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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Matthew 2

Verse 1

VISIT OF THE MAGI -WISE MEN

V. 1-12

1) "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea," (tou de lesou gennethentos en Bethleem tes loudaias( "Then when Jesus was born (having been born) in Bethlehem of Judea," That is after the time of His birth, apparently about two years later, from the final basis of this following narrative, Matthew 1:16. Bethlehem means "house of bread," as Bethphage means "house of figs". Bethlehem of Judea, different from Bethlehem in Zebulun near the sea of Galilee, Joshua 19:15, is located about six miles south of Jerusalem and is also known as the "city of David", Jud 17:7-9; 1 Samuel 17:12; Ruth 1:1-19; Luke 2:4-7.

2) "In the days of Herod the king," (en hemerais Herodou tou Basileos) "In the days while king Herod was king;" Herod the great who was the son of Antipater, an Idumaean. He became governor of Galilee in BC 47 at the age of 15 years, and king of Judea BC 40. He was one of the most immoral, licentious, and cruel monsters of ancient times. He had nine wives and many children. His death occurred shortly after his decree to kill all the male babies in the Bethlehem-Judea area, Matthew 1:16-19.

3) "Behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem," (idou mafoi apo anatolon paregenonto eis lerosoluma) "Behold there arrived magi (wise men in Jerusalem from the east." The Wise men, Herod, and Joseph’s flight with Jesus and Mary into Egypt are the three central persons of this chapter. 1) The wise men sought and received Him and worshipped Him, as all truly wise men do, Proverbs 1:7; 2) Herod and all Israel rejected Him "who came to His own and His own received Him not," John 1:11-12; 3) Joseph and Mary and they of Egypt (of the south), like the wise men from the east, received and cared for Him. Whether the wise men were from Arabia, Persia, or Mesopotamia is not clarified in the Scriptures. That they were from the east of Jerusalem is clear.

Verse 2

1) "Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews?" (legontes pou estin ho techtheis Basileus ton loudaion) "Repeatedly saying, where is the one who is born king of the Jews?" The term "The King" is one of the titles of Jesus in the Holy Bible, Psalms 10:16; 1 Timothy 1:17. He is "head of the church" but not "King" of the church, Ephesians 1:22, but is to be king over all Israel and the world, Luke 1:31-33; Matthew 15:24. He was the Sceptre out of Judah, Genesis 49:10; and He was that seed of David, of the family of David, of the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem of Judea, Luke 2:1-4.

2) "For we have seen his star in the east," (eidomen gar autou ton astera en te anatole) "Because we saw his individual star in the east;" Jesus was that specific Star foreseen and foretold by Balaam as one that should come "out of Jacob" and that "Sceptre" that should rise out of Israel Numbers 24:17; Genesis 49:10. He is the brightest Star of astrology, the bright and morning Star who still shines to guide men aright.

3) "And are come to worship him." (kai elthomen proskeuesal auto) "And came to worship him;" Wise men still seek Jesus as their Savior and their guide, Isaiah 55:6-70. In seeking to please Him, John 4:24; Proverbs 3:3-5; James 1:22; Ephesians 2:10. Whether these wise men were Jews or Gentiles is not known, but that they sought, found, and worshipped the Savior is known.

Verse 3

1) "When Herod the king had heard these things," (akousas de ho Basileus Herodes etarachthe) "Then when Herod the king heard this report he was troubled," disturbed or frustrated. No man has ever "troubled" the hearts of sinful men more than Jesus Christ. The good and the godly have always troubled the bad and the ungodly. The crooked bookkeeper is always troubled by an honest worker in his office. And why was Herod the old man so disturbed? The answer is that he had knowledge of the hope and promise of a ruling Messiah who was to come to Israel.

2) "And all Jerusalem with him." (kai pasa lerosoluma met’ autou) "And all Jerusalem along with him as well." Even the Jews of Israel, the religious rulers, Scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin. Why? The answer is that legally their offices were to be vacated, the law age and form of worship to end. And they were not any more ready or willing for it religiously, than Herod was as king, politically, John 1:11-12.

This chapter of Matthew is designed to show how that Jesus was paid honor or homage from true believers afar while shown hostility at home, just as He had a broad acceptance of the Gentiles and rejection by own people, the Jews. Herod himself was not a Jew. Antipater, his father was an Edomite (from Esau), and his mother an Arabian.

