The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Ministries  

 

MATTHEW CHAPTER TWO

 
[1] 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.
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[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, inquired 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.
[9] 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.
[13] 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.
[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 inquired 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.
[19] 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 Nazrine.

Matthew 2
1του δε ιησου γεννηθεντος εν βηθλεεμ της ιουδαιας εν ημεραις ηρωδου του βασιλεως ιδου μαγοι απο ανατολων παρεγενοντο εις ιεροσολυμα 2λεγοντες που εστιν ο τεχθεις βασιλευς των ιουδαιων ειδομεν γαρ αυτου τον αστερα εν τη ανατολη και ηλθομεν προσκυνησαι αυτω 3ακουσας δε ηρωδης ο βασιλευς εταραχθη και πασα ιεροσολυμα μετ αυτου 4και συναγαγων παντας τους αρχιερεις και γραμματεις του λαου επυνθανετο παρ αυτων που ο χριστος γενναται 5οι δε ειπον αυτω εν βηθλεεμ της ιουδαιας ουτως γαρ γεγραπται δια του προφητου 6και συ βηθλεεμ γη ιουδα ουδαμως ελαχιστη ει εν τοις ηγεμοσιν ιουδα εκ σου γαρ εξελευσεται ηγουμενος οστις ποιμανει τον λαον μου τον ισραηλ 7τοτε ηρωδης λαθρα καλεσας τους μαγους ηκριβωσεν παρ αυτων τον χρονον του φαινομενου αστερος 8και πεμψας αυτους εις βηθλεεμ ειπεν πορευθεντες ακριβως εξετασατε περι του παιδιου επαν δε ευρητε απαγγειλατε μοι οπως καγω ελθων προσκυνησω αυτω 9οι δε ακουσαντες του βασιλεως επορευθησαν και ιδου ο αστηρ ον ειδον εν τη ανατολη προηγεν αυτους εως ελθων εστη επανω ου ην το παιδιον 10ιδοντες δε τον αστερα εχαρησαν χαραν μεγαλην σφοδρα 11και ελθοντες εις την οικιαν ειδον το παιδιον μετα μαριας της μητρος αυτου και πεσοντες προσεκυνησαν αυτω και ανοιξαντες τους θησαυρους αυτων προσηνεγκαν αυτω δωρα χρυσον και λιβανον και σμυρναν 12και χρηματισθεντες κατ οναρ μη ανακαμψαι προς ηρωδην δι αλλης οδου ανεχωρησαν εις την χωραν αυτων 13αναχωρησαντων δε αυτων ιδου αγγελος κυριου φαινεται κατ οναρ τω ιωσηφ λεγων εγερθεις παραλαβε το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου και φευγε εις αιγυπτον και ισθι εκει εως αν ειπω σοι μελλει γαρ ηρωδης ζητειν το παιδιον του απολεσαι αυτο 14ο δε εγερθεις παρελαβεν το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου νυκτος και ανεχωρησεν εις αιγυπτον 15και ην εκει εως της τελευτης ηρωδου ινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο του κυριου δια του προφητου λεγοντος εξ αιγυπτου εκαλεσα τον υιον μου 16τοτε ηρωδης ιδων οτι ενεπαιχθη υπο των μαγων εθυμωθη λιαν και αποστειλας ανειλεν παντας τους παιδας τους εν βηθλεεμ και εν πασιν τοις οριοις αυτης απο διετους και κατωτερω κατα τον χρονον ον ηκριβωσεν παρα των μαγων 17τοτε επληρωθη το ρηθεν υπο ιερεμιου του προφητου λεγοντος 18φωνη εν ραμα ηκουσθη θρηνος και κλαυθμος και οδυρμος πολυς ραχηλ κλαιουσα τα τεκνα αυτης και ουκ ηθελεν παρακληθηναι οτι ουκ εισιν 19τελευτησαντος δε του ηρωδου ιδου αγγελος κυριου κατ οναρ φαινεται τω ιωσηφ εν αιγυπτω 20λεγων εγερθεις παραλαβε το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου και πορευου εις γην ισραηλ τεθνηκασιν γαρ οι ζητουντες την ψυχην του παιδιου 21ο δε εγερθεις παρελαβεν το παιδιον και την μητερα αυτου και ηλθεν εις γην ισραηλ 22ακουσας δε οτι αρχελαος βασιλευει επι της ιουδαιας αντι ηρωδου του πατρος αυτου εφοβηθη εκει απελθειν χρηματισθεις δε κατ οναρ ανεχωρησεν εις τα μερη της γαλιλαιας 23και ελθων κατωκησεν εις πολιν λεγομενην ναζαρετ οπως πληρωθη το ρηθεν δια των προφητων οτι ναζωραιος κληθησεται

