18 Dec. Matthew 2:1-6

18 Dec. Foreign merchants bring exotic goods to Herod's palace

"Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king."

"When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, 'Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him'."

"When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, as well as all the people in Jerusalem. Herod called a meeting of all the leading priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Christ [the 'Messiah' or 'anointed one'] would be born."

"They answered, 'In the town of Bethlehem in Judea. The prophet [Micah] wrote about this in the Scriptures':

'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are important among the tribes of Judah.
A ruler will come from you
who will be like a shepherd for my people Israel'." [Micah 5:2]

          (Matthew 2:1-6)


Some months after Jesus was born, in 5 or 4BC, a group of foreign merchants selling exotic goods arrived in Jerusalem from the east. They headed to King Herod's palace to sell their exclusive merchandise to the wealthy in the royal court.

The group included 'magi' (‘wise men’ who studied the stars), who congratulated the king on his good fortune. They told him they had seen a star indicating that they would find “the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2).

Herod (who had been given the title 'King of the Jews' by the Romans) was furious and intensely jealous as no child had recently been born as his heir.

As a result, Herod called a meeting of all the leading Jewish priests and asked them where the 'Christ' (the 'Messiah' or 'anointed one') would be born. Then he thought what steps to take next.

Herod’s Palace, where the meeting took place, was built on the western side of the Upper City, where important Roman travellers from Caesarea would have entered Jerusalem. The palace covered most of what is now the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was almost totally destroyed by the Roman general Titus in 70AD.

All that remains is one tower of the Citadel, a fortress built originally by Herod at the northern end of his palace. In addition, sections of Herod’s city wall were incorporated into the impressive walls (still standing today) erected by Sultan Suleiman in the 16th century.

The three original towers forming Herod’s Citadel were named after his wife Mariamne, his brother Phasael, and his friend Hippicus. The only remaining Herodian tower, the Tower of Phasael (now known as the 'Tower of David' although it had nothing to do with King David) houses an interesting museum about the Old City.

The photo (by EdoM) shows the Tower of Phasael in Jerusalem, a remnant of King Herod's palace.

You can read more about the 'wise men' @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/the-bible-journey/3-jesuss-childhood-journeys-b/wise-men-visit-jerusalem/

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