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Matthew 2:1-6

Context
The Visit of the Wise Men

2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem 1  in Judea, in the time 2  of King Herod, 3  wise men 4  from the East came to Jerusalem 5  2:2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose 6  and have come to worship him.” 2:3 When King Herod 7  heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, 8  he asked them where the Christ 9  was to be born. 2:5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet:

2:6And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are in no way least among the rulers of Judah,

for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 10 

1 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

2 tn Grk “in the days.”

3 sn King Herod was Herod the Great, who ruled Palestine from 37 b.c. until he died in 4 b.c. He was known for his extensive building projects (including the temple in Jerusalem) and for his cruelty.

4 sn The Greek term magi here describes a class of wise men and priests who were astrologers (L&N 32.40).

5 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

6 tn Or “in its rising,” referring to the astrological significance of a star in a particular portion of the sky. The term used for the “East” in v. 1 is ἀνατολαί (anatolai, a plural form that is used typically of the rising of the sun), while in vv. 2 and 9 the singular ἀνατολή (anatolh) is used. The singular is typically used of the rising of a star and as such should not normally be translated “in the east” (cf. BDAG 74 s.v. 1: “because of the sg. and the article in contrast to ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν, vs. 1, [it is] prob. not a geograph. expr. like the latter, but rather astronomical…likew. vs. 9”).

7 sn See the note on King Herod in 2:1.

8 tn Or “and scribes of the people.” The traditional rendering of γραμματεύς (grammateu") as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader.

9 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.

10 sn A quotation from Mic 5:2.



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