Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Read Chapter 2
Cornelius a Lapide
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda in the days of king Herod. It is better to read here in the Greek in Bethlehem-Juda. Juda means the tribe of Judah, to which, after the schism of the ten tribes, who made a king of their own, Jeroboam, the tribe of Benjamin adhered. And these two formed the kingdom of Judah. S. Matthew adds the word Judah to distinguish the town from another Bethlehem, in the tribe of Zebulon, in Galilee. (See Joshua 19:15) So S. Jerome.
This was Herod I, the son of Antipater, surnamed the Great, and of Ascalon, and an Iduman by race, whom the Roman Senate, on the recommendation of Antony, created the first king of Juda, after its conquest. (See Josephus, lib14 , Ant. c18.)
Matthew makes mention of Herod, to intimate that the sceptre was now transferred from Judah to an alien, for such was Herod, and therefore that Messiah or Christ was now come. For the patriarch Jacob had foretold that this should be the sign of His advent. ( Genesis 49:10.) So S. Chrysos...
King Herod the Great, surnamed Ascalonite, was a foreigner, but a proselyte to the Jewish religion. St. Jerome.
This city is called Bethlehem of Juda, to distinguish it from another Bethlehem, which was situated in the division of the tribe of Zabulon. (Haydock) Wise men. Both the Latin and Greek text may signify wise philosophers and astronomers, which is the common exposition. The same word is also many times taken for a magician or soothsayer, as it is applied to Simon, (Acts viii. 9,) and to Elymas, Acts xiii, ver. 6. and 8. Some ancient interpreters think these very men might have been magicians before their conversion. See Cornelius a Lap ide
From the east. Some say from Arabia, others from Chaldea, others from Persia. Divers interpreters speak of them as if they had been kings, princes, or lords of some small territories. See Baron. an. i. sect. 29. Tillemont, note 12. on Jesus Christ. The number of these wise men is uncertain. St. Leo, in his sermons on the Epiphany, speaks o...
Magi, oi Magoi. Ver. 23. Nazaræus, nazoraios. St. Chrysostom, hom. ix. in Matt. p. 66. Ed. Latinæ, Multa ex Prophetic is periere monumenta.
St. Hieron. in Matt. pluraliter Prophetas vocans, Ostend it se non verba de Scripturis sumpsisse, sed sensum: Nazaræus Sanctus interpretatur, Sanctum autem Dominum futurum, omnis Scriptura commemorat. Possumus et aliter dicere, quod etiam iisdem verbis juxta Hebraic am veritatem in Isaia Scriptum sit. chap. xi.
We have need of much wakefulness, and many prayers, that we may arrive at the interpretation of the passage now before us, and that we may learn who these wise men were, and whence they came, and how; and at whose persuasion, and what was the star. Or rather, if you will, let us first bring forward what the enemies of the truth say. Because the devil has blown upon them with so violent a blast, as even from this passage try to arm them against the words of truth.
What then do they allege? Behold, say they, even when Christ was born a star appeared; which is a sign that astrology may be depended on. How then, if He had His birth according to that law, did He put down astrology, and take away fate, and stop the mouths of demons, and cast out error, and overthrow all such sorcery?
And what moreover do the wise men learn from the star of itself? That He was King of the Jews? And yet He was not king of this kingdom; even as He said also to Pilate, My kingdom is not of this world. At a...
Being interpreted, "Bethlehem" means "house of bread" and "Judea" means "confession" May we also now become a house of the spiritual bread by means of our confession.
He mentions Herod so that you, O reader, might learn that the line of rulers and kings of the tribe of Judah had failed, and so by necessity Christ came. For Herod was not a Judean, but an Idumean, the son of Antipater by an Arab woman. So when the line of the rulers had failed, then came the Expectation of the Gentiles, as Jacob had prophesied.
There was another Herod, the Tetrarch, and so the evangelist adds the title "king."
Why did the Magi come? For the condemnation of the Jews. For if the idolatrous Magi believed, what defense could the Jews give? The Magi also came so that the glory of Christ might shine forth all the more through the witness of the Magi who before had been subject to the demons and were enemies of God. "From the east." This, too, is for the condemnation of the Jews; for the Magi came from su...