painting of magi visiting baby jesus

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 2, Day 2: Matthew 2:1-8


During the time of King Herod, Jesus was born. Magi came from the east to Jerusalem looking for the king of the Jews to worship him. King Herod heard about the birth of Jesus, which disturbed him. He knew Jesus would be born in Judah in Bethlehem as Micah had foretold.

Herod found out from the Magi the exact time the star had appeared and then told them to report back to him where Jesus was so that he could worship him, too.


3) The Magi heard that the king of the Jews was born and went to find him to worship him. The news of the birth of the Messiah disturbed King Herod, and he secretly planned to find out where Jesus was from the Magi.

4) Skepticism. Belief. Cherry-picking the parts of the Bible that work and don’t work.

5) By sending challenges my way, as well as victories.


I don’t remember this part of Matthew’s account! How King Herod used the Magi to discover where Jesus was. King Herod was a weak man and a weak ruler. He was threatened by the birth of Jesus and harbored nefarious inklings towards Jesus right from the get-go. No one had a problem killing infants in ancient times. No doubt that was on Herod’s mind. The Magi were wary of Herod and probably had no intention of returning to him.


Check out these excellent resources for more in-depth information on the Magi and King Herod

Who Were the Magi?

While there are many questions surrounding the Magi, such as who they were, were exactly did they come from, how many were there, and why would they even care about the King of the Jews being born, Matthew focuses on the facts. Magi arrived from the east looking to worship the King of the Jews. They followed a star to find him (another question that Bible scholars cannot answer. What kind of star? And how did the Magi know to follow it?). Regardless, you have foreigners seeking to worship the One, True King. This shows God’s inclusion into His plan for the world.

Who Was King Herod?

Herod was one of many “Herods” in the Bible. They were the ruling dynasty that reigned over the Jews during the time of the Roman Empire. Obviously, he wanted to keep power, and the birth of a foretold king did not help the situation. He would do anything he could to snuff out Jesus’s life, including using the Magis. This Herod was considered a great ruler by Rome because he ran his territory with skill. However, he suffered near the end of his life from paranoia and often killed people when angry. Herod murdered his own sons, his wife, and Sanhedrin, and anyone else who was a threat. He was not a Jew. He was troubled as was others; great uncertainty was about to take root.

map of bethlehem www.atozmomm.comBethlehem was where David was from, and it was super tiny even by ancient times’ standards. It lies six miles to the south of Jerusalem. There is another Bethelehem, too, which is why it is referred to as Bethlehem of Judea.

Note that the star is HIS star. While many try to wonder what the star was naturally, such as a comet, a supernova, or even planetary conjunctions, suffice it to say it was God, plain and simple. In addition, Jesus was born a king, and he is still a king.

The chief priests and scribes were the teachers and those with book knowledge in ancient times.

Fun Fact: Matthew is the only one of the four Gospels that tell the tale of the Magi. This beloved part of the Christmas story holds more significance than just gifts — it shows how God always intended for Jesus to be for everyone. Contact me today!

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 25, Day 5: Genesis 35:5-36:43

Summary of passage:  No one pursued Jacob and his family when they left Shechem for God sent a terror upon them.  Jacob built an altar at Bethel as instructed by God. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died.  God appeared to Jacob again and re-named him Israel.

God repeats his covenant to Abraham and Isaac to Jacob, saying to be fruitful and multiply for a nation will come from your body and He will give this land to his descendants.  God left and Jacob set up a stone pillar.

Rachel died after they left Bethel giving birth to Benjamin.  She was buried along the route.  Israel moved on and stayed for a bit near Migdal Eder.  Here, Reuben slept with Bilhah.

Jacob’s 12 sons are:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

Jacob finally arrived home in Hebron to see Isaac who was still alive.  Isaac died at age 180 and was buried by Jacob and Esau.

Esau moved to a land some distance from Jacob because the land could not support both of their livestocks.  Esau settled in Seir.


11a)  Psalm 51:7:  “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  “Creat in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Isaiah 1:16:  “Wash and make yourselves clean.  Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong.”

