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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 2 - Verse 11

Verse 11. The house. The place where he was born, or the place where they lived at that time.

Fell down. This was the usual way of showing respect or homage among the Jews, Es 8:3; Job 1:20; Da 3:7; Ps 72:11; Isa 46:6.

 

Worshipped him. Did him homage as King of the Jews. See Barnes "Mt 2:2".

 

Had opened their treasures. The treasures which they had brought, or the boxes, etc., in which they had brought their gold, etc.

They presented unto him gifts. These were presented to him as King of the Jews, because they supposed he was to be a distinguished prince and conqueror. It was customary at the birth of a prince to show respect for him by making him presents or offerings of this kind. This custom is still common in the East; and it is everywhere there unusual to approach a person of distinguished rank without a valuable present. See Ge 23:14; 43:11; 1 Sa 10:27; 1 Ki 10:2; Ps 72:10-15.

 

Frankincense. This was a production of Arabia. It was a white resin or gum. It was obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark, and suffering the gum to flow out. It was highly odoriferous or fragrant when burned, and was, therefore, used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. See Ex 30:8; Le 16:12. It is produced, also, in the East Indies, but chiefly in Arabia; and hence it has been supposed probable that the wise men came from Arabia.

Myrrh. This was also a production of Arabia, and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. The name denotes bitterness, and was given to it on account of its great bitterness. It was used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving them from putrefaction. Comp. Joh 19:39. It was much used in Egypt and in Judea. It was obtained from a thorny tree, which grows eight or nine feet high. It was at an early period an article of commerce, (Ge 37:25) and was an ingredient of the holy ointment, Ex 30:23. It was also used as an agreeable perfume, Es 2:12; Ps 45:8; Pr 7:17.

It was, also, sometimes mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Saviour, when about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion, Mr 15:23. Comp. Mt 27:34. These offerings were made because they were the most valuable which their country produced. They were tokens of respect and homage which they paid to the new-born King of the Jews. They evinced their high regard for him, and their belief that he was to be an illustrious prince; and the fact that their deed is recorded with approbation, shows us that we should offer our most valuable possessions, our all, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise men came from far to do him homage, and bowed down and presented their best gifts and offerings. It is right that we give to him, also, our hearts, our property, our all.

{m} "gifts" Ps 72:10; Is 40:6

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