THE LESSON BACKGROUND.
At the time of the first part of our lesson, the last known words from God to Israel were through the prophet Malachi (see Malachi 4:5-6) who prophesied around 400 B.C. By the time of the New Testament, faithful Jews all over the known world were still waiting for the Messiah (see Luke 3:15). In his gospel, Matthew presented the royal credentials of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people. He first gave Jesus’ genealogy which traced Him back to David and Abraham (see Matthew 1:1-17). Then Matthew turned to the circumstances of Jesus’ birth which is placed between 6 and 5 B.C. during the reign of Herod the Great. This is where our lesson begins.