Matthew 2 at a Glance

Bear in mind that the Scriptures nowhere says that there were three wise men.  This is merely an assumption.  An assumption based on the fact the Magi brought three gifts. Never loose sight of the fact that Jesus was born as King. He was King before He came.  Paul refers to Him as "The King Eternal."  When speaking of Herod, the text shows it in a lower case "k," seeing that He outshines all earthly potentates.  In a "dream" and the "angel" we see the combination of the natural and the supernatural.  Though common means uncommon messengers often come our way.  Innocent babes were the first to die for Christ.  The flight to Egypt and then the return to Nazareth, were all in the divine plan.  As a "Nazarine," Christ was a despised One.  Good can, however, come out of Nazareth. 

MATTHEW 2:1
[1] 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,

HEROD: Herod, better known as Herod the Great, was the son of Antipater, an Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent. In the year B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made Antipater, a "wily Idumaean," procurator of Judea, who divided his territories between his four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was afterwards appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40), and also king of Judea by the Roman senate. He was of a stern and cruel disposition. "He was brutish and a stranger to all humanity." Alarmed by the tidings of one "born King of the Jews," he sent forth and "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" in Matthew 2:16. He was fond of splendor, and lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his empire. He rebuilt the city of Caesarea on the coast, and also the city of Samaria, which he called Sebaste, in honor of Augustus. He restored the ruined temple of Jerusalem, a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 in John 2:20. After a troubled reign of thirty seven years, he died at Jericho amid great agonies both of body and mind, B.C. 4, according to the common chronology, in the year in which Jesus was born. After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his sons. Of these, Philip had the land east of Jordan, between Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas had Galilee and Peraea, while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.

WISE MEN: We do not know much about the wise men.  We do know they were scientist and/or sages who visited Jesus and Mary and Joseph shortly after Jesus was born.  It is thought that perhaps they were astronomers. 

The English word wise men comes from the Greek word magos/magoV.  Though there is still much and deep speculation about them being wizards or sorcerers, we do know they were scientist from the region which today we would call Iraq/Iran/Kuwait.

In Daniel chapter 1, we see that Israel was taken captive by the Babylonians/Iraq, and taken to Babylon for seventy years.  We see in Daniel 2:46-49; 3:28-30; 4:1-3; 4:34-37; 6:25-28. In these chapters and verses, we see that the God of Heaven, through His faithful servants, made quite an impact on the Babylonians.  Obviously, over the centuries, the observance, if not the worship of the God of Heaven continued.  To the point that, again, obviously the magi studied the scriptures, especially the Torah.  The Torah is Genesis-Deuteronomy. 

In Numbers 24:17, we see that at the time of the birth of Jesus, there would be a special star in the sky.  Obviously this caught the attention and interest of the magi and they wanted to follow the star to see where it would lead them.  As per Luke chapter 2, the star could have been the cluster mass of angels who were there in the area to announce the birth of Jesus and for the adoration of the Christ child.
In the Gospel According to Matthew, they were guided by a star and brought gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.  It is because there were three gifts, it is usually assumed that there were three of them.

MATTHEW 2:2
[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.

The magi, Wise Men, do what anyone would expect them to do.  They have come to see what they know is to be a king.  Therefore, they go to the palaces of royalty to seek out the child.  The magi are totally naive and innocent of Herod’s machinations. 

WORSHIP: Homage rendered to God. Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness. Honor; respect; civil deference.  Hence, a title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates and others of rank or station.  The act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; religious reverence and homage; adoration, or acts of reverence, paid to God, or a being viewed as God.

Obsequious or submissive respect; extravagant admiration; adoration.   An object of worship. To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence. To pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration; to perform religious exercises in honor of; to adore; to venerate. To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission, as a lover; to adore; to idolize. To perform acts of homage or adoration; esp., to perform religious service.

MATTHEW 2:3
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

...and all Jerusalem with him... This would have to do with the political, governmental and religious leaders of Israel.

MATTHEW 2:4
[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.

HIGH PRIEST: In the days of the Book of Genesis, every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah Genesis 8:20, Abraham 12:7 & 13:4; Isaac 26:25; Jacob 31:54 & Job in Job 1:5.
The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18 Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the qualifications of priests are given in Leviticus 21:16-23.There are ordinances also regarding the priests' dress as per Exodus 28:40 and the manner of their consecration to the office in 29:1-17.

