrea to his son Antipas; the tetrarchy of Gaulonitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Paneadis, to his son Philip; and left the kingdom of Judea to his eldest remaining son, Archelaus. This son partook of the cruel and blood-thirsty disposition of his father: at one of the passovers, he caused three thousand of the people to be put to death in the temple and city. For his tyranny and cruelty, Augustus deprived him of the government, and banished him. His character considered, Joseph, with great propriety, forbore to settle under his jurisdiction

Clarke: Mat 2:22 - He turned aside into the parts of Galilee He turned aside into the parts of Galilee - Here Antipas governed, who is allowed to have been of a comparatively mild disposition: and, being inten...

He turned aside into the parts of Galilee - Here Antipas governed, who is allowed to have been of a comparatively mild disposition: and, being intent on building two cities, Julias and Tiberias, he endeavored, by a mild carriage and promises of considerable immunities, to entice people from other provinces to come and settle in them. He was besides in a state of enmity with his brother Archelaus: this was a most favorable circumstance to the holy family; and though God did not permit them to go to any of the new cities, yet they dwelt in peace, safety, and comfort at Nazareth.

Clarke: Mat 2:23 - That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets - It is difficult to ascertain by what prophets this was spoken. The margin usually refe...

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets - It is difficult to ascertain by what prophets this was spoken. The margin usually refers to Jdg 13:5, where the angel, foretelling the birth of Samson, says, No razor shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite ( נזיר nezir ) unto God from the womb. The second passage usually referred to is Isa 11:1 : There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch ( נצר netser ) shall grow out of his roots. That this refers to Christ, there is no doubt. Jeremiah, Jer 23:5, is supposed to speak in the same language - I will raise unto David a righteous Branch: but here the word is צמח tsemach , not נצר netser ; and it is the same in the parallel place, Zec 3:8; Zec 6:12; therefore, these two prophets cannot be referred to; but the passages in Judges and Isaiah may have been in the eye of the evangelist, as well as the whole institution relative to the Nazarite ( נזיר nezir ) delivered at large, Num. 6:, where see the notes. As the Nazarite was the most pure and perfect institution under the law, it is possible that God intended to point out by it, not only the perfection of our Lord, but also the purity of his followers. And it is likely that, before St. Matthew wrote this Gospel, those afterwards called Christians bore the appellation of Nazarites, or Nazoreans, for so the Greek word, Ναζωραιος, should be written. Leaving the spiritual reference out of the question, the Nazarene or Nazorean here may mean simply an inhabitant or person of Nazareth; as Galilean does a person or inhabitant of Galilee. The evangelist evidently designed to state, that neither the sojourning at Nazareth, nor our Lord being called a Nazarene, were fortuitous events, but were wisely determined and provided for in the providence of God; and therefore foretold by inspired men, or fore-represented by significant institutions

But how shall we account for the manner in which St. Matthew and others apply this, and various other circumstances, to the fulfillment of ancient traditions? This question has greatly agitated divines and critics for more than a century. Surenhusius, Hebrew professor at Amsterdam, and editor of a very splendid and useful edition of the Mishna, in six vols. fol. published an express treatise on this subject, in 1713, full of deep research and sound criticism. He remarks great difference in the mode of quoting used in the Sacred Writings: as, It hath been said - it is written - that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets - the Scripture says - see what is said - the Scripture foreseeing - he saith - is it not written? - the saying that is written, etc., etc. With great pains and industry, he has collected ten rules out of the Talmud and the rabbins, to explain and justify all the quotations made from the Old Testament in the New

RULE I. Reading the words, not according to the regular vowel points, but to others substituted for them. He thinks this is done by Peter, Act 3:22, Act 3:23; by Stephen, Act 7:42, etc.; and by Paul, 1Co 15:54; 2Co 8:15

RULE II. Changing the letters, as done by St. Paul, Rom 9:33; 1Co 9:9, etc.; Heb 8:9., etc.; Heb 10:5

RULE III. Changing both letters and vowel points, as he supposes is done by St. Paul, Act 13:40, Act 13:41; 2Co 8:15

RULE IV. Adding some letters, and retrenching others

RULE V. Transposing words and letters

RULE VI. Dividing one word into two

RULE VII. Adding other words to make the sense more clear

RULE VIII. Changing the original order of the words

RULE IX. Changing the original order, and adding other words

RULE X. Changing the original order, and adding and retrenching words, which he maintains is a method often used by St. Paul

Let it be observed, that although all these rules are used by the rabbins, yet, as far as they are employed by the sacred writers of the New Testament, they never, in any case, contradict what they quote from the Old, which cannot be said of the rabbins: they only explain what they quote, or accommodate the passage to the facts then in question. And who will venture to say that the Holy Spirit has not a right, in any subsequent period, to explain and illustrate his own meaning, by showing that it had a greater extension in the Divine mind than could have been then perceived by men? And has He not a right to add to what he has formerly said, if it seem right in his own sight? Is not the whole of the New Testament, an addition to the Old, as the apostolic epistles are to the narrative of our Lord’ s life and acts, as given by the evangelists

Gusset, Wolf, Rosenmuller, and others, give four rules, according to which, the phrase, that it might be fulfilled, may be applied in the New Testament

RULE I. When the thing predicted is literally accomplished

RULE II. When that is done, of which the Scripture has spoken, not in a literal sense, but in a spiritual sense

RULE III. When a thing is done neither in a literal nor spiritual sense, according to the fact referred to in the Scripture; but is similar to that fact

RULE IV. When that which has been mentioned in the Old Testament as formerly done, is accomplished in a larger and more extensive sense in the New Testament

St. Matthew seems to quote according to all these rules; and it will be useful to the reader to keep them constantly in view. I may add here, that the writers of the New Testament seem often to differ from those of the Old, because they appear uniformly to quote from some copy of the Septuagint version; and most of their quotations agree verbally, and often even literally, with one or other of the copies of that version which subsist to the present day. Want of attention to the difference of copies, in the Septuagint version, has led some divines and critics into strange and even ridiculous mistakes, as they have taken that for The Septuagint which existed in the printed copy before them; which sometimes happened not to be the most correct

On the birth-place of our Lord, a pious and sensible man has made the following observations: -

"At the first sight, it seems of little consequence to know the place of Christ’ s nativity; for we should consider him as our Redeemer, whatever the circumstances might be which attended his mortal life. But, seeing it has pleased God to announce, beforehand, the place where the Savior of the world should be born, it became necessary that it should happen precisely in that place; and that this should be one of the characteristics whereby Jesus Christ should be known to be the true Messiah

"It is also a matter of small importance to us where we may live, provided we find genuine happiness. There is no place on earth, however poor and despicable, but may have better and more happy inhabitants than many of those are who dwell in the largest and most celebrated cities. Do we know a single place on the whole globe where the works of God do not appear under a thousand different forms, and where a person may not feel that blessed satisfaction which arises from a holy and Christian life? For an individual, that place is preferable to all others where he can get and do most good. For a number of people, that place is best where they can find the greatest number of wise and pious men. Every nation declines, in proportion as virtue and religion lose their influence on the minds of the inhabitants. The place where a young man first beheld the dawn and the beauty of renewed nature, and with most lively sensations of joy and gratitude adored his God, with all the veneration and love his heart was capable of; the place where a virtuous couple first met, and got acquainted; or where two friends gave each other the noblest proofs of their most tender affection; the village where one may have given, or seen, the most remarkable example of goodness, uprightness, and patience; such places, I say, must be dear to their hearts"

Bethlehem was, according to this rule, notwithstanding its smallness, a most venerable place; seeing that there so many pious people had their abode, and that acts of peculiar piety had often been performed in it. First, the patriarch Jacob stopped some time in it, to erect a monument to his well-beloved Rachel. It was at Bethlehem that honest Naomi, and her modest daughter-in-law, Ruth, gave such proofs of their faith and holiness; and in it Boaz, the generous benefactor, had his abode and his possessions

At Bethlehem the humble Jesse sojourned, the happy father of so many sons; the youngest of whom rose from the pastoral life to the throne of Israel. It was in this country that David formed the resolution of building a house for the Lord, and in which he showed himself the true shepherd and father of his subjects, when, at the sight of the destroying angel, whose sword spread consternation and death on all hands, he made intercession for his people. It was in Bethlehem that Zerubbabel the prince was born, this descendant of David, who was the type of that Ruler and Shepherd under whose empire Israel is one day to assemble, in order to enjoy uninterrupted happiness. Lastly, in this city the Son of God appeared; who, by his birth, laid the foundation of that salvation, which, as Redeemer, he was to purchase by his death for the whole world. Thus, in places which from their smallness are entitled to little notice, men sometimes spring, who become the benefactors of the human race. Often, an inconsiderable village has given birth to a man, who, by his wisdom, uprightness, and heroism, has been a blessing to whole kingdoms.

Sturm’ s Reflections, translated by A. C. vol. iv.

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Calvin: Mat 2:1 - Now when Jesus had been born // Magi // The first 1.Now when Jesus had been born How it came about that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Matthew does not say. The Spirit of God, who had appointed the Eva...

1.Now when Jesus had been born How it came about that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Matthew does not say. The Spirit of God, who had appointed the Evangelists to be his clerks, 177 appears purposely to have regulated their style in such a manner, that they all wrote one and the same history, with the most perfect agreement, but in different ways. It was intended, that the truth of God should more clearly and strikingly appear, when it was manifest that his witnesses did not speak by a preconcerted plan, but that each of them separately, without paying any attention to another, wrote freely and honestly what the Holy Spirit dictated.

This is a very remarkable narrative. God brought Magi from Chaldea, to come to the land of Judea, for the purpose of adoring Christ, in the stable where he lay, amidst the tokens, not of honor, but of contempt. It was a truly wonderful purpose of God, that he caused the entrance of his Son into the world to be attended by deep meanness, and yet bestowed upon him illustrious ornaments, both of commendation and of other outward signs, that our faith might be supplied with everything necessary to prove his Divine Majesty.

A beautiful instance of real harmony, amidst apparent contradiction, is here exhibited. A star from heaven announces that he is a king, to whom a manger, intended for cattle, serves for a throne, because he is refused admittance among the lowest of the people. His majesty shines in the East, while in Judea it is so far from being acknowledged, that it is visited by many marks of dishonor. Why is this? The heavenly Father chose to appoint the star and the Magi as our guides, to lead directly to his Son: while he stripped him of all earthly splendor, for the purpose of informing us that his kingdom is spiritual. This history conveys profitable instruction, not only because God brought the Magi to his Son, as the first-fruits of the Gentiles, but also because he appointed the kingdom of his Son to receive their commendation, and that of the star, for the confirmation of our faith; that the wicked and malignant contempt of his nation might not render him less estimable in our eyes.

Magi is well known to be the name given by the Persians and Chaldees to astrologers and philosophers: and hence it may readily be conjectured that those men came from Persia. 178 As the Evangelist does not state what was their number, it is better to be ignorant of it, than to affirm as certain what is doubtful. Papists have been led into a childish error, of supposing that they were three in number: because Matthew says, that they brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh, (Mat 2:11.) But the historian does not say, that each of them separately presented his own gift. He rather says, that those three gifts were presented by them in common. That ancient author, whoever he may be, whose imperfect Commentary on Matthew bears the name of Chrysostom, and is reckoned among Chrysostom’s works, says that they were fourteen. This carries as little probability as the other. It may have come from a tradition of the Fathers, but has no solid foundation. But the most ridiculous contrivance of the Papists on this subject is, that those men were kings, because they found in another passage a prediction, that

the kings of Tarshish, and of the Isles, and of Sheba,
would offer gifts to the Lord, (Psa 72:10.)

Ingenious workmen, truly, who, in order to present those men in a new shape, have begun with turning the world from one side to another: for they have changed the south and west into the east! Beyond all doubt, they have been stupified by a righteous judgment of God, that all might laugh at the gross ignorance of those who have not scrupled to adulterate “and, change the truth of God into a lie,” (Rom 1:25.)

The first inquiry here is: Was this star one of those which the Lord created in the beginning (Gen 1:1) to “garnish the heavens?” (Job 26:13.) Secondly, Were the magi led by their acquaintance with astrology to conclude that it pointed out the birth of Christ? On these points, there is no necessity for angry disputation: but it may be inferred from the words of Matthew, that it was not a natural, but an extraordinary star. It was not agreeable to the order of nature, that it should disappear for a certain period, and afterwards should suddenly become bright; nor that it should pursue a straight course towards Bethlehem, and at length remain stationary above the house where Christ was. Not one of these things belongs to natural stars. It is more probable that it resembled 179 a comet, and was seen, not in the heaven, but in the air. Yet there is no impropriety in Matthew, who uses popular language, calling it incorrectly a star.

This almost decides likewise the second question: for since astrology is undoubtedly confined within the limits of nature, its guidance alone could not have conducted the Magi to Christ; so that they must have been aided by a secret revelation of the Spirit. I do not go so far as to say, that they derived no assistance whatever from the art: but I affirm, that this would have been of no practical advantage, if they had not been aided by a new and extraordinary revelation.

Calvin: Mat 2:2 - Where is he who has been born King? // And have come that we may worship him 2.Where is he who has been born King? The notion of some commentators, that he is said to have been born King, by indirect contrast with one who ha...

2.Where is he who has been born King? The notion of some commentators, that he is said to have been born King, by indirect contrast with one who has been made or created a king, appears to me too trifling. I rather suppose the Magi to have simply meant, that this king had been recently born, and was still a child, by way of distinguishing him from a king who is of age, and who holds the reins of government: for they immediately add, that they had been drawn, not by the fame of his exploits, or by any present exhibitions of his greatness, but by a heavenly presage of his future reign. But if the sight of a star had so powerful an effect on the Magi, woe to our insensibility, who, now that Christ the King has been revealed to us, are so cold in our inquiries after him!

And have come that we may worship him The reason why the star had been exhibited was, to draw the Magi into Judea, that they might be witnesses and heralds of the new King. 180 So far as respects themselves, they had not come to render to Christ such pious worship, as is due to the Son of God, but intended to salute him, according to the Persian custom, 181 as a very eminent King. For their views, with regard to him, probably went no farther, than that his power and exalted rank would be so extraordinary as to impress all nations with just admiration and reverence. It is even possible, that they wished to gain his favor beforehand, that he might treat them favorably and kindly, if he should afterwards happen to possess dominion in the east.

Calvin: Mat 2:3 - Herod the king was troubled // And all Jerusalem with him 3.Herod the king was troubled Herod was not unacquainted with the predictions, which promised to the Jews a King, who would restore their distressful...

3.Herod the king was troubled Herod was not unacquainted with the predictions, which promised to the Jews a King, who would restore their distressful and ruinous affairs to a prosperous condition. He had lived from a child among that nation, and was thoroughly acquainted with their affairs. Besides, the report was spread everywhere, and could not be unknown to the neighboring nations. Yet he is troubled, as if the matter had been new and unheard of; because he put no trust in God, and thought it idle to rely on the promises of a Redeemer; and particularly because, with the foolish confidence incident to proud men, he imagined that the kingdom was secure to himself and his descendants. But though, in the intoxication of prosperity, he was formerly accustomed to view the prophecies with scorn, the recollection of them now aroused him to sudden alarm. For he would not have been so strongly moved by the simple tale of the Magi, if he had not remembered the predictions, which he had formerly looked upon as harmless, 182 and of no importance. Thus, when the Lord has permitted unbelievers to sleep, he suddenly breaks their rest. 183

And all Jerusalem with him This may be explained in two ways. Either the people were roused, in a tumultuous manner, by the novelty of the occurrence, though the glad tidings of a king who had been born to them were cordially welcomed. Or the people, accustomed to distresses, and rendered callous by long endurance, dreaded a change which might introduce still greater calamities. For they were so completely worn down, and almost wasted, by continued wars, that their wretched and cruel bondage appeared to them not only tolerable, but desirable, provided it were accompanied by peace. This shows how little they had profited under God’s chastisements: for they were so benumbed and stupified, that the promised redemption and salvation almost stank 184 in their nostrils. Matthew intended, I have no doubt, to express their ingratitude, in being so entirely broken by the long continuance of their afflictions, as to throw away the hope and desire of the grace which had been promised to them.

Calvin: Mat 2:4 - Having assembled the priests 4.Having assembled the priests Though deep silence prevailed respecting Christ in the Hall of Herod, yet, as soon as the Magi have thrown out the m...

4.Having assembled the priests Though deep silence prevailed respecting Christ in the Hall of Herod, yet, as soon as the Magi have thrown out the mention of a King, predictions are remembered, which formerly lay in oblivion. Herod instantly conjectures, that the King, about whom the Magi inquire, is the Messiah whom God had formerly promised, (Dan 9:25.) Here again it appears, that Herod is seriously alarmed, when he puts such earnest inquiries; and no wonder. All tyrants are cowards, and their cruelty produces stronger alarm in their own breasts than in the breasts of others. Herod must have trembled more than others, because he perceived that he was reigning in opposition to God.

This new investigation shows, that the contempt of Christ, before the arrival of the Magi, must have been very deep. At a later period, the scribes and high priests labored with fury to corrupt the whole of the Scripture, that they might not give any countenance to Christ. But on the present occasion they reply honestly out of the Scripture, and for this reason, that Christ and his Gospel have not yet given them uneasiness. And so all ungodly persons find no difficulty in giving their assent to God on general principles; but when the truth of God begins to press them more closely, they throw out the venom of their rebellion.

We have a striking instance of this, in our own day, among the Papists. They freely own, that he is the only-begotten Son of God, clothed with our flesh, and acknowledge the one person of God-man, as subsisting in the two natures. But when we come to the power and office of Christ, a contest immediately breaks out; because they will not consent to take a lower rank, and much less to be reduced to nothing. In a word, so long as wicked men think that it is taking nothing from themselves, they will yield to God and to Scripture some degree of reverence. But when Christ comes into close conflict with ambition, covetousness, pride, misplaced confidence, hypocrisy, and deceit, they immediately forget all modesty, and break out into rage. Let us therefore learn, that the chief cause of blindness in the enemies of truth is to be found in their wicked affections, which change light into darkness.

Calvin: Mat 2:6 - And thou, Bethlehem 6.And thou, Bethlehem The scribes quoted faithfully, no doubt, the words of the passage in their own language, as it is found in the prophet. But Mat...

6.And thou, Bethlehem The scribes quoted faithfully, no doubt, the words of the passage in their own language, as it is found in the prophet. But Matthew reckoned it enough to point out the passage; and, as he wrote in Greek, he followed the ordinary reading. This passage, and others of the same kind, readily suggest the inference, that Matthew did not compose his Gospel in the Hebrew language. It ought always to be observed that, whenever any proof from Scripture is quoted by the apostles, though they do not translate word for word, and sometimes depart widely from the language, yet it is applied correctly and appropriately to their subject. Let the reader always consider the purpose for which passages of Scripture are brought forward by the Evangelists, so as not to stick too closely to the particular words, but to be satisfied with this, that the Evangelists never torture Scripture into a different meaning, but apply it correctly in its native meaning. But while it was their intention to supply with milk children and “novices” (1Ti 3:6) in faith, who were not yet able to endure strong meat,” (Heb 5:12,) there is nothing to prevent the children of God from making careful and diligent inquiry into the meaning of Scripture, and thus being led to the fountain by the taste which the apostles afford.

Let us now return to the prediction. Thus it stands literally in the Prophet:

“And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little
among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall
he come forth to me, who is Ruler in Israel,” (Mic 5:2.)

For Ephratah Matthew has put Judah, but the meaning is the same; for Micah only intended, by this mark, to distinguish the Bethlehem of which he speaks, from another Bethlehem, which was in the tribe of Zebulun. There is greater difficulty in what follows: for the Prophet says, that Bethlehem is little, when reckoned among the governments of Judah, while Matthew, on the contrary: speaks highly of its rank as one of the most distinguished: thou art by no means the least among the princes of Judah This reason has induced some commentators to read the passage in the prophet as a question, Art thou little among the thousands of Judah? But I rather agree with those who think that Matthew intended, by this change of the language, to magnify the grace of God in making an inconsiderable and unknown town the birth-place of the highest King. Although Bethlehem received this distinguished honor, it was of no advantage to its inhabitants, but brought upon them a heavier destruction: for there an unworthy reception was given to the Redeemer. For he is to be Ruler, Matthew has put he shall feed, (ποιμανεῖ) But he has expressed both, when he says, that Christ is the leader, ( ἡγούμενος ,) and that to him is committed the office of feeding his people.

Calvin: Mat 2:7 - Then Herod, having secretly called the Magi 7.Then Herod, having secretly called the Magi The tyrant did not dare to avow his fear and uneasiness, lest he might give fresh courage to a people, ...

7.Then Herod, having secretly called the Magi The tyrant did not dare to avow his fear and uneasiness, lest he might give fresh courage to a people, by whom he knew that he was hated. In public, therefore, he pretends that this matter does not concern him, but inquires secretly, in order to meet immediate danger. Though a bad conscience made him timid, there can be no doubt that God struck his mind with an unusual fear, which for a time made him incapable of reflection, and almost deprived him of the use of reason. For nothing was more easy than to send one of his courtiers as an escort, under the pretense of courtesy, who would investigate the whole matter, and immediately return. Herod certainly was a man of no ordinary address, and of great courage. It is the more surprising that, in a case of extremity, and when the remedy is at hand, he remains in a state of amazement, and almost dead. Let us learn, that a miracle was effected, in rescuing the Son of God from the jaws of the lion. Not less at the present day does God infatuate his enemies, so that a thousand schemes of injuring and ruining his Church do not occur to their minds, and even the opportunities which are at hand are not embraced. The trick which Herod practiced on the Magi, by pretending that he also would come for the purpose of worshipping Christ, was avoided by the Lord, as we shall see, in another way. But as Herod’s dread of arousing the people against him deprived him of the use of his reason, so again he is driven by such madness, that he does not hesitate or shudder at the thought of provoking God. For he knew that, if a King were born, it was ordained by God, that he should raise up the throne “of David, which was fallen,” (Amo 9:11.) He does not therefore attack men, but furiously dares to fight with God. Two things claim our attention. He was seized with a spirit of giddiness, to attack God; and, on the other hand, his manner of acting was childish: for his design was frustrated, so that he was like a “blind man groping in darkness.” 185

Calvin: Mat 2:9 - But they, having heard the King, departed 9.But they, having heard the King, departed It is truly an instance of base sluggishness, that not one of the Jews offers himself as an escort to tho...

9.But they, having heard the King, departed It is truly an instance of base sluggishness, that not one of the Jews offers himself as an escort to those foreigners, to go and see the King who had been promised to their own nation. The scribes show them the way, and point out the place where he was born; but they allow them to depart alone: not one moves a step. They were afraid, perhaps, of Herod’s cruelty: but it displayed wicked ingratitude that, for the sake of the salvation which had been offered to them, they were unwilling to undergo any risk, and cared less about the grace of God than about the frown of a tyrant. The whole nation, I have lately showed, was so degenerate, that they chose rather to be oppressed with the yoke of tyranny, than to submit to any inconvenience arising from a change. If God had not fortified the minds of the Magi by his Spirit, they might have been discouraged by this state of things. But the ardor of their zeal is unabated; they set out without a guide. And yet the means of confirming their faith are not wanting; for they hear that the King, who had been pointed out to them by a star, was long ago described, in glowing language, by divine predictions. It would seem that the star, which hitherto guided them in the way, had lately disappeared. The reason may easily be conjectured. It was, that they might make inquiry in Jerusalem about the new King, and might thus take away all excuse from the Jews, who, after having been instructed about the Redeemer who was sent to them, knowingly and willingly despise him.

