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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
His father," sinking all the intermediate kings of that Ver. 1-17. GENEALOGY OF CHRIST. (=Luke, 3. line, as having no importance save as links to connect 23-88) 1. The book of the generation-an expression the first and the last king of Israel as father and son. purely Jewish; meaning, Table of the genealogy.' It will be observed that Rachab is here represented L Genesis, 5.1, the same expression occurs in this | as the great-grandmother of David see Ruth, 4. 20-22; SEDUSE. We have here, then, the title, not of this whole and 1 Chronicles, 2. 11-16)-a thing not beyond possiGospel of Matthew, but only of the first seventeen bility indeed, but extremely improbable, there being perses. of Jesus Christ. For the meaning of these about four centuries between them. There can hardly corious words, see on v. 16, 21. "Jesus," the name be a doubt that one or two intermediate links are aren to our Lord at His circumcision (Luke, 2. 21), omitted. 7. And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam was that by which He was familiarly known while begat Abia : and Abia begat Asa; 8. And Asa begat Josaen earth. The word "Christ"-though applied to phat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias Him as a proper name by the angel who announced for Uzziah). Three kings are here omitted-Ahaziah, His birth to the shepherds Luke, 2. 11), and once or Joash, and Amaziah il Chronicles, 3. 11, 12). Some twice used in this sense by our Lord Himself (ch. 23. omissions behoved to be made, to compress the whole
1, Mark, 9. 41-only began to be so used by others into three fourteens (v. 17). The reason why these, about the very close of His earthly career ch. 26.68; rather than other pames, are omitted must be sought 2.17. The full form. "Jesus Christ," though once in religicus considerations--either in the connection tied by Himself in His Intercessory Prayer (John, of those kings with the house of Ahab (as Lightfoot, 17.3, was never used by others till after his ascen Ebrard, and Alford view it; in their slender right to son and the formation of churches in His name. Its be regarded as true links in the theocratic chain (as tse, then, in the opening words of this Gospel (and Lange takes it); or in some similar disqualitication, b. 17, 18) is in the style of the late period when our | 11. And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren. Jecho. Loungelist wrote, rather than of the events he was niah was Josiah's grandson, being the son of Jehoiakim. Ring to record the son of David, the son of Abraham. Josiah's second son (1 Chronicles, 3. 15); but Jehoiakim As Abraham was the first from whose family it was might well be sunk in such a catalogue, being a mere predicted that Messiah should spring (Genesis, 22. 18), puppet in the hands of the king of Egypt 2 Chronicles, 30 David was the last. To a Jewish reader, accord-36. 4). The "brethren" of Jechonias here evidently oly, these beboved to be the two great starting- mean his uncles-the chief of whom, Mattaniah or pointa of any true genealogy of the promised Messiah; Zedekiah, who came to the throne 12 Kings, 24, 17), is. und thus this opening verse, as it stamps the first in 2 Chronicles, 36. 10, called “his brother," as well as opel as one peculiarly Jewish, would at once tend here. about the time they were carried away to Babylon to conciliate the writer's people. From the nearest - lit., of their migration.' for the Jews avoided the of those two fathers came that familiar name of the word 'captivity' as too bitter a recollection, and our promised Messiah, “the son of David” Luke, 20. 41), Evangelist studiously respects the national feeling. which was applied to Jesus, either in devout acknow. 12. And after they were brought to after the migration lodgement of His rightful claim to it (ch. 9. 27; 20. 31), of') Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel. Soi Chronicles, e in the way of insinuating inquiry wbether such 3. 17. Nor does this contradict Jeremiah, 22,30,"Thus Tere the case (see on John, 4. 29; ch. 12. 23). 2. Abrasaith the Lord, Write ye this man (Coniah, or Jechokaum begat Isase: and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat niah) childless;" for what follows explains in what ráas and his brethren. Only the fourth son of Jacob is sense this was meant-" for no man of his seed shall Bere samed, as it was from his loins that Messiah was prosper, sitting upon the throne of David." He was to spring Genesis, 49. 10). 3. And Judas begat Phares to have seed, but no reigning child and Salathiel for eZana of Thamar: and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom Shealtiel) begat Zorobabel. So Ezra, 3. 2; Nehemiah, Degat Arata: 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab 12. 1; Haggai, 1. 1. But it would appear from i Chrobegat Saason; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5. And Sal- nicles, 3. 19, that Zerubbabel was Salathiel's grandson, te begat Booz of Rachab: and Booz begat Obed of Ruth: being the son of l'edaiah, whose name, for some reason 22.Obed begat Jesse: 6. And Jesse begat David the king: unknown, is omitted. 13-15. And Zorobabel begat
