Herod and the Holy Family

“Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, 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.” The Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time he had learned from the wise men. The was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

When Herod died, and angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.” ”

Matthew 2:13-23

This part of the story always reminds me of Moses. Only, Joseph flees to Egypt rather than from, (kind of ironic, isn’t it?) and there is, sadly, no Passover. Herod must have been very afraid of the Messiah to kill all of those children. Funny, Jesus’s blood is like the blood of the Passover lamb for us, but first he had to be passed over.

In this section there are also three of Matthew’s prophetic proofs. The first being that the Messiah would come out of Egypt, and the last being that he would call himself a Nazorean. But the second speaks of Herod killing the children. Matthew is trying to say that the prophecies about the Messiah aren’t the only ones coming true. Even if you still think they could be about someone else, look at this other prophecy fulfilled. NOW is the time, he is saying. And if now is the time it has to be Jesus!

Again I notice the great faith of Joseph. Twice he picks up his entire family, his entire life, and moves them to a brand new place, because an angel told him to. How much easier it would have been for him to ignore those dreams! But he didn’t. This would have been a very short story if he did.

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One Response to Herod and the Holy Family

  1. Pingback: Stories of Baby Jesus | Understanding the New Testament

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