Calvin: Mat 2:11 - They found the young child 11.They found the young child So revolting a sight might naturally have created an additional prejudice; for Christ was so far from having aught of r...

11.They found the young child So revolting a sight might naturally have created an additional prejudice; for Christ was so far from having aught of royalty surrounding him, that he was in a meaner and more despised condition than any peasant child. But they are convinced that he is divinely appointed to be a King. This thought alone, deeply rooted in their minds, procures their reverence. They contemplate in the purpose of God his exalted rank, which is still concealed from outward view. 186 Holding it for certain, that he will one day be different from what he now appears, they are not at all ashamed to render to him the honors of royalty.

Their presents show whence they came: for there can be no doubt that they brought them as the choicest productions of their country. We are not to understand, that each of them presented his own offering, but that the three offerings, which are mentioned by Matthew, were presented by all of them in common. Almost all the commentators indulge in speculations about those gifts, as denoting the kingdom, priesthood, and burial of Christ. They make gold the symbol of his kingdom, frankincense, of his priesthoods, — and myrrh, of his burial. I see no solid ground for such an opinion. It was customary, we know, among the Persians, when they offered homage to their kings, to bring a present in their hands. The Magi select those three for the produce of which Eastern countries are celebrated; just as Jacob sent into Egypt the choicest and most esteemed productions of the soil.

“Take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, nuts and almonds,”
(Gen 43:11.)

Again, in rendering homage, according to the custom of Persia, to him whom they still regarded as an earthly King, they offered the productions of the soil. Our duty is, to adore him in a spiritual manner: for the lawful and reasonable worship which he demands is, that we consecrate first ourselves, and then all that we have, to his service.

Calvin: Mat 2:13 - And when they had departed // Be thou there until I have told thee 13.And when they had departed How many days elapsed from the departure of the Magi, till Joseph was ordered to flee into Egypt, is not known, nor is ...

13.And when they had departed How many days elapsed from the departure of the Magi, till Joseph was ordered to flee into Egypt, is not known, nor is it of much importance to inquire: only it is probable that the Lord spared Mary, till she was so far recovered from childbirth as to be able to perform the journey. It was a wonderful purpose of God, that he chose to preserve his Son by flight. The mind of Joseph must have been harassed by dangerous temptations, when he came to see that there was no hope but in flight: for in flight there was no appearance of divine protection. Besides, it was very difficult to reconcile the statement, that he who was to be the Savior of all, could not be preserved without the exertion of a mortal man. But, in preserving the life of his Son, God maintained such reserve, as to give some indications of his heavenly power, and yet not to make it so manifest as to prevent it from being concealed under the appearance of weakness: for the full time of glorifying Christ openly was not yet come. The angel predicts an event which was hidden, and unknown to men. That is an evident proof of divine guidance. But the angel orders him to defend the life of the child by flight and exile. This belongs to the weakness of flesh, to which Christ was subjected.

We are here taught, that God has more than one way of preserving his own people. Sometimes he makes astonishing displays of his power; while at other times he employs dark coverings or shadows, from which feeble rays of it escape. This wonderful method of preserving the Son of God under the cross teaches us, that they act improperly who prescribe to God a fixed plan of action. Let us permit him to advance our salvation by a diversity of methods; and let us not refuse to be humbled, that he may more abundantly display his glory. Above all, let us never avoid the cross, by which the Son of God himself was trained from his earliest infancy. This flight is a part of the foolishness of the cross, but it surpasses all the wisdom of the world. That he may appear at his own time as the Savior of Judea, he is compelled to flee from it, and is nourished by Egypt, from which nothing but what was destructive to the Church of God had ever proceeded. Who would not have regarded with amazement such an unexpected work of God?

Joseph immediately complies with the injunction of the Angel. This is another proof of the certainty of the dream: for such promptitude of obedience plainly shows, that he had no doubt whatever, that it was God who had enjoined him to take flight. This eager haste may wear somewhat of the aspect of distrust: for the flight by night had some appearance of alarm. But it is not difficult to frame an excuse. He saw that God had appointed a method of safety which was low and mean: and he concludes that he is at liberty to take flight in such a state of alarm as is commonly produced by extreme danger. Our fear ought always to be regulated by the divine intimations. If it agrees with them, it will not be opposed to faith.

Be thou there until I have told thee By these words the Angel declares, that the life of the child will, even in future, be the object of the divine care. Joseph needed to be thus strengthened, so as to conclude with certainty, that God would not only conduct him in the journey, but that, during his banishment, God would be his constant protector. And in this way God was pleased to allay many anxieties, with which the heart of the good man must have been perplexed, so that he enjoyed serenity of mind during his sojourn in Egypt. But for this, not a moment would have passed without numerous temptations, when he saw himself excluded not only from the inheritance promised by God to all his saints, — but from the temple, from sacrifices, from a public profession of his faiths, — and was living among the worst enemies of God, and in a deep gulf of superstitions. He carried with him, indeed, in the person of the child, all the blessings which the Fathers had hoped to enjoy, or which the Lord had promised to them: but as he had not yet made such proficiency in faith, and in the knowledge of Christ, he needed to be restrained by this injunction, Be thou there until I have told thee, that he might not be displeased at languishing in banishment from his country among the Egyptians.

Calvin: Mat 2:15 - Out of Egypt have I called my Son 15.Out of Egypt have I called my Son Matthew says that a prediction was fulfilled. Some have thought, that the intention of the prophet was different...

15.Out of Egypt have I called my Son Matthew says that a prediction was fulfilled. Some have thought, that the intention of the prophet was different from what is here stated, and have supposed the meaning to be, that the Jews act foolishly in opposing and endeavoring to oppress the Son of God, because the Father hath called him out of Egypt In this way, they grievously pervert the words of the prophet, (Hos 11:1,) the design of which is, to establish a charge of ingratitude against the Jews, who, from their earliest infancy, and from the commencement of their history, had found God to be a kind and generous Father, and yet were provoking him by fresh offenses. Beyond all question, the passage ought not to be restricted to the person of Christ: and yet it is not tortured by Matthew, but skilfully applied to the matter in hand.

The words of the prophet ought to be thus interpreted: “When Israel was yet a child, I brought him out of that wretched bondage in which he had been plunged. He was formerly like a dead man, and Egypt served him for a grave; but I drew him out of it as from the womb, and brought him into the light of life.” And justly does the Lord speak in this manner; for that deliverance was a sort of birth of the nation. Then were openly produced letters of adoption, when, by the promulgation of the law, they became “the Lord’s portion,” (Deu 32:9,) “a royal priesthood, and a holy nation,” (1Pe 2:9;) when they were separated from the other nations, and when, in short, God “set up his tabernacle” (Lev 26:11) to dwell in the midst of them. The words of the prophet import, that the nation was rescued from Egypt as from a deep whirlpool of death. Now, what was the redemption brought by Christ, but a resurrection from the dead, and the commencement of a new life? The light of salvation had been almost extinguished, when God begat the Church anew in the person of Christ. Then did the Church come out of Egypt in its head, as the whole body had been formerly brought out.

This analogy prevents us from thinking it strange, that any part of Christ’s childhood was passed in Egypt. The grace and power of God became more illustrious, and his wonderful purpose was more distinctly seen, when light came out of darkness, and life out of hell. Otherwise, the sense of the flesh might have broken out here in contemptuous language, Truly a Redeemer is to come out of Egypt!” 210 Matthew therefore reminds us, that it is no strange or unwonted occurrence for God to call his Son out of that country; and that it serves rather to confirm our faith, that, as on a former occasion, so now again, the Church of God comes out of Egypt. There is this difference, however, between the two cases. The whole nation was formerly shut up in the prison of Egypt; while, in the second redemption, it was Christ, the head of the Church alone, who was concealed there, but who carried the salvation and life of all shut up in his own person.

Calvin: Mat 2:16 - Then Herod when he saw 16.Then Herod when he saw Matthew speaks according to what Herod felt and thought about the matter. He believed that the Magi had deceived him, becau...

16.Then Herod when he saw Matthew speaks according to what Herod felt and thought about the matter. He believed that the Magi had deceived him, because they did not choose to take part in his wicked cruelty. He was rather taken in his own trickery, — in his base pretense, that he too intended to pay homage to the new King.

Josephus makes no mention of this history. The only writer who mentions it is Macrobius, in the Second Book of his Saturnalia, where, relating the jokes and taunts of Augustus, he says: When he heard that, by Herod’s command, the children in Syria under two years of age had been slain, and that his own son had been slain among the crowd, “I would rather,” said he, “have been Herod’s hog than his son.” But the authority of Matthew alone is abundantly sufficient for us. Josephus certainly ought not to have passed over a crime so worthy of being put on record. But there is the less reason to wonder that he says nothing about the infants; for he passes lightly over, and expresses in obscure language, an instance of Herod’s cruelty not less shocking, which took place about the same time, when he put to death all the Judges, who were called the Sanhedrim, that hardly a remnant might remain of the stock of David. It was the same dread, I have no doubt, that impelled him to both of these murders.

There is some uncertainty about the date. 211 Matthew says, that they were slain from two years old and under, according to the time which he had inquired at the Magi: from which we may infer that Christ had then reached that age, or at least was not far from being two years old. Some go farther, and conclude that Christ was about that age at the time when the Magi came. But I contend that the one does not follow from the other. With what terror Herod was seized when the report was widely spread about a new king who had been borne, 212 we have lately seen. Fear prevented him at that time from employing a traitor, in a secret manner, to make an investigation. 213 There is no reason to wonder that he was restrained, for some time, from the commission of a butchery so hateful and shocking, particularly while the report about the arrival of the Magi was still recent. It is certainly probable, that he revolved the crime in his mind, but delayed it till a convenient opportunity should occur. It is even possible, that he first murdered the Judges, in order to deprive the people of their leaders, and thus to compel them to look upon the crime as one for which there was no remedy. 214

We may now conclude it to be a frivolous argument, on which those persons rest, who argue, that Christ was two years old when he was worshipped by the Magi, because, according to the time when the star appeared, Herod slew the children who were a little below two years old. Such persons take for granted, without any proper ground, that the star did not appear till after that the Virgin had brought forth her child. It is far more probable, that they had been warned early, and that they undertook the journey close upon the time of the birth of Christ, that they might see the child when lately born, in the cradle, or in his mother’s lap. It is a very childish imagination that, because they came from an unknown country, and almost from another world, they had spent about two years on the road. The conjectures stated by Osiander 215 are too absurd to need refutation.

But there is no inconsistency in the thread of the story which I propose, — that the Magi came when the period of child-bearing was not yet over, and inquired after a king who had been born, not after one who was already two years old; that, after they had returned to their own country, Joseph fled by night, but still in passing discharged a pious duty at Jerusalem, (for in so populous a city, where there was a constant influx of strangers from every quarter, he might be secure from danger;) that, after he had departed to Egypt, Herod began to think seriously about his own danger, and the ulcer of revenge, which he had nourished in his heart for more than a year and half, at length broke out. The adverb then (τότε) does not always denote in Scripture uninterrupted time, 216 but frequently occurs, when there is a great distance between the events.

Calvin: Mat 2:18 - voice was heard in Ramah 18. A voice was heard in Ramah It is certain that the prophet describes (Jer 31:15) the destruction of the tribe of Benjamin, which took place in his...

18. A voice was heard in Ramah It is certain that the prophet describes (Jer 31:15) the destruction of the tribe of Benjamin, which took place in his time: for he had foretold that the tribe of Judah would be cut off, to which was added the half of the tribe of Benjamin. He puts the mourning into the mouth of Rachel, who had been long dead. This is a personification, ( προσωποποιϊα ,) which has a powerful influence in moving the affections. It was not for the mere purpose of ornamenting his style, that Jeremiah employed rhetorical embellishments. There was no other way of correcting the hardness and stupidity of the living, than by arousing the dead, as it were, from their graves, to bewail those divine chastisements, which were commonly treated with derision. The prediction of Jeremiah having been accomplished at that time, Matthew does not mean that it foretold what Herod would do, but that the coming of Christ occasioned a renewal of that mourning, which had been experienced, many centuries before, by the tribe of Benjamin.

He intended thus to meet a prejudice which might disturb and shake pious minds. It might be supposed, that no salvation could be expected from him, on whose account, as soon as he was born, infants were murdered; nay more, that it was an unfavorable and disastrous omen, that the birth of Christ kindled a stronger flame of cruelty than usually burns amidst the most inveterate wars. But as Jeremiah promises a restoration, where a nation has been cut off, down to their little children, so Matthew reminds his readers, that this massacre would not prevent Christ from appearing shortly afterwards as the Redeemer of the whole nation: for we know that the whole chapter in Jeremiah, in which those words occur, is filled with the most delightful consolations. Immediately after the mournful complaint, he adds,

“Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to thine own border,” (Jer 31:16.)

Such was the resemblance between the former calamity which the tribe of Benjamin had sustained, and the second calamity, which is here recorded. Both were a prelude of the salvation which was shortly to arrive. 217

Calvin: Mat 2:19 - But when Herod was dead 19.But when Herod was dead These words show the perseverance of Joseph’s faith. He kept his feet firm in Egypt, till he was recalled to his native ...

19.But when Herod was dead These words show the perseverance of Joseph’s faith. He kept his feet firm in Egypt, till he was recalled to his native country by a command of God. We see, at the same time, that the Lord never disappoints his own people, but renders them seasonable aid. It is probable that Joseph returned from Egypt immediately after the death of Herod, before Augustus Caesar had issued his decree, appointing Archelaus to be governor of Judea. Having been declared by his father’s will to be successor to the throne, he undertook the whole charge of the government, but abstained from taking the title of king, saying that this depended on the will and pleasure of Caesar. He afterwards went to Rome, and obtained confirmation; only the name of king was refused, until he had merited it by his actions. The governor of Galilee was Philip, a man of gentle disposition, and almost like a private individual. Joseph complied with the suggestion of the angel, because, under a prince who had no delight in shedding blood, and who treated his subjects with mildness, there was less danger.

We must always bear in mind the purpose of God, in training his Son, from the commencement, under the discipline of the cross, because this was the way in which he was to redeem his Church. He bore our infirmities, and was exposed to dangers and to fears, that he might deliver his Church from them by his divine power, and might bestow upon it everlasting peace. His danger was our safety: his fear was our confidence. Not that he ever in his life felt alarm; but as he was surrounded, on every hand, by the fear of Joseph and Mary, he may be justly said to have taken upon him our fears, that he might procure for us assured confidence.

Calvin: Mat 2:23 - He shall be called a Nazarene // Bucer 23.He shall be called a Nazarene Matthew does not derive Nazarene from Nazareth, as if this were its strict and proper etymology, but only makes ...

23.He shall be called a Nazarene Matthew does not derive Nazarene from Nazareth, as if this were its strict and proper etymology, but only makes an allusion. The word נזיר , or Nazarite, signifies holy and devoted to God, and is derived from נזר , to separate. The noun נזר , indeed, signifies a flower: 221 but Matthew refers, beyond all doubt, to the former meaning. For we nowhere read that Nazarites meant blooming or flourishing, but persons who were consecrated to God, according to the directions given by the Law, (Num 6:1) The meaning is: though it was by fear that Joseph was driven into a corner of Galilee, yet God had a higher design, and appointed the city of Nazareth as the place of Christ’s residence, that he might justly be called a Nazarite But it is asked, who are the prophets that gave this name to Christ? for there is no passage to be found that answers to the quotation. Some think it a sufficient answer, that Scripture frequently calls him Holy: but that is a very poor explanation. For Matthew, as we perceive, makes an express reference to the very word, and to the ancient Nazarites, whose holiness was of a peculiar character. He tells us, that what was then shadowed out in the Nazarites, who were, in some sense, selected as the first-fruits to God, must have been fulfilled in the person of Christ.

But it remains to be seen, in what part of Scripture the prophets have stated that this name would be given to Christ. Chrysostom, finding himself unable to loose the knot, cuts it by saying, that many books of the prophets have perished. But this answer has no probability: for, though the Lord, in order to punish the indifference of his ancient people, deprived them of some part of Scripture, or left out what was less necessary, yet, since the coming of Christ, no part of it has been lost. In support of that view, a strange blunder has been made, by quoting a passage of Josephus, in which he states that Ezekiel left two books: for Ezekiel’s prophecy of a new temple and kingdom is manifestly distinct from his other predictions, and may be said to form a new work. But if all the books of Scripture which were extant in the time of Matthew, remain entire to the present day, we must find somewhere the passage quoted from the prophets.

Bucer 222 has explained it, I think, more correctly than any other writer. He thinks that the reference is to a passage in the Book of Judges: The child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb, (Jud 13:5.) These words, no doubt, were spoken with regard to Samson. But Samson is called the “Redeemer” or “Deliverer” 223 of the people, only because he was a figure of Christ, and because the salvation, which was accomplished by his instrumentality, was a sort of prelude of the full salvation, which was at length exhibited to the world by the Son of God. 224 All that Scripture predicts, in a favorable manner, about Samson, may justly be applied to Christ. To express it more clearly, Christ is the original model: Samson is the inferior antitype. 225 When he assumed the character of a Redeemer, 226 we ought to understand, that none of the titles bestowed on that illustrious and truly divine office apply so strictly to himself as to Christ: for the fathers did but taste the grace of redemption, which we have been permitted to receive fully in Christ.

Matthew uses the word prophets in the plural number. This may easily be excused: for the Book of Judges was composed by many prophets. But I think that what is here said about the prophets has a still wider reference. For Joseph, who was a temporal Savior of the Church, and was, in many respects, a figure, or rather a lively image of Christ, is called a Nazarite of his brethren, 227 (Gen 49:26; Deu 33:16.) God determined that the distinguished honor, of which he had given a specimen in Joseph, should shine again in Samson, and gave him the name of Nazarite, that believers, having received those early instructions, might look more earnestly at the Redeemer who was to come, who was to be separated from all,

“That he might be the first-born among many brethren,”
(Rom 8:29.)

Defender: Mat 2:1 - Bethlehem This statement fulfills the prophecy of Mic 5:2 given some 700 years earlier.

This statement fulfills the prophecy of Mic 5:2 given some 700 years earlier.

Defender: Mat 2:1 - wise men The "wise men" were actually Magi, members of the priestly caste in Persia who were experts in astronomy and astrology and well versed also in the Old...

The "wise men" were actually Magi, members of the priestly caste in Persia who were experts in astronomy and astrology and well versed also in the Old Testament.

See map, Palestine in New Testament Times"

Defender: Mat 2:2 - King of the Jews Herod considered himself "King of the Jews." These Persian magi were very important and powerful leaders in the great Persian empire, which had never ...

Herod considered himself "King of the Jews." These Persian magi were very important and powerful leaders in the great Persian empire, which had never been subjugated by Rome. They probably appeared in Jerusalem with a large entourage and thus gained quick access to Herod's court. In fact, there are some historical indications that Persia was, at this time, threatening Rome along the eastern boundaries of the Roman empire. No wonder Herod was "troubled" and "all Jerusalem with him" (Mat 2:3) at the suggestion that Persia might be about to throw its support to a new Jewish king.

Defender: Mat 2:2 - his star This "star" has been the subject of much speculation. Many have argued that it was a conjunction in 7 b.c. of Jupiter and Saturn (and possibly Mars al...

This "star" has been the subject of much speculation. Many have argued that it was a conjunction in 7 b.c. of Jupiter and Saturn (and possibly Mars also) in the constellation Pisces, (traditionally associated with Israel). Such a conjunction, however, could not be called a "star." Others have argued that it was a comet, but these are frequent and would hardly be associated with Israel or the Messiah. Most modern evangelicals probably take it as a special supernatural light that guided the wise men from Persia to Jerusalem. This theory, however, does not explain why they followed it at all; there was little reason to connect a sudden, slow-moving light in the sky with the promised Jewish king. The magi, expert astronomers as they were, would hardly call such a light a star.

A more likely possibility is that it was a supernova star, shining brightly for a year or more, then fading out again. Such a nova may have appeared in the constellation Virgo. The magi, familiar with such Scriptures as Gen 3:15 (the promised seed of the woman), Num 24:17 (the promised "Star out of Jacob"), Isa 7:14 (the promised virgin-born "God with us") since the days of both Daniel and Mordecai, with their profound influence on the Persian kings could reasonably conclude that this spectacular star was, indeed, "his star," and thus would prepare a mission to Jerusalem."

Defender: Mat 2:7 - Herod Herod, sometimes called Herod the Great was the son of Antipater, a part-Jew of Edomite descent. He was the procurator of Judaea from 47 b.c. until he...

Herod, sometimes called Herod the Great was the son of Antipater, a part-Jew of Edomite descent. He was the procurator of Judaea from 47 b.c. until he died in 4 b.c., soon after the flight of Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus into Egypt (Mat 2:19). This indicates that Christ must have been born in 4 b.c. or earlier.

Defender: Mat 2:7 - the star appeared Evidently, the star had appeared to the wise men only while they were still "in the east" (Mat 2:2). Even though they probably knew (Mic 5:2) that He ...

Evidently, the star had appeared to the wise men only while they were still "in the east" (Mat 2:2). Even though they probably knew (Mic 5:2) that He would be born in Bethlehem (a village six miles away from Jerusalem), they would naturally travel first to Jerusalem as a courtesy to the king. They would also assume that the arrival of the long-awaited King would be an occasion for rejoicing and by the time they could complete their long pilgrimage from Persia, He would surely have been brought to the capital to be worshiped by His people. How wrong they were about that!"

Defender: Mat 2:10 - saw the star Apparently, the wise men had only seen the star "in the east." However, as they left Herod to go to Bethlehem, they suddenly saw it again and rejoiced...

Apparently, the wise men had only seen the star "in the east." However, as they left Herod to go to Bethlehem, they suddenly saw it again and rejoiced, for it was standing directly over Bethlehem. During the intervening months, it had been hidden from view, probably because the constellation of which it was a part was in the daytime sky during those months. But now it once again came into sight in the evening sky and, from where they stood outside Herod's palace, appeared straight ahead above Bethlehem. This must be the sense in which it "stood over where the young child was." Not even the special light which many have assumed to be the "star" could have been close enough to the ground to pinpoint a particular house. Bethlehem was a small village, however, and it would be easy enough, once they were there, to ascertain where the babe was."

Defender: Mat 2:11 - the house The overcrowded situation which existed in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph arrived was well dissipated, with the tax registration finished. The family ...

The overcrowded situation which existed in Bethlehem when Mary and Joseph arrived was well dissipated, with the tax registration finished. The family had now found a suitable house to live in, instead of the manger where Christ was born, or the inn where they had first sought lodging (Luk 2:7). It had been many months since His birth, possibly almost two years. Herod, after inquiring "diligently what time the star appeared" to the wise men, ordered all the young children in and around Bethlehem up to two years of age to be slain (Mat 2:7, Mat 2:16).

