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How can we explain Matthew’s apparent misquotation of Micah 5:2? MATTHEW 2:6

MATTHEW 2:6—How can we explain Matthew’s apparent misquotation of Micah 5:2?

PROBLEM: Matthew 2:6 quotes Micah 5:2. However, the words Matthew uses are different than those by Micah.

: Although Matthew seems to have changed some of the words from the passage in Micah, there no real deviation in the meaning of the text. Matthew, in some instances, seems to have paraphrased.

First, Matthew inserts the phrase “land of Judah” for the word “Ephrathah.” This does not really change the meaning of the verse. There no difference between the land of Judah and Ephrathah, except one specific than the other. In , Ephrathah refers to Bethlehem in the Micah passage, and Bethlehem located in the land of Judah. However, this does not change the basic meaning of this verse. He speaking of the same area of land. Interestingly, Herod asked the chief priests and the scribes where the child to be born, they said, “in Bethlehem of Judea” (Matt. 2:5, nasb).

, Matthew describes the land of Judah as “not the least” but Micah states that “little.” , Matthew may be saying that the Messiah to come from this region, by no means least among the other areas of land in Judah. The phrase in Micah only says that Bethlehem too little or small, as compared to the other areas of land in Judah. The verse does not say the least among them, only very little. Matthew saying the same thing in different words, namely, that Bethlehem little in size, but by no means the least in significance, the Messiah born there.

Finally, Matthew uses the phrase “who will shepherd ” and Micah does not. Micah 5:2 recognizes that there will be a ruler in , and Matthew recognizes this as well. However, the phrase that not mentioned in Micah actually taken from 2 Samuel 5:2. The combining of verses does not take away what being said, but strengthens the point that the author making. There are other instances where an author combines one Scripture with another. For example, Matthew 27:9–10 combines some of Zechariah 11:12–13 with Jeremiah 19:2, 11 and 32:6–9. Also, Mark 1:2–3 combines some of Isaiah 40:3 with Malachi 3:1. Only the first passage mentioned, is the main passage being cited.

In brief, Matthew is not misrepresenting any information in his quotation of Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2. Matthew’s quote is accurate even though he paraphrases part of and combines another portion of Scripture with .

[1]

 

[1]Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (327). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor .

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