Matthew 2: Wise Men Seek the New King

What kind of star did the wise men see? How was that appearance associated with Israel and not a king born elsewhere?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:1–2 After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem from lands beyond the eastern horizon. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” they said. “We have seen the star signaling his birth and have come to worship him.”
King James
Matthew 2:1–2 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, 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.

If the wise men were not Jewish, why would they want to take such a long trip with expensive gifts?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:1–2 After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem from lands beyond the eastern horizon. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” they said. “We have seen the star signaling his birth and have come to worship him.”
King James
Matthew 2:1–2 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, 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.

Why did the wise men go to Jerusalem instead of some other city?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:1–2 After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem from lands beyond the eastern horizon. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” they said. “We have seen the star signaling his birth and have come to worship him.”
King James
Matthew 2:1–2 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, 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.

How many people were in the wise men’s caravan from the east?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:1–2 After Jesus was born, wise men came to Jerusalem from lands beyond the eastern horizon. “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” they said. “We have seen the star signaling his birth and have come to worship him.”
King James
Matthew 2:1–2 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, 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.

Why were the people in Jerusalem “mystified”? How did the people’s concerns differ from that of Herod?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:3 When King Herod heard about them, he and most of Jerusalem were mystified.
King James
Matthew 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

What did Herod do to locate where the child had been born?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:3–6 When King Herod heard about them, he and most of Jerusalem were mystified. He called a meeting of the chief priests and teachers of the Law and said, “Where is the Anointed One to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said. “This is what the prophet Micah wrote: But you, Bethlehem, are only a small village among the people of Judah. Yet out of you will come one who will rule Israel, whose origin is from ancient times.
King James
Matthew 2:3–6 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 Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 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.

Why was the date of the star’s appearance important to Herod? How many months earlier would that day have been?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:7 Herod called a private meeting with the wise men to determine exactly when the star had first appeared.
King James
Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Since Herod was paranoid about anyone who might threaten his rule, how could he trust strangers to bring him news?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:8 “Go to Bethlehem,” he told them, “and diligently search for the child. When you find him, come tell me where he is so I may also worship him.”
King James
Matthew 2:8 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.

Why was seeing the star so important to the wise men? What made the star insufficient in locating the child?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:9–10 After receiving the king’s instructions, they knew where to go. On the way to Bethlehem, they were filled with joy as the star they had seen in the east appeared again and guided them to the place where the child was.
King James
Matthew 2:9–10 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

How do you think the wise men introduced themselves to Joseph and Mary? What do you suppose they talked about?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary. After bowing in worship, they opened their treasure chests and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
King James
Matthew 2:11 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.

What was the value of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary. After bowing in worship, they opened their treasure chests and presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
King James
Matthew 2:11 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.

Why were the wise men brave enough to disobey King Herod’s orders?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:12 Warned by God in a dream, they did not return to Herod but left for their own country by another route.
King James
Matthew 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

When did Joseph and Mary leave Bethlehem? How secretive do you think their departure was? When did the wise men leave?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:13–15 After they had gone, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” the angel said. “Herod will search for the child to kill him. Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother, and stay there until I tell you to return.”
While it was still night, Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left for Egypt. This fulfilled Hosea’s prophecy: I called my son out of Egypt.
King James
Matthew 2:13–15 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. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 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.

At the time of the wise men’s visit, how old was Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:16 Herod was furious when he realized the wise men had tricked him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and areas nearby—all who were two years old and under—in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men’s report.
King James
Matthew 2:16 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.

Why was Herod so angry?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:16–18 Herod was furious when he realized the wise men had tricked him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and areas nearby—all who were two years old and under—in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men’s report. His brutality fulfilled what Jeremiah had prophesied: A cry is heard in Ramah, mourning and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children and will not be comforted, because they are gone. 
King James
Matthew 2:16–18 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. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 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.

What difficulties might Joseph and Mary have encountered on their journey and taking residence in Egypt?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:19 After Herod’s death, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying,
King James
Matthew 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

After leaving Egypt, why would Joseph have any interest in settling in the Jerusalem area?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:20–23 “Get up and take the child and his mother to Israel. Those who tried to kill the child are now dead.” So Joseph left Egypt with his family and would have settled in Judea but heard that Archelaus reigned in place of his father, Herod. Afraid to go there and warned in a dream, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth, a village in the Galilean hills. That fulfilled what the prophets had written: He will be called a Nazarene.
King James
Matthew 2:20–23 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. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 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: 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.

Nazareth wasn’t Joseph’s first choice for residence. Why? What changed his mind?

Author’s Thoughts
Author’s Insights Pending
Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 2:20–23 “Get up and take the child and his mother to Israel. Those who tried to kill the child are now dead.” So Joseph left Egypt with his family and would have settled in Judea but heard that Archelaus reigned in place of his father, Herod. Afraid to go there and warned in a dream, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth, a village in the Galilean hills. That fulfilled what the prophets had written: He will be called a Nazarene.
King James
Matthew 2:20–23 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. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 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: 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.