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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 2

Verse 1

Matthew 2:1

1-12 Visit of the Magi

Herod -- There were two cities, or citadels, called Herodium, in Judea, and both mentioned by Josephus, not only here, but Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 9; B. XV. ch. 9. sect. 6; Of the War, B. I. ch. 13. sect. 8; B. III. ch. 3. sect. 5. One of them was two hundred, and the other sixty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. One of them is mentioned by Pliny, Hist. Nat. B. V. ch. 14., as Dean Aldrich observes here.

wise men ... Magi; a caste of philosophers east of the Euphrates skilled in astronomy.

Verse 6

Matthew 2:6

Bethlehem ... Micah 5:2

Verse 13

Matthew 2:13

Matthew 2:13 13-18 The Escape to Egypt

Verse 16

Matthew 2:16 - Slaughter of the Innocents

Verse 19

Matthew 2:19 - 19-33 Return to Nazareth

Verse 22

Matthew 2:22

he heard -- He = Joseph.

Archelaus -- He ruled the southern part of Herod the Great’s territories (Judah, Samaria, and Idumea) from 4 B.C. - A.D. 6 when the Romans banished him to Gaul because of his cruelty.

Joseph’s fear of Archelaus quite corresponds to the character given of him by the Jewish ambassadors before Augustus. "He seemed to be afraid lest he should not be deemed Herod’s own son; and so, without any delay, he immediately Jet the nation understand his meaning," i.e. by the slaughter of the three thousand malcontents above referred to (Josephus, ’Ant.,’ 17:11.2). He was in A.D. 6 deposed for his cruelty, and banished to Vienne, in Gaul. - Pulpit C.

But in the very beginning of his reign he massacred three thousand Jews at once, in the temple, at the time of the Passover, because they called for justice upon the agents who performed the barbarities of his father’s reign. Not long after this a solemn embassy of the Jews went to Rome, and petitioned Augustus to remove Archelaus, and make his kingdom a Roman province. - McGarvey

Archelaus seems to have inherited his father’s brutal tendencies as evidenced by his slaughter of 3000 Jewish protestors who brought economic and political grievances before him (Josephus, Ant.17.213-218). Eventually, Jewish outrage managed to bring about his banishment to Gaul in A.D. 6. - CPNT

was reigning -- Archelaus could not rightly call himself "king" for he had been appointed only ethnarch,ethnarch, and promised to be made a king "if he goverened that part virtuously" [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 17.11,4]. (Josephus, ’Ant.,’ 17:8. 1; 11. 4; cf. ’Bell. Jud.,’ 1. 33. 8; 2:7. 3). - P.C.

warned ... in a dream -- God’s warning to Joseph (again in a dream, Matthew 2:22; cf. Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:13, Matthew 2:19) was not to return to Bethlehem, but instead to move back to the northern district of Galilee to the town of Nazareth. The ruler of this region was Antipas, another son of Herod (cf. Matthew 14:1; Luke 23:7-12), but he was a capable ruler. - BKC

he turned aside -- Knowing his character, and fearing that he would not be safe, Joseph hesitated about going there, and was directed by God to go to Galilee, a place of safety. Galilee was under the government of Herod Antipas, who was comparatively a mild prince, and in his dominions Joseph might find safety. - BN

district of Galilee -- The country of Galilee. At this time the land of Palestine was divided into three parts: Galilee, on the north; Samaria, in the middle; and Judea, on the south. Galilee was under the government of Herod Antipas, who was comparatively a mild prince, and in his dominions Joseph might find safety.

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Matthew 2". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/matthew-2.html. 2021.