Verse 4

1) "And when he had gathered all the chief priests," (kai sunagagon pantas tous archlereis) "And (Herod) having assembled all of the chief or administrative priests," of Jewry in Jerusalem

2) "And scribes of the people together," (kai grammateis tou laou) "And (all) the scribes of the people." The scribes were clerks, record keepers, or archives custodians of both the scriptures and religious court decisions of Jewry. If any should know of the anticipated birthplace of the Messiah, of Jesus, it should have been them.

3) "He demanded of them," (epunthaneto par’ auton) "He inquired from them," elicited from them, in a firm requiring manner. 4) "Where Christ should be born." (pou ho Christos gennatai) "Where the Christ is (exists) born," according to your prophetic and historical records of Judaism.

Verse 5

1) "And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea" (hoi de eipan auto en Bethleem tes loudaias) "Then they told him, in Bethlehem of Judea" as certified Luke 2:1-10.

2) "For thus it is written by the prophets," (houtos gar gegraptai dia tou prophetou) "For this is what has been written (foretold) through the prophet." The particular prophetic reference is Micah 5:2.

Verse 6

1) "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Jude," (kai su Bethleem ge louda) "And you Bethlehem, Land of Juda." This information, known to the scribes, condemned them. Though they aided the magi in furnishing them, and king Herod the information about the place Jesus was to be born, they did not themselves go to see and worship Jesus.

2) "Art not the least among the princes of Juda:" (oudamos elachiste ei en tois hegemosin louda) "You are not at all least among the governors of Juda," not without honor as a small town or city.

3) "For out of thee shall come a governor," (ek tou gar ekseleusetai hogoumenos) "Because out of you will come forth a governor," one who shall administer the government of the Lord on earth, as also prophesied by Isaiah 9:6-7.

4) "That shall rule my people Israel." (hostis poimanei ton laon mou ton Israel) "Who will shepherd my people Israel," who shall rule or keep them by leading them, much as a shepherd rules his flock. The question "where?" of Jesus’ birth, (Matthew 2:2) was answered.

a) By the’ Scriptures.

b) By the Scribes.

c) By the Star that stood over the Christ child.

d) By the enemies of the king.

e) By convictions of the heart.

This rule is to reach its earthly fullness at the second coming of Jesus Christ, Luke 1:31; Luke 1:33; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. See also Ezekiel 37:24; John 10:11; Revelation 7:17.

Verse 7

1) "Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men," (tote Herodes lathra kalesas tous magous) "At that point Herod privately called the wise men," the magi.

2) "Enquired of them diligently," (ekribosen par’ auton) "And he inquired carefully to secure from them," from the magi, for the scribes and administrative priests of the Jews, from whom he had demanded a disclosure of the place where their Messiah king was to be born, Matthew 2:2; Matthew 2:4.

3) "What time the star appeared." (ton chronon tou phainomenou asteros) "At what particular time the star made its appearance." Their answer is not given. But they followed the star that led to Jesus, the prophesied Star that was to come, Numbers 24:17. They evidently disclosed that it had happened or appeared to" the shepherds at night, near Bethlehem, and told them of the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord, Luke 2:1-18; Matthew 2:16.

Verse 8

1) "And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said," (kai pempsas autous eis Bethleem eipen) "And sending them away to Bethlehem he said," sending them to the place that the Scriptures and the Scribes asserted such a kingly person should be born.

2) "Go and search diligently," (poreuthentes eksetasate akribos) "As you go (to Bethlehem) inquire carefully," for a certainty, verify this matter.

3) "For the young child;" (peri tou paidiou) "Concerning the child;" The term translated child indicates one some two to four years of age, not ’an infant. It is believed that Joseph and Mary had remained in Bethlehem from the birth of Jesus till this time.

4) "And when ye have found him, bring me word again," (epan de heurete apangeilate moi) "Then when you find (him) report to me," or you all let me know where he is, where I may find him, for he had murder in his heart.

5) "That I may come and worship him also." (hopos kazo elthon peoskuneso auto) "So that I also may come to worship him," This is later revealed to have been a devious lie. His heart was fixed on murdering this new king, or governor, not worshipping him, Matthew 2:12-13; Matthew 2:16-18. He was a deceitful, cunning, bloody hypocrite, Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:18-19. This type of cunning lying comes forth from a wicked heart.

Verse 9

1) "When they had heard the king, they departed," (hoi de alkousantes tou Basileos eporeuthesan) "Then when they had heard the king they departed," for Bethlehem, for the destination they had sought since they "saw the star in the east," Matthew 2:2. Yes, the wise men departed, but the very Scribes and High Priests, who under duress, fear of death, had told where Jesus was to be born, did not lift a foot or take a step to see or find Him, John 1:11-12.

