|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-20 Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. God's goodwill in sending the Messiah, brought peace into this lower world. Peace is here put for all that good which flows to us from Christ's taking our nature upon him. This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men, is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth. The shepherds lost no time, but came with haste to the place. They were satisfied, and made known abroad concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord. Mary carefully observed and thought upon all these things, which were so suited to enliven her holy affections. We should be more delivered from errors in judgment and practice, did we more fully ponder these things in our hearts. It is still proclaimed in our ears that to us is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord. These should be glad tidings to all.
Verse 13. - With the angel a multitude of the heavenly host. "The troop of angels issues forth from the depths of that invisible world which surrounds us on every side" (Godet). One of the glorious titles by which the eternal King was known among the chosen people was "Lord of sabaoth," equivalent to "Lord of hosts." In several passages of the Scriptures is the enormous multitude of these heavenly beings noticed; for instance, Psalm 68:17, where the Hebrew is much more expressive than the English rendering; Daniel 7:10, "Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him" (see, too, the Targum of Palestine on Deuteronomy 33, "And with him ten thousand times ten thousand holy angels;" and "The crown of the Law is his [Moses'], because he brought it from the heavens above, when there was revealed to him the glory of the Lord's Shechinah, with two thousand myriads of angels, and forty and two thousand chariots of fire," etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And suddenly there was with the angel,.... That brought the tidings of Christ's birth to the shepherds: a multitude of the heavenly host: who being caused to fly swiftly, were at once with him, by his side, and about him; and which was a further confirmation of the truth of his message to them: these were angels who were called an host, or army, the militia of heaven, the ministers of God, that wait upon him, and do his pleasure; and are sent forth to minister to his people, and encamp about them, preserve, and defend them; see Genesis 32:1 These are styled an heavenly host, because they dwell in heaven; and to distinguish them from hosts and armies on earth; and said to be
multitude, for the angels are innumerable; there are thousands, ten thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand of them: it may be rendered "the multitude", and may intend the whole company of angels, who were all of them together to sing the praises of God, and glorify him at the birth of the incarnate Saviour, as well as to adore him; since it is said, "when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him", Hebrews 1:6, and these were
praising God; on account of the birth of Christ, and the redemption that was to be obtained by him, for elect men; which shows their friendly disposition to them, and how much they rejoice at their spiritual and eternal welfare; see Luke 15:10; And thus, as at the laying of the foundation of the earth, these "morning stars sang together, and all these sons of God shouted for joy", Job 38:7 they did the same when the foundation of man's salvation was laid in the incarnation of the Son of God,
and saying, as follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. suddenly—as if only waiting till their fellow had done.
with the angel—who retires not, but is joined by others, come to seal and to celebrate the tidings he has brought.
heavenly host—or "army," an army celebrating peace! [Bengel] "transferring the occupation of their exalted station to this poor earth, which so seldom resounds with the pure praise of God" [Olshausen]; to let it be known how this event is regarded in heaven and should be regarded on earth.
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