My Question: Matthew 2:3 - When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him


(Yeddu Prasad) #1

Hi everyone,

I have a question on this verse “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Is my understanding of this right?

While Herod saw Jesus’s birth as a threat to his throne, the people of Jerusalem were anxious not disturbed as they wanted to know more about the birth of Jesus. After all they had been waiting for the messiah for centuries.

Please do help me understand this right.


(SeanO) #2

@yeddu That is a great question. I have linked an article that gives a thorough explanation. There are two possible explanations worth considering.

  1. ‘all Jerusalem’ does not literally mean every inhabitant in the city - it refers to a specific subset of people in Jerusalem
  2. the political unrest that would be caused by the arrival of a Messiah during Roman rule may have in fact been quite disturbing - the people knew Rome would likely respond with military force

First, consider these verses where the word ‘all’ is used, but clearly does not mean ‘all’. Consider Luke 2:1 - which literally says that Caesar issued a census for ‘the whole inhabited world’, but clearly that refers to the Roman empire - the translators recognize that ‘all’ and ‘entire world’ could be ways of referencing a smaller subset.

tn Grk “the whole (inhabited) world,” but this was a way to refer to the Roman empire (L&N 1.83). NET Bible

Luke 2:1 - In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

2 Kings 24:14, NASB : Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.

Acts 21:30-31, NASB : Then all the city was provoked, [Certainly not the Romans, nor the Christian Jews] , and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. 31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.

Acts 24:5, NASB : For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world , and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

Restatement: What is the significance of “troubled” in Matthew 2:3, and why wouldn’t the city “rejoice”, rather than be “troubled” at the birth of the Messiah?


(Yeddu Prasad) #3

Thank you for the response Sean. With the right understanding “All Jerusalem” it makes a lot of sense.


(SeanO) #4

@yeddu Glad to hear :slight_smile: