Saturday, February 26, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 2:1-12 - Magi and Herod

Matthew 2:1 - The Magi and Herod

Magi - From the east, Persia (Iran) or Babylon (Iraq). Daniel was an associate Dan 2:13, who interceded for their lives while in Babylon Dan 2:24. He could be the source of the Magi understanding the birth of the King being accompanied by an astronomical sign Num 24:17. God chose to announce the birth of the King to Jewish shepherds (Luk 2:8-20) and Gentiles, not the religious or political establishments.

Herod - Herod enjoyed Roman protection and support. He was not Jewish, although Rome had installed him as the "King of Judea" in 40 BC. He was a usurper. Herod was a great city builder, and even built the second temple in Jerusalem, but he was also a man of great violence.

Matthew 2:2-3 - The Magi and Herod (continued)

The Magi arriving at the palace asking about the King of the Jews was seen as a severe threat by Herod, for the Jews desired their own king on the throne. "All Jerusalem [being disturbed] with him" shows the pressure the Jews were under being subject to Herod and the Romans. Neither of them put up with rebellion, and Israel was known already as a rebellious people with fanatical heros Act 5:36-37, Act 19:25-29. The fear on the part of the Jewish people is seen in their reaction to Pilate trying to set Jesus free Joh 19:12-15. It was a tense time.

Matthew 2:4 - Birthplace of Messiah Queried

Herod conspired to determine from the Jews where the Messiah was to be born. Herod's use of the term "Messiah" shows the understanding that the Jewish King Jesus would be both King, the Son of David, to rule over the earth, and also Messiah, savior of the Jewish people from their sins.

Matthew 2:5-6 - Birthplace of Messiah Answered

The religious leaders told Herod that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. The "of Judea" is important for prophetically the King of the Jews, the Messiah would come from there Mic 5:2. King David was born and lived here.

Matthew 2:7-8 - Time of the Star Queried

After learning the birthplace of this King of the Jews, Herod met privately with the Magi, and inquired of them the exact time the Star had been seen. His intent was to kill the child, and asked the Magi to return and tell him who the child was.

Matthew 2:9-10 - The Magi Head to Bethlehem

The Magi set off for Bethlehem without the star in view, as indicated by their joy when they saw it. One wonders why Gentiles would be so excited to visit a king born to a non-royal family in such a small and politically weak nation as Israel. They apparently had information about this King that excited their hearts.

Matthew 2:11 - The Magi Arrive in Bethlehem

Interestingly, the Magi here entered a "house", not a "stable" as the shepherds had, indicating that some time had past since the King was born. The Magi believed Jesus to be a superior person to themselves, since they fell down to worship.

Matthew 2:12 - The Magi Warned

The Magi themselves were in danger from Herod. There would be no allowing these men to travel back to their homeland to spread the word of a King of the Jews and Messiah to create a stir. God protected the Magi via a dream and sent them home circumventing Herod.

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