Magi in Ierusalem
The Magi in Jerusalem
2:1 Cum ergo natus esset Iesus in Bethlehem Iudae in diebus Herodis Regis, ecce magi ab oriente venerunt Ierosolymam, [n. 161]
2:1 When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of King Herod, behold, there came magi from the east to Jerusalem, [n. 161]
2:2 dicentes: ubi est qui natus est rex Iudaeorum? Vidimus enim stellam eius in oriente et venimus adorare eum. [n. 168]
2:2 saying: where is he who is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. [n. 168]
160. Supra egit Evangelista de Christi generatione, hic intendit manifestare eius nativitatem.
160. Above, the Evangelist treated of the generation of Christ; here he intends to make clear his birth.
Et primo, testimonio magorum;
And first, the witness of the magi;
secundo, testimonio innocentum, ibi qui cum recessissent.
second, the witness of the innocents, at and after they had departed (Matt 2:13).
Circa primum tria ponuntur:
Concerning the first, he does three things:
primo enim annuntiatur Christi nativitas;
for first the birth of Christ is announced;
secundo inquiritur locus;
second, the place is sought;
tertio inquiritur persona.
third, the person is sought.
Secundum ibi audiens autem Herodes. Tertium ibi tunc Herodes.
The second is at and King Herod hearing this (Matt 2:3); the third is at then Herod (Matt 2:7).
Circa primum tria facit:
Concerning the first, he does three things:
primo enim proponitur Christi nativitas, cui testimonium perhibetur;
for first, he sets out Christ’s birth, to which testimony is given;
secundo inducuntur testes;
second, he brings in the witnesses;
tertio ponitur testimonium.
third, he sets down the testimony.
Secundum ibi ecce magi. Tertium ibi ubi est qui natus est?
The second is at behold, there came magi. The third is at where is he who is born?
161. Circa primum quatuor tanguntur: nativitas, nomen nati, locus et tempus.
161. Concerning the first, he touches on four things: the birth, the name of the one born, the place, and the time.
Primum ibi cum ergo natus esset. Et notandum, quod Lucas plenius exequitur nativitatem, sicut e converso Matthaeus plenius exequitur de adoratione magorum, quam Lucas.
The first is at when Jesus therefore was born. And it should be noted that Luke follows this up more completely, as on the other hand Matthew follows up the adoration of the magi more completely than Luke.
Nomen tangitur ibi Iesus. Locus ibi in Bethlehem Iudae, non Iudaeae, quia Iudaea vocatur tota regio populi Israelitici; sed Iudae; ista est terra illa, quae venerat in sortem Iudae. Dicitur Bethlehem Iudae ad differentiam alterius Bethlehem, quae est in tribu Zabulon, de qua Iosue IX, 10.
The name is touched upon at Jesus. The place, at in Bethlehem of Judah, not of Judea, because the entire region of the Israelite people is called Judea, but of Judah. This is the land which fell to the lot of Judas. It says Bethlehem of Judah to distinguish it from another Bethlehem which is in the tribe of Zabulon (Josh 19:10).
162. Et nota, quod ista tria verba cum natus esset Iesus in Bethlehem Iudae in diebus Herodis Regis, congrue ponuntur. Bethlehem enim significat Ecclesiam, in qua natus est Iesus, qui est verus panis, de quo Io. VI, 51: ego sum panis vivus qui de caelo descendi. Nulli ergo provenit salus, nisi sit in domo Domini. In his Salvator natus est Christus; Is. LX, 18: occupabit salus muros tuos, et portas tuas laudatio et cetera.
162. And notice that these three words, when Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the days of King Herod, are fittingly set down. For Bethlehem signifies the Church, in which Jesus was born who is the true bread, of whom it is said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51). Therefore, salvation comes to no one unless he is in the house of the Lord. In these the Savior is born, Christ; iniquity will no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction in your borders, and salvation will possess your walls, and praise your gates (Isa 60:18).
Et addidit Regis, ad differentiam alterius Herodis: hic enim fuit, sub quo natus est Christus, Ascalonita; alius autem, qui Ioannem occidit, fuit filius huius Herodis, et non fuit rex.
And he added King to distinguish him from another Herod, for this was the one under whom Christ was born, the Ashkelonite; but the other, who killed John, was the son of this Herod, and was not a king.
163. Sed quaeritur quare Scriptura facit mentionem de isto tempore. Et dicendum propter tres rationes. Primo, ut completam ostendat esse prophetiam Iacobi, Gen. penult., 10: non auferetur sceptrum de Iuda, et dux de femore eius, donec veniat, qui mittendus est, et ipse erit expectatio gentium. Herodes enim fuit primus alienigena, qui regnavit in Iudaea. Secunda ratio est, quod maior morbus indiget maiori et meliori medico. Populus autem Israel tunc erat in maxima afflictione sub gentili Dominio, et ideo indigebat maximo consolatore: in aliis enim afflictionibus suis mittebantur eis prophetae, sed nunc propter magnitudinem afflictionis mittebatur eis prophetarum Dominus; Ps. XCIII, 19: secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam.
163. But it is asked why Scripture mentions the time. And one should say, for three reasons. First, to show that Jacob’s prophecy is fulfilled: the sceptre will not be taken away from Judah, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he will be the expectation of nations (Gen 49:10). For Herod was the first foreigner who reigned in Judea. The second reason is that a bigger sickness requires a bigger and better medicine. Now, the people of Israel were then in the greatest torment under a gentile lord, and so needed the greatest comforter; for in some of their torments prophets were sent to them, but now, on account of the greatness of the torment, the Lord of prophets was sent to them. According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, your comforts have given joy to my soul (Ps 93:19).
