Matthew Chapter 2
The Visit of the Wise Men
Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
in Bethlehem of Judea; so called to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zabulon, Jos_19:15. Here Christ was to be born according to a prophecy hereafter mentioned, and accordingly the Jews expected he would be born here, Mat_2:4 and so Jesus was born here, Luk_2:4 and this the Jews themselves acknowledge; (Gill)
When Jesus was born —About October 1, BC 2; 33-1/2 years prior to his death in April AD 33.
Herod reigned, …, thirty seven years; and according to Dr. Lightfoot’s calculation, Christ was born in the thirty fifth year of his reign, and in the thirty first of Augustus Caesar, and in the year of the world three thousand nine hundred and twenty eight, and the month Tisri, which answers to part of our September, about the feast of tabernacles; which indeed was typical of Christ’s …, and then it may reasonably be thought that “the word was made flesh”, and εσκηνωσεν “tabernacled among us”, Joh_1:14. (Gill)
Herod the king – Judea, where our Saviour was born, was a province of the Roman Empire. It was taken about 63 years before his birth by Pompey, and placed under tribute. Herod received his appointment from the Romans, and had reigned at the time of the birth of Jesus for 34 years. Though he was permitted to be called king, yet he was, in all respects, dependent on the Roman emperor. He was commonly called “Herod the Great” because he had distinguished himself in the wars with Antigonus and his other enemies, and because he had evinced great talents in governing and defending his country, in repairing the temple, and in building and ornamenting the cities of his kingdom. He was, however, as much distinguished for his cruelty and his crimes as he was for his greatness. At this time Augustus was Emperor of Rome. The world was at peace. A large part of the known nations of the earth was united under the Roman emperor.
Wise men – The original word here is μάγοι magoi, from which comes our word magician, now used in a bad sense, but not so in the original. The persons here denoted were philosophers, priests, or astronomers. They lived chiefly in Persia and Arabia. They were the learned men of the Eastern nations. devoted to astronomy, to religion, and to medicine. They were held in high esteem by the Persian court, were admitted as counsellors, and followed the camps in war to give advice.
There came wise men — Magi, sages, philosophers. According to tradition, three in number.
When we remember that Daniel was at one time a prince in Persia, it is easy to see how Daniel’s prophecy respecting Messiah’s birth would be handed down, and well known to the disciples of Zoroaster. The Nestorians say that Zoroaster was a pupil of Jeremiah.
The term originally belonged to a class of priests among the Medes and Persians who constituted the king’s privy council and who cultivated astrology, medicine, occult and natural science. (Russell)
From the east — Supposedly Persia.
Mat 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? These ancient scientists from Persia were on an important mission. They probably had been alerted to the prophetic significance of their times by the prophesies of Daniel and other Old Testament prophets.
i. Jewish legends say that Daniel himself, as an official of the Persian government, founded this order of Magi (wise men), and instructed them to watch for the Messiah through the generations.
ii. This shows us that the whole world was looking for the Messiah, not only Israel.
For we have seen His star in the East: Whatever it was, it is significant that God meet them in their own medium: He guides the astronomers by a star.
And have come to worship Him: The wise men come first to Jerusalem, assuming that the leaders of the Jews would be aware and excited about the birth of their Messiah. The wise men are about to find that this isn’t the case at all. (Guzik)
King of the Jews — He was born King of the Jews, but that work was still future–at his second coming when he appears in glory and becomes King of Israel–on the spirit plane.
Have seen his star — God made some astrological sign which the wise men understood and reverently followed.
