MATTHEW CHAPTER 2

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Matthew. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

I) [Mt 2:1-23]:

(Mt 2:1 NKJV) '''Now after Jesus [having been] born in Bethlehem of Judea in [the] days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [lit., "magi"] from the East [arrived at] Jerusalem,

(Mt 2:2 NKJV) saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the East and have come to worship Him."

(Mt 2:3 YLT) But Herod the king having heard, was stirred [troubled], and all Jerusalem with him,

(Mt 2:4 YLT) and having gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he was inquiring from them where the Christ is [being] born.

(Mt 2:5 YLT) And they said to him, "In Beth-Lehem of Judea, for thus it [has] been written through the prophet,

(Mt 2:6 NASB) 'And you, Bethelehem, 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' "

(Mt 2:7 YLT) Then Herod, [secretly] having called the [magi], did inquire exactly from them the time of the appearing star,

(Mt 2:8 YLT) and having sent them to Bethlehem, he said, 'Having gone - inquire... exactly for the Child, and whenever you may have found [Him], bring me back word, that I also having come may [worship] Him.' "

(Mt 2:9 YLT) And they, having heard the king, departed, and [behold], the star, that they did see in the east, [was going] before them, till, having come, it stood over where the Child was.

(Mt 2:10 YLT) And having seen the star, they rejoiced with [exceedingly] great joy,

(Mt 2:11 YLT) and having come [into] the house, they found the [little] Child with Mary His mother, and having fallen down they [worshipped] Him, and having opened their treasures, they [offered] to Him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh,

(Mt 2:12 NASB) And having been warned [by God is implied] in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

(Mt 2:13 YLT) And on their having withdrawn, [behold], [an Angel] of the Lord [appears] in a dream to Joseph, saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and be... there till I may speak to [you], for Herod is about to seek the Child to destroy Him.'

(Mt 2:14 YLT) And he, having risen, took the [little] Child and his mother by night, and withdrew [into] Egypt,

(Mt 2:15 NKJV) and he was there till the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I did call My Son.' "

(Mt 2:16 NASB) Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he [was] very enraged, and sent [people] and [put to death] all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

(Mt 2:17 NKJV) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

(Mt 2:18 YLT) 'A voice in Ramah was heard - lamentation and weeping and much mourning - Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because they are not [i.e., no more].'

(Mt 2:19 YLT) And Herod having died, [behold], [an Angel] of the Lord in a dream [appears] to Joseph in Egypt,

(Mt 2:20 YLT) saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and His mother, and [go into] the land of Israel, for they have died - those seeking the life of the Child.'

(Mt 2:21 YLT) And he, having risen, took the Child and His mother [with him], and came [into] the land of Israel,

(Mt 2:22 YLT) and having heard that Archelaus [reigns] over Judea instead of Herod his father, he was afraid to go [there], and having been divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee,

(Mt 2:23 YLT) and coming, he dwelt in a city [being called] Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called.'''

A) (Mt 2:1-6) AFTER JESUS HAD BEEN BORN IN BETHLEHEM IN JUDEA IN THE DAYS OF HEROD THE KING, MAGI FROM THE EAST TRAVELED INTO JERUSALEM AND WERE ASKING "WHERE IS HE WHO HAS BEEN BORN KING OF THE JEWS? FOR WE SAW HIS STAR IN THE EAST AND HAVE COME TO WORSHIP HIM. HEROD HEARD AND WAS TROUBLED AND ALL JERUSALEM WITH HIM. HEROD WAS INQUIRING OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES WHERE THE CHRIST IS BEING BORN. THEY RESPONDED FROM SCRIPTURE, "IN BETHLEHEM OF JUDEA FOR THUS IT HAS BEEN WRITTEN THROUGH THE PROPHET, '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"]:

(Mt 2:1 NKJV) '''Now after Jesus [having been] born in Bethlehem of Judea in [the] days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [lit., "magi"] from the East [arrived at] Jerusalem, (Mt 2:2 NKJV) saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the East and have come to worship Him." (Mt 2:3 YLT) But Herod the king having heard, was stirred [troubled], and all Jerusalem with him, (Mt 2:4 YLT) and having gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he was inquiring from them where the Christ is [being] born. (Mt 2:5 YLT) And they said to him, "In Beth-Lehem of Judea, for thus it [has] been written through the prophet, (Mt 2:6 NASB) 'And you, Bethelehem, 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' " =

Matthew chapter 2 begins with, "Now after Jesus [having been] born in Bethlehem of Judea in [the] days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [lit., "magi"] from the East [arrived at] Jerusalem."