Darid the king begat Solomon of her of Urias. Four Abiud, &c. None of these names are found in the old Fomen are here introduced: two of them Gentiles by Testament; but they were doubtless taken from the
th-Rachab and Ruth; and three of them with a public or family registers, which the Jews carefully at at their names in the Old Testament-Thamar, kept, and their accuracy was never challenged. 16. Each, and Bath-shela. This feature in the present And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Fealogy-herein differing from that given by Luke was born Jesus. From this it is clear that the geneatumes well from him who styles himself in his list logy here given is not that of Mary, but of Joseph; nor
tbe Iwelve, what none of the other lists do, has this ever been questioned. And yet it is here Matthew the publican;" as if thereby to hold forth, studiously proclaimed that Joseph was not the Utbe very outset, the unsearchable riches of that natural, but only the legal father of our Lord. His
ace which could not only fetch in "them that are birth of a virgin was known only to a few; but the War of, but reach down even to "publicans and acknowledged descent of his legal father from David parkta," and raise them to "sit with the princes of secured that the descent of Jesus Himself from David 13 people." David is here twice emphatically styled should never be questioned. See on v. 20. who is Vand the king. * as not only the first of that royal called Christ-signifying 'anointed. It is applied in ne from which Messiah was to descend, but the one the Old Testament to the kings (1 Samuel, 24. 6, 10: Cits of all that line from which the throne that to the prists (Leviticus, 4. 5, 16, &c.;; and to the proMessiah was to occupy took its Dame-"the throne pluts (1 Kings, 19. 16)-these all being anointed with David" The angel Gabriel, in announcing Him oil, the symbol of the needsul spiritual gifts, to con
te throne of David | secrate them to their respectivo offices; and it was
Birth of Christ
Birth of Christ. applied, in its most sublime and comprehensive sense, making itself up to the painful step, yet planning how to the promised Deliverer, inasmuch as He was to be to do it in the way least offensive-at the last exconsecrated to an office embracing all three by the tremity the Lord Himself interposes. behold, the immeasurable anointing of the Holy Ghost Isaiah, angel of the Lord appeared to him in & dream, saying, 61. 1: cf. John, 3. 34) 17. So all the generations from Joseph, son of David. This style of address was doubtAbraham to David are fourteen generations; and from less advisedly chosen to remind him of what all the David until the carrying away (or migration into Baby families of David's line so early coveted, and thus it lon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away would prepare him for the marvellous announcement into the migration of') Babylon unto Christ are four-which was to follow. fear not to take into thee Mary teen generations. That is, the whole may be con- thy wife: q. d., 'Though a dark cloud now overhangs veniently divided into three fourteens, each embracing this relationship, it is unsullied still for that which one marked era, and each ending with a notable is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she event, in the Israelitish annals. Such artificial aids shall bring forth a son Observe, it is not said, she to memory were familiar to the Jews, and much larger shall bear thee a son,' as was said to Zacharias of his gaps than those here are found in some of the old wife Elizabeth (Luke, 1. 13), and thou as his legal Testament genealogies. In Ezra, 7. 1-5, no fewer than father, shalt call his name JESUS-from the Hebrero six generations of the priesthood are omitted, as will meaning Jehovah the Saviour;' in Greek JESUS--to appear by comparing it with 1 Chronicles, 6. 