Matthew 2:1-5
Mat 2:1 (KJB)
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
It came time for Mary to give birth and they arrived in Bethlehem where she gave birth to Jesus. (Micah 5:2 KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Here we see a fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophet Micah who prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This happened in the days of Herod the King. This was Herod the Great who was the son of Antipater. Now we are seeing here that it is approximately two years after the birth of Christ. He is now a young child and a not a babe in the manger anymore. Luke gives the details of the birth. Then we are told that wise men came from the east which could have been Chaldea or some other place. We are not told specifically from where they came. They were known as “magi” which in the older Persian and Babylonian languages was used as a name for wise men and priests. The name “magi’ is written in the Greek text as “magoi” which is a plural word. We do not know how many came to seek Jesus but at least we know the minimum was two. Three was from tradition but they would not have traveled in a small company because of thieves along the roads, so there is a possibility that three or more were in the party. So they had arrived in Jerusalem where they knew that all the teachers who were supposed to be learned in the Scriptures and prophecies would be located.
Mat 2:2 (KJB)
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
If you notice, they did not ask if a king was born but where is he that was born king of the Jews. (Dan 2:48 KJV) Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. This statement of theirs might lend credence to the belief that these wise men were descendants of the wise men that Daniel had governed. If not, then why would they be interested in the birth of a Jewish King? They were probably well schooled in the Hebrew scriptures in the time of Daniel and this was passed down over the last several hundred years. This must have been a special star and that is what piqued the curiosity of the wise men. Isn’t it interesting that no one from the land of Israel investigated it since it would have been over the town of Bethlehem. The wise men saw the star and discerned its meaning and then went to seek out. Obviously God was the one who guided them to the place where Jesus was. (Num 24:17 KJV) I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. At this point, it is not known who the wise men were speaking to and asking where Jesus was born. They obviously spoke with someone of authority because in the next verse it tells us that Herod had heard of the request. It seems that Jesus was going to be King of the Jews but not the physical Jews. (Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Jesus was going to be King over His people that become saved and become true Jews in the eternal sense. (Luke 19:14 KJV) But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. Physical Israel did not want Him ruling over them but the saved who are the true Israel of God will.
Mat 2:3 (KJB)
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Troubled - Frightened or agitated
Herod was troubled or agitated when he heard these things because the term “born king” would have frightened him because he was only a political appointee. However, he was still the king and now it seems that there may be a rival who will claim the throne of Herod. All of Jerusalem was also troubled because they knew that if Herod was troubled, they could face the brunt of a king who will do anything to remain in power, even kill as many as he can. It was well known that in the Herod lineage there was killings among family members just to maintain one’s throne.
Mat 2:4 (KJB)
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Herod, even though a nominal Jew, he knew very little about the Scriptures so he gathered the Chief Priests together along with the Sanhedrin and placed the question to them. They may have had leadership positions but they also lacked much biblical knowledge and what they did know did not lead them to a belief in Christ. Unfortunately, they valued tradition as equal with the Scriptures. (Mark 7:7 KJV) Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mat 2:5 (KJB)
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
They seemed to have a very straight answer for the king where this king would be born. It seemed they had little concern for what was about to happen in their near future in contrast to the wise men who saw the star and made a very arduous journey to find the one whom the star announced.