Jonathan Micah 5:1


1 As for you, Bethlehem Ephrath, you were too little to be numbered among the tribes of the house of Judah. From you before me the Messiah will go out to be a servant, a servant of rulership over Israel, whose name has been spoken from the beginning, from days of antiquity. 2 So the Lord will hand the people of Israel over to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth. Then the rest of the king’s countrymen will return to be reunited with the people of Israel. 3 He will assume his post and shepherd the people by the Lord’s strength, by the sovereign authority of the Lord his God. They will live securely, for at that time he will be honored even in the distant regions of the earth. 4 He will give us peace. Should the Assyrians try to invade our land and attempt to set foot in our fortresses, we will send against them seven shepherd-rulers, make that eight commanders.

Matthew 2:4

New Testament

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared.

 Notes and References

"... Matthew 2:4–6 takes Micah 5:1 to be a prophecy about the birthplace of the Messiah. But Matthew’s text is very much different from the extant Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts of Micah 5:1. Matthew does not say that Bethlehem is “too little,” but that Bethlehem is “by no means the littlest/least”. Matthew has thus removed the irony of the passage in order to focus on Bethlehem’s significance as the birthplace of the Messiah. Matthew has also forged a word play between “among the rulers of Judah” and “a ruler will go out”. Finally, Matthew has moved the description of the ruler in Micah 5:3 to the position of Micah 5:1b in the form of 2 Samuel 5:2; 1 Chronicles 11:2. However these textual issues are resolved, what is clear is that both Targum Jonathan and Matthew, two texts with very different purposes, have located the Messiah in Mic 5:1. In more ways than one, the text of Micah 5:1–4 has invited this messianic exegesis ..."

Shepherd, Michael B. Targums, the New Testament, and Biblical Theology of the Messiah (pp. 56-57) Journal of the Evangelical Society, 2008

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.