Bible Study Notes on Matthew 2 – 20171201

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Bible Study Notes

Matthew 2:1  “…after Jesus was born…wise men from the East came to Jerusalem”
Not the night Jesus was born.  The nativity scenes we have which include the wise men are nice to look at, but they’re scripturally incorrect.  The only ones who saw Jesus in the stable, that we’re told about, are animals and the shepherds.  From the East doesn’t tell us exactly where they’re from, but a good guess would be areas of Persia which would now be Iraq and Iran.  From the book of Daniel we learn that having magicians and wise men as counselors was a practice of those kingdoms.  Daniel dealt with it during the Babylonian era and the Persian.  Due to what the wise men tell Herod, I’m of the opinion they were descendants of those who were around during Daniel’s time.  His influence may not have been complete, but I’m sure it was recorded.  He was told about the Messiah to come, so it doesn’t surprise me that the wise men found the correlation when they saw the star.

2  “…He who has been born King of the Jews…”
Didn’t say just a king, but king of the Jews.  That leads me to believe they knew of the prophecy of a coming Jewish king.  Would have gotten that from Daniel.

2  “…we have seen His star in the East…”
I’ve heard the star referred to as the eastern star as though it was in the eastern sky.  But they are saying they saw it while they were in the east.  It’s actually not mentioned where the star was located in the sky nor how long they saw it.  We assume it was over the stable when Christ was born, but it doesn’t say that.  We also assume they followed it to Jerusalem, but it doesn’t say that either.  I speculate they saw the star and checked their writings to see if they could find a corresponding event as a reason.  They found the writings of Daniel who told of the coming Jewish king and decided to head out to Jerusalem to see him.

3  “…Herod…was troubled…all Jerusalem with him”
Given the fact that Herod was such an evil king, the fact that he was upset over something probably upset everyone around him.

5  “…In Bethlehem of Judea…”
They knew the scriptures, but weren’t looking.  How sad.  Same could be said of us and Christ’s second coming.  We live as though He’s not coming back.  In fact, now there is a movement within Christian circles that openly attacks all those who teach of the imminent return of Jesus.  So sad.  They can’t just disagree, they must attack and destroy.

7  “…determined from them what time the star appeared”
He assumes the star appeared when the child was born.  What they told him here would give him an idea of the age of the child.

9-10  “…the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced…”
From the context, it seems the star had disappeared at some point and has now reappeared and is leading them to where Jesus is.  Whatever the phenomenon of the star was, it had to be able to appear and disappear as well as move to the point of being over a particular spot.  It could not have been something such as the alignment of the planets or other such nonsense.  Always irritates me when someone comes up with such an idea.  They’re showing their ignorance of the scriptures and are only trying to find a way to discredit them.

11  “…into the house, they saw the young Child…”
A house, not a stable.  And Jesus was a young child, not a baby.  Time has certainly passed.

11  “…gold, frankincense, and myrrh”
Three gifts which is where we get the idea of three wise men, but scripture doesn’t say how many.  Many make something of the content of the gifts.  Gold as speaking of His kingship, frankincense as speaking of His eventual sacrifice, and myrrh as speaking of His death.  I’ve always seen them as expensive gifts and that the men would have given their best.  But the fact that these specific gifts are mentioned may indicate the significance of them in relation to Christ.

Topics12  “…being divinely warned in a dream…”
They came and worshipped Jesus which says they saw Him as more than just a civil king.  Exactly what the state of their hearts was is unknown.  At any rate, God warns them in their dreams that they need to depart the country without going through Jerusalem.  God can certainly speak to anyone He wishes.  But it makes me wonder if they were also believers of some fashion.

13  “…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream…”
He’s been here before.  Odd that the angel always appears to Joseph in a dream and not in the open.  Might be something interesting going on there for later study.

14-15  “…departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod…”
Should have been able to find work as a carpenter there, but also would have had the gifts of the wise men to provide living funds.

15  “…that it might be fulfilled…”
Old Testament tie in.

16  “…Herod…put to death all the male children…from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men”
Much debate is given to this as to why he killed all males under two.  Seems obvious to me that the wise men must have told him the star appeared some time over a year previously.  Herod had no qualms about killing anyone, but from the context it seems he had a timeframe in mind and simply killed all male children who fit that frame.  I guess the debate comes when you try to use this as the means of determining when Christ was born.  But there are too many variables, like how long they studied the star before leaving, what route they took and how quickly they traveled, and exactly what they told Herod with regard to the time.  I tend to take the simplest route based on what is given.  They probably told Him just over a year so he killed all those under two to make sure he got Jesus.

19  “…an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph…”
One more time, to let him know it was safe to return.

22  “…being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee”
Yet another dream.  Appears Joseph was going to return to the area of Bethlehem, but he was uneasy to do so because of Herod’s son.  So God told him to head on up to Galilee.

23  “…He shall be called a Nazarene”
Matthew says this was done so it might be fulfilled, another tie in with the Old Testament prophecies.  But you won’t find this specific prophecy listed.  Best guess is a little hard to explain without writing a book.  Isaiah says Christ would come from a root or stem of Jesse out of dry ground giving the idea of not worth much and that He had no great beauty that we would desire Him.  Despised and rejected of men.  Other prophecies mention this thought.  Of small esteem or somewhat worthless is what many thought of Nazarenes.  Jesus fit this bill as He came in such a way that He could reach people from all walks of life, from the lowest to the greatest.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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