Him Part 5: The Five Kings

Matthew 2:1-12, “1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 6″ ‘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 be the shepherd of my people Israel.'”
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On 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 and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”

King Herod must have been furious when he had realized that he had let a threat to rule slip under the radar. Fortunately, he could use these wise men for his own ends. Well, he could have if they hadn’t been warned in a dream not to follow his intructions. Of course, one must not overlook the gifts:
1.) Gold – the capital of a king, untouchable by Jesus’ parents by law
2.) Incense – the tool of a priest, worship in scent form
3.) Myrrh – a spiced used for burials, not the sort of thing a young kid needs.

Here we know that the Magi were in Bethlehem, but they found Mary and the child at a house. So the nativity scenes are not Biblically correct, but they do make for a great story. Perhaps they were in the home of a relative, after all, this is Joseph’s hometown. The Magi meet Jesus, they find a safe route home. King Herod’s been thwarted. Life couldn’t be better, right?

Matthew 2:13-18, “The Escape to Egypt
 13When 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.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where 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.”
 16When 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. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
 18″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.””

This time it’s Joseph to the rescue. He wakes up from one of those dreams and gets the entire household packed and going that very night. Good thing he didn’t spare a moment, otherwise he might have been caught by the forces of a furious king. King Herod, for good measure, ordered the death of every male child two years of age and younger who were born in or near Bethlehem. It’s too bad he wasn’t well-read, otherwise he would have known that just as Moses had been spared from Pharoh’s decree, his actions could not stop the prophecy of a coming king. The chapter ends with another dream that tells Joseph that it’s safe to return to the land of Israel.

Matthew 2:19-23, “The Return to Nazareth
 19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and 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.”
 21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But 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, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.””

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One thought on “Him Part 5: The Five Kings

  1. I like the 5 kings theme here.This year I find myself especially interested in the 3 gifts given to Jesus. I never heard the idea that gold was “untouchable by Jesus’ parents by law”. I’m curious  why that would be true? “Worship in scent form” is so cool! I understand that myrrh has many more uses than just for burial– i read some of them to my family yesterday and I’ve noted that the Burt’s Bee’s brand dusting powder that I was given as a baby gift for Isaac has powdered myrrh in it so maybe it was both symbolic AND very useful to Mary right then!Have a good weekend~

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