Matthew 2

Some men come to visit Jesus

1 Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem, in Judea. King Herod ruled Judea at that time. After Jesus was born, some wise men came from a country in the east to Jerusalem. 2 When they arrived there, they asked people, ‘Where is the baby who has been born as the King of the Jews? We saw his special star when it first appeared in the sky. So now we have come here to worship him.’

2:1This Herod was called Herod the Great. He was king in Judea during the years from 37 BC to 4 BC. (BC means Before Christ.) Judea was a part of the country called Israel.

3 Herod heard what the men were saying. And he had trouble in his mind. All the people in Jerusalem also had trouble in their mind. 4 Then Herod asked all the leaders of the priests and the teachers of God's Law to meet with him. He asked them, ‘Where will God's Messiah be born?’ 5 They replied, ‘The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem in Judea. This is what the prophet wrote about it:

6 “People who live in Bethlehem,

your town is a very important town in Judea.

A person born in your town will become a leader of my people Israel.

He will lead my people like a shepherd leads his sheep.” ’

7 Then Herod secretly called the wise men to meet with him. They told him the time that the star had appeared. 8 Then Herod sent the men to Bethlehem. He said to them, ‘Go and look everywhere for this child. When you find him, come back here and tell me where he is. Then I can also go and worship him.’

9-10 After the men had heard the king, they left to go to Bethlehem. They could see the same star that they had seen before. They were very happy when they saw the star. It moved along in front of them. Then it stopped above the place where the child was staying. 11 The men went into the house and they saw the child. He was with Mary, his mother. They went down on their knees in front of the child and they worshipped him. Then they opened their bags. They took out valuable gifts and they gave them to the child. The gifts were gold, incense called frankincense, and also myrrh. 12 After that, God said to them in a dream, ‘Do not go back to see Herod again.’ So the men followed a different road to return to their own country.

2:12Gold is a very valuable metal. People would give gold to a king. Incense makes a sweet smell when it burns. Myrrh was an expensive medicine.

Mary, Joseph and Jesus go to Egypt

13 After the men had gone away, Joseph had a dream. In the dream, he saw one of the Lord God's angels. The angel said to him, ‘Herod will look for the child, so that his soldiers can kill him. You must get up and take the child and his mother with you. Go immediately to the country called Egypt. I will tell you when you can return again. You must remain there until then.’

14 So Joseph got up and he took the child and his mother with him. They started on the journey to Egypt that night. 15 They all remained in Egypt until Herod died. This happened so that the words of the prophet would become true. The Lord God had said by his prophet, ‘I have called my son to come out of Egypt.’

Herod's soldiers kill the baby boys in Bethlehem

16 When the wise men did not return to Herod, he was very angry. He knew that they had not done what he told them. So he sent his men to Bethlehem. He said to them, ‘Kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Kill the boys who live near there too. Kill all the boys who are two years old or younger than that.’ The wise men had told Herod how long ago they had first seen the special star. So he decided to kill the baby boys of that age. 17 In this way, these words that God's prophet Jeremiah spoke long ago became true:

18 ‘People heard a noise in Ramah.

They heard someone weeping with a loud voice.

It is Rachel and she is crying for her children.

Her children are dead.

Nobody can help her to feel better.’

Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Israel

19 After Herod died, Joseph had a dream in Egypt. In the dream he saw one of the Lord God's angels. 20 The angel said to Joseph, ‘Get up. The people who wanted to kill the child are dead. Take the child and his mother. You can now return with them to Israel.’

21 So Joseph got up. He took the child and his mother and they travelled to Israel. 22 But then Joseph heard that Herod's son, Archelaus, was now king of Judea instead of his father. So Joseph was afraid to go to Judea. In another dream God showed Joseph that he should go to Galilee instead. 23 Joseph went there and made his home in a town called Nazareth. Long ago God's prophets had said about God's Messiah, ‘He will be called a person from Nazareth.’ Now this had become true.