Matthew 2:1-12 – The timing of this event is different from the events of Luke 2. The Shepherds of Luke 2 were present immediately following the birth of the Messiah. They were led to a stable and saw the Baby laying in a feeding trough. The Wise men saw a star when Jesus was born and only then began their journey to behold the King of Israel. When they arrived they came to His house. Matthew 2:11.
When the wise men came the child was no longer an infant. Herod uses the Greek word “paidos”, which refers to a child beyond infancy. In Matthew 2:7 Herod asks the Magi when they saw the star. Shortly after that he sends soldiers to kill all children two years old and younger. The number of Magi by tradition is three.
This is because of the three gifts mentioned. However there could have been any number of wise men who came. There is nothing in Scripture to show that these wise men were kings. The word Magi is a Greek term for wise men or more specifically astrologers. Generally when Scriptures refers to the east it is a reference to Assyria, or Babylon, which is today Iraq.
How did these Babylonian astrologers know about a Jewish Messiah? What was this star? Since the star led them, and that it appeared and disappeared, it was likely not an ordinary star. The Greek word for star is “radiance” or “brilliance.” In all likelihood this was the Shechinah Glory of the God’s presence.
Exodus 19:18,40:38 which led the wise men to the Lord. These Astrologers were the descendants of the wisemen influenced by Daniel, Hannaiah, Azariah, Mishael & Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 1:19-20;2:12-13,47;4:7-9,5:11-12. These astrologers were familiar with the book of Daniel and the prophecy concerning the timing of his coming.
Balaam prophesied of a star coming from Judah that would be related to the Messiah Numbers 24:17. Balaam was from Pethor, a city on the banks of the Euphrates rive in Babylon. Numbers 22:5;Deuteronomy 23:4. No doubt this Babylonian wise man or seer passed this information on to his colleagues. It was not the stars or astrology that led them to the truth of the Messiah but knowing God’s Word through his appointed prophets, and in the case of Balaam his appointed non‑prophet.
Matthew 2:13-23 – The deliverance of Jesus by flight into Egypt. God knew what the reaction of Herod would be and so instructed Joseph to take Miriam and Jesus to Egypt. Joseph probably went to Alexandria where there was large Jewish community and would easily find work, fellowship and support. The period in Egypt was a short time, probably three years until Herod dies.
The reason is given: Prophetic fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. Israel was God’s son Exodus 4:22-23. Messiah was the picture of the Son that Israel was called to be. In a sense Jesus was in Egypt with Israel at the time of Moses Hebrews 7:10. This reality of sonship is another indication of our relationship to the Lord. We are sons of God by virtue of our relationship to Jesus. Sons who will never be totally forsaken. Disciplined, but not cast off.
The slaughter of the Innocents. Herod who thought of himself as King of the Jews, feared any wind that might blow ill of him or his family. He killed his own children and wife on the suspicion that they were plotting against him. How much more then a religious pretender to his throne. In order to be safe he doubled the time from when the Magi told him they had first seen the star (Shekhinah).
In quoting Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew sees not only Rachel crying over her children as they were brought into captivity. Matthew sees this in the light of the Messiah’s coming. The tears that began with the end of the Davidic rule at the start of the Babylonian captivity, is now ending with the arrival of the new Son of David, the Messiah. Matthew sees that the Exile is now over.
The return to Nazareth. As Israel was protected in Egypt until the fullness of the Amorite Genesis 15:16, so also was Jesus protected until the fullness of Herod. He was directed to Nazareth because Archealaus was nearly as cruel as Herod. This was to fulfill what the Prophets not the prophet had foretold, that He would be a Nazarene. The Galilee was not known for its godliness and holiness. What the prophets foretold was that He would be despised. Psalm 22:6-8,13, 69:8, 20-21;Isaiah 11:1;49:7,53:2-3,8;Daniel 9:26. This is clearly demonstrated throughout Matthew 8:20;11:16-19,15:7-8.