Author Matthew stipulated that the time of Jesus' birth was about 4 B.C., during the reign of Herod the Great, King of Judea. Herod was named king of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C. With the help of Roman forces, by 37 B.C., Herod had crushed all opposition to his rule. Herod was not a descendant of Jacob, but of Esau - an Edomite. Hence he was not the rightful king of the Jews through the line of David through Jacob. Herod was born in 73 B.C., the son of Idumean Antipater. He was wealthy, politically gifted, intensely loyal, an excellent administrator, and devious enough to remain in power through successive Roman emperors. His famine relief and his building projects (including the temple, begun 20 B.C.) were successful. He loved power, inflicted incredibly heavy taxes on the people, and resented the fact that many Jews considered him a usurper because he was not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In his last years, suffering an illness that compounded his paranoia, he turned to cruelty and in fits of rage and jealousy killed close associates, his wife Mariamne (of Jewish descent from the Maccabeans), and at least two of his sons (cf. Jos. Antiq. XIV-XVIII; S. Perowne, The Life and Times of Herod the Great [London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1956]; and esp. Abraham Schalit, Konig Herodes: Der Mann und sein Werk [Berlin: de Gruyter, 1969]). Traditionally some have argued that Herod died in 4 B.C. ; so Jesus must have been born before that. Josephus (Antiq. XVII, 167 [vi. 4]) mentions an eclipse of the moon shortly before Herod's death, and this has normally been identified as having occurred on 12-13 March 4 B.C. After Herod's death there was a Passover celebration Jos. Wars II, 10 [i. 3]; Antiq. XVII, 213 [ix. 3]), presumably 11 April 4 B.C; corroborating the date of his death. Josephus dates the length of Herod's reign as thirty-seven years from his accession or thirty-four from the time of his effective reign (Antiq. XVII, 191 [viii.1]; Wars I, 665 [xxxiii. 8]), and these favor a death date in 4 B.C. Coins dated at the time of 4 B.C., minted under the reign of Herod's sons, support the date as well.

Note that the first to seek the newborn King of the Jews was a group of Gentile magi - "wise men from the east," from distant lands. The ancient word rendered "magi" occurs in older Persian and Babylonian languages as a name for wise men and priests who were notably specialists in astronomy. In view of Daniel's rulership over the province of Babylon and his writings comprising the Book of Daniel in Scripture, especially his visions and prophecies, it may well be that the magi were successors of the Chaldeans who took over Babylon; hence they may have been familiar with Jewish Scriptures.

1) [Compare Dan 2:48-49]:

(Dan 2:48 NKJV) "Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.

(Dan 2:49 NKJV) Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king."

The magi referred to a star which they expected to see and did see in the sky which they followed from their country in the East into Palestine toward Jerusalem. But they evidently lost sight of the star when they arrived in Jerusalem; for they inquired of others, "For we saw His star in the East and have come to worship Him." Someone undoubtedly informed Herod of the magi and Who they were seeking. Herod took their quest very seriously and was troubled by it. Scripture indicates that the magi arrived in Bethlehem some time after the birth of Jesus. They came when Jesus, Mary and Joseph were residing in a house in Bethlehem, (Mt 2:11). At that time Jesus was referred to as a Child (paidon, vv. 9, 11), rather than a newborn Infant (brephos, Lk 2:12). Notice in verse 2 that the magi phrased their question, "Where is He Who had been born King of the Jews?" and not 'Where is He, Who has been born to become king of the Jews?" So Jesus' status as King of the Jews had already been established by His genealogy and at His birth. Furthermore, the magi said that they "had come to worship Him," - in the sense of that Jesus was royalty, but not specifically in the sense of trusting in Him for eternal life. Scripture does not stipulate their number, nor that they were kings. On the other hand, extra biblical tradition has their number at three evidently due to the three expensive gifts that were offered - which gifts testified to their great wealth. These gifts were obviously the means by which Joseph took his family to Egypt and sustained them there until Herod died.

The magi were evidently advised of what Herod had learned from Scripture through his meeting with the Jewish rulers; although they may have already known of the prophecy of the star in Numbers 24:17, for they testified that they had seen and followed that star in the East and arrived in Jerusalem in search for the King of the Jews.

2) [Num 24:15-17]:

(Nu 24:15 NKJV) '''So he took up his oracle and said: "The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor, And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened;

(Nu 24:16 NKJV) The utterance of him who hears the words of God, And has the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

(Nu 24:17 NKJV) "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.'''

The paths of star bodies do not naturally follow the path that the Star that led the magi to Jesus followed, nor can stars in the natural be used to locate a house or a small village - as the Star did relative to Bethlehem. Hence Matthew has presented this Star as supernatural.

Matthew uses language almost certainly alluding to Numbers 24:17: "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel." This oracle, spoken by Balaam, who came "from the eastern mountains" (Num 23:7), was widely regarded as messianic (Targ. Jonathan and Onkelos; CD 7:19-20; 1QM 11:6; 1QSb 5:27; 4QTest 12-13; T Judah 24:1).

