Matthew 2:5
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) In Bethlehem of Judæa.—The words of the people in John 7:42 show the same belief thirty years later. The Targum, or Jewish paraphrase, of Micah 5:2, inserts the very words, “Out of thee the Messiah shall come.”

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.By the prophet - The Sanhedrin answered without hesitation. The question where he would be born had been settled by prophecy. This prophecy is found in Micah 5:2. In that prophecy both the place of his birth and the character of the Messiah are so clearly set forth that there was no room to doubt. It will be observed that there is a considerable difference between the passage as quoted by the Sanhedrin and as it stands in Micah. The main point, however, is retained - the place of his birth. We are not concerned, therefore, in showing how these passages can be reconciled. Matthew, moreover, is not responsible for the correctness of the quotation. He affirms only that the chief priests and scribes gave this answer to Herod, and that Herod was satisfied. Admitting that they did not quote the passage correctly, it does not prove that Matthew has not reported their answer as they gave it, and this is all that he pretends to give.

Art not the least - In Micah, "though thou be little." Though a small place so far as population is concerned, yet it shall not be small, or be the least in honor; for the Messiah shall be born there. His birth gave the place an honor which could not be conferred on the larger cities by all their numbers, their splendor, and their wealth. The birth of a distinguished personage was always supposed to give honor and importance to a city or country. Thus, seven cities contended for the honor of giving birth to Homer; Stratford-upon-Avon is distinguished as the birthplace of Shakespeare; and Corsica as the birthplace of Napoleon.

A Governor - A ruler. This is one of the characters of the Messiah, who is the king of his people, John 18:37. The word "rule" here means to rule as a shepherd does his flock, in faithfulness and tenderness. Compare John 10:11; Isaiah 40:10-11; Isaiah 9:7.

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.

for thus it is written by the prophet—(Mic 5:2).

See Poole on "Matthew 2:6".

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, Micah 5:2 it stands, and is as follows:

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 2:5-6. The answer of the experts.—οἱ δὲ εἶπον, etc. This is not a Christian opinion put into the mouth of the scribes. It was the answer to be expected from them as reflecting the current opinion of the time. The Targum put upon the oracle in Micah a Messianic interpretation (Wetstein, and Wünsche, Beiträge). Yet with the Talmudists the Messiah was the one who should come forth from a strange, unknown place (Weber, Die Lehren des Talmud, p. 342). Vide on this point Schanz, who quotes Schegg as denying the statement of Wetstein, and refers to Celsus as objecting that this view about Messiah’s birthplace was not current among the Jews. (Origen, c. Celsum, i. 51. Cf. John 7:27; John 7:42.)—οὕτω γὰρ γεγραπται, etc.: The Scripture proof that Messiah’s birth-place was Bethlehem is taken from Micah 5:2. The oracle put into the mouth of the experts consulted by Herod receives its shape from the hand of the evangelist. It varies very considerably both from the original Hebrew and from the Sept[5] The “least” becomes “by no means the least,” “among the thousands” becomes “among the princes,” and the closing clause, “who shall rule my people Israel,’ departs from the prophetic oracle altogether, and borrows from 2 Samuel 5:2, God’s promise to David; the connecting link apparently being the poetic word descriptive of the kingly function common to the two places—ποιμανεῖ in Micah 5:3, ποιμανεῖς in 2 Samuel 5:2. The second variation arises from a different pointing of the same Hebrew word באלפי, בְאַלפֵי = among the thousands, בְאַלֻּפֵי = among the heads of thousands. Such facts are to be taken as they stand. They do not correspond to modern ideas of Scripture proof.

[5] Septuagint.

5. by the prophet] Lit. by means of, through—the prophet is regarded as the instrument. In Matthew 2:17 and Matthew 3:3, some MSS. have the preposition signifying personal agency (ὑπό), instead of the instrumental preposition (διά); but the usual formula is as in Matthew 2:15, “by the Lord through the prophet.”

Bethlehem of Judea] To distinguish this Bethlehem from the Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15).

Matthew 2:5. Βηθλεὲμ, Bethlehem) The knowledge which the scribes, who do not go themselves, have derived from their ancestors, is of service to the Magi, who are seeking for Christ.—οὓτω γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου, for thus it is written by the prophet) This reason was alleged by the council; but St Matthew has stamped it with his approval.

Verse 5. - And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet. For" by" the Revised Version margin has "through" (Matthew 1:22, not,.). Matthew 2:5
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