Matthew 2

Faith and a relationship with God is a matter of the heart, not simply information.

The Magi saw a star and went in pursuit to find the Messiah.

The scribes, priests and Herod had access to the details of the Messiah, including the place of his birth, but they did not pursue him, but instead rejected him.

A little knowledge with an open heart is better than a  lot of knowledge with a hard heart. But, of course, the best is an open heart with the knowledge of the scriptures.


2:1  Matthew skips the birth account and gives details of the visit of the Magi when Jesus was about 2 years old. Jesus is called a child (2:16) and not a baby. The family now lives in a house (2:1) and are not in a stable.


"Magi" (magoi) were members of a priestly caste developed in ancient Persia that included Babylonian elements. They would have been involved in royal court life of their country (like Daniel) and provided skill in science, diplomacy and religion. Their science skill would have focused on astronomy and astrology. Their religious training would have involved magic and incantations.


The Magi had come in contact with Judaism through the exile of the Jews. Daniel had been one of their leading members and many Jews still lived scattered in the Magi's country of origin.


The Magi had traveled at least 900 miles from Babylon or 1000 from Susa. The journey took Ezra and Nehemiah each about four months. Suetonius, the author of "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars," lived 70-130 AD wrote: "Throughout the whole of the East there had spread an old and persistent belief: destiny had decreed that at that time men coming forth from Judea would seize power and rule the world."


Familiarity with Millennial prophecies and Balaam's prophecy of "a star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel" in Numbers 24:17 would have provided a basis for the Magi and the star.


Herod the Great was a fantastic builder and used his own wealth to feed the Jewish nation during two different famines. He was born in 73 BC, made king of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 BC, after a 3 year military struggle Herod secured his throne (37 BC) and died in 4 BC. He was cruel and was always defending his throne.


2:1 The Star:

A. 7 BC, May, October, and November a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn appeared in Pisces which is a constellation associated with end times and the Hebrews.

B. The star could have been a distant exploding star called a super nova

C. Comet  - Haley's Comet passed in 12 BC

D. Planetary Conjunction occurred again in 3 BC

E. It could have been supernatural

F. It could have involved information and calculations unknown to us and the people of that day since the Magi were known to have possession of "mysteries" or inside, fraternity information.


Numbers 24:17


2:3 Herod already feared invasion from the East and had built four palace/fortresses to defend his eastern borders: Masada, Hyracanium, Machaerus and the Herodium. There had been previous invasions from Parthinians and Trachonites. The Magi could represent an internal invasion to over throw Herod, especially since many in Israel would support an overthrow.


The Magi, like Nehemiah, would have traveled with a military escort. They would have also been accompanied by servants.


Jesus was born king in the lineage of David. Jesus was not going to become king someday. He was the rightful king.


2:5  Bethlehem was the home of Boaz and Ruth and King David.

The idea is "what stands written through the prophets"



Gold - valued throughout as a medium of exchange and for making jewelry, ornaments, dining instruments for royalty.

Incense (Frankincense) - comes from an amber resin which gave a sweet odor when burned. The only incense permitted on the altar in the temple (Exodus 30:9, 34-38). Also, used as perfume.

Myrrh - a mixture of resin, gum and oil and also used as an incense (Exodus 30:23), as a perfume, a stimulant (Mark 15:23)and for packing the wrappings of the clothing of a deceased person (John 19:39)


2:12 The Return Route Options:

A) South around  the Dead Sea to pick up a trade route north through Nabatea, the Decapolis and into Damascus to move east.

B) Could have gone across the Dead Sea if it was low enough as it occasionally is.

C) South to Hebron, then west to the Mediterranean coast to pick up a trade route north on the costal plain and then go through Sepphoris, Capernaum to Damascus to move east.