Our Story Concludes Lesson 10
The Escape to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-18
13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
o Herod did not want a legitimate descendant to the throne of David laying claim to his throne.
Thought to Ponder:
How many children under the age of two were murdered?
o Some suggest that it was as many as 200 – census might still have been going on; the soldiers would not have stopped to verify that the child was a boy or girl.
o Still others point out that in the Greek text the word could have just meant baby and put the figure between 50 and 60.
o Others point out that Bethlehem was a small community and therefore no more than 30 would have been killed. Most scholars put the number between 20 and 30.
Thought to Ponder:
Why is the murder of children not mentioned in other historical text?
Aside from the fact that Herod was brutal and solved many problems by killing people off, some speculate that the killing of a few babies was not noteworthy or out of character for Herod. Others point out that this order would have been given in 3 or 4 BC just before he died. At this time he had locked up 3000 leading citizens to be executed when he died so that the people would morn. No one wanted to incur his wrath and be added to that list.
The Return to Nazareth – Matthew 2:19-23
19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he (Joseph) went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."
39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.