Come to worship him — Showing their reverence to the mighty God of Israel, their faith in the divinely inspired prophecies, and their zeal as truth-seekers and their humility to inquire of the God of another nation. (Russell)
Mat 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Herod the Great (one of several Herods mentioned in the Bible, and the ancestor of the others) was famous for both his magnificent public building projects, and his ruthless, cruel paranoia.
i. Herod was not a Jew at all, but an Edomite, and Rome recognized him as a vassal king over Judea. The Jews tempered their great hatred of him with admiration for his building projects, such as the magnificent improvements made to the second temple.
ii. Motivated by his great paranoia and cruelty, he murdered the members of the Sanhedrien, his wife, his mother in-law, and his three sons.
iii. When Herod knew that his death was approaching, he had the most distinguished leaders of Jerusalem arrested on false charges. He ordered that as soon as he died, they should all be killed – he knew well no one would mourn his own death, so he was determined that some tears be shed when he died.
He was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him: The fact that all Jerusalem was troubled with Herod is significant. This was due either to the fact that the people of Jerusalem rightly feared what sort of paranoid outburst might come from Herod upon hearing of a rival king being born, or because of the size and dignity of this caravan from the East. (Guzik)
He was troubled — By the suggestion that his dynasty might be overthrown. With jealousy on his own behalf, and on behalf of the Roman Empire. Similarly, those who are now in influence and power are troubled at the prospect of a change in government which their own wise men announce as imminent. Any announcement today that Messiah’s Kingdom is nigh meets with resentment.
And all Jerusalem — Evidently they were in a very self-satisfied condition, experiencing great prosperity, and had ceased to specially long and pray for Messiah. (Russell)
We have only to examine the contemporary accounts of the state of society in Jerusalem to understand it thoroughly, and to see how exceedingly natural it was. Those unacquainted with these records can have no idea of the gaiety and frivolity of the Jewish capital at the time. Every one, of course, knows something of the style and magnificence in which Herod the Great lived; but one is not apt to suppose that luxurious living was the rule among the people of the town. Yet so it seems to have been. Dr. Edersheim, who has made a special study of this subject, and who quotes his authorities for each separate statement, thus describes the state of things: “These Jerusalemites-townspeople as they called themselves-were so polished, so witty, so pleasant. And how much there was to be seen and heard in those luxuriously furnished houses, and at these sumptuous entertainments! In the women’s apartments friends from the country would see every novelty in dress, adornments, and jewelry, and have the benefit of examining themselves in looking-glasses And then the lady-visitors might get anything in Jerusalem, from a false tooth to an Arabian veil, a Persian shawl, or an Indian dress!” Then, after furnishing what he calls “too painful evidence of the luxuriousness at Jerusalem at that time, and of the moral corruption to which it led,” he concludes by giving an account of what one of the sacred books of the time describes as “the dignity of the Jerusalemites,” mentioning particulars like these: “the wealth which they lavished on their marriages; the ceremony which insisted on repeated invitations to the guests to a banquet, and that men inferior should not be bidden to it; the dress in which they appeared; the manner in which the dishes were served, the wine in white crystal vases; the punishment of the cook who failed in his duty,” and so on.
If things of that kind represented the dignity of the people of Jerusalem, we need not ask why they were troubled when they heard that to them had been born in Bethlehem a Saviour who was Christ the Lord. A Saviour who would save them from their sins was the very last thing people of that kind wanted. A Herod suited them better, for it was he and his court that set the example of the luxury and profligacy which characterised the capital. Do not all these revelations as to the state of things in the capital of Israel set off more vividly than ever the pure lustre of the quiet, simple, humble, peaceful surroundings of the Babe of Bethlehem and Boy of Nazareth? Put the “dignity” and trouble of Jerusalem over against the humility and peace of Bethlehem, and say which is the more truly dignified and desirable. When We look at the contrast we cease to wonder that, with the exception of a very few devout Simeons and Annas, waiting for the consolation of Israel, Jerusalem, as a whole, was troubled to hear the rumour of the advent of her Saviour-King.
Herod’s trouble we can so readily understand that we need not spend time over it, or over what he did to get rid of it, so thoroughly in keeping as it was with all that history tells us of his character and conduct. No wonder that the one thought in his mind was “Away with Him!”