2) "And, lo, the star," (Kai idou ho aster) "And behold the star," the guide that led them, as the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire had once led Israel, Exodus 13:21-22.

3) "Which they saw in the east, went before them," (hon eidon en te anatole proegen autous) "Which they (formerly) saw in the east, went before them," as they journeyed south from Jerusalem toward Bethlehem. This implies that the star they had seen in the east earlier had departed from them for an interval. But it had returned to guide them on.

4) "Till it came and stood," (heos’ elthon estathe) "Until coming (before them) it stood," to identify the "star out of Jacob" and "Septre one out of Israel," Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17.

5) "Over where the young child was." (epano ou en to paidion) "Over (the place) where the child was," at apparently about the age of two years, Matthew 2:16. Their quest was at an end! As a light, that star guided the wise men to Jesus. The Holy Spirit too, convicts, enlightens, and points men to Jesus Christ, then leads them on to a life of obedience to Him, John 16:7-9; Romans 8:14-16.

Verse 10

1) "When they saw the star," (idontes de ton astera) "Then upon beholding the star," or as they beheld the star, which they had seen in the east, a star that had left their view for a time. Though the way to Jesus may seem long, t hose who seek Him honestly shall find Him, Jeremiah 29:13.

2) "They rejoiced," (echaresan) "They rejoiced," expressed joy that was in their souls, much as the old Saints, Simeon and Anna, had rejoiced at the time of our Lord’s circumcision at eight days of age in the temple, Luke 2:25-38.

3) "With exceeding great joy." (charan megalen sphroda) "With a great degree of joy, exceedingly," or exuberantly. 0 that all who see Him would "rejoice in the Lord always," Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

Verse 11

1) "And when they were come into the house," (kai elthontes eis ten oikian) "And (upon) entering into the house." At two years of age Jesus lived in an house, not in a grotto-inn, stable, or cave, such as He had been born in, Luke 2:4-17; Luke 2:16.

2) "They saw the young child," (eidon to paidion) "They saw the child (Jesus)," now some two years of age, Matthew 2:16. Textus Recepticus indicates they "found" (Gk. heuron) the child in their seeking search for Him, because they sought Him with all their heart, Jeremiah 29:13. Note the Scribes and Chief Priests did not seek for Him, because they sought Him with all their heart, Jeremiah 29:13. Note the Scribes and Chief Priests did not seek for Him, find Him, or worship Him.

3) "With Mary his mother," (meta Marias tes metros autou) "With his mother Mary," in company with His mother Mary.

4) "And fell down and worshipped him:" (kai pesontes proekunesan auto) "And they (the magi or wise men) fell down and worshipped him," as the Son of God, as the only one born of women who was worthy of worship, because He was God, Matthew 4:10; John 4:24.

5) "And when they had opened their treasures," (kai anoiksantes tous thusaurous auton) "And upon opening their treasures," which they had brought to give him, as a child of Royalty. Giving is an expression of loving and living and gratitude.

6) "They presented unto him gifts;" (prosenegkan auto dora) "They offered to him," to Jesus as a matter of worship specific gifts of three kinds: These gifts were perhaps needed by Joseph and Mary for their expense on their trip to Egypt.

a) "Gold," (chruson) gold, a symbol of Royalty and Deity. He was the Son of God, John 3:16. One gives of his best to a king.

b) "And frankincense," (kai libanon) "and frankincense," a symbol of acceptable prayers in worship, offered as a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord, used on sacrificial offerings.

c) "And myrrh," (kai smurnan) "And myrrh," a spice used in perfume ointments and for anointing the body for burial, an expression of their faith in the coming death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Verse 12

1) "And being warned of God in a dream," (kai chrematisthentes kst’ onar) "And because they had been warned of God by a dream," which seems that the wise men were seeking the will of God regarding Herod’s request that they return and tell him when they had found the new-born or young child who was to be "king of the Jews," Matthew 2:2; Matthew 2:8. Aliens from the Jews considered dreams to be warnings or predictions from God, Matthew 27:19.

2) "That they should not return to Herod," (me anakampsai pros Heroden) "Not to return (or report) to Herod," as he had made request of them, Matthew 2:8.

3) "They departed into their own country another way." (di’ alles houdou anechoresan eis ten chora auton) "They left for their own country by another way or route." They had evidently; until the warning from God, intended to return to Herod. While they went rejoicing, Herod seethed in Jerusalem with hate, jealousy, and bloody murder in his heart.

