Matthew 2:6
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

New Living Translation
'And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.'"

English Standard Version
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Berean Study Bible
But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.'"

Berean Literal Bible
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come forth One leading, who will shepherd My people Israel.'"

New American Standard Bible
'AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'"

King James Bible
And thou Bethlehem, 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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel."

International Standard Version
O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, because from you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

NET Bible
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.'"

New Heart English Bible
'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel.'"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“You, Bethlehem of Judea, were not the least among the Kings of Judaea, for from you shall proceed The King who shall shepherd my people Israel.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Bethlehem in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah. A leader will come from you. He will shepherd my people Israel."

New American Standard 1977
‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
            ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
            FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER,
            WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda, for out of thee shall come a Leader that shall shepherd my people Israel.

King James 2000 Bible
And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

American King James Version
And you Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, are not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

American Standard Version
And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.

Darby Bible Translation
And thou Bethlehem, land of Juda, art in no wise the least among the governors of Juda; for out of thee shall go forth a leader who shall shepherd my people Israel.

English Revised Version
And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Which shall be shepherd of my people Israel.

Webster's Bible Translation
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Weymouth New Testament
"'And thou, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, by no means the least honorable art thou among princely places in Judah! For from thee shall come a prince--one who shall be the Shepherd of My People Israel.'"

World English Bible
'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.'"

Young's Literal Translation
And thou, Beth-Lehem, the land of Judah, thou art by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for out of thee shall come one leading, who shall feed My people Israel.'
Study Bible
The Pilgrimage of the Magi
5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of My people Israel.’” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and learned from them the exact time the star had appeared.…
Cross References
1 Chronicles 5:2
Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph),

Ezra 2:21
the men of Bethlehem, 123;

Micah 5:2
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity."

John 7:42
Doesn't the Scripture say that the Christ will come from the line of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"

John 21:16
Jesus asked a second time, "Simon son of John, do you love Me?" "Yes, Lord," he answered, "You know I love You." Jesus told him, "Shepherd My sheep."

Hebrews 7:14
For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, a tribe as to which Moses said nothing about priests.

Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to fountains of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'"
Treasury of Scripture

And you Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, are not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

thou.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod …

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands …

John 7:42 Has not the scripture said, That Christ comes of the seed of David, …

a Governor.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me …

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between …

Numbers 24:19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy …

1 Chronicles 5:2 For Judah prevailed above his brothers, and of him came the chief …

Psalm 2:1-6 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing…

Isaiah 9:6,7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government …

Ephesians 1:22 And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head …

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, …

Revelation 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter …

Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying…

rule. or, feed.

Psalm 78:71,72 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob …

Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs …

Jeremiah 23:4-6 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and …

Ezekiel 34:23-25 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, …

Ezekiel 37:24-26 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall …

(6) And thou Bethlehem. . . .--The Evangelist is not quoting the prophecy of Micah himself, but recording it as it was quoted by the scribes. This in part explains the fact that he does not give either the version of the LXX., or a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew, but a free paraphrase. As the Targum, just referred to, belongs to this period, it is perfectly possible that the writer of it may have been one of the Council. At any rate, his Messianic reference of the passage was likely to be dominant. The chief difference for the English reader to note is, that the Hebrew gives "thou art little among the thousands (i.e., as in Judges 6:15, the families or clans) of Judah;" the version given by St. Matthew, "thou art not the least among the princes." The prophet contrasts the outward insignificance with the spiritual greatness. The paraphrast sees the outward transfigured by the glory of the spiritual. So again the simpler "out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel" is paraphrased into "out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule (e.g., feed, as a shepherd) my people Israel." The fact that the scribes stopped, and did not go on to the words that told of the Ruler as one "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting," may have arisen either from an unwillingness to bring that aspect of the expected Christ before the mind of Herod, or, possibly, from an equal unwillingness to face it themselves.

Verse 6. - And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Jude, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel; and thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, which shall be shepherd of my people Israel (Revised Version). In this quotation from Micah 5:2 notice the following Variations from the Hebrew, and practically from the LXX.:

(1) "Land of Judah" for "Ephratah"; an unimportant change in the terms of definition.

(2) "Art in no wise least" for "which art little to be "; a verbal contradiction probably, but also unimportant, as the thought of the context in Micah is of Bethlehem's greatness.

(3) "Princes" for "thousands." This may be due

(a) to a different pointing of the Hebrew, בְּאַלֻפֵי for בְּאַלְפֵי (cf. the rabbinic commentary, 'Metzud. Zion.'), or

(b) to understanding בְּאַלְפֵי as "families" (Judges 6:15; cf. Revised 'Version margin), and then concentrating the family in its head.

(4) "For out of thee shall come forth a governor, which shall be shepherd of my people Israel" for "out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." This is a paraphrase, with a paraphrastic addition from 2 Samuel 5:2 (7:7), in order to distinctly identify the ruler with Messiah. Nothing is commoner in Jewish authors than the silent conjunction of quotations from separate contexts. In this case the thought of the shepherd in Micah 5:4 made the addition from Samuel the more easy. It must also be noticed that the reference of the passage in Micah to Christ is fully borne out by Jewish writers. Though they generally explain the rest of the verse as referring to the long lapse of time from David himself, they understand the ruler to be Messiah. But it is not usual with Jewish interpreters to understand the reference to Bethlehem as implying the place of Messiah's own birth. They generally take it as referring to the home of David, Messiah's ancestor. And this is the more natural meaning of the prophecy. The quotation, however, from the Jerusalem Talmud already given on ver. 1, and the Targum of Jonathan on Genesis 35:21 ("the tower of Edar - the place whence King Messiah is about to be revealed in the end of the days"), endorse the thoroughly Jewish character of the reply given to Herod (cf. also John 7:42). If it be asked why St. Matthew does not give an exact and verbal rendering of the Hebrew, the answer may be made that he probably gives the current form of its exposition. The high priests and scribes would have doubtless quoted it accurately in the process of weighing Micah's statement, but when, as here, they were only reproducing the result that they had arrived at, they would care for only the substance of the prophet's teaching (cf. the paraphrastic rendering of the Targum). In the land of Judah; Revised Version omits in ( Βηθλεὲμ γῆ Ἰούδα). "Bethlehem-Judah" would have presented no difficulty, for a town was often distinguished by the apposition of the name of the district in which it was situated; e.g. Ramoth-Gilead, Kedesh-Naphtali. It seems best to explain the γῆ as a mere expansion of "Judah" (cf. 1 Macc. 5:68, ἄζωτον γῆν ἀλλοφυλῶν, where probably the thought was Ashdod-Philistia). It is, however, possible that γῆ is here used in the sense of "the town and its surrounding district, over which district, it is to be observed, Herod extended his massacre (verse 16)" (Humphrey, in loc.). 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 Ruth 1:2 and the Septuagint version of Joshua 15:60 and is described in this manner by Matthew, partly to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the land of Zebulun, Joshua 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 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).

(y) Targum Jon. Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi & Abendana in loc. Abarbinel Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 62. 2. R. Isaac Chizuk Emuna, p. 279. (z) See my book of the "Prophecies of the Messiah", &c. ch. 6. p. 104-116. 6. And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda—the "in" being familiarly left out, as we say, "London, Middlesex."

art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, etc.—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.

that shall rule—or "feed," as in the Margin.

my people Israel—In the Old Testament, kings are, by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds" (Eze 34:1-10, etc.). 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 Ps 23:1-6; Isa 40:11; Eze 37:24; Joh 10:11; Re 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 (Mt 2:7-12).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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