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same as that which the Reformation drew from the divine germ of the Gospel. All life which does not proceed from this stock, is the life of destruction, the more feverish, as now, the more it is nourished only from without; and only the more dangerous, when placed, as now, under the power of the restless spirit of the times. Experience has sufficiently proclaimed, and it exists in us, that we are to grow up in conformity with the Scriptures, to that unity of Gospel faith, which, with all the variety of individual views, takes not away the unity of the spirit, and stands and remains on the foundation, which is God's living Son, his Light and Life, his Work and Spirit in his Word, which endures forever, while the fashion of this world passeth away."

The following passages will present, perhaps, a favorable specimen of the author's mode of exposition, though his views are still more conservative and sober now than they were six years ago, when the second edition of the Commentary on Matthew was published. We have omitted some comments and references as not interesting or important to the English reader.-TR.]

CHAP. II. v. 1. Terrnévros. The star is conceived as appearing contemporarily with the birth, v. 7. How long it was after the birth before the Magi came, appears approximately from v. 16, according to which, with all Herod's cruelty, and with his aim to make sure work, we may place the arrival of the Magi, with the most probability, somewhat over a year after the birth. 4 is metabatic, serving to introduce another narrative. "Bethlehem Judah," to distinguish it from Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon. Josh. 19: 15. Our Bethlehem (Ephratah, Gen. 35: 16, 19) lay in the tribe of Judah, comp. Judges 17: 9, 19: 1, 1 Sam. 17: 12, six miles south of Jerusalem.1 v quéqais, Gen. 26: 1, 2, 2 Sam. 21: 1; "of Herod,” Herod the Great, son of Antipater, received in the year 714 U. C., from the Senate the kingly dignity, through Antony, by whom, not long before, he had been made tetrarch; but he did not attain actual possession of his kingdom till 717, after the capture of Jerusalem by himself and Sosius. He died in 750. Magi, 2, formed among the Persians and Medes, a much respected priestly class; they employed themselves especially with the mysteries of nature, astrology

1 Reland Pal. p. 642, Rosenmüller Bibl. Handb. II. 1. p. 123, Robinson Researches II. 158.

2 Wieseler Chronol. Synop. 1843, p. 50. On the whole Herod family, Wolf Curae, p. 60, Jahn's Archaeologie II. 1, 563, Schlosser Geschich. d. Fam. Herod. Leip. 1818, Winer Realwört. 1847, I. p. 481.


The Star in the East.


and medicine. There was also among the Babylonians, Jer. 39: 3, at the time of the Chaldean dynasty, such an order, at the head of which was Daniel, Dan. 2: 48. The name Magian, was then in general transferred to all without distinction of country, commonly wandering orientals, who had dedicated themselves to those sciences.* ánò ávar. belong to payo, Magians from the East, i. e. oriental Magians. By this connection, the position of the words is the most natural; the article oi ázò, etc., is not required, since μayo is without the article. The indefinite phrase "eastern countries," is to be left indefinite. It has been conjectured that the Magi came from Arabia, Persia, Parthia, Babylonia, Egypt. But neither from the entirely indefinite expression, "from the East," nor in the kind of gifts, v. 11, have we anything but an approximately sure datum. Wholly groundless is the attempt to determine the number of the Magi, from the three fold gifts, and on account of Ps. 72: 10, Is. 49: 7, 60: 3, 10, to regard the Magi as kings. Are we to view them as heathen, as most, since the time of the Fathers, have supposed, or Jews? In favor of the first supposition, is the inquiry, "Where is he who is born king of the Jews;" and how consonant also was the Messianic idea that the heathen appeared to pay homage to a Jewish king? Is. 60: 3 seq.! The expectation of the Jews, also, of the universal dominion of their Messiah might have been then sufficiently extended in the oriental countries,* to lead actual heathen astrologers to the Jewish capital, with the intention of making the inquiry.5 "Jerusalem." In the capital they expected the most reliable information.

VERSE 2. Táo gives the reason of the question. "His star," the star pointing out his birth. We are to conceive of an extraordinary star, not before seen by them, at whose appearing, they conclude from astrological rules, the birth of a new Jewish king. From the word dorno, not ❝oroor, and unquestionably from v. 9, it appears that a constellation is not meant. This is contrary to the opinion of many, who refer to a very near conjunction of Jupiter 1 Herod. I. 132, Diog. Laert. 1, 1–9, Aclian, V. H. 2, 17, Porphyr. de Abstin. an. 4, 16, Cic. de Div. 1, 41, Plin. N. H. 24, 29, 30, 2.