But who are these truly dignified men, who are now turning their backs on rich and gay Jerusalem, and setting their faces to the obscurity and poverty of the village of Bethlehem? They are men of rank and wealth and learning from the far East-representatives of all that is best in the old civilisations of the world. They had only the scantiest opportunities of learning what was the Hope of Israel, and how it should be realised; but they were earnest men; their minds were not taken up with gaiety and frivolity; they had studied the works of nature till their souls were full of the thought of God in His glory and majesty; but their hearts still yearned to know if He, Whose glory was in the heavens, could stoop to cure the ills that flesh is heir to. They had heard of Israel’s hope, the hope of a child to be born of David’s race, who should bring divine mercy near to human need; they had a vague idea that the time for the fulfilment of that hope was drawing near; and, as they mused, behold a marvellous appearance in the heavens, which seemed to call them away to seek Him whom their souls desired! Hence their long journey to Jerusalem and their eager entrance into Bethlehem. Had their dignity been the kind of dignity which was boasted of in Jerusalem, they would no doubt have been offended by the poverty of the surroundings, the poor house with its scanty furniture and its humble inmates. But theirs was the dignity of mind and soul, so they were not offended by the poor surroundings; they recognised in the humble Child the object of their search; they bowed before Him, doing Him homage, and presented to Him gifts as a tribute from the East to the coming King of righteousness and love. (Expositor’s Bible)
Mat 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
When he had gathered — Evidently, knowing of the Jewish tradition respecting Messiah, he sent for those who were learned in the Scriptures.
Priests and scribes — Although they answered correctly, they showed no enthusiasm in quoting the prophecies of Messiah’s birth.
Mat 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
They said unto him — Showing their faith, even though it was an irreverent and selfishly jealous faith; indirect evidence of the esteem which the Hebrew Scriptures commanded.
In Bethlehem — Only six miles distant.
For thus it is written — Though the scribes and chief priests understood his birthplace from Mic_5:2, they could not see that, as the Judge of Israel, he would be smitten with “a rod upon the cheek.” (Mic_5:1)
As stated earlier, this takes place some time after Jesus was born. Luke chapter 2 tells us about the shepherds keeping watch. These were not ordinary shepherds, they were the ones who watched the sheep for the Temple. These shepherds had a connection to the Scribes and Pharisees.
Why these were the first to whom was revealed the birth of Him who was called the Lamb of God, we are not told. The sheep used for the daily sacrifice were pastured in the fields of Bethlehem. (Cambridge)
Note the response of the Shepherds to the news of the Messiah:
Luk 2:15-16 KJV And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
So, they rushed to see the baby—then they did something else. They told everyone they saw that the Messiah was born.
Luk 2:17 KJV And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Compare their reaction to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. The scribes and Pharisees would have gotten the report months earlier from the Shepherds and they did nothing with that information. 40 days later when Mary came to the Temple (Luke 2:22), Simeon takes Jesus and proclaims him the Light of the World and so on, then the Prophetess Anna also made a proclamation. Now again, they are told by the coming of the Wise Men—and what did they do?
Mat 2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea”: Sadly, these experts have the right information (quoting from Mic_5:2), but seem personally uninterested in meeting the Messiah for themselves, just like some “Bible scholars” today. (Guzik)
Mat 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Determined from them what time the star appeared: Because Herod commanded that all boys two and younger be killed in the area, we can assume that the wise men first saw the star, on the night Jesus was born, a year or so previously. Herod ordered the execution of children two and under just to be safe.
Remember that the journey from Persia to Judea was not quick. The wise men may have left as soon as logistics allowed.
Diligently – Accurately, exactly. He took pains to learn the precise time when the star appeared. He did this because he naturally concluded that the star appeared just at the time of his birth, and he wished to know precisely how old the child was. (Barnes)
Mat 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also: The irony is strong. Herod claims a desire to worship Jesus, when he really wants to kill Him.
That I may come — Herod’s selfish faith was in strong contrast with the reverent and devotional faith of the wise men. (Russell)
Mat 2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
The star continued to guide them, apparently re-appearing. Perhaps the nights were overcast at that time and they could not discern the stars.
