Hath not the Scripture said
These objectors were those who were accounted the more wise and knowing; who were conversant with the Scriptures, and pretended at least to a large knowledge of them:
that Christ cometh out of the seed of David;
that he should be a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots; that he should be one out of David's loins, and of the fruit of his body, referring to ( Isaiah 11:1 ) ( Psalms 132:11 Psalms 132:17 ) , which was very true, and what was commonly known, and expected among the Jews, that the Messiah should be David's son, as Jesus of Nazareth was, ( Acts 13:23 ) ;
and out of the town of Bethlehem where David was?
where his parents lived, and he was born; and, according to Jerom F11, he was buried here. The account he gives of this city, where he himself for some time lived,
``is Bethlehem, the city of David, in the lot of the tribe of Judah, in which our Lord and Saviour was born, is six miles from Aelia, (i.e. Jerusalem) to the south, by the way which leads to Hebron, where also is showed the sepulchre of Jesse and David.''In which may be observed likewise the exact distance of this place from Jerusalem; which, according to Josephus F12, at least as he is generally understood, was but twenty furlongs: and, according to Justin F13, thirty five: but that this is the true distance, is clear from the old Jerusalem Itinerary F14, and which agrees with Jerom about the sepulchre of David; for not far from it is the monument of Ezekiel, Asaph, Job, Jesse, David, and Solomon: however, it is certain that David was born here, and therefore it is called his city; and from hence the Messiah was to come; and here Jesus, the true Messiah, was born, and which the Jews themselves own; (See Gill on Matthew 2:1), (See Gill on Luke 2:4); and in vain it is for them to expect the Messiah from thence, where none of their nation live, nor have lived, for many hundreds of years; being particularly forbid by Adrian, after he had subdued them, living in or near Jerusalem, and also Bethlehem. Tertullian F15 refers to this when he thus argues with them, and very justly, and strongly;
``if he is not yet born, who, it is said, shall come forth a ruler out of Bethlehem, of the tribe of Judah, he must come (says he) out of the tribe of Judah and from Bethlehem; but we now observe, that no one of the stock of Israel remains in Bethlehem, because it is forbidden that anyone of the Jews should continue on the border of that country--how shall the governor be born in Judea, come forth from Bethlehem, as the divine books of the Prophets declare, when there is none of Israel left there at this day, of whose lineage Christ can be born?--how shall he come out of Bethlehem, when there is none in Bethlehem of the stock of Israel?''And the passage they had in view, is ( Micah 5:2 ) . Now these very things they object to Jesus being the Messiah, were what were fulfilled in him, and proved him to be the person; for his supposed father, and real mother Mary, were of the house and lineage of David; and though he was conceived at Nazareth, and brought up there, yet by a remarkable providence, which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, he was born there, ( Luke 2:4-7 ) .
F11 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 89. E.
F12 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 4.
F13 Apolog. 2. p. 75.
F14 In Reland. Palestina illustrata, l. 2. c. 4. p. 416. Vid. c. 9. p. 445. & l. 3. p. 645.
F15 Adv. Judaeos, c. 13. p. 224, 225.