Matt 2: 1-8 (ESV)
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
Time has passed. Almost certainly the small family by now has found somewhere to stay. It would have taken these men travelling from the East some time to have sorted themselves out and travelled, no doubt, by camel train, – ‘from the East’. Looking at a map travelling West from Israel (i.e. in the reverse of the wise men) they may have come from the Eastern boundary of China. Probably Joseph and Mary were over-awed by what had happened and kept pretty much to themselves. No doubt the humble shepherds (see later) had spoken a bit, but Herod, the Romans even the Pharisees were all a bit scary. At any rate since the travellers believe a King is born they went to the palace, and threw a cat among the pigeons. Herod and his cohorts didn’t know the answer but the Jewish bit of them knew of the prophecy of a Messiah to come, so they talked to the religious authorities and got the answer Bethlehem, which was of course where the little family were. Herod wanted no rival King and you can imagine the thoughts going through his mind. Herod knew a bit more than us – he had found out when the star appeared, and then with his lying glib tongue covered his real thoughts by asking them to get the house number and street where the king was, and he would go and worship him also. Herod was in history a nasty guy.
Prayer: Help me to be thorough and honest in my search for truth – in this matter, and throughout life, please.