Defender: Mat 2:11 - worshipped him As great as they were in the eyes of men, these wise men knew that this babe was greater - even "God with us" - and so fell down before Him.

As great as they were in the eyes of men, these wise men knew that this babe was greater - even "God with us" - and so fell down before Him.

Defender: Mat 2:11 - gifts These wise men, correctly recognized that the special witness of "his star" (Mat 2:2) fulfilled the prophecy of Isa 60:3, which foretold that "Gentile...

These wise men, correctly recognized that the special witness of "his star" (Mat 2:2) fulfilled the prophecy of Isa 60:3, which foretold that "Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." In Persian society, the Magi were honored as royalty, and they brought gifts appropriate for another King. The fact that they brought three gifts - gold indicating Christ's future reign, frankincense indicating Christ's priestly intercession for them, and myrrh indicating Christ's coming death for them - has given rise to the tradition that there were just three wise men, but there may well have been many more."

Defender: Mat 2:15 - Out of Egypt This prophecy is found in Hos 11:1 where the context clearly indicates that it was the whole nation of Israel which had been called out of Egypt as Go...

This prophecy is found in Hos 11:1 where the context clearly indicates that it was the whole nation of Israel which had been called out of Egypt as God's young "son." The children of Israel had been born in the land promised to them by God, but nevertheless had to leave it and sojourn in the pagan land of Egypt for a while before being brought back home by their Father. Christ lived through the same experience - born in Judaea, then sojourned in Egypt for a time before He was called back home."

Defender: Mat 2:18 - Rachel Rachel, Jacob's beloved wife, died in Bethlehem (Gen 35:19) and thus the grieving mothers of Bethlehem's slaughtered children are all personified in h...

Rachel, Jacob's beloved wife, died in Bethlehem (Gen 35:19) and thus the grieving mothers of Bethlehem's slaughtered children are all personified in her name. Rachel was the mother of Benjamin, whose descendants were still associated with the town.

Since the slaughter of the children is evidently not recorded in secular history, some have denied that it really happened. However, Bethlehem was a small village, with relatively few young children. In view of Herod's notorious cruelty (he even put one of his wives and his three oldest sons to death), this occurrence was quite in character and probably was accorded little secular notice outside the affected community. The event was prophesied in Jer 31:15, but the prophet also exhorted them to "refrain ... from weeping" because the slain children are safe with the Lord and "shall come again from the land of the enemy" (Jer 31:16)."

Defender: Mat 2:21 - the land of Israel Joseph apparently intended to return to the house in Bethlehem (Mat 2:9) where they had been living before their quick flight to Egypt. Instead, in re...

Joseph apparently intended to return to the house in Bethlehem (Mat 2:9) where they had been living before their quick flight to Egypt. Instead, in response to another divine warning (Mat 2:22), he took the family back to Nazareth where they had lived before journeying to Bethlehem. The parallel account in Luke makes no mention of the visit of the Magi or of the flight to Egypt. It simply notes that they returned to Nazareth after a short visit to Jerusalem to dedicate Jesus to the Lord and to offer the appropriate sacrifice after his mother's month of purification (Luk 2:21-24, Luk 2:39; Lev 12:1-8). They evidently had returned to Bethlehem from Jerusalem, which was only a few miles away, by the time that the Magi came several months later."

Defender: Mat 2:23 - spoken by the prophets No one prophet is mentioned here, but rather "the prophets" in general. As far as known, the despised town of Nazareth did not even exist in the days ...

No one prophet is mentioned here, but rather "the prophets" in general. As far as known, the despised town of Nazareth did not even exist in the days of the prophets, so it may be that this is a generic summary of the teaching of the prophets that the Messiah would be "despised and rejected of men" (Isa 53:3). Some have suggested that this refers to Isa 11:1, where He is called a "rod" (Hebrew netzer) out of the "stem" (or, apparently dead stump) of Jesse's family tree. However, see the note on Zep 1:14, which, slightly modified, would yield a reading very closely akin to Matthew's quote."

TSK: Mat 2:1 - Jesus // Bethlehem // Herod // from ""Fourth year before the account called Anno Domini." Jesus : Mat 1:25; Luk 2:4-7 Bethlehem : Mat 2:5; Mic 5:2; Luk 2:11, Luk 2:15; Joh 7:42 Herod : T...

""Fourth year before the account called Anno Domini."

Jesus : Mat 1:25; Luk 2:4-7

Bethlehem : Mat 2:5; Mic 5:2; Luk 2:11, Luk 2:15; Joh 7:42

Herod : This was Herod the Great, for an account of whom see the Connection of the Old and New Testaments in the Comprehensive Bible. Mat 2:3, Mat 2:19; Gen 49:10; Dan 9:24, Dan 9:25; Hag 2:6-9

from : Gen 10:30, Gen 25:6; 1Ki 4:30; Job 1:3; Psa 72:9-12; Isa 11:10, 60:1-22

TSK: Mat 2:2 - born // his // worship born : Mat 21:5; Psa 2:6; Isa 9:6, Isa 9:7, Isa 32:1, Isa 32:2; Jer 23:5; Zec 9:9; Luk 2:11, Luk 19:38; Luk 23:3, Luk 23:38; Joh 1:49, Joh 12:13, Joh ...

TSK: Mat 2:3 - he he : Mat 8:29, Mat 23:37; 1Ki 18:17, 1Ki 18:18; Joh 11:47, Joh 11:48; Act 4:2, Act 4:24-27, Act 5:24-28; Act 16:20,Act 16:21, Act 17:6, Act 17:7

TSK: Mat 2:4 - the chief // scribes // he demanded the chief : Mat 21:15, Mat 21:23, Mat 26:3, Mat 26:47, Mat 27:1; 1Chr. 24:4-19; 2Ch 36:14; Ezr 10:5; Neh 12:7; Psa 2:2; Joh 7:32, Joh 18:3 scribes : M...

TSK: Mat 2:5 - -- Gen 35:19; Jos 19:15; Rth 1:1, Rth 1:19, Rth 2:4, Rth 4:11; 1Sa 16:1

TSK: Mat 2:6 - thou // a Governor // rule thou : Mat 2:1; Mic 5:2; Joh 7:42 a Governor : Mat 28:18; Gen 49:10; Num 24:19; 1Ch 5:2; Psa 2:1-6; Isa 9:6, Isa 9:7; Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; Rev 2:27, Re...

TSK: Mat 2:7 - -- Mat 26:3-5; Exo 1:10; 1Sa 18:21; Psa 10:9, Psa 10:10, Psa 55:21, Psa 64:4-6, Psa 83:3, Psa 83:4; Isa 7:5-7; Eze 38:10,Eze 38:11; Rev 12:1-5, Rev 12:15

TSK: Mat 2:8 - go // that go : 1Sa 23:22, 1Sa 23:23; 2Sa 17:14; 1Ki 19:2; Job 5:12, Job 5:13; Psa 33:10,Psa 33:11; Pro 21:30; Lam 3:37; 1Co 3:19, 1Co 3:20 that : Mat 26:48, Mat...

TSK: Mat 2:9 - the star the star : Mat 2:2; Psa 25:12; Pro 2:1-6, Pro 8:17; 2Pe 1:19

TSK: Mat 2:10 - they rejoiced they rejoiced : Deu 32:13; Psa 67:4, Psa 105:3; Luk 2:10,Luk 2:20; Act 13:46-48; Rom 15:9-13

TSK: Mat 2:11 - they saw // worshipped // presented // frankincense they saw : Luk 2:16, Luk 2:26-32, Luk 2:38 worshipped : Mat 2:2, Mat 4:9, Mat 4:10, Mat 14:33; Psa 2:12, Psa 95:6; Joh 5:22, Joh 5:23; Act 10:25, Act ...

TSK: Mat 2:12 - warned // they departed warned : Mat 2:22, Mat 1:20, Mat 27:19; Gen 20:6, Gen 20:7, Gen 31:24; Job 33:15-17; Dan 2:19 they departed : Exo 1:17; Act 4:19, Act 5:29; 1Co 3:19

TSK: Mat 2:13 - the angel // Arise // until // for the angel : Mat 2:19, Mat 1:20; Act 5:19, Act 10:7, Act 10:22, Act 12:11; Heb 1:13, Heb 1:14 Arise : Mat 10:23; Rev 12:6, Rev 12:14 until : Mat 2:19, ...

TSK: Mat 2:14 - -- Mat 2:20,Mat 2:21, Mat 1:24; Act 26:21

TSK: Mat 2:15 - until // that // Out until : Mat 2:19; Act 12:1-4, Act 12:23, Act 12:24 that : Mat 2:17, Mat 2:23, Mat 1:22, Mat 4:14, Mat 4:15, Mat 8:17, Mat 12:16-18, Mat 21:4, Mat 26:5...

TSK: Mat 2:16 - when // was exceeding // and slew // according when : Gen 39:14, Gen 39:17; Num 22:29, Num 24:10; Jdg 16:10; Job 12:4 was exceeding : Pro 27:3, Pro 27:4; Dan 3:13, Dan 3:19, Dan 3:20 and slew : Gen...

TSK: Mat 2:17 - -- Mat 2:15

TSK: Mat 2:18 - Rama // lamentation // Rachel // would Rama : Jer 31:15, Ramah lamentation : Jer 4:31, Jer 9:17-21; Eze 2:10; Rev 8:13 Rachel : Gen 35:16-20 would : Gen 37:30,Gen 37:33-35, Gen 42:36; Job 1...

TSK: Mat 2:19 - Herod // an Herod : Psa 76:10; Isa 51:12; Dan 8:25, Dan 11:45 an : Mat 2:13, Mat 1:20; Psa 139:7; Jer 30:10; Eze 11:16

TSK: Mat 2:20 - arise // for arise : Mat 2:13; Pro 3:5, Pro 3:6 for : Exo 4:19; 1Ki 11:21, 1Ki 11:40, 1Ki 12:1-3

TSK: Mat 2:21 - -- Gen 6:22; Heb 11:8

TSK: Mat 2:22 - he was // being // into he was : Gen 19:17-21; 1Sa 16:2; Act 9:13, Act 9:14 being : Mat 2:12, Mat 1:20; Psa 48:14, Psa 73:24, Psa 107:6, Psa 107:7, Psa 121:8; Isa 30:21, Isa ...

TSK: Mat 2:23 - Nazareth // He shall Nazareth : Joh 18:5, Joh 18:7, Joh 19:19; Act 2:22 He shall : Mat 26:71; Num 6:13; Jdg 13:5; 1Sa 1:11; Psa 69:9, Psa 69:10; Isa 53:1, Isa 53:2; Amo 2:...

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Poole: Mat 2:1 - in the days of Herod the king // there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem // wise men Mat 2:1-2 Wise men from the east come to Jerusalem to inquire after Christ. Mat 2:3-8 Herod is alarmed. Mat 2:9-12 The wise men are directed b...

Mat 2:1-2 Wise men from the east come to Jerusalem to inquire

after Christ.

Mat 2:3-8 Herod is alarmed.

Mat 2:9-12 The wise men are directed by a star to Christ, and

worship him, offering gifts.

Mat 2:13-15 Joseph, warned by an angel, fleeth with the young

child and his mother into Egypt.

Mat 2:16-18 Herod’ s massacre of the children in Bethlehem and

round about.

Mat 2:19-23 Upon the death of Herod Christ is brought out of

Egypt, and dwelleth at Nazareth.

That Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, was of Nazareth in Galilee, appears from Luk 2:4 , where we are told that he went from thence unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David); to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife: for, it seems, so was the emperor’ s decree, Luk 2:1 , and Cyrenius the governor of Syria had ordered that every one should go to be taxed in his own tribe and city. Those words, of Judea , were added to distinguish the place from another Bethlehem, which was in the territories of Zebulun, Jos 19:15 . The verse further tells us, that this was

in the days of Herod the king: these words, the king, are added to distinguish him from Herod the tetrarch, Mat 14:1 , or other Herods. This was that Herod the Great, commonly called the Ascalonite, the son of Antipater. There are three opinions of learned men concerning him. Some think that he was by birth an Idumean, and that his mother was an Arabian, and say he was the first foreigner that ever reigned in Judea; and that in him the prophecy was fulfilled, Gen 49:10 , that the sceptre should not depart from Judah till Shiloh came . Others contend that he was a native Jew. A third sort say he was originally an Idumean, but that his predecessors had for some ages been proselyted to the Jewish religion: which last opinion is judged the most probable. Judea was at that time subject to the Romans, whose senate made him king over it. Christ being born at this time, it is said,

there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem How long it was after he was born that they came the Scriptures tell us not. Some think they came presently; some think within thirteen days; some think it was two years after. It is certain they were directed to find Christ at Bethlehem, Mat 2:8,9 . There he was born, and circumcised the eighth day. There his mother accomplished the days of her purification, according to the law; which days were thirty-three, as may be seen Lev 12:2,3 , &c. Luke tells us, Luk 2:22 , that after the accomplishment of those days, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him (as their firstborn) to the Lord , Exo 13:2 , and to offer a sacrifice; and he tells us there of his meeting with Simeon and Anna, and of their prophecies, Luk 2:25 , &c.; and it is said, Luk 2:39 , When they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth . It is not probable that these wise men came before our Lord was carried to Jerusalem, (which was about six weeks after he was born), for besides that they had a long journey to come, after such a noise made by the wise men’ s coming, it is no way probable that Joseph and Mary would have carried him to Jerusalem, where the inquiry was first made; especially considering Herod’ s trouble about it, and his sending messengers presently to slay all the children in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof , Mat 2:16 . It is therefore most probable that it was near two years after the birth of Christ before they came; for though no such thing can be concluded from Herod’ s decree, which was for the slaying those that were two years old and under , yet one would think the following words signify some such thing, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. He had then made inquiry about what time this child should be born; possibly they could not tell him the exact time, but if they said a year or a year and half before, Herod (to make sure) might make his decree for all to be slain from two years old and under; but had they said a month or six weeks, it is not probable Herod would have been so barbarous as to have slain all of two years old: so as, if we wisely consider the history of Scripture, it is no way probable that they came before Mary’ s purification was over, and their offering him to the Lord, &c. mentioned Luk 2:22 .

But then how should they find him at Bethlehem? For he went to Nazareth, Luk 2:39 .

Answer: God might order some motion of Joseph to Bethlehem (of which the Scripture is silent); it was a city within the tribe to which he related, where probably he had kindred. So as, though it were a year or more after the birth of Christ before these wise men came, yet it is possible they might find him at Bethlehem, his parents being as guests there, though inhabitants at Nazareth. This is enough to have spoken of the time when these wise men came, viz. at what distance from the birth of Christ, considering that nothing can be in the case certainly determined. It is yet a greater question who these wise men were, and from what part of the world (here called the east ) they came. The uncertainties of men’ s conclusions in their points of curiosity, rather than profit, let us know how vainly men search for satisfaction when God hath hidden a thing from them. They cannot agree in the number of these men, some will have them twelve, some but three; and they undertake to tell us their names, though neither can they agree in it. Some will have them to be kings; and the papists make us believe they have their sepulchres with them to this day at Cologne; and by the number of the tombs they know their number; and that Church hath a festival for them, which is our Twelfth day. These and a hundred more fables there are about them. The Scripture saith no more than wise men , and telleth us nothing of their number. Whether they were mere astrologers, or such as were skilled in magical arts, or more generally philosophers, is vainly disputed; only we have their observation of this extraordinary star, together with what the Scripture tells us of the use those Eastern nations made of astrologers, to guide us to think they were such as were famous in their country for astrology: though others think them persons skilled in Divine and human laws. The Scripture only calls them

wise men Whether they came from the eastern parts of the world, or that part of the world which lay eastward to the city of Jerusalem, is another unprofitable question: pagans they were, without doubt; whether Persians or Arabians, or of some other country, is of no great concern for us to know, and almost impossible to determine. These were the firstfruits of the Gentiles owning Christ as King of the Jews, whilst he came amongst his own, and they received him not; nor do I know any thing more worthy of our observation concerning them. Those that think it worth the while to read what more is said concerning them, may read enough in Spanhem, his Dub. Evang., Heinsius, his Exercitat. Sac. and Poli Critica, which I rather choose to name than the popish writers, because in some of these he will find the antidote together with the poison of those fabulous discourses, and be taught a pious wariness of obtruding old wives’ fables into canonical history, and lightly imposing upon the faith of ignorant people.

Poole: Mat 2:2 - And are come to worship him Jerusalem was the metropolis of Judea; thither they come, as to the most likely place where to receive satisfaction. Of whom they inquired the Scrip...

Jerusalem was the metropolis of Judea; thither they come, as to the most likely place where to receive satisfaction. Of whom they inquired the Scripture saith not, but it is observable that they took notice that there was a person born who was to be an illustrious King of the Jewish nation, they speak not at all doubtfully as to that. This information they doubtless had from a Divine revelation, for although there was an extraordinary star appeared, which might let them know that God had produced, or was producing, so extraordinary a work of providence in the world, yet without a supernatural interpreter they could not have made so true and particular interpretation of it, as upon the sight of it to have come with such a confidence to Jerusalem, affirming that there was a King of the Jews born, and that this was his star, a light which God had put forth to direct that part of the world to the true Messiah. All guesses at the nature of this star, and the means how the wise men came to know that the King of the Jews was born upon the sight of it, and its motion, are great uncertainties; God undoubtedly revealed the thing unto them, and caused this extraordinary star, as at first to appear to confirm what he told them, so at last to appear directing them to the very house in which the young Child with his mother were.

And are come to worship him: whether worshipping here signifieth only a civil honour, which those Eastern nations ordinarily gave unto great princes, or that religious homage and adoration which was due unto the Messias, is variously opened by interpreters. It is said, Mat 2:11 , they fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This might be upon a civil or upon a religious account; and doubtless was according to the revelation which they had, concerning which nothing can be certainly determined.

Poole: Mat 2:3 - -- Herod was hardly warm in his kingdom, and had taken Jerusalem by force, and was therefore much concerned to hear that there was a new King born; and...

Herod was hardly warm in his kingdom, and had taken Jerusalem by force, and was therefore much concerned to hear that there was a new King born; and supposing him to have been all his life acquainted with the Jewish writings and records, where were prophecies of the Messias under the notion of a King, and not knowing that the kingdom of the Messias was not to be of this world, but being possessed of the ordinary nation of the Jews, that the Messias should restore a temporal kingdom to Israel, he could not but be troubled at the news of one born who was to be the King of the Jews, especially having a confirmation of it by such an extraordinary means, as persons coming from a far country, and being directed to their journey by some extraordinary impulse, upon the sight of a new star, which pointed to Judea, as the place to which it related: Herod upon this might justly think that his newly acquired kingdom would not last long. And though most people are quickly weary of conquerors, yet their former miseries being fresh in their minds, and the renewing of them likely upon a change in the government, it is no wonder if the generality of the people were also troubled.

Poole: Mat 2:4 - where Christ should be born In this perplexity the king Herod calleth a synod or convocation, which was made up of the chief priests and scribes; the single question which he p...

In this perplexity the king Herod calleth a synod or convocation, which was made up of the chief priests and scribes; the single question which he propounds to them was to resolve him

where Christ should be born It is most likely this was an extraordinary convention of such of these persons as the king thought fit, who were best skilled in the law, and other revelations of holy writ, not any orderly meeting of the sanhedrim; for the question propounded to them was of mere ecclesiastical concern, and to be resolved from the prophecies and writings of the Old Testament. The stating of the question to them, not where the King of the Jews, but where Christ should be born, makes it manifest, that although (that we read of) the wise men said nothing of Christ, yet Herod presently conceived that this King of the Jews, that was born, must be the Messiah prophesied of Psa 2:1-12 and in Dan 9:1-27 ; he therefore desired to know of them the place in which, according to their received tradition, and sense of the prophecies of holy writ, the Messiah whom they expected (that is, Christ) should be born.

Poole: Mat 2:5-6 - in Bethlehem of Judea // among the princes Ver. 5,6. It was (as it seems) so received a tradition, and interpretation of Mic 5:2 , that they gave him an answer without any hesitation, telling ...

Ver. 5,6. It was (as it seems) so received a tradition, and interpretation of Mic 5:2 , that they gave him an answer without any hesitation, telling him he was to be born

in Bethlehem of Judea this they confirm by the prophecy of the prophet Micah, Mic 5:2 ; so confirming the Son of the virgin Mary (at unawares) to be the Messiah from the testimony of the prophet Micah. The words in Micah something vary from those here mentioned; they are thus: But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. We must know,

1. That the writers of the New Testament, in their quotations out of the Old Testament, ordinarily quote only so much of them as makes to their purpose, and not always in the very terms in which they are found in the Old Testament: but keeping to the sense.

2. That it is more than probable that the evangelist keeps to the words in which the priests and scribes delivered in their answer to the king, for in this relation he is but reciting their answer.

The sole question propounded to them was: What the place was, where the Messiah, according to their records, was to be born? They answer: In Bethlehem Judah: they prove their answer from the testimony of the prophet. If any object that the prophet calls it Bethlehem Ephratah, not Bethlehem Judah, the answer is, that it is in sense the same, for Bethlehem Ephratah was within the tribe of Judah. It should seem by Gen 35:19 48:7 that it was formerly in Jacob’ s time called Ephrath. Some think that it was a town within Caleb’ s portion, and called Ephratah from his second wife, whose name was Ephrath, or Ephratah, 1Ch 2:19,50 , if it were not the same place, only fortified anew. We read of another Bethlehem in Judah builded by Rehoboam, 2Ch 11:6 ; whether it had this addition from its old name in Jacob’ s time, or from Caleb’ s wife, or to distinguish it from Bethlehem belonging to the tribe of Zebulun, is hard to say: it is plain that that Bethlehem is meant, both by Micah and Matthew, which was in Judah; possibly in tract of time the addition Ephratah was lost.

But, say some, there is a contradiction between Micah and Matthew; Micah saith it was the least, Matthew saith it was not the least.

Answer: Here is no contradiction; consider Bethlehem itself, it was but a small city, (if it were in Caleb’ s lot it is not named), but in other respects it was not the least. It was of old famous for Ibzan, one of the judges, for Elimelech, Boaz, Jesse, David; and now last of all for the birth of Christ, where respect to which the evangelist calls it not the least; or if he reciteth the scribes’ and priests’ words, they might call it not the least upon the account of Boaz, Jesse, and David, all which were born or dwelt there; and particularly with respect to Christ, who was born there. The prophet calls it the least with respect to its state in his time, the evangelist not the least with respect to its state then, its state being magnified by the birth of Christ. Micah saith among the thousands. Matthew,

among the princes It is the same thing, for, Num 1:16 , their princes were heads of thousands in Israel. The Jews would by no means have this text interpreted of Christ, but either of Zerubbabel or David: but as to Zerubbabel, he was born in Babylon, not in Bethlehem, and David was dead long before this prophecy; neither could the following words, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, agree to Zerubbabel or David: Zerubbabel’ s name tells us where he was born, and we never read that Bethlehem was thus celebrated with reference to David, though he was born there, 1Sa 16:1 17:58 , upon which account it is called the city of David, Luk 2:4 . The prophecy certainly related to Christ, and him only, and so is interpreted by the Chaldee paraphrast, who some think was one of this council called by Herod in this cause.

