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when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being 12 warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord 13 appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying : Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and fee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word ; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child 14 and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt ; and was 15 there until the death of Herod ; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying: “Out of

sance, as they would to any royal great numbers to that country, personage. There was no religious where they enjoyed toleration. homage paid in the act. - Presented. Thus, by a strange vicissitude in An oriental custom, still observed. human affairs, the land of their faThose who would pay honor to thers' bondage became their asylum kings, magistrates, and persons of of liberty, and the refuge of their high dignity, carry to them costly endangered Messiah. Several cirgifts. 2 Chron. ix. 1; Is. Ix. 6. cumstances combined to recommend Gold and frankincense and myrrh. this country for the purpose for 2 Chron. ix. 14.. These were pro- which Joseph fled to it. It was free ductions of Arabia and other orien- from Herod's jurisdiction. Its bortal countries. They were timely der was near, only about sixty miles aids to the not rich Joseph, for his southwest from Bethlehem. Joseph succeeding journey into a foreign and his family would find sympaland. Frankincense. A valuable thy among their countrymen. By aromatic gum, used in perfumes, the gifts of the wise men, they had sacrifices, and medicines. It ex- been furnished with the means of udes from incisions made in a tree subsistence and comfort while away during the summer. - Myrrh. A from home and their customary ocvegetable production of the gum or cupations. Herod will seek. This resin kind, of a bitter taste, employ- prediction was afterwards fulfilled. ed in anointing, perfuming, and in Joseph seems not to have been aware embalming the dead. John xix. 39. of any hostility to the child on HerIt is noticeable that the same sub- od's part, until he was divinely acstance which was giver as a birth- quainted with it. present to Jesus was also prepared 14. By night. To conceal his defor his burial.

parture, and escape from danger as 12. Should not return to Herod. soon as possible. There is no trustElse the life of Jesus would have worthy history or tradition of the been taken, unless some other inter events that befel them during their position had been made. The will sojourn in Egypt. of God could be communicated in a 15. Death of Herod. Probably dream as well as in any other way. their residence there was short, as

13. Egypt. During their troubles Herod is supposed to have died in at home, the Jews had flocked in the second year after Christ's birth.

16 Egypt have I called my Son.” Then Herod, when he saw

that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth ; and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under,

according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the 17 wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jere18 my the prophet, saying: " In Rama was there a voice heard,

lamentation, and weeping, and great inourning ; Rachel weep

See ver. 16. — Prophet. Hos. xi. 1. of the helpless babe that had stirred HIosea clearly refers here to the past up his fear and wrath. According history of the Israelites. He utters to the time, dc. Not that he had no prediction. Matthew quotes his been making inquiries for two years words by way of allusion or accom- of the Magians, or had thus long modation, not as the accomplishment awaited their return, but such as of a prophecy, for there was none. had entered upon the second year He

says there was a striking coinci- suffered together with those under dence between God's calling the that age, which would accord with children of Israel, and his son Jesus the inforination he had derived from Christ, out of Egypt.

the wise men, and insure, as he 16. Mocked. Was trifled with, thought, the death of the distinor deceived. —Exceeding wroth. An- guished child. gry beyond measure. Josephus de 17. The grief of the mothers of scribes him as a man of most ungov- Bethlehem, bereft of their infants, ernable passions. — Slew all the chil- reminds Matthew of a parallel poetdren, fc. If this had been related ical scene in Jeremiah xxxi. 15. The of any other man, it would have description of the old prophet was seemed incredible, but it accorded fulfilled, or verified, or made good. with Herod's character. For he In this manner the New Testament had put to death a brother-in-law, writers not unfrequently quote from one of his wives, and three of his the Old. children, besides great numbers of 18. Rama. This was a city in the the Jews at different times and un tribe of Benjamin, not far from der different pretexts. The slaugh- Bethlehem in Judah. As Rachel ter of the Innocents harmonized was the mother of Benjamin, she is therefore with the diabolical charac- introduced as most nearly concerned ter of this man of blood. It is like- in the calamities of her posterity. ly that only a small number suffered. It is only by way of accommodation, The masculine gender of the noun that this passage, originally relating in the original, and the circumstan- to what transpired in the tribe of ces of the case indicate that none Benjamin, when the Israelites were but male infants were killed. Beth- carried into captivity, is used to delehem was not a large village, and scribe what took place in Judah in it has been conjectured that the the days of Herod.

