Matthew 2: Wise Men Seek and Find Jesus

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 10–11


At the time of Jesus’ birth the Jews were under Roman rule and the Romans had appointed Herod to be their king. Herod was a Gentile, an Idumean, who converted to the Jewish faith. He tried to gain favor with the Jews by rebuilding their temple at enormous cost. His reign was also famous for his jealousy of all who might threaten his power and for his cruel acts—one of which is recorded in Matthew 2 (see “Herod” in the Bible Dictionary, pp. 700–1, for more information about this king and his family). In Matthew 2 you will also read about “wise men from the east” who went to Herod in Jerusalem, looking for a newly born “King of the Jews.” Many stories and legends are told about these men from the east. Look for what Matthew said about them that would explain why he made special mention of them in his testimony of the Savior’s birth and early years. You can learn more about these witnesses of the Savior’s birth by looking up “Magi” and “wise men of the East” in the Bible Dictionary (pp. 727–28, 789).Be sure to notice important additions from the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) in this chapter.

Other Accounts of What You Read in Matthew 2

Matthew 2:22–23Luke 2:39

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 2

Scribes (v. 4)Teachers of Jewish rules and laws 
Privily (v. 7)Privately, secretly 
Enquired (vv. 7, 16)Asked 
Frankincense, myrrh (v. 11)Fragrant (strong smelling) plant saps that were burned as incense and used as perfume 
Slew (v. 16)Killed 
Lamentation, mourning (v. 18)Crying and sadness 
Thither (v. 22)There 
Turned aside (v. 22)Went back 

Matthew 2:2—“We Have Seen His Star”

Although a prophecy in the book of Numbers refers to the Messiah as the “Star out of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17), there is no specific prophecy in the Old Testament (as we now have it) about a star as a sign of the birth of the Messiah. The Book of Mormon prophet Samuel, however, prophesied of a “new star” that would arise as a sign of the Savior’s birth (see Helaman 14:5).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Matthew 2.

Activity A iconJust the Facts

There are many stories and legends told about the “wise men from the east.” Using information found in Matthew 2:1–13, answer the following questions about these well-known men:

  1. 1.

    How many were there?

  2. 2.

    How did they know where to look for Jesus?

  3. 3.

    Why did they go there?

  4. 4.

    Exactly where did they find Jesus?

  5. 5.

    What did they do when they visited Jesus?

  6. 6.

    What did they do after they visited Jesus?

Activity B iconNotice a Repeated Idea

According to Matthew 2, why was Jesus born in Bethlehem, taken to Egypt, then raised in Nazareth? You may want to write the reference Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 next to one or all three of the verses that tell why those things needed to happen.

Activity C iconWhat Do I Know about Jesus?

  1. 1.

    Make a chart in your notebook like the one below and fill it in based on what you read in Matthew 2:1–10.

Who?

What they knew about Jesus

What they did with what they knew

The Wise Men

 

 

Herod

 

 

Chief Priests and Scribes

 

 

  1. 2.

    Write a response to the following question: What do I know about Jesus, and what am I doing with what I know?