Poole: Mat 2:7 - -- Herod having heard the answer of the priests and scribes, did not think fit to make any noise of it amongst the people; he knew the Jews were apt en...

Herod having heard the answer of the priests and scribes, did not think fit to make any noise of it amongst the people; he knew the Jews were apt enough to rebel, and being so little a conqueror had no reason to presume much of their goodwill towards him; he therefore calls the wise men privily, and takes no notice of any King they talked of, but only inquires the time when this new star first appeared. To what end he made this inquiry may be learned from Mat 2:16 ; only that he might be able to govern himself in his bloody decree, that he might neither destroy more children than would serve his present design, nor yet leave this Child behind.

Poole: Mat 2:8 - -- He tells the wise men that Bethlehem was the place, wherein his wise men had informed him that the King of the Jews was to be born, and sends them t...

He tells the wise men that Bethlehem was the place, wherein his wise men had informed him that the King of the Jews was to be born, and sends them thither with these instructions: That they should go, and

search diligently there

for the young Child whom he doth not call King; thereby dissembling his bloody mind, and making as if he had no jealousy of him; yet withal he suggests to them that he was like to be a great Prince, or else he would never have pretended that he had a design, when once he knew certainly where he was, to go and pay a homage to him. This text lets us see the malignity of Herod’ s heart, and indeed of all wicked men’ s hearts. Herod knew that the Messiah was born. The extraordinary star and the coming of the wise men, the priests’ and scribes’ answer to him, could not but confirm him that he was born, who was long since promised, as a King and Governor to Israel; yet could he not obtain of his wretched heart to comply with the counsels of God, but, contrary to his own convictions, shows the folly of his heart, in thinking it was in his power to frustrate the Divine counsels, and be too hard for God himself. Nor is his folly less remarkable, not sending any of his own courtiers with them, whom he might better have trusted than mere strangers to have come back and brought him an account; but whether it was that he durst not trust any of the Jews, or that he was over credulous in trusting to the innocent simplicity of these wise men, being not made acquainted with his intentions, he suffereth them to go alone upon this errand, whom he might possibly think would be least suspected of Joseph and Mary, so as at their return he should have a more full account of all circumstances concerning him, than he could have expected from one who had been taken notice of as one that belonged to his court.

Poole: Mat 2:9 - They departed // The star // and went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was They departed toward Bethlehem Judah; how long their journey was we cannot tell: some wonder that none of the Jews did attend them in their journey, ...

They departed toward Bethlehem Judah; how long their journey was we cannot tell: some wonder that none of the Jews did attend them in their journey, coming out of their own country upon such a discovery, and impute it either to the Jews’ fear of the tyrant under which they were, or to the blindness and hardness of their hearts, for St. John tells us he came amongst his own, and they received him not; but it is possible that the wise men’ s immediate applications were to the court, as thinking that the most probable place to hear of one that should be born King of the Jews; and it may be questioned whether Herod, though he called the scribes and the priests together, told them that his summoning of them was occasioned by the coming of the wise men, for the only question he propounded to them was where Christ was to be born, which they might understand without any relation to the wise men’ s question. Nor is it probable that Herod should be more open than needed in publishing the coming of these wise men, or their errand. Yet the text saying that not only Herod, but all Jerusalem, was troubled, suggests to us, that both their coming, and the occasion of it, was noised abroad, more than probably Herod could have wished; but it is like their dismission was so private, that if any of the Jews had had a heart and courage enough to have gone with them, yet they might not have had opportunity. It is more admirable that Herod sent none that he could securely trust with them. But the hand of God was in this thing. They shall be hid whom he will hide. The Lord had prepared them a better guide.

The star which probably had disappeared for a good time while they were upon their journey to Jerusalem, (for they needed no star to guide them to so famous a place), as soon as they were out of Jerusalem it appeared again,

and went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was: probably the star appeared in the lower region, and though it could not point so directly that they should know the very house, yet it might point so near as by inquiry they might easily find it, especially by the influence of God upon their spirits, which doubtless they did not want. Whether these wise men were of the posterity of Balaam, who prophesied of a sceptre that should rise out of Israel, that should smite the corners of Moab, one that should have dominion, & c., Num 24:17,19 , or this star had any relation to the star mentioned there, Num 24:17 is very uncertain: it is more probable that these wise men came a much further journey, and that the star there mentioned was not to be understood in a literal sense, but better expounded by Simeon, Luk 2:32 , A light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of his people Israel.

Poole: Mat 2:10 - -- Joy is but the natural consequence of desire satisfied: they had in their own country seen an extraordinary star, which, according to the rules of t...

Joy is but the natural consequence of desire satisfied: they had in their own country seen an extraordinary star, which, according to the rules of their own art, they might guess to be an indication of a great Prince born, or, by a Divine revelation, they might know to be so. This kindled in them a strong desire to go and pay a homage to him; upon this they take a long journey to Jerusalem. When they come there they were more fully confirmed, from the answer of the priests and scribes, that there was a Christ to be born in Bethlehem Judah. Thither they go. In their journey the same star they had before seen appears to them again, confirming both their former apprehensions, and, by its standing over Bethlehem, and a particular house in it, (to their apprehensions), they were fully confirmed that they had right instructions from Herod, and rejoiced in the satisfaction of their desires naturally, and possibly rejoiced spiritually in this matter of joy to all people, if they had (as is probable) a spiritual illumination, and believed that this Christ was also Jesus, one come to save both Jews and Gentiles from their sins.

Poole: Mat 2:11 - They saw the young child with Mary his mother // their treasures, they presented to him gold, frankincense, and myrrh How long the virgin Mary and her holy Child had been there is not expressed; those that think these wise men came within six weeks or two months, ju...

How long the virgin Mary and her holy Child had been there is not expressed; those that think these wise men came within six weeks or two months, judge that Joseph and Mary came thither from Jerusalem after that he had been there offered, to the Lord, of which you read Luk 2:22 ; but they are forced, to uphold this, to interpret Luk 2:39 , which saith that after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth, of a considerable time after they had performed these things, which seemeth something hard and needless, especially considering Nazareth was Joseph’ s own city, i.e. the city where his fixed habitation was. It is most probable that they, after so long absence, went right home, and if the wise men (which is said) found them in Bethlehem, they were gone thither again to visit some relations.

They saw the young child with Mary his mother under what other circumstances the Scripture saith not, but questionless they were very poor and mean, which is a very strong inducement to us to believe that they had a spiritual Divine revelation, that this was a King whose kingdom was not of this world, the true Messiah and Saviour of the world; they would hardly else have treated a poor infant, in an ordinary house and no more attended, at the rate they did, for the text saith they

fell down and worshipped him a usual homage indeed which the Eastern nations paid to princes, but they used then to have better evidences of their royal state and dignity than these wise men seemed to have had, if they had not, besides the star, a Divine revelation what manner of King this was to be. We may therefore rather judge that their revelation extended not only to the birth of a King, but of such a King as indeed he was, the eternal Son of God clothed with human flesh; and that their falling down and worshipping him is to be understood of a Divine worship they paid to him, as the Saviour of the world: and so they were the first fruits of the Gentiles, owning and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that their following offerings to him were upon that account, for opening

their treasures, they presented to him gold, frankincense, and myrrh The guesses of those who think that they offered him gold as to a King, frankincense as a High Priest, and myrrh to sweeten the place where he was, I take to be but the product of luxuriant fancies. It is most certain that those Eastern people seldom came to their princes without some presents, and that their presents were usually of the most choice things their country afforded. This is plain from Gen 43:11 ; and if what naturalists tell us be true, that myrrh was only to be found in Arabia, and frankincense in Sabea, (a part of Arabia) and that country also had gold, which it is plain that it had from 2Ch 9:14 , it makes a very probable argument, that these wise men came from Arabia, which was full of men that were astrologers. The providence of God was wonderfully seen in these presents, by them providing for the sustenance of Joseph, and Mary, and Jesus in that exile which they were soon after to endure. For other allegorical and mystical significations of these presents, they are but conjectures, and the exuberances of men’ s fancies.

Poole: Mat 2:12 - -- Now the wise God begins to defeat the crafty counsels of Herod, whose bloody hand he had stayed till he should from the wise men have had a perfect ...

Now the wise God begins to defeat the crafty counsels of Herod, whose bloody hand he had stayed till he should from the wise men have had a perfect intelligence concerning this newborn King. God in a dream appeareth to the wise men, and warns them to go no more to Herod. The wise men came with no intention to serve Herod’ s bloody designs, but came in the simplicity of their hearts. This simplicity of theirs Herod would have abused, to have made them accessaries to his guilt. God will not suffer it: He who walketh uprightly walketh safely. Thus the integrity of Abimelech in taking Sarah protected him from guilt with reference to her, Gen 20:6 . The word which we here translate warned of God, is used of persons whom God is pleased to honour, so far as to discourse with, either by himself or an angel, Luk 2:26 Act 10:22 Heb 8:5 11:7 . Thus hath God honoured these wise men, whose hearts were inclined towards him and his Christ;

1. By giving them a star, to guide them.

2. Confirming their hearts by his word, from the mouth of the chief priests and scribes, that they were not mistaken concerning the star and its indication.

3. By speaking himself to them, to keep them from any guilt, or being so much as accessaries any way to that bloody tragedy, which upon their departure he knew would be acted. They take another way to go into their own country, so we hear of them no more.

Poole: Mat 2:13 - -- How long it was before this apparition to Joseph the Scripture saith not, but admitting what is affirmed by some geographers, that Bethlehem Judah w...

How long it was before this apparition to Joseph the Scripture saith not, but admitting what is affirmed by some geographers, that Bethlehem Judah was but two days’ journey from Jerusalem, it cannot be presumed long, for Herod had (doubtless) quick intelligence of the wise men’ s motions. Here was a second temptation upon Joseph, who was of no great quality, (a carpenter), and might have anxious thoughts how he in Egypt should maintain himself, his wife, and child; but Joseph knew that the earth was the Lord’ s, and the fulness thereof: though Egypt therefore was a land of idolaters, and he had no visible way of subsistence there, yet we shall hear that none of these things made him hesitate. Egypt was near to Palestine, and the dominions of another prince, within which Herod had nothing to do. Jeroboam fled thither, 1Ki 11:40 , and stayed there till the death of Solomon. God’ s precept here did not only indicate his care and special providence for and over this holy Child, but included a promise of sustenance and support for it and its parents; and the Lord further assured Joseph that he should not die in that exile, for he would likewise tell him the time when he should come back. Christ’ s time to die was not yet come, and therefore he would have him out of the way, for he who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, and knoweth the thoughts of man afar off, did know that Herod would

seek the young child to destroy him: he should but seek him, for God had resolved to preserve him, but he would show the malice of his heart in seeking of him, therefore God commands him to go away, and directeth him whither to go. The certainty of an issue, from the Divine counsels, or a Divine revelation, ought not to encourage us in the neglect of any rational and just means for the obtaining of it. Though God will provide for his church and people, yet it is his will they should use all just and lawful means for their own preservation.

Poole: Mat 2:14-15 - When he arose, he took the young Child and his mother // by night // was there until the death of Herod // That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my Son Ver. 14,15. True faith, or assent to a Divine revelation, always produces obedience to the precept of it. Thus it did in the wise men, thus in Joseph...

Ver. 14,15. True faith, or assent to a Divine revelation, always produces obedience to the precept of it. Thus it did in the wise men, thus in Joseph. Thus every where in holy writ. By which we may learn, that they indeed believe not the Scriptures to be the word of God, who take no care to live up to the rule of life prescribed in them. Joseph not only obeyed, but readily and presently obeyed:

When he arose, he took the young Child and his mother The poverty of our Saviour’ s parents is not obscurely gathered from this hasty motion of Joseph. His motion was not delayed for the packing up of goods, gathering in of debts, &c; if he lost any thing by his haste, yet he carried with him the promise and special care of God for him and his. Yet he moveth prudentially, and therefore he begins his journey

by night when least notice could be taken of his motion. We are not to put God upon working miracles for our preservation, though we have never so many sure promises, when it may be obtained in the use of means. They are God’ s security given to creatures, whom he hath endued with reason, and expressed that we should use it, while we yet trust in his word. We are not told into what part of Egypt Joseph went, nor how long he stayed there: some say six or seven years; others, but three or four months. The text saith he

was there until the death of Herod Some say that was before the paschal solemnity that year. But these things are great uncertainties. It is certain he stayed there till Herod died, but when that certainly was we know not, nor is it material for us to be curious in inquiring.

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my Son That it might be fulfilled is a phrase we often meet with in the New Testament, to declare the harmony of Scripture, and the faithfulness of God in fulfilling the prophecies or promises of the Old Testament. Spanhemius tells us: "The Scripture is said to be fulfilled properly or improperly." Properly two ways, either literally or mystically. Improperly, secondarily, when some such like thing happeneth as was before foretold or spoken of, or an example is brought parallel to some former example. Literally the Scripture is said to be fulfilled;

1. When a thing before prophesied of, or promised, cometh to pass. Thus the prophecy, Isa 7:14 , was literally fulfilled Mat 1:23 ; so Mic 5:2 was literally fulfilled Mat 2:6 , by Christ’ s being born in Bethlehem; so Zec 9:9 was literally fulfilled Mat 21:5 . Or else;

2. When the type is fulfilled in the antitype. Thus we read of many scriptures of the Old Testament fulfilled in Christ, several things about the paschal lamb, the brazen serpent, Solomon, David, Jonah, &c. Improperly the Scripture is said to be fulfilled, when any thing is reported as done, which bear a proportion to something before recorded in holy writ, as spoken or done: thus Christ applies the same thing to the hypocrites which lived in his time, Mat 15:7,8 , which Isaiah spoke of those who lived in his time, Isa 29:13 so Mat 13:14 Isa 6:9 : this divines call a fulfilling per accommodationem, aut transumptionem.

The question is, whether this scripture, which is Hos 11:1 , was fulfilled in Christ’ s being carried into Egypt, properly or improperly. There is a great variety of opinions; those possibly judge best who think that the Israelites going into and coming out of Egypt, was a type of Christ’ s going into Egypt, being preserved there, and coming out again. Matthew saith the scripture was fulfilled, whether properly or improperly is not much material for us to know. I have only added thus much to shorten my discourse hereafter where we shall meet with this phrase.

Poole: Mat 2:16 - When he saw that he was mocked, &c // He was exceeding wroth // and sent forth, and slew all the children in Bethlehem, and in the coasts thereof, from two years old and under // From two years old and under // according to the time he had diligently inquired of the wise men Herod now expounds what he meant by his coming and worshipping Christ also, which he talked of Mat 2:8 . When he saw that he was mocked, &c really...

Herod now expounds what he meant by his coming and worshipping Christ also, which he talked of Mat 2:8 .

When he saw that he was mocked, &c really mocked by their coming no more to him; not that they used any mocking language, or designed by their actions to deceive him, but probably intended to have gone back according to his desire, but that they were otherwise admonished by God in a dream.

He was exceeding wroth as great persons used to be when they see any great design they have frustrated by their inferiors,

and sent forth, and slew all the children in Bethlehem, and in the coasts thereof, from two years old and under: he sent forth soldiers, or executioners, and slew all the children. There is a tradition that amongst them he slew his own son, and that Augustus Caesar, hearing it, should say, "It was better to be Herod’ s hog than his child, because the Jews will eat no swine’ s flesh." Others say this is but a fable, for his son died very few days before himself.

From two years old and under: if we take these words as they seem to sound, they would incline us to think that Christ was near two years old before the wise men came; but some very learned men think they came within a year or little more, and that the term we translate "two years old," signifieth persons that had never so little entered upon the second year of their age: so as if a child were but a year and a week old, he was properly enough called diethv one of two years old, that is, who had began his second year. Hence they think that the star appeared some little matter above a year before they came to Bethlehem; and considering at how great distance some parts in Arabia were from Jerusalem, they think that a year might well be ran out in their deliberations about, and preparations for, and despatch of their journey. Thus they interpret the next words,

according to the time he had diligently inquired of the wise men that they had told them that it was something above a year since the star appeared first. This is now a middle way between those who (very improbably) think that they came within thirteen days, too short a time doubtless for such a journey, and those that think they came not till near two years, which to some seemeth as much too long. I leave it to the reader’ s judgment.

Poole: Mat 2:17-18 - Rachel Ver. 17,18. The text quoted is Jer 31:15 . This prophecy was literally fulfilled when Judah was carried into captivity; there was then a great mourni...

Ver. 17,18. The text quoted is Jer 31:15 . This prophecy was literally fulfilled when Judah was carried into captivity; there was then a great mourning in the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, for their children that were slain and carried into captivity. It was now fulfilled, that is, verified, a second time. There is no need that Rama here should be taken appellatively, as it signifieth a high place, from whence a noise is most loudly and dolefully heard. There were several places so named, one near Bethlehem, (formerly called Ephrath, Gen 35:16 , 19), Jud 4:5 , a city in the lot of Benjamin, Jos 18:25 . The slaughter was in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof; the noise reached to Rama, which was close by. Both Benjamin and Judah made up the one kingdom of Judah.

Rachel was the mother of Benjamin, a woman passionately desirous of children, therefore the fittest person to have her name used to express the sorrow of all those mothers who had lost their children in this slaughter. The slaughter of these children caused a lamentable mourning by tender mothers throughout Benjamin and Judah, such as the former captivity caused to be mentioned, Jer 31:15 .

Poole: Mat 2:19-20 - -- Ver. 19,20. That is, as some say, within three or four months, for Herod, they say, no longer outlived this bloody act; and if we may believe histori...

Ver. 19,20. That is, as some say, within three or four months, for Herod, they say, no longer outlived this bloody act; and if we may believe historians, he was in his death made a dreadful example of Divine vengeance. But we cannot assert the just time how long he outlived this bloody act; when he was dead, God, who had promised Joseph, Mat 2:13 , to tell him by an angel, (as before), let Joseph know he might safely return. It is probable this apparition was not immediately upon the death of Herod, for Archelaus was reigning, who must be allowed some time to go to Rome, and to have this dignity conferred on him; but soon after he was dead this apparition was, with a command to him to return into the land of Israel, to which he soon yieldeth obedience.

Poole: Mat 2:21-22 - -- Ver. 21,22. The true King of the Jews being born, the singular providence of God so ordered it, that there was no more constituted governors of Judea...

Ver. 21,22. The true King of the Jews being born, the singular providence of God so ordered it, that there was no more constituted governors of Judea under the title of kings, though they are said to reign, because the tetrarchs in their provinces exercised a regal power; for though Archelaus was by his father’ s will declared his successor in the kingdom, yet the emperor and senate of Rome was to confirm him, who made Archelaus tetrarch of Judea, as appears by this verse; Antipas, another of his sons, called also by his father’ s name, tetrarch of Galilee; Philip, another of his sons, tetrarch of Iturea; and Lysanias tetrarch of Abylene; and set a governor over Judea, which was Pontius Pilate; as appeareth by Luk 3:1 . Of all the sons of Herod, Archelaus is said to be of the most fierce and bloody disposition, which made Joseph afraid to go thither. His brother Herod Antipas is reported of a much milder disposition, and more inactive temper. So Joseph, not without the direction of God, goeth into his own province, which was Galilee.

Poole: Mat 2:23 - He shall be called a Nazarene It appeareth by Luk 2:4 , that Joseph dwelt in Nazareth before our Saviour was born; and, Luk 2:39 , after Mary’ s purification it is said, th...

It appeareth by Luk 2:4 , that Joseph dwelt in Nazareth before our Saviour was born; and, Luk 2:39 , after Mary’ s purification it is said, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth; and, Luk 4:16 , he was there brought up. Hence, Joh 1:45 , he is called by Philip, Jesus of Nazareth. But the following words of this verse afford as great difficulties as any other in holy writ.

1. How Christ could be called a Nazarene, who apparently was born at Bethlehem.

2. How the evangelist saith that was fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,

He shall be called a Nazarene whereas there is no such saying in all the prophets.

There is a strange variety of opinions as to these questions. Spanhemius acquiesceth in that which seemeth least liable to exception, viz. That Christ was to put a period to that order of Nazarites amongst the Jews, whose rules we have Num 6:2,3 ; of which order Samson was, as appears by Jud 13:7 , and Joseph was called ryzn Gen 49:26 , the very same word which is used Jud 13:7 . Both Joseph and Samson were eminent types of Christ. And it was spoken of Christ by the prophets, (the holy men of God who wrote the Scriptures), that Christ should be called ryzn Nezir, as it is in the Hebrew, in that it was spoken of those that were his types; who are both expressly so called. The word signifieth a holy person, one separated to God, and from ordinary converse with men. Christ was to be such a Nazarite, separated to God, for the accomplishment of our redemption, and, like Joseph, separated from his brethren: Isa 53:3 , he was rejected of men:— we hid as it were our faces from him, and we esteemed him not. God by his singular providence so ordered it, that he who was the antitype to all the Nazarites, and the true Nezir, or person separated, should be educated at Nazareth, a poor contemptible town: Joh 1:46 , Nathanael said, Can there any good come out of Nazareth? That while his education there gave the Jews an occasion to reproach him, as a Nazarene, because born at Nazareth, believers amongst the Jews might understand him to be the true Nazarite, understood in Joseph and Samson called by this name, as types and figures of him who was to come, separated by God to a more excellent end, and from men in a more eminent manner. So that what the prophets spake of this nature concerning Christ, they spake of those who were the true types of Christ. Those who will read Spanhemius, and Poli Critica, will find large discourses about the difficulties of this text, but this seemeth to be Spanhemius’ s opinion, improving the notion of Mr. Calvin.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:1 - Now when Jesus was born. // In Beth-lehem. // Wise men from the east A calculation of the times when Christ was born.    Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, ...

A calculation of the times when Christ was born.   

Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.   

[Now when Jesus was born.] We thus lay down a scheme of the times when Christ was born:   

I. He was born in the year of the world 3928.   

For from the creation of the world to the deluge are commonly reckoned 1656 years.   

From the deluge to Abraham's promise are 427 years. This being supposed, that Abraham was born the 130th year of Terah: which must be supposed.   

From the promise given, to the going out of Egypt, 430 years, Exo 12:40; Gal 3:17.   

From the going out of Egypt to the laying the foundations of the Temple are 480 years, 1Ki 6:1.   

The Temple was building 7 years, 1Ki 6:38.   

Casting up, therefore, all these together, viz. 1656 + 427 + 430 + 480 + 7 = The sum of years amounts to 3000.   

And it is clear, the building of the Temple was finished and completed in the year of the world 3000.   

The Temple was finished in the eleventh year of Solomon, 1Ki 6:38; and thence to the revolting of the ten tribes, in the first year of Rehoboam, were 30 years. Therefore, that revolt was in the year of the world 3030.   

From the revolt of the ten tribes to the destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekiah were three hundred and ninety years: which appears sufficiently from the chronical computation of the parallel times of the kings of Judah and Israel: and which is implied by Eze 4:4-6; "Thou shalt sleep upon thy left side, and shalt put the iniquities of the house of Israel upon it, etc. According to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days. And when thou shalt have accomplished them, thou shalt sleep upon thy right side the second time, and shalt take upon thee the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days." Concerning the computation of these years, it is doubted, whether those forty years are to be numbered together within the three hundred and ninety years, or by themselves, as following after those three hundred and ninety years. We, not without cause, embrace the former opinion, and suppose those forty years to be included within the sum of three hundred and ninety; but mentioned by themselves particularly, for a particular reason. For by the space of forty years before the destruction of the city by the Chaldeans, did Jeremiah prophesy daily, namely, from the third year of Josias to the sacking of the city: whom the people not hearkening to, they are marked for that peculiar iniquity with this note.   

