Matthew 2:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

New Living Translation
He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"

English Standard Version
and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

Berean Study Bible
When he had assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired where the Christ was to be born.

Berean Literal Bible
And having assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he was inquiring of them where the Christ was to be born.

New American Standard Bible
Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

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

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born."

International Standard Version
He called together all the high priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

NET Bible
After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.

New Heart English Bible
And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Messiah would be born.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And he gathered the Chief Priests and the Scribes of the people together and was asking them, “Where would The Messiah be born?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He called together all the chief priests and scribes and tried to find out from them where the Messiah was supposed to be born.

New American Standard 1977
And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he asked them where the Christ should be born.

King James 2000 Bible
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

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

American Standard Version
And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.

Darby Bible Translation
and, assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

English Revised Version
And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when he had assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.

Weymouth New Testament
So he assembled all the High Priests and Scribes of the people, and anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born.

World English Bible
Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born.

Young's Literal Translation
and having gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he was inquiring from them where the Christ is born.
Study Bible
The Pilgrimage of the Magi
3When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:…
Cross References
Matthew 2:3
When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

Matthew 2:5
"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
Treasury of Scripture

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

the chief.

Matthew 21:15,23 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that …

Matthew 26:3,47 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the …

Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the …

1 Chronicles 24:4-19 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of …

2 Chronicles 36:14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed …

Ezra 10:5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all …

Nehemiah 12:7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chief of the priests …

Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel …

John 7:32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him…

John 18:3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief …

scribes.

Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Matthew 13:52 Then said he to them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed …

2 Chronicles 34:13,15 Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of …

Ezra 7:6,11,12 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the …

Jeremiah 8:8 How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? …

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many …

Luke 20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay …

Luke 23:10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery; …

Acts 4:5 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,

Acts 6:12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, …

Acts 23:9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' …

he demanded.

Malachi 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek …

John 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him, Are you a master of Israel, and know …

(4) The chief priests and scribes.--The chief priests were probably the heads of the twenty-four courses into which the sons of Aaron were divided (2Chronicles 23:8; Luke 1:5), but the term may have included those who had, though only for a time, held the office of high priest. The "scribes" were the interpreters of the Law, casuists and collectors of the traditions of the Elders, for the most part Pharisees. The meeting thus convened was not necessarily a formal meeting of the Sanhedrim or Great Council, and may have been only as a Committee of Notables called together for a special purpose. With a characteristic subtlety, as if trying to gauge the strength of their Messianic hopes, Herod acts as if he himself shared them, and asks where the Christ, the expected Messiah, the "anointed" of the Lord (Psalm 2:2; Psalm 45:7; Psalm 89:20) was to be born.

Verse 4. - And when he had gathered... together (καὶ συναγαγών). The Revised Version, and gathering together, suggests that there was no delay. All the chief priests and scribes of the people (πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ). In the absence of the article before γραμματεῖς we must take the words, "of the people," as belonging to both terms. The addition helped to bring out the evangelist's thought that the representatives of the chosen people (1 Peter 2:10) were fully informed of the coming of Christ. The chief priests (cf. also Matthew 16:21, note) represented the ecclesiastical and Sadducean part, the scribes the more literary and probably the Pharisaic part, of the nation. The width of the term "all," and the double classification, seem to point to this not being a meeting of the Sanhedrin as such. Herod called an informal and perhaps the more comprehensive meeting of those who could assist him. He demanded of them; Revised Version, inquired, for "demand" is, in modern English, too strong for ἐπυνθάνετο The tyrant could be courteous when it served his purpose. Does the imperfect mark his putting the question to one after another (cf. Acts 1:6; and contrast John 4:52)? Where Christ ( the Christ, Revised Version) should be born (γεννᾶται). In ver. 2 (ὁ τεχθείς) the stress lay on his birth as an accomplished fact. Here on his birth as connected with his origin The present is chosen, not the future, because Herod is stating a theological question without reference to time. Observe, in Herod's inquiry and subsequent action, the combination of superstition and irreligion. He was willing to accept the witness of stars and of prophecies, but not willing to allow himself to be morally influenced by it. His attempt to kill this Child was the expression of a desire to destroy the Jewish nationality so far as this was severed from himself, and perhaps with it to uproot at the same time a fundamental part of the Jewish religion. 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 "the officers of the people", by this same word the scribes, and scribes of the people, in Numbers 11:16 Joshua 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, Acts 21:33 "where Christ", , 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.

(x) Vol. II. p. 111. 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 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 Mt 26:59; 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.

he demanded of them—as the authorized interpreters of Scripture.

where Christ—the Messiah.

should be born—according to prophecy.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 no curious arts, or mere human learning, can direct men unto him. We must learn of Christ by attending to the word of God, as a light that shineth in a dark place, and by seeking the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And those in whose hearts the day-star is risen, to give them any thing of the knowledge of Christ, make it their business to worship him. Though Herod was very old, and never had shown affection for his family, and was not himself likely to live till a new-born infant had grown up to manhood, he began to be troubled with the dread of a rival. He understood not the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom. Let us beware of a dead faith. A man may be persuaded of many truths, and yet may hate them, because they interfere with his ambition, or sinful indulgences. Such a belief will make him uneasy, and the more resolved to oppose the truth and the cause of God; and he may be foolish enough to hope for success therein.
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