III. The Youth of Jesus
9. Flight to Egypt and Return to Nazareth
14And Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt,a and remained there until the death of Herod.
16Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage. He gave orders and had killed all the male children in Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.
21When Herod diedb Joseph took the child and mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard Archelaus reigned over Judeac in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there and withdrew to the district of Galilee.d 23And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth.
(Mt. 2:14, 16, 21–23)
a "departed to Egypt,"—Alexandria was the location of a large Jewish settlement in Egypt and would have been a natural place for them to live during their sojourn there.
b "When Herod died"—The Jewish historian Josephus (who lived in the latter half of the first century AD) records the death of Herod (at age 70) shortly before April 12, 4 BC.
c "Archelaus reigned over Judea"—Herod died in the spring of 4 BC. By Herod's final will his son Archelaus was named as ruler over Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Most of the remainder of Herod's kingdom was divided among his other two sons: Herod Antipas was made ruler over Galilee and Perea, while Herod Philip became ruler over the Transjordan lands of Batanea and Trachonitis. (See map on page 5.)
Herod Antipas was the man who later ordered the death of John the Baptist. In AD 6, Caesar Augustus replaced Archelaus with a series of military prefects. The most famous of these rulers was Pontius Pilate, the man who ordered Jesus' death.
d "withdrew to the district of Galilee."—If Jesus were born around August, 7 BC (Ch. 5, fn. a; Ch. 7, fns. b and e), he would have been around three years old when the family returned to Nazareth after the death of Herod in April, 4 BC.
Mt. 2:14 And Joseph rose / And he rose (RSV)
Mt. 2:16 Herod / Then Herod (RSV) • rage. He gave orders and had killed / rage and he sent and killed (RSV) • Bethlehem who / Bethlehem and in all that region who (RSV)
Mt. 2:21 When Herod died Joseph took (Mt. 2:19, 21) / And he rose and took (RSV)
Mt. 2:22 and withdrew / and being warned in a dream he withdrew (RSV) (122:10/1353–4)