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And gathering together all the high priests and experts in the law from among the People,a he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

a[4]
The nation of Israel was called “the People,” so it is appropriate to capitalize it when it refers to Israel. Israel was “the People” of God.

“high priests.” In Old Testament times the High Priest served for life. However, that custom had been changed for political reasons, such that at the time of Herod (and at the time of Christ’s crucifixion) there was more than one High Priest. Furthermore, it seems that members of the High Priest’s family also could be called a high priest (See Lenski).

“the People.” The Greek is ho laos, (ὁ λαός). The word “people” can mean different things in the Bible, depending on the context. It can refer to a specific group, and often refers to the Jews, the “people” of God (BDAG). When it is used of the people of Israel, it becomes a specific designation of the Jews and as such can be capitalized. Many Scriptures use “people” as a designation of the Jews . (cp. Matt. 2:4, 21:23, 26:3, 47; Mark 14:2; Luke 19:47, 22:66; John 11:50; Acts 3:23, 4:8, 25, 7:17, 26:17, 23; Rom. 15:11; 2 Pet. 2:1) In many cases the REV translation has capitalized “People” to make it clear to readers that the Jews as a specific group are being referred to. However, there are also many scriptures that use “the people” that do not clearly refer to Israel, and when the exact designation is in doubt, we have left “people” in lower case.


Commentary for: Matthew 2:4