The three chapters for today’s reading are the wise men from Matthew and six plagues from Exodus.
In Matthew 2 we get to meet with the Magi (probably about 15 of them including servants) who came to Jerusalem to ask about the King of the Jews. This worried King Herod and all Jerusalem, and Herod asked the Scribes and the learned men where he was to be born. They answered “In Bethlehem of Judea”, but were otherwise remarkably uninterested. The wise men went to Jesus (he is by now at least a few months old), but did not report back to Herod, instead they returned another way. Meanwhile Joseph wass told to get out of there and flee to Egypt. Herod was furious that he had been had and murdered all male children under the age of 2 in and around Bethlehem. Herod died soon after, and the little family went back to Nazareth. (As a side note, in the Middle East Christians are nowadays called Nazarenes.)
Exodus 8 is very interesting. It tells of three more plagues of Egypt, the plague of frogs, the plague of gnats and the plague of flies. The Egyptian magicians had no trouble duplicating elements of the plague of frogs, but when it came to the plague of gnats they threw up their hands and said “This is the finger of God”. From then on they could not duplicate any of the plagues.
In Exodus 9 there are three more plagues, the plague of livestock, the plague of boils and the plague of hail. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard.