BIBLE: Matthew Chapter 2 – Headline “‘The Great’ Pretender”

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Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Matthew 2

What should I learn from this chapter?

  • The illegitimacy of Herod the Great’s rule.
  • Prophecy Out of Egypt
  • Massacre of the Innocents
  • Prophecy Ramah
  • Death of Herod the Great

Wise Men from the East

Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod (the Great) the king, behold, wise men (Chaldeans) from the East came to Jerusalem,
  • Chaldeans (Babylonian)
  • Herod the Great was king of the Jews installed by the Roman Senate with the recommendations of Octavian (aka Octavius aka Augustus) and Mark Antony. . He was the head of the dynasty of Herods who would succeed him.
Matthew 2:saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
  • Babylon is East of Israel, the star guided them to Jerusalem before Bethlehem. The question is “why”?
Matthew 2:When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
  • This Herod is called “Herod the Great” and not to be confused with other Herods, all relatives of the Herodian Dynasty which Herod the Great set up.
  • Herod the Great was not a legitimate Jewish king. He was not Jewish but of the lineage of Esau, Jacob’s brother therefore called “Idumean” and an Edomite.
    • Deuteronomy 17:15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
Matthew 2:And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
  • The chief priests and scribes, those who were scholars of the Jewish prophecies, knew where Jesus was to be born. Did they have no clue that they should go to Bethlehem to check things out?
Matthew 2:So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
Matthew 2:‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
  • John 10:11 “I (Jesus) am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

Humor: A bad “ruler” has one “foot” on his subject’s necks.

Humor: What do Herod the Great and Jesus the Messiah have in common?
Answer: They have the same middle names.

Matthew 2:Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
  • Herod is secretive, manipulative, and self-serving. To retain his “kingship” he secretly has a campaign to execute all those who are in line to the Davidic throne (called Nasi).
Matthew 2:And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
  • The Hebrew word for Hypocrite means “actor”.
Matthew 2:When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
  • Angels are compared to stars.
  • Chaldeans (wise men) are “star gazers”.
Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Matthew 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold (kingship), frankincense (priest), and myrrh (bitter death).
  • Gold:
    • Kingship
  • Frankincense:
    • Priest
    • Frankincense is a hardened gum-like material (resin) that comes from the trunk of the Boswellia tree. People use its oil on the skin and in aromatherapy. Frankincense oil seems to kill some types of bacteria and fungi (yeasts). It is commonly used as a fragrance in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Used for incense.
      https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-448/frankincense
  • Myrhh:
    • Thorns and bitterness, used for embalming: Jesus’ Death.
    • Myrrh, (from Arabic murr, “bitter”), bitter-tasting, agreeably aromatic, yellow to reddish brown oleoresinous gum obtained from various small, thorny, flowering trees of the genus Commiphora, of the incense-tree family (Burseraceae).
      https://www.britannica.com/topic/myrrh
    • In the time of Jesus’ birth both frankincense and myrrh were said to be more valuable than gold.
      https://www.thehealthjournals.com/frankincense-myrrh/
Matthew 2:12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
  • They are getting wiser every moment.

The Flight into Egypt

Matthew 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
Matthew 2:14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
Matthew 2:15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
  • Hosea 11:1 God’s Continuing Love for Israel – “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Massacre of the Innocents

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod (the Great), when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

The young child is under 2 years of age
.Joseph and Mary have gone to Egypt.
When will they return? After Herod the Great dies, and it doesn’t take long. Immediately after the slaughter of the male children under two years Herod is struck by gangrene.

ABC News
Headline: Researchers Diagnose Herod the Great ~ By Amanda Onion
January 7, 2006, 4:51 AM• 5 min read

“Jan. 25, 2002 — He was a ruthless man who died a miserable death.

More than 2,000 years after Herod the Great succumbed at age 69, doctors have now settled on exactly what killed the king of ancient Judea: chronic kidney disease complicated by a very uncomfortable case of maggot-infested gangrene of the genitals.”

“Hirschmann suspects one of three conditions likely introduced Fournier’s gangrene to the leader’s ‘privy parts.’ An infection in Herod’s abdomen could have spread to his groin and rectal areas (Herod is said to have complained of abdominal pain).

He may have sexually contracted gonorrhea, which could have led to an infection of the urethra — the tube connecting the bladder to the outside world. This infection could have cause urine to leak inside the king’s body, spreading bacteria.

Finally, since reports indicate the king ‘had a terrible desire to scratch himself,’ this scratching could have introduced gangrene directly into the area.

Records also indicate the swelling at the leader’s groin was further wracked by an infestation of worms…”

Matthew 2:17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
Matthew 2:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

The Home in Nazareth

Matthew 2:19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
  • Almost always in scripture, God speaks to men through their dreams. What is it about the dream-like state that makes man accessible to God’s message?
Matthew 2:20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.”
Matthew 2:21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Matthew 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee.
  • Herod Archelaus (A son of Herod the Great) was known for his cruelty based on the murder of 3000 after his father’s death;. Herod Antipas (A son of Herod the Great and Archelaus’ full blooded brother) was seemingly less hated.
    When Herod the Great died Herod Antipas had been imprisoned by his father, set to be executed. His father’s death saved his life.
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
  • Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the place of birth of King David. He grew up in Nazareth which became His home.
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