3-15. It the awakened and anxious singer sweetest and most will be observed that the last of the three divisions of fragrant of all names, expressing so melodiously and fourteen appears to contain only thirteen distinct briefly His whole saving office and work! for he shall names, including Jesus as the last. LANGE thinks save. The "He" is here emphatic- He it is that shall that this was meant as a tacit hint that Mary was to save:' He personally, and by personal acts (as Webster be supplied, as the thirteenth link of this last chain, and Wilkinson express it), his people - the lost sheep as it is impossible to conceive that the Evangelist of the house of Israel, in the first instance; for they could have made any mistake in the matter. But | were the only people He then haci. But, on the breakthere is a simpler way of accounting for it. As the ing down of the middle wall of partition, the saved Evangelist himself (v. 17) reckons David twice-as the people embraced the "redeemed unto God by His last of the first fourteen and the first of the second- blood out of every kindred and people and tongue so, if we reckon the second fourteen to end with Josiah, and nation." froin their sins-in the most comprewho was coeval with the "carrying away into cap-hensive sense of salvation from sin (Revelation, 1. 5; tivity" (v. 11), and the third to begin with Jechoniah, it Ephesians, 5. 25-27). 22. Now all this was done, that it will be found that this last division, as well as the might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the proother two, embraces fourteen names, including that phet (Isaiah, 7. 14), saying, 23. Behold, a virgin-it should of our Lord.
be 'the virgin;' meaning that particular virgin degVer. 18-25. BIRTH OF CHRIST. 18. Now the birth tined to this unparalleled distinction. shall be with of Jesus Christ was on this wise, or 'thus:' When as his child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his mother Mary was espoused - rather, betrothed'-to name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with Joseph, before they came together, she was found (or dis.us. Not that He was to have this for a proper name covered to be) with child of the Holy Ghost. It was, of (like "Jesus”), but that He should come to be known course, the fact only that was discovered: the ex- in this character, as God manifested in the flesh, and planation of the fact here given is the Evangelist's the living bond of holy and most intimate fellowship own. That the Holy Ghost is a living conscious Per- between God and men from henceforth and for ever. son is plainly implied here, and is elsewhere clearly | 24. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, and all his tanght (Acts, 6. 3, 4, &c.); and that, in the unity of difficulties now removed) did as the angel of the Lord the Godhead. He is distinct both from the Father had bidden him, and took unto him his wife. With what and the Son, is taught with equal distinctness Mat- deep and reverential joy would this now be done on thew, 28. 19; 2 Corinthians, 13, 14). On the Miraculous his part; and what balm would this minister to his Conception of our Lord, see on Luke, 1.35. 19. Thenbetrothed one, who had till now lain under suspicions Joseph her husband: cf. v. 20, "Mary, thy wife." Be- of all others the most trying to a chaste and holy trothal was, in Jewish law, valid marriage, In giving woman-suspicions, too, arising from what, though to Mary up, therefore, Joseph had to take legal steps to her an honour unparalleled, was to all around her effect the separation, being a just man, and not willing wholly unknown! 25. And knew her not till she had to make her a public example-or 'to expose her' (see brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name Deuteronomy, 22, 23, 24)-was minded to put her away JESUS. The word "till" does not necessarily imply privily privately)-by giving her the required writ. that they lived on a different footing afterwards (as ing of divorcement (Deuteronomy, 24. 1), in presence will be evident from the use of the same word in only of two or three witnesses, and without cause I Samuel, 15. 35; 2 Samuel, 6. 23; Matthew, 12. 20); nor assigned, instead of having her before a magistrate, does the word "first-born" decide the inuch disputed That some communication had passed between him question, whether Mary had any children to Joseph and his betrothed, directly or indirectly, on the after the birth of Christ: for, as LIGHTFoot says, The subject, after she returned from her three months law, in speaking of the first-born, regarded not visit to Elizabeth, can hardly be doubted. Nor does whether any were born after or no, but only that the purpose to divorce her necessarily imply disbelief. / none were born before.' (See on ch. 13. 65, 66.) on Joseph's part, of the explanation given him. Even
