“Now after the days Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king; behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’” Matthew 2:2
Two years may have passed after the birth of Jesus by the time the wise men arrived to meet Him. Herod the Great was in power. His nationality was half Jew, half Idumean, and through accommodation to the Romans, he ascended to power as a political leader over the land. Religiously, Herod was a heretic, for if he was truly a Jew he would have been looking for the Messiah. Politically, he was a tyrant because not only did he increase taxes and enforce labor from the Israelites, but also he would later issue a decree to have all children under the age of two be put to death.