So having heard what the magi had said about the star and the birth of the King of the Jews, Herod was troubled. He had a history of paranoia and cruelty relative to maintaining his position of power. And the people of Jerusalem had a variety of agendas as well. If Jesus was a true descendant of David, hence rightfully born King of the Jews - and He was - Herod might have a problem with the Jews who he was ruling over who already hated Him. History had shown that Herod's reaction would be brutal. In 7 B.C. he had murdered his own sons, Aristobulus and Alexander. In 4 B.C., shortly before his own death, he executed another son, Antipater. He also executed a large number of other people, including prominent Pharisees whom he suspected of being disloyal. And he was about to murder many children who lived in or nearby to Bethlehem. Since a number of individuals had previously attempted revolts which invoked the wrath of the Romans upon Palestine, the inhabitants of Jerusalem were disturbed by the thought that there might be yet another rival for Rome's power over Palestine to be put down by Roman troops involving more destruction of the Jewish people, (Mt 2:1-3).

So Herod gathered all "the chief priests and scribes of the people," [of the Jews] and was inquiring of them where the Christ was to have been, (Gk "gennatai," lit., is being - present tense) born - implying that Herod's understanding of when the Christ was born was indefinite. Herod knew little Scripture, hence he consulted with the Jewish rulers on the matter. Herod made the connection between the One "born King of the Jews," and the prophecies about the Christ - the Messiah to come, (Mt 2:2, 4; cf. Dan 9:26-27, Isa 9:6-7; throughout the Psalms and Isaiah). The priests and scribes readily complied to his inquiry, citing from Scripture: "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it [has] been written through the prophet, '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' "

Although Mt 2:6 reflects upon Micah 5:2, author Matthew followed neither the Masoretic Text nor the LXX relative to the phrase, "Bethlehem, land of Judah." Both versions have "Bethlehem Ephrathah." The word "Ephrathah," is an archaic expression meaning "house of Ephrathah," distinguishing the Bethlehem of Judah as opposed to other Bethlehems located elsewhere, such as the one in Zebulun (Josh 19:15). Hence author Matthew wrote, "Bethlehem, [in the] land of Judah, which clarifies the archaic text of Micah 5:2, to refer to the Bethlehem of the land of Judah.

So Herod was evidently advised that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judah, Who according to OT Scripture will shepherd in the sense of being the Ruler and King of God's people, Israel:

3) [Compare Micah 5:2]:

(Micah 5:2 NKJV) "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me [the LORD, (Micah 4:12-13). The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."

Micah 5:2 offered a glorious picture of a future King Who would bring lasting security extending Israel’s rule to the ends of the earth. This Ruler was to be born in Bethlehem, here identified by its ancient name Ephrathah (cf. Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11; David’s birthplace ((1 Sam. 17:12)); distinguishing it from other towns named Bethlehem, such as the one in Zebulun (Josh 19:15). Micah 5:2 stipulates that the Ruler would come forth to Me [God].... whose [the Ruler's] goings forth, i.e, origins are “from of old, from everlasting.” The terms "miqqedem" rendered “old and "ôlAm" rendered “everlasting” in the NKJV which characterize the Ruler, denote “eternity” (cf. Deut. 33:27; Ps. 68:33; Prov. 8:22f; Isa. 37:26; 45:21; 46:10; Lam. 2:17). Since the Ruler was stipulated as going forth from old and everlasting, it implies that He Himself is eternal; hence He is God. For only God is eternal, yet Human to be a Descendant of David.

Note that the word rendered "shepherd," in Mt 2:6 in the phrase "For out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel" is a reflection of 2 Sam 5:2, where the word rendered "shepherd," in the NASB is used to refer to a Ruler over Israel:

4) [2 Sam 5:2]:

(2 Sam 5:2) "Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, 'You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.' "

The Jewish rulers had little interest and little faith in the matter of the birth of the King of their people despite the testimony of Scripture. Their apathy was demonstrated when they did not take the trouble to go to Bethlehem. The Jewish leaders had evidently concluded that the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem was one more false alarm. The Sadducees (and therefore the chief priests) had no interest in the question of when the Messiah would come - they did not believe in one. The Pharisees (and therefore most teachers of the law) expected Him to come only later. The Essenes, who believed an imminent arrival of the Messiah, were not consulted by Herod. Matthew records that, though Jesus was the Messiah, born in David's line and certain to be Shepherd and Ruler of Israel, it was the Gentiles who came to worship him.

The scribes and Pharisees were supposed to be the teachers of the doctrines of God's Word to His people, Israel. Their lack of faith and interest was diametrically opposed to that of the magi who came from so far away to offer magnificent gifts and worship before the newly born King of the Jews, (Mt 2:3-6).

