2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem 1 in Judea, in the time 2 of King Herod, 3 wise men 4 from the East came to Jerusalem 5 2:2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose 6 and have come to worship him.” 2:3 When King Herod 7 heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, 8 he asked them where the Christ 9 was to be born. 2:5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet:
2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are in no way least among the rulers of Judah,
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 10
2:7 Then Herod 11 privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. 2:8 He 12 sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” 2:9 After listening to the king they left, and once again 13 the star they saw when it rose 14 led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. 2:10 When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. 15 2:11 As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down 16 and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, 17 and myrrh. 18 2:12 After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 19 they went back by another route to their own country.
2 tn Grk “in the days.”
3 sn King Herod was Herod the Great, who ruled Palestine from 37
4 sn The Greek term magi here describes a class of wise men and priests who were astrologers (L&N 32.40).
6 tn Or “in its rising,” referring to the astrological significance of a star in a particular portion of the sky. The term used for the “East” in v. 1 is ἀνατολαί (anatolai, a plural form that is used typically of the rising of the sun), while in vv. 2 and 9 the singular ἀνατολή (anatolh) is used. The singular is typically used of the rising of a star and as such should not normally be translated “in the east” (cf. BDAG 74 s.v. 1: “because of the sg. and the article in contrast to ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν, vs. 1, [it is] prob. not a geograph. expr. like the latter, but rather astronomical…likew. vs. 9”).
8 tn Or “and scribes of the people.” The traditional rendering of γραμματεύς (grammateu") as “scribe” does not communicate much to the modern English reader, for whom the term might mean “professional copyist,” if it means anything at all. The people referred to here were recognized experts in the law of Moses and in traditional laws and regulations. Thus “expert in the law” comes closer to the meaning for the modern reader.
9 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
12 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
13 tn Grk “and behold the star.”
15 tn Grk “they rejoiced with very great joy.”
16 tn Grk “they fell down.” BDAG 815 s.v. πίπτω 1.b.α.ב has “fall down, throw oneself to the ground as a sign of devotion, before high-ranking persons or divine beings.”
17 sn Frankincense refers to the aromatic resin of certain trees, used as a sweet-smelling incense (L&N 6.212).
18 sn Myrrh consisted of the aromatic resin of certain shrubs (L&N 6.208). It was used in preparing a corpse for burial.