The wise men are directed by a star to Jesus—Joseph takes the child to Egypt—Herod slays the children in Bethlehem—Jesus is taken to Nazareth to dwell.
(Significant revisions in Joseph Smith Inspired Version.
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The wise men
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of
in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Helaman 16:14 And angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them glad tidings of great joy; thus in this year the scriptures began to be fulfilled.
2 Saying, Where is
(the child [JST])
that is born
(the Messiah [JST])
of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and
come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard
(of the child, [JST])
he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them
(saying, Where is the place that is written of by the prophets, in which [JST])
Christ should be born.
? For he greatly feared, yet he believed not the prophets. [JST]
5 And they said unto him,
(It is written by the prophets, that he whould be born [JST])
In Bethlehem of Judæa:
it is written by the prophet,
it is written by the prophet,
(have they said, The word of the Lord came unto us, saying, [JST])
6 And thou Bethlehem,
(which lieth [JST])
in the land of
(Judea, in thee shall be born a prince, which [JST])
art not the least among the princes of
for out of thee shall come
a Governor, that shall rule
a Governor, that shall rule
(the Messiah, who shall save [JST])
my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had
called the wise men (privily [JST]), inquired of them diligently
what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found
(the child, [JST])
bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
The wise men
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 ¶ And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
When they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord
to Joseph in a
saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and
thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
(And then [JST])
took the young child and
(the child's [JST])
mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. (more...)
16 ¶ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children
were in Bethlehem, and
all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Accordingly, though the scribes told him the child was to be born in Bethlehem, he is not content to slay the infants there, but added thereto the slaughter of those in all the coasts.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by
Rama was there
Rama was there
(Ramah there was [JST])
a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning,
(the loss of [JST])
her children, and would not be comforted, because they
19 ¶ But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord
to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead
sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in
of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither:
notwithstanding, being warned of God in a
(eastern part [JST])
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
(And it came to pass that Jesus grew up with his brethren, and waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come. And he served uner his father, and he spake not as other men, neither could be be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him. And after many years, the hour of his ministry drew high. [JST])
What was the population of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus?
WF Albright, who was considered a primary archaeologist of his era, did some extensive research on populations at the time of Jesus. His estimate is around 300 for a village the size of Bethlehem holding 6 or 7 children under 1 year of age. One response to your question suggested Luke’s record of this census is a lie. Regardless if you believe in Luke’s belief in the resurrected Christ, he has been proven repeatedly to be an excellent historian. Read how careful he is with details as to when events occurred. He is very meticulous in his approach. For example, he mentions this as being the first census during the reign of Augustus, before Christ was born. We know from Roman records that censuses were taken at different times in different provinces. In other words, Luke reference to the first, means the first of many rolling across different provinces and countries. We know this from Egyptian records. Augustus was the first caesar in history to order a census or tax assessment of the whole provincial empire. In Greek, Luke uses the present tense indicating that Augustus ordered censuses to be taken regularly, rather than only one time. We also know from Egyptian records that the Romans conducted censuses every 14 years. Luke says, the “first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.” The dates work so not sure why anyone would call Luke a liar out of hand.
Matthew 2:12–16. Slaughter of Innocent Children
Herod’s attempt to kill the baby Jesus (see Matthew 2:12–16) was one of a number of violent actions committed by Herod the Great. Like Jesus, Moses escaped miraculously from an attempt on his life when he was a baby—one of many ways in which Moses’s life has parallels with Jesus’s life (see Exodus 1:17–2:10).
Matthew 2:1–12. The Wise Men
While there has been much speculation about the identity, origin, number, and names of the Wise Men, Matthew did not provide these details. Matthew used the Greek word magoi, which originally referred to religious wise men from Persia or Babylon, but by Matthew’s day the word encompassed a variety of religious practitioners.
Regarding the identity and origin of the Wise Men, Elder Bruce R. McConkie observed: “It would appear they were true prophets, righteous persons like Simeon, Anna, and the shepherds, to whom Deity revealed that the promised Messiah had been born among men. Obviously they were in possession of ancient prophecies telling of the rise of a new star at his birth. That they did receive revelation for their personal guidance is seen from the inspired dream in which they were warned not to return to Herod after they had found and worshiped the Son of Mary” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:103).
Matthew’s account of the Wise Men makes clear that they were familiar with prophecies about the Savior. The Wise Men asked King Herod where they could find the Messiah (see Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 3:2 [in Matthew 2:2, footnote a]). The star they had seen “in the east” was interpreted by them as a sign of the Messiah (see Matthew 2:2; Helaman 14:5). As a result of the Wise Men’s inquiry, Herod called together the chief priests and scribes, who quoted to him from the prophet Micah, whose prophecy declared that the One the Wise Men were seeking would “rule” in Israel (see Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6). Also, the name Bethlehem (Matthew 2:6), which means “house of bread,” was the place where the “Bread of Life” would be born.
Regardless of who the Wise Men were or where they came from, their visit shows that those who should have been aware of the signs accompanying the birth of Jesus Christ failed to recognize them, while righteous people from other lands, directed by the Holy Ghost, not only noticed the signs but acted upon them.
The exact time of the Wise Men’s visit is unknown; however, Matthew 2:11 suggests that some time had passed since the birth of Jesus Christ, for the Wise Men found Jesus in a “house,” not a manger, and He was a “young child,” not a baby.