Q. I wanted to know if Jesus Christ was born in a house or manger? In Matthew 2:11 says house, but Luke 2: 6-7 says manger. Why do they disagree?
A. Almost everyone believes that Jesus was born in a manger. The confusion goes away once you realize that it’s highly unlikely that the Magi actually showed up on the night of the Lord’s birth. In fact, Matt. 2:1 begins with the phrase “After Jesus was born” and goes on to describe the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem.
The Magi were priests from Parthia, a remnant of Persia. Their ancestors had been royal astrologers in Babylon 500 years earlier when the Prophet Daniel had learned the time of the Messiah’s birth (Daniel 9:25) and told them. They had been looking for signs of it ever since, passing down the information Daniel gave them from father to son.
When they saw an unfamiliar star in the sky they set out for Bethlehem, but Parthia was several hundred miles away. The journey would have taken them months to complete, so by the time they arrived Mary and Joseph had found a house to live in. This also helps to explain why Herod, upon learning of the Lord’s birth, had all the boys under 2 years of age killed, and not just the newborns (Matt. 2:16).
But the Magi arrived in God’s perfect timing. According to some commentators, the gifts they delivered meant the holy family could afford to hide in Egypt until Herod had died.