Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law? Why go you about to kill me?…
When the wise men came, the scribes at Jerusalem averred that the Messiah should be born "in Bethlehem of Judaea," and adduced in proof the words of Micah. But here we find that Micah's words were by no means universally held as conclusive. Some held — and many famous Jewish expositors have since maintained that the Messiah would come suddenly, like a bright and unexpected meteor, as here. The popular opinion, however, agreed with the answer of the scribes above (ver 42). Now it would be erroneous to suppose that the opinion expressed in the text was groundless or fanciful. It rested on all those passages in the Old Testament which refer to our Lord's Divine origin. To us the doctrine of the Divine and human natures in Christ is a cardinal article of faith; and, trained in this belief, we reconcile by its aid many statements of the prophets which externally are at variance with one another. But this twofold aspect must have been a serious difficulty to those who had only the teaching of the prophets, without the New Testament exposition of that teaching; nor can I see anything absurd in the expectation that, like a second Melchisedek, He would appear suddenly, with no human lineage, and no place of earthly birth and education. More correctly, we may regard this idea as only a confused anticipation of the truth that the Messiah was not only David's Son, but also "the Son of God." This very title is more than once given to our Lord (John 1:49; Matthew 16:16; Matthew 26:63). In the latter text, Caiaphas probably put the question contemptuously, as representing what he deemed to be the most extreme form of Messianic doctrine; but there were other and better men who held it devoutly as a truth. But could these noble souls make it harmonize with the equally plain prophetic teaching that the Messiah was to be a Man, a descendant of David, and born at Bethlehem? Many attempts were no doubt made to harmonize this apparent discrepancy. One such we read in 's dialogue with the Jew Trypho. Trypho there affirms " that the Messiah at His birth would remain unknown and unacquainted with His powers until Elias appeared, who would anoint Him and proclaim Him as the Christ." In the Talmud the most conflicting opinions are found respecting the Messiah's advent. In one place it is said that He will first manifest Himself at Rome; in another, that the place will be Babylon; in a third, that He will not appear at all unless the Jews reform their manners. More frequently, however, it asserts that Jerusalem would be the place of His birth. Who could read such passages as Psalm 87:5; Isaiah 2:3; Psalm 50:2, and not draw from them the conclusion that the Messiah would be born on Zion's Holy Hill (2 Esdras 13:6, 35, etc.).
(Dean Payne Smith.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?