CHAPTER II. supposing him to have yielded to it some reverential Ver. 1-12. VISIT OF TAE MAGI TO JERUSALEM assent-and the Evangelist seems to convey as much, AND BETHLEHEM, The Wise Men reach Jerusalemby ascribing the proposal to screen her to the justice The Sanhedrim, on Herod's demand, pronounce Bethof his character-he might think it altogether unsuit. lehem to be Messiah's predicted Birth-place (v. 1-6). able and incongruous in such circumstances to follow | 1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea-so out the marriage. 20. But while he thought on these called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in things. Who wonld not feel for him after receiving the tribe of Zebulun, near the sea of Galilee (Joshua, such intelligence, and before receiving any light from 10.16): called also Beth-chem-judah, as being in that above! As he brooded over the matter alone, in the tribe (Judges, 17. 7): and Ephrath (Genesis, 36. 10); and stillness of the night, his domestic prospects darkened combining both, Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah, 5. 2). and bis happiness blasted for life, his mind slowly It lay about six miles south-west of Jerusalem. But
Pisit of the Magi
to Jerusalem. how came Joseph and Mary to remove thither from these classes, a proportion of the second, and "the Nazareth, the place of their residence? Not of their | elders"-that is, as LIGHTFoor thinks, 'those elders own accord, and certainly not with the view of ful- of the laity that were not of the Levitical tribe,' con. filling the prophecy regarding Messiah's birth-place: stituted the supreme council of the nation, called the day, they stayed at Nazareth till it was almost too Sunhedrim, the members of which, at their full comlate for Mary to travel with safety: nor would they pliment, were seventy-two. That this was the council have stirred from it at all, had not an order which left which Herod now convened is most probable, from them no choice forced them to the appointed place. the solemnity of the occasion; for though the elders A high hand was in all these movements. (See on are not mentioned we find a similar omission where Luke, 9, 1-6.) in the days of Herod the king-styled the | all three were certainly meant (cf. ch. 26. 69 : 27. 1). Great; son of Antipater, an Edomite, made king by As MEYER says, it was all the theologians of the the Romans. Thus was "the sceptre departing from nation whom Herod convened, because it was a theoJudah" (Genesis, 19. 10. a sign that Messiah was now logical response that he wanted, he demanded of them at hand. As Herod is known to have died in the -as the authorized interpreters of Scripture-where year of Rome 750, in the fourth year before the com Christ-the Messiah'-should be born - according to mencement of our Christian era, the birth of Christ prophecy. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of must be dated four years before the date usually as Judea-a prompt and involuntary testimony from the signed to it, even if He was born within the year of highest tribunal, which yet at length condemned Him Herod's death, as it is next to certain that He was. to die. for thus it is written by the prophet (Micah, 6,2), there came wise men-lit.. *Magi' or 'Magians' proba-6. And thou, Bethlehem, (in the land of Juda-the "in" bly of the learned class who cultivated astrology and being familiarly left out, as we say, 'London, Midkindred sciences. Balaam's prophecy Numbers, 24. ' dlesex' - art not the least among the princes of Juda : 17), and perhaps Daniel's ch. 9. 24, &c.), might have for out of thee shall come a Governor, &c. This quotacome down to them by tradition; but nothing definite tion, though differing verbally, agrees substantially is known of them. from the east-but whether from with the Hebrew and LXX. For says the prophet, Arabia, Persia. or Mesopotamia is uncertain to Jeru. "Though thou be little, yet out of thee shall come salen-29 the Jewish metropolis. 2. Saying. Where is the Ruler"- this honour more than compensating for he that is born King of the Jews? From this it would its natural insignificance; while our Evangelist, by a seem they were not themselves Jews. (Cf. the lan lively turn, makes him say, "Thou art not the least : guage of the Roman governor. John, 18. 33, and of the for out of thee shall come a Governor"-this distincRoman soldiers. ch. 27. 29. with the very different tion lifting it from the lowest to the highest rank. language of the Jews themselves, ch. 27. 