Matthew 2 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-8 - Jesus' birth ushered in peace on earth, right? Well, not right away.

  • Magi show up wanting to see the King, and they don't mean Herod. This put the neurotic King Herod on defense, and Herod was dangerous when he was defensive.

  • Matthew writes, "Herod was disturbed, and all Jerusalem along with him."

  • Jerusalem wasn't disturbed because they felt sorry for Herod,

  • rather it was because they knew blood would be shed until Herod no longer felt defensive.

  • So Herod gathered up the religious elite to inquire about where the Messiah (Christ) would be born (Messiah/Christ means 'anointed,' which is how one became a king like Herod).

  • Herod moves to stage two of his plot and manipulates the Magi into giving him a time frame to work with and asks them to kindly return and let Herod know where to find this new King, so that Herod could 'worship' him.

  • v9-12 - Chapter two opens with the temporal clause "After Jesus was born."

  • While it's possible that this can mean 'a few hours' or 'a couple of days' after Jesus was born, it's much more likely that months or even years have elapsed since Jesus was born. In any event, it's highly unlikely that these magi (it says nothing about there being three 'wise men') crowded around a manger along with the shepherds and gently lowing oxen as most nativity scenes portray it.

  • After giving the young King their gifts, the Magi are warned in a dream not to return to Herod and went straight home.

  • v13-18 - An angel once again visits Joseph in a dream and sends him fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod's killing spree.

  • Joseph immediately obeys and takes his young family to Egypt.

  • There is anything but peace on earth in Bethlehem as Herod's henchmen descend, killing all baby boys born in the time frame given by the Magi.

  • Matthew quotes Jeremiah, who had prophesied about the weeping and mourning that would come to this area.

  • Just as we've been seeing in Revelation, things are not as they seem in this world