Therefore, these three hundred and ninety years being added to the year of the world, 3030, when the ten tribes fell off from the house of David, the age of the world when Jerusalem perished, arose to the year 3420.   

At that time there remained fifty years of the Babylonian captivity to be completed. For those remarkable seventy years took their beginning from the third year of Jehoiakim, Dan 1:1; whose fourth year begins the Babylonian monarchy, Jer 25:1. And, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, the Temple was destroyed, 2Ki 25:8; when now the twentieth year of the captivity passed; and other fifty remained: which fifty being added to the year of the world 3420, a year fatal to the Temple, the years of the world amount, in the first year of Cyrus, unto 3470.   

From the first of Cyrus to the death of Christ are seventy weeks of years, or four hundred and ninety years, Dan 9:24. Add these to the three thousand four hundred and seventy, and you observe Christ crucified in the year of the world 3960. When, therefore, you have subtracted thirty-two years and a half, wherein Christ lived upon the earth, you will find him born in the year of the world 3928.   

II. He was born in the one-and-thirtieth year of Augustus Caesar, the computation of his monarchy beginning from the victory at Actium. Of which matter thus Dion Cassius writes: "This their sea-fight was on the second of September: and this I speak upon no other account (for I am not wont to do it), but because then Caesar first obtained the whole power: so that the computation of the years of his monarchy must be precisely reckoned from that very day." We confirm this our computation, by drawing down a chronological table from this year of Augustus to the fifteenth year of Tiberius, when Christ, having now completed the nine-and-twentieth year of his age, and entering just upon his thirtieth, was baptized. Now this table, adding the consuls of every year, we thus frame:   

  

A.M. A.U.C. Augustus A.D.
3928 754 31 1
3929 755 32 2
3930 756 33 3
3931 757 34 4
3932 758 35 5
3933 759 36 6
3934 760 37 7
3935 761 38 8
3936 762 39 9
3937 763 40 10
3938 764 41 11
3939 765 42 12
3940 766 43 13
3941 767 44 14
  

{ [A.M Latin anno mundi = in the year of the world.   

A.U.C. Latin ab urbe condita = from the year of the founding of the city (of Rome).]}  

Augustus Caesar died the 19th day of August: on which day he had formerly entered upon the first consulship. He lived seventy-five years, ten months, and twenty-six days. He bore the empire alone, from the victory at Actium, forty-four years, wanting only thirteen days.   

"Tiberius held the empire in great slothfulness, with grievous cruelty, wicked covetousness, and filthy lust."   

  

A.M. A.U.C. Tiberius A.D.
3942 768 1 15
3943 769 2 16
3944 770 3 17
3945 771 4 18
3946 772 5 19
3947 773 6 20
3948 774 7 21
3949 775 8 22
3950 776 9 23
3951 777 10 24
3952 778 11 25
3953 779 12 26
3954 780 13 27
3955 781 14 28
3956 782 15 29
  

In the early spring of this year came John baptizing. In the month Tisri Christ is baptized, when he had now accomplished the nine-and-twentieth year of his age, and had now newly entered upon his thirtieth. The thirtieth of Christ is to be reckoned with the sixteenth of Tiberius.   

Of Augustus, now entering upon his one-and-thirtieth year, wherein Christ was born, Dion Cassius hath moreover these words: "Having now completed thrice ten years, being compelled, indeed, to it, he continued his government, and entered upon a fourth ten of years: being now more easy and slothful by reason of age." In this very year was the taxation under Cyrenius, of which Luke speaks, Luke_2. So that if it be asked when the fifth monarchy of the Romans arose, after the dissolution of those four mentioned by Daniel, an easy answer may be fetched from St. Luke, who relates that in that very year wherein Christ was born, Augustus laid a tax upon the whole world.   

III. Christ was born in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Herod: which we gather from the observation of these things: 1. Herod reigned, from that time he was first declared king by the Romans, seven-and-thirty years. 2. Between the death of Herod and the death of Augustus there was this space of time:   

1. The ten years current of the reign of Archelaus.   

2. Coponius succeeds him, banished to Vienna in the presidentship of Judea.   

3. Marcus Ambibuchus [Ambivius] succeeds Coponius.   

4. Annius Rufus succeeds Ambibuchus [Ambivius], during whose presidentship Augustus dies.   

Since, therefore, only fourteen years passed from the nativity of Christ to the death of Augustus, out of which sum when you shall have reckoned the ten years current of Archelaus, and the times of the three presidents, we must reckon that Christ was not born but in the last years of Herod. Thus we conjecture:   

In his thirty-fifth Christ was born.   

In his thirty-seventh, now newly begun, the wise men came: presently after this was the slaying of the infants; and, after a few months, the death of Herod.   

IV. Christ was born about the twenty-seventh year of the presidentship of Hillel in the Sanhedrim.   

The rise of the family of Hillel took its beginning at the decease of the Asmonean family (Herod, indeed, succeeded in the kingly government); a family sprung from Babylon, and, as was believed, of the stock of David. For "a book of genealogy was found at Jerusalem" (which we mentioned before), "in which it was written, that Hillel was sprung from the stock of David, by his wife Abital." Now Hillel went up out of Babylon to Jerusalem, to inquire of the wise men concerning some things, when now, after the death of Shemaia and Abtalion, the two sons of Betira held the chief seats. And when he who had resorted thither to learn something, had taught them some things of the Passover rites, which they had forgot, they put him into the chair. You have the full story of it in the Jerusalem Talmud. We mention it Mat 26:1.   

Now Hillel went up to Jerusalem and took the chair a hundred years before the destruction of the city: " Hillel and his son Simeon, and his son Gamaliel, and his son Simeon, bare the government for a hundred years before the laying waste of the Temple." Of those hundred years if you take away two-and-thirty and a half of the life of Christ, and forty years (as it is commonly deputed) coming between the death of Christ and the destruction of the city, there remain the twenty-seven years of Hillel before the birth of our Saviour.   

Hillel held the government forty years: so that his death happened about the twelfth or thirteenth year of Christ. His son also held it after him, and his grandsons, in a long succession, even to R. Judah the Holy. The splendour and pomp of this family of Hillel had so obscured the rest of the families of David's stock, that perhaps they believed or expected the less, that the Messias should spring from any of them. Yea, one in the Babylonian Gemara was almost persuaded, that "Rabbi Judah the Holy, of the Hillelian family, was the Messias. Rabh said, If Messiah be among the living, our Holy Rabbi is such; if among the dead, Daniel was he."   

V. Christ was born in the month of Tisri; somewhat answering to our September. This we conclude, omitting other things, by computing backwards from his death. For if he died in his two-and-thirtieth year and a half, at the feast of the Passover, in the month Nisan, you must necessarily lay the time of his birth in the month Tisri. But that he died at that age, not to make any delay by mentioning more things, appears hence, that he was baptized now beginning his thirtieth year, and that he lived after his baptism three years and a half; as the space of his public ministry is determined by the angel Gabriel, Daniel_9; "In the half of a week" (that is, three years and a half), "he shall make the sacrifice to cease," etc. But of this hereafter.   

This month was ennobled in former times, 1. For the creation of the world. Weigh well Exo 23:15; Joe 2:23. 2. For the nativity of the first fathers; which the Jews assert not without reason. 3. For the repairing the tables of the law. For Moses, after the third fast of forty days, comes down from the mountain, a messenger of good things, the tenth day of this month, which was from hence appointed for the feast of Expiation to following ages. 4. For the dedication of the Temple, 1Ki 8:2. And, 5. For three solemn feasts, namely, that of the Beginning of the Year, that of Expiation, and that of Tabernacles. From this month also was the beginning of the Jubilee.   

VI. It is probable Christ was born at the feast of Tabernacles.   

1. So it ariseth exactly to three-and-thirty years and a half, when he died at the feast of the Passover.   

2. He fulfilled the typical equity of the Passover and Pentecost, when, at the Passover, he offered himself for a passover, at Pentecost he bestowed the Holy Ghost from heaven, as at that time the law had been given from heaven. At that time the first-fruits of the Spirit were given by him (Rom 8:23), when the first-fruits of corn had been wont to be given, Lev 23:17. It had been a wonder if he had honoured the third solemnity, namely, the feast of Tabernacles, with no antitype.   

3. The institution of the feast of Tabernacles agrees excellently with the time of Christ's birth. For when Moses went down from the mount on the tenth day of the month Tisri, declaring that God was appeased, that the people was pardoned, and that the building of the holy tabernacle was forthwith to be gone in hand with (hitherto hindered by and because of the golden calf), seeing that God now would dwell among them, and forsake them no more; the Israelites immediately pitch their tents, knowing they were not to depart from that place before the divine tabernacle was finished, and they set upon this work with all their strength. Whence the tenth day of that month, wherein Moses came down and brought this good news with him, was appointed for the feast of Expiation; and the fifteenth day, and seven days after, for the feast of Tabernacles, in memory of their dwelling in tents in the wilderness, when God dwelt in the midst of them: which things with how aptly typical an aspect they respect the incarnation, when God dwelt among men in human flesh, is plain enough.   

4. Weigh Zec 14:16-17; "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up, from year to year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no more rain."   

[In Beth-lehem.] It will not be improper here to produce the Gemarists themselves, openly confessing that the Messias was born now a good while ago before their times. For so they write: "After this the children of Israel shall be converted, and shall inquire after the Lord their God, and David their king, Hos 3:5. Our Rabbins say, That is king Messias: if he be among the living, his name is David; or if dead, David is his name. R. Ranchum said, Thus I prove it: 'He showeth mercy to David his Messiah' (Psa 18:50). R. Joshua Ben Levi saith, His name is A branch (Zec 3:8). R. Judan Bar Aibu saith, His name is Menahem [that is, the comforter.] And that which happened to a certain Jew, as he was ploughing, agreeth with this business: -- A certain Arabian travelling, and hearing the ox bellow, said to the Jew at plough, 'O Jew, loose thy oxen, and loose thy ploughs: for behold! The Temple is laid waste.' The ox bellowed the second time; the Arabian said to him, O Jew, Jew, yoke thy oxen and fit thy ploughs, for behold! King Messiah is born. But, saith the Jew, 'What is his name?' 'Menahem,' saith he. 'And what is the name of his father?' 'Hezekiah,' saith the Arabian. To whom the Jew, 'But whence is he?' The other answered, 'From the palace of the king of Beth-lehem Judah.' Away he went, and sold his oxen and his ploughs, and became a seller of infants' swaddling-clothes, going about from town to town. When he came to that city [Beth-lehem], all the women bought of him, but the mother of Menahem bought nothing. He heard the voice of the women saying, 'O thou mother of Menahem, thou mother of Menahem, carry thy son the things that are here sold.' But she replied, 'May the enemies of Israel be strangled, because on the day that he was born the Temple was laid waste!' To whom he said, 'But we hoped, that as it was laid waste at his feet, so at his feet it would be built again.' She saith, 'I have no money.' To whom he replied, 'But why should this be prejudicial to him? Carry him what you buy here; and if you have no money to-day, after some days I will come back and receive it.' After some days he returns to that city, and saith to her, 'How does the little infant?' And she said, 'From the time you saw me last, spirits and tempests came, and snatched him away out of my hands.' R. Bon saith, What need have we to learn from an Arabian? Is it not plainly written, 'And Lebanon shall fall before the powerful one?' (Isa 10:34). And what follows after? 'A branch shall come out of the root of Jesse' " (Isa 11:1).   

The Babylonian doctors yield us a confession not very unlike the former: "R. Chaninah saith, After four hundred years are past from the destruction of the Temple, if any one shall say to you, 'Take to thyself for one penny a field worth a thousand pence,' do not take it." And again; "After four thousand two hundred thirty-and-one years from the creation of the world, if any shall say to you, 'Take for a penny a field worth a thousand pence,' take it not." The Gloss is, "For that is the time of redemption; and you shall be brought back to the holy mountain, to the inheritance of your fathers: why, therefore, should you misspend your penny?"   

You may fetch the reason of this calculation, if you are at leisure, out of the tract Sanhedrim: "The tradition of the school of Elias, The world is to last six thousand years," etc. And a little after; "Elias said to Rabh Judah, 'The world shall last not less than eighty-five jubilees; and in the last jubilee shall the Son of David come.' He saith to him, 'Whether in the beginning of it, or in the end?' He answered him, 'I know not.' 'Whether is this whole time to be finished first, or not?' He answered him, 'I know not.' But Rabh Asher asserts that he answered thus, 'Until then expect him not, but from thence expect him.' " Hear your own countrymen, O Jew, how many centuries of years are past by and gone from the eighty-fifth jubilee of the world, that is, the year 4250, and yet the Messias of your expectation is not yet come.   

Daniel's weeks had so clearly defined the time of the true Messias's coming, that the minds of the whole nation were raised into the expectation of him. Hence it was doubted of the Baptist whether he were not the Messias, Luk 3:15. Hence it was that the Jews are gathered together from all countries unto Jerusalem [ul Acts_2], expecting, and coming to see, because at that time the term of revealing the Messias, that had been prefixed by Daniel, was come. Hence it was that there was so great a number of false Christs, Mat 24:5; etc., taking the occasion of their impostures hence, that now the time of that great expectation was at hand, and fulfilled: and in one word, "They thought the kingdom of God should presently appear"; Luk 19:11.   

But when those times of expectation were past, nor did such a Messias appear as they expected (for when they saw the true Messias, they would not see him), they first broke out into various and those wild conjectures of the time; and at length all those conjectures coming to nothing, all ended in this curse (the just cause of their eternal blindness), May their soul be confounded who compute the times!   

[Wise men from the east.] Magi, that is, wizards, or such as practised ill arts: for in this sense alone this word occurs in holy writ.   

From the east. This more generally denotes as much as, 'Out of the land of the heathen,' in the same sense as 'the queen of the south' is taken, Mat 12:42; that is, 'a heathen queen.' Consider this passage in the Talmud, "From Rekam to the east, and Rekam is as the east: from Ascalon to the south, and Ascalon is as the south: from Acon to the north, and Acon is as the north." These words R. Nissim quotes from R. Judah, and illustrates it with this Gloss, "From Rekam to the furthest bounds of the land eastward is heathen land; and Rekam itself is reckoned for the east of the world, and not for the land of Israel. So also from Ascalon onwards to the south is the heathen country, and Ascalon itself is reckoned for the south": that is, for heathen land.   

Those countries where the sons of Abraham by his wife Keturah were dispersed, are more particularly called the 'eastern' countries, Gen 25:6; Jdg 6:3; and elsewhere often. And hence came these first-fruits of the Gentiles: whence it is not unlikely that Jethro also came, the first proselyte to the law. And that which is spoken by the Gemara concerning the Arabian, the first pointer-out of the Messias born, is perhaps some shadow of this story of the magicians' coming out of Arabia, and who first publicly declared him to be born.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:2 - For we have seen his star in the east Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.   [For we have see...

Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.   

[For we have seen his star in the east.] We, being in the east, have seen his star: -- that heavenly light, which in that very night wherein the Saviour was born shone round about the shepherds of Beth-lehem, perhaps was seen by these magicians, being then a great distance off, resembling a star hanging over Judea; whence they might the more easily guess that the happy sign belonged to the Jews.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:4 - And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together. // The chief priests. // The scribes of the people And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.   [And ...

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.   

[And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together.] That is, he assembled the Sanhedrim. Herod is said by very many authors to have slain the Sanhedrim, but this is neither to be understood of the whole Sanhedrim, nor, if it were to be understood of the whole, would it denote the total subversion of the Sanhedrim. The Babylonian Gemarists do thus relate the story: "Herod was a servant of the Asmonean family. He cast his eyes upon a young maid [of that family]. On a certain day he heard the Bath Kol [a voice from heaven] saying, Whatsoever servant shall now rebel shall prosper. He arose up against his masters, and slew them all." And a little after; "Herod said, Who is there that interprets these words, 'Thou shalt set a king over thee out of the midst of thy brethren?' (Deu 17:15). The Rabbins [interpreted the words]. He rose up and slew all the Rabbins, leaving only Bava Ben Buta, with whom he consulted."   

Herod was to overcome two difficulties, that he might, with the peace and favour of the Jews, become their king. For, although he had been raised unto the kingdom by the Romans, nevertheless, that he might establish his throne, the people remaining quiet and accepting him, first it seemed necessary to him that the Asmonean family should be removed out of the way, which, formerly governing the people, they had some affection and love for, and which still remaining, he suspected he could scarce be secure. Secondly, that law of setting no king over them but of their brethren debarred him, since he himself was of the stock of Edom. Therefore he took away all those Rabbins, who, adhering stiffly to this law, opposed, what they could, his coming to the kingdom. "But all the Rabbins indeed he slew not (saith the Gloss upon the place alleged); for the sons of Betira were left alive, who held the chair when Hillel came out of Babylon."   

Therefore he slew not all the elders of the Sanhedrim, but those only who, taking occasion from that law, opposed his access to the kingdom. Out of that slaughter the two sons of Betira escaped, who held the first places in the Sanhedrim after the death of Shemaiah and Abtalion. Shammai also escaped, who, according as Josephus relates, foretold this slaughter. Hillel escaped likewise, if he were then present; and Menahem, who certainly was there, and who thenceforth sat second in the chair. Bava Ben Buta escaped also, as the Gemara relates, who afterward persuaded Herod that he should repair the Temple to expiate this bloody impiety. And others escaped.   

[The chief priests.] When the Sanhedrim consisted of priests, Levites, and Israelites (as Maimonides teacheth), under the word chief priests; are comprehended the two former; namely, whosoever of the clergy were members of the Sanhedrim; and under the scribes of the people are comprehended all those of the Sanhedrim who were not of the clergy.   

Among the priests were divers differences:   

I. Of the priests some were called, as if you would say the plebeian priests; namely, such who indeed were not of the common people, but wanted school education, and were not reckoned among the learned, nor among such as were devoted to religion. For seeing the whole seed of Aaron was sacerdotal, and priests were not so much made as born, no wonder if some ignorant and poor were found among them. Hence is that distinction, The poor Israelites and the poor priests are gatherers. A Votary priest, and a Plebeian priest. And caution is given, That the oblation be not given to a Plebeian priest. And the reason of it is added, "Because whosoever giveth an oblation to a Plebeian priest doth all one as if he should give it to a lion; of which it may be doubted whether he will treat it under his feet and eat it or not. So it may be doubted of a Plebeian priest, whether he will eat it in cleanness or in uncleanness." However ignorant and illiterate these were, yet they had their courses at the altar according to their lot, being instructed at that time by certain rules for the performing their office, appointed them by lot. You would stand amazed to read those things which are supposed concerning the ignorance and rudeness even of the high-priest himself.   

II. There were others who were called Idiot; or private, priests; who although they both were learned, and performed the public office at the altar, yet were called private, because they were priests of a lower, and not of a worthier, order.   

III. The worthier degree of priests was fourfold, besides the degree of the high-priest, and of the sagan his substitute. For, 1. There were the heads of the Ephemeries; or courses; in number twenty-four. 2. There were the heads of the families in every course. Of both, see the Jerusalem Talmud. 3. The presidents over the various offices in the Temple. Of them, see Shekalim. 4. Any priests or Levites, indeed, (although not of these orders), that were chosen into the chief Sanhedrim. Chief priests; therefore, here and elsewhere, where the discourse is of the Sanhedrim, were they who, being of the priestly or Levitical stock, were chosen into that chief senate.   

[The scribes of the people.] A scribe; denotes more generally any man learned, and is opposed to the word rude; or clownish. "Two, who ate together, are bound to give thanks each by themselves, when both of them are scribes: But if one be a scribe, and the other ignorant [or a clown], let the scribe give thanks, and thence satisfaction is made for the duty of the ignorant; or unlearned person." So we read of The scribes of the Samaritans; that is, the learned among the Samaritans: for among them there were no traditionarians.   

More particularly, scribes; denote such, who, being learned, and of scholastic education, addicted themselves especially to handling the pen, and to writing. Such were the public notaries in the Sanhedrim, registrars in the synagogues, amanuenses who employed themselves in transcribing the law, phylacteries, short sentences to be fixed upon the door-posts, bills of contracts, or divorce, etc. And in this sense a scribe; and a Talmudic doctor; are sometimes opposed; although he was not Tanna; a Talmudic doctor, who was not Sophra; a scribe; in the sense above mentioned. In the Babylonian Talmud it is disputed (a passage not unworthy our reading), what disagreement in calculation may be borne with between an expounder out of the chair, or the pulpits, and a writer of contracts, or bills of divorce, or a register, etc., in reckoning up the year of the Temple, of the Greek empire, etc. Concerning which matter, this, among other things, is concluded on, that a scribe computes more briefly, a doctor more largely. It will not repent one to read the place; nor that whole tract called The tract of the scribes; which dictates to the scribes of that sort of which we are now speaking, concerning writing out the law, the phylacteries, etc.   

But, above all others, the fathers of the traditions are called scribes (who were, indeed, the elders of the Sanhedrim): which is clear enough in these and such-like expressions: The words of the scribes are more lovely than the words of the law; that is, traditions are better than the written law: This is of the words of the scribes; that is, 'this is from the traditionary decrees.'   

These, therefore, whom Matthew calls the scribes of the people; were those elders of the Sanhedrim, who were not sprung from the sacerdotal or Levitical stock, but of other tribes: the elders of the Sanhedrim, sprung of the blood of the priests, were the scribes of the clergy; the rest were the scribes of the people.   

We may therefore guess, and that no improbable conjecture, that, in this assembly, called together by Herod, these were present, among others: -- 1. Hillel, the president. 2. Shammai, vice-president. 3. The sons of Betira, Judah, and Joshua. 4. Bava Ben Buta. 5. Jonathan the son of Uzziel, the Chaldee paraphrast. 6. Simeon, the son of Hillel.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:6 - Art not the least And thou Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my...

And thou Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.   

[Art not the least.] These words do not at all disagree with the words of the prophet whence they are taken, Mic 5:2; which I thus render, "But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrata, it is a small thing that thou art" [or, art reckoned] " among the thousands of Israel"; for thou art to be crowned with higher dignity; "for from thee shall go forth a ruler," etc. And in effect to this sense, unless I mistake, does the Chaldee paraphrast plainly render it, whom I suspect to be present at this very council, "Thou art within a little to become chief." See the same sense of the word in the Targum upon Psa 73:2; Hos 1:4; etc.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:9 - The star, which they saw in the east, went before them When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over wher...

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.   

[The star, which they saw in the east, went before them.] It is probable the star had shone in the very birthnight: and thence-forward to this very time it had disappeared. The wise men had no need of the star to be their guide when they were going to Jerusalem, a city well known; but going forward thence to Beth-lehem, and that, as it seems, by night, it was their guide.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:14 - Departed into Egypt When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.   [Departed into Egypt.] Egypt was now replenish...

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.   

