The Visit of the Magi1
Soon after the birth of Jesus, in Bethlehem of Judea, during the reign of King Herod, there arrived in Jerusalem Magi from the east, who inquired: "Where is the newly-born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and we have come to pay Him homage." When Herod the king heard this, he was terrified, and all Jerusalem with him. So assembling the chief priests and professors, he demanded of them where the Messiah would be born. They replied, "In Bethlehem of Judea"; for it is recorded by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, Judah's land,
Are not the least among the districts of judah ;
For out of you shall come the Leader,
Who shall shepherd My people Israel.2
Then Herod, having privately interviewed the Magi, ascertained from them the exact time when the star made its appearance. He then sent them to Bethlehem, remarking, "When you arrive, ascertain very carefully everything about that Child; and when you have discovered all, inform me, so that I may also come and pay Him homage."
Having listened to the king, they accordingly proceeded on their way; and observed that the star which they had seen at its rising, went before them, until arriving, it rested above the place where the Child was. When they observed the star, they rejoiced with very great delight. And having come to the house, they saw the young Child with His mother Mary; and prostrating themselves, they paid Him homage: and having opened their treasures, they presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, as a tribute. And having been instructed by a dream not to return to Herod, they accordingly departed to their own country by another road.
The Flight into Egypt
After their departure, a messenger from the Lord also appeared to Joseph in a vision, saying: "Arise! take the child and His mother, and fly to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you ; for Herod is about to hunt out the Child to murder Him.
Arising, he accordingly took the Child and His mother by night, and removed to Egypt, remaining there until the death of Herod; so that the statement from the Lord, through the prophet, might be fulfilled, which declared:
I called my son out of Egypt.3
The Massacre of the Innocents
Then Herod, when he found that he had been deceived by the Magi, was savagely furious; and sending to Bethlehem, he murdered all the male children there, as well as all that were in the neighbourhood, from two years of age and under, so as to include the date which he had ascertained from the Magi. Then was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah :
I HEARD A SOUND OF GRIEF IN RAMAH,
Weeping and great anguish :
Rachel weeping for her children :
And she cannot be consoled, because they are not.4
When Herod was dead, however, a messenger of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a vision, while in Egypt, and said: "Arise! take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead who sought the Child's life."
He then arose, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. Hearing, however, that Archelaus reigned over Judea in the place of his father Herod, he was afraid to return there: and having been also warned by a dream, he withdrew into the district of Galilee. And on arriving, he settled in a town named Nazareth; so that the prediction through the prophet was fulfilled which said that he should be considered A Nazarene.5
Transcribed by Mark Hicks on 12-29-2014