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Matthew 2:4

    Matthew 2:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And he got together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, questioning them as to where the birth-place of the Christ would be.

    Webster's Revision

    And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

    World English Bible

    Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 2:4

    The chief priests - Not only the high priest for the time being, called כהן הראש cohen ha-rosh, 2 Kings 25:18, and his deputy, called כהן משנה cohen mishneh, with those who had formerly borne the high priest's office; but also, the chiefs or heads of the twenty four sacerdotal families, which David distributed into so many courses, 1 Chronicles 24. These latter are styled סרי הכהנים sarey ha-cohanim, chief of the priests, 2 Chronicles 36:14; Ezra 8:24; and ראשי הכהנים roshey ha-cohanim, heads of the priests, Nehemiah 12:7. Josephus calls them by the same name as the writers of the New Testament. In his Life, sect. 8, he mentions πολλους - των Αρχιερεων, Many of the chief priests. The word is used in the singular in this last sense, for a chief of the priests, Acts 19:14.

    Scribes - The word Γραμματευς, in the Septuagint, is used for a political officer, whose business it was to assist kings and civil magistrates, and to keep an account in writing of public acts and occurrences. Such an officer is called in Hebrew ספר המלך seper hamelech, ὁ γραμματευς του βασιλεως, the king's scribe, or secretary. See Lxx. 2 Kings 12:10.

    The word is often used by the Lxx. for a man of learning, especially for one skilled in the Mosaic law: and, in the same sense, it is used by the New Testament writers. Γραμματευς is therefore to be understood as always implying a man of letters, or learning, capable of instructing the people. The derivation of the names proves this to be the genuine meaning of the word γραμμα: a letter, or character, in writing: or γραμματα, letters, learning, erudition, and especially that gained from books. The Hebrew ספר or סופר sopher, from saphar, to tell, count, cypher, signifies both a book, volume, roll, etc., and a notary, recorder, or historian; and always signifies a man of learning. We often term such a person a man of letters.

    The word is used Acts 19:35, for a civil magistrate at Ephesus, probably such a one as we would term recorder. It appears that Herod at this time gathered the whole Sanhedrin, in order to get the fullest information on a subject by which all his jealous fears had been alarmed.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 2:4

    The chief priests - By the chief priests here are meant not only the high priest and his deputy, but. also the heads or chiefs of the 24 classes into which David had divided the sacerdotal families, 1 Chronicles 23:6; 24; 2 Chronicles 8:14; Ezra 8:24.

    Scribes - By the scribes, in the New Testament, are meant learned men; men skilled in the law, or the lawyers of the nation. They kept the records of the Courts of justice, the registers of the synagogues, wrote articles of contract and sale, bills of divorce, etc. They were also called lawyers, Matthew 22:35, and doctor's of the law, Luke 5:17. They were called scribes. from the fact of their writing the public records. They were not, however, a religious sect, but might be either Pharisees or Sadducees. By the chief priests and scribes here mentioned is denoted the Sanhedrin or great council of the nation. This was composed of 72 men, who had the charge of the civil and religious affairs of the Jews. On this occasion Herod, in alarm, called them together, professedly to make inquiry respecting the birth of the Messiah.

    Demanded of them - Inquired, or asked of them. As they were the learned men of the nation, and as it was their business to study and explain the Old Testament, they were presumed to know what the prophecies had declared on that point. His object was to ascertain from prophecy where he was born, that he might put him to death, and thus calm the anxieties of his own mind. He seems not to have had any doubt about the time when he would be born. He was satisfied that the time had come.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 2:4

    2:4 The chief priests - That is, not only the high priest and his deputy, with those who formerly had borne that office: but also the chief man in each of those twenty - four courses, into which the body of priests were divided, 1Chron 24:6-19. The scribes were those whose peculiar business it was to explain the Scriptures to the people. They were the public preachers, or expounders of the law of Moses. Whence the chief of them were called doctors of the law.