Now after 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 saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matthew 2:1-3)As king, Herod must have been a master of disguise. He was a master politician. He acted in whatever way was required in order to get what he wanted. Morality was not a concern. When he heard the Magi's question about the new king of the Jews, he put on a mask and pretended to be someone who he was not (see Matthew 2:8).
On the inside,
Herod burned with a murderous rage.
On the outside,
Herod kept a kind, curious countenance.
The words of the Magi were troubling. Was not he, Herod, king over the Jews? There was not room for another king. And who did these Magi think they were? They were seeking a new king of the Jews to worship like a god... but why, then, weren't these Magi worshiping him?
Herod must have wanted to lash out at the Magi, but there was something holding him back. What if the Magi were speaking the truth? What if a new king really had been born? He knew that the Jews were anticipating the coming of Christ (and ironically all of Jerusalem was troubled by the news from the Magi that the Christ had come!). Where the Christ was supposed to come from, Herod had never bothered to investigate.
But now... now it was time to investigate. He desperately needed to know more about this new supposed king. Luckily, he knew exactly how he could find out more:
and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (Matthew 2:4)