Their duties were manifold in Exodus 27:20-21; 29:38-44; Leviticus 6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Numbers 10:1-10; Deuteronomy 17:8-13; 33:10 & Malachi 2:7. They represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law.

In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes as per I Chronicles 24:7-18. number was retained after the Captivity in Ezra 2:36-39 & Nehemiah 7:39-42.
"The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six were cities of refuge, which had been assigned to their use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in the country generally was left to the heads of families, until the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main source of the freedom from idolatry that became as Marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had been hitherto their great national sin."

The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for all" in Hebrews 10:10-12. There is now no human priesthood.  The term "priest" is indeed applied to believers as per I Peter 2:9 & Revelation 1:6.  Bhttp://bible.cc/1_peter/2-9.htmhttp://bible.cc/revelation/1-6.htmut in these cases it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now "kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from day to day.

A High Priest can also be known as a presbyter, elder or minister.  A High Priest can be one who is authorized to consecrate the host in religious observances.

SCRIBES: Anciently, scribes held various important offices in the public affairs of the nation. The Hebrew word sopher, is first used to designate the holder of some military office in Judges 5:14. The scribes acted as secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue decrees in the name of the king in II Samuel 8:17, 20:25; I Chronicles 18:16;24:6; I Kings 4:3; II Kings 12:9-11 & 18:18-37.They discharged various other important public duties as men of high authority and influence in the affairs of state.

There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers. Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" in Jeremiah 36:4-32.

In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law, gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others Ezra 7:6-12 & Nehemiah 8:1-13. It is evident that in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions Matthew 23, thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" are in the Gospels interchangeable as per Matthew 22:35; Mark 12:28 & Luke 20:39.  They were in the time of our Lord the public teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the apostles as in Acts 4:5 & 6:12.

Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit, and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers. Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain from these men and let them alone" in Acts 5:34-39 & 23:9.

MATTHEW 2:5
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet

BETHLEHEM of JUDEA:  A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath in Genesis 35:16-19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11.  It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah Micah 5:2. Beth-lehem-judah I Samuel 17:12, and "the city of David" in Luke 2:4.It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of the city in Genesis 48:7.The valley to the east was the scene of the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel in I Samuel 16:4-13, and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam in II Samuel 23:13-17.But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" in Matthew 2:6. Afterwards Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" in Matthew 2:16-18 & Jeremiah 31:15.

Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm which means  "house of flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem.

There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great in A.D. 330.  It is  called the "Church of the Nativity," over a grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the "stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin.

MATTHEW 2:6
[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.

The Bible is emphatic that the Bethlehem of the birth of Christ, is in Judea.  The reason for this, is that there is another Bethlehem in region of Galilee. 

Micah 5:2...But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Luke 1:31-33...And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

MATTHEW 2:7
[7] Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

Numbers 24:17...I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Judging from the wording of this verse, Herod called the wise men in to a private area and asked them, very intently, of a time table as to when they first saw the star in question.

MATTHEW 2:8
[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.

Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem with a definitive instruction.  And that being, go to Bethlehem, search until you have found the child, and then bring me word as to where the child is located so that Herod might would go to Bethlehem and worship the child.

MATTHEW 2:9
[9] 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.
 
The star which leads the Magi to Bethlehem is the same identical fire by night in Exodus 13:21.  The Cloud by Day and the Fire by Night is a manifestation of the Shekinah Glory of God.

MATTHEW 2:10
[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
    
In verse 2, the English word born comes from the Greek word tikto.  It does not mean biological birth as a normal woman experiencing normal, biological, vaginal birth.  In this case, it would be one who is brought for a certain purpose.  Which means, the magi had a very good idea as to whom they were searching, and why.

As one might would think, in order to find a king, the magi went to the governmental leader’s palace. Upon arriving at Herod’s palace, they asked a very reasonable question.  Where is he who is destined to be the King of the Jews?  Then they proclaimed that they have seen His star.  And this one probably thrilled Herod.  They stated that they came to worship the child and never did mention Herod.
There is a philosophy in the business/corporate world, and that is, if you can’t beat a business, then buy the business.  In Herod’s case, if you have imperial competition, then kill it.  Herod appeared to be desirous to meet this newborn king.  But what he wanted, was to geographically locate the Christ Child and murder Him.  This is why you will see in verse 4, that he brings in the so-called experts in theology, and demands of them to know right now where the child is to be born.  The one and only thing Herod wanted to know right now, is where is this Child?