[Departed into Egypt.] Egypt was now replenished with Jews above measure, and that, partly by reason of them that travelled thither under Jochanan, the son of Kareah, Jeremiah_43; partly with them that flocked thither, more latewardly, to the temple of Onias, of which Josephus writes, and both Talmuds: "When Simeon the Just said, 'I shall die this year,' they said to him, 'Whom, therefore, shall we put in thy place?' He answered, 'Behold! My son Onias is before you.' They made Onias therefore high-priest. But his brother Simeon envied him. Onias, therefore, fled, first into the Royal Mountain, and then into Egypt, and built there an altar, repeating that of the prophet, 'In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of Egypt.' "   

"He that hath not seen the cathedral church of Alexandria hath never seen the glory of Israel. It was after the manner of a court-walk, double cloistered. There were sometimes there so many as doubly exceeded the number of those that went out of Egypt. There were seventy golden chairs set with gems, according to the number of the seventy elders. A wooden pulpit also placed in the middle, in which the bishop of the synagogue stood. And when the law was read, after every benediction, a sign being given by a private person waving a handkerchief, they all answered 'Amen.' But they sat not confusedly and mixedly together; but every artificer with the professors of the same art: so that if a stranger came, he might mingle himself with the workmen of the same trade, etc. These did wicked Trajan destroy," etc.   

The Babylonian Gemara repeats almost the same things, alleging these last matters after this manner: "They sat not confusedly, but the artificers by themselves, the silversmiths by themselves, the braziers by themselves, the weavers by themselves, etc.; so that if a poor stranger came in, he might know his own fellow-workmen, and betake himself to them, and thence receive sustenance for himself and family."   

So provision was made for the poverty of Joseph and Mary, while they sojourned in Egypt (at Alexandria, probably), partly by selling the presents of the wise men for food and provision by the way; and partly by a supply of victuals from their country-folks in Egypt when they had need.   

There are some footsteps in the Talmudists of this journey of our Saviour into Egypt, but so corrupted with venomous malice and blasphemy (as all their writings are), that they seem only to have confessed the truth, that they might have matter the more liberally to reproach him; for so they speak: "When Jannai the king slew the Rabbins, R. Josua Ben Perachiah, and Jesus, went away unto Alexandria in Egypt. Simeon Ben Shetah sent thither, speaking thus, 'From me Jerusalem the holy city, to thee, O Alexandria in Egypt, my sister, health. My husband dwells with thee, while I, in the mean time, sit alone. Therefore he rose up, and went.' " And a little after; "He brought forth four hundred trumpets, and anathematized" [Jesus]. And a little before that; "Elisaeus turned away Gehazi with both his hands, and R. Josua Ben Perachiah thrust away Jesus with both his hands."   

"Did not Ben Satda bring enchantments out of Egypt in the cutting which was in his flesh?" Under the name of Ben Satda they wound our Jesus with their reproaches, although the Glosser upon the place, form the authority of R. Tam, denies it: for thus he; R. Tam saith, This was not Jesus of Nazareth, because they say here, Ben Satda was in the days of Paphus, the son of Judah, who was in the days of R. Akiba: but Jesus was in the days of R. Josua, the son of Perachiah, etc.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:16 - From two years old, and under Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem...

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.   

[From two years old, and under.] It was now two years ago, or thereabouts, since the star had shone, and Christ was born. The reason of the tarrying of Joseph and Mary in Beth-lehem was this; that they believed that the Messias, who, according to the prophet was born there, should have been brought up nowhere but there also; nor dared they to carry him elsewhere, before they had leave to do so by an angel from heaven.   

The Jewish nation are very purblind, how and whence the Messias shall arise; and "Nemo novit, no man knows whence the Son of man is," Joh 7:27; that is, from what original. It was doubted whether he should come from the living or from the dead. Only it was confessed by all without controversy, that he should first make some show of himself from Beth-lehem, which the priests and scribes of the people assert, Mat 2:4. Hence you have Christ now in his second year at Beth-lehem, whither Joseph and Mary had again betaken themselves with him, when they had now presented him in the Temple, according to the law, being forty days old, Luk 2:22. And they had taken care for his education in this place, and not elsewhere, until he himself, going forth from hence, might show himself openly the Messias, if they had not been sent away somewhere else by permission from heaven.

Lightfoot: Mat 2:23 - He shall be called a Nazarene And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.  ...

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.   

[He shall be called a Nazarene.] Those things which are brought from Isa 11:1 concerning Netzer, the Branch; and those things also produced concerning Samson the Nazarite, a most noble type of Christ, have their weight, by no means to be despised. We add, that Matthew may be understood concerning the outward, humble, and mean condition of our Saviour. And that by the word, Nazarene; he hints his separation and estrangement from other men, as a despicable person, and unworthy of the society of men.   

I. Let it be observed, that the evangelist does not cite some one of the prophets, but all: "spoken by the prophets." But now all the prophets, in a manner, do preach the vile and abject condition of Christ; none, that his original should be out of Nazareth.   

II. David, in his person, speaks thus; I was a stranger to my brethren; Psa 69:9.   

III. If you derive the word Nazarene; which not a few do, from Nazir; a Nazirean; that word denotes not only a separation; dedicated to God, such as that of the Nazarenes was; but it signifies also the separation of a man from others, as being unworthy of their society; Gen 49:26; "They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."   

Therefore, let us digest the sense of the evangelist by this paraphrase: Joseph was to depart with Christ to Beth-lehem, the city of David, or to Jerusalem, the royal city, had not the fear of Archelaus hindered him. Therefore, by the signification of an angel, he is sent away into Galilee, a very contemptible country, and into the city Nazareth, a place of no account: whence, from this very place, and the name of it, you may observe that fulfilled to a tittle which is so often declared by the prophets, that the Messias should be Nazor; a stranger; or separate from men, as if he were a very vile person, and not worthy of their company.

Haydock: Mat 2:1 - From the east King Herod the Great, surnamed Ascalonite, was a foreigner, but a proselyte to the Jewish religion. St. Jerome. --- this city is called Bethlehem of...

King Herod the Great, surnamed Ascalonite, was a foreigner, but a proselyte to the Jewish religion. St. Jerome. ---

this city is called Bethlehem of Juda, to distinguish it from another Bethlehem, which was situated in the division of the tribe of Zabulon. (Haydock) Wise men. [1] Both the Latin and Greek text may signify wise philosophers and astronomers, which is the common exposition. The same word is also many times taken for a magician or soothsayer, as it is applied to Simon, (Acts viii. 9,) and to Elymas, Acts xiii, ver. 6. and 8. Some ancient interpreters think these very men might have been magicians before their conversion. See a Lapide, &c. ---

From the east. Some say from Arabia, others from Chaldea, others from Persia. Divers interpreters speak of them as if they had been kings, princes, or lords of some small territories. See Baron. an. i. sect. 29. Tillemont, note 12. on Jesus Christ. The number of these wise men is uncertain. St. Leo, in his sermons on the Epiphany, speaks of them as if they had been three, perhaps on account of their three-fold offerings. What is mentioned in later writers as their names, is still of less authority, as Bol[]andus observed. There are also very different opinions as to the time that the star appeared to these wise men, whether before Christ's birth, or about the very time he was born, which seems more probable. The interpreters are again divided as to the year, and day of the year, when they arrived at Bethlehem, and adored the Saviour of the world. Some think not till two years after Christ's birth. See St. Epiphanius hær. xxx. num. 29. p. 134. And St. Jerome puts the massacre of the Holy Innocents about that time in his chronicle. But taking it for granted that the wise men came to Jerusalem and to Bethlehem the same year that Christ was born, it is not certain on what day of the year they adored him at Bethlehem. It is true the Latin Church, ever since the 4th or 5th age, has kept the feast of the Epiphany on the 6th day of January. But when it is said in that day's office, This day a star led the wise men to the manger, it may bear this sense only, this day we keep the remembrance of it; especially since we read in a sermon of St. Maximus (appointed to be read in the Roman Breviary on the 5th day within the octave of the Epiphany) these words: What happened on this day, he knows that wrought it; whatever it was, we cannot doubt it was done in favour of us. The wise men, by the 11th verse, found Jesus at Bethlehem, where his blessed mother was to remain forty days, till the time of her purification was expired. And it seems most probable that the wise men came to Bethlehem about that time, rather than within thirteen days after Christ's birth: for had they come so soon after Christ was born, and been directed to go, and make diligent inquiry at Bethlehem, which was not above five miles from Jerusalem, it can scarcely be imagined that so suspicious and jealous a prince as Herod was, would have waited almost a month for their return without searching for the new-born king. But it is likely, being again alarmed by what happened when Jesus was presented in the temple at his mother's purification, he therefore gave those cruel and barbarous orders for the massacre of those innocent infants. (Witham)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Magi, Greek: oi Magoi .

Haydock: Mat 2:2 - We have seen his star We have seen his star. They knew it to be his star, either by some prophecy among them, or by divine revelation. This star was some lightsome bod...

We have seen his star. They knew it to be his star, either by some prophecy among them, or by divine revelation. This star was some lightsome body in the air, which at last seemed to point to them the very place where the world's Redeemer lay. We know not whether it guided them during the whole course of their journey from the East to Jerusalem . We read nothing more in the gospel, but that it appeared to them in the East, and that they saw it again, upon their leaving Jerusalem to go to Bethlehem. (Witham) ---

the wise men, in the Syrian tongue maguseha, are supposed to have come from Stony Arabia, near the Euphrates. They might have preserved in this country the remembrance of the prophecy of Balaam, which had announced the coming of the Messias by the emblem of a star, (Numbers xxiv. 17.) which was to arise from Jacob. The star which appeared then, was the symbol of the star which Balaam had predicted. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 2:3 - -- Through fear of losing his kingdom, he being a foreigner, and had obtained the sovereignty by violence. But why was all Jerusalem to be alarmed at th...

Through fear of losing his kingdom, he being a foreigner, and had obtained the sovereignty by violence. But why was all Jerusalem to be alarmed at the news of a king so long and so ardently expected? 1. Because the people, well acquainted with the cruelty of Herod, feared a more galling slavery. 2. Through apprehension of riots, and of a revolution, which could not be effected without bloodshed, as the Romans had such strong hold. They had also been so worn down with perpetual wars, that the most miserable servitude, with peace, was to the Jews an object rather of envy than deprecation. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 2:6 - And thou Bethlehem And thou Bethlehem, &c. This was a clear prophecy concerning the Messias, foretold by Micheas; (chap. v. 2,) yet the words which we read in the evan...

And thou Bethlehem, &c. This was a clear prophecy concerning the Messias, foretold by Micheas; (chap. v. 2,) yet the words which we read in the evangelist are not quite the same as we find in the prophet, either according to the Hebrew or to the Greek text of the Sept. The chief difference is, that in the prophet we read: And thou Bethlehem art little; but in the evangelist, thou art not the least. Some answer that the words of the prophet are to be expounded by way of an interrogation, art thou little? It is certain the following words, both in the prophet and in the gospel, out of thee shall come forth a leader or a captain, &c. shew that the meaning is, thou art not little. St. Jerome's observation seems to clear this point: he tells us, that the Jewish priests, who were consulted, gave Herod the sense, and not the very words of the prophet; and the evangelist, as an historian, relates to us the words of these priests to Herod, no the very words of the prophet. (Witham) ---

The testimony of the chief priests proves that this text of Micheas was even then generally applied to the Messias, and that to Him alone it must be referred according to the letter. (Haydock)

Haydock: Mat 2:11 - And going into the house // Gold, frankincense, and myrrh // They adored Him And going into the house. Several of the Fathers in their homilies, represent the wise men adoring Jesus in the stable, and in the manger. yet ...

And going into the house. Several of the Fathers in their homilies, represent the wise men adoring Jesus in the stable, and in the manger. yet others, with St. John Chrysostom take notice, that before their arrival, Jesus might be removed into some little house in Bethlehem. ---

Prostrating themselves, or falling down, they adored him, not with a civil worship only, but enlightened by divine inspiration, the worshipped and adored him as their Saviour and their God. ---

Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. [2] Divers of the ancient Fathers take notice of the mystical signification of these offerings; that by gold was signified the tribute they paid to him, as to their king; by incense, that he was God; and by myrrh, (with which dead bodies used to be embalmed) that now he was also become a mortal man. See St. Ambrose lib. 2. in Luc. chap. ii.; St. Gregory &c. (Witham) ---

The Church sings, "hodie stella Magos duxit ad præsepium," but it is not probable that the blessed Virgin should remain so long in the open stable, and the less so, because the multitude, who hindered Joseph from finding accommodations either among his relatives or in the public caravansaries, had returned to their own homes. (Estius) ---

They adored Him. Therefore, in the eucharist also, Christ is to be adored. For it is of no consequence under what appearance he is pleased to give himself to us, whether that of a perfect man, a speechless child as here, or under the appearance of bread and wine, provided it is evident that he is there; for in whatever manner or place he appears, he is true God, and for that alone he is to be adored. Frivolous is the objection of certain sectarists, that Christ does not give himself to us in the blessed eucharist to be adored, but to be eaten. For Christ was not in Bethlehem, nor did he descend from heaven to be adored: He tells us in the xxth chap. of Matthew, ver. 28, that the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; yet he was adored on earth, even while he was in his mortal state, by the magi, by his disciples, by the blind man that was cured of his blindness, &c. &c. "Let us imitate the magi. Thou seest him not now in the crib, but on the altar; not a woman holding him, but the priest present, and the Holy Ghost poured out abundantly upon the sacrifice." (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxiv. in 1 Cor. Hom. vii. de Sancto Philog.)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Aurum, &c. Pulcherrime, says St. Jerome on this place, Juvencus Munerum Sacramenta comprehendit, Thus, Aurum, Myrrham, Regique, Hominique, Deoque,

Dona ferunt. See St. Ambrose in Luc. lib. ii. chap. ii. St. Gregory hom. x. in Evang. &c.

Haydock: Mat 2:14 - -- It is very probable that Joseph, with Jesus and his Mother, remained in some part of Egypt, where the Jews were settled, as at Alexandria. That many ...

It is very probable that Joseph, with Jesus and his Mother, remained in some part of Egypt, where the Jews were settled, as at Alexandria. That many Jews dwelt in Egypt, particularly from the time of the prophet Jeremias, is evident from Josephus, and also from the first chapter of the second book of Machabees. Mention is also made of them in Acts ii. and Act. iv. under the name of Alexandrines.

Haydock: Mat 2:15 - Out of Egypt have I called my son Out of Egypt have I called my son. [3] St. Jerome understands these words to be taken out of the prophet Osee, (Chap. xi. 2.) and granted they might ...

Out of Egypt have I called my son. [3] St. Jerome understands these words to be taken out of the prophet Osee, (Chap. xi. 2.) and granted they might be literally spoken of the people Israel: yet as their captivity in Egypt was a figure of the slavery of sin, under which all mankind groaned, and as their delivery by Moses was a figure of man's redemption by our Saviour Christ, so these words in a mystical and spiritual sense apply to our Saviour, who in a more proper sense was the Son of God, than was the people of Israel. (Witham) ---

The application of this passage of the prophet to Christ, whereas in the simple letter it might appear otherwise, teaches us how to interpret the Old Testament; and that the principal sense is of Christ and his Church. (Bristow)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Ex Ægypto vocai filium meum. In the Septuagint Greek: ta tekna autou, filios ejus.

Haydock: Mat 2:16 - -- By this example, we learn how great credit we owe to the Church in canonizing saints, and celebrating their holydays: by whose only warrant, without a...

By this example, we learn how great credit we owe to the Church in canonizing saints, and celebrating their holydays: by whose only warrant, without any word of Scripture, these holy Innocents have been honoured as martyrs, and their holyday kept ever since the apostles' time, although they died not voluntarily, nor all, perhaps, circumcised, and some even children of pagans. (St. Augustine, ep. 28.; Origen, hom. iii. in diversos.) (Bristow)

Haydock: Mat 2:18 - A voice was heard in Rama A voice was heard in Rama. [4] St. Jerome takes Rama, not for the name of any city, but for a high place, as appears by his Latin translation. (...

A voice was heard in Rama. [4] St. Jerome takes Rama, not for the name of any city, but for a high place, as appears by his Latin translation. (Jeremias xxxi. 15.) But in all Greek copies here in St. Matthew, and in the Septuagint in Jeremias, we find the word itself Rama, so that it must signify a particular city. Rachel, who was buried at Bethlehem, is represented weeping (as it were in the person of those desolate mothers) the murder, and loss of so many children: and Rama being a city not far from Bethlehem, in the tribe of Benjamin, built on a high place, it is said that the cries and lamentations of these children, and their mothers, reached even to Rama. Cornel. a Lapide on Jeremias xxxi. thinks that these words were not only applied by the evangelist in a figurative sense, but that the prophet in the literal sense foretold these lamentations. (Witham)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Vox in Excelso audita est. Jeremias xxxi. 15.

Haydock: Mat 2:23 - He shall be called a Nazarite He shall be called a Nazarite, or a Nazarene. [5] Jesus was called a Nazarite, from the place where he was bred up in Galilee; and the Christians...

He shall be called a Nazarite, or a Nazarene. [5] Jesus was called a Nazarite, from the place where he was bred up in Galilee; and the Christians by the Jews were sometimes called Nazarenes, from Jesus of Nazareth. The evangelist would shew that this name, which the Jews through contempt gave to Christ and his disciples, had an honourable signification: and that this title was given in the predictions of the prophets to the Messias. But where, or in what prophet? For we find not the words exactly in any of the prophets. To this St. John Chrysostom answers, that St. Matthew took it from some prophetical writings that have been lost. St. Jerome gives two other answers: first, that the word Nazarene, from the Hebrew Nezer, signifies separated, and distinguished from others by virtue and sanctity: and so some that were particularly consecrated, and devoted to the service of God, were called Nazareans, as Joseph, (Deuteronomy xxxiii. 16,) Sampson, (Judges xvi. 17,) &c. Thus a Nazarene signifies one that is holy: and all the prophets, says St. Jerome, foretold that Christ should be holy. Therefore also it was that St. Matthew did not cite any one prophet, but the prophets in general. The second answer is, that a Nazarean (if derived from the Hebrew Netser ) signifies a flower, or bud; and so in the prophet Isaias, chap. xi. ver. 1) it is foretold of the Messias, that a flower shall ascend from the root of David. (Witham) ---

The reason why Jesus is called of Nazareth, and not of Bethlehem, is, because he was educated there, and was generally supposed to have been born there. Hence he was called the Galilean; and the people argued from that circumstance, that he was not the Messias, nor even a prophet, saying, Can the Christ come from Galilee? Search the Scriptures, and see that out of Galilee a prophet riseth not. (John vii. 52.) Again, in Nazareth the word was made flesh, though in Bethlehem he was produced to the world; and our Lord gives himself the same title, when he addressed Saul. I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. (Acts. xxii.) He remained at Nazareth till he was about 30 years of age. (Haydock)

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Nazaræus, Greek: nazoraios . St. John Chrysostom, hom. ix. in Matt. p. 66. Ed. Latinæ, Multa ex Propheticis periere monumenta. ---

St. Hieron. [St. Jerome] in Matt. pluraliter Prophetas vocans, ostendit se non verba de Scripturis sujpsisse, sed sensum: Nazaræus Sanctus interpretatur, Sanctum autem Dominum futurum, omnis Scriptura commemorat. Possumus et aliter dicere, quod etiam iisdem verbis juxta Hebraicam veritatem in Isaia Scriptum sit. chap. ix. ver. 1. Exiet Virgo de radice Jesse, et Nazaræus de radice ejus conscendet.

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Gill: Mat 2:1 - Now when Jesus was born // in Bethlehem of Judea // in the days of Herod the king // when Jesus was born--behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem // from the east Now when Jesus was born,.... Several things are here related respecting the birth of Christ, as the place where he was born, in Bethlehem of Judea;...

Now when Jesus was born,.... Several things are here related respecting the birth of Christ, as the place where he was born,

in Bethlehem of Judea; so called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zabulon, Jos 19:15. Here Christ was to be born according to a prophecy hereafter mentioned, and accordingly the Jews expected he would be born here, Mat 2:4 and so Jesus was born here, Luk 2:4 and this the Jews themselves acknowledge;

"Such a year, says a noted l chronologer of theirs, Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem Juda, which is a "parsa" and a half, i.e. six miles, from Jerusalem.''

Benjamin m Tudelensis says it is two parsas, i.e. eight miles, from it; and according to Justin Martyr n it was thirty five furlongs distant from it. Yea even they own this, that Jesus was born there, in that vile and blasphemous book o of theirs, written on purpose to defame him; nay, even the ancient Jews have owned that the Messiah is already born, and that he was born at Bethlehem; as appears from their Talmud p, where we meet with such a passage.

"It happened to a certain Jew, that as he was ploughing, one of his oxen bellowed; a certain Arabian passed by and heard it, who said, O Jew, Jew, loose thy oxen, and loose thy ploughshare, for lo, the house of the sanctuary is destroyed: it bellowed a second time; he said unto him, O Jew, Jew, bind thy oxen, and bind thy ploughshare, for lo יליד מלכא משיחא "the king Messiah is born". He said to him, what is his name? Menachem (the comforter); he asked again, what is his father's name? Hezekiah; once more he says, from whence is he? He replies מן בירת מלכא ביתלחם יהודה "from the palace of the king of Bethlehem Judah"; he went and sold his oxen and his ploughshares, and became a seller of swaddling clothes for infants; and he went from city to city till he came to that city, (Bethlehem,) and all the women bought of him, but the mother of Menachem bought nothing.''

Afterwards they tell you, he was snatched away by winds and tempests. This story is told in much the same manner in another q of their writings. Bethlehem signifies "the house of bread", and in it was born, as an ancient writer r observes, the bread which comes down from heaven: and it may also signify "the house of flesh", and to it the allusion may be in 1Ti 3:16 "God manifest in the flesh". The time of Christ's birth is here expressed,

in the days of Herod the king. This was Herod the great, the first of that name: the Jewish chronologer s gives an account of him in the following manner.

"Herod the first, called Herod the Ascalonite, was the son of Antipater, a friend of king Hyrcanus and his deputy; him the senate of Rome made king in the room of Hyrcanus his master. This Herod whilst he was a servant of king Hyrcanus (so in the t Talmud Herod is said to be עבדא דבית חשמונא a servant of the family of the Asmonaeans) king Hyrcanus saved from death, to which he was sentenced by the sanhedrim of Shammai; that they might not slay him for the murder of one Hezekiah, as is related by Josephus, l. 6. c. 44. and Herod took to him for wife Miriam, the daughter of Alexander the son of Aristobulus, who was the daughter's daughter of king Hyrcanus.''

