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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 2

1 Jesus was born in a small Judean town called Bethlehem, during the rule of King Herod. At that time, scholars and scientists from the East came to Jerusalem searching for Jesus.2 They inquired, "We saw a new star in the sky–the star of the newborn king of the Jews. Where is he, that we may worship him?"

3 This news stirred up excitement in Jerusalem, but King Herod was extremely agitated when the report reached him.4 He called together the nation's religious leaders, theologians and lawyers, and asked them to tell him where the Messiah was to be born.5 They told him, "In a little town called Bethlehem, in Judea. For God's spokesperson wrote:

6 'Bethlehem, in Judah, you are certainly not the least important city in Judah, because from you will come the prince who will restore my people.'"

7 Herod called a secret meeting with the scientists and scholars from the East and discovered the exact time the star had appeared.8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, telling them, "Make a thorough search, and when you find the child, tell me right away so that I can also come and worship him."

9 After talking with the king, they were excited to complete their journey, so they followed the star they had seen in the east until it stopped over the place where Jesus was.10 And they were so happy to see that star!11 When they arrived at the house, they saw Jesus in the arms of his mother Mary, and they fell down in adoration, worshipping him. They gave him expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.12 God had warned them in a dream not to tell Herod where Jesus was, so they returned to their homeland by a different route.

13 After the scholars had gone, an angel from God came to Joseph in a dream and said: "Wake up! Herod is plotting to kill baby Jesus. He will soon send soldiers looking for him, so take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Wait there until I tell you it is safe to return."

14 Joseph got up immediately, quickly packed what he could, took baby Jesus and Mary, and fled that night for Egypt.15 They stayed in Egypt until Herod died, and thus God's prophecy "I called my son back from Egypt" was fulfilled.

16 When Herod realized that the professors from the East had not been duped by his scheme, he was furious and ordered all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, under two years of age, to be killed (he determined the age based on the scholars' report of when the star appeared).17 Thus Jeremiah's prophecy was fulfilled:

18 "An outcry was heard in Ramah — the sound of heart-breaking weeping — Rachel sobbing for her children and unable to be comforted because they are dead."

19 After Herod died, an angel from God appeared in a dream to Joseph, who was in Egypt, and said,20 "It's time to go home. Take the child and his mother back to Israel, as those who sought to kill the child are dead."

21 As instructed, he took the child and his mother home to Israel.22 After learning that Herod's son Archelaus was reigning in Judea, and after receiving a warning in a dream, Joseph was afraid to go back to Judea, so instead went to Galilee23 and lived in a town called Nazareth. Thus it was fulfilled what was prophesied through God's spokespersons: "He will be called a Nazarene."