The Gospel according to Matthew

2:1Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, and in the days of King Herod,1 official advisors came to Jerusalem from the east.2:2They asked, “Where is the one born King of the Judeans? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”2:3This disturbed not only King Herod but all of Jerusalem as well.

2:4So he summoned all the ruling priests and scripture scholars to determine where the Anointed was to be born.2:5And they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea. This is how it is written through the prophet:2:6‘And you, Bethlehem of Judah: you are not at all the least significant among the governors of Judah! For out of you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

2:7Then Herod consulted privately with the official advisors to determine the precise time when the star appeared.2:8And he sent them into Bethlehem with these instructions: “Go and search carefully for the little one, and if you find him, tell me so that I can come and worship him.”2:9Upon hearing this from the king they went off, when suddenly the star they had seen in the east appeared! It went ahead of them until it came to a stop above the little one’s location.2:10They were extremely happy to see the star.

2:11Now when they arrived at the house they saw the little one with his mother Mary. They fell down and worshiped him, and they presented him with gifts such as gold, frankincense, and myrrh.22:12But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, so they took another route to their homeland.

2:13After they had gone, suddenly a Messenger of the Master appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Wake up! Take the little one and his mother, and run away to Egypt. Stay there until I talk to you again, because Herod intends to kill the child.”2:14So he woke up and took the child and his mother away that very night to Egypt,2:15where he stayed until Herod died. This was in fulfillment of the word of the Master through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

2:16When Herod realized that the official advisors had made him look like a fool, he was extremely furious. So he had all the children in Bethlehem killed if they were two years old or younger, according to the precise time he had learned from the official advisors.2:17Then the writing of the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:2:18“A sound is heard in Ramah, of wailing and deep grief. Rachel is sobbing for her children, and she cannot be consoled, for they are dead and gone.”

2:19After Herod died, a Messenger of the Master appeared to Joseph in a dream while he was still in Egypt.2:20He told him, “Wake up! Take the little one and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were out to take the child’s life are dead.”2:21So he woke up and took the little one and his mother to the land of Israel.2:22But when he heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod to rule in Judea, he was afraid to go there. And having been divinely warned in another dream, he went into the province of Galilee.2:23He settled in the city of Nazareth in fulfillment of the declaration of the prophet, “He will be called a Nazarene.”

  1. 1There is controversy over the date that Herod died, especially concerning the time of his demotion; see this article for discussion.
  2. 2Note several things in this passage: we don’t know how many advisors there were, the list of gifts is just a sample, and they worshiped Jesus— an indication of his divinity. Also, this was not the night of his birth but as much as two years later.