2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of [a]Herod the king (Herod the Great), [b]magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star [c]in the east and have come to worship Him.”3 When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he called together all the chief priests and [d]scribes of the people and [anxiously] asked them where the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to be born. 5 They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly sent for the magi and learned from them [e]the [exact] time the star [had first] appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” 9 After hearing the king, they went their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them [continually leading the way] until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And after entering the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, after opening their treasure chests, they presented to Him gifts [fit for a king, gifts] of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned [by God] in a dream not to go back to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
The Flight to Egypt
13 Now when they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him.”
14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet [Hosea]: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Herod Slaughters the Babies
16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been tricked by the magi, was extremely angry, and he sent [soldiers] and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that area who were two years old and under, according to the date which he had learned from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
18 “A voice was heard in[f]Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, [g]Rachel weeping for her children; She refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.”
19 But when [h]Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up! Take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, and took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea [i]in place of his father Herod [the Great], he was afraid to go there. Then being warned by God in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee, 23 and went and settled in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a [j]Nazarene.”
Matthew 2:1Herod the Great was born into a prominent, wealthy family in Idumea (the area formerly known as Edom, the land of Esau’s descendants) and some archeological evidence indicates he considered himself Jewish.
Matthew 2:1Gr magoi; these were educated men who specialized in astronomy, astrology, and the natural sciences. The magi were witnesses to the miraculous events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
Matthew 2:18Ramah was located five miles north of Jerusalem, this city was a staging point for the deportation of Jews to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 b.c.
Matthew 2:18A reference to Jacob’s (Israel’s) wife Rachel as the mother of the children of Israel. Here, her grief over the slaughter of babies by Herod parallels the grief of Israel when they were conquered and deported by the Babylonians. The image is that of Rachel weeping for the children of Israel from her grave. Matthew takes Jeremiah’s words, which originally referred to grief over Babylonian captivity, and applies them to Herod’s slaughter of the babies.
Matthew 2:19Herod the Great died sometime between March 29 and April 11, 4 b.c.
Matthew 2:22Following Herod’s death Israel was partitioned between three of his sons: Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip II.
Matthew 2:23The Nazarenes may have been looked on with disfavor by other Jews because Roman soldiers, whose presence was greatly resented, were housed near Nazareth, perhaps causing the Nazarenes to be identified with them.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the Believer's Bible Commentary and the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV and NRSV) - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.