They departed — None of the priests and teachers of the day followed them to Bethlehem to find the newborn king of the Jews. They had become Higher Critics and no longer believed the prophets. They had less faith in them than had Herod.
Stood over — Apparently indicating the very house in which they found the newborn king. (Russell)
Here, therefore, the star stopped, and proceeded no further, and not long after, viz., as soon as the wise men arrived at the place, as is most probable, entirely vanished. (Benson)
Mat 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Mat 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
The idea that there were three wise men comes from the fact that there were three gifts. Gold representing royalty, frankincense representing priesthood, and myrrh representing death.
Fell down and worshipped Him: More important than their gifts is the fact that they worshipped Jesus. It must have been a curious sight to see these impressive dignitaries bowing before a young child.
And worshipped him — By prostrating themselves; in their hearts and with their tongues, by giving expression to their rejoicing; and by opening their treasure boxes to him. The humble surroundings did not alter the reverent condition of their hearts. (Russell)
Unto him gifts — Let us be true wise men and present to him our treasures–all that we have and are–our hearts.
Gold — Representing obedience and consecration. Our earthly substance.
And frankincense — Representing praise, devotion, heart adoration, appreciation, gratitude.
And myrrh — Representing submission, a willingness for service, to the extent of bitterness and suffering.
Have we shown a joy to honor the King even to the extent of suffering with him? (Russell)
Mat 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Their worship is also manifested in obedience. They are obedient to the heavenly dream and leave without serving as Herod’s informants.
We see here three different responses to Jesus, and all people respond in one of these three ways.
a. Herod displayed an open hatred and hostility toward Jesus.
b. The chief priests and the scribes were indifferent toward Jesus, all the while retaining their religious respectability.
c. The wise men sought out Jesus, and worshipped Him – even at great cost.
d. We see here Jesus coming to the Jew first, then the Gentile; to the humble and ignorant first, then the honorable and learned; to the poor first, then the rich; to the West first, then the East.
The Flight to Egypt
Mat 2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Angel of the Lord — “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Heb_1:14)
Mat 2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
When he arose — The faith and prompt obedience of Joseph and Mary to the warning and counsel of the angel of the Lord is notable. They did not hesitate or question, but immediately acted. (Russell)
Flee to Egypt: There was a large Jewish community in Egypt. It wasn’t strange that the Holy Spirit would guide Joseph to take the family there.
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night: But we are impressed by Joseph’s rapid (leaving the very night of the dream) and complete obedience. This wasn’t an easy thing to do, but he did it. (Guzik)
Mat 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
In the process, another prophecy was fulfilled. At first glance, we might wonder how this prophecy from Hos_11:1 is fulfilled in Jesus. But Matthew makes it clear that even as Israel as a nation came out from Egypt, so does the Son of God. (Guzik)
Death of Herod — Unreliably and variously dated by scholars as 4 BC, 2AD, 7 AD; therefore not reliable evidence in establishing the date of Jesus’ birth. B56, 57
By the prophet — This prophecy has three fulfillments: the deliverance of Israel in the days of Pharaoh; the return of the infant Jesus to the land of his birth; and The Christ being called out of the world (Egypt). Likewise his joint-heirs are called out of Egypt. “They are not of this world even as I am not of this world.” (Joh_17:16) (Russell)
Herod Kills the Children
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
When he saw that he had been deceived by them; that is, that they did not return as he had expected. It does not mean that they did it for the purpose of mocking or deriding him, but that he was disappointed in their not returning, or that he had been trifled with.
Exceeding wroth – Very angry. He had been disappointed and deceived. He expected to send an executioner and kill Jesus alone. But, since he was disappointed in this, he thought he would accomplish the same thing, and be sure to destroy him, if he sent forth and put all the children in the place to death. This is an illustration of the power of anger. It stops at nothing. If it cannot accomplish just what it wishes, it does not hesitate to go much further, and accomplish much more evil than it at first designed. He that has a wicked heart, and indulges in anger, knows not where it will end, and will commonly commit far more evil than he at first intended.
