« PreviousContinue »
22 from their fins. (Now all this was done that it
might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by 24 the prophet (d), saying, Behold a virgin shall be
with child, and shall bring forth a' fon, and they
shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being inter24 preted, is God with us.) Then Joseph being rail
ed from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had 25 bidden him, and took unto him his wife : And
knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn fon; and he called his name Jesus.
C Η Α Ρ.
dea, in the days of Herod the king (a), behold, there 2 came wise-men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying,
Where is he that is born king of the Jews ? for wé
have seen (6) his star in the cast, and are come to 3 worship him. When Herod the king had heard these
things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (c). (d) Isaiah vii. 14. The meaning is, not that the prophecy was the cause or reason why the thing was done, but that the thing done was the means or way whereby the prophecy was fulfilled and shewn to be true. The phrase is in general to be understood, as exs pressing not the design, but the event only.
(a) There were three Herods. This is Herod the Great, who was made king of Judea by the Romans, when they had conquered
His fon was Herod Antipas, who beheaded St. John Baptist, and mocked our Saviour. Herod Agrippa cut off St. Ja:nes, imprisoned Peter, and was eaten up with worms. He was the faa' ther of that king Agrippa, before whom St. Paul made his defence.
(b) These wife men were learned astronomers, but though well skilled in the course of the Heavenly Bodies, yet tirey mult have been directed by divine revelation in the meaning of this extraordinary and miraculous appearance, which was probably of the same nature as the bright light (called a Pillar of Fire, Exod. xiv:) which conducted the Ifraelites through the wilderness.
(C) Herod w afraid left this infant should dispossess him of his kingdom; and the minds of all the people were much agitated on this occasion, being in immediate expectation of the Meffiah.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and
(d) scribes of the people together, he demanded of 5 them where Christ should be born. And they said
unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus it is 6 written by the prophet; (e) And thou Bethlehem
in the land of Juda, art not the least among the
princes of Juda : for out of thee ihall come a Go7 vernor that shall rule my people Ifrael. Then Herod,
when he had privily called the wife-men, enquired of 8 them diligentiy what time the ftar appeared. And
he sent them to Bethlehem, and faid, Go, and search diligently for the young child, and when ye
have found him, bring me word again, that I may 9 come and woríhip him also. When they had heard
the king, they departed, and lo, the star which they
saw in the east went before them, till it came and 10 ftood over where the
When they saw the ftar, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and full down, and worthipped him : and when they had
opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; 32 gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warn
ed of God in a dream, that they should not return
to Herod, they departed into their own country ano13 ther way. And when they were departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream,
Pd) The Scribes were persons employed to write out the Scrip. tures of the Old Testament, and thus being well versed in them, were consulted in cases of moment and difficulty. They are likewife called Lawyers, Doctors, or Teachers; for they expounded the law, and moreover taught the necessity of observing traditions, many of which however were such as destroyed the force and intent of God's commands. See Chap. xv. 2.
ke) Thou Bethlehem, though small in size, art excelled in dige mity by none of the principal cities. Micak v. 2.
til I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young 14 child to destroy hiin. When he arose, he took the
young child and his mother by night, and departed 15 into Egypt; And was there until the death of He
rod: that it might be fulfilled (f) which was spoken
of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt 16 have I called fon Then Herod, when he faw
that he was mocked of the wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and flew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereot, from two years old and under, according to the
time which he had diligently enquired of the wile17 men.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by 18 Jereiny the prophet (s), saying, In Rama was there a
voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and
would not be comforted, because they are not (1). 19
But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Jofeph in 20 Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and
his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they 21 are dead which fought the young child's life. And he
arose, and took the young child and his mother, and 22 came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that
Archelaus did reign in Judea (i); in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither :
: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he
Thus was fulfilled that prophecy of Hofea, xi. 1. See Chap. i. Note (d).
(5) Jeremiah xxxi. 15. (h) Because they were dead.
(i) Archelaus was afterwards deposed and banished by Auguflus for many acts of oppression and tyranny; and Judea being made a province, was, from that time, governed by a procurator or deputy, appointed by the emperor, such as Pilate; Felix, Feftus. Thus had the sceptre departed from Judah at the coming of Christ, according to. Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xlix. 10. The rest of Herod's dominions were continued to three of his sons, who had each the uitle of King, but was subject nevertheless to the Roman emperor. Luke iii. 1.
23 turned afide into the parts of (k) Galilee: And he
came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth (1), that it
с н А Р. III.
in the wilderness of Judea; And saying, Repent ye: 3 for the kingdom of heaven (5) is at hand. For this
is he that was spoken of by the prophet Efaias,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord (c), make his paths 4 straight. And the same John had his raiment of
camels-hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins S; 5 and his meat was locusts and wild honey (d). Then
went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the 6 region round about Jordan, And were baptized of 7. him in Jordan, (e) confeffing their fins. But when
he faw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees (f) come
.ift) Galilee was a province of the holy-land, not within Arche. Paus's government, but in that of his brother Herod Antipas. See Chap. xiv, 1.
(2) Joseph and Mary dwelt at Nazareth, before they went to BethIshem; See Luke i. 26. ii. 39. Nazareth was so called, because of its remote and separate fituation; and to be a Nazarite or Nazarene fignifies, to be separated from the common employments of life, and dedicated wholly to the service of God. See Judg. xiii. 5.
fa) Those days are particularly ascertained Luke iii. 1. 6) The kingdom of Heaven is the Christian Religion, which is Christ's fpiritual kingdom in the hearts of men; and none are worthy to be admitted into it without sincere repentance and refor. mation.
(c) Isaiah xl. 3. (d) He lived in the same retired austere manner as the prophet Elijahdid, 2 Kingsi. 8. Locults were anciently, and still are, commonly caten in the Eastern and Southern countries. (e) With great humility confefsing and repenting of their fins. These were the two principal seets of the Jew's; and the
to his baptism, he said unto them, () generation
of vipers, who hath warned you to fiee from the 8 wrath to come! Bring forth therefore fruits meet .9 for repentance. And think not to say within your
selves, We have Abraham to our father : for I fay
unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up 10 children unto Abraham (3). And now also the ax is
laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every
tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn 11 down, and caft into the fire (b). I indeed baptize vou
with water unto repentance ; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not wor
thy to bear (i); he shall baptize you with the Holy 12 Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand,
and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner : but he will burn the chaff
with unquenchable fire. 13
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto 14 John, to be baptized of him. Put (4) John forbad
him, faying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and Baptist begins his preaching by boldly rebuking the vices of both. The Pharisees were firm believers of all the Old Testament, and were besides extremely scrupulous and superstitious in observing ancient traditions and ceremonies; but they undervalued and neglefted the great duties of the Moral Law. See Chap. xxiii. 23. The Sadducees are said to have believed no part of the Scriptures, but the five Books of Mofes. They certainly held that the Soul died with the Body, and consequently that there is no resurrection, or life after this. See Afts xxii. 8.
(g) Think not to claim any merit or favour at the hand of God, because
are descended from Abraham ; for if your whole nation were extinct, God could raise up to himself a peculiar people out of those whom you now despise as the ones under your feet.
(1) God is about to offer you a new and gracious dispensation, on the terms of repentance and reforination; and if ye will not accept it on those conditions, the divine vengeance will destroy your natjon, as certainly as a tree is cut down by the ax.
(1) Whose shoes I am not worthy to carry ; that is, whom I am not worthy to attend upon in the meaneft servile offices. '. See Luke iii. 16. Note. (4) See John i. 33