42, &c.) The The "thousands of Juda," in the prophet, mean the Roman historians, SUETONIUS and Tacitus, bear subordinate divisions of the tribe: our Evangelist, inwitness to an expectation, prevalent in the East, stead of these, merely names the "princes" or heads that out of Judea should arise a sovereign of the of these families, including the districts which they world for we have seen his star in the east. Much has occupied. that shall rule-or feed,' as in the margin been written on the subject of this star; but from all - my people Israel. In the Old Testament, kings are, that is here said it is perhaps safest to regard it as by a beautiful figure, styled "shepherds” (Ezekiel, simply a luminous meteor, which appeared under 31. &c.). The classical writers use the same figure. special laws and for a special purpose. and are come The pastoral rule of Jehovah and Messiah over Hig to worship him- 'to do Him homage,' as the word people is a representation pervading all Scripture, signifies: the nature of that homage depending on and rich in import. (See Psalm 23; Isaiah, 40. 11; the circumstances of the case. That not civil but Ezekiel, 37. 24; John, 10.11: Revelation, 7. 17.) That religious homage is meant here is plain from the this prophecy of Micah referred to the Messiah, whole strain of the narrative, and particularly v. 11. was admitted by the ancient Rabbins. The Wise Men, Doubtless these simple strangers expected all Jeru despatched to Bethlehem by Herod to see the Babe, and salem to be full of its new-born King, and the time, bring him word, make a Religious Offering to the Inplace, and circumstances of His birth to be familiar fant King, but, dirinely warned, return home by an. to every one. Little would they think that the first other way (c. 7-12). 7. Then Herod. when he had privily announcement of His birth would come from them. I called the wise men. Herod has so far succeeded in selves, and still less could they anticipate the start- his murderous design: he has tracked the spot where ling, instead of transporting, effect which it would lies his victim, an unconscious babe. But he has anproduce-else they would probably have sought their other point to fix the date of His birth-without information regarding His birth-place in some other which he might still miss his mark. The one he had quarter. But God overruled it to draw forth a noble got from the Sanhedrim : the other he will have from testimony to the predicted birth-place of Messiah the sages; but secretly, lest his object should be susfrom the highest ecclesiastical authority in the na pected and defeated. So he enquired of them diligently tion. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things -- rather, precisely'-what time the star appeared-prehe was troubled-viewing this as a danger to his own suming that this would be the best clue to the age of throne: perhaps his guilty conscience also suggested the child. The unsuspecting strangers tell him all. other grounds of fear. and all Jerusalem with him And now he thinks he is succeeding to a wish, and from a dread of revolutionary commotions, and per. shall speedily clutch his victim; for at so early an age haps also of Herod's rage. 4. And when he had gather as they indicate, He would not likely have been reed all the chief priests and scribes of the people together. moved from the place of His birth. Yet he is wary. The class of the “chief priests" included the high He sends them as messengers from himself, and bids priest for the time being, together with all who had them come to him, that he may follow their pious previously filled this office; for though the then head example. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, of the Aaronic family was the only rightful high priest, Go and search diligently-search out carefully'--for the the Romans removed them at pleasure, to make way young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word for creatures of their own. In this class probably again, that I may come and worship him also. The cunTere included also the heads of the four-and-twenty ning and bloody hypocrite! Yet this royal mandato courses of the priests. The "scribes" were at first would meantime serve as a safe-conduct to the merely transcnbers of the law and synagogue-readers; strangers. 9. When they had heard the king, they deafterwards interpreters of the law, both civil and reli parted. But where were ye, O Jewish ecclesiastics, pova, and so both lawyers and divines. The first of ye chief priests and scribes of the people? Yo could
The Wise Men Worship Jesus.