In verse 3, when Herod heard these things, the Bible says he became quite troubled.  In the Greek New Testament, the English word troubled comes from the Greek word tarasso/tarassw.  It means to be mentally or emotionally agitated. 

The phrase, and all Jerusalem with him, means that both the religious/political communities of Jerusalem were quite troubled of the news that perhaps the Messiah has arrived.
This brings up a why question.  Why would the political/religious communities be concerned that the Messiah has arrived? Especially the religious community?  In these days, being a religious authority and working hand-in-hand with the Roman government, was quite a lucrative situation.  If the Messiah had arrived, then this lucrative situation would come to an end.  Also, if the Messiah was here, then that would also mean that a great number of people in the religious and governmental communities, will be losing all of their political/military power and sway.

In verses 4-6, the emotions of the situation begin to escalate.  Herod summons the chief priest and the scribes. 

What is a chief priest?  At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah in Genesis 8:20, Abraham in Genesis 12:7 & 13:4, Isaac in Genesis 26:25. Jacob in Genesis 31:54 & Job in Job 1:5. Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the qualifications of priests are given in Leviticus 21:16-23 There are ordinances also regarding the priests' dress in Exodus 28:40, and the manner of their consecration to the office in Leviticus 29:1-37

Their duties were manifold as per Exodus 27:20-29:44; 6:12; 10:11, 24:8; Numbers 10:1-10; Deuteronomy 17:8-13, 33:10 & Malachi 2:7They represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law.

In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty four courses or classes in I Chronicles 24:7-18. This number was retained after the Captivity in Ezra 2:36-39 & Nehemiah 7:39-42.

"The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived together in a certain forth eight cities of which six were cities of refuge, which had been assigned to their use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in the country generally was left to the heads of families, until the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main source of the freedom from idolatry that became as Marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had been hitherto their great national sin."

The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for all" as per Hebrews 10:10-12. There is now no human priesthood.

The term "priest" is indeed applied to believers in I Peter 2:9 & Revelation 1:6. in these cases it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now "kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from day to day.

The next question is, what is a scribe? Scribes held various important offices in the public affairs of the nation. scribes acted as secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue decrees in the name of the king as per II Samuel 8:17; 20:25; I Chronicles 18:16; 24:6; I Kings 4:3; II Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37.

 They discharged various other important public duties as men of high authority and influence in the affairs of state.

There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers. Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" in Jeremiah 36:4-32

In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law, gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others in Ezra 7:6-12 & Nehemiah 8:1-13  It is evident that in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions as per Matthew 23 thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" are in the Gospels interchange.

Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit, and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers. Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain from these men and let them alone" Acts 5:34-39.
In verses 7 & 8, Herod is now setting up the magi to lead him right to the Christ Child.  Though the magi are not aware of Herod’s plot, they are trusting in a predisposed belief in Herod’s integrity.  They feel that such a man in such an office can be trusted.  Their feelings are about to be quickly changed.
The Greek word for diligent is a very interesting Greek word.  It is the Greek word akribos/akribwV.  It means to ask precise questions which demand precise answers.  Herod required precise answers and he required them right now.

And notice in verse 7, that Herod called the magi into a private area to speak with them.  Herod knew in a premeditated fashion that he was attempting to launch a murderous plot against the Christ Child.
In verse 8, Herod sends the magi on their way toward Bethlehem.  Their instructions are to find the Christ Child, and then come back and let Herod know where Jesus is so that he too can come and worship him.

In verses 9-10, we see where the star played a very important role in the magi’s finding the Christ Child. 
The English word star, as used here in these verses, comes from the Greek word  aster/asthr.  It means a star or some sort of celestial body.  Aster is also a root word from which we get the word astronomy which is the science of outer space. 

Over the years scientist have tried to explain away what this star was.  They all agree that something was there, but they cannot agree on what it was.  Some have said it was a nova, some have said a meteor, or some have said a curious alignment of planets. 

Upon studying these verses concerning the star, there is only one conclusion which can be reached.  That being, it was either a special, short-term star created by God in order to lead the magi to the Christ Child, or, was a massive cluster of angels.  One more theory is, it was the brightness of the Shekiniah Glory of God which led them.  In my opinion, it would be one of those theories. 

Also, in verse 10, notice that when the magi saw the star, it made them rejoice with exceeding great joy.  Something about this star was very special.  It most definitely was not a meteor nor a strange alignment of planets.  It was something more than that.  For it move in a decisive pattern of movements to bring the magi directly to the Christ Child.  No celestial body from outer space would have done that.