2 Wetstein in loc., Winer II. p. 45.

3 Mt. 8: 11, 24: 27, Luke 13: 29, Rev. 21: 13.

* Suet. Vesp. 4, Tac. H. 5, 13, Joseph. B. J. 6, 5, 4.

5 Comp. Cass. Dio. Hist. R. 45, 1, Suet. Oct. 94.

• Kepler de J. Ch. vero anno natalitio, Franc. 1606, Münter Stern d. Weisen Copenh. 1827, Ideler Handb. d. Chronol. II. 399, Paulus, Neander, Leben J. 29 Olshausen doubtful, Krabbe Vorlesun. 96, Wieseler Chronol. Synop. 62, Ebrard Krit. d. Evang. Gesch. p. 248.

and Saturn in the constellation Pisces, which occurred U. C. 747 ; with which still, Ebrard, defining doτng more exactly, sees in the star of the Magi, not that constellation itself, but the new star of the first magnitude, which Kepler saw in 1604 at the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, but which disappeared in 1605, while Wieseler has recourse to a comet observed in China in A. D. 750. The Jew Abarbanel1 concluded from a similar conjunction in 1463, that the birth of the Messiah was near, and indicates the constellation Pisces as significant for the Jews. But v. 9 points only to a remarkable star, to one going and standing in a wonderful manner; so it is clear that neither a comet, nor a planet, nor a meteor is meant. The church fathers conceive it to be an angel. The splendor of the star is wondrously painted by Ignatius ad Eph. 19. It was a general belief of antiquity that the appearance of stars denoted great changes, and particularly the birth of important men. The Jews especially believed in a star of the Messiah. — év zy ávaroly. Some translate, "in the rising." But on account of v. 9, where the antithesis of iv tỷ άvarolỹ, and ov v rò naudíov obviously bring out the local difference; and on account of ἀπὸ ἀνατ. in v. 1, the translation "in the East" is to be preferred, which also well agrees with the xai ouer followingпoоoxvvεiv, by casting one's self down with the face on the ground, before one, reverence and subjection were denoted. Gen. 19: 1, 42: 6, 18: 2, 48: 12, Herod. I. 134, Nep. Con. 3. Curt. 5, 2. 6, 6.

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VERSE 3. Herod trembled as he feared the overthrow of his throne; the inhabitants were troubled as they expected the cruelty of their tyrant, revolutions and political horrors, it then being the belief that very sad times would precede the Messianic kingdom. Tɛgooólvua fem. form. Comp. 3, 5, Jos. de Bell. J. 1, 5, 7, 18, c. Ap.

I. 1047.

VERSE 4. Ilavras — Laov is not considered by Fritzsche after Grotius as a meeting of the Sanhedrim, but as an extraordinary convention of all the chief priests and scribes, in order to investigate the thing more exactly. But the words themselves admit the meaning Sanhe

1 Maajne haschuah, Amst. 1547.

2 "A divine and angelic power, appearing in the emblem of a star." Theophyl8 Wetstein in loc., Baur Symbol. u. Mythol. II. 308.

Bertholdt Christol. Jud. p. 55.

Ebrard, Wieseler, etc. Comp. Stob. Ecl. Phys. 1, 20, Luke 1: 78.

6 The dolores Messiae, Sanhedr. f. 98. 2. Shabb. 118, 1. Lightfoot Hor. ad

Marc. 13, 19. Schöttgen Hor. II. 512, Bertholdt Christ. Jud. p. 45.

7 "An assembly of learned men, extra ordinem, convened by the king."


Prediction of Micah.


drim, since this is denoted even without the third class of assessors, who with them are called the peoßúzego. Besides, it was in the highest degree in accordance with the importance of the matter and the interests of the king, to lay the question before the Sanhedrim, so as to obtain an official solution of the same as a basis for further proceedings. Hence I prefer the common explanation "a full session of the Sanhedrim" so that all the chief priests and elders, who belonged to the Sanhedrim, are meant2-ágyugeis included partly the actual, directing high-priest, partly those priests who had before filled that office, (for then, through the arbitrary caprice of the Romans, this honor was often changed, Jos. Antt. 15, 3) and probably also the leaders of the twenty-four classes of the priests, 1 Chron. 24: 6, 2 Chron. 36: 14, Jos. Antt. 28, 8, 8.—roappareis, nio, in Luke,

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νομικοί and νομοδιδάσκαλοι, were the teachers and interpreters of the divine law, who as counsellors in religious and civil relations, mostly belonging to the sect of the Pharisees, and partly to the Sanhedrim, were highly esteemed.1 — yɛvvārαι not in the future sense, of a certain future represented as present, Bernh. Syntax p. 371, but purely present. The inquiry was: "Where is the Messiah born?" The Sanhedrim were to say what they knew on the birth place of the Messiah. In this general form the question is to be left, in which Herod reserved wholly to himself, the question whether the birth had already happened, or was still to take place.

