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Matthew 2:1-12 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Wise Men Visit

Jesus was born in Bethlehem[a] near Jerusalem[b] during the reign of King Herod.[c] After Jesus’ birth a group of spiritual priests[d] from the East came to Jerusalem and inquired of the people, “Where is the child who is born king of the Jewish people? We observed his star rising in the sky[e] and we’ve come to bow before him in worship.”

King Herod was shaken to the core when he heard this, and not only him, but all of Jerusalem was disturbed when they heard this news.[f] So he called a meeting of the Jewish ruling priests and religious scholars, demanding that they tell him where the promised Messiah was prophesied to be born.

“He will be born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,” they told him. “Because the prophecy states:

And you, little Bethlehem,
    are not insignificant among the clans of Judah,
    for out of you will emerge
    the Shepherd-King[g] of my people Israel!”[h]

Then Herod secretly summoned the spiritual priests from the East to ascertain the exact time the star first appeared. And he told them, “Now go to Bethlehem and carefully look there for the child, and when you’ve found him, report to me so that I can go and bow down and worship him too.”

And so they left, and on their way to Bethlehem, suddenly the same star they had seen in the East reappeared! Amazed, they watched as it went ahead of them and stopped directly over the place where the child was. 10 And when they saw the star, they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy.[i] 11 When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, they were overcome. Falling to the ground at his feet they worshiped him.[j] Then they opened their treasure boxes[k] full of gifts and presented him with gold, frank-incense, and myrrh. 12 Afterward they returned to their own country by another route because God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod.


  1. Matthew 2:1 Bethlehem, or Byt-lehem, means “house of bread,” the prophesied birthplace of Messiah. However, the Hebrew word lehem can also mean “fighters.” Jesus was born in “the House of Fighters!” This is the city of David, one of the greatest fighters in the entire Bible. Perhaps this is why the people of Jesus’ day expected him to fight the Romans and free their land from foreign occupation. Jesus fulfilled both aspects of the meaning of Bethlehem in Gethsemane and on the cross, where he fought the “Goliath” of our souls and won, becoming Bread for the world. God controls all events, proven by the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem even though his parents were living in Nazareth. See Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:1-19.
  2. Matthew 2:1 Or “in the land of Judea.” The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is “the land of Judah.”
  3. Matthew 2:1 Herod died in 4 BC, which helps in dating the birth of Christ.
  4. Matthew 2:1 Or “astrologers,” known as dream interpreters. These wealthy priests would have traveled with an entourage for protection as officials from the East. The Greek word magos is taken from the Mede language and means “spiritual advisors” or simply “priests.” They were appointed by Darius over the state religion as priests of Persia, which is modern-day Iran, and served as official advisors to the king. By the time of Jesus’ birth, Persia had been conquered and was being governed by successors to Alexander the Great. It is possible these Magos came from the Mesopotamian region of Seleucia. See also Dan. 2 and 5:11, where the prophet Daniel is given the title of “Chief of the Magio.” It is probable that these Magos were descendants of those who had been taught by Daniel, and because of his prophecy of the Messiah being “cut off,” they may have been able to decipher the date of his birth along with the interpretation of his star rising.
  5. Matthew 2:2 Or “his star in the east” or “shooting star” or possibly “comet.” Note that it is also called “his star,” not the star of Bethlehem.
  6. Matthew 2:3 Although we are not told how many “wise men” came to visit Bethlehem, it was likely quite a large entourage. It is doubtful that three men from Persia would cause such an uproar and commotion in the city. There were possibly over one hundred who traveled in the caravan from the East arriving in Jerusalem.
  7. Matthew 2:6 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the Leader who will shepherd my people Israel.”
  8. Matthew 2:6 See Mic. 5:2. Both the Septuagint and the Shem-Tob (Hebrew Matthew) have “out of you will come to me a Ruler who will be King of Israel.” The Septuagint adds, “He will shepherd my people in the strength of the Lord.”
  9. Matthew 2:10 The Greek is hard to translate since it contains so many redundant words for joy in this one verse. It is literally “They rejoiced with a great joy exceedingly.” They were ecstatic!
  10. Matthew 2:11 Turning their backs on human wisdom, these “wise men” bowed low before the true Wisdom of God. See 1 Cor. 1:24.
  11. Matthew 2:11 These “wise men” were extremely wealthy. They presented gifts that totaled a great sum of money—not tiny presents wrapped with bows, but treasure chests full of financial wealth. Although we are not given the monetary value of each type of gift, we know that frankincense and myrrh were extremely costly. These gifts would have financed Joseph and Mary and Jesus’ exodus to Egypt and supplied their living expenses for a number of years, even after returning to Israel. Gold is an often-used symbol of the deity of Christ. Frankincense points to his perfect life of holiness, excellence, and devotion. Myrrh, an embalming spice, speaks to us of the suffering love that would lead him to the death on the cross.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
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