“A Tale of Two Kings” | Matthew 2:13-23 Bible Study

King Herod vs. King Jesus

In Matthew 2, the main characters are contrasted in a way that forces readers to make a choice.

The pagan Magi seek to worship Jesus; Israel’s ruler seek to kill Him. Herod does what Pharaoh (Ex 1:15-16) and pagans did – he authorizes the killing of innocent children.

The killing of innocent children. The killing of innocent children. The killing of innocent children (cf. the fourfold repetition of “the Child and His mother”; Mt 2:13, 14, 20, 21).

In this passage we hear both echoes of the Exodus and echoes of the Exile. As God brought Israel – His son – out of Egypt, He also brings Jesus – the Son – out of Egypt (cf. Mt 2:15; Hos 11:1).

As God brought His children out from exile in Babylon and Assyria, God brings His Child out from exile in Egypt.

Moses left Egypt to escape Pharaoh (Ex 2:14-15) and eventually deliver God’s people; Jesus left for Egypt to escape from Herod (Mt 2:13-14) and eventually deliver God’s people.

As God brought Israel out of Egypt to establish the Old Covenant, God brought Israel’s Messianic Branch (Jer 23:5-6; Is 11:1; Mt 2:23; cf. Jer 33:15; Is 4:2; Zec 3:8, 6:12) (Hb. nēer has similar consonant sounds to Nazarene) out of Egypt to establish the New Covenant (Mt 2:17-18; cf. Jer 31:15-17, 31:34; Mt 26:28; 1 Cor 11:25).

This passage also foreshadows how Christ will be opposed and despised by His own people – people who perceive Him as a threat.

Christians will also be opposed and despised by people who see us as threats (cf. Mt 10:22-25, 13:21, 16:24-25, 24:9-14, etc.). If the world hated Jesus – even as a baby – the world will hate us.

But the troubles and tyrants of this world are temporary, and the one who endures to the end will be saved (Mt 10:22).

Matthew 2 presents us with a true tale of two kings: King Herod and King Jesus. Which king will we choose to imitate?

Jesus had humble beginnings in some backwoods town (cf. Jn 1:46), while Herod was living in luxury in the palace in Jerusalem.

Will we walk the worldly way that’s infatuated with power and prestige, glitz and glamor, fame and fortune? A way to treasures that will not last (Mt 6:19-21)?

Or will we walk the Christian way of humility and holiness, rejection and righteousness, persecution and piety? A way that leads to treasures that are everlasting?

Will we be like Herod and Archelaus – letting nothing get in the way of the pursuit of our selfish ambitions? Not even the life of children?! Or will we give ourselves to Christ? Will we surrender to the Savior? Will we come before the King?

Herod did not want to give up his throne to Christ. What about us?

Are we willing to follow our Leader? Are we willing to follow our Lord who was despised and rejected – since Day 1?

Let’s not be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:16; Mk 8:38), let’s not be afraid to proclaim God’s word to this ungodly world. Because we know God is in control of the world.

And the LORD gets the last laugh (Psalm 2; esp. Ps 2:4; cf. Pr 3:34). Like Herod, people can try to fight it – but in the end – God’s will will be done.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10).


13 Then, after they withdrew, behold: an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. And stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to pursue the Child in order to destroy Him. 14 So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and withdrew to Egypt. 15 And he stayed there until the death of Herod – in order that that which was spoken by the Lord through prophet would be fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I summoned My Son.”

16 Then, seeing that he had been fooled by the Magi, Herod became very angry and gave orders to execute all the boys in Bethlehem and its surrounding regions who were two years old or younger – according to the time that was precisely ascertained by the Magi.

17 Then, that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

18 A voice in Ramah was heard,

     weeping and great mourning

[It is] Rachel weeping for her children,

     and refusing to be comforted,

     because they are no more

19 Then, after Herod died, behold: an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream in Egypt 20 saying “Get up! Take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel. For those who were pursuing the Child’s life have died. 21 So he got up, took the Child and His mother, and went into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning as king of Judea in place of his father Herod, he became afraid to go there. Then, having received a divine warning in a dream, he withdrew into the regions of Galilee. 23 And he went and settled in the city called Nazareth – in order that that which was said through the prophets should be fulfilled: that He would be called a Nazarene.

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12-30-20 Bible Study Slides Final


About @DannyScottonJr 455 Articles
Imperfect Servant ✝?⛪ | Husband | Princeton U. Alum | M. Div. | Assistant (to the) Pastor | Sound Doctrine & Apologetics @catchforchrist