*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Matthew 2:7-8 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Matthew 2:7
  • Matthew 2:8

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.


There is no apparent parallel account of this event in the Gospels.

Having been informed by the scribes and priests of where the Messiah was to be born, Herod then secretly summons the magi and determined when he was born. This was determined by the exact time the star appeared to the magi. The fact that Herod had to ask when the star appeared indicates that the star was not an obviously spectacular event that everyone noticed. Only the magi who studied the stars were able to recognize its significance.

Herod then sent the magi to Bethlehem to search carefully and find the Child. Before he dismisses them, Herod requests that they report to him once they have found Him. He feigns affection for the Child and says that he wishes to come and worship Him as well. In reality, he plans to kill Him.

Biblical Text

2:7-8. Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”

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