Slew all the children – That is, all the male children. This is implied in the original. The design of Herod was to cut off him that had been born king of the Jews. His purpose, therefore, did not require that he should slay the female children; and though he was cruel, yet we have no right to think that he attempted anything except what he thought to be for his own safety, and to secure himself from a rival. (Barnes)
in all the coasts thereof, in all the territories of Bethlehem, in all the towns and villages around it, as many as were.. (Gil)
Herod was an odious and bloody tyrant, and the facts of his reign prove that he was abundantly capable of this wickedness. The following bloody deeds will show that the slaying of the infants was in perfect accordance with his character. The account is taken from Josephus, as arranged by Dr. Lardner. Aristobulus, brother of his wife Mariamne, was murdered by his direction at eighteen years of age, because the people of Jerusalem had shown some affection for his person. In the seventh year of his reign, he put to death Hyrcanus, grandfather of Mariamne, then 80 years of age, and who had formerly saved Herod’s life; a man who had, in every revolution of fortune, shown a mild and peaceable disposition. His beloved and beautiful wife, Mariamne, had a public execution, and her mother Alexandra followed soon after – Alexander and Aristobulus, his two sons by Mariamne, were strangled in prison by his orders upon groundless suspicions, as it seems, when they were at man’s estate, were married, and had children.
In his last sickness, a little before he died, he sent orders throughout Judea requiring the presence of all the chief men of the nation at Jericho. His orders were obeyed, for they were enforced with no less penalty than that of death. When they were come to Jericho he had them all shut up in the circus, and calling for his sister Salome and her husband Alexis, he said to them, “My life now is short, I know the Jewish people, and nothing will please them better than my death. You have them now in your custody. As soon as the breath is out of my body, and before my death can be known, do you let in the soldiers upon them and kill them. All Judea, then, and every family, will, though unwillingly, mourn at my death.” No, Josephus says that with tears in his eyes he conjured them, by their love to him and their fidelity to God, not to fail of doing him this honor. What objection, after this account, can there be to the account of his murdering the infants at Bethlehem? Surely there could be no cruelty, barbarity, or horrid crime which such a man was not capable of perpetrating. (Barnes)
Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
Mat 2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Jeremy the prophet, in Jer_31:15.
in Rama was there a voice heard, &c. That this prophecy belongs not to the Babylonish captivity, but the times of the Messiah, appears from the whole context; which manifestly speaks of the miraculous conception of Christ, of the blessings of his kingdom to be enjoyed by his people, and of the new covenant to be made with them, as I have shown in another place (r). Rama was not in Arabia, as Justin Martyr says (s), but a town in the tribe of Benjamin, Jos_18:25 and very near to Bethlehem in the tribe of Juda: between these two places, and near to both of them, was the grave of Rachel, Gen_35:19 for which reason, and also because Rama belonged to Benjamin, a son of hers, and where, no doubt, many children were destroyed in this massacre, as well as at Bethlehem, Rachel is introduced in the prophecy representing the sorrowful mothers of those parts,
weeping for their children; whose distress and grief are signified by several words, “lamentation, weeping and great mourning”, to express the excessiveness thereof, for they
would not be comforted; they refused to hear anything that might be suggested to them for their relief, because their children
were not, i.e. were dead, were not in the land of the living, and no more to be enjoyed by them in this world. I cannot forbear transcribing a remark made by a noted Jew (t) upon that passage in Gen_35:20. “And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave”; to show, says he, that Jacob saw that this thing was of the Lord, and that it would be an help to her children, as it is written, “a voice was heard in Rama”, &c. wherefore he set a pillar upon her; and to show that the affair of her grave, that this היתה לעתיד “belonged to the time to come”, he says, “that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day”: he means, יום הגאולה, “the day of redemption”. And Rachel, in the passage of Jeremy, the Jews (u) themselves own, means the congregation of Israel. (Gill)
The Return to Nazareth
Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Mat 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
Mat 2:21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
God speaks to Joseph again in a dream, through an angel of the Lord. We also notice Joseph’s quick obedience. Notice that Joseph is not required to return to Bethlehem or to Judea, but simply to the land of Israel.
