A Divine Pause
Verse 13 “When they had gone,” refers to the Magi. So, this is now several weeks after the birth of Jesus.
- This could have been as much as a month or two after the birth of Jesus.
- After the magi had left Joseph has a dream. This is the second of three angelic dreams in the birth narrative.
- But the angel had a disturbing message for Joseph. “Herod is going to try and Kill the baby.”
- Of course this is the second time an angel has appeared to Joseph in a dream.
- The border between Egypt and Bethlehem was approximately 80 miles.
- At this time Egypt was a Roman province outside of Herod’s jurisdiction.
- Egypt was the perfect place for Sanctuary because it already had a large Jewish population.
- It was under Roman rule and safety but beyond the reach of evil Herod.
- Now the Phrase Get up,” “take the child” in the original language has with it a great sense of urgency.
Verse 14 It has the appearance that They left the same night he had the Dream.
- Which left Joseph little time to contemplate his obedience.
- They may have left at night to avoid being seen by Herod’s troops.
- Or simply because of the urgency conveyed to Joseph in the dream.
Verse 15 An obvious question that is often asked is, how did they afford to live there for that long?
- It doesn’t appear that they had family there.
- They probably didn’t have to stay there long as Herod died in 4bc.
- Some scholars suggest they may have sold the gifts the Magi brought to pay their way.
- This verse also ends with a quote From Hosea 11:1
Verse 16 In order to understand this, we have to go back to Matt 2:12.
- The word “outwitted” here in the Niv in the original language means “duped” or “tricked.”
- The word carries more the sense of embarrassment.
- Herod felt embarrassed, and for someone this insecure, that made him fly into a rage.
- He dispatched his troops from his palace called Herodium which was just 4 miles southwest of Bethlehem.
- In Ezra 2:21 in the OT it says that only 123 men returned to Bethlehem after the Babylonian deportation.
- Historians say that at the time of Jesus’ birth Bethlehem was a town of only about 1000 people.
- So the number of boys killed was probably between 10 to 30.
Verse 18 Verse 18 here is simply a quote of the prophetic statement in Jeremiah 31:15.
- In Jeremiah’s day this could have been the Assyrian deportation of the northern tribes or this could have been the Babylonian deportation of the southern tribes. Either is possible and likely.
- But for Jesus’ day, Rachel is seen and viewed as the mother of the nation and therefore her mourning and weeping symbolizes the mourning of the nation.
- Rachel weeping for her children represents the weeping of the nation and certainly the people of Bethlehem.