MATTHEW 2:11
[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.

Verse 11 brings us some very interesting discussions about how long it was between the birth of Christ and the arrival of the magi.  In verse 11, Jesus is in a house not a stable or manger.  Also, he is a young child and not an infant/baby.  Also, note.  That when Herod gave the order to have the young children of Israel killed, he chose two years of age based on what the magi told him in Matthew 2:16.

GOLD: this represents that the child here before them is the very God in flesh form.
FRANKINCENSE: Frankincense is an odorous resin imported from Arabia in Isaiah 60:6 & Jeremiah 6:20; and also growing in Palestine. It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary in Exodus 30:34; and was used as an accompaniment of the meat-offering in Leviticus 2:1-16; 6:15 & 24:7. When burnt it emitted a pleasant fragrance and hence the incense became a symbol of the Divine name Malachi1:11.  It was an emblem of prayer in Psalms141:2; Luke 1:10; Revelation 5:8; 8:3.
This frankincense, or olibanum, used by the Jews in the temple services is not to be confounded with the frankincense of modern commerce, which is an exudation of the Norway spruce fir, the Pinus abies. It was probably a resin from the Indian tree known to botanists by the name of Boswellia serrata or thurifera, which grows to the height of forty feet.  Frankincense was also used in the embalming process.

MYRRH: Myrrh is first mentioned as a principal ingredient in the holy anointing oil in Exodus30:23. It formed part of the gifts brought by the magi from the east, who came to worship the infant Jesus.
It was used in embalming in John 19:39, also as a perfume in Esther 2:12; Psalms 45:8 & Proverbs 7:17. It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce insensibility. This drugged wine was probably partaken of by the two malefactors, but when the Roman soldiers pressed it upon Jesus "he received it not" in Mark 15:23.

MATTHEW 2:12
[12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Here in verse 12, as per the wording of the verse, the magi have a simultaneous dream. And this dream being, that they should not return and see Herod anymore.  Therefore, the magi using an alternate route, quietly return home to the geographical area that today we would call Iraq.

Judging from the wording of this verse, it was fully the intent of the magi to return to Herod and reveal the geographical location of the Christ child.  However, due to Divine intervention, the magi quietly left Israel, and using an alternate route, return to their own homes.

MATTHEW 2:13
[13] 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.

The instructions in this verse are really quite simple.  After the magi leave, the angel then turns his attentions to Joseph.  In a dream, this angel instructs Joseph to pack up both Jesus and Mary, and then get to Egypt as fast as possible.  While there, be patient, and await Divine word concerning returning to Israel.

MATTHEW 2:14
[14] When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

The key word here is obedience.  That being, obedience to a specific instruction.  The magi were instructed to return to their homes instead of reporting back to Herod.  They obeyed.  Next, Joseph is instructed to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt for safety’s sake.  He obeyed.  And, as a result, Jesus spent His childhood years in safety.

MATTHEW 2:15
[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.
The prophet spoken of here is the prophet Hosea.
Hosea 11:1...When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

MATTHEW 2:16
[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 inquired of the wise men.
Herod saw that he had been mocked, or out witted, by the wise men, Herod retaliates by having all of the children two years of age or under in the Bethlehem region. 
Notice that Herod picked this age based on the time line given to him by the wise men.  Which would mean that when the wise men arrived to see Jesus, Jesus would have had to be about two years old.

MATTHEW 2:17
[17] Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

In the life and ministry of Jesus, He fulfilled approximately four hundred or more prophecies.
In Matthew, not only is Jeremiah quoted her in Matthew 2:17, but also in:
Matthew 16:14...And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Matthew 27:9...Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

MATTHEW 2:18
[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.

Here Matthew is quoting from Jeremiah 31:15.  Herod’s new atrocity is viewed as part of the same broad picture.  Since Matthew was writing to those with a Jewish background, he used more quotatins from the Old Testament than the other Gospel writers.  Matthew uses a total of ninety three quotations to be exact.  There are forty nine Old Testament quotations in Mark, eighty in Luke and thirty three in John. 

What we are also seeing in this verse, as in so many other New Testament verses, is a New  Testament confirmation of an Old Testament Scripture.

Jeremiah 31:15...Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Here we have yet another Old Testament prophecy brought to pass.  This one would prove to be one of the more tragic ones.