This writer tacitly owns afterwards u that Jesus was born in the days of this king; for he says, that in the days of Hillell and Shammai (who lived in those times) there was one of their disciples, who was called R. Joshua ben Perachiah, and he was, adds he, הנוצרי רבו "the master of the Nazarene", or of Jesus of Nazareth. Herod reigned, as this same author observes, thirty seven years; and according to Dr. Lightfoot's calculation, Christ was born in the thirty fifth year of his reign, and in the thirty first of Augustus Caesar, and in the year of the world three thousand nine hundred and twenty eight, and the month Tisri, which answers to part of our September, about the feast of tabernacles; which indeed was typical of Christ's incarnation, and then it may reasonably be thought that "the word was made flesh", and εσκηνωσεν "tabernacled among us", Joh 1:14. Another circumstance relating to the birth of Christ is, that

when Jesus was born--behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem; these wise men in the Greek text are called μαγοι, "Magi", a word which is always used in a bad sense in the sacred writings; hence they are thought by some to be magicians, sorcerers, wizards, such as Simon Magus, Act 8:9 and Elymas, Act 13:8 and so the Jewish writers w interpret the word מגוש a wizard, an enchanter, a blasphemer of God, and one that entices others to idolatry; and in the Hebrew Gospel of Munster these men are called מכשפים "wizards". Some have thought this to be their national name. Epiphanius x supposes that these men were of the posterity of Abraham by Keturah, who inhabited a country in some part of Arabia, called Magodia: but could this be thought to be the name of their country, one might rather be induced to suppose that they were of the μαγοι, "Magi", a nation of the Medes mentioned by Herodotus y; since both the name and country better agree with these persons; but the word seems to be rather a name of character and office, and to design the wise men, and priests of the Persians. An Eastern z writer says the word is of Persic original, and is compounded of two words, "Mije Gush", which signifies "a man with short ears"; for such was the first founder of the sect, and from whom they were so called. But in the Arabic Persic Nomenclator a it is rendered "a worshipper of fire", and such the Persian priests were; and to this agrees what Apuleius b says, that "Magus", in the Persian language, is the same as "priest" with us: and Xenophon c says, that the Magi were first appointed by Cyrus, to sing hymns to the gods, as soon as it was day, and to sacrifice to them. The account given of them by Porphyry d is, that

"among the Persians they that were wise concerning God, and worshipped him, were called μαγοι, "Magi", for so "Magus" signifies in their country dialect; and so august and venerable were this sort of men accounted with the Persians, that Darius, the son of Hystaspis, ordered this, among other things, to be inscribed on his monument, that he was the master of the Magi.''

From whence we may learn in some measure who these men were, and why the word is by our translators rendered "wise men"; since the Magi, as Cicero e says, were reckoned a sort of wise men, and doctors among the Persians: who further observes, that no man could be a king of the Persians before he understood the discipline and knowledge of the Magi: and the wisdom of the Persian Magi, as Aelianus f writes, among other things, lay in foretelling things to come. These came

from the east, not from Chaldea, as some have thought, led hereunto by the multitude of astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers, which were among that people; see Dan 2:2 for Chaldea was not east, but north of Judea, as appears from Jer 1:14 Jer 6:22. Others have thought they came from Arabia, and particularly Sheba, induced hereunto by Psa 72:10. But though some part of Arabia lay east, yet Sheba was south of the land of Israel, as is evident from the queen of that place being called the "queen of the south", Mat 12:42. The more generally received opinion seems to be most right, that they came from Persia, which as it lies east of Judea, so was famous for this sort of men, and besides the name, as has been seen, is of Persic original. The place whither they came was Jerusalem, the "metropolis" of Judea, where they might suppose the king of the Jews was born, or where, at least, they might persuade themselves they should hear of him; since here Herod the king lived, to whom it seems they applied themselves in the first place. The time of their coming was, "when Jesus was born"; not as soon as he was born, or on the "thirteenth" day after his birth, the sixth of January, as it stands in our Calendar; or within the forty days before Mary's Purification; since this space of time does not seem to be sufficient for so long a journey, and which must require a considerable preparation for it; nor is it probable if they came so soon as this, that after such a stir at Jerusalem, after Herod's diligent search and inquiry concerning this matter, and his wrath and anger at being disappointed and deluded by the wise men, that Joseph and Mary should so soon bring the child into the temple, where, it was declared to be the Messiah by Simeon and Anna. Besides, immediately after the departure of the wise men, Joseph with his wife and child were ordered into Egypt, which could not be done before Mary's Purification. But rather this their coming was near upon two years after the birth of Christ; since it is afterwards observed, that "Herod sent and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men", Mat 2:16. This was the opinion of Epiphanius g formerly, and is embraced by Dr. Lightfoot h, to whom I refer the reader for further proof of this matter.

Gill: Mat 2:2 - Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews? // for we have seen his star in the east // and are come to worship him Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews?.... These words were spoken to the Jews, or rather to Herod the king, or his ministers and courtier...

Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews?.... These words were spoken to the Jews, or rather to Herod the king, or his ministers and courtiers, or to each of them, as the wise men had the opportunity of speaking to them; who make no scruple of his being born, of this they were fully assured; nor did they in the least hesitate about his being king of the Jews, who was born; but only inquire where he was, in what city, town, village, house, or family. The reason of their asking this question is,

for we have seen his star in the east. By the star they saw, some understand an angel, which is not likely. The learned Lightfoot i is of opinion that it was the light or glory of the Lord, which shone about the shepherds, when the angel brought them the news of Christ's birth, and which at so great a distance appeared as a star to these wise men; others, that it was a comet, such as has been thought to portend the birth or death of some illustrious person: but it seems to be properly a star, a new and an unusual one, such as had never been seen, nor observed before; and is called his star, the star of the king born, because it appeared on his account, and was the sign of his birth, who is "the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star", Rev 22:16. This they saw "in the east"; not in the eastern part of the heavens, but they saw it when they were in the east, that is, in their own country; and according to the best observations they were able to make, it was in that part of the heavens right over the land of Judea; from whence they concluded that the king of the Jews was born; but the question is how they should hereby know and be assured that such a person was born? To this it maybe replied, that there is a prophecy of Balaam's which is thus expressed, "there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel", Num 24:17 which is owned by some Jewish writers k to be a prophecy of the Messiah; though the star there mentioned is considered by them as one of the Messiah's titles; hence one who set up himself, and for a while was by some received as the Messiah, was called by them בר כוכבא "the son of a star"; but when he was discovered to be an impostor, they called him בר כוזיבא "the son of a lie": but I rather take it to be a sign of the Messiah's coming, and the meaning is, when a star shall דרך "walk" or steer its course from Jacob, or above, or over the land of Israel, then a sceptre, or sceptre bearer, that is, a king, shall rise out of Israel. Now this prophecy of Balaam, who lived in the east, might be traditionally handed down to this time, and be well known by these men; and who, observing such a star appear over the land of Judea, might conclude that now the sceptre bearer or king was born l. Besides, Zerdusht or Zoroastres, the author of the sect of the Magi or wise men, and who appears to be a Jew by birth, and to be acquainted with the writings of the Old Testament, and with this prophecy, spoke of the birth of Christ to his followers; and told them when he should be born, a star would appear, and shine in the day, and ordered them to go where that directed, and offer gifts, and worship him. An Eastern writer, who affirms m what I have now mentioned, relates n the following speech as spoke by the wise men to Herod, when in conversation with him, about this matter:

"A certain person, say they, of great note with us, in a book which he composed, warned us in it, mentioning these things; a child that shall descend from heaven, will be born in Palestine, whom the greatest part of the world shall serve, and the sign of his appearance shall be this; ye shall see a strange star, which shall direct you where he is; when ye shall see this, take gold, myrrh and frankincense, and go and offer them to him, and worship him, and then return, lest a great calamity befall you. Now the star has appeared unto us, and we are come to perform what was commanded us.''

If this be true, we are not at a loss how they come by their knowledge, nor for a reason of their conduct. That the Jews have expected that a star should appear at the time of the Messiah's coming, is certain, from some passages in a book of theirs of great value and esteem among them, in which are the following things: in one place it is said o.

"The king Messiah shall be revealed in the land of Galilee, and lo a star in the east shall swallow up seven stars in the north, and a flame of red fire shall be in the firmament six days;''

and in another place, p.

"When the Messiah shall be revealed, there shall rise up in the east a certain Star, flaming with all sorts of colours--and all men shall see it:''

once more it is affirmed as a tradition q that

"The holy blessed God hath determined to build Jerusalem, and to make a certain (fixed) star appear sparkling with seven blazing tails shining from it in the midst of the firmament--and then shall the king Messiah be revealed in all the world.''

Now this expectation of the appearing of such a star at the coming of the Messiah takes its rise from and is founded upon the above mentioned prophecy. It is said r that Seth the son of Adam gave out a prophecy, that a star should appear at the birth of the Messiah; and that a star did appear at the birth of Christ is certain from the testimony of the Evangelist, and seems to have some confirmation from the writings of the Heathens themselves. Some have thought that the star which Virgil speaks of, and calls s "Caesaris Astrum", "Caesar's star", is this very star, which he in complaisance to that monarch ascribes to him. Pliny t makes mention

"of a bright comet with a silver beard, which was so refulgent that it could scarce be looked upon, showing in itself the effigies of God in human form.''

If the testimony of Chalcidius, a Platonic philosopher, taken notice of by many learned men, is genuine, and he not a Christian, u it is much to the purpose, and is as follows:

"There is also a more venerable and sacred history, which speaks of the rising of a certain unusual star; not foretelling diseases and deaths, but the descent of a venerable God, born for the sake of human conversation, and the affairs of mortals; which star truly, when the wise men of the Chaldeans saw in their journey by night, and being very expert in the consideration of celestial things, are said to inquire after the birth of the new Deity, and having found the infant majesty, to worship him, and pay their vows worthy of such a God.''

The end proposed by them in taking such a journey is expressed,

and are come to worship him; that is, either to pay adoration to him as God, of which they might be convinced by the extraordinary appearance of the star, or be assured of by divine revelation or rather to give him civil homage and respect, as an illustrious person, as being king of the Jews.

Gill: Mat 2:3 - When Herod the king had heard these things // he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him When Herod the king had heard these things,.... That is, the report made by the wise men of the appearance of an unusual star, and of the birth of the...

When Herod the king had heard these things,.... That is, the report made by the wise men of the appearance of an unusual star, and of the birth of the king of the Jews, which they affirmed with all certainty, without any hesitation,

he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Herod was troubled, his mind was disturbed and made uneasy, fearing he should be deposed, and lose his kingdom, to which he knew he had no just right and claim, being a foreigner; and "all Jerusalem", i.e. all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who heard of this, were also troubled, and showed a concern at it with him; either feignedly, as knowing his jealousy, suspicion and cruelty; or in reality, because of tumults, commotions and wars, they might fear would arise upon this, having lost the true notion of the Messiah, as a spiritual king, saviour and redeemer. And hereby was fulfilled, in part, the famous prophecy in Gen 49:10 according to the sense of one w of the Targumists on it, who paraphrases it after this manner;

"Kings and governors shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor scribes, who teach the law, from his seed, until the time that the king Messiah, the least of his sons, comes, "and because of him", יתימסון עממיא, "the people shall melt."''

that is, they shall be distressed and troubled, their hearts shall melt like wax within them; which was their present case, though perhaps the paraphrast may design the Gentiles.

Gill: Mat 2:4 - And when he had gathered all the chief priests // the chief priests // the scribes of the people // He demanded of them // should be born? And when he had gathered all the chief priests,.... Here we have an account of Herod's conduct at this juncture; he calls a council, assembles the san...

And when he had gathered all the chief priests,.... Here we have an account of Herod's conduct at this juncture; he calls a council, assembles the sanhedrim, gathers together the more learned persons in the city to consult with them upon this matter,

the chief priests, all of which he gathered together, and which seem to be many; and were not only the then present high priest and his substitutes, but all the principal persons of the priesthood, who were chosen from the rest, into the great sanhedrim, or council: and by

the scribes of the people are meant a sort of letter learned men, whose business it was to keep and write out copies of the law, and other things, for "the people"; they were the fathers of the traditions, and interpreters of the law to them; and therefore are called "the scribes of the people": as well also, because they were chosen from among the people, from any other tribe, and not from the tribe of Levi, from whom the priests were; so that one seems to design the "clergy", and the other the laity, in this assembly. The Septuagint render שוטרים "the officers of the people", by this same word the scribes, and scribes of the people, in Num 11:16 Jos 1:10. The learned Dr. Lightfoot x conjectures, that the persons of note, who were present at this time, were Hillell the president of the council, Shammai the vice president, the sons of Betira, Judah and Joshua, Bava ben Buta, Jonathan ben Uzziel, the Chaldee paraphrast, and Simeon the son of Hillell.

He demanded of them, or asked them with authority, as the chief captain did, Act 21:33 "where Christ", ο χριστος, the Christ, the Messiah

should be born? that is, where was the place of his birth as fixed in their prophecies, where, accordingly, they believed and expected he would be born. Herod's pretence, no doubt, in putting this question was, that he might be able to satisfy the wise men of the East about this matter; though the true reason within himself was, that he might know where this new born king was, in order to destroy him.

Gill: Mat 2:5 - And they said unto him // in Bethlehem of Judea // thus it is written by the prophet And they said unto him,.... They answer without any hesitation, it being a generally received notion, and a thing well known among them, in Bethleh...

And they said unto him,.... They answer without any hesitation, it being a generally received notion, and a thing well known among them,

in Bethlehem of Judea; and give their reason for it; for

thus it is written by the prophet, that is, the prophet Micah, in whose prophecy, Mic 5:2 it stands, and is as follows:

Gill: Mat 2:6 - And thou Bethlehem in the land of Juda // little among the thousands of Judah And thou Bethlehem in the land of Juda,.... This prophecy, which the chief priests and scribes produced, as pointing at the place of Christ's birth, i...

And thou Bethlehem in the land of Juda,.... This prophecy, which the chief priests and scribes produced, as pointing at the place of Christ's birth, is owned by both ancient and later Jews y to be a prophecy of the Messiah. The difference between Micah and Matthew is easily reconciled. Bethlehem is called by Micah, Bethlehem Ephratah, and by Matthew, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, and both were one and the same place. Bethlehem Ephratah was in the land of Juda, as appears from the prophecy of Micah itself, from Rth 1:2 and the Septuagint version of Jos 15:60 and is described in this manner by Matthew, partly to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the land of Zebulun, Jos 19:15 and partly because its other name Ephratah was now disused, and so unknown to Herod, who was unacquainted with the books and prophecies of the Old Testament. Micah says this place was

little among the thousands of Judah. Matthew says, "not the least". But in this is no apparent contradiction, it might be "little" and yet "not the least"; besides, it might be "little" and "not little", or "not the least" in different respects, and at different times; it might be little, mean, and contemptible as to worldly splendour, riches, number of inhabitants, pompous buildings, &c. and yet not be little or mean, when considered as the place of the birth of many great persons, such as Booz, Jesse, David, &c. and especially Christ. It might be little in Micah's time, and yet not in Matthew's; especially since it had received a considerable additional honour by Christ's being born there. Moreover, the words in Micah may be rendered, by way of interrogation, "art thou little, or the least?" To which the answer in Matthew is, "no, thou art not the least", &c. or else the word דבר may be understood, and the text be translated thus; "it is a small thing that thou art among the thousands of Judah, for out of thee", &c. a great honour shall be conferred on thee, the Messiah shall spring from thee. Again, what Micah calls "thousands", are in Matthew called "princes"; the reason of this is, because the tribes of Israel were divided into thousands, and every thousand had its prince; so that though here is a difference in words, yet none in sense. What Micah styles "a ruler in Israel", Matthew expresses by "a governor that shall rule or feed my people Israel"; but in this there is no contradiction. Add to all this, that it should be observed, that the Evangelist is not giving a version of his own, but of the chief priests and scribes; and therefore was it ever so faulty, they, and not he, must be chargeable with it; for he has acted the part of a faithful historian in giving it in the words in which they cited it z.

Gill: Mat 2:7 - Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men // inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men,.... As soon as he had got the intelligence of the place of the Messiah's birth, he called, or o...

Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men,.... As soon as he had got the intelligence of the place of the Messiah's birth, he called, or ordered the wise men to be brought into his presence, and that in a very private manner; lest the Jews, who knew his hypocrisy and deceit, should perceive his views, and enter into his designs, and so give the wise men some instructions, which would be prejudicial to the scheme he was forming in his own mind to destroy the young king; and having called them to him, he

inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. He took a good deal of pains in examining them, he sifted them, and inquired of them with much accuracy, and exactness, the precise time of the star's appearing to them, how long ago it was when it was first observed by them; that hereby he might exactly know the age of Christ, and the better execute the bloody design he had formed, should the wise men disappoint him; and the better detect an impostor, should another afterwards arise, and set up himself for the king of the Jews.

Gill: Mat 2:8 - And he sent them to Bethlehem // go and search diligently for the young child // and when you have found him bring me word again // that I may come and worship him also And he sent them to Bethlehem,.... Having got out of them all that he could, and was for his purpose, he informs them of the place where they might fi...

And he sent them to Bethlehem,.... Having got out of them all that he could, and was for his purpose, he informs them of the place where they might find the person they came to inquire after, according to the account of it which the chief priests and scribes had given him; and then sends them away to Bethlehem, where Christ, according to prophecy, was to be born, and now was born. It may seem strange that neither any of the Jews, nor Herod, or any of his ministers and courtiers, should go along with these men to Bethlehem; since it was but a little way off, not above five or six miles from Jerusalem; and since the birth of such a person was no trivial thing, but an affair of great concern and importance. The Jews might not care to go, lest Herod should suspect that they were going to revolt from him, and set up this new born king against him; and it might be a piece of policy in Herod and his courtiers not to accompany them, for they might imagine that the parents of the child would be jealous and afraid of them, and would therefore conceal it, when they would be in no fear of strangers: and no doubt but the wise providence of God overruled and directed this matter, that so the young child Jesus might be preserved from the bloody designs of this tyrant; who often takes the wise in their own craftiness, and carries the counsel of the froward headlong. When he dismissed them he gave them this charge and these orders,

go and search diligently for the young child; go to Bethlehem, the place of his birth I have told you of, and there inquire and search in every house and family, omit none till you have found him;

and when you have found him bring me word again; give me a particular account of him, who are his parents, and where he dwells,

that I may come and worship him also: for they had declared, that the reason of their coming was to worship him; this he said hypocritically, in order to hide and cover his bloody intentions.

Gill: Mat 2:9 - When they had heard the king // they departed // and lo // the star, which they saw in the east // went before them, till it came, and stood over, where the young child was When they had heard the king,.... With great care and attention, what he had told them of the birth place of the young child; the strict charge he had...

When they had heard the king,.... With great care and attention, what he had told them of the birth place of the young child; the strict charge he had given them to search diligently for him, and then return to him with an account of the whole affair; and his expressions of respect to the new born prince, which they took to be said in great sincerity,

they departed; took their leave of Herod and his court, and set forward on their journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem:

and lo, to their great surprise and joy,

the star, which they saw in the east, then appeared; for, it seems, it had for some time disappeared: it looks as if it had been only seen at the time of Christ's birth, and when they were in their own country; for both here, and in Mat 2:2 they are only said to have seen it "in the east", that is, when they were in the east country; so that it seems from that time they had had no sight of it, not while they were on their journey, nor at Jerusalem; nor was it necessary they should. When they saw it in their own country, according to their best observation, it was over the land of Judea, and they were persuaded of it, that it was a certain sign that the king of the Jews was born: they therefore determine upon and prepare for a journey to Jerusalem, the metropolis of the nation, and where the king kept his court, to inquire for him; nor needed they the guidance of the star to direct them to a place so well known; but being in quest of him in an obscure place, and without any guide, this star appears to them; and, which is something very extraordinary,

went before them, till it came, and stood over, where the young child was. This star had a motion, kept pace with them, and was a guide unto them, till it and they came to the place where Christ was; and then it stood directly over the house, so that they had no need to inquire of any person for him. It is certain from hence, that this star was indeed a very unusual one; its being seen in the daytime, its motion and standing still, its situation, which must be very low, and its use to point out the very house where Christ was, show it to be so; but though it was an unusual appearance, it should not be thought incredible. a Varro relates, that

"from the time Aeneas went from Troy, he saw the star Venus in the daytime, day after day, till he came to the field of Laurentum, where he saw it no more, by which he knew that those lands were fatal.''

The appearing of this star, and then its disappearing for a time, agree, in some measure, with the account the Jews give of the star which they expect will be seen at the coming of the Messiah; for they b say,

"after seven days that star shall be hid, and the Messiah shall be hid for twelve months--when he shall descend, the pillar of fire shall be seen as before, in sight, and afterwards the Messiah shall be revealed, and many people shall be gathered to him.''

Gill: Mat 2:10 - When they saw the star // they rejoiced with exceeding great joy When they saw the star,.... Which by its appearance, size, brightness, &c. they knew to be the same with that which they had seen, when in their own c...

When they saw the star,.... Which by its appearance, size, brightness, &c. they knew to be the same with that which they had seen, when in their own country;

they rejoiced with exceeding great joy; a "pleonasm" or a redundancy of expression frequently used by the Hebrews, see Joh 4:6 and the Septuagint there; setting forth the rapture, the excess of joy they were in upon the sight of the star. Very probably before this, their hearts were sad, their countenances dejected, and they greatly discouraged, having taken so great a journey, and as yet to so little purpose. They had been at Jerusalem, where they expected to have found him that was born king of the Jews; they had been at court, and conversed with men of the greatest figure and intelligence, and could get no tidings of him; people of all ranks and degrees seemed to be troubled at the account they brought; no body cared to go along with them to Bethlehem: all these circumstances no doubt were discouraging to them; but as soon as they saw the star their spirits revived, joy filled their hearts, cheerfulness appeared in their countenances; and they pursued their journey with inexpressible delight, till they came to the place where the illustrious person was they were seeking after.

Gill: Mat 2:11 - And when they were come into the house // they found the young child, with Mary his mother // they fell down // and worshipped him // And when they had opened their treasures // they presented // gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh And when they were come into the house,.... Which they entered without making any inquiry, being fully assured by the star's standing right over it, t...

And when they were come into the house,.... Which they entered without making any inquiry, being fully assured by the star's standing right over it, that this was the house, and here was the king of the Jews, whom they were come to worship; and having entered in "they saw" some copies read ευρον,

they found the young child, with Mary his mother; in her lap, or arms, or in the house with her, for by this time he might go alone. Joseph perhaps was not at home, but about his business; and which might be so ordered by the providence of God, that so these men might only see the mother of Christ, who had no real father as man; who had they seen Joseph, might have took him to be his proper father. Upon the sight of the young child,

they fell down on their knees or faces to the ground, agreeably to the custom of their country,

and worshipped him as a king; giving him the same civil honour and respect, as they were wont to do to their own kings and princes; which custom began with Cyrus: for so Xenophon c says, that

"when the people saw him, παντες προσεκυνησαν, they all worshipped him; either because some were ordered to begin this custom; or else being amazed at the apparatus; or because he seemed to appear so great and beautiful; for before that time none of the Persians worshipped Cyrus.''

And when they had opened their treasures, that is, their purses, bags or boxes, in which they put those things they brought with them necessary for their journey;

they presented, or offered to him

gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh: such things as they had; it being usual, not only with the Persians, but other eastern nations, to make presents to kings and great persons, when they made any addresses to them; which generally, among other things, consisted of gold, spices, myrrh, and the like, see Gen 43:11. Which last passage referred to, being a prophecy of the Messiah, has been thought by some now to have had its accomplishment, together with Isa 60:6 where frankincense as well as gold is mentioned, "they shall bring gold and incense" or frankincense; upon which a noted Jewish writer d observes, that gold and frankincense shall be brought privately as a present to the king Messiah. According to the Ethiopians, these wise men were three, whose names they give us; the name of him that offered the gold, was Annoson; he that offered the frankincense, was Allytar; and he that offered the myrrh, Kyssad e. The Papists call them the three kings of Colen, and say they lie buried in that place.

