Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.


The king and all the people of Jerusalem were disturbed when they heard about the birth of their Christ. God had done his work without their knowledge, and then employed foreign men to communicate the news to them. Herod gathered the current chief priest, all the former chief priests, and the chiefs of the twenty-four classes of priests (1 Chronicles 24:1-19; 2 Chronicles 23:8; compare Luke 1:8), as well the scribes of the people. Although the priests and scribes knew their books word by word, they did not know the one whom the books gave testimony about. They immediately gave an answer to the king’s query about the place where Christ should be born, but they did not know the one who was born. They showed others how to go to him but they themselves did not go. This is comparable to us when we teach others the word of God without observing it ourselves.
Herod could not have been a stranger to the prophecies of the Old Testament, concerning the Messiah and his kingdom, and the time fixed for his appearing by Daniel’s prophecy of "weeks." Having reigned so long and so successfully, surely Herod began to hope that the promises would forever fail, and that his kingdom would be perpetuated in spite of prophecy. Carnal wicked hearts dread nothing so much as the fulfilling of the scriptures.
Herod and all Jerusalem were troubled from a mistaken notion that the kingdom of the Messiah would clash and interfere with the secular powers, whereas the angel who proclaimed the good news plainly revealed that his kingdom was heavenly, and not of this world. For this same reason, leaders of the world and multitudes of people today oppose the kingdom of Christ because they do not understand it, but err concerning it.
When the caravan of the Magi arrived at Jerusalem, a tyrant called Herod the Great, who was not Jewish, governed the city. He was Edomic, a descendant of Esau, the rough hunter. With Roman help he took Jerusalem in 37 BC, and shed a lot of blood. He was a cunning, adulterous, murderer. He killed his son and wife in an attempt to get rid of everyone who desired his throne.
To this wicked king the wise men came from the east inquiring, "Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We have an evidence that he was newly born, since Saturn and Jupiter were conjunct in Pisces and we have seen this conjunction clearly in the east." The news fell like a thunderbolt into the palace of the king and shook the whole capital. The people became fearful of house searches and the pressure techniques they might have to endure. They knew that the king would shed more blood to secure his throne.
The cunning Herod immediately understood the meaning of this strange proclamation that did not concern any one else except the promised Messiah of God. So he prepared himself to struggle against God and his Son and called the supreme Jewish Council to meet in his palace.
This council was composed of 72 members of chief priests, scribes, and elders. Those people had charge of legal decisions, religious interpretive judgments, and final trials. They all knew in detail what the Old Testament had declared, particularly the prophecies about Christ. They talked about what was written in Isaiah. They began with, "The people who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined" (Isaiah 9:2). They moved into the second prophecy of Isaiah, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Then they got to God’s message to the captives, "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and his glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:1-3).
But King Herod was not willing to know the characteristics, nor the works, nor the peace of the newborn Christ. Out of hatred and spite, he wanted to know the place of his birth that he might arrest him at once and destroy him without mercy.
If only you were compelled by the spirit to meditate on the Old Testament Scriptures, you would find 333 promises of God pointing to Jesus Christ. A comparative study of them with the biography of Christ in the New Testament would reveal that the birth of Christ, as well as his works, his death, his resurrection and his ascension did not happen by chance, but were written beforehand in details.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus, you were born and the world hated you from your birth. They did not recognize your love and your divinity. They were afraid of you. But I love you and I commit myself to you thanking you because you came to our world and defeated rejection, hatred, and enmity. Please reveal yourself unto those who thirst for you.
Question
Who is Herod? And what is the supreme Jewish Council?