« PreviousContinue »
22 from their fins. (Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was fpoken of the Lord by 24 the prophet (d), faying, Behold a virgin fhall be
with child, and fhall bring forth a fon, and they fhall call his name Emmanuel, which, being inter24 preted, is God with us.) Then Jofeph being raifed from fleep, did as the angel of the Lord had 25 bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till fhe had brought forth her firstborn fon; and he called his name Jefus.
I NOW when Jefus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king (a), behold, there 2 came wife-men from the eaft to Jerufalem, Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have feen (b) his ftar in the eaft, and are come to 3 worship him. When Herod the king had heard thefe things, he was troubled, and all Jerufalem with him (c).
(d) Ifaiah vii. 14. The meaning is, not that the prophecy was the cause or reafon why the thing was done, but that the thing done was the means or way whereby the prophecy was fulfilled and fhewn to be true. The phrafe is in general to be underfood, as ex◄ preffing not the defign, 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 that country. His fon was Herod Antipas, who beheaded St. John Baptift, and mocked our Saviour. Herod Agrippa cut off St. James, imprifoned Peter, and was eaten up with worms. He was the fa-' ther of that king Agrippa, before whom St. Paul made his defence.
(b) Thefe wife men were learned aftronomers, but though well fkilled in the courfe of the Heavenly Bodies, yet they must have been directed by divine revelation in the meaning of this extraordinary and miraculous appearance, which was probably of the fame nature as the bright light (called a Pillar of Fire, Exod. xiv.) which conducted the Ifraelites through the wildernefs.
(c) Herod was afraid left this infant fhould difpoffefs him of hig kingdom; and the minds of all the people were much agitated on this occafion, being in immediate expectation of the Meffiah.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and (d) fcribes of the people together, he demanded of 5 them where Chrift fhould be born. And they faid 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 leaft among the princes of Juda: for out of thee fhall come a Go7vernor that fhall rule my people Ifrael. Then Herod,
when he had privily called the wife-men, enquired of 8 them diligently what time the ftar appeared. And he fent them to Bethlehem, and faid, Go, and fearch diligently for the young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may 9 come and worship him alfo. When they had heard
the king, they departed, and lo, the ftar which they faw in the east went before them, till it came and to flood over where the young child was. When they faw the ftar, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they faw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they prefented unto him gifts; 12 gold, and frankincenfe, and myrrh. And being warh
ed of God in a dream, that they fhould not return
d) The Scribes were perfons employed to write out the Scriptures of the Old Teftament, and thus being well versed in them, were confulted in cases of moment and difficulty. They are likewife called Lawyers, Doctors, or Teachers; for they expounded the law, and moreover taught the neceffity of obferving traditions, many of which however were fuch as deftroyed the force and intent of God's commands. See Chap. xv. 2.
(e) Thou Bethlehem, though fmall in fize, art excelled in dignity by none of the principal cities. Micah v. 2.
til I bring thee word: for Herod will feek the young 14 child to deftroy him. When he arofe, 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 fpoken of the Lord by the prophet, faying, Out of Egypt 16 have I called my fon. Then Herod, when he faw that he was mocked of the wife-men, was exceeding wroth, and fent forth, and flew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coafts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wife17 men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by 18 Jereiny the prophet (g), faying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, becaufe they are not (b).
But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Jofeph in 20 Egypt, Saying, Arife, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Ifrael: for they 21 are dead which fought the young child's life. And he arofe, and took the young child and his mother, and 22 came into the land of Ifrael.. 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
(f) Thus was fulfilled that prophecy of Hofea, xi. 1. Sce Chap. i. Note (d).
(g) Jeremiah xxxi. 15.
(h) Because they were dead."
(1) Archelaus was afterwards depofed and banished by Auguflus for many acts of oppreffion and tyranny; and Judea being made a province, was, from that time, governed by a procurator or deputy, appointed by the emperor, fuch as Pilate, Felix, Feftus. Thus had the fceptre departed from Judah at the coming of Chrift, according tó. Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xlix. 10. The reft of Herod's dominions were continued to three of his fons, who had each the title of King, but was fubject 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 (/), that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He fhall be called a Nazarene.
1 IN thofe days (a) came John the Baptift, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And faying, Repent ye: 3 for the kingdom of heaven (b) is at hand. For this is he that was fpoken of by the prophet Efaias, faying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord (c), make his paths 4 ftraight. And the fame John had his raiment of camels-hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; 5 and his meat was locufts and wild honey (d). Then
went out to him Jerufalem 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 Pharifees and Sadducees (ƒ) come
(A) Galilee was a province of the holy-land, not within Archelaus's government, but in that of his brother Herod Antipas. See Chap. xiv. 1.
(2) Jofeph and Mary dwelt at Nazareth, before they went to Bethlehem; See Lukei. 26. ii. 39. Nazareth was fo called, because of its remote and feparate fituation; and to be a Nazarite or Nazarene fignifies, to be feparated from the common employments of life, and dedicated wholly to the fervice of God. See Judg. xiii. 5.
(a) Thofe days are particularly afcertained Luke iii. 1.
(b) The kingdom of Heaven is the Chriftian Religion, which is Chrifl's fpiritual kingdom in the hearts of men; aud none are worthy to be admitted into it without fincere repentance and refor
(c) Ifaiah xl. 3.
(d) He lived in the fame retired auftere manner as the prophet Elijahdid, 2 Kings i. 8. Locufts were anciently, and ftill are, commonly eaten in the Eaftern and Southern countries.
(e) With great humility confeffing and repenting of their fins. (Thefe were the two principal fects of the Jews; and the
to his baptifm, he faid unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the 8 wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet 9 for repentance. And think not to fay within your
selves, We have Abraham to our father: for I fay unto you, that God is able of these ftones to raise up 10 children unto Abraham (g). And now alfo the ax is
laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn II down, and caft into the fire (b). I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear (i); he shall baptize you with the Holy 12 Ghoft, and with fire. Whofe 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 Jefus from Galilee to Jordan unto 14 John, to be baptized of him. But (k) John forbad him, faying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and
Baptift begins his preaching by boldly rebuking the vices of both. The Pharifees were firm believers of all the Öld Teftament, and were befides extremely fcrupulous and fuperftitious in obferving ancient traditions and ceremonies; but they undervalued and neglefted the great duties of the Moral Law. See Chap. xxiii. 23. The Sadducees are faid to have believed no part of the Scriptures, but the five Books of Moses. They certainly held that the Soul died with the Body, and confequently that there is no refurrection, or life after this. See Acts xxiii. 8.
(g) Think not to claim any merit or favour at the hand of God, because defcended from Abraham; are ye for if your whole nation were extinct, God could raife up to himself a peculiar people out of thofe whom you now defpife as the ones under your feet.
(1) God is about to offer you a new and gracious difpenfation, on the terms of repentance and reformation; and if ye will not accept it on those conditions, the divine vengeance will deftroy your na tion, as certainly as a tree is cut down by the ax.
(i) Whofe fhoes I am not worthy to carry; that is, whom I am not worthy to attend upon in the meaneft fervile offices. See Luke iii. 16. Note..
(k) See John i. 33.