Matthew 2:11

11 The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, incense and myrrh.

Matthew 2:11 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 2:11

And when they were come into the house
Which they entered without making any inquiry, being fully assured by the star's standing right over it, that this was the house, and here was the king of the Jews, whom they were come to worship; and having entered in "they saw" some copies read (euron) ,

they found the young child, with Mary his mother;
in her lap, or arms, or in the house with her, for by this time he might go alone. Joseph perhaps was not at home, but about his business; and which might be so ordered by the providence of God, that so these men might only see the mother of Christ, who had no real father as man; who had they seen Joseph, might have took him to be his proper father. Upon the sight of the young child,

they fell down
on their knees or faces to the ground, agreeably to the custom of their country,

and worshipped him
as a king; giving him the same civil honour and respect, as they were wont to do to their own kings and princes; which custom began with Cyrus: for so Xenophon F3 says, that

``when the people saw him, (pantev prosekunhsan) , they all worshipped him; either because some were ordered to begin this custom; or else being amazed at the apparatus; or because he seemed to appear so great and beautiful; for before that time none of the Persians worshipped Cyrus.''

And when they had opened their treasures,
that is, their purses, bags or boxes, in which they put those things they brought with them necessary for their journey;

they presented,
or offered to him gifts, gold, frankincense and
such things as they had; it being usual, not only with the Persians, but other eastern nations, to make presents to kings and great persons, when they made any addresses to them; which generally, among other things, consisted of gold, spices, myrrh, and the like, see ( Genesis 43:11 ) ( 1 Kings 10:2 ) ( Psalms 72:10-15 ) . Which last passage referred to, being a prophecy of the Messiah, has been thought by some now to have had its accomplishment, together with ( Isaiah 60:6 ) where frankincense as well as gold is mentioned, "they shall bring gold and incense" or frankincense; upon which a noted Jewish writer F4 observes, that gold and frankincense shall be brought privately as a present to the king Messiah. According to the Ethiopians, these wise men were three, whose names they give us; the name of him that offered the gold, was Annoson; he that offered the frankincense, was Allytar; and he that offered the myrrh, Kyssad F5. The Papists call them the three kings of Colen, and say they lie buried in that place.


F3 Cyropaedia, l. 8. sect. 23.
F4 R. David Kimchi.
F5 Ludolph. Lex. Ethiop. p. 539, 542, 543.

Matthew 2:11 In-Context

9 After the Wise Men had listened to the king, they went on their way. The star they had seen when they were in the east went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.
11 The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, incense and myrrh.
12 But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road.
13 When the Wise Men had left, Joseph had a dream. In the dream an angel of the Lord appeared to him. "Get up!" the angel said. "Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you to come back. Herod is going to search for the child. He wants to kill him."
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.