Hebrews 9:13-14:  The blood of animals offer up spiritual cleanliness.  The blood of Christ cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve God.

1 John 1:7,9:  You are cleansed from your past sins to have godliness, kindness, and love.

b)  Matthew 3:8:  “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

Acts 2:38:  Repent, be baptized in the name of Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and receive the Holy Spirit.

James 4:  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  Wash your hands and purify your hearts.  Grieve and humble yourselves and He will lift you up.

c)  1 Corinthians 10:20:  The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not God.  If you sacrifice to pagans, you cannot partake of the Lord’s table as well (verse 21).

Ephesians 5:5:  Idolaters (immoral, impure, or greedy) do not have an inheritance in the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:9:  Turn from idols and serve the Living, True God.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Language, anger

12a)  God sent a terror upon the towns to protect Jacob and his family from retribution after the slaughter of Shechem as they traveled to Bethel.  God re-named Jacob Israel again (Genesis 32).  God bestows the covenant of Abraham and Isaac on Jacob as well, saying to be fruitful and multiply for nations will come from his body and his descendants shall inherit the land.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure.  I’d like to say I’ve changed but I can’t be for certain.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m getting that God spoke to people (and obviously, Jesus) in these verses.  Not sure what I’m supposed to be “blessed” with here.  If you obey, God will love you and come to you and make a home with you as Jesus says in John. God spoke to those who obeyed him.  So, He will speak to us who obey.  He will love us and be with us as in the Holy Spirit.

So obey, listen, and hear.

d)  Esau was blessed with livestock and goods.  He was granted the land of Seir of which he and his descendants ruled.

Conclusions:  You didn’t need the passage to answer Question 11.

God re-naming Jacob Israel again is important despite the fact God had already done so. The first go-around, Jacob had not changed, had not put off his old clothing, and had continued to follow his will instead of God’s.  Here, God reminds Jacob that he must be new and this time Jacob obeys, thus earning the name Israel in God’s eyes.

This is good for us as well.  We need to remember who we are-God’s chosen people-regularly so we don’t slip back into this world.

The same is true for the repetition of the covenant blessing.  God is reminding Jacob who he is and what he has been called to do.  Finally, Jacob listens.  He follows God’s will. And he is blessed for it.

Benjamin means “son of my right hand”.  The right hand or side is highly valued in the Bible.  After all, Jesus sits at the right hand of God.

Poor Rachel.  Both prophecies come true.  Genesis 30:1 “Give me children, or I’ll die!” She dies in childbirth.

Jacob cursed her for the idol debacle in Genesis 31:32.

This passage reveals why Reuben was passed over for the blessing: because of his sin with Bilhah.  So now Reuben, Simeon, and Levi have all committed egregious sins so Judah is next in line for the Messiah.  Interesting as well.

We should not be surprised of this.  This family is the epitome of dysfunctional.  Yet God works through it all.  By His grace alone.

Esau was important enough in God’s eyes to have all of his descendants listed in the Bible.  He was loved despite his sins and blessed beyond what was deserved.  God is faithful even when we aren’t!  Can you imagine the blessings He has in store for those who are faithful?

Interesting facts about Edom:  Edom is mentioned over 130 times in the Bible.

Herod the Great was an Edomite.  He was the one who tried to kill Jesus.

To this day, the land that was Edom remains unoccupied as Obadiah prophesied.

Genesis 36:33 is where some speculate Jobab is the same Job as in the Bible (remember we had a question on this at some point?).  This is speculation.  Among all the list of descendants, most were ungodly.  We must ask ourselves:  would someone as godly as Job come from the line of Esau?

End Note:  One commentary I read suggested comfort as an idol.  That some value living a comfortable life over living a Godly-life.  This was interesting I thought.  For if you think about it, life is never really comfortable.  There are ups and downs, highs and lows, tragedies and triumphs.  And only God can get us through it all.

Map Work:  Good map of Bethel, Bethlehem, and Hebron HERE.

Migdal Eder is just outside of Bethlehem.