Matthew 2:7-18 - Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
When 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.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where 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.” When 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. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “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.”
JESUS AND THE INNOCENTS
Matthew was written first to the Jews in the Hebrew language. As such, he relates Jesus to the Old Testament prophesies and helps us see how Jesus fulfilled those ancient anticipations. In a little over 300 words at the beginning of Matthew, we learn that Jesus is the son of Abraham and of David and is King of the Jews. He is conceived of the Holy Spirit by the Virgin Mary. He is Jesus who will save the Jews from their sins and that he is God with us. Any person schooled in the Bible will immediately discern a pattern, something upon which Matthew counted.
The flight into Egypt had memories alerting the reader to look for something more, to be reminded of Egypt and the Exodus.
Egypt had been their place of refuge under Jacob and Joseph, but it turned into their place of slavery. The most notorious distinction of their slavery was the killing of all the male children in their infancy with only Moses surviving by being hidden in the bulrushes by his mother. In their captivity in Egypt, their innocent children were destroyed. Every Jew remembered all these details every year in the Passover as they do to this day.
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