Gill: Mat 2:12 - Being warned of God in a dream // that they should not return to Herod // they departed into their own country another way Being warned of God in a dream,.... It is likely they made a short stay at Bethlehem, might lodge there a night; at least laid themselves down a while...

Being warned of God in a dream,.... It is likely they made a short stay at Bethlehem, might lodge there a night; at least laid themselves down a while to take some refreshment in sleep, after they had paid their respects to him that was born king of the Jews, and performed the whole business they came about; when in a dream they received a divine oracle, were admonished and counselled by God,

that they should not return to Herod: which would have been going back again, and out of their way; there being a nearer one from Bethlehem to their own country, than to go by Jerusalem, though Herod had charged them to return to him. Whether they had promised him they would, is not certain; it is probable they might; however, they thought it most advisable to hearken to the divine oracle; wherefore,

they departed into their own country another way. What became of these persons afterwards, and whether they were spiritually and savingly enlightened into the knowledge of Christ; what a report they made of him when they came into their own country, and the success thereof, we have no account of, either in sacred or profane history.

Gill: Mat 2:13 - And when they were departed // behold, the Angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream // and take the young child and his mother // flee into Egypt // and be thou there until I bring thee word // for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him // to destroy him And when they were departed,.... That is immediately, or as soon as they were gone, or in a very little time after, probably the same night, behold...

And when they were departed,.... That is immediately, or as soon as they were gone, or in a very little time after, probably the same night,

behold, the Angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream; it is very likely the same angel who appeared to him in such sort, Mat 1:20 "saying arise", awake out of sleep, and rise from thy bed directly,

and take the young child and his mother. The angel does not say take thy wife and son; for though Mary was properly his wife, yet Christ was not properly his son. The child is also mentioned before the mother, not only because of his divine nature and office, in respect to which he was her God and Saviour; but because it was the preservation of the child that was chiefly regarded, and for which the providence of God was particularly concerned; wherefore Joseph is ordered to take them in proper carriages, and

flee into Egypt, which was near to Judea, and so a fit place to flee to; for a long and tedious journey would not have been suitable to the mother and her young child. Moreover, Egypt was out of Herod's jurisdiction; here he could not come at them, or have any power over them; besides, hereby a prophecy after mentioned was to have its accomplishment. Hence it appears to be lawful to flee from danger, from tyrants and persecutors, when the providence of God opens a way for escape. The angel goes on with his charge,

and be thou there until I bring thee word: continue there, do not remove elsewhere, or return back, till I speak with thee, or order and command thee otherwise; and gives the reason for his appearing to him in such a manner, and giving such a charge;

for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him: no less a person than Herod the king, a bloody minded man, revengeful, desperate, and resolute in whatsoever he undertakes, "will seek", diligently search and inquire for, not his parents, Joseph and Mary, who might have been safe, but "the young child", who was born king of the Jews, and which gave him a great deal of uneasiness; and that not to worship him, as he told the wise men, but

to destroy him, to take away his life; to prevent which the angel was sent with this charge to Joseph: for though he was born to die for the sins of his people, his time was not yet come; he was to grow up to years of maturity, he was to be a preacher of the Gospel, to do many miracles and at last to lay down his life of himself, voluntarily, and not to be taken away from him without his knowledge and will.

Gill: Mat 2:14 - When he arose, he took the young child and his mother // by night // departed into Egypt When he arose, he took the young child and his mother,.... That is, as soon as he awoke out of sleep, and rose from his bed, he did as he was commande...

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother,.... That is, as soon as he awoke out of sleep, and rose from his bed, he did as he was commanded, he prepared for his journey; and very opportunely had the wise men presented their gifts; the gold they brought served to defray the expense of this journey, and which no doubt was so ordered by divine providence for this purpose. Joseph was very punctual and expeditious in obeying the command of God; he took the young child and his mother,

by night, the very selfsame night in which he had this notice; and which season was the most fitting to depart in for secrecy, and most commodious and agreeable to travel in, in those hot countries: hence it appears very manifest, that the coming of the wise men, and the departure of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, could not be within a fortnight after the birth of Christ, nor any time before Mary's Purification; since such a journey must have been very improper and unsuitable, at any time within that period; but rather Jesus must be about two years of age, whether something under, or over, it matters not, when Joseph with him

departed into Egypt: what part of Egypt he went into is not certain. The Jews say that Jesus went to Alexandria in Egypt, and which is probable enough; since this was a place greatly resorted to at this time by Jews, and where provision was made for their sustenance; though they greatly mistake the person with whom he went; for they say f that R. Joshua ben Perachiah, whom they pretend was his master, went to Alexandria in Egypt, and Jesus with him. However, this is an acknowledgment of the truth of this part of Christ's history, that he was in Egypt; as also when they blasphemously and maliciously say g, did not Ben Stada, by whom they mean Jesus, bring enchantments or magic, כשפים ממצרים, "out of Egypt", in a cutting in the flesh? To which wicked accusation Arnobius seems to refer h, when he says,

"perhaps we may meet with many other of these reproachful and childish sayings; as that he was a magician, that he performed all these things by secret arts, and that he stole strange sciences, and the names of mighty angels, out of the temples of the Egyptians.''

Gill: Mat 2:15 - And was there until the death of Herod // that it might be fulfilled // which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet // my son out of Egypt And was there until the death of Herod,.... Which was in a very short time; for Eusebius i says, that immediately, in a very little time after the sla...

And was there until the death of Herod,.... Which was in a very short time; for Eusebius i says, that immediately, in a very little time after the slaughter of the children at Bethlehem, the divine vengeance inflicted diseases on him, which quickly brought him to his end; so that, according to the learned Dr. Lightfoot k, Jesus was not above three or four months in Egypt. Now all this was brought about,

that it might be fulfilled; not by way of accommodation of phrases to a like event; or by way of type, which has a fresh completion in the antitype; or as a proverbial sentence which might be adapted to any remarkable deliverance out of hardship, misery and destruction; but literally, properly, and in the obvious sense thereof;

which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, not Balaam, in Num 23:22 or Num 24:8 but in Hos 11:1 "when Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt": the meaning of which passage is, either in connection with the last clause of the foregoing chapter thus; "in a morning shall the king of Israel be cut off", נער כי, "because Israel is a child", a rebellious and disobedient one, acting a very weak and wicked part; "yet I have loved him, or do love him", and "have called", or "will call", (the past tense for the future, frequent in the Hebrew language, especially in the prophetic writings,) "my son out of Egypt"; who will be obliged to retire there for some time; I will make him king, set him upon the throne, who shall execute justice, and reign for ever and ever; or thus, "because Israel is a child", helpless and imprudent, and "I love him", though he is so, "therefore l will call", or I have determined to call

my son out of Egypt: who through a tyrant's rage and malice will be obliged to abide there a while; yet I will bring him from thence into the land of Judea, where he shall live and "help" my "servant", παιδος l, "child Israel"; shall instruct him in his duty, teach him the doctrines of the Gospel, and at last, by his sufferings and death, procure for him the pardon of all his transgressions; of which there is a particular enumeration in Mat 2:3. This is the natural and unconstrained sense of these words, which justifies the Evangelist in his citation and application of them to Christ's going to Egypt, and his return from thence, as I have elsewhere m shown.

Gill: Mat 2:16 - Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked // Herod was exceeding wroth // sent forth // and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under // in all the coasts thereof // from two years old and under // according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked,.... Herod, having waited a proper time for the return of the wise men, and they not coming, concluded he w...

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked,.... Herod, having waited a proper time for the return of the wise men, and they not coming, concluded he was tricked by them; though, no doubt, when they promised to return, and bring him word how things were, they seriously meant and designed a performance; but having met with a divine oracle, which ordered them another way, they thought it most advisable to obey God rather than man. Upon this,

Herod was exceeding wroth; partly at the usage he met with from the wise men, who according to his apprehension had put a trick upon him; and chiefly because his scheme was broke, which was by them to come at the knowledge and sight of the young child, and privately dispatch him: and now he might fear, which increased his wrath, that the child would escape his hands, and in time be set up for king, to the prejudice of him and his family; wherefore, to prevent this, if possible, he

sent forth his officers and soldiers, of his own will, without any show of law or justice, acting herein as an absolute and tyrannical prince,

and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under. A most cruel and barbarous action, and agrees with the character given of him, that he was in the beginning of his reign, and it seems too in the latter end of it, איש דמים ומרמה, "a bloody and deceitful man" n: he slew, or ordered to be slain, "children", infants who had done him no injury, nor were capable of doing any, and whose parents also had not disobliged him; he slew the infants at Bethlehem, because this was the place of the Messiah's birth, the knowledge of which he had got from the chief priests and scribes; he slew all of them, that there might be no possibility of the young child's escaping: and lest it should by any means escape to a neighbouring town or village, he slew all the children

in all the coasts thereof, in all the territories of Bethlehem, in all the towns and villages around it, as many as were

from two years old and under: for of such an age he supposed the newborn king to be; he knew he must be near that age, but could not exceed it,

according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men; of the appearing of the star to them, and when they concluded this great and famous prince was born. This cruel murder of the infants seems to be hinted at by Josephus o, where he says, that "many slaughters followed the prediction of a new king"; and is more manifestly referred to by Macrobins, a Heathen author, though the story is mixed and confounded with other things; who reports p, that

"when Augustus heard, that among the children under two years of age, whom Herod king of the Jews ordered to be slain in Syria, that his son was also killed, said, it was better to be Herod's hog than his son.''

Killing of infants as soon as born, or while in their cradles, is by the Jews ascribed to one Lilith, which, R. Elias q says, is the name of a devil, which kills children; and indeed such an action is truly a diabolical one.

Gill: Mat 2:17-18 - Then was fulfilled that which was spoken // Jeremy the prophet // in Rama was there a voice heard // weeping for their children // would not be comforted // were not Then was fulfilled that which was spoken,.... By the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem was literally accomplished what had been predicted by Je...

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken,.... By the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem was literally accomplished what had been predicted by

Jeremy the prophet, in Jer 31:15.

in Rama was there a voice heard, &c. That this prophecy belongs not to the Babylonish captivity, but the times of the Messiah, appears from the whole context; which manifestly speaks of the miraculous conception of Christ, of the blessings of his kingdom to be enjoyed by his people, and of the new covenant to be made with them, as I have shown in another place r. Rama was not in Arabia, as Justin Martyr says s, but a town in the tribe of Benjamin, Jos 18:25 and very near to Bethlehem in the tribe of Juda: between these two places, and near to both of them, was the grave of Rachel, Gen 35:19 for which reason, and also because Rama belonged to Benjamin, a son of hers, and where, no doubt, many children were destroyed in this massacre, as well as at Bethlehem, Rachel is introduced in the prophecy representing the sorrowful mothers of those parts,

weeping for their children; whose distress and grief are signified by several words, "lamentation, weeping and great mourning", to express the excessiveness thereof, for they

would not be comforted; they refused to hear anything that might be suggested to them for their relief, because their children

were not, i.e. were dead, were not in the land of the living, and no more to be enjoyed by them in this world. I cannot forbear transcribing a remark made by a noted Jew t upon that passage in Gen 35:20. "And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave"; to show, says he, that Jacob saw that this thing was of the Lord, and that it would be an help to her children, as it is written, "a voice was heard in Rama", &c. wherefore he set a pillar upon her; and to show that the affair of her grave, that this היתה לעתיד "belonged to the time to come", he says, "that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day": he means, יום הגאולה, "the day of redemption". And Rachel, in the passage of Jeremy, the Jews u themselves own, means the congregation of Israel.

Gill: Mat 2:19 - But when Herod was dead // behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt But when Herod was dead,.... Who died, as before observed, a few months after this tragedy was acted; and, according to the w Jewish writers, on the s...

But when Herod was dead,.... Who died, as before observed, a few months after this tragedy was acted; and, according to the w Jewish writers, on the seventh day of the month Cisleu, and which answers to the twenty fifth of our November: and was afterwards observed as a day of rejoicing by the Jews. The account which Josephus x, and from him Eusebius y, gives of his miserable death, is as follows; a burning fever seized him, with an intolerable itching all over his body, and continual pains of the colic; his feet swelled with a dropsy; he had an inflammation in the lower part of his belly: a putrefaction in his privy parts, which bred worms; a frequency and difficulty of breathing, and convulsions in all his members; he had a voracious appetite, a stinking breath, and his intestines abounded with ulcers; when he found that all means made use of were ineffectual, and that he must die, he attempted to lay violent hands upon himself, but was prevented, and soon after expired in a very miserable manner. Now some time after his death,

behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. It may be the same angel who appeared in the same manner, and ordered him to go into Egypt, with the young child and his mother; and who now brings him news of the death of Herod, and bids him return to the land of Israel; which shows the watchful providence of God, and the useful ministry of angels, concerned in the preservation of the infant Jesus.

Gill: Mat 2:20 - Saying, arise, and take the young child and his mother // and go into the land of Israel. // for they are dead which sought the young child's life Saying, arise, and take the young child and his mother,.... Joseph strictly observed and obeyed the divine command of the angel, who had ordered him t...

Saying, arise, and take the young child and his mother,.... Joseph strictly observed and obeyed the divine command of the angel, who had ordered him to continue in Egypt, till he brought him word what he should do, and where he should go: here he was with Mary and Jesus, when the angel bid him arise, and take them with him,

and go into the land of Israel. He does not bid him go to Bethlehem or Nazareth, or any particular place, but the land of Israel, where he might go even into any part of it, without fear; and gives this reason for it,

for they are dead which sought the young child's life; meaning either Herod only, the plural number being put for the singular; or including Antipater his son with him, who might be equally concerned in seeking the life of Christ; since he was next heir, and whom Herod z ordered to be slain about five days before his death; or else designing with him many of the executioners of the infants at Bethlehem, and thereabout; who might have been, as well as he, miserable instances of divine vengeance, for their concern in that barbarous tragedy.

Gill: Mat 2:21 - And he arose and took the young child and his mother And he arose and took the young child and his mother,.... He exactly conformed in every circumstance to the orders given him, with respect to the pers...

And he arose and took the young child and his mother,.... He exactly conformed in every circumstance to the orders given him, with respect to the persons he took, the place he went to, and the expeditiousness of doing it; and is an example of ready and cheerful obedience to the commands of God, worthy of imitation. We may learn from hence, as well as from some other instances already met with, a reason among others, why, though Mary was a virgin, and even if she was to continue so, yet she must be espoused to Joseph as her husband; that she might have one to take care of her and her young child, and be a means, under God, of preserving, protecting, and providing for them.

Gill: Mat 2:22 - But when he heard that Archelaus // was afraid to go thither // Notwithstanding being warned of God in a dream // turned aside into the parts of Galilee But when he heard that Archelaus,.... This Archelaus was a son of Herod the great by Malthace Samaritan, and was appointed by him for his successor a ...

But when he heard that Archelaus,.... This Archelaus was a son of Herod the great by Malthace Samaritan, and was appointed by him for his successor a little before his death, and was upon it declared king by the populace, the soldiers, and those that were in power; all which is affirmed by Josephus a, and confirms the account given by the Evangelist; with whose account agrees what the Jewish chronologer says b, that

"Archelaus, the second king of the family of Herod, reigned after his father's death: and a little after he says, Caesar Augustus caused Archelaus to reign תחת אביו הורדוס "in the room of Herod his father"'';

which is the very phrase used by Matthew. Now this man was like his father, a very cruel wicked man; and, as the above chronologer says c, he ordered his troops, and slew at the feast of the passover, in the temple of the Lord, "nine thousand persons": though perhaps Josephus's account is truest, who says d, that he sent in his whole army upon the people, who had raised a sedition, and slew, whilst they were sacrificing, about "three thousand"; and this happened at the beginning of his reign, and indeed before he had scarce mounted the throne. And now the news of this might have reached the ears of Joseph, and be the reason why he

was afraid to go thither, into Judea, where Archelaus reigned.

Notwithstanding being warned of God in a dream, who never failed to advise him when in difficulty and distress, he did not go back again to Egypt, but

turned aside into the parts of Galilee; where Herod Antipas, another of Herod's sons, was tetrarch or governor; who was a milder person, and not so cruel and tyrannical as Archelaus: besides, Galilee was an obscure place, where, Joseph might reasonably think, he should live with Mary and Jesus unobserved, and free from danger.

Gill: Mat 2:23 - And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth // that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet // A Nazarene And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth,.... Which was a city of Galilee, and where Joseph and Mary had both dwelt before, Luk 1:26 here they ...

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth,.... Which was a city of Galilee, and where Joseph and Mary had both dwelt before, Luk 1:26 here they came and fixed their habitation,

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. This affair of going into Galilee, and settling at Nazareth, was brought about with this view, to accomplish what had been foretold by the prophets, or prophet, the plural number being used for the singular, as in Joh 6:45. And indeed it is so rendered here in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions; and designs the prophet Isaiah, and respects that prophecy of his in Isa 11:1 "and there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and נצר, "a branch shall grow out of his roots"; a prophecy owned by the Jews e themselves to belong to the Messiah, and which was now fulfilled in Jesus; who as he was descended from Jesse's family, so by dwelling at Nazareth, he would appear to be, and would be "called a Nazarene, or Netzer, the branch"; being an inhabitant of Natzareth, or Netzer, so called from the multitude of plants and trees that grew there.

A Nazarene, as David de Pomis says f,

"is one that is born in the city Netzer, which is said to be in the land of Galilee, three days journey distant from Jerusalem.''

Now though Christ was not born, yet because he dwelt at Nazareth, and was educated there; hence the Jews frequently call him ישוע הנוצרי, "Jesus, the Nazarene g"; and sometimes only הנוצרי, "the Nazarene" h. They also design him by בן נצר, "Ben Netzer" i, of whom they say a great many evil things: and that Christ is often called Jesus of Nazareth, or the Nazarene, and his followers Nazarenes, from the place of his habitation, is known to everyone. One of Christ's disciples is called Netzer in the Talmud k, and made to plead for his life, because his name signified a branch, according to Isa 11:1. Surenhusius observes l, that the form לקיום מה שנאמר "to fulfil what is said", used by the Talmudists, and which he takes to be the same with this here, is used by them, when they allege not the very words of Moses, or the prophets, but their sense, which is deduced as a certain axiom from them; and thinks it is applicable to the present case.

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Ayat / Catatan Kaki

NET Notes: Mat 2:1 For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

NET Notes: Mat 2:2 Or “in its rising,” referring to the astrological significance of a star in a particular portion of the sky. The term used for the “...

NET Notes: Mat 2:3 See the note on King Herod in 2:1.

NET Notes: Mat 2:4 See the note on Christ in 1:16.

NET Notes: Mat 2:6 A quotation from Mic 5:2.

NET Notes: Mat 2:7 See the note on King Herod in 2:1.

NET Notes: Mat 2:8 Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

NET Notes: Mat 2:9 See the note on the word “rose” in 2:2.

NET Notes: Mat 2:10 Grk “they rejoiced with very great joy.”

NET Notes: Mat 2:11 Myrrh consisted of the aromatic resin of certain shrubs (L&N 6.208). It was used in preparing a corpse for burial.

NET Notes: Mat 2:12 See the note on King Herod in 2:1.

NET Notes: Mat 2:13 See the note on King Herod in 2:1. Herod the Great was particularly ruthless regarding the succession to his throne.

NET Notes: Mat 2:14 The feminine singular genitive noun νυκτός (nuktos, “night”) indicates the time during which the action of t...

NET Notes: Mat 2:15 A quotation from Hos 11:1.

NET Notes: Mat 2:16 For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

NET Notes: Mat 2:18 A quotation from Jer 31:15.

NET Notes: Mat 2:19 Or “the angel of the Lord.” See the note on the word “Lord” in 1:20.

NET Notes: Mat 2:21 Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the angel’s instructions.

NET Notes: Mat 2:22 See the note on King Herod in 2:1.

NET Notes: Mat 2:23 The Greek could be indirect discourse (as in the text), or direct discourse (“he will be called a Nazarene”). Judging by the difficulty of...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:1 Now when ( 1 ) Jesus was born in Bethlehem of ( a ) Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came ( b ) wise men from the east to Jerusalem...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:3 When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was ( c ) troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. ( c ) Was much moved, for he was a foreigner, and be...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:4 And when he had gathered all the ( d ) chief priests and ( e ) scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. ( d )...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the ( f ) least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that ( g ) shall ...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and ( h ) fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had open...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:12 And being ( k ) warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. ( k ) God warned and...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:13 ( 2 ) And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mothe...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken ( l ) by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ( l ) For God speaketh by the mouth of the prophets.

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:18 In Rama was there ( m ) a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, ( n ) Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comfort...

Geneva Bible: Mat 2:19 ( 3 ) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, ( 3 ) Christ is brought up in Nazareth, after th...

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Tafsiran/Catatan -- Catatan Rentang Ayat

Maclaren: Mat 2:1-12 - A Libation To Jehovah The First-Fruits Of The Gentiles Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the e...

Maclaren: Mat 2:13-23 - A Libation To Jehovah The King In Exile And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child ...

MHCC: Mat 2:1-8 - --Those who live at the greatest distance from the means of grace often use most diligence, and learn to know the most of Christ and his salvation. But ...

MHCC: Mat 2:9-12 - --What joy these wise men felt upon this sight of the star, none know so well as those who, after a long and melancholy night of temptation and desertio...

MHCC: Mat 2:13-15 - --Egypt had been a house of bondage to Israel, and particularly cruel to the infants of Israel; yet it is to be a place of refuge to the holy Child Jesu...

MHCC: Mat 2:16-18 - --Herod killed all the male children, not only in Bethlehem, but in all the villages of that city. Unbridled wrath, armed with an unlawful power, often ...

MHCC: Mat 2:19-23 - --Egypt may serve to sojourn in, or take shelter in, for awhile, but not to abide in. Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to them ...

Matthew Henry: Mat 2:1-8 - -- It was a mark of humiliation put upon the Lord Jesus that, though he was the Desire of all nations, yet his coming into the world was little obs...

Matthew Henry: Mat 2:9-12 - -- We have here the wise men's humble attendance upon this new-born King of the Jews, and the honours they paid him. From Jerusalem they went to Beth...

Matthew Henry: Mat 2:13-15 - -- We have here Christ's flight into Egypt to avoid the cruelty of Herod, and this was the effect of the wise men's enquiry after him; for, before that...

Matthew Henry: Mat 2:16-18 - -- Here is, I. Herod's resentment of the departure of the wise men. He waited long for their return; he hopes, though they be slow, they will be sure, ...

Matthew Henry: Mat 2:19-23 - -- We have here Christ's return out of Egypt into the land of Israel again. Egypt may serve to sojourn in, or take shelter in, for a while, but not t...

Barclay: Mat 2:1-2 - "THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE KING" It was in Bethlehem that Jesus was born. Bethlehem was quite a little town six miles to the south of Jerusalem. In the olden days it had been called...

Barclay: Mat 2:1-2 - "THE HOMAGE OF THE EAST" When Jesus was born in Bethlehem there came to do him homage wise men from the East. The name given to these men is Magi, and that is a word which i...