“sent them to Bethlehem.” Note that the Magi did not go to Bethlehem because they were following a star, as tradition says. They were going to Bethlehem because the Word of God said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
“as soon as.” The word epan (#1875 ἐπάν) can mean “when” or “as soon as,” (BDAG Greek-English Lexicon; see also NIV; Rotherham). Herod’s eagerness to get rid of the competition to his throne makes us favor “as soon as.”
“pay homage.” See commentary on Matthew 2:2.