Matthew 2:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 2:8, NIV: He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.'

Matthew 2:8, ESV: And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

Matthew 2:8, KJV: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

Matthew 2:8, NASB: And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.'

Matthew 2:8, NLT: Then he told them, 'Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!'

Matthew 2:8, CSB: He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship him."

What does Matthew 2:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Historical sources outside of the Bible fill in details about Herod the Great, also known as Herod I. He went to great lengths to protect his power, as Israel's king installed under the authority of Rome. He killed his wife, several sons, and many others to eliminate any risk to his position as Israel's chief ruler.

Herod's actions show he received news from travelling wise men about a "king of the Jews" born in Israel as a threat. Growing up as a Jewish man, he knew all about the promised Messiah who would come to save and rule over Israel. Instead of being glad at the possibility, Herod acted to protect his throne.

The religious leaders have identified Bethlehem as the prophesied birthplace of the Christ (Matthew 2:4–5), and the wise men have given Herod an idea about the child's approximate age by describing when the strange star they have tracked appeared in the sky (Matthew 2:7). Now Herod sends them off to Bethlehem to find the boy, blatantly lying as he does so. Herod claims he wants to worship the Christ, as well. He tells them to go and search diligently and let him know as soon as they find the child.

Why didn't Herod go with them, or send his own guards to Bethlehem to make sure he found the child himself? Perhaps he wasn't convinced there really was a child but wanted to be sure. More likely, he didn't want to raise suspicion among these travelers that he wanted to kill the boy. After all, why would they not let him know if they found the future "King of the Jews"?