|New International Version (©2011)|
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."
New Living Translation (©2007)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
English Standard Version (©2001)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"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."
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.
International Standard Version (©2012)
"As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, even though you remain least among the clans of Judah, nevertheless, the one who rules in Israel for me will emerge from you. His existence has been from antiquity, even from eternity.
NET Bible (©2006)
As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, seemingly insignificant among the clans of Judah--from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, one whose origins are in the distant past.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah's cities. Yet, from you Israel's future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
American King James Version
But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
American Standard Version
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
AND THOU, BETHLEHEM Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.
Darby Bible Translation
(And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me who is to be Ruler in Israel: whose goings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity.)
English Revised Version
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
Webster's Bible Translation
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou art little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
World English Bible
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.
Young's Literal Translation
And thou, Beth-Lehem Ephratah, Little to be among the chiefs of Judah! From thee to Me he cometh forth -- to be ruler in Israel, And his comings forth are of old, From the days of antiquity.
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-6 Having showed how low the house of David would be brought, a prediction of the Messiah and his kingdom is added to encourage the faith of God's people. His existence from eternity as God, and his office as Mediator, are noticed. Here is foretold that Bethlehem should be his birthplace. Hence it was universally known among the Jews, Mt 2:5. Christ's government shall be very happy for his subjects; they shall be safe and easy. Under the shadow of protection from the Assyrians, is a promise of protection to the gospel church and all believers, from the designs and attempts of the powers of darkness. Christ is our Peace as a Priest, making atonement for sin, and reconciling us to God; and he is our Peace as a King, conquering our enemies: hence our souls may dwell at ease in him. Christ will find instruments to protect and deliver. Those that threaten ruin to the church of God, soon bring ruin on themselves. This may include the past powerful effects of the preached gospel, its future spread, and the ruin of all antichristian powers. This is, perhaps, the most important single prophecy in the Old Testament: it respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of himself to the world. It distinguishes his human birth from his existing from eternity; it foretells the rejection of the Israelites and Jews for a season, their final restoration, and the universal peace to prevail through the whole earth in the latter days. In the mean time let us trust our Shepherd's care and power. If he permits the assault of our enemies, he will supply helpers and assistance for us.
Verse 2. - At the time of Zion's deepest distress, and when her earthly king is suffering the grossest degradation, reduced as it were to the shepherd house at Bethlehem, a Deliverer shall arise thence who shall do wonderful things. This passage was quoted by the Sanhedrin to answer Herod's question where the Christ was to be born (Matthew 2:5, 6; comp. John 7:42). But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah. Ephratah (Ephrathah, or Ephrath), "fruitfulness," is another name for Bethlehem, "House of bread" (Genesis 35:19; 1 Samuel 17:12; Ruth 1:2); from its position it is also called Bethlehem Judah (Judges 17:7), being situated in the tribal lot of Judah, about five miles south of Jerusalem, and thus distinguished from a town of the same name in Zebulun(Joshua 19:15). Septuagint, κιὰ σὺ Βηθλεὲμ οῖκος Ἐφραθά τοῦ Ἐφραθά Alex.]. "And thou, Bethlehem, house of Ephrathah." The rest of the clause is best translated, too little to be among the thousands of Judah. Each tribe was divided into "thousands," which would be equivalent to clans, with its own head. Probably the reckoning was made of fighting men (see note on Zechariah 9:7; and comp. Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4; Joshua 22:21, 30; 1 Samuel 10:19). Bethlehem, called in the text Bethlehem Ephratah for solemnity's sake, was a small place (κάμη, John 7:42), of such slight importance as not to be named among the possessions of Judah in Joshua 15, or in the catalogue of Nehemiah 11:25, etc. Yet out of thee shall he (one) come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel. In spite of its insignificance, this birthplace of David shall be the birthplace of Messiah. "Shall some forth" is spoken sometimes of birth and descent, as in Genesis 17:6 and Genesis 35:11; at other times it contains merely the notion of proceeding from, as in Jeremiah 30:21. In the present ease both ideas are suitable. Unto me (Jehovah is speaking). To my praise and glory, to do my will. Micah by these words would recall the announcement concerning David made to Samuel, "I have provided me a king" (1 Samuel 16:1), and thus show the typical relation of David to the Messiah (Keil). Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. The meaning of the word rendered "goings forth" (motsaoth) is somewhat doubtful. Septuagint, ἔξοδοι: Vulgate, egressus. The Fathers see in it a declaration of the eternal generation of the Son: he who was born in time at Bethlehem hath an eternal existence. In this case the plural form of the word is a plural of majesty, or an abstract expression (comp. Psalm 114:2, "dominions;" Isaiah 54:2. "habitations"). To Christians, who believe in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the plural would express the continual generation or the Son from the Father from everlasting and to everlasting, never beginning and never ending; as the Council of Lateran says, "Without beginning ever and without end, the Father begetting, the Sen being born (nascens), and the Holy Ghost proceeding." Many commentators take the "goings forth" to be the ancient promises, the revelations of the Angel of the covenant to the patriarchs, the various preparations made in type and history for the appearance of the great Son of David in due time; but this is a forced interpretation of the word. Granted that Micah's contemporaries understood the prophecy to state merely that a Saviour should arise from the lineage of David who traced his descent from hoar antiquity, and might be said to have lived in the days of old, this fact (if it be a fact) does not preclude us, with our more perfect knowledge, from seeing a deeper meaning in the inspired utterance, an adumbration of the nature of that Prince whom Isaiah calls "Everlasting" (Isaiah 9:6), the Word who "was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1, 2). We may note certain contrasts in these two first verses. Zion, "the daughter of troops," is contrasted with the mean and insignificant Bethlehem; yet the former shall be shamefully handled, the latter highly honoured; that one's king shall be dethroned and disgraced, this one's Ruler is from everlasting and to everlasting.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,.... But though Jerusalem should be besieged and taken, and the land of Judea laid waste, yet, before all this should be, the Messiah should be born in Bethlehem, of which this is a prophecy, as is evident from Matthew 2:4; the place is called by both the names it went by, to point it out the more distinctly, and with the greater certainty, Genesis 35:19; the former signifies "the house of bread", and a proper place for Christ to be born in, who is the bread of life; and it has the name of the latter from its fruitfulness, being a place of pasture, and as we find it was at the time of our Lord's birth; for near it shepherds were then watching over their flocks; and it is here added, to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:15; from which tribe the Messiah was not to come, but from the tribe of Judah; and in which this Bethlehem was, and therefore called, by Matthew, Bethlehem in the land of Judah; as it appears this was, from Ruth 1:1; and from the Septuagint version of Joshua 15:60, where, as Jerom observes, it was added by the Greek interpreters, or erased out of the Hebrew text by the wickedness of the Jews: the former seems most correct;
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah; this supplement of ours is according to Kimchi's reading and sense of the words; which, in some measure, accounts for the difference between the prophet and the Evangelist Matthew, by whom this place is said to be "not the least", Matthew 2:6, as it might, and yet be little; besides, it might be little at one time, in Micah's time, yet not little at another time; in Matthew's; it might be little with respect to some circumstances, as to pompous buildings, and number of inhabitants, and yet not little on account of its being the birth place of great men, as Jesse, David, and especially the Messiah: or the words may be rendered with an interrogation, "art thou little?" &c. (d); thou art not: or thus, it is a "little thing to be among the thousands of Judah" (e); a greater honour shall be put upon thee, by being the place of the Messiah's birth. Moreover, Mr, Pocock has shown out of R. Tanchum, both in his commentary on this place, and elsewhere (f), that the word signifies both "little" and "great", or of great note and esteem. The tribes of Israel were divided into tens, hundreds, and thousands, over which there was a head or prince; hence, in Matthew, these are called "the princes of Judah", Matthew 2:6;
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; not Hezekiah, who very probably was now born at the time of this prophecy; nor was he born at Bethlehem, nor a ruler in Israel, only king of Judah: nor Zerubbabel, who was born in Babylon, as his name shows, was governor of Judah, but not of Israel; nor can it be said of him, or any mere man, what is said in the next clause: but the Messiah is intended, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi confess, and other Jewish writers. The Targum is,
"out of thee shall come forth before me the Messiah, that he may exercise dominion over Israel.''