B) (Mt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

(Mt 2:7 YLT) "Then Herod, [secretly] having called the [magi], did inquire exactly from them the time of the appearing star, (Mt 2:8 YLT) and having sent them to Bethlehem, he said, 'Having gone - inquire... exactly for the child, and whenever you may have found [Him], bring me back word, that I also having come may [worship] Him.' " (Mt 2:9 YLT) And they, having heard the king, departed, and [behold], the star, that they did see in the east, [was going] before them, till, having come, it stood over where the Child was. (Mt 2:10 YLT) And having seen the star, they rejoiced with [exceedingly] great joy, (Mt 2:11 YLT) and having come [into] the house, they found the [little] Child with Mary his mother, and having fallen down they [worshipped] Him, and having opened their treasures, they [offered] to Him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, (Mt 2:12 NASB) And having been warned [by God is implied] in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way." =

Herod secretly called the magi to him and inquired exactly from them when the star appeared - evidently to calculate the age of the Child. He then sent them to Bethlehem to inquire about the location of the Child and to bring back word to him of their findings. Herod added, "that I also having come may worship Him."

The reason Herod wanted to learn, at his secret meeting with the magi (v. 7), the exact time the star appeared was that he had already schemed to kill the small boys of Bethlehem (cf: v. 16). Herod sent no escort with the magi when they left to find the King of the Jews. This was not "absurdly trusting" as some maintain, for Herod could scarcely have been expected to foresee God's intervention to prevent Him from killing Jesus, (v. 12).

The Jewish rulers' answer from Micah 5:2 to Herod was apparently communicated to the magi by Herod; whereupon Herod asked them when they had first seen the star, (cf. mt 2:2, 7). This became critical later in the account (v. 16); it showed that Herod was already contemplating a plan to get rid of this young King - having determined his location and approximate age.

So Herod accepted the birth of the Child as fact (cf. Mt 2:16). He learned the place of birth from the Sanhedrin without any trouble. He did not question their interpretation, nor the accuracy of the prophet Micah's prediction. Neither did he question the reliability of the magi or the appearance of the star as evidence of the birth of the child. The fact that he summoned the magi secretly shows that he thought that he needed to hide his plans from others, such as those Jews who might consider hindering him. His plan to murder the Child was evident, his last statement that he wished to worship the Child was false in view of his parnoia, past murderous treachery, and future mass killing of male children in Bethlehem, (Mt 2:16); (Mt 2:7-8).

So having heard the king's demand to search diligently for the Child and then get back to him about the Child's location, the magi departed. As soon as they resumed their journey, the text stipulates the Hebrew word "idou" rendered "lo," in the YLT, i.e., "behold:" "And behold the star that they did see in the east." They beheld the star that they "did see in the east" once more going before them. This implies that they had been following the star's movements from back east where they came from, perhaps from the day He was born - for several years! But they evidently lost sight of it when they arrived in Jerusalem and met with Herod, (cf. Mt 2:2). They saw the star again, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy and were motivated to follow the moving star once again until it stood right over the house where the little Child was living. The paths of star bodies do not naturally follow the path that the Star that led the magi to Jesus followed, nor can stars in the natural be used to locate a house or a small village - as the Star did relative to Bethlehem. Hence Matthew has presented this Star as supernatural, .

They went into the house and found the little Child with Mary, His mother. There was no mention of Joseph. There was nothing in the house that corroborated Who Jesus was; but the magi were given all that they needed to fall down at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. Then they opened up their treasures and offered to gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh - very expensive gifts indicating that they were men of great wealth. These gifts were obviously the means by which Joseph took his family to Egypt and sustained them there until Herod died.

Paying homage to a king with gifts was an Eastern custom. Frankincense or olibanum is a pungent, bitter, yellow, easily pulverized gum resin from trees of the genus Boswellia in South Arabia. When used as incense it has an aromatic fragrance. Myrrh is a pleasant-smelling, brittle, brown gum resin from the tree Balsamodendron myrrhae of Arabia. It also is used for incense as well as for perfume and in embalming. Dissolved in wine it became a bitter but mild anesthetic

The magi were then warned in a dream - evidently by God not to return to Herod. So they left for their own country by another way which did not lead them to Herod. There evidently was some kind of connection that the magi had made with God. For they obeyed His instructions in the dream they experienced, (Mt 2:9-12).

C) (Mt 2:13-22) AND UPON THE MAGI WITHDRAWING, AN ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARS IN A DREAM TO JOSEPH, SAYING 'HAVING RISEN, TAKE THE CHILD AND HIS MOTHER, AND FLEE TO EGYPT, AND BE... THERE TILL I MAY SPEAK TO [YOU], FOR HEROD IS ABOUT TO SEEK THE CHILD TO DESTROY HIM.' AND JOSEPH, HAVING RISEN, TOOK THE LITTLE CHILD AND HIS MOTHER BY NIGHT, AND WITHDREW INTO EGYPT. THEY STAYED THERE UNTIL THE DEATH OF HEROD, THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE LORD THROUGH THE PROPHET, SAYING, 'OUT OF EGYPT I DID CALL MY SON.'

