Summary of passage: The wise men leave Herod and continue their journey in search of Christ, using the star as their guide. They arrived at Jesus’s house and bowed down and worshipped him. They gave the child gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Then they returned home a different way to avoid Herod.
An angel of the Lord warns Joseph to flee Bethlehem for Egypt because Herod is going to try to kill the child. So Mary, Joseph, and Jesus stayed in Egypt until Herod died, returning to fulfill another prophecy in Hosea 11:1.
When Herod realizes the magi have escaped him, he orders all boys in Bethlehem under the age of two killed, fulfilling Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15.
5a) Naomi is from Bethlehem (Ruth 1:2, 19) and that is where they returned. Boaz married Ruth who are ancestors of David (Great-grandfather and mother of David). God sends Samuel to Bethlehem where David lives to anoint David as God’s chosen king. All of this takes place in Bethlehem, where Jesus himself is born centuries later.
b) Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
Jeremiah 31:15: “This is what the Lord says: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.'”
Rachel is weeping over the exiles and here over the babies slaughtered by Herod.
6a) The Pharisees are hostile towards Jesus, skeptical and jealous: Matthew 15, 16
The chief priests plot against Jesus: Matthew 26:3-5 They look for false evidence against him: Matthew 26:59
Judas betrays Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; 49
Jesus is mocked: Matthew 27:27-31, 41-44 Jesus is insulted: Matthew 27:39-40
b) They are berated and even persecuted for their beliefs. They are looked down upon or snubbed by friends. They may even be plotted against or betrayed.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Nothing significant. I live in a bubble. I should probably get out more.
7a) Personal Question. My answer: The magi travel great distances in difficult times to worship the One, True King. They bring expensive gifts despite their lives being threatened by Herod. God provides them a safe way home.
b) Personal Question. My answer: The key for me is prayer. I need to spend more time throughout my day praying and worshipping and thanking God for everything in my life. Spending as much time as I can in the Word, wrestling with Truths and soaking up Him, is my goal.
Conclusions: I liked 5a the best. It had never dawned on me that the story of Ruth and Boaz takes place in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. My brain had never made that connection before. Nor had it dawned on me that David was from Bethlehem. The significance of this had to be pointed out to me. Great stuff!
We can surmise the star reappeared for the Magi to follow again. Scholars believe the trip took some months. First, the Magi followed the star and then went to Jerusalem where they talked with Herod, and then continued under another star.
Jesus is called a child here, not a babe, placing him at toddler age.
The three gifts have led to the Three Magi myth when actually we are uncertain of the number of Magi.
These gifts were probably used to finance their flight to Egypt. God knows all and provides for all!
Note the persistence and dedication of the Magi. They pursued the sign. The sign vanished so they inquired and gathered more information of others who might know the Truth. Then the sign reappeared and they obediently followed. They worshipped and brought gifts. They followed without ever giving up and were rewarded for their obedience. As we all must do.
Egypt had been a place of refuge since Abraham’s time. And as a result, a vibrant Jewish population flourished in Egypt. Hence, Joseph had no reason to doubt the angel.
The actual number of boys killed would have been small: a dozen or so maybe. We must remember Bethlehem was a tiny village. It’s hard for us who live on a planet full of billions to NOT imagine a great number of kids killed (hundreds). But it would have been small in Roman times, which would explain why this event is not recorded in other histories. Herod committed many more atrocious acts that killed hundreds. So to historians of the time, it wasn’t seen as a recordable act.