3 And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Augustine: As the Magi seek a Redeemer, so Herod fears a successor.
If His birth as an infant makes proud kings tremble, what will His tribunal as a Judge do?
Pseudo-Chrysostom: Herod “was troubled” when he heard that a King was born of Jewish lineage, lest, himself being an Idumaean, the kingdom should return again to native princes, and himself be expelled, and his seed after him. Great station is ever obnoxious to great fears; as the boughs of trees planted in high ground move when never so little wind blows, so high men are troubled with little rumours; while the lowly, like trees in the valley, remain at peace.
Both have their own causes of jealousy, both fear a successor in their kingdom; Herod an earthly successor, the Devil a spiritual. Even Jerusalem is troubled, which should have rejoiced at that news, when a Jewish King was said to be risen up. . . . Perhaps it was in fear that Herod should wreak his wrath against a Jewish King on his race.
Gloss: Perhaps he was troubled not on his own account, but for fear of the displeasure of the Romans. They would not allow the title of King or of God to any without their permission.
Gregory: At the birth of a King of Heaven, a king of earth is troubled; surely, earthly greatness is confounded, when heavenly greatness shews itself.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).