(Mt 2:13 YLT) "And on their having withdrawn, [behold], [an Angel] of the Lord [appears] in a dream to Joseph, saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and be... there till I may speak to [you], for Herod is about to seek the Child to destroy Him.' (Mt 2:14 YLT) And he, having risen, took the [little] Child and his mother by night, and withdrew [into] Egypt, (Mt 2:15 NKJV) and he was there till the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I did call My Son.' " =

When the magi departed from the house in which Jesus lived, an Angel of the LORD appeared to Joseph, "saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and be... there till I may speak to [you], for Herod is about to seek the Child to destroy him.' And he, having risen, took the [little] Child and his mother by night, and withdrew [into] Egypt. They remained there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I did call My Son.' "

The fact that God was able to give these directions to Joseph indicates that he was a man who was in touch with God. He did not seem surprised when the angel appeared to him in these dreams with a message from God - nor reluctant to obey the message.

1) [Compare Hos 11:1]:

(Hos 11:1 NKJV) "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son."

Just as Hosea the prophet wrote about Israel's exodus out of Egypt, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son," so Matthew - as a writer of Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, writing about when Jesus with Joseph and His mother withdrew to Egypt and then called to return home as indicated in Mt 2:14-15, "And he, [Joseph], having risen took the little Child and His mother by night, and withdrew [into] Egypt, and he was there till the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the LORD through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I did call My Son." that Hosea's statement in Hos 11:1 was also a picture of a future fulfillment relative to the Promised One to come: when God called His One and only Son, Jesus Christ as a little Child out of Egypt having previously been delivered to there from harm, and then to be called out of Egypt to return to Palestine to fulfill His mission as the promised Messiah, (Mt 2:13-15).

D) (Mt 2:16-18) THEN WHEN HEROD SAW THAT HE HAD BEEN TRICKED BY THE MAGI, HE WAS VERY ENRAGED AND SENT PEOPLE AND PUT TO DEATH ALL THE MALE CHILDREN WHO WERE IN BETHLEHEM AND ALL ITS VICINITY, FROM TWO YEARS AND UNDER, ACCORDING TO THE TIME WHICH HE HAD DETERMINED FROM THE MAGI. THEN WAS FULFILLED WHAT WAS SPOKEN BY JEREMIAH THE PROPHET, SAYING: 'A VOICE IN RAMAH WAS HEARD - LAMENTATION AND WEEPING AND MUCH MOURNING - RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN, AND SHE WOULD NOT BE COMFORTED BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT.'

(Mt 2:16 NASB) "Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he [was] very enraged, and sent [people] and [put to death] all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. (Mt 2:17 NKJV) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: (Mt 2:18 YLT) 'A voice in Ramah was heard - lamentation and weeping and much mourning - Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because they are not [i.e., no more].' " =

When it became evident that the magi had gone away, and would not come back to report their findings to Herod; the king took it as having been tricked by them. On the other hand, Herod was planning to trick them into telling him of the location of the Christ so that he could be quickly located and killed. So Herod sent people to Bethlehem and all of its vicinity to kill all of the male children 2 years or under in order to be assured of killing Jesus, according to the information he got from the magi on the matter of the time of Christ's birth. The implication is that the visit of the magi occurred when Jesus was around 2 years old. Nevertheless, the sovereignty of God had prevailed and Joseph had been warned by the Angel of the LORD the night before Herod's men would come to Bethlehem to kill the children. Joseph had immediately taken Jesus and His mother to Egypt the before, (cf. Mt 2:13-14). Note that Matthew does not go into detail about their refuge in Egypt. In their time, Egypt had a well-developed tourist system, so visitors would find it expensive to stay there; but the expensive gifts of the magi would serve the family well.

The slaughter of the male children is mentioned only in Scripture. But this is not surprising because the death of a few Hebrew children paled in comparison to the multiple infamous crimes which Herod committed throughout his reign.

Matthew then connects a prophetic statement from Jeremiah 31:15 to the horrific event of Herod's slaughter of the male infants at and near Bethlehem, "Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: 'A voice in Ramah was heard - lamentation and weeping and much mourning - Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because they are not [i.e., no more].' "

1) [Compare Jer 31:15]:

(Jer 31:15 NKJV) "Thus says the LORD: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.' "