Jarchi's note is,
"out of thee shall come forth unto me Messiah, the son of David;''
and so he says, "the stone which the builders refused", &c. Psalm 118:22; plainly suggesting that that passage also belongs to the Messiah, as it certainly does. Kimchi's paraphrase is,
"although thou art little among the thousands of Judah, of thee shall come forth unto me a Judge, to be ruler in Israel, and this is the King Messiah.''
And Abarbinel (g), mentioning those words in Micah 4:13; "arise, and thresh, O daughter of Zion", observes,
"this speaks concerning the business of the King Messiah, who shall reign over them, and shall be the Prince of their army; and it is plain that he shall be of the house of David: and it is said, "O thou, Bethlehem Ephratah", which was a small city, in the midst of the cities of Judah; and "although thou art little in the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto me" a man, a ruler in Israel, "whose goings forth are from the days of old"; the meaning is, the goings forth of the family of that ruler are from the days of old; that is, from the seed of David, and a rod from the stem of Jesse, who was of Bethlehem Judah.''
So Abendana (h), a more modern Jew, paraphrases the words thus,
"out of thee shall come forth unto me a Judge, that is to be ruler in Israel, and this is the King Messiah; for because he is to be of the seed of David, from Bethlehem he will be.''
To which may be added R. Isaac (i), who, having cited this passage, observes, and, he, the ruler in Israel, is the King Messiah, who shall come forth from the seed of David the king; who was of Bethlehem Judah, as in 1 Samuel 17:12. Wherefore Lyra, having quoted Jarchi, and given his sense of the passage, remarks, hence it is plain that some Catholics, explaining this Scripture of King Hezekiah, "judaize" more than the Hebrews. Though some of them object the application of it to Jesus, who they say ruled not over Israel, but Israel over him, and put him to death; which it is true they did; but God exalted him to be a Prince, as well as a Saviour, unto Israel, notwithstanding that, and declared him to be Lord and Christ; besides, previous to his death, and in the land of Israel, he gave abundant proof of his power and rule over universal nature, earth, air, and sea; over angels, good and bad; and over men and beasts: all creatures obeyed him; though indeed his kingdom is not of this world, but of a spiritual nature, and is over the spiritual Israel of God; and there is a time coming when he will be King over all the earth. Now out of Bethlehem was the King Messiah, the ruler in Israel, to come forth; that is, here he was to be born, as the phrase signifies; see Genesis 10:14; and here our Jesus, the true Messiah, was born, as appears from Matthew 2:8; and this is not only certain from the evangelic history, but the Jews themselves acknowledge it. One of their chronologers (k) affirms that Jesus the Nazarene was born at Bethlehem Judah, a parsa and a half from Jerusalem; that is, about six miles from it, which was the distance between them: and even the author of a blasphemous book (l), pretending to give the life of Jesus, owns that Bethlehem Judah was the place of his nativity: and it is clear not only that the Jews in the times of Jesus expected the Messiah to come from hence, even both the chief priests and scribes of the people, who, in answer to Herod's question about the place of the Messiah's birth, direct him to this, according to Micah's prophecy, Matthew 2:4; and the common people, who thought to have confronted the Messiahship of Jesus with it, John 7:41; but others also, at other times. The tower of Edar being a place near to Bethlehem Ephratah, Genesis 35:19; Jonathan ben Uzziel, in his Targum of Genesis 35:19, says of the tower of Edar, this is the place from whence the King Messiah shall be revealed in the end of days; nay, some of them say he is born already, and was born at Bethlehem. An Arabian, they say (m), told a Jew,
"the King Messiah is born; he replied to him, what is his name? he answered, Menachem (the Comforter) is his name; he asked him, what is his father's name? he replied, Hezekiah; he said to him, from whence is he? he answered, from the palace of the king of Bethlehem Judah.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Beth-lehem Ephratah—(Ge 48:7), or, Beth-lehem Judah; so called to distinguish it from Beth-lehem in Zebulun. It is a few miles southwest of Jerusalem. Beth-lehem means "the house of bread"; Ephratah means "fruitful": both names referring to the fertility of the region.