Verse 13

PROPHETIC FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

V. 13-15

1) "And when they were departed," (anachoresanton de auton) "Then when they had departed," or left to return to their own country in the east, from where, as wise men, they had followed the star in search of the Savior, Matthew 9:1.

2) "Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth," (idou angelos kutiou phainetai) ’.’Behold there appears," or appeared, Was manifested, an angel of (the) Lord."

3) "To Joseph In a dream, saying," (kat ’onar to loseph legon) "To Joseph by. means of a dream instructing him," as an angel had done concerning his consummation or completing his marriage contract with Mary, after she was found with child of the Holy Spirit, and before she and he had come together, Matthew 1:18-20; Matthew 1:24-25.

4) "Arise and take the young child," (egertheis paralabe to paidion) "You arise (to leave where you are) and take the child (Jesus)," with you, to care for and protect Him from Herod’s anger and murder, Matthew 2:16.

5) "And his mother, and flee into Egypt," (kai ten metera autou pheuge eis aigupton) "And his mother (Mary) and flee into Egypt," leave with haste and go into Egypt, across the Mediterranean Sea into Africa, into another continent; for Herod and His own received Him not, John 1:11-12.

6) "And be there until I bring thee word:" (kai isthi ekei heos an lipo soi) "And be (remain) out there until I tell you what to do." Egypt was then a Roman Province, independent from Herod, having then a large Jewish population, safe from the reach of Herod.

7) "For Herod will seek to destroy him." (mellei gar Herodes zetein to paidion tou apolesai auto) "Because Herod is already about (going about) to seek the child to destroy him." Such was the ministry message of God’s angel to Joseph, Hebrews 1:14.

Verse 14

1) "When he arose," (ho de egertheis) "Then he arising," arose at once, during the nighttime, promptly and obediently.

2) "He took the young child and his mother by night," (paralaben to paidion kai ten metera autou nuktos) "He took the child (Jesus) and his mother (Mary) by night," during that night, to avoid being seen, and later reported to Herod. It may be recalled that Israel fled Egypt by night, Exodus 14:21-22.

3) "And departed into Egypt:" (kai anechoresen eis aigupton) "And departed (left Bethlehem) to go into Egypt:" This story indicates Joseph’s absolute obedience to God, his prompt and unhesitating obedience to God’s call, as he understood it. How soon Mary felt the sword piercing her soul because of her Son, Jesus, Luke 2:35. When he was born there was "no room for him in the inn," and now Herod was hot after His life.

Verse 15

1) "And was there until the death of Herod:" (kai an ekei heos tes teleutes Herodou) "And was (remained) down there in Egypt until the end or death of Herod," perhaps for a few months only. His death as per Josephus was by a horrible disease.

2) "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord," (hina plerothe to hrethen hupo kuriou) "in order that the thing might be fulfilled which had been spoken by the Lord," in prophecy. God’s leading Israel out of Egyptian bondage was is essence a prophetic foreview of His protecting His Son Jesus Christ and calling Him out of Egypt, Exodus 4:22-23.

2) "By the prophet, saying," (dia tou prophetou legontos) "Through the prophet saying," foretelling as historically recounting.

4) "Out of Egypt have I called my son." (eks aiguptou ekalesa ton huion mou) "Out of and away from Egypt I called my son (my heir)," Hosea 11:1. This attests the definitive accuracy of the claims of the Scripture, stated by David, "Thy word is true from the beginning," Psalms 119:160.

HEROD’S MURDER OF SMALL CHILDREN

V. 16-18

Verse 16

1) "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," (tote Herodes !don hot! enepaithe wise men) "Then when Herod realized that he had been mocked by the magi or wise men," He did not, (being spiritually blind), see that it was God who had obstructed his purpose in locating and destroying the Christ, the Star of Bethlehem, 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

2) "Was exceeding wroth," (ethumothe lian) "Was angered exceedingly," maddened with anger, nigh insane in fury.

3) "And sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem," (kai apostellas anaeilen pantas tous paidas tous en Bethleem) "And sent (mandated or decreed) and killed all the boy children or small male children in Bethlehem;" In savage fury he ordered all the young male children in the Bethlehem area massacred.

4) "And in all the coasts thereof," (kai en pasai tois horiois autes) "And in all the districts or suburbs of it," of Bethlehem, to be certain that he got the child Jesus. How ferocious, crafty, and cruel.

