¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod
the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
.2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
1 - Wise men As a rule the term applies to priests or experts who worship pagan gods da0224. The Holy Spirit speaks to all, and these men had been impressed by studying the sacred writings of the Jews. Balaam had prophesied about the star that would arise from Jacob nu2417, and I believe they also realized that the 70 weeks of Daniel were soon to be fulfilled da0924.
2 - His star All the stars were His ge0116. The "star" of announcement was the one that appeared to the shepherds – a band of angels from heaven lu0213. Many astronomical theories have been proposed to explain the star but such stars would not have led the wise men precisely from the king to the manger as revealed in v9. We assume that they traveled at night to keep the star in view. The Bible is reliable just as it reads!
2 - East This is also the direction from which He will appear in glory (soon, I believe) mt2427 and with angels lu0926. Probably the observers were in the East when they saw the star. I imagine the angels, after their appearance to the shepherds, flew quickly to Babylon to let the wise men known, then led them on their journey.
Image from Hurlbut's Life of Christ, 1915
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem
.4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
.5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
.6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
| 3 -
... heard From historical records, we know that Herod the Great
had killed three sons and a brother and was not about to allow even a baby
king to challenge his rule. He may even have considered himself the Messiah
(Joseph Klausner, The Messianic Idea in Israel p. 374).
3 - All Jerusalem Troubled because Herod could go on a rampage of carnage.
4 - Gathered all ... priests Herod probably knew of the prophecy and would have wanted to stop its fulfillment. The Jewish leaders would also have known of the vision of Zacharias lu0122 and about other experiences lu0217, lu0227.
4 - Scribes Sometimes called lawyers mt2235, mr1228. Also lu0517.
5 - Bethlehem The prophecy is from mi0502. The statement was a paraphrase or from a Jewish commentary. The idea was common jn0742.
6 - Rule Greek poimaino, "to shepherd." The Messiah was to feed His flock is4011, jn1011, he1320. The word is also used in re1915. where Christ on the white horse would rule or shepherd with a rod of iron.
7 - Herod ... privily called "Herod called the Magi secretly." (NIV).
7 - What time the star appeared Apparently assuming that it appeared when the Messiah was born. Coming from Babylon, preparation for the journey may have begun two years earlier. This helped him know how many babies and children to kill!
8 - Bring me word He had other reasons for wanting to know.
¶ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star,
which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over
where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
.11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
¶ And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth
to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,
and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod
will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
.15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
15 - Fulfilled See ho1101.
¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was
exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in
Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under,
according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
- Wroth Or "angry." Herod likely suspected the wise men as
part of a plot. He would have remembered boy kings in Israelite history:
Joash was one 2ki1120.
17 - Jeremy Or "Jeremiah." The prophecy is in je3115 and had a contemporary fulfillment. Matthew saw the Messianic fulfillment here.
Bethlehem. From The Desire of Ages © 1898, so the picture is older.
¶ But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth
in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
.22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
.23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
23 - City called Nazareth See map, left edge.
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