The Flight into Egypt. tell Herod where Christ should be born, and could expression, repeated in the next verse-another inhear of these strangers from the far East that the direct hint that Joseph was no more than the Child's Desire of all nations had actually come: but I do not guardian. Indeed, personally considered, Joseph see you trooping to Bethlehem-I find these devout has no spiritual significance, and very little place at strangers journeying thither all alone. Yet God or all, in the Gospel history, and flee into Egypt-which, dered this too, lest the news should be blabbed, and being near, as ALFORD says, and a Roman province reach the tyrant's ears, ere the Babe could be placed independent of Herod, and much inhabited by Jews. beyond his reach. Thus are the very errors and was an easy and convenient refuge. Ah! blessed crimes and cold indifference of men all overruled. Saviour, on what a chequered career hast Thou en. and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east-implying I tered here below! At Thy birth there was no room apparently that it had disappeared in the interval- for Thee in the inn; and now all Judea is too hot went before them, and stood over where the young child for Thee. How soon has the sword begun to pierce was. Surely this could hardly be but by a luminous through the Virgin's soul! Luke, 2. 36.) How early meteor, and not very high. 10. When they saw the star, does she taste the reception which this mysterious they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. The language is Child of her's is to meet with in the world! And very strong, expressing exuberant transport. 11. And whither is He sent? To "the house of bondage ?" when they were come into the house-not the stable: for Well, it once was that. But Egypt was a house of as soon as Bethlehem was emptied of its strangers, refuge before it was a house of bondage, and now it they would have no difficulty in finding a dwelling has but returned to its first use. and be thou there until house, they saw. The received text has "found," I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to but here our translatory rightly depart from it, for it destroy him, Herod's murderous purpose was formed has no authority. the young child with Mary his mother. ere the Magi set out for Bethlehem. 14. When he The blessed Babe is naturally mentioned first, then arose, he took the young child and his mother by nightthe mother: but Joseph, though doubtless present. doubtless the same night-and departed into Egypt: is not noticed, as being but the head of the house. 15. And was there until the death of Herod-which took and fell down and worshipped him. Clearly this was no place not very long after this of a horrible disease: civil homage to a petty Jewish king, whom these star- the details of which will be found in JOSEPHUS guided strangers came so far, and enquired so eagerly, Antiquities 17. 6. 1, 6, 7, 8), that it might be fulfilled and rejoiced with such exceeding joy to pay, but a which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying lofty spiritual homage. The next clause confirms (Hosea, 11, 1), Out of Egypt have I called my son. Our this. and when they had opened their treasures, they Evangelist here quotes directly from the Hebrcw. presented-rather, offered'-unto him gifts. This ex. warily departing from the LXX., which renders the pression, used frequently in the Old Testament of words, From Egypt have I recalled his children,' the oblations presented to God, is in the New Testa- meaning Israel's children. The prophet is remind. ment employed seven times, and always in a religi-ing his people how dear Israel was to God in the days our sense of offerings to God, Beyond doubt, there- of his youth; how Moses was bidden say to Pharaoh. fore, we are to understand the presentation of these "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my first-born: gifts by the Magi as a religious oUering. gold, frankin and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve censo, and myrrh. Visits were seldom paid to sove me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will reigns without a present (1 Kings, 10. 2, &c.); cf. Psalı slay thy son, even thy first-born” (Exodus, 4, 22, 23): 72. 10, 11, 16; Isaiah, 60. 3, 6. "Frankincense" was an how, when Pharaoh refused, God, having slain all his aromatic used in sacrificial offerings; "myrrh" was first-born, called his own son out of Egypt,” by a used in perfuming ointments. These, with the gold stroke of high-handed power and love, Viewing the which they presentod, seem to show that the offerers words in this light, even if our Evangelist had not were persons in affluent circumstances. That the applied them to the recall from Egypt of God's own gold was presented to the infant King in token of beloved, Only-begottea Son, the application would
royalty: the frankincense in token of His divinity, I have been irresistibly made by all who have learnt to and the myrrh, of His sufferings; or that they were pierce beneath the surface to the deeper relations designed to express His divine and human natures; or which Christ bears to His people, and both to God: that the prophetical, priestly, and kingly offices of and who are accustomed to trace the analog Christ are to be seen in these gifts; or that they were treatment of each respectively. 16. Then Herod, &c. the offerings of three individuals respectively, each As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera, "She of them kings, the very names of whom tradition looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice. has handed down;-all these are, at the best, precari. Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the ous suppositions. But that the feelings of these de. wheels of his chariots? Have they not sped?" so vout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, Herod wonders that his messengers, with pious zeal, and that the gold, at least, would be highly service I are not hastening with the news that all is ready to able to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unex-receive him as a worshipper, What can be keeping pected journey to Egypt and stay there-thus much them? Have they missed their way? Has any disat least admits of no dispute. 12. And being warned of aster befallen them? At length his patience is ex. God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, hausted. He makes his enquiries, and finds they are they departed or 'withdrew-to their own country already far beyond his reach on their way home. another way. What a surprise would this vision be when he saw that he was mocked' was trifled with'-of to the sages, just as they were preparing to carry the the wise men. No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the glad news of what they had seen to the pious king! wise men, but of a Higher than they. He that sitteth But the Lord knew the bloody old tyrant better than in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath theo to let him see their face again.
