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The Visit of the Wise Men

After Jesus had been born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign[a] of King Herod, wise men[b] arrived in Jerusalem from the east and asked, “Where is the one who was born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east[c] and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, as was all of Jerusalem. He called together all the high priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah[d] was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because that is what was written by the prophet:

‘O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    you are by no means least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd[e] my people Israel.’”[f]

Then Herod secretly called together the wise men, found out from them the time the star had appeared, and sent them to Bethlehem. He told them,[g] “As you go, search carefully for the child. When you find him, tell me so that I, too, may go and worship him.”

After listening to the king, they set out, and the star they had seen in the east[h] went ahead of them until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were ecstatic with joy. 11 After they went into the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, they fell down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasure sacks and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they left for their own country by a different road.

The Escape to Egypt

13 After they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt,” he said. “Stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and kill him.” 14 So Joseph[i] got up, took the child and his mother, and left at night for Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod’s death in order to fulfill what was declared by the Lord[j] through the prophet when he said, “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”[k]

The Massacre of the Infants

16 Herod flew into a rage when he learned that he had been tricked by the wise men, so he ordered the execution of all the male children in Bethlehem and all its neighboring regions, who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then what was declared by the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled when he said,

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah:
    wailing and great mourning.
Rachel was crying for her children.
    She refused to be comforted,
        because they no longer existed.”[l]

The Return to Nazareth

19 But after Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up,” he said. “Take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill[m] the child are dead.”

21 So Joseph[n] got up, took the child and his mother, and went into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, after having been warned in a dream. So he left for the region of Galilee 23 and settled in a town called Nazareth in order to fulfill what was said by the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”[o]


  1. Matthew 2:1 Lit. days
  2. Matthew 2:1 Lit. magoi (Magi); i.e. Aramaic speaking wise men from Mesopotamia; or magi-astrologers; and so throughout the chapter; cf. Dan 1:4
  3. Matthew 2:2 Or at its rising
  4. Matthew 2:4 Or Christ
  5. Matthew 2:6 Or govern
  6. Matthew 2:6 Cf. Mic 5:2; 2 Sam 5:2
  7. Matthew 2:8 The Gk. lacks them
  8. Matthew 2:9 Or at its rising
  9. Matthew 2:14 Lit. he
  10. Matthew 2:15 MT source citation reads Lord
  11. Matthew 2:15 Cf. Hos 11:1
  12. Matthew 2:18 Cf. Jer 31:15
  13. Matthew 2:20 Lit. were seeking the life of
  14. Matthew 2:21 Lit. he
  15. Matthew 2:23 The Gk. Nazoraios may be a word play between Heb. netser, meaning branch (cf. Isa 11:1), and the name Nazareth.