Restatement: What is the significance of "troubled" in Matthew 2:3, and why wouldn't the city "rejoice", rather than be "troubled" at the birth of the Messiah?
Answer - The Context Indicates A Figure of Speech
- In all likelihood, "All Jerusalem" was probably a reference to the leadership in Israel, as Jerusalem was the seat of authority.
- Especially the text explicitly states that some people were actually hoping for the Messiah, (not troubled), (i.e. Simeon and Anna).
- The advent of the Messiah would not have gone over well with these leaders.
- From prophecy, it is clear that the "Messiah" was intended to be the Righteous, (Just), King of Israel--which bears with it a great amount of responsibility--but most relevantly: to bring judgment.
Scriptural Texts - The Portrayal of the "Messiah" is Troubling
Luke 2:34-25, NASB: And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
John 11:45, NASB: If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
Matt. 10:34, NASB: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Matt. 2:17-18, NASB: Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”
John 3:20, NASB: For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
- A Contest of Kings: It is important to note that Herod the Great was "Jewish", of the Herodian Dynasty, and the implications of the prophecies being fulfilled--in his time--were significant, especially if he had to contend with who was believed to become /the/ rightful king.
- Political Feuds & Temporary Unification: Ironically, despite the intense political feuds between the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, (which was hundreds of years old), and their mutual Opposition to Herod the Great -- Christian texts portray that they all united in order to preserve their authority. ,;
"All" is used frequently in Scripture, even though some "limited group" is clearly indicated within the context.
This is usually a figure of speech--"All" is at least an "Exaggeration", if not "Hyperbole"--because it was not only improbable--but also impossible.
2 Kings 24:14, NASB:
Then he led away into exile all Jerusalem and all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.
Acts 21:30-31, NASB:
Then all the city was provoked, [Certainly not the Romans, nor the Christian Jews], and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. 31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.
Acts 24:5, NASB: For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
The New Testament often uses general terms to distinguish specific groups of people, For example, "The Jews" is used to mean those of the Pharisees, (sometimes even distinct from the Sadducees), as opposed to the entire "Hebrew" populace/race.
Mark 7:3, NASB: For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders, [Not the Sadducees, who rejected the Claim of an "Oral Law"];
John 5:16, NASB: For this reason the Jews, [But not the Jewish followers of Jesus] were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.
Greek Translations - Certainly Denote "Troubling / Disturbing"
There is no question, at all, that "troubled," is an appropriate translation of this word in Greek, (ἐταράχθη).
Every place in the New Testament this term "troubled" is mentioned, the same sense is implied :
John 13:21, NASB: When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me."
Luke 1:12, NASB: Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.
Matt 14:26, KJV: And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
Mark 6:50, KJV: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.