You May Feel Insecure About Him

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matt. 2:1-3, ESV).

Here we see Herod’s reaction to the news of Jesus’ birth. Herod was “troubled” (Gk. etarachthe), which comes from a root word (Gk. tarasso), that means, “to stir up . . . ‘to cause great mental distress’” (Louw-Nida); “to agitate” (Strong). The picture here is the stirring up of water, like when you stir the water in a cup of coffee. Herod was disturbed, upset, and agitated.

He was not alone. Matthew says, “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” “All Jerusalem” here refers to all the religious and political leaders of Jerusalem (Matt. 21:10).

Why would the rest of the religious and political leaders of Jerusalem be troubled? The most probable reason is that they will lose power. If their king loses power, they will also lose power. Just like today in the Philippines, when the President steps down. All the politicians who became rich and powerful under the President would lose power.

What was good news to the wise men was bad news to Herod and the religious leaders of Jerusalem. Why would Herod be upset? Well, the one born King of the Jews was a threat to his rule. Herod is called, “King of the Jews,” by the Roman Senate. But he was not “born” king of the Jews! That is the problem—He was not born from the kingly line of David. He descended from Esau, not Jacob. He was from Edom, not from Israel.

Due to this fact, many Jews do not accept him as their true king. Thus, if someone is born king of the Jews, he is a threat to Herod.[1]

So Herod thought, “What should I do?” There’s only one thing he must do—eliminate this child. To do so, he must know where the child is now. So he asked the religious leaders and scholars of the day.

“Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared” (Matt. 2:7 ESV). Herod asks two questions—first, “Where was the Christ to be born?” (v. 4) and second, “What time did the star appear?” (v. 7) Why was he interested about the time of the star’s appearance? He wanted to kill the Christ child. “Then Herod . . . sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (v. 16). This guy was raving mad!


[1] Barbieri, “Matthew,” The Bible Knowledge, PC Study Bible CD-Rom.

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