The Magi Visit the Messiah (2:1-2): “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”
The Magi also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings, were a group of distinguished foreigners (Gentiles) who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew shows that people of all nations acknowledged Jesus as “king of the Jews” and came to worship him a Lord.
The Magi did not visit Jesus at the manger on the night of his birth as did the shepherds. They came some months later and visited him as a “child” in his “house.” The three gifts (gold, incense and myrrh) perhaps gave rise to the legend that there were three “wise men.” But the Bible does not indicate the number of the Magi, and they were almost certainly not kings.
The Escape to Egypt (2:13-14): “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.
Hence, the holy family received the messages and heeded the warning immediately (verse 14). The flight to Egypt was unexpected in so many ways. What a change in circumstances in such a short period of time. Now that the baby Jesus has received symbolic and important gifts from some pretty unusual visitors, the family must run for their lives (verses 13-14). Fleeing Herod, who wants to destroy the young Messiah, is their only option (verse 13). We know that some time has probably transpired since the birth but the trip must have been fraught with fear and danger as they looked over their shoulder virtually every step of the way.
However, getting to Egypt did not stop the executions back at home as Herod tried to find and kill the holy child (verse 16). The story of the flight from Egypt and the killing of innocent boys under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding area are often called “fulfillment” texts, in that they supposedly fulfill OT texts and prophesy (verses 15, 17). While the “fulfillment” of these texts in this passage is limited at best, the text makes clear that this event was not ordained by God — it was ordered by Herod. These acts are not “fulfillment” of God’s desires; these are examples of human fear, power seeking, anger, and evil (verse 16).
Return to Nazareth (2:19-23): Nazareth, a rather obscure town, nowhere mentioned in the OT was Jesus’ hometown (13:54-57; see Lk 2:39; 4:16-24; Jn 1:45-46). Mary and Joseph went there to live after the Lord appeared again to Joseph in a dream. This fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be a Nazarene.”