though thou be little among—though thou be scarcely large enough to be reckoned among, &c. It was insignificant in size and population; so that in Jos 15:21, &c., it is not enumerated among the cities of Judah; nor in the list in Ne 11:25, &c. Under Rehoboam it became a city: 2Ch 11:6, "He built Beth-lehem." Mt 2:6 seems to contradict Micah, "thou art not the least," But really he, by an independent testimony of the Spirit, confirms the prophet, Little in worldly importance, thou art not least (that is, far from least, yea, the very greatest) among the thousands, of princes of Judah, in the spiritual significance of being the birthplace of Messiah (Joh 7:42). God chooses the little things of the world to eclipse in glory its greatest things (Jud 6:15; Joh 1:46; 1Co 1:27, 28). The low state of David's line when Messiah was born is also implied here.
thousands—Each tribe was divided into clans or "thousands" (each thousand containing a thousand families: like our old English division of counties into hundreds), which had their several heads or "princes"; hence in Mt 2:6 it is quoted "princes," substantially the same as in Micah, and authoritatively explained in Matthew. It is not so much this thousand that is preferred to the other thousands of Judah, but the Governor or Chief Prince out of it, who is preferred to the governors of all the other thousands. It is called a "town" (rather in the Greek, "village"), Joh 7:42; though scarcely containing a thousand inhabitants, it is ranked among the "thousands" or larger divisions of the tribe, because of its being the cradle of David's line, and of the Divine Son of David. Moses divided the people into thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, with their respective "rulers" (Ex 18:25; compare 1Sa 10:19).
unto me—unto God the Father (Lu 1:32): to fulfil all the Father's will and purpose from eternity. So the Son declares (Ps 2:7; 40:7, 8; Joh 4:34); and the Father confirms it (Mt 3:17; 12:18, compare with Isa 42:1). God's glory is hereby made the ultimate end of redemption.
ruler—the "Shiloh," "Prince of peace," "on whose shoulders the government is laid" (Ge 49:10; Isa 9:6). In 2Sa 23:3, "He that ruleth over men must be just," the same Hebrew word is employed; Messiah alone realizes David's ideal of a ruler. Also in Jer 30:21, "their governor shall proceed from the midst of them"; answering closely to "out of thee shall come forth the ruler," here (compare Isa 11:1-4).
goings forth … from everlasting—The plain antithesis of this clause, to "come forth out of thee" (from Beth-lehem), shows that the eternal generation of the Son is meant. The terms convey the strongest assertion of infinite duration of which the Hebrew language is capable (compare Ps 90:2; Pr 8:22, 23; Joh 1:1). Messiah's generation as man coming forth unto God to do His will on earth is from Beth-lehem; but as Son of God, His goings forth are from everlasting. The promise of the Redeemer at first was vaguely general (Ge 3:15). Then the Shemitic division of mankind is declared as the quarter in which He was to be looked for (Ge 9:26, 27); then it grows clearer, defining the race and nation whence the Deliverer should come, namely, the seed of Abraham, the Jews (Ge 12:3); then the particular tribe, Judah (Ge 49:10); then the family, that of David (Ps 89:19, 20); then the very town of His birth, here. And as His coming drew nigh, the very parentage (Mt 1:1-17; Lu 1:26-35; 2:1-7); and then all the scattered rays of prophecy concentrate in Jesus, as their focus (Heb 1:1, 2).
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