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Verses 5, 6. By the prophet. The sanhedrim answered without hesitation. It was settled by prophecy. This prophecy is found in Mic 5:2. In that prophecy, both the place of his birth and the character of the Messiah are so clearly set forth, that there was no room to doubt. It will be observed that there is a considerable difference between the passage as quoted by the sanhedrim, and as it stands in Micah The main point, however, is retained—the place of his birth. We are not concerned, therefore, in showing how these passages can be reconciled. Matthew is not responsible for the correctness of the quotation. He affirms only that they gave this answer to Herod, and that Herod was satisfied. Admitting that they did not quote the passage correctly, it does not prove that Matthew has not reported their answer as they gave it; and this is all that he pretends to give.

Art not the least. In Micah, "though thou be little." Though a small place so far as population is concerned, yet it shall not be small, or least, in honour; for the Messiah shall be born there. His birth gave the place an honour which could not be conferred on the larger cities by all their numbers, their splendour, and their wealth. The birth of a distinguished personage was always supposed to give honour and importance to a city or country. Thus seven cities contended for the honour of giving birth to Homer; Stratford-upon-Avon is distinguished as the birth-place of Shakespeare; and Corsica as the birth-place of Napoleon.

A Governor. A Ruler. This is one of the characters of the Messiah, who is the King of his people, Joh 18:37. The word rule here means to rule as a shepherd does his flock, in faithfulness and tenderness. Comp. Joh 10:11; Is 40:10,11; 9:6.


{g} "by the prophet" Mic 5:2; Joh 7:42

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