Saturday, February 26, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 2:13-23 - Egypt, Herod and Nazareth

Matthew 2:13-15 - The Flight to Egypt

Matt 2:13 - Soon after the Magi left, an angel told Joseph in a dream to to go to Egypt. With a population containing about 1 million Jews, Egypt was a safe place. Although a province of Rome, it was outside the jurisdiction of Herod. Joseph was to urgently get the family up in the night and get on the road and remain in Egypt until God told Joseph it was safe to return to Israel.

Matt 2:14-15a - Joseph was again immediately obedient and the left during the night for Egypt, about 75 miles away. They remained there until Herod died. Note that God could have protected the child in many different ways, yet chose to move the child from place to place to avoid Herod. This exposure raised the expectations of the Jewish people that the King had arrived.

Matt 2:14-15b The second of four prophetic references in the 2nd chapter, this reference is to Hos 11:1. Hosea is referring to the Exodus, fleeing Pharaoh and crossing the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai Exo 12:40-41. Hosea saw God's love for Israel in the Exodus and how God called them out from Egypt. Matthew is correlating Hosea's statement with what happened with the King, in that the King also sojourned in Egypt for a time and was called from Egypt. In both of these events, God's purpose was to preserve the life of the King.

Matthew 2:16-18 - Herod Kills the Children

Matt 2:16 - King Herod was appointed by Rome, and his great fear was loosing his power and control over Israel. He had killed wife and sons to preserve his grip on the throne, and killing children was not beyond his means. Bethlehem with a population of about 1000 would have had perhaps 20 children less than 2 years old, less of just males. Jesus would have been somewhere between a few months and a year and half old.

Matt 2:17-18 - This is the third prophetic reference in this chapter. This prophecy comes from Jeremiah Jer 31:15 and is actually an encouragement to Israel. In the context of Jeremiah's statement, the Lord was saying that in spite of appearances, the Israelites will eventually be rewarded Jer 31:16-18. Matthew is showing that the death of the children at the hands of Herod represent the destruction of the Israelites by the Assyrians, and that the fulfillment includes the blessings that follow The King and Kingdom is the fulfillment of those promised blessings.

Matthew 2:19-23 - The Return to Nazareth

Matt 2:19-20 - Joseph again receives a dream, and in the dream, an angel tells Joseph that Herod and his assassins have died and it is safe to resume travel back to Israel. Dreams were a common method of communication in Old Testament and early Christian times. As mentioned earlier, this fulfills the passage from Hos 11:1 that speaks of Messiah being called out of Egypt.

Matt 2:22 - Following the death of Herod, his son Archelaus was put into power over Judea. The Jews feared him more than Herod. Archelaus was so evil that even Rome hated him and had him removed from power after 10 years. When Joseph and his family arrived back in Israel, they had heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea. Joseph was afraid to go there, and having had another dream in which he was warned about Archelaus, the family set out for Nazareth in the district of Galilee.

Matt 2:23 - Interestingly, there is no record of any prophet stating that Jesus would be called a Nazarene. Note that this is not a quotation, but Matthew is drawing from a composite of several comments in prophetic literature. The sense here is that as Nazareth was a despised city, so also the King would be despised Joh 1:43-46, Act 24:5-6.

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