JESUS’ FAMILY FLEES TO EGYPT
JOSEPH MOVES HIS FAMILY TO NAZARETH
Joseph wakes Mary up to give her urgent news. Jehovah’s angel has just appeared to him in a dream, telling him: “Get up, take the young child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I give you word, for Herod is about to search for the young child to kill him.”
Right away, Joseph, Mary, and their son make their escape by night. They do so just in time, because Herod learns that the astrologers have tricked him. He had told them to report back to him. Instead, they left the country without doing so. Herod is filled with rage. Still wanting to kill Jesus, he gives orders to put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and its surroundings who are two years of age and under. He bases this age calculation on what he learned earlier from the astrologers who had come from the East.
The slaughter of all the boys is a horrible thing! We cannot know how many young boys were killed, but the bitter weeping and wailing of the bereaved mothers fulfills a Bible prophecy given by Jeremiah, God’s prophet.
In the meantime, Joseph and his family have fled to Egypt, and they continue living there. Then one night Jehovah’s angel again appears to Joseph in a dream. “Get up, take the young child and his mother,” the angel says, “and go into the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the life of the young child are dead.” (Matthew 2:20) So Joseph now concludes that the family can return to their homeland. In this way another Bible prophecy is fulfilled
Apparently, Joseph intends that his family settle in Judea, perhaps near the town of Bethlehem, where they were living before they fled to Egypt. But he learns that Herod’s wicked son Archelaus is now the king of Judea. In another dream, God warns Joseph of the danger. So Joseph and his family travel farther north and settle in the city of Nazareth in the territory of Galilee, away from the center of Jewish religious life. Jesus grows up in this community, which fulfills another prophecy: “He will be called a Nazarene.”