in derision. He disappointeth the devices of the 13-25 THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT - THE MAS. crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their en SACRE AT BETHLEHEM -- THE RETURN OF JOSEPH terprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, AND MARY WITH THE BABE, AFTER HEROD'S DEATH, and the council of the froward is carried headlong. AND THEIR SETTLEMENT AT NAZARETH. (=Luke. (Psalm 2. 4; Job, 6. 12, 13.) That blessed Babe shall 9. 39.) The Flight into Egypt. (c. 13-16.) 13. And die indeed, but not by thy hand. As He afterwards when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord told that son of thine-as cunning and as unscrupuappeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take lous as thyself-when the Pharisees warned Him to the young child and his mother. Observe this form of depart. for Herod would seek to kill ment-"Go ye.
The Edurn from Egypt
and Settlement at Nazareth ad tell that foc, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do | went thither when he found it unsafe to settle in cures to-giay and to-morrow, and the third day I shall Judea, but to "the land of Israel," in its most gen. be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and eral sense: meaning the Holy Land at large-the parto-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be ticular province being not as yet indicated. So that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" Luke, 13. Joseph and the Virgin had, like Abraham, to “go 39, 13). Bitter satire! was exceeding wroth. To be out, not knowing whither they went," till they should made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings receive further direction for they are dead which cannot stand. Herod burns with rage, and is like a sought the young child's life-8 common expression in will bun in a net. So he sent forth a band of hired most languages where only one is meant, who here is murderers, and slew all the smale) children that were Herod. But the words are taken from the strikingly
Bethleem, and in all the coasts, or environs, analogous case in Exodus, 4. 19, which probably sugthereof, from two years old and under, according to the
gested the plural here: and where the command is time which he had diligently-carefully'-enquired of the
given to Moses to return to Egypt for the same reason rise men. In this ferocious step Herod was like him that the Greater than Moses was now ordered to be self-as crafty as cruel. He takes a large sweep, not
brought back from it-the death of him who sought to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace
his life. Herod died in the seventieth year of his his victim. And so it had, if He had been there.
I age, and thirty-seventh of his reign. 21. And he arose. But He is gone. Heaven and earth shall sooner pags and took the young child and his mother, and came into the way than thou shalt have that Babe into thy hands. land of Israel-intending, as is Therefore, Herod, thon must be content to want lows, to return to Bethlehem of Judea, there, no Flim: to fill up the cup of thy bitter mortifications,
doubt, to rear the Infant King, as at His own royal already full enough- until thon die not less of a | city, until the time should come when they would broken heart than of a loathsome and excruciating expect Him to occupy Jerusalem, “the city of the disease. Why, ask goeptics and sceptical critics, is
Great King." 22. But when he heard that Archelaus did not this massacre, if it really occurred, recorded by
reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod. Archelaus JOSEPHUS, who is minute enough in detailing the
succeeded to Judea, Samaria, and Idumea: but Aucruelties of Herod? To this the answer is not diffi. gustus refused him the title of king till it should be calk If we consider how small a town Bethlehem seen how
seen how he conducted himself: giving him only tho was it is not likely there would be many male chil. title of Ethnarch (JOSEPHUS Antiquities, 17., 11. 9). dren in it from two years old and under: and when I ADOS
| Above this, however, he never rose. The people, inwe think of the number of fouler atrocities which
deed, recognised him as his father's successor: and so JOSEPHUN has recorded of him, it is unreasonable to
it is here said that he "reigned in the room of his make anything of his silence on this. 17. Then was
