An Unexpected Journey

Matthew 2:13-23

In our judgement, there was no special star, no wise men and no plot by Herod to kill Jesus. So is the story factually true? No. But as a parable, is it true? For us as Christians, the answer is a robust affirmative. Is Jesus light shining in the darkness? Yes. Do the Herods of this world seek to extinguish the light? Yes, Does Jesus still shine in the darkness? Yes.

Borg, M., 2008. The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach Us About Jesus's Birth. pg.184

Matthew 2:13

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." (use)

Jesus did not arrive haphazardly. He didn't come arbitrarily. He didn't come a moment too late, and he didn’t come a moment too soon. He came 'when the time had fully come.'

Begg, A., 1999. Why God Sent His Son.

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (use)

Hence it appears to be lawful to flee from danger, from tyrants and persecutors, when the providence of God opens a way for escape.

Gills, J., 1748. Exposition of the Bible Commentary.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (use)

We are here taught, that God has more than one way of preserving his own people. Sometimes he makes astonishing displays of his power; while at other times he employs dark coverings or shadows, from which feeble rays of it escape.

Calvin, J., 1555. Commentary.

Matthew 1:20

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit". (use)

Note, those that are spiritually related to Christ by faith have that communion and correspondence with Heaven which before they were strangers to.

Henry, M., 1896. Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible. UK. Matthew

Matthew 2:14

And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt (use)

The gifts of the East no doubt provided the means of securing a refuge in the South and West.

Nicoll W., 1923. Expositors Bible Commentary.

Matthew 2:16

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. (use)

Matthew 2:12

And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (use)

Matthew 2:17

Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: (use)

Matthew is not simply meditating on Old Testament texts, but claiming that in what has happened they find fulfillment. If the events are legendary, the argument is futile.

France, R.T., 1979. Herod and the Children of Bethlehem.

Jeremiah 31:15

Thus says the LORD: "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." (use)

Herod is best known for slaughtering every male infant in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus. He is almost certainly innocent of this crime.

Mueller, T., 2008. Herod. The Holy Land's Visionary Builder. 214/6:34-59

1. Josephus, a Jewish historian and a Jew, would not be likely to record anything that would appear to confirm the truth of Christianity. 2. This act of Herod was really so small, compared with his other crimes, that the historian might not think it worthy of record. Bethlehem was a small and obscure village, and the other crimes of Herod were so great and so public, that it is not to be wondered at that the Jewish historian has passed over this. 3. The order was probably given in secret, and might not have been known to Josephus.

Barnes, A., 1884. Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible.

The fact of the slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem is not mentioned by Josephus, or by any other writer, and has on that ground been called in question. It is admitted, however, on all hands, that it was an act every way in harmony with Herod’s character

Ellicott, J. 1879. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers.

The silence of history concerning the massacre at Bethlehem can be explained easily, for the slaughter of a dozen infants and an obscure Judean village would not arouse much comment in comparison with the enormity of Herod's greater crimes.

Tenny, M.C., 1953. The New Testament A Historical and Analytic Survey. pg.64

Matthew 2:19

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, (use)

Daniel 2:21

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; (use)

Leviticus 19:34

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (use)

Matthew 2:15

and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." (use)

Hosea 11:1

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (use)

And was it needful that the Lord of life and glory should go down into Egypt, that what the Prophet had said of calling God's dear SON out of Egypt might be fulfilled? Surely then, LORD, it must be needful to call all thy sons from the Egypt of this world; for all by nature are in that house of bondage, before that an act of sovereign grace hath called them out.

Hawker, R., 1805. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary.

Matthew 2:23

And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. (use)

This completes, appropriately, the sketch of His reception. Unthought of by His own, till strangers sought Him; a source of trouble to them when they heard of Him; His life threatened by the occupant, for the time, of David’s, throne, He is saved only by exile, and on returning to His people passes out of notice: and the great world moves On, all unconscious and unconcerned, whilst its Saviour-King is preparing, in the obscurity of His village home, for the great work of winning a lost world back to God.

Nicoll W., 1923. Expositors Bible Commentary.

John 1:46

Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." (use)