2:1-6 According to the text, the Magi were not kings, they were not limited in number and they were not necessarily all that wise. They did, however travel a great distance to worship Jesus, while others did not bother to walk across town. The word worship in v.2 means literally “to kiss toward” and was reserved only for God. Peter refused this type of worship because he was not God (Acts 10:25-26). The angel in Revelation refused to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:8). Herod Agrippa I accepted praise from men and he died violently because of it (Acts 12:21-23). It makes one wonder about religious leaders today who allow themselves to be worshipped. We’ll discuss this further in 4:10.
2:7-12 Herod had no intention of worshipping the new King. He wanted to kill Him. Herod the Great was insanely jealous and paranoid. He had Aristobulus executed out of jealousy. He had his wife, Mariamne, killed for fear she would kill him. He had her two sons killed. Caesar Augustus once said, “I’d rather be Herod’s hog than his son.” The Magi had to rely on a star to guide them to the stable. Just how they did that is unclear, but it worked. Fortunately Bethlehem was not very big.
2:13-18 Twice, now, God has communicated with Joseph through dreams. Herod’s plan to kill Jesus failed because he was fighting against God. His actions caused Joseph to flea to Egypt. When he returned and went to Nazareth, another prophesy was fulfilled. Since Bethlehem was small, it is believed that only about 30-50 boys died during the raid of Herodian soldiers, but can you imagine the horror for those families? Ramah, in vs. 18, was a district within Bethlehem.
2:19-23 A third and fourth time, Joseph received direction through dreams. Dreams have commonly played a major role in God guiding His people. Joseph receives more revelations through dreams than the average child of God. It is clear God is guiding and protecting His Son. Herod died at the age of 70. He ruled for 37 years. Archelaus was a “bad fellow” according to Josephus. He ruled from 4 B.C. to 6 A.D.
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