Messianic Prophecies: Micah 5:2

 

Something for the weekend.  O’Little Town of Bethlehem sung by Nat King Cole.  Continuing on with our advent series of Messianic prophecies, the ealier portions of which may be read here, here and here, we come to Micah 5:2:

And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.  

This prophecy was cited when Herod inquired about where the Messiah would come from:  (Matthew 2: 3-6)

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
   who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Saint John Chrysostom writes about this passage in his sixth homily on the Gospel of Saint Matthew:

5. And what is the beginning? “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.” While wise men followed under the auspices of a star, these believed not, with prophets even sounding in their ears. But wherefore does he mention to us both the time and the place, saying, “in Bethlehem,” and “in the days of Herod the king?” And for what reason does he add his rank also? His rank, because there was also another Herod, he who slew John: but that was a tetrarch, this a king. And the place likewise, and the time, he puts down, to bring to our remembrance ancient prophecies; whereof one was uttered by Micah, saying, “And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art by no means the least among the princes of Judah;” Micah 5:2 and the other by the patriarch Jacob, distinctly marking out to us the time, and setting forth the great sign of His coming. For, “A ruler,” says he, “shall not fail out of Judah, nor a leader out of his loins, until He come for whom it is appointed, and He is the expectation of the Gentiles.” Genesis 49:10

 

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