Ramah, lit., "a height," was in Benjamin on the border of Ephraim, 5 miles north of Jerusalem. Many Jewish captives of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Judah were carried off into exile from Ramah, the staging point of deportation by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C., after the Babylonians destroyed the city and the Temple of Jerusalem, (cf. Jer 40:1-2). There evidently was lamentation and bitter weeping by many Jewish mothers at the loss of life and exile of men, women and children of Israel. So the prophet Jeremiah wrote, "Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more." Rachel, to many Israelites, was the mother of Israel. Hence the collective name and ancestress for all the mothers of Israel who had lost their children throughout the years of Israel's history. She was the favored wife of the Patriarch of Israel, Jacob, who was renamed by God, "Israel." She was the mother of Joseph whose sons, Ephraim and Manassah, were the head of the two most important tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. So when Herod killed the infants in Bethlehem, Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit as a writer of Scripture, invoked Jeremiah 31:15 which writes of Rachel, mother of Israel, representing the mothers mourning their lost children at the time of the Babylonian exile, as also portraying the loss of Israelite children in Bethelehem at the hands of Herod representing the mothers who suffered that loss. Note that the Greek verb "pleroO," which means "to fufill" in the form of "eplerOthe," rendered "was fulfilled," in Mt 2:17 in the NKJV may be used in a number of ways. Matthew used this verb to record a fulfillment of a prediction in Old Testament Scripture in which the author first stipulated the details of a specific event in Mt 21:1-4, and then declared that this event was a fulfillment as specifically spoken by the prophet [Zechariah], followed by the word rendered "saying," and then Matthew specifically quoted the words of Zech 9:9 from the Old Testament passage. Matthew also used this verb "to fulfill" in another way: to indicate how a passage or passages from the Old Testament Scripture were fulfilled in the sense of matching key elements of the context of those Old Testament passages in an event that Matthew writes about, such as Mt 2:15 (Hos 1:11) examined above , 3:15; 5:17 and Mt 2:18, (Mt 2:16-18).

E) (Mt 2:19-22) AND HEROD HAVING DIED, BEHOLD AN ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARS IN A DREAM TO JOSEPH IN EGYPT, SAYING "HAVING RISEN, TAKE THE CHILD AND HIS MOTHER, AND [GO INTO] THE LAND OF ISRAEL, FOR THEY HAVE DIED - THOSE SEEKING THE LIFE OF THE CHILD." AND JOSEPH, HAVING RISEN THAT NIGHT TOOK THE CHILD AND HIS MOTHER WITH HIM, AND THEY CAME INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL. AND HAVING HEARD THAT ARCHELAUS REIGNS OVER JUDEA INSTEAD OF HEROD HIS FATHER, JOSEPH WAS AFRAID TO GO INTO JUDEA AND HAVING BEEN DIVINELY WARNED IN A DREAM, HE WITHDREW TO THE PARTS OF GALILEE

(Mt 2:19 YLT) "And Herod having died, [behold], [an Angel] of the Lord in a dream [appears] to Joseph in Egypt, (Mt 2:20 YLT) saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and his mother, and [go into] the land of Israel, for they have died - those seeking the life of the child.' (Mt 2:21 YLT) And he, having risen, took the Child and His mother [with Him], and came [into] the land of Israel, (Mt 2:22 YLT) and having heard that Archelaus [reigns] over Judea instead of Herod his father, he was afraid to go [there], and having been divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee." =

When Herod had died shortly thereafter ~4 B.C. , .an Angel of the LORD appears in a dream to Joseph while in Egypt, saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and His mother, and [go into] the land of Israel, for they have died - those seeking the life of the child.' And he, having risen, took the Child and His mother [with Him], and came [into] the land of Israel, and having heard that Archelaus [reigns] over Judea instead of Herod his father, he was afraid to go back to Judea; and having been divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee, where Antipas, another son of Herod ruled, but without Herod's or Archelaus' insanity and cruelty, (cf. Mt 14:1). It is evident that God had the attention of Joseph, who waited to be guided each step of the way, so that his family would be preserved - especially Jesus.

The history of Archelaus during his short reign over Judea, Samaria and Idumea from 4 B.C. to A.D. 6, confirms Joseph's reluctanced to go back to Judea. Archelaus was cruel and vengeful to both Jews and Samaritans who had opposed him in the past. And while he reigned, he held nothing back. Both Jews and Samaritans sent embassies to Rome to ask the emperor to do something about his cruely. The emperor deposed him, and banished him to Vienne in Gaul, confiscating his wealth.

Nazareth

F) (Mt 2:23) AND COMING INTO GALILEE, JOSEPH AND HIS FAMILY JESUS AND HIS MOTHER DWELT IN A CITY CALLED NAZARETH

(Mt 2:19 YLT) ''' "And Herod having died, [behold], [an Angel] of the Lord in a dream [appears] to Joseph in Egypt, (Mt 2:20 YLT) saying, 'Having risen, take the Child and His mother, and [go into] the land of Israel, for they have died - those seeking the life of the child.' (Mt 2:21 YLT) And he, having risen, took the Child and His mother [with Him], and came [into] the land of Israel, (Mt 2:22 YLT) and [Joseph] having heard that Archelaus [reigns] over Judea instead of Herod his father, he was afraid to go [there], and having been divinely warned in a dream, he withdrew to the parts of Galilee, (Mt 2:23 YLT) and coming, he dwelt in a city [being called] Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called.''' =

The town Joseph chose was Nazareth, which was his former home and that of Mary, (cf. Mt 13:53-58).

