Matthew 2:2
Matthew 2:2 is the second verse of the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. The magi
Biblical Magi
The Magi Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the Wise Men, Kings, Astrologers, or Kings from the East, were a group of distinguished foreigners who were said to have visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh...

 travelling from the east have arrived at the court of King Herod
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 in Jerusalem and in this verse inform him of their purpose.


The original Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

, according to Westcott and Hort
The New Testament in the Original Greek
The New Testament in the Original Greek is the name of a Greek language version of the New Testament published in 1881. It is also known as the Westcott and Hort text, after its editors Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort...

, reads:
λεγοντες που εστιν ο τεχθεις βασιλευς των ιουδαιων ειδομεν γαρ
αυτου τον αστερα εν τη ανατολη και ηλθομεν προσκυνησαι αυτω

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
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.

The World English Bible
World English Bible
The World English Bible is a public domain translation of the Bible that is currently in draft form. Work on the World English Bible began in 1997 and was known as the American Standard Version 1997...

 translates the passage as:
"Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his
star in the east, and have come to worship him."

For a collection of other versions see BibRef Matthew 2:2

The theme of World Youth Day 2005
World Youth Day 2005
The 20th World Youth Day 2005 was a Catholic youth festival that started on August 16 and continued until August 21, 2005 in Cologne, Germany. It was the first World Youth Day and foreign trip of Pope Benedict XVI, who joined the festival on August 18. This meeting was decided by the previous...

, "We have come to worship Him", is derived from this verse in the bible.

The magi before Herod

Boring notes that where is the first word spoken aloud in the Gospel. Where will also be the first word spoken by Herod in Matthew 2:4
Matthew 2:4
Matthew 2:4 is the fourth verse of the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. The magi have informed King Herod that they had seen portents showing the birth of the King of the Jews...

. Throughout the early part of the gospel geography will be a central concern of Matthew's, covered in far greater detail that in the other gospels. One theory is that Matthew is writing an apologetic for why the messiah comes from the small and unknown town in Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 in Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

 dominated Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. This is the only time in the chapter that Magi speak. Davies and Allison believe their general silence throughout the narrative helps maintain the travellers aura of mystery.

Albright and Mann mention but reject the theory that King of the Jews
Jewish Messiah
Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

 is an anachronism and at the time King of Israel or King of the Hebrews would have been a more likely title. They reject this theory saying that King Aristobulus used the title around 100 BC. Nolland notes that this inaccuracy might be reflective of the foreign nature of the Magi, who do not know the specific terminology to be used. The title is reused by a less knowledgeable foreigner in Matthew 27:11. The title is a direct challenge to Herod, who was renowned for his paranoia, as king of Judea. Herod as an Edomite would have been especially threatened by a Davidic heir.

The word worship, also often translated as "pay homage", proskunesai in the Greek, is a very popular one in Matthew. It can mean honouring either a king or a God, in this case which of the meanings is meant is not clear.

Star of Bethlehem

The star referenced in this verse has come to be known as the Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem
In Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi, or "wise men", and later led them to Bethlehem. The star appears in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where magi "from the east" are inspired by the star to travel to...

. Since at least Kepler
Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers, based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican...

 there has been much work to try and link it to an astronomical event with the most common cited being a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 BC
7 BC
Year 7 BC was a common year starting on Saturday or Sunday of the Julian calendar and a common year starting on Thursday of the Proleptic Julian calendar...

. The phrase "seen his star in the east" is much disputed. Many scholars feel it should actually just read "seen his star rising." The Greek word in question is anatole, but its exact translation is unclear. It is likely a technical astrological term meaning rising. Its spelling is very close to the word for east, and this has become the standard translation. Fortna notes that it seems contradictory that a star rising to the east would then guide the magi westwards. Boring suggests that the verse could be read as the magi seeing the star rising when they were in the east.

John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

 rejected the idea that the Star of Bethlehem was a normal star or similar heavenly body, because such a star could not have specified the exact cave and manger where Jesus was found, being too high in the sky to be that specific. Also, he notes that stars in the sky move from east to west, but that the magi would have traveled from north to south to arrive in Palestine from Persia. Instead, Chrysostom suggested that the Star was a more miraculous occurrence, comparable to the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites out of Egypt through the wilderness.

At the time the notion of new stars as beacons of major events were common, being reported for such figures as Alexander the Great, Mithridates
Mithridates or Mithradates is the Hellenistic form of an Iranian theophoric name, meaning "given by the deity Mithra". It may refer to:Rulers*Mithridates I of Parthia *Mithridates II of Parthia...

, Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, and Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

. Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 even takes time to rebut a theory that every person has a star that rises when they are born and fades when they die, evidence that this was believed by some. According to Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 many at the time would have thought it unthinkable that a messiah would have been born without such stellar portents.

The reference to the star makes it likely the magi were astrologers. Some Christians have had difficulty with this as elsewhere in the Bible astrology is condemned, a view shared by most Christian churches. France
R. T. France
Richard Thomas France is a New Testament scholar and Anglican cleric. He was Principal of Wycliffe Hall Oxford from 1989 to 1995. He has also worked for the London School of Theology.-Biography:...

argues that the passage is not an endorsement of astrology but rather an illustration of how God takes care in "meeting individuals where they are." Keener notes that astrology was ubiquitous in the Roman world of this period, and was also common among the Jews in Palestine. Matthew goes in no detail about the astrological nature of the magi, and makes no judgments either for or against the practice. Nolland states "the interest is elsewhere" and the author of Matthew has no inclination to go into a detailed discussion of astrology.
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