Summary: It was an angel that told Joseph of the danger to Jesus. He was told to flee to Egypt and also that he would be told when it was safe to return. With Herod dead, the pressure was off and it was now safe for Joseph to take his family home.
Egypt and Nazareth
(14) From Egypt to Nazareth with Jesus
Hosea 11:1 says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” God’s son was down in Egypt, but He can’t stay there. He can’t grow up in the Egyptian culture like Moses did. God will make some changes back in Jerusalem so that Joseph can take his family home. Mathew tells the story about how God brought this about.
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. (Matthew 2:19-23)
This is the third time that Joseph has been given a message by an angel, but I doubt that anyone could ever be unaffected by the experience.
And said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” (Matthew 2:20)
It was an angel that told Joseph of the danger to Jesus. He was told to flee to Egypt and also that he would be told when it was safe to return. With Herod dead, the pressure was off and it was now safe for Joseph to take his family home. Herod’s men were no longer looking for the child.
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reining in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee. (Matthew 2:21-22)
Joseph always responds immediately to God’s messengers, but I am sure that Joseph was anxious to go home and that helped to hurry them along. Archelaus was Herod’s son and the “acorn didn’t fall far from the tree”, because he was just as brutal as his father was. Joseph was afraid to put his family back into Judea where this tyrant reined, so after another warning he went to live in Galilee.
And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophet: “He will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:23)
Jesus grew up in Nazareth and later he would be called a Nazarene, and so the prophecies were fulfilled. Isaiah 11:1 says, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from the roots a branch will bear fruit.” Jesus was a root out of the branch of Jesse, because he was a descendant of David and David’s father was Jesse. Did you know that Nazareth means “branch” or “shoot?” Jesus was called a Nazarene and the fruit that He barred would reconcile men to God.
Remember, we are studying Jesus' life chronologically; we will be switching between the four Gospels as necessary to give all the information available on each incident.