Matthew 2:9

9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was-the star they had seen in the east![a] It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.

Matthew 2:9 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 2:9

When they had heard the king
With great care and attention, what he had told them of the birth place of the young child; the strict charge he had given them to search diligently for him, and then return to him with an account of the whole affair; and his expressions of respect to the new born prince, which they took to be said in great sincerity,

they departed;
took their leave of Herod and his court, and set forward on their journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem:

and lo,
to their great surprise and joy,

the star, which they saw in the east,
then appeared; for, it seems, it had for some time disappeared: it looks as if it had been only seen at the time of Christ's birth, and when they were in their own country; for both here, and in ( Matthew 2:2 ) they are only said to have seen it "in the east", that is, when they were in the east country; so that it seems from that time they had had no sight of it, not while they were on their journey, nor at Jerusalem; nor was it necessary they should. When they saw it in their own country, according to their best observation, it was over the land of Judea, and they were persuaded of it, that it was a certain sign that the king of the Jews was born: they therefore determine upon and prepare for a journey to Jerusalem, the metropolis of the nation, and where the king kept his court, to inquire for him; nor needed they the guidance of the star to direct them to a place so well known; but being in quest of him in an obscure place, and without any guide, this star appears to them; and, which is something very extraordinary,

went before them, till it came, and stood over, where the young child
This star had a motion, kept pace with them, and was a guide unto them, till it and they came to the place where Christ was; and then it stood directly over the house, so that they had no need to inquire of any person for him. It is certain from hence, that this star was indeed a very unusual one; its being seen in the daytime, its motion and standing still, its situation, which must be very low, and its use to point out the very house where Christ was, show it to be so; but though it was an unusual appearance, it should not be thought incredible. F1 Varro relates, that

``from the time Aeneas went from Troy, he saw the star Venus in the daytime, day after day, till he came to the field of Laurentum, where he saw it no more, by which he knew that those lands were fatal.''

The appearing of this star, and then its disappearing for a time, agree, in some measure, with the account the Jews give of the star which they expect will be seen at the coming of the Messiah; for they

F2 say,

``after seven days that star shall be hid, and the Messiah shall be hid for twelve months--when he shall descend, the pillar of fire shall be seen as before, in sight, and afterwards the Messiah shall be revealed, and many people shall be gathered to him.''

F1 Apud Servium in Virgil Aeneid. l. 1. p. 471. Ed. Basil. 1586.
F2 Zohar in Exod. fol. 3, 4. & 71. 1.

Matthew 2:9 In-Context

7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him."
9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was-the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.
11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or star . . . at its rising
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