IT must have been after the presentation of Jesus at the temple that the magi came from the East to inquire for him who was born king of the Jews; for had they bestowed their rich presents before that time, Joseph and Mary would not have been too poor to offer a lamb. These men must have come from Chaldea, or Persia, or some of the other countries where the Jews had settled at the time of the captivity; and it seems altogether probable that they had been led to expect the birth of the king of the Jews by studying the Hebrew prophecies. A description of their visit is found in the second chapter of Matthew: 

" Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel." Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 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. 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."

Thus the wise men, guided by Heaven, went on to Bethlehem, where they worshiped the infant Saviour, and presented him rich gifts of gold and other very valuable commodities. The Lord, not wishing these good men to return to the wicked Herod, warned them in a dream, and they returned to their own country by another route. When Herod knew this, he was so enraged that he slew all the children in Bethlehem and in all the country near it, not sparing any that were under two years of age. But he did not succeed in destroying his supposed rival; for the Lord had foreseen what Herod would do, and warned Joseph to “flee to Egypt."  Herod did not long survive the massacre of Bethlehem. A few months after, he died of a disease, which is described as a very horrible complication. It consisted of a slow fever, with ulceration of the bowels, and other ulcerations that bred worms, swollen feet, want of breath, and convulsion fits. Knowing how the Jews hated him, he fell upon a novel plan of securing (as he thought) a general lamentation at his death. He summoned all the principal men of the kingdom to appear at Jericho, where he lay; shut them up in the circus, and commanded his sister, Salome, who had instigated him to many of his murders, and her husband, to put them to death as soon as he should be dead. But the savage order was not obeyed. Herod died in his seventieth year, after having reigned thirty-seven years as king of the Jews."

On his death his dominions were divided among three of his sons, Archelaus, Philip, and Herod Antipas." But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child's life." Joseph immediately obeyed, but when he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea, he feared that the cruel and jealous disposition of that unprincipled ruler might lead him to attempt to carry out the purposes of his father; and for this reason he avoided Judea, and took up his abode in Nazareth of Galilee, which was under Herod Antipas.