5) "From two years of age and under," (apo dietous kai katotero) "From two years of age and under;" It may therefore here be concluded that general reports confirmed that Jesus had been born there some two years before.

6) "According to the time," (kata to chronon) "According to the point of time;" To be certain that he liquidated this purported new royal child however his decree took all male children one hour to two years of age.

7) "Which he had diligently enquired of the wise men." (ho ekribosen para ron magon) "At which he specifically inquired of the magi or wise men," regarding how long it had been since the star had appeared and revealed to them in the east that the Messiah king had been born.

Verse 17

1) "Then was fulfilled," (tote eplerothe) "At that point (of Herod’s behavior) was fulfilled," occurred or came to pass.

2) "That which was spoken," (to hrethen) "The very thing that had been indicated, spoken, or disclosed," in Old Testament prophecy.

3) "By Jeremy the prophet, saying," (dia leremiou tou prophetou legontos) "Through Jeremiah the prophet who said;" Then the saying is quoted by Matthew. Thus it may be noted that fulfilled prophecy is one method of evidence by which the accuracy and trustworthy inspiration of the Scriptures is verified, Psalms 119:160; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Verse 18

1) "In Rama was there a voice heard," (phone en hrama ekousthe) "A voice was heard;" The word Rama is spelled Ramah in the Greek and means "an high place or area," Jeremiah 31:15. It was likely near Bethlehem and Rachel’s tomb.

2) "Lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning," (keauthmos kai odurmos polus) "Of much weeping and mourning," as sympathizing friends gathered to mourn with those who had had their male children, two years and under, all slain, Matthew 2:16.

3) "Rachel weeping for her children," (hrachel klaiousa ta tekna autes) "Rachel Weeping very much for her small children," whom Herod had ordered to be killed or exterminated, Matthew 2:16. The prophecy did not create the massacre, but the massacre called to mind the truth of the prophecy.

4) "And would not be comforted," (kai ouk ethelen paraklethenai) "And would not come to be comforted," would not accept what Herod had done to them and their infant or young sons.

5) "Because they are not." (hoti ouk eisin) "because they are not," the small male children are not alive any longer. It was in this area that the beloved Rachel of Jacob had died and been buried, where she was often mourned, Genesis 35:16-20. Rachel is here figuratively described as rising from the tomb and weeping bitterly for her people, first for their Babylonian captivity, second the massacre of their infant sons by Herod in attempting to murder Jesus, Were these infants first fruits of the lamb, among the redeemed, Revelation 14:4?

JESUS’ RETURN FROM EGYPT TO NAZARETH

V. 19-23

Verse 19

1) "But when Herod was dead," (teleutesantos de tou herodou) "Then when Herod had died," after his dastard, wicked effort to exterminate Jesus. He died at the age of 70 years, after reigning thirty-seven years over Judea, as a murderous and impenitent king, having only five days before his death put to death one of his sons, according to Josephus.

2). "Behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream," (idou angelos kuriou phanetai kat’ onar) "Behold, (what happened), an angel of the Lord appeared by means of a dream," as one had appeared to him on two previous occasions, giving him information and instructions concerning the Christ-child and the will of God for His life, Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:13; Hebrews 1:14. This appears to have been the same angel, and of Gabriel’s informing band of angels, if not Gabriel himself, who had appeared to Mary as recounted Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26.

3) "To Joseph in Egypt," (to Ioseph en aigupto) "To the Joseph (with Mary and Jesus) in Egypt." Angels are not restricted to any locality, any continent, or any race. They are invisible, unseen, universal, and age-long servants of God. The unfallen ones inform, serve, and protect children of God in their way of life, Psalms 34:7; Hebrews 1:14.

Verse 20

1) "Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother," (legon egertheis paralabe to paidion kai ten metera autou) "Directing him, (saying) arise and take the child (Jesus) and his mother (Mary)." The instruction was just as direct as when he had been directed by an angel to take them and leave Bethlehem to escape the anger and jealousy of Herod, Matthew 2:13.

2) "And go into the land of Israel" (kai poreuou eis gen Israel) "And go as you may or will into the land of Israel." The exact place of his destination was not designated by the angel, but Divine Providence led him to go to the right place, Romans 8:14-16; Matthew 2:23. Note he was not directed to go to Judea, where he had left, but to Israel, which included Galilee.

3) "For they are dead," (tethnekasin gar) "Because those have died," Herod and his courtiers, his murderous cohorts, or helpers. So Joseph and Mary headed for the Holy Land much like Abraham when he went out "not knowing whither they went."

4) "Which sought the young child’s life." (hoi zetountes ten psuchen tou paidiou) "Those who sought to take the life of the child (Jesus)." When they had slain so many young children, two years and under in Bethlehem and that region of Judea, Matthew 2:16-18.

Verse 21

1) "And he arose, and took the young child and his mother," (ho de egertheis parelaben to paidion kai ten metera autou) "Then Joseph arose and took the child Jesus and his mother Mary:" Undelayed obedience to the call and command of the Lord for one’s life is of paramount importance, James 1:22; Acts 26:19-20.

2) "And came into the land of Israel." (kai eiselthen eis gen Israel) "And they entered into the land of Israel," from Egypt, on the continent of Africa, where they had remained for a time, at the direction of the angel of the Lord. As Moses obeyed the call of God to lead Israel out of Egypt, as Jonah (after costly delay) obeyed God in preaching to Ninevah, and as Paul obeyed God in going to the Gentiles, and each was blessed, so do men yet find success and reward in doing what God calls them to do, wherever his providence may lead them to go, Hebrews 13:5; Psalms 1:1-6. Let this be every believer’s resolve:

"Wherever he leads, I’ll go,

Wherever he leads, I’ll go.

Because my Savior loves me so,

Wherever he leads, I’ll go."

Verse 22

1) "But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea," (akousas de hoti Arche aos Basileuie tes loudaias) "Then upon hearing that Archelaus was reigning over the country of Judea;" He was the son of Herod the Great who had rebuilt the temple, then become a murderous, immoral, wicked tyrant to the hour of his death, Matthew 2:1. Archelaus also became a wicked and cruel king and was banished from his throne by the Roman emperor and the Sceptre departed from Judah, Genesis 49:10.

2) "In the room of his father Herod," (anti tou patros autou Herodou) "Instead of (and in the place of) his father Herod;" His father had alloted him Samaria, Judea, and Idumea, with the title of King. To Philip he alloted provinces east of Jordan and the title tetrarch; and to Antipas he gave Galilee.

3) "He was afraid to go thither" (ephobethe ekei apelthein) "He (Joseph) feared to go there," into the area of Judea at all, fearing this son of Herod might take the course of his murderous father against Jesus, should he learn his identity.

4) "Notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream," (chrematistheis de kat’ onar) "Then upon being warned by the Lord in a dream," by means of a dream, as he had been previously directed on three occasions regarding the Christ, Matthew 1:20-21; Matthew 2:13; Matthew 2:20.

5) "He turned aside into the parts of Galilee:" (anechoresen eis ta mere tes Galilaias) "He departed into the upper part of Israel, into Galilee," perhaps and apparently bypassing Bethlehem and Jerusalem to avoid any contact with the wicked servants of Herod’s now reigning son. In the province of Galilee Herod Antipas was reigning over that part of Israel. He was, though licentious and crafty, less cruel than his father, Mr 6:14-30; Luke 13:31-35. It was safer for Joseph and Mary to live in Galilee than in Samaria or Judea the other two major areas of Israel or the Holy Land.

Verse 23

1) "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:" (kai elthon katokesen eis polin legomenen Nazareth) “And when he had come into Galilee, he dwelt in a city that is called Nazareth," some 15 miles west of Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee, in Lower Galilee, lying in the territory of Zebulon. To the east was the blue sea of Galilee, to the north Mt. Hermon, to the far west the Valley of Migiddo, the Mt. Carmel range, and the Mediterranean Sea.

2) "That it might be fulfilled," (hopos plerothe to herthen dia ton propheton) "So came to be fulfilled thereby the thing that had been spoken (aforetold) through the prophet;" For all the prophets had given witness of Him as the coming Redeemer, and as the "spirit of prophecy," *Acts 10:43; Revelation 19:10.

3) "Which was spoken by the prophets," (te hrethen dia ton propheton) "The thing (matter) that had been rhetorically told through the prophet," apparently referring to Isaiah 11:1 where He is referred to as "Netzer" or rod out of the stem or family tree of Jesse, father of David. Though no single prophecy may be here referred to the tenor of prophecy evidences that he was to be "despised or taken lightly of men," Isaiah 53:3; John 1:45-46.

4) "He shall be called a Nazarene." (hoti Nazoraios klethesetai) "That he (Jesus) shall be called a Nazarene," a despised one, John 1:11-12; John 3:19-20; Matthew 27:30-31. He was identified throughout His life by the world as the despised Jesus of Nazareth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Matthew 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/matthew-2.html. 1985.