Matthew 2:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 2:9, NIV: After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

Matthew 2:9, ESV: After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.

Matthew 2:9, KJV: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Matthew 2:9, NASB: After hearing the king, they went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found.

Matthew 2:9, NLT: After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.

Matthew 2:9, CSB: After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was--the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.

What does Matthew 2:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The wise men, or "Magi," been sent out by Israel's Rome-installed king, Herod, to find the newborn and long-awaited Christ. Based on their study of Jewish Scripture and the appearance of a strange star in the night sky, they are convinced that the prophesied "King of the Jews" has been born. They came first to Jerusalem looking for the child, perhaps assuming that's where a king would be born. Herod has pointed them to Bethlehem instead, based on the prophecies quoted to him by Israel's religious leaders (Matthew 2:1–8).

Bethlehem is only six miles south of Jerusalem. As the wise men set off, Herod's lead is confirmed by the reappearance of the star they have been tracking. The star rises in the sky and leads them to the place where the child Jesus was. Not all scholars agree about how to interpret these details. Scripture does not specify if the star was bright enough to be seen in the daytime, if the wise men and their entourage made a short trip by night. We are not told if the star "settled" over Bethlehem generally, requiring them to ask around about a child born under unusual circumstances. Nor does it say if the star was a ball of light very close to the ground, literally floating above a specific house.

Details aside, this specific appearance of the "star" appears to be a truly supernatural phenomenon, perhaps an angel. The first appearance of the star might have been an astrological event. This, however, seems far more specific and not easily explained with natural means. Whatever specific form the star took, the wise men are convinced it is leading them to the king of the Jews.