Matthew 2:4

ESV and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
NIV When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.
NASB And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
CSB So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.
NLT He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, 'Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?'
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.

What does Matthew 2:4 mean?

King Herod and all of Jerusalem are troubled. Wise men from the east had arrived in Jerusalem looking for the newborn "king of the Jews." This was inspired by tracking of a star in the sky and the wise men's understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures. Those Scriptures pointed to the birth of a "Christ" or "Messiah" who would save Israel and rule over the nation. They had come to give reverence to this long-awaited king.

King Herod was troubled by this news for two reasons. First, he knew all about these prophesies. Israelites grew up being taught about the coming "Christ," a king over Israel who would make all things right again. Any rumor of a born king, or savior, would be extremely powerful among the Jewish people.

The second reason Herod was troubled is that he didn't want that Christ to come to power while he was king. Herod was not king by birth, but through the installment of the Roman government. We know from history that Herod killed many of his own relatives, including his wife and several sons, to protect his power. He decides to try and stop this newborn king from coming to power.

History describes Herod as ruthless and cruel, but certainly not stupid. His attempt to eliminate this potential threat is clever and subtle. His first step is to assemble the chief priests and scribes. These two groups probably did not like Herod or each other. They resented Herod for his role as a supporter of the conquering Romans. Many may have seen him as a traitor, benefiting from Israel's occupation. The two groups resented each other for deeply held theological differences. Most of the scribes were Pharisees, while most of the priests were Sadducees.

Herod overrules these differences, because he needs these groups to answer one question from Israel's Scriptures: Where is the Christ to be born? They have a clear answer for him in the following verses. Using that, and the wise men's own information, Herod will have several options for finding and killing this child (Matthew 2:8, 12, 16).
What is the Gospel?
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