Note that the first century existence of the village of Nazareth in Jesus' time which was built on a hill ending in a cliff is not a conspiratorial figment of the gospel writers' collaborative imaginations, as some contend. In the first place, a conspiracy to invent a village that did not exist would have been discovered shortly after the gospels began to be circulated in the first century A.D. There is no substantive evidence that the writers had made up the existence of Nazareth in the first century, yet there are no contradictions in the writers' accounts - which points more to being factual than fantasy. The unsubstantiated claims of some that Nazareth did not exist until the second century ignore the fact that the Roman forces had been at work throughout the Palestinian area during first century, destroying villages, leaving ruins wherever they went to put down the Jewish rebellion in 66-70 A.D. in Galilee and Judea and the city of Jerusalem. Hence first century Nazareth was likely in ruins at the end of the first century; and it was evidently rebuilt in the second century.

Furthermore, the confirmed existence of a city rebuilt in the second century near to the proposed location of the 1st century Nazareth was given the same name. Its residents were largely arabic. This second century Nazareth corroborates the Nazareth of the first century, for arabics would hardly have named their city an alleged fictitious name which was connected with a religion they did not believe in. Cities in the region were often rebuilt and retained their previous name. There now are a number of current archeological finds such as a Roman bath house on the site of the Nazareth of the first century, , [see also Wikipedia on 'Nazareth'] and a synagogue used currently as a Christian church.

The 3rd century historian Julius Africanus reported that during the persecution of Domitian in the late first century a man by the name of Conon was brought to trial. He is reported to have stated at his trial, "I am from Nazareth of Galilee. I am a descendent of Christ to whom I give worship since my forefathers."

An inscription was discovered dated about the 3rd or 4th century A.D. establishing the existence of Nazareth as a first century haven for refugee priests after the Jewish War, waged by Rome and culminating in the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. This inscription was erected by Jews (not Christians).

G) JOSEPH AND HIS FAMILY - JESUS AND HIS MOTHER - DWELT IN A CITY CALLED NAZARETH THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN THROUGH THE PROPHETS, THAT [A] NAZARENE HE SHALL BE CALLED

(Mt 2:23 YLT) ''' "and coming, He dwelt in a city [being called] Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called." ''' =

1) The Language Of Mt 2:23 Does Not Demand That Author Matthew Was Specifically Quoting The Words Of The Prophets In Scripture, i.e., Of The Old Testament

(Mt 2:23 YLT) ''' "and coming, he dwelt in a city [being called] Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called." ''' =

The Greek phrase "hopOs plerOthE to rhEthen dia tOn prophEtOn hoti NazOraios klEthEsetai" rendered "that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called," in the YLT was not written such that specific words were being quoted from specific passages in Scripture. Matthew used the Greek word "NazOraios," as a properly used adjectival form of the Greek phrase, "apo Nazaret," which means "from Nazareth," or "Nazarene." There are other more frequently used words that Matthew might have chosen to say the same thing, but that does not detract from the credibility of what author Matthew wrote, as some falsely contend.

Since Matthew's reference to the Old Testament is a general one - not containing specific words which were quoted from a particular passage; and since there are no words to be found anywhere in the Old Testament that specifically refer to Jesus being called a Nazarene; and since Matthew did not include the Greek word "legontes," rendered "saying" followed by words which comprise a quotation from Old Testament Scripture; then it can be concluded that Matthew did not intend this particular verse to be a word for word fulfillment of a specific passage in Scripture. Nevertheless, it is a contextual fulfillment based on corresponding contexts between Old Testament passages and that which Matthew had written, namely, "He dwelt in a city [being called] Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled that [which] was spoken through the prophets, that [a] Nazarene He shall be called."

Matthew, as well as the other gospel writers and the LORD Jesus Christ, at times spoke of what the prophets wrote in general terms without referring to any one specific prophet or passage. When this occurred, the Greek word "legonotos" rendered "saying" was omitted; and when this happened, no quotation followed, (cf. Mt 26:56; Mk 14:49; Lk 24:25, 27, 44; Jn 17:12).

Finally the Greek word, "hoti," rendered "that" in the last phrase in the YLT in Mt 2:23 means "because." For it declares that Jesus' living in Nazareth was a fulfillment of a number of Old Testament prophecies - a contextual fulfillment, (cf. Isa 11:1; Ps 22:6-8, 13; 69:8-9, 20-21; Isa 49:7; 53:2-3).

2) The Language Of Mt 2:23 Does Allow For Author Matthew To Be Making A Summary Statement - A Contextual Fulfillment - Which Corroborates A Number Of Prophetic Statements In Scripture

The language of Mt 2:23 does allow for author Matthew to be offer a contextual fulfillment - the substance of - an explanation of - how a number of prophetic statements have been fulfilled in that which Matthew has written about. Notice that the word rendered "prophets," is plural, which implies such a contextual fulfillment of a number of prophetic statements, rather than a specific word by word fulfillment of what the prophet(s) specifically wrote.