There was number of victims was somewhere great force and beauty in the introbetween ten and fifty. Coasts. duction of this poetical figure, and it Borders, adjacent places. Two chimed exquisitely with the feelings years old and under. Herod thought and associations of the Jews, for in this way to insure the destruction whose special edification Matthew

ing for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of 19 the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying : 23 Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel ; for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his 21 mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard 22 that Archelaus did reign'in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth ; 23

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was writing. Lamentation, and at his funeral. His kingdom was weeping, and great mourning. As partitioned among his sons; Archeif to express the abjectness of grief laus obtaining Judea, Samaria, and by adding word to word. Rachel Idumea ; Antipas, Galilee and Peweeping for her children. The tears ræa; and Philip, 'Trachonitis, Gauof the living were not enough to be- lonitis, and Batanea. wail their disasters. Jeremiah calls 20. They are dead. Either the to his assistance those of the de- plural is here used, as is sometimes parted, and particularly of Rachel, the case, for the singular number, whose tomb was in the route along which is the opinion of Winer, and which they were led captive to the idea is that Herod was dead, Babylon, and who is represented as the chief foe of Jesus; or that both rising from the dead to bewail the Herod and his son Antipater, who fate of her posterity. What Jewish was heir apparent to the throne, heart would not be thrilled by this were dead. allusion and quotation from Jeremi 21. Young child. The residence ah by the Evangelist ! Because in Egypt did not extend probably they are not. Because they are no beyond a few months. — The land of more, are dead. This is one among Israel. This comprised not only the many instances of the touching sim- dominions of Archelaus, but also plicity characteristic of the Scrip- Galilee and other provinces. tures.

22. Archelaus. He succeeded to 19. Herod was dead. The tyrant, the throne by his father's will, and after a reign of forty years, died of received the confirmation of his a horrible, loathsome disease. It power from the Roman emperor, seemed as if the pains of all he had Augustus. He proved such a tykilled were concentrated in his own rant, that, being accused by the person. Yet the ruling passion was Jews to the emperor, he was banstrong even in death ; and a few ished, after a reign of seven years, days before he expired he ordered to Vienna in Gaul, where he died. his son Antipater to be executed, - He turned aside : to Galilee; and imprisoned the chiefs of the which was under the jurisdiction of Jewish nation, with the command, Herod Antipas. which happily was not executed, 23. Nazareth. A small town in that they should all be destroyed, in lower Galilee, situated in a hilly reorder that sincere grief might be felt gion : down one of the precipices

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets : He shall be called a Nazarene,

Jesus grown


Ministry of John the Baptist. In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderof which its inhabitants endeavored

CHAP. III. to throw their townsman,

Jesus 1 - 12. For the parallel passages Christ. Luke iv. 29. It is now a in the other Gospels see Mark i. large village of three thousand in- 1-8; Luke iž. 1 – 18. habitants, and contains a convent 1. After the lapse of twenty-five and two churches. The prophets. or thirty years from the events reThere is no place in the prophets corded in the last chapter, the curstill extant, where this precise say- tain is again drawn aside, and we ing occurs. The prophets, how- behold a new scene. ever,

represented the coming One as to manhood, and John, a new chara suffering and despised, as well as acter, whose parentage and remark. a triumphant Messiah. Is. liii. To able birth are related by Luke, now be a Nazarene was to bear an un

appear upon the stage of action ; honored name. The guileless Na- the Messiah and his Forerunner. thanael could ask, “ Can there any In those days. A common introducgood thing come out of Nazareth ? ,

tion to Scriptural narration, used The reputation of the place was bad. with considerable latitude of meanThe idea then is, that, according to ing. “At this period,” or “ about the tenor of those predictions usual- this time,” not immediately after ly supposed to refer to Christ, he the events of the last chapter, but became an inhabitant of a prover- while Jesus lived at Nazareth. bially mean place, dwelt in humble John the Baptist. Or, the Baptizer. life, and was despised and rejected So called, because it was peculiarly by men.

