“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.”
King James Version (KJV)
2:4 The chief priests - That is, not only the high priest and his deputy, with those who formerly had borne that office: but also the chief man in each of those twenty - four courses, into which the body of priests were divided, #1Chron 24:6-19|. The scribes were those whose peculiar business it was to explain the Scriptures to the people. They were the public preachers, or expounders of the law of Moses. Whence the chief of them were called doctors of the law.
Mt 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes together. Literally, "high priests". The high priests, and perhaps the heads of the twenty-four courses of priests, are included. See 1Ch 24:1-19. The "scribes" were the successors of Ezra, the official copyists of the Scripture, who naturally became its expounders, and were the theologians of the time of Christ. The priests, as the head of the Jewish religion, and the scribes, as the chief expounders of the Scriptures, were the proper persons to answer Herod's question. Where Christ should be born. This demand concedes: (1) That the Jews expected a Messiah; (2) That the Scriptures had foretold his coming; (3) That the very place of his birth had been pointed out.