The Visit of Wise Men
Verse 1 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
These wise men were called “magi.” Bethlehem of Judea was also called Judah and this was the place of Jesus birth prophesied by Micah in chapter 5, verse 2. Jerusalem was also the seat of government to Herod the great, king over all political districts.
Some scholars say these magi were from a different land, representing the entire world bowing before Jesus. These men from faraway lands, recognized Jesus as the Messiah when most of God’s chosen people in Israel did not! Matthew pictures Jesus King over the entire world, not just Judea.
Verse 2 – saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
These magi must have rode into Jerusalem and started asking people where this King of the Jews was because Herod got wind of it. This question would challenge Herod’s reign. Herod was not even qualified to reign as king because he was neither a Jew nor a descendant of David.
Verse 3 – When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Herod was troubled by a legitimate heir to the throne. The people were troubled because in the past he had killed his favorite wife and sons in order to protect his rule so they knew something bad was coming.
Verse 4 – And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Verse 5 – So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
Verse 6 – ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
Matthew paraphrased Micah 5:2, which had been given 700 years before.
Verse 7 – Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
Verse 8 – And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
Verse 9 – When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
This is one of the most skipped over verses. Jesus was not a little new-born baby now. Some time had passed and He was a young child, perhaps around the age of two.
Verse 10 – When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Our being led to Christ should fill us with joy. He is the way, the truth, and the life; the Savior, our friend, our all in all; there is no other way of life, and there is no peace to the soul until He is found.
Verse 11 – And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. and when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
These presents were worthy of a King such as Jesus.The incense was a gift of deity, myrrh a spice for a person who was going to die and frankincense was used in worship and found in the East Indies, but chiefly in Arabia. The gold, more than likely was used when they fled to Egypt.
Verse 12 – Then being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
Finding Jesus, leads us in a different direction than what we intended before we came to Him. God watches over whom He loves and knows how to spoil the schemes of the wicked.
Verse 13 – Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
The very place that had been a bondage for hundreds of years to the Jews, now became a refuge and safety for the new-born King of the Jews. God can overturn nations and kingdoms, so that whom He loves shall be safe anywhere. Aren’t we glad that Joseph was obedient to the angel of the Lord?
Verse 14 – When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
Verse 15 – and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Just as Moses delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, Jesus would deliver His people from slavery to Satan. Thus Matthew rightly regarded Hosea 11:1.
Verse 16 – Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.
King Herod totally misunderstood the meaning of Jesus. Jesus came to make man free from sin and punishment, the guilt of the past. He came to give man freedom in Him.
Verse 17 – Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
Verse 18 – “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more (Jeremiah 31:15).
Rachel was the wife of Jacob and the mother of Benjamin, one of the 12 tribes. This prophecy was given because of all the dead children in Judea.
Verse 19 – But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Verse 20 – saying, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”
Verse 21 – Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Verse 22 – But when he heard Archeiaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream he turned aside into the region Galilee.
Herod had died of an incurable disease. Herod knew that Rome wouldn’t give his successor as much power, so he divided his kingdom into 3 parts, one for each son. Galilee was under the government of Herod Antipas, who was a mild prince, and in his dominions Joseph might find safety.
Verse 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.”
No such quote is found in the Old Testament. However, by saying, “The prophets,” not a particular one, but a general character of the prophecies.