VERSE 6. In Micah 5: 1, which passage is here freely quoted, and not according to the Sept., the sense is, "Though Bethlehem is too unimportant to be reckoned among the principal cities, still a governor of Judah shall proceed from thence." In Matthew, this thought, with a little variation, is reversed: "Bethlehem is surely an important place, since," etc. Hence it is unnecessary with Grotius and others, to take the passage in Micah interrogatively, "Art thou, then, Bethlehem, too small," etc.?5-7 only in derived sense city, then, and

1 Comp. 20: 18, 26: 3; on the contrary in 27: 1, the yeauμateïs are not named. See also Acts 15: 15, 24: 1.

2 On the 7 consisting of 71 members, the highest politico-religious court of the Jews after the exile, see Buxt. Lex. Talm., p. 1514, Selden de Synedriis, Reland Antt. Sacr. 2, 7. Hartm. Verbind. d. A. T. 173, Winer Realw. II, 551, 8*O ȧgylegeús, D47, Lev. 15: 10. Winer, I. 502.

* Reland Antt. Sac. 3, 9, 17, Lightfoot Hor. in loc. and at Mt. 23: 4. Suicer Thesaur. on youuu., Winer II. 426.

The great

5[The quotation made by the Sanhedrim is not verbally accurate. object, however, for which it is cited is perfectly clear, namely, that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. This point only was important. Great freedom

properly the district in which the city lies.- elevσeral, according to ἐξελεύσεται, Mat. nascetur, thus, N Gen. 17: 6.1 — пoμavɛî, comp. the Homeric nouéves Lacov.2 Finally, this passage, which in Micah refers to a great king of David's family, is also explained in the Rabbins of the birth of the Messiah. Schöttg. and Wets.

VERSE 7. 4άoga inconsistent enough, since secresy could only awaken suspicion, but to work privily is natural for a bad man! The inquiry for the time of the appearance of the star has its ground in this, that the suspicious Herod already thought of the possibility of not again seeing the Magi, and that then he should still have a datum for further proceedings against the fated child, comp. v. 16.-rou qarouérov dorégos. "Not the beginning, but the continuance is deφαινομένου ἀστέρος. noted." Grotius. Herod asks: "How long since the star appeared?" How long it has been visible, namely in the East, v. 9. So the Part. is to be construed as in the Present tense, not in the sense of the Aor. or Imperf.

VERSE 8. Πορευθέντες and immediately after ἐλθών ; these and like participles are not to be explained as Hebraistic pleonasms, but they serve, in all languages, especially the ancient, to impart, by a peculiar circumstantiality a vividness to the commencement of sentences and the by-clauses.

VERSE 9. "After they had heard the king, they departed. A simple description of their artless deportment." And behold the star," etc. They travelled by night, according to the well known oriental custom. Bengel on idov, "toto itinere non viderant stellam.” Winer, 318.-лoоñуer. In the opinion of some, the star did not again appear till the Magi reached Bethlehem, and they translate the verb in the Plup., had preceded. But noonyev is Imperf., and is never used in the sense of the Plup., and the entire theory proceeds only from the effort to diminish what is remarkable; and it is contrary to the character of the narration. The common explanation only

in the matter of quotation from the Old Test. is everywhere obvious in the New Test." in Mic. 5: 1, is pr. the families into which each tribe was divided, the heads of which were called Zech. 12: 5, 6; and Mat. by meton. puts εμóves chiefs of families for the families themselves, as also for the cities in which they dwelt. Robinson's New Testament Lex.-TR.]

1 Comp. Heb. 7: 5, Lib. Enoch, p. 196.

2 Examples from the classics in Raphel, Kypke, Alberti, Wetstein and ElsSo of a governor, 2 Sam. 5: 2, Jer. 23: 2 seq.


8 Kühner Gr. II. § 666, A. 2, School Gr. Eng. Tr. p. 472. On this use of 70pevveis, see Gersd. Beitr. p. 103.

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