2:1 King Herod reigned (as a vassal under the Roman emperor) from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C., hence the birth of Jesus could not have been in the year "1". This is due to the fact that the Gregorian calendar was "invented" in 525 (and became more widely used after 800). Jesus' birth was estimated on the calendar, and later scholarship and archeology have corrected the date.
2:1 Magi is the designation for the priestly caste of Persia, variously associated with dream interpretation, Zoroastrianism, astrology, and magic.
2:2 An ancient belief was that a new star appeared with the birth of a ruler. If such an event occurred, scientific explanation could be a supernova, meteor, or planetary conduction. The Chinese recorded a large comet in the year 5 B.C....the position of said comet also matches Biblical description of location.
2:4 Chief priests refers to the high-ranking priests of the temple who performed the sacrifices and purification rites required by Hebrew law. The following were most likely included in their numbers: ruling high priest, Caiaphas and former high priest, Annas. Both were members of the Sanhedrin.
2:11 Later tradition gave significance to each of the gifts. Gold signifies the kingship of Jesus; incense signified his divinity; and myrrh his suffering (or virtue, prayer, and suffering). Also note that while there were three gifts, nothing states there were three magi; this was a later addition/expansion.
2:13 Those in danger in the Palestine region often fled to Egypt, which was a place of refuge. Thus the choice of this location both makes sense with the practices of the time and allows Jesus to "relive" the Exodus of Israel.
2:16 The slaughter of the male children parallels the Exodus story in which Pharaoh ordered the death of the male children during the time of Moses' birth. This slaughter is quite in character with Herod: he had countless people put to death including one-time friends, priests, nobles, and family (generally done out of fear that they were desirous of his throne).
2:22 With the agreement of the Roman emperor Augustus, the son of Herod (Archelau) was given half of his father's kingdom, including the area of Judea. He reigned from 4 B.C. to 6 A.D. His other sons Herod Antipas and Philip were also given regions.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong