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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Matthew's Gospel

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Frameworks: Matthew's Gospel, chapter 2


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)


FRAMEWORKS: Matthew, chapter 2

v.1-12 The Magi Visit the Messiah

v.13-18 The Escape to Egypt

v.19-23 The Return to Nazareth


v.1-12 The Magi Visit the Messiah


v.1,2 (heralds of the child from a strange background arrive at Jerusalem) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi [Traditionally wise men] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

v.3 (Herod didn't like the thought of a competing king) When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

v.4 (he checks it out with his religious leaders) When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

v.5 (nearby Bethlehem is identified as the birth place) “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

v.6  (Micah the prophet had mentioned it) “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler   who will shepherd my people Israel.' [Micah 5:2,4]”

v.7 (Herod talks with the men) Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

v.8 (he asks to be told what they find) He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

v.9 (it seems the star stops above the home where the baby is) After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

v.10 (they rejoice that their journey is at an end) When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

v.11 (they present expensive gifts to the family) On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

v.12 (they are warned to void going back via deceptive Herod) And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.



v.13-18 The Escape to Egypt


v.13 (Joseph is warned in another dream to flee to Egypt) When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

v.14,15 (this they do – according to prophecy) So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” [Hosea 11:1]

v.16 (Herod tries to kill the ‘usurper' by having all young ones killed) When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

v.17 (Jeremiah had prophesied this anguish) Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

v.18  (this area would know great weeping) “A voice is heard in Ramah,  weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” [Jer 31:15]



v.19-23 The Return to Nazareth


v.19,20 (yet another dream tells Joseph it is safe to return) After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead.”

v.21 (he obeys and takes them back) So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

v.22,23 (with yet another dream warning he returns to Galilee to Nazareth from where they originally came) But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.



i) The arrival of the baby is heralded in a number of ways. Matthew chooses to tell of the rich travellers paying tribute to a king.

ii) God uses dreams again and again with Joseph, to guide them and keep them safe. He knows that Joseph is a simple-faith person who will respond to what he sees in the dreams. Not much else is told of Joseph but he plays a key role in protecting the baby Jesus from enemy intentions.

iii) We may wonder why Gid didn't step in to stop Herod killing infants. There may be two reasons. First, there may have been only very few if any children born in Bethlehem apart from Jesus at that time, Second, throughout Scripture God seems reticent to intervene in mankind's affairs overruling free will, and simply allows this ‘fallen world' to operate as it will, good people doing good and bad people doing bad. Yet He clearly does speak to Joseph and protect this family.]