Matthew 2 Images and
Brief Summary: Matthew
chapter two covers the visit of the Wise Men, Joseph and Mary's
flight to Egypt with Jesus, the slaughter of the infants in
Bethlehem, and Joseph and Mary's return from Egypt to Nazareth.
Matthew chapter two confirms the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of
Judaea, and that it was during the time that Herod the Great was
ruling as king in Jerusalem. Wise Men (Magi) came from the east
to Jerusalem inquiring about where the king of the Jews was who
had just been born in Jerusalem. Herod was very troubled by this
statement and so was the city of Jerusalem. He called in the
chief priests and scribes demanding to know where the Messiah
was to be born according to the Jewish beliefs. They responded
Bethlehem and quoted to him the prophecy of Micah 5:2 in the
Jewish Scriptures. Herod called the wise men in asking exactly
when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and told
them to let him know when they find him so he can come worship
him also. When they left Jerusalem they came to Bethlehem and
once again saw the star which they had seen in the east and they
became very excited and rejoiced. The star went before them and
guided them to the house where the child was and stood over the
child. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary His
mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. They opened their
treasures and presented to him gold, and frankincense, and
myrrh. When they departed they left for their own country
another way because they were warned in a dream not to return to
king Herod. The angel of the Lord also warned Joseph to depart
for Egypt until it is safe because Herod will seek out the child
to kill Him. They departed that very night for Egypt, and they
remained there in Egypt until Herod had died. Matthew attributes
this temporary sojourn in Egypt as a direct fulfillment of
prophecy. When Herod found out that the wise men had departed
secretly he was enraged, and he ordered the slaughter of all
infants 2 years and under in Bethlehem and along the coasts.
Matthew also attributes this event to the words of the prophet
Jeremiah. Once king Herod had finally died the Lord revealed to
Joseph that it was safe to return to the land of Israel. The
Lord also warned Joseph about Herod's son Archelaus and they
brought Jesus to a city in the area of Galilee called Nazareth.
Matthew also attributes this to the word of the prophets.
Key Concept: Jesus was
the virgin born king by royal descent and Son of God with no
human father by blood (Matthew 1:18)
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
Matthew 2:9 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.
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.
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth.
Important Related Verses:
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.
Isaiah 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem
of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the
spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.
Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will
raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and
prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Of the Gospel writers only Matthew records the genealogy of
Jesus through Joseph, the visit of the Magi, the flight into
Egypt, and the murder of the infants.
Matthew mentions the wise men but does not mention how many, and
out of their treasures they gave to him three gifts: gold, and
frankincense, and myrrh.
Jesus could have been anywhere from 40 days to 2 years old when
the magi came to worship Him.
The meaning of the gold, and frankincense, and myrrh is
reasonably certain. In the ancient Hebrew traditions gold spoke
of deity, incense was associated with worship, and myrrh was
associated with death.
Matthew records that the wise men presented the gifts of gold,
and frankincense, and myrrh out of their treasures.
The wise men fell down and worshipped Jesus as deity. The Bible
is clear that you shall worship the LORD your God only and Him
only shall you serve.
The wise men did not follow a star but the star that appeared to
them in the east reappeared in Bethlehem and led them to the
house and stood over where the child was.
Matthew records that Jesus was no longer in a manger but in a
Matthew does not indicate that the Magi were kings or where they were from, it only
says, "the east."
It is interesting that after the 70 year Babylonian captivity
when the Persian leader Cyrus gave the decree for the Jews to
return and rebuild their Temple that only few Jews actually
returned from Babylon.
Many in Israel were expecting the Messiah to come because of the
prophecy of Daniel about the 70 weeks.
There is no indication where they journeyed to in the land of
There is no historical evidence whatsoever of Jesus in Egypt or
what happened while Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were there.
37 BC Coins Mentioning King Herod
These coins are among the proof that the
Biblical King Herod the Great was a factual person in history.
King Herod I (The Great)
Herod was the name
of several men of the royal dynasty which
originated in Edom or Idumea after it had been
forced to adopt the Jewish religion by John Hyrcanus
in 125 B.C. This family ruled in Israel as
vassals of Rome. The history of this dynasty,
which succeeded that of the Maccabees, largely
relates to the political history of Israel during
this whole period.
Herod I (the Great) was son of Antipater and
made king by the Romans in 40 B.C. He managed to
keep hold of his throne in the face of the many
changes in the government at Rome.
His kingdom comprised Judea, Samaria, Galilee,
Idumea, Batanea, and Peraea, which was approximately
the same size as the kingdom of David and Solomon.
Although Herod had exceptional leadership skills, he
was extremely disliked by the Jews. His attitude
toward the Maccabean dynasty, to which he was
related by marriage, along with his insolence and
cruelty, angered them all the more. He even had his
brother-in-law and several of his wives and sons
He forced heavy taxes and brutally repressed any
rebellions. But it was by his policy of Hellenistic
culture that he greatly wounded the Jews. The
construction of a race-course, a theater, and an
amphitheater in Jerusalem, his wide support of the
emperor cult in the East, and the construction of
pagan temples in foreign cities at his own expense
could not be forgiven, even though he restored and
reconstructed the Temple of Jerusalem and
continually pleaded the cause of the Jews of the
Diaspora to the emperor to his own gains.
There was no close tie between the king and his
people; he remained an Edomite and a friend of Rome,
only holding on to his power by the use of a
merciless military force. This is the same Herod the
Great who massacred the children of Bethlehem (Matt.
Herod suddenly died in 4 BC. After his death, the
Emperor Augustus made three of Herod?s sons the
rulers of different parts of their father's kingdom.
Herod's son, Archelaus (Matt. 2), obtained Judea
and Samaria. He was a tyrant like his father and
lacked his fathers ambition and talent. He irritated
the Jews and Samaritans so intensely that Augustus
deposed him in 6 A.D. and placed a Roman procurator
over his kingdom.
sons were Antipas, Philip, Agrippa I, and Agrippa
II. After Agrippa II died the Herodian
dynasty disappeared from the stage of history.
Genealogical chart of the Herodians
Adoration of the Magi, by Rembrandt
4 AD Coin of Archelaus
This is an image of a Jerusalem minted coin
of Archelaus, the Herodian king of Judea.
The Flight Into Egypt Painting by
of Bread" (BETH'LECHEM)
Bethlehem is about five miles S of Jerusalem, and
elevated 2,460 feet above sea level.
There was much history in this little town. Rachel
died and was buried here. Boaz and Ruth were wedded
and dwelt in Bethlehem. David was born in Bethlehem,
and here he was anointed as future king by Samuel (1
Sam 16:1); here was the well from which David's
three heroes brought him water (2 Sam 23:15-16), it
was the birthplace of the Messiah (Mic 5:2 Mt 2:1),
and its male children were slain by order of Herod
(Mt 2:16, Jer 31:15).
It was originally called Ephrath
In Bethlehem today stands the Basilica of the
Nativity, marking the traditional site of the birth
Painting of the Massacre of the Innocents by Nicolas Poussin.
Map of Ancient Israel - Bethlehem