Matthew 2



Matthew 2 describes the visit of the Magi, Herod's treacherous intentions, the tragic massacre of infants, and the Holy Family's escape to Egypt and eventual return to Nazareth. This chapter emphasizes the fulfillment of prophecies, the recognition of Jesus as a significant figure, and the challenges faced by the Holy Family in the early years of Jesus' life.


  1. Visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12): Magi from the East arrive in Jerusalem, having observed a star signifying the birth of the King of the Jews. They inquire about the newborn king and are directed to Bethlehem by Herod's chief priests and scribes who consult Scripture. The Magi follow the star and find Jesus in Bethlehem, presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They are warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they depart for their own country by another route.

  2. Herod's Reaction (Matthew 2:13-18): Herod, disturbed by the news of a potential rival king, deceitfully asks the Magi to inform him of the child's location under the pretense of worshiping him. However, the Magi, warned in a dream, avoid Herod. In response, Herod orders the massacre of all male infants in Bethlehem and its surrounding regions, a tragic event known as the massacre of the innocents. This fulfills a prophecy from Jeremiah.

  3. Joseph's Escape to Egypt and Return (Matthew 2:19-23): Joseph, warned in a dream, takes Mary and Jesus and flees to Egypt to escape Herod's threat. They stay in Egypt until Herod's death. After Herod's death, Joseph is instructed in a dream to return to Israel, and the family settles in the town of Nazareth in fulfillment of another prophecy.


2.1-12 Wise Men Visit The King


"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. 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. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 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. 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. 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. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way."


Let's break down these verses:


  1. Verses 1-2: Magi from the east arrive in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod, seeking the newborn King of the Jews. They have observed a star that they believe signals the birth of a significant ruler.

  2. Verse 3: Herod, the reigning king, becomes troubled upon hearing about the arrival of the Magi and their quest for the newborn King.

  3. Verses 4-6: Herod consults the chief priests and teachers of the law to inquire where the Messiah was to be born. They quote the prophecy from Micah 5:2, specifying Bethlehem as the birthplace of the Messiah.

  4. Verses 7-8: Herod, realizing the significance of the information, secretly meets with the Magi to determine when the star first appeared. He instructs them to go to Bethlehem, find the child, and report back to him so that he can also go and worship the newborn King.

  5. Verse 9: The Magi, after receiving Herod's instructions, continue their journey to Bethlehem. The star they had seen in the east leads them until it stops over the place where Jesus is.

  6. Verse 10: The Magi are overjoyed upon seeing the star again.

  7. Verses 11-12: The Magi find Jesus with Mary, worship Him, and present gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In a dream, they are warned not to return to Herod, so they depart for their country by a different route.


These verses set the stage for the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem, showcasing the contrast between their sincere desire to worship the newborn King and Herod's deceitful intentions. This narrative emphasizes the recognition of Jesus as a significant and divine figure, not only by the Jews but also by Gentile wise men from the east. The gifts they bring — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — are symbolic and carry deep significance. Gold represents royalty, frankincense symbolizes divinity and prayer, and myrrh is associated with burial and sacrifice. The mention of the star and the fulfillment of prophecies highlight the divine orchestration of events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The subsequent verses in Matthew 2 further unfold the Magi's encounter with Jesus and the unfolding of Herod's sinister plan.


2.13-15 The Flight Into Egypt


"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."


  1. Angel's Warning to Joseph: After the visit of the Magi (wise men) who came to worship the infant Jesus, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel warned Joseph about the imminent danger to the child's life, as King Herod was planning to search for and kill Jesus.
  2. Escape to Egypt: In response to the angel's warning, Joseph took Jesus and Mary during the night and fled to Egypt. This was a journey to escape the threat posed by King Herod.
  3. Fulfillment of Prophecy: Matthew emphasizes that this event fulfilled a prophecy from the Old Testament, specifically Hosea 11:1, which says, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
  4. Stay in Egypt: Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod. This stay in Egypt served as a protective measure to ensure the safety of the child Jesus.


Matthew 2:13-15 portrays God's providential care over Jesus, His protection from danger, and the fulfillment of prophecy. It highlights the importance of obedience to God's instructions and the trust that Joseph and Mary had in His guidance. The passage also serves as a transition to the next phase of Jesus' life and ministry.


2.16-18 The Massacre of The Innocents


"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. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah 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."


  1. Herod's Anger: When Herod learned that the Magi did not return to him with information about the location of Jesus, he became furious. Herod intended to eliminate any potential threat to his rule.

  2. Massacre of Infants: In his rage, Herod issued a horrifying decree: the killing of all boys in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas who were two years old and younger. This ruthless act was an attempt to ensure the elimination of any child who could potentially be the prophesied King of the Jews.

  3. Fulfillment of Prophecy: Matthew again emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, quoting from Jeremiah 31:15. The quote refers to Rachel, a matriarch of Israel, symbolically weeping for her descendants. The tragic events in Bethlehem echo the sorrow and mourning described in the prophecy. Jeremiah 31:15 (NIV): "This is what the Lord says: 'A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.'"

  4. Historical Context: While there is no external historical evidence corroborating this specific event, the massacre aligns with Herod's reputation for cruelty. Herod the Great, who ruled during the time of Jesus' birth, was known for his brutality, even within his own family.


Matthew 2:16-18 depicts the tragic consequences of Herod's fear and jealousy, resulting in the massacre of innocent infants in Bethlehem. The narrative underscores the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and sets the stage for the eventual return of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus from Egypt after Herod's death.


2.19-23 The Return To Nazareth


"But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 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."


  1. Death of Herod: The passage begins with the death of King Herod. Herod's death marks a significant turning point in the narrative, as it removes the immediate threat to the life of Jesus.

  2. Angel's Instruction to Joseph: After Herod's death, an angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph, instructing him to take Jesus and Mary back to the land of Israel. The angel assures Joseph that the danger has passed, as those who sought the child's life are now dead.

  3. Return to Israel and Concerns: Joseph obeys the angel's command and returns with Jesus and Mary to the land of Israel. However, upon learning that Archelaus, Herod's son, is reigning in Judea, Joseph is afraid to go there. Archelaus was known for his cruelty and was not a favorable ruler.

  4. Divine Guidance in a Dream: In another dream, Joseph is warned about the potential danger in Judea and is directed to go to the district of Galilee instead. Joseph heeds this guidance and settles in Nazareth.

  5. Fulfillment of Prophecy: The passage concludes by stating that these events fulfill what was said through the prophets, specifically that Jesus would be called a Nazarene. While there is no direct Old Testament prophecy with this wording, the reference may be more general, suggesting that Jesus would be associated with Nazareth.


Matthew 2:19-23 narrates Joseph's return to Israel with Jesus and Mary after Herod's death. Divine guidance through dreams plays a crucial role in ensuring their safety, and the events align with the fulfillment of prophecies, emphasizing Jesus' identity and his connection with Nazareth.