164. Inde ponuntur testes, ibi ecce magi. Et describuntur tripliciter: a professione, a regione, et a loco, ubi testimonium dederunt.
164. From there, he sets down the witnesses, at behold, there came magi. And they are described in three ways: by profession, by region, and by the place where they gave testimony.
De primo dicit ecce magi: qui secundum communem usum loquendi vocantur incantatores; sed lingua Persica vocat magos philosophos et sapientes. Isti quidem venerunt ad Iesum, quia gloriam sapientiae, quam possidebant, recognoverunt a Christo. Et sunt quidem primitiae gentium, quia primo venerunt ad Christum. Et impletur, secundum Augustinum, in istorum adventu illud Isaiae VIII, 4: antequam sciat puer vocare patrem suum, et matrem suam, auferetur fortitudo Damasci, et spolia Samariae coram rege Assyriorum etc.; ante enim quam Christus loqueretur, eripuit fortitudinem Damasci, et divitias et spolia Samariae, idest idololatriam. Dimiserunt enim illi idololatriam, et munera obtulerunt.
And first he says, behold . . . magi, who according the common way of speaking are called incantators; but in the Persian language, philosophers and wise men are called magi. Indeed, these men came to Jesus because they had recognized that the glory of the wisdom which they possessed was from Christ. And they are a certain first-fruits of the gentiles, because they first came to Christ. And according to Augustine, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled by their coming: for before the child know to call his father and his mother, the strength of Damascus, and the spoils of Samaria will be taken away before the king of the Assyrians (Isa 8:4); for before Christ spoke, he took away the strength of Damascus and the riches and spoils of Samaria, i.e., idolatry. For they had given up idolatry, and brought gifts.
Item considerandum quod ad Christum venerunt aliqui ex Iudaeis, scilicet pastores; aliqui ex gentibus, scilicet magi: ipse enim Christus est lapis angularis, qui fecit utraque unum.
Similarly, one should consider that some came to Christ from the Jews, namely the shepherds, and some from the gentiles, namely the magi; for Christ himself is the stone at the corner, who makes both into one.
Et quare magi et pastores? Quia pastores magis simplices, et isti magis peccatores, ad significandum quod Christus utrosque recipit.
And why magi and shepherds? Because the shepherds were more simple, and these magi were more sinful, to indicate that Christ accepts both.
Quot autem fuerint illi magi, Evangelista non dicit. Videtur autem, secundum munera, quod fuerunt tres reges, quamvis plures alii in eis repraesentabantur; Is. LX, 3: ambulabunt gentes in lumine tuo.
The Evangelist does not say how many magi there were. But it seems, according to the gifts, that there were three kings, however many others were represented among them; and the gentiles will walk in your light, and kings in the brightness of your rising (Isa 60:3).
165. De secundo, scilicet de regione, dicit ab oriente.
165. Concerning the second thing, namely the region, he says, from the east.
Et notandum quod quidam ab oriente exponunt a finibus orientis; sed tunc quomodo in tam paucis diebus venissent? Et respondetur, ut quidam dicunt, quod miraculose venerunt; alii quod dromedarios habuerunt. Chrysostomus tamen dicit, quod stella apparuit eis per duos annos ante nativitatem, et quod tunc se paraverunt, et venerunt Ierosolymam in duobus annis et tredecim diebus.
And it should be noted that some explain this as from the end of the east; but then how had they come in so few days? And the response is, as some say, that they came miraculously; others, that they had camels. But Chrysostom says that the star appeared to them two years before the birth, and that they prepared themselves at that time, and came to Jerusalem in two years and three days.
Aliter autem potest exponi, ut dicatur ab oriente, idest a quadam regione quae erat prope Ierusalem a parte Orientali; dicuntur enim isti fuisse de secta Balaam, qui dixit Num. XXIV, 17: orietur stella ex Iacob, qui Balaam habitabat iuxta terram promissionis in parte Orientali.
However, it can be explained in another way, so as to say from the east, i.e., from a certain region which was close by the eastern part of Jerusalem; for they say that these men were of the sect of Balaam, who said: a star will rise out of Jacob (Num 24:17). This Balaam lived next to the land of promise in the eastern region.
166. Sequitur de loco Ierosolymam venerunt. Sed quare venerunt Ierusalem? Duplex est ratio. Una quia erat civitas regia; unde regem Iudaeorum in regia civitate quaerebant; item hoc factum fuit ex divina dispensatione, ut primo testimonium ferretur de Christo in Ierusalem, ut adimpleretur prophetia Is. II, 3: de Sion exibit lex, et verbum Domini de Ierusalem.
166. There follows, concerning the place, to Jerusalem. But why did they come to Jerusalem? There are two reasons. One, because it was the royal city; hence they were seeking the king of the Jews in the royal city. Again, this was done by divine arrangement, so that the first testimony to Christ might be given in Jerusalem, so that the prophecy might be fulfilled: the law will come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isa 2:3).
167. Consequenter ponitur testimonium, ibi ubi est qui natus est? In quo tria dicunt:
167. Next he sets down the testimony, where is he who is born, in which they say three things:
primo denuntiant regis nativitatem;
first, they announce the birth of the king;
secundo afferunt nativitatis signum, ibi vidimus enim stellam eius;
second, they produce a sign of his birth, at for we have seen his star;
tertio profitentur pium propositum, ibi et venimus adorare.
third, they declare a pious purpose, at and are come to adore him.