Story Three

THE STAR AND THE WISE MEN
FOR some time after Jesus was born, Jṓ s̝eph and Mā́ ry̆ stayed with him in Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm. The little baby was not kept long in the stable, sleeping in the manger; for after a few days they found room in a house; and there another visit was made to Jesus by strange men from a land far away.
In a country east of Jū-dḗ ȧ, and many miles distant, were living some very wise men, who studied the stars. One night they saw a strange star shining in the sky; and in some way they learned that the coming of the star meant that a king was soon to be born in the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ. These men felt a call of God to go to Jū-dḗ ȧ, far to the west of their own home, and there to see this new-born king, They took a long journey, with camels and horses, and at last they came to the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ, just at the time when Jū-dḗ ȧ was born at Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm. As soon as they were in Jū-dḗ ȧ they supposed that everyone would know all about the king; and they said:
"Where is he that is born the King of the Jews? In the east we have seen his star; and we have come to worship him.”
But no one of whom they asked had ever seen this king or had heard of him. The news of their coming was sent to Hĕŕ od, the king, who was now a very old man. He ruled the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ, as you know, under the emperor at Rome, A̤u-gŭś tus Cǽ s̝ar. (See Story One of this Part.) Hĕŕ od was a very wicked man; and when he heard of someone born to be a king he feared that he might lose his own kingdom.
He made up his mind to kill this new king, and thus to keep his own power. He sent for the priests and scribes, the men who studied and taught the books of the Old Testament, and asked them about this Christ for whom all the people were looking. He said, "Can you tell me where Christ, the King of Ĭś̝ ra-el is to be born?" They looked at the books of the prophets, and then they said, "He is to be born in Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm of Jū-dḗ ȧ; for thus it is written by the prophet, 'And thou, Bĕth́ le-hĕm, in the land of Jū́ dah, art not the least among the princes of Jū́ dah; for out of 'thee shall come forth one who shall rule my people Ĭś̝ ra-el."'
Then Hĕŕ od sent for the wise men from the east, and met them alone, and found from them at what time the star was first seen. Then he said to them:
"Go to Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm, and there search carefully for the little child; and when you have found him bring me word again, so that I also may come and worship him.”
Then the wise men went on their way toward Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm, and suddenly they saw the star again shining upon the road before them. At this they were glad, and followed the star until it led them to the very house where the little child was. They came in, and there they saw the little one, with Mā́ ry̆ its mother. They knew at once that this was the King, and they fell down on their faces and worshipped him as the Lord. Then they brought out gifts of gold and precious perfumes, frankincense and myrrh, which were used in offering sacrifices, and they gave them as presents to the royal child.
That night God sent a dream to the wise men, telling them not to go batik to Hĕŕ od, but to go home at once to their own land by another way. They obeyed the Lord, and found another road to their own country without passing through Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, where Hĕŕ od was living. So Hĕŕ od could not learn from these men who the child was that was born to be a king.
And very soon after these wise men had gone away the Lord sent another dream to Jṓ s̝eph, the husband of Mary. He saw an angel, who spoke to him, saying:
"Rise up quickly; take the little child and his mother, and go down to the land of Ḗ ġy̆pt; for Hĕŕ od will try to find the little child, to kill him.”
Then, at once, Jṓ s̝eph rose up in the night, without waiting even for the morning. He took his wife and her baby, and quietly and quickly went with them down to Ḗ ġy̆pt, which was on the southwest of Jū-dḗ ȧ. There they all stayed in safety as long as the wicked King Herod lived, which was not many months.
King Hĕŕ od waited for the wise men to come back to him from their visit to Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm; but he soon found that they had gone to their home without bringing to him any word. Then Hĕŕ od was very angry. He sent out his soldiers to Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm. They came, and by the cruel king's command they seized all the little children in Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm who were three years old, or younger, and killed them all. What a cry went up to God from the mothers of Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm as their children were torn from their arms and slain! But all this time the child Jesus, whom they were seeking, was safe with his mother in the land of Ḗ ġy̆pt.
Soon after this King Hĕŕ od died, a very old man, cruel to the last. Then the angel of the Lord came again and spoke to Jṓ s̝eph in a dream, saying:
"You may now take the young child back to his own land, for the king who sought to kill him is dead.”
Then Jṓ seph took his wife and the little child Jesus, and started to go again to the land of Jū-dḗ ȧ. Perhaps it was his thought to go again to Bĕth́ lĕ-hĕm, the city of Dā́ vid, and there bring up the child. But he heard that in that part of the land Är-chĕ-lā́ us was now ruling, who was a son of Hĕŕ od, and as wicked and cruel as his father. He feared to go under his rule, and instead took his wife and the child to Năź a-rĕth, which had been his own home and that of Mā́ ry̆ his wife, before the child was born.
Năź a-rĕth was in the part of the land called Găĺ ĭ-lee, which at that time was ruled by another son of King Hĕŕ od, a king named Hĕŕ od He was not a good man, but was not so cruel nor bloody as his wicked father had been.
So again Jṓ s̝eph the carpenter, and Mā́ ry̆ his wife, were living in Năź a-rĕth. And there they stayed for many years while Jesus was growing up. Jesus was not the only child in their house, for other sons and daughters were given to them.
Lesson 3. The Wise Men and the Star.
(Tell Story 3 in Part Sixth.)
1. What men from a distant land came to see Je'sus? Wise men from the east.
2. What led them on their journey to the land where Jesus was born? A star in the sky.
3. What question did the wise men ask? “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”
4. Of whom did they ask this question? Of Herod the king.
5. To which place did Herod send them? To Bethlehem.
6. What did they find in Bethlehem? The little child and his mother.
7. What did they do when they saw the child? They gave him rich gifts.
8. What did an angel tell Joseph to do after the wise men had gone away? To take the child to Egypt.
9. Why must the child be taken to Egypt? To save his life from King Herod.
10. How long did Joseph, and Mary, and the child Je'sus stay in Egypt? Until King Herod died.
11. Where did Joseph and Mary take the child Je'sus from Egypt? To Nazareth.