Matthew the Evangelist and the Prophet Micah
Matthew the Evangelist and the Prophet Micah:
The prophecy recalled by Matthew the Evangelist in answer to the chief priests and Scribes of the Jews to Herod when he asked them where Christ was born is from the prophet Micah. But Matthew mentions a different version:
- Micah says: « But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting». (Micah 5:2).
- Matthew says: You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel. (Matthew 6: 2).
Let us pause at the words of ruler and governor for a deeper understanding of the intended purpose.
The Septuagint (in the third century BC by seventy Jewish elders) uses the word ἄρχοντα, which means ruler or chief. The Greek word in the Gospel of Matthew is ἡγούμενος, the gorvenor, nowadays interpreted as abbot in a monastery. Scholars say that Matthew’s version does not come from any biblical source, neither from the Talmud, but is his interpretation.
So we must explain the meaning of the true ruler in the Christian concept:
His authority is not tyrannical, but it reflects God's just dominion, especially since we are talking here about God, Who will be incarnate and proclaim the power by which He saves us from sin and from the rule of the evil one. This is what happened on the Cross, when the Lord Jesus Christ descended into hell and resurrected, raising humankind with Him.
Hence, we also understand what the two demonized crazy men coming out of the tombs said to Jesus:
“What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8: 29)