| father Herod." But, after ten years' defiance of the falfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet,
Jewish law and cruel tyranny, the people lodged saying Jeremiah, 31. 15- from which the quotation
heavy complaints against him, and the emperor bandiffers but verbally). 18. In Rama was there & voice
ished him to Vienne in Gaul, reducing Judea again heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, to & Roman province. Then "the sceptre" clean Kachel weeping for her children, and would not be com "departed from Judah.” he was afraid to go thither farted, because they are not. These words, as they and no wonder, for the reason just mentioned. not. Hand in Jeremiah, undoubtedly relate to the Baby withstanding-or more simply, but'-being warned of lanish captivity. Rachel, the mother of Joseph and God in a dream, he turned aside-withdrew'-into the Benjamin, was buried in the neighbourhood of Beth parts of Galilee, or the Galilean parts. The whole behem Genesis, 35. 19), where her sepulchre is still country west of the Jordan was at this time, as is well shown. She is figuratively represented as rising from known, divided into three provinces --GALILEE being the tomb and uttering a double lament for the loss of the northern, JUDEA the southern, and SAMARIA the ber children-first, by 8 bitter captivity, and now by | central province. The province
| central province. The province of Galilee was una bloody death. And a fonl deed it was Oye | der the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, the brother of mothers of Bethlehem, methinks I hear you asking Archelaus, his father having left him that and Perea, why your innocent babes should be the ram caught I on the east side of the Jordan, as his share of the ia the thicket, whilst Isaac escapes. I cannot tell kingdom, with the title of tetrarch, which Augustus you; but one thing I know, that ye shall, some of confirmed. Though crafty and licentions, according you live to see a day when that Babe of Bethlehem to JOSEPHUS - precisely what the Gospel History shall be Himself the Ram, caught in another sort of
shows him to be see on Mark, 6. 14-30, and on Luke, ticket, in order that your babes may escape & worse | 13. 32-35) - he was of a less cruel disposition than doom than they now endure. And if these babes Archelaus; and Nazareth being a good way off from
yours be now in glory. through the dear might of the seat of government, and considerably secluded, Wat blessed Babe, will they not deem it their honour it was safer to settle there. 23. And he came and dwelt that the tyrant's rage was exhausted upon themselves in a city called Nazareth- & small town in Lower Instead of their Infant Lord? 19. But when Herod was Galilee, lying in the territory of the tribe of Zebulon. sead-Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe and about equally distant from the Mediterranean bom a dreaded Rival; but it was He only that was 1 sea on the west and the sea of Galilee on the east.
fe from thee: and thou hast not long enjayed even | N.B.-If, from Luke, 2. 39, one would conclude that as fancied security. See on v. 16. behold, an angel the parents of Jesus brought Him straight back to Che Lord. Our translators, somewhat capriciously, Nazareth after His presentation in the temple-as if Fender the same expression “the angel of the Lord," there had been no visit of the Magi, no flight to 2. L 3:2 13; and "an angel of the Lord," as here. Egypt, no stay there, and no purpose on returning As the same angel appears to have been employed to settle again at Bethlehem-one might, from our ve all these high occasions-and most likely he to Evangelist's way of speaking here, equally concludo Saam in Luke is given the name of "Gabriel," ch. 1. that the parents of our Lord had never been at Naza 19.3-parhaps it should in every instance except the reth until now, Did we know exactly the sources from Erst, be rendered "the angel." appeareth in a dream which the matter of each of the Gospels was drawn
Joseph in Egypt, 20. Saying, Arise, and take the young up, or the mode in which these were used, this appar. call and his mother, and go into the land of Israel-not I ent discrepancy would probably disappear at once.
we land of Judea, for he was afterward expressly In neither case is there any inaccuracy. At the same warned not to settle there, nor to Galilee, for he only I time it is difficult. with these facts before us, to con