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Matthew narrates the events surrounding Jesus’s infancy. He tells the stories of the magi from the east who saw a star in the sky signifying the birth of the King of the Jews; Herod’s terror at this news; the holy family’s escape to Egypt; Herod’s slaughter of young males in Bethlehem; and the holy family’s return to Israel as they settle in Nazareth. Throughout the chapter Matthew emphasizes his main themes, namely, that Jesus is both the King of the Jews and the Messiah. Over the course of the chapter’s events, Matthew cites the direct fulfillment of no fewer than four Old Testament prophecies to reiterate these themes.



Matthew 2:1-2

Matthew’s narrative of Jesus, the Messiah, continues with the arrival in Jerusalem of magi from the east. Having seen “His” star in the east, they have travelled from far to worship the young King of the Jews.

Matthew 2:3-6

The magi’s news of a newborn king disturbs Herod and all of Jerusalem. The child is a threat to Herod’s power. He summons the scribes and priests, and asks them to let him know where the Messiah is supposed to be born. The scribes answer, “In Bethlehem.” They support their answer with a declaration from the prophet Micah.

Matthew 2:7-8

Herod intends to kill the child sought by the magi and end the threat to his rule. He treacherously summons the magi to determine precisely when the star first appeared so that he would know how old the newborn king is. He then sends the magi to seek out the child and asks them to inform him of his whereabouts and identity, slyly adding so that he too can pay homage.

Matthew 2:9-12

The magi continue following the star until it leads them to Jesus. They worship Jesus and present him with three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When the magi leave, they do not return to Herod, because God warned them by a dream to not reveal Jesus to the wicked king.

Matthew 2:13-15

An angel commands Joseph to take his young family away from Bethlehem and to flee to Egypt, because Herod will soon try to kill Jesus. Joseph obeys and stays there until Herod dies. Matthew highlights that this action fulfills the prophecy from Hosea, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Matthew 2:16

King Herod is furious when he realizes that the magi tricked him. He sends soldiers to kill all the males in and around the village of Bethlehem under two years of age. Matthew points out that this tragedy fulfills a prophecy from Jeremiah.

Matthew 2:17-18

Matthew points out that the tragedy of the murdered children in Bethlehem fulfills the prophecy from Jeremiah, again confirming Jesus as the anticipated Messiah.

Matthew 2:19-23

After King Herod dies, an angel informs Joseph by dream that it is safe to return to Israel. Joseph obeys, but is careful to avoid the region of Judea, because Herod’s son is in charge. In another dream God warns Joseph to go north to the region of Galilee. Joseph obeys and settles his family in the Galilean town of Nazareth. Matthew highlights that by living in Nazareth, this fulfills certain Messianic prophecies from Jeremiah.

Matthew 2:23b

Matthew finishes this chapter by telling his readers that Jesus’s upbringing in Nazareth is the (fifth) direct fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy.