THE STAR AND THE WISE MEN
Matthew ii: 1 to 23.
OR some time after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary
stayed with him in Bethlehem. The little baby was not
kept long in the stable, sleeping in the manger; for
after a few days they found room in a house; and there
another visit was made to Jesus by strange men from a
land far away.
In a country east of Judea, and many miles distant,
were living some very wise men, who studied the stars.
One night they saw a strange star shining in the sky;
and in some way they learned that the coming of this
star meant that a king was soon to be born in the land
of Judea. These men felt a call of God to go to Judea,
far to the west of their own home, and there to see
this new-born king. They took a long journey, with
camels and horses, and at last they came to the land of
Judea, just at the time when Jesus was born at
Bethlehem. As soon as they were in Judea they supposed
that every one would know all about the king; and they
"Where is he that is born the King of the Jews?
In the east we have seen his star; and we have come to
STRANGE MEN FROM FAR AWAY COME TO SEE THE NEWLY-BORN KING
But no one of whom they asked had ever seen this king
 heard of him. The news of their coming was sent
to Herod, the king, who was now a very old man. He
ruled the land of Judea, as you know, under the emperor
at Rome, Augustus Caesar. (See Story 110.)
Herod was a very wicked man; and when he heard
of some one born to be a king he feared that he might
lose his own kingdom. He made up his mind to kill this
new king, and thus to keep his own power. He sent for
the priests and scribes, the men who studied and taught
the books of the Old Testament, and asked them about this
Christ for whom all the people were looking. He said,
"Can you tell me where Christ, the King of Israel, is
to be born?" They looked at the books of the prophets,
and then they said, "He is to be born in Bethlehem of
Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet, 'And
thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the
least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall
come forth one who shall rule my people Israel.' "
 Then Herod sent for the wise men from the east, and met
them alone, and found from them at what time the star
was first seen. Then he said to them:
"Go to Bethlehem, and there search carefully for the
little child; and when you have found him bring me word
again, so that I also may come and worship him."
Then the wise men went on their way toward Bethlehem,
and suddenly they saw the star again shining upon the
road before them. At this they were glad, and followed
the star until it led them to the very house where the
little child was. They came in, and there they saw the
little one, with Mary, its mother. They knew at once
that this was the King, and they fell down on their
faces and worshipped him as the Lord. Then they
brought out gifts of gold and precious perfumes,
frankincense and myrrh, which were used in offering
sacrifices, and they gave them as presents to the royal
That night God sent a dream to the wise men, telling
them not to go back to Herod, but to go home at once to
their own land by another way. They obeyed the Lord,
and found another road to their own country without
passing through Jerusalem, where Herod was living. So
Herod could not learn from these men who the child was
that was born to be a king.
And very soon after these wise men had gone away the
Lord sent another dream to Joseph, the husband of Mary.
He saw an angel, who spoke to him, saying:
"Rise up quickly; take the little child and his mother,
and go down to the land of Egypt; for Herod will try to
find the little child, to kill him."
Then at once, Joseph rose up in the night, without
waiting even for the morning. He took his wife and her
baby, and quietly and quickly went with them down to
Egypt, which was on the southwest of Judea. There they
all stayed in safety as long as the wicked King Herod
lived, which was not many months.
THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
King Herod waited for the wise men to come back to him
from their visit to Bethlehem; but he soon found that
they had gone to their home without bringing to him any
word. Then Herod was very angry. He sent out his
soldiers to Bethlehem. They came, and by the cruel
king's command they seized all the little children in
Bethlehem who were three years old, or younger, and
killed them all. What a cry went up to God from the
mothers of Bethlehem
 as their children were torn from
their arms and slain! But all this time the child
Jesus, whom they were seeking, was safe with his mother
in the land of Egypt.
Soon after this King Herod died, a very old man, cruel
to the last. Then the angel of the Lord came again and
spoke to Joseph in a dream, saying:
"You may now take the young child back to his own land,
for the king who sought to kill him is dead."
Then Joseph took his wife and the little child Jesus
and started to go again
to the land of Judea. Perhaps it was his
thought to go again to Bethlehem, the city of David
and there bring up the child. But he heard that in
that part of the land Archelaus was now ruling, who was
a son of Herod, and as wicked and cruel as his father.
He feared to go under his rule, and instead took his
wife and the child to Nazareth, which had been his own
home and that of Mary his wife, before the child was
born. Nazareth was in the
 part of the land called
Galilee, which at that time was ruled by another son of
King Herod, a king named Herod Antipas. He was not a
good man, but was not so cruel nor bloody as his wicked
father had been.
So again Joseph, the carpenter, and Mary his wife, were
living in Nazareth. And there they stayed for many
years while Jesus was growing up. Jesus was not the
only child in their house, for other sons and daughters
were given to them.