his office to baptize; and in order to “ It was undoubtedly a part of the distinguish him from the Evangeplan of Providence to draw the Sa- list and Apostle of the same name. viour from humble human circum- John's mission was to prepare men stances, in order to render his divine for the ministry of Jesus, to call authority the more conspicuous and public attention to him as the Christ, unquestionable. It was thus made and to furnish evidence of the justo appear that his words of wisdom tice of his claims by the fulfilment could not have been learned from of prophecy. For an account of the man, and that he must have been origin of John, see Luke, chap. i. from God. He probably received Matthew was writing to those who little or no education during his ear were already acquainted with the ly years; for the Jews asked, 'How events of the age. Hence he leaves knoweth this man letters, having much to be explained by a reference never learned?' Schools and in- to other sources.. - Preaching. Or, struction were not then universal as proclaiming, or crying or announ. they are now, and Joseph was prob- cing as a herald, for so the word ably too poor to afford to his chil- implies in the original. It suggests dren a privilege which could be pur- the idea that he delivered his meschased only by the rich.”

sage with great publicity, earnest


ness of Judea, and saying : Repent ye, for the kingdom of 2 heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the 3 prophet Esaias, saying: “The voice of one crying in the

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ness, and authority. The substance day, and must for ever, in a sinful of the proclamation is recorded in world. It is the great theme for the following verses. The wilder- men and nations. — For the kingdom ness of Judea. A tract lying on the of heaven is at hand. Or, better, river Jordan and the Dead Sea, east the reign of God draws near. This of Jerusalem. The words “ wil- is the persuasive for immediate rederness” and “. desert are not to pentance and reformation, that the be taken in the Bible as always Messiah was now coming. The meaning regions totally without cul- kingdom of heaven, of God, of tivation or inhabitants, but those Christ, phrases suggested, perhaps, thinly peopled, and comparatively by Dan. ji. 44, vii. 13, 14, all refer barren; generally devoted to graz- to the same thing, the reign of the ing. In Josh. xv. 61, 62, a wilder- Messiah, or, in more modern phraseness is represented as having “ six ology, the Christian Religion, which cities with their villages.” Judea came to rule over the hearts and lives was the southern portion of Palestine. of men, and bring them to an obedi

2. The following words are to be ence to the moral Governor of the understood as containing the burden world, and thus establish a moral of his preaching, the general outline kingdom. For this spiritual reign of his addresses, which were adapt- Reformation was requisite; a far difed to different times, places, and per- ferent preparation from that which the

Luke iii. 11-18. Repent Jews contemplated; whose hearts, ye. Rather, Reform yourselves. at the approach of the long expectThe exhortation involved in itself ed Deliverer, savored more of ambimore than mere sorrow for sin. It tion, revenge, and avarice, than of implied not only regret for the past, sentiments of good-will to man or but amendment for the future : not piety to God, expecting, as they did, only that the wound was to be a temporal King, and not the Prince probed, but healed. The reason of Peace. So now the Gospel dewhy John seized upon this theme mands penitent hearts, and reformed was, that the Jews had unfitted lives, for its subjects. As an old themselves by their worldliness and writer says, “ Thus must the way vices for the reception of the great be made for Christ into every heart. coming Teacher. The professed be- Never will he enter that soul where lievers in religion needed first to be the herald of repentance hath not renewed in holiness. Judgment been before him,'i must begin at the house of God. 3. Prophet Esaias, i. e. Isaiah xl. The Jewish people had suffered the 3. The Evangelist quotes from the fire of heaven to go out upon the Septuagint version of the Old Tesaltars of their hearts, and were cold, tament; hence there is a slight vaskeptical, and corrupt. Hence the riation from our translation, which key note of the Baptist's desert cry, was made from the Hebrew. Isaiah the first blast of his trumpet echoing undoubtedly spoke with reference to over the moral wilderness of Judea, the return from the Babylonish capwas, Reformation. Jesus prolong- tivity. Matthew applies the pased the note which John had struck. sage to the Forerunner of the MesIt has continued to resound to this siah. The voice, go. The office

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