3) There Were A Number Of Old Testament Prophecies Which Foretold That The Messiah To Come Would Have A Lowly, Insignificant Beginning And Be Despised And Rejected By Many

a) [Compare Isa 11:1]:

(Isa 11:1 NKJV) "There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots."

Note that the Hebrew word "nEser" in Isa 11:1 rendered "Branch," in the NKJV and the name of the village, Nazareth, Hebrew: "Hannetseri" come from the same Hebrew root word, "netser."

TWOT, Vol 2, R. Laird Harris, Ed., Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1980, p. 595.

"1408a (nEser) branch...

In Isa 11:1, nEser is used in parallelism with another technical term (in the messianic promise doctrine), hôter 'shoot,' Since both are said to go forth from the shOresh 'root' or line of Jesse, obviously the prophet [and author Isaiah] intends to refer to a key descendant of David Who epitomizes all that the LORD has promised to David (II Sam 7:1ff). The messianic character of this title is recognized in the Targum, rabinnical literature, and the Qumran material... The use made of this title by Matthew in 2:23 to indicate why Jesus was called a Nazarene is similar.... [a double reason is in view]: the phonetic correspondence of this title in Isa 11:1 with the town of Nazareth as a play on words and the lowliness motif of Isa 11:1."

In Isa 11:1 author Isaiah gives a future picture of the Messiah to come. The Assyrians had nearly destroyed Judah, but the kings of David’s line remained on the throne until the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C. The tree of David was thus cut off close to the roots, leaving only a small stump, out of which the branch would grow - the Promised One, the Messiah to come, (cf. Isa 9:6-7). This pictures the loss of royal power and the lowly condition of the descendants of David - to which Matthew referred in Mt 2:23. But there was still life in the stump and the roots, and from the root of Jesse would come a Branch that would bear fruit. That the Branch comes from the root of Jesse (as David did) indicates that Jesus would be a second David. David means “Beloved.” Thus, when the Father’s voice from heaven identified Jesus as his beloved Son, He was implying that Jesus is this second David (Matt. 3:17), the fulfillment of what David represented. Isaiah 9:7 has already prophesied that He would sit on the throne of David. Now it is made clear that He would be a descendant of David as well. “Branch,” (netser) in a feminine form became the name of Nazareth (netsereth), so Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazarene in the Hebrew would be Yeshua Hannetseri. Hannetseri can mean either “the man of Nazareth,” or “the Man of the Branch.” Thus, in God’s providence, He brought a fulfillment that inspired author Matthew recognized in Mt 3:23: “And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called [a] Nazarene," - a Man of lowly beginning.

b) [Compare Ps 22:6-8, 13]:

(Ps 22:6 NKJV) "But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.

(Ps 22:7 NKJV) All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

(Ps 22:8 NKJV) 'He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!' "

(Ps 22:12 NKJV) "Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

(Ps 22:13 NKJV) They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion."

c) [Compare Ps 69:8-9, 20-21]:

(Ps 69:8 NKJV) "I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother's children;

(Ps 69:9 NKJV) Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

(Ps 69:16 NKJV) Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.

(Ps 69:17 NKJV) And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in trouble; Hear me speedily.

(Ps 69:18 NKJV) Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; Deliver me because of my enemies.

(Ps 69:19 NKJV) You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; My adversaries are all before You.

(Ps 69:20 NKJV) Reproach has broken my heart, And I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none.

(Ps 69:21 NKJV) They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

d) [Compare Isa 49:7]:

(Isa 49:7 NKJV) "Thus says the LORD, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, To Him Whom man despises, To Him Whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of rulers: 'Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the LORD Who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You.' "

e) [Compare Isa 53:2-3]:

(Isa 53:2 NKJV) "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

(Isa 53:3 NKJV) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

In the first century, being from Nazareth became a pejorative epithet to describe someone who was disdained and rejected by his contemporaries. Nazareth of the first century was a relatively insignificant village except for the presence there of the Roman garrison which was there to enforce Roman rule over the northern regions of Galilee, thus ascribing its citizens by association, a sense of collaboration with the enemy - two characteristics which would lead to Nazareth's negative reputation.

In New Testament passages, when Jesus was called a Nazarene, i.e., a man of Nazareth, or a Galilean (cf. Mt 26:69, 71) it had a demeaning connotation, (cf. Mt 13:54ff; Jn 1:46; 7:41, 42, 52).

f) [Compare Jn 1:45-46]:

(Jn 1:45 NKJV) "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

(Jn 1:46 NKJV) And Nathanael said to him, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'Come and see.' "

g) [Compare Acts 24:5]:

(Acts 24:5 NKJV) " 'For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.' "

Notice that Nazareth is used as a slur expression for Christians.

Continue to Matthew chapter 3