Some men come to visit Jesus
1Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem, in Judea. King Herod ruled Judea at that time. After Jesus was born, some wise men came from a country in the east to Jerusalem. #2:1 This Herod was called Herod the Great. He was king in Judea during the years from 37 BC to 4 BC. (BC means Before Christ.) Judea was a part of the country called Israel. 2When they arrived there, they asked people, ‘Where is the baby who has been born as the King of the Jews? We saw his special star when it first appeared in the sky. So now we have come here to worship him.’
3Herod heard what the men were saying. And he had trouble in his mind. All the people in Jerusalem also had trouble in their mind. 4Then Herod asked all the leaders of the priests and the teachers of God's Law to meet with him. He asked them, ‘Where will God's Messiah be born?’ 5They replied, ‘The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem in Judea. This is what the prophet wrote about it:
6“People who live in Bethlehem,
your town is a very important town in Judea.
A person born in your town will become a leader of my people Israel.
He will lead my people like a shepherd leads his sheep.” ’
7Then Herod secretly called the wise men to meet with him. They told him the time that the star had appeared. 8Then Herod sent the men to Bethlehem. He said to them, ‘Go and look everywhere for this child. When you find him, come back here and tell me where he is. Then I can also go and worship him.’
9-10After the men had heard the king, they left to go to Bethlehem. They could see the same star that they had seen before. They were very happy when they saw the star. It moved along in front of them. Then it stopped above the place where the child was staying. 11The men went into the house and they saw the child. He was with Mary, his mother. They went down on their knees in front of the child and they worshipped him. Then they opened their bags. They took out valuable gifts and they gave them to the child. The gifts were gold, incense called frankincense, and also myrrh. 12After that, God said to them in a dream, ‘Do not go back to see Herod again.’ So the men followed a different road to return to their own country. #2:12 Gold is a very valuable metal. People would give gold to a king. Incense makes a sweet smell when it burns. Myrrh was an expensive medicine.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus go to Egypt
13After the men had gone away, Joseph had a dream. In the dream, he saw one of the Lord God's angels. The angel said to him, ‘Herod will look for the child, so that his soldiers can kill him. You must get up and take the child and his mother with you. Go immediately to the country called Egypt. I will tell you when you can return again. You must remain there until then.’
14So Joseph got up and he took the child and his mother with him. They started on the journey to Egypt that night. 15They all remained in Egypt until Herod died. This happened so that the words of the prophet would become true. The Lord God had said by his prophet, ‘I have called my son to come out of Egypt.’
Herod's soldiers kill the baby boys in Bethlehem
16When the wise men did not return to Herod, he was very angry. He knew that they had not done what he told them. So he sent his men to Bethlehem. He said to them, ‘Kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Kill the boys who live near there too. Kill all the boys who are two years old or younger than that.’ The wise men had told Herod how long ago they had first seen the special star. So he decided to kill the baby boys of that age. 17In this way, these words that God's prophet Jeremiah spoke long ago became true:
18‘People heard a noise in Ramah.
They heard someone weeping with a loud voice.
It is Rachel and she is crying for her children.
Her children are dead.
Nobody can help her to feel better.’
Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Israel
19After Herod died, Joseph had a dream in Egypt. In the dream he saw one of the Lord God's angels. 20The angel said to Joseph, ‘Get up. The people who wanted to kill the child are dead. Take the child and his mother. You can now return with them to Israel.’
21So Joseph got up. He took the child and his mother and they travelled to Israel. 22But then Joseph heard that Herod's son, Archelaus, was now king of Judea instead of his father. So Joseph was afraid to go to Judea. In another dream God showed Joseph that he should go to Galilee instead. 23Joseph went there and made his home in a town called Nazareth. Long ago God's prophets had said about God's Messiah, ‘He will be called a person from Nazareth.’ Now this had become true.