Does Old Testament Prophecy Point to Jesus?

I know this isn't Christmas time (or is it?). Here's just one example of many to show the Old Testament does not predict anything about the life, mission, death or resurrection of Jesus. Just one of many, okay?

Matthew reports this about Jesus being born in Bethlehem (2:5):
“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”’”
The Greek word for “Governor” can be translated in English as “ruler” or as “shepherd” depending on the context. To the Greek mind a ruler is a shepherd and a shepherd is a ruler.


In the first place, "Bethlehem Ephratah" in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb's second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chr.2:19, 2:50-51, 4:4). Secondly, the prophecy, as understood by Herod’s scribes (if they actually did think this), refers to a military commander, as can be seen from the context of Micah 5:6, which says,
“He will be their peace. When the Assyrian invades our land and marches through our fortresses, we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men. They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword, the land of Nimrod with drawn sword. He will deliver us from the Assyrian when he invades our land and marches into our borders.”
This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did. This is basic exegesis. If Jesus is who Micah referred to as having been born in Bethlehem, then Jesus was also supposed to conquer the Assyrians.

Gleason Archer deals with this Bible difficulty in his book, The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. He claims Matthew did not quote from the Septuagint version (LXX), which was the standard Greek translation of the Hebrew text, but from some other Greek paraphrase. A paraphrase wasn’t meant to be literal translation; it’s more expressive. It brings out the implications of the prophecy, and Archer claims that's what Matthew used. He also claims Matthew conflated two different prophecies when quoting Micah 5:2. Archer claims Matthew also was quoting from II Samuel 5:2, in which it's said:
“all of Israel” came to King David and said, “In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”
Afterward the people anointed David as their king. Archer claims the phrase, “You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler,” is what Matthew is referring to when speaking about Jesus, not that he would conquer the Assyrians. Archer further states that it was actually “Herod’s Bible experts,” not Matthew, “who quoted from more than one Old Testament passage.” So, “in a sense, therefore, they were the ones responsible for the wording, rather than Matthew himself.”

Now it's true that New Testament writers repeatedly “conflate” Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, and Archer offers a couple of examples. We see this in Matthew 27:9-10, which combines elements from Zechariah 11:12-13, Jeremiah 19:2,11, and Jeremiah 32:6-9. We also see this in Mark 1:2-3, which combines elements from Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. But Matthew (2:5) explicitly says the prophecy was from Micah, not from the people of Israel in II Samuel 5:2.

Furthermore, if Matthew takes Micah’s prophecy out of context, as I’ve explained, then it doesn’t help anything by claiming he was also referring to II Samuel 5:2, since that too is taken out of context. It isn’t even a prophecy. It’s about David shepherding the people of Israel.

If however, Archer wants to blame the scribes in Herod’s court for misapplying Micah 5:2, then why did Archer expend so much ink trying to show what Matthew was attempting, if Matthew wasn’t attempting to do anything here but merely record what these scribes said? If Herod’s scribes are to be blamed for misunderstanding Micah 5:2, along with II Samuel 5:2, then exactly where is there in the Old Testament any prophecy for the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem? There is none!