The young Child . . . the young Child . . . the young Child: Repeatedly, the young Child is given first place in the account.
They are dead – Both Herod and Antipater his son; though some think the plural is here used for the singular, and that the death of Herod alone is here intended. But as Herod’s son Antipater was at this time heir apparent to the throne, and he had cleared his way to it by procuring the death of both his elder brothers, he is probably alluded to here, as doubtless he entered into his father’s designs. They are dead – Antipater was put to death by his father’s command, five days before this execrable tyrant went to his own place. See Josephus, Antiq. xvi. 11; xvii. 9. (Clarke)
Mat 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
Archelaus was the sixth son of Herod, and the most cruel of all those that survived him. His father appointed him his successor, with regal authority, but Augustus gave him only the title of ethnarch, or ruler of the nation, annexing to his government Samaria and Idumæa. In the very beginning of his reign, he massacred 3,000 Jews at once in the temple, and was afterward, viz., in the tenth year of his government, banished by Augustus to Vienna in Gaul, on a complaint brought against him by the chief of the Jews, for his various cruelties. Joseph, therefore, might well be afraid to settle in a country that was under the government of such a cruel tyrant. Being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee — which was under the government of Herod Antipas, (see note on Mat_2:2,) a prince of a milder character than Archelaus, and then on such hostile terms with him, that there was no danger of his giving up Joseph and Mary into his power. Add to this, that, being intent upon building the cities of Julias and Tiberias, he endeavoured, by promises and immunities, as well as by a mild government, to allure strangers to come and settle there. We may observe here, that although Joseph’s near relation to Jesus exposed him to many difficulties and dangers, such as he had been a stranger to till it commenced, yet it made him ample amends for that inconvenience, by placing him and his under the peculiar care of a watchful Providence, ever attentive to his safety, and that of his little family; and by procuring him the favour of so many extraordinary visitations and supernatural discoveries of the divine will. This is no less than the fourth message sent him from the court of heaven since he became the husband of Mary! (Benson)
Mat 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The phrase He shall be called a Nazarene is not a Biblically recorded prophecy, but probably just a well known rabbinical prophecy or interpretation.
What about the “Hidden Years” of Jesus? It is vain to speculate here on what God chose to keep silent; many people who want to distort the Biblical Jesus insert whatever they want during those “silent years” to make Jesus conform to their weird notions. If those years were important, God would have told us. (Guzik)
Called a Nazarene — Although born in Bethlehem, he was reared in Nazareth, “that he might be called a Nazarene”–that he might not have the honor of the “City of David,” but the odium of “a mean city.” (Russell)
It was a place so very contemptible among the Jews, that it was grown into a proverb with them, That no good thing could be expected from thence; so that by Jesus’s returning to Nazareth, and being brought up and educated in it, a way was further opened by the providence of God, for the fulfilment of the many Scriptures which foretold that he should appear in mean and despicable circumstances, and be set up as a mark of public contempt and reproach. This seems to be the most probable solution of this difficult text. He shall be called a Nazarene — That is, he shall be reputed vile and abject, and shall be despised and rejected of men, an event which many of the prophets had particularly foretold. And it is to be observed, that St. Matthew does not cite any particular prophet for these words, as he had done before, Mat_1:22; and here, Mat_2:15; Mat_2:17, and in other places, but only says, this was spoken by the prophets, viz., in general, whereby, as Jerome observes, he shows that he took not the words from the prophets, but only the sense. See Psa_69:9-10; Isa_53:3. Now it is certain the Nazarene was a term of contempt and infamy put upon Christ, both by the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, and that because he was supposed to come out of this very city. (Benson)