MATTHEW 2:19
[19] But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

ANGEL OF THE LORD: According to Louis Goldberg, the angel of the Lord is a supernatural being who bears a message on behalf of God. In many passages in the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord is identified with God, while in other instances a distinction is made between the Lord and the angel. In general, however, the terms "the angel of the Lord, " "the Lord, " and "God" are interchangeable.
The angel of the Lord is the messenger of both good and evil. He comes to Hagar after she has fled from the abusive Sarai in Gn 16:7-14 to assure her that God has heard about her misery and that her descendants will be too numerous to count. She names him "You are the God who sees me" (v. 13). The angel of the Lord pronounces a curse on the people of Meroz, because they refused to come to the help of the Lord in Judges 5:23.

The angel of the Lord executes judgment on behalf of the Lord. He puts to death 185, 000 Assyrian soldiers in their camp, thereby saving Jerusalem from decimation II Kings 19:35.
The angel of the Lord both commissions and commends God's servants. The commander of the Lord's army commissions Joshua to undertake the Lord's battles for Canaan, just as Moses had been commissioned to confront Pharaoh Joshua 5:13-15.The angel of the Lord appears to Abraham. He stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and commends him because he has not withheld his only son from God Gn 22:11-18. Abraham identifies the angel as God, calling the place "The Lord Will Provide."
The angel of the Lord carries out a ministry of reconciliation. He asks how long God will withhold mercy from Jerusalem and Judah in Zechariah 1:12.

The connection between the angel of the Lord and the preincarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied. Manoah meets the angel of the Lord, and declares that he has seen God. The angel accepts worship from Manoah and his wife as no mere angel, and refers to himself as "Wonderful, " the same term applied to the coming deliverer in Isaiah 9:6 & Judges 13:9-22. The functions of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament prefigure the reconciling ministry of 
Jesus. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the angel of the Lord; the Messiah himself is this person.

MATTHEW 2:20
[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.
The angel assures Joseph that those in Israel who sought the life of Jesus are now dead and will not longer be a threat to him, Mary or Jesus.

MATTHEW 2:21
[21] And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

When one observes the attributions of the success of the events in the infancy of Christ, there are many.  Above all would be the faithfulness of in the protection of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child.  However, we cannot overlook the faithfuln


MATTHEW 2:22
[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:
 
ARCHELAUS:  Ruler of the people, son of Herod the Great, by Malthace, a Samaritan woman. He was educated along with his brother Antipas at Rome. He inherited from his father a third part of his kingdom such as Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, and hence is called "king" as per Matthew 2:22.http://bible.cc/matthew/2-22.htm  It was for fear of him that Joseph and Mary turned aside on their way back from Egypt. Till a few days before his death Herod had named Antipas as his successor, but in his last moments he named Archelaus.
MATTHEW 2:23
[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.

In verses 19-23, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream.  The angel gives Joseph the all clear to return to Israel. 

Joseph did not like the idea of Archelaus, Herod’s son, now being on the throne.  Therefore, Joseph quietly takes Mary and Jesus to the area of Galilee.  And in this area, they settle in a little town called Nazareth.  Please note here Isaiah 11:1-5.

The name Galilee means circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it "the land of Cabul.”

The Jews called it Galil. It continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" in Matthew 4:15, and also "Upper Galilee.”  To distinguish it from the extensive addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee embraced more than one-third of Western Palestine, extending "from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the ridges of Carmel and Gilboa

Palestine was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the country in Acts 9:31, and was the largest of the three. It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two beautiful parables, no less than nineteen were spoken in Galilee. And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea. In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on 'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the Transfiguration.” When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for the condemnation of our Lord in John 7:45-52, Nicodemus interposed in his behalf.   They replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true, for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of Gathhepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy.”

The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being broader and more guttural in Mark 14:70.
The name Nazareth means separated.  Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew word notserah which means one guarding or watching.  Thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region. This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:39.  It was here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah in Luke1:26-28. 

Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood in Luke 4:16.  And it was here he began his public ministry in the synagogue in Matthew 13:54,  at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built in Luke 4:29.
Twice they expelled him from their borders in Matthew13:54-58 & Luke 4:16-29.  And he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief in Matthew13:58.  He took up his residence in Capernaum. 

Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about fourteen miles from the Sea of Galilee and about six west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six to ten thousand inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.

It is supposed from the words of Nathaniel in John 1:46, that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathaniel held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathaniel meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. 

The population of this city, which is these days about ten thousand, in the time of Christ probably amounted to fifteen thousand to about twenty thousand.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the hill', is probably the northern cliff.  The traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south.