Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the
king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his
star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. 
During this time wise men  from the east came saying,
Where is the baby who will become the king of the Jews?
We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all
Jerusalem with him.
When Herod heard about the wise men, it troubled him, along with everyone else in Jerusalem.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people
together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
He asked the priests and scribes where Christ would be born.
And they said unto him, In
Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out
of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
They told him it would be in Bethlehem of Judea, according to the prophet. [3
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them
diligently what time the star appeared.
Herod called the wise men and asked when the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the
young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may
come and worship him also.
He sent the wise men to Bethlehem, saying to them,
Go and find the child. When you have found him, tell me where he is so I can come and worship him.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they
saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the
young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
So the wise men left Jerusalem, and the star that they saw in the east went before them, until it stood
over where the child was. [4
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary
his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened
their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and
The wise men came to the house [5
] where they saw the child with Mary, his mother.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod,
they departed into their own country another way.
The wise men were warned in a dream [6
] not to return to Herod, so they left for
their own country by another way.
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to
Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,
and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod
will seek the young child to destroy him.
After the wise men left, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream [7
Get up and take the baby and his mother to Egypt, because Herod is going to try to kill him.
I'll tell you when it's safe to come back.
When he arose, he took
the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the
Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 
When Joseph woke up, he took the baby and his mother and left for Egypt [8
] and stayed there
until Herod died.
This was to fulfill the prophecy saying, "Out of Egypt I have called my son." 
Herod murders the infants in Bethlehem
Then Herod, when
he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent
forth, and slew all the
children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two
years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently
enquired of the wise men.
When the wise men failed to return, Herod ordered the slaughter of all the children in and around
Bethlehem from two years old and under. [10
Then was fulfilled that
which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping
for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
The killing of the infants in Bethlehem fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremy [11
In Rama there was a voice of great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children.
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt,
Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the
land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
When Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph (again) in a dream [12
] telling him to
take the child and his mother back to Israel.
And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the
land of Israel.
So Joseph took the child and his mother back to Israel.
Home in Nazareth of Galilee
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his
father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of
God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
But when Joseph heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea after his father's death, he was
afraid to go there.
God warned Joseph in another dream  to go to Galilee instead.
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Joseph and his little family settled in Nazareth to fulfill the prophecy saying,
"He shall be called a Nazarene." 
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem ... in the days of Herod the king. (v.1a)
The Herod that is referred to here is Herod the Great,
as is made clear in verse 22, which refers to Herod's son,
Archalaus. Since Herod the Great died in 4 BCE,
this dates Jesus's birth to no later than that year. But the gospel of Luke
(2:2) says that Cyrenius
(Quirinius) was governor of Syria when Mary was
pregnant with Jesus. Since Quirinius was appointed governor in 6 CE we know that Jesus was born sometime
before 4 BCE and sometime after 6 CE -- which, if true, would indeed make it a miraculous birth.
When was Jesus born?
- There came wise men from the east. (v.1b)
The Revised English Bible translates this as, "After his birth astrologers from the east arrived in
Jerusalem...." If this translation is correct, then Matthew's gospel seems to approve of astrology.
Is astrology condemned by the bible?
Strange Flesh: What about the magi?
Queer Epiphany: Three kings or three queens?
- In Bethlehem of Judea (v.5)
Matthew claims that Jesus's birth in Bethlehem fulfils a prophecy from
Micah 5:2. But this is unlikely since:
- "Bethlehem Ephratah" in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a
clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb's second wife,
Ephrathah (2:50-52, 4:4).
- The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but
rather to a military leader, as can be seen from verse 5:6.
This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus
Whatever the correct interpretation of Micah 5:2 may be, the author of Matthew thought that it required
the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem. So he found a way to make that happen, as did the author of Luke, probably for
the same reason. They achieved it in different ways, however. Matthew's gospel has Joseph and Mary living in
a house in Bethlehem when Mary becomes pregnant; Luke has them living in Nazareth and traveling to Bethlehem because
of a census. Neither Mark nor John mention anything about a birth in Bethlehem, although the author of the
gospel of John was aware that some expected the Messiah to be born there
- The star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the
young child was. (v.9)
If the star "went before them," leading them to Bethlehem, then it couldn't have been a star or any
other astronomical object or event. But Matthew couldn't have known that. Everyone at the time
thought that stars were just little points of light a short distance above the earth. It'd be no
problem to have one hover above a particular place for a while.
- And when they were come into the house (v.11)
Was Jesus born in a house or a manger?
Where did Joseph and Mary live before the birth of Jesus?
- Being warned of God in a dream (v.12)
Dreams in the Bible
- The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream (v.13)
Dreams in the Bible
- He took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt. (v.14)
According to Matthew, Mary, and the baby Jesus left for Egypt soon after Jesus' birth, yet Luke
(2:39) says they went directly to Nazareth.
Did Jesus, Mary, and Joseph go to Egypt or Nazareth?
- Out of Egypt have I called my son (v.15)
Matthew claims that the flight of Jesus's family to Egypt is a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1.
But Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy. It is a reference to the Hebrew exodus from Egypt
and has nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew tries to hide this fact by quoting only the last part of the verse
("Out of Egypt I have called my son"). Here is the complete verse.
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. Hosea 11:1
- Herod ... slew all the children that were in Bethlehem ... from two years old and under.
Herod kills all infants in and around Bethlehem that are two years old and under. Such a massacre would certainly have been
noted by contemporary historians. Yet not even Josephus, who documented Herod's life in detail, mentioned this event.
- Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy. (v.17)
Matthew quotes Jeremiah 31:15, claiming that it was a prophecy of King Herod's
alleged slaughter of the children in and around Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. But this verse
refers to the Babylonian captivity, as is clear by reading the next two verses
(16 and 17), and, thus, has nothing to do with Herod's massacre.
- An angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph. (v.19)
Dreams in the Bible
- Being warned of God in a dream (v.22)
Dreams in the Bible
- He shall be called a Nazarene. (v.23)
Matthew claims this was a fulfillment of prophecy, yet such a prophecy is not
found anywhere in the Old Testament.
- Christian Responses
- Mt.2:2 - The Wise Men and Astrology
- Matthew's Use of Micah 5:2
- Matthew 2:14-22 - The Sojourn in Egypt
- Matthew 2:15 and Hosea 11:1
- Matthew 2:16 & the Infant-Slaughter at Bethlehem
- Matthew 2:17-18 - Weeping in Ramah
- Matthew 2:23 - Jesus
- The Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible
- There in the way of Ephrath; the
same is Bethlehem (Matthew 2)
- SAB Author Answered
- SAB Author Answered