Thursday, November 11, 2021
13 After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”
14-15 Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”
16-18 Herod flew into a rage when he realized that the scholars had tricked him. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s revelation was fulfilled:
A sound was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
dead and buried.
-Matthew 2:13-18 The Message
The Escape to Egypt
13 Now when they had gone, behold, 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 stay there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.”
Verse 13 study: This is the second dream or vision that God sent to Joseph. The first was a dream that revealed Mary’s child would be the Messiah (1:20-21). The second was a dream that God told him to protect the child’s life. The reality is that Joseph is not the natural father of Jesus, but he is the legal father of Jesus and was responsible for his safety and well-being. Divine guidance comes only to prepared hearts. Nevertheless, Joseph remained receptive to God’s guidance.
Verse 14: Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night and left for Egypt.
Verse 15: He stayed there until the death of Herod; this happened so that what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Verses 14-15 studies: There were colonies of Jews in several major Egyptian cities, so it was not unusual to go to Egypt. In Jeremiah 43:44, the colonies developed during the time of the great captivity. The parallel between this flight to Egypt and Israel’s history is that Israel went to Egypt as Jesus did as a child. First, God led them out of Israel (Hosea 11:1). Then, God brought Jesus back. Both events show God working to save his people.
Herod Slaughters Babies
Verse 16: Then, when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent men and killed all the boys who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.
Verse 16 study: Herod killed all the boys under two years of age in an obsessive way to attempt to kill Jesus, the newborn king. He stained his hands with blood, but he did not harm Jesus. Herod was king by human vote, while Jesus was king by divine appointment. It is hard to run God’s plans. The problem with Herod is that he is afraid that the newborn king will take his throne. Jesus didn’t want the throne; he wanted to be the king of Herod’s life. Jesus wanted to give Herod eternal life, not take away his present life. People think Christ wants to take your life when all he wants is to be your king. Give you absolute freedom, peace, and joy. You don’t need to fear Christ. Let him have the throne in your life.
Verse 17: Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
Verse 18: “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.”
Verses 17-18 studies: Rachael was the wife of Jacob, one of the great men of God in the Old Testament. From Jacob’s 12 sons had come the 12 tribes of Israel. Rachael was buried near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19). See Jeremiah 31:15 for the quote on this verse.
Father, thank you for today’s lesson. It is good to be reminded to listen to dreams because you may appear to share a message. Thank you for allowing us to read the story of Herod to understand how important it is to listen. In Jesus’ name. Amen!