Matthew 2:14 MEANING

Matthew 2:14
(14) He took the young child and his mother.--The form adopted here, as in the preceding verse, is significantly reverential. In a narrative of common life the natural expression would have been "his wife and the young child."

And departed into Egypt.--The brevity with which this is told is, to a certain extent, an argument for the non-mythical character of the narrative of which it forms a part. The legends of the Apocryphal Gospels, embodied in many forms of poetry and art, show how easily, in later times, the fabulous element crystallised round the Gospel nucleus of fact. The idols of Egypt bowed or fell down before the divine child; a well sprung up under the palm-tree that gave the traveller shelter. They were attacked by robbers, and owed their preservation to the pity of Dismas, one of the band, who was afterwards the penitent thief of the crucifixion. How far the journey extended we cannot tell. It would have been enough for Joseph's object to pass the so-called River of Egypt, which separated that country from the region under Herod's sovereignty.

Verse 14. - When he arose, he took; Revised Version, and he arose and took. The ἐγερθείς here, as in ver. 13, precludes delay. The young Child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt. As St. Paul in after years was able to connect himself with fellow-craftsmen, and thus maintain himself (Acts 18:3), so might Joseph reasonably expect to be able to do in Egypt, and the more so since the connexion there between those who worked at the same trade seems to have been even closer than elsewhere, for in the great synagogue at Alexandria they sat together, "so that if a stranger came he could join himself to his fellow-craftsmen and, through their means, obtain his livelihood" (Talm. Jeremiah, 'Suecah,' 5:1, p. 55, d). Jewish reference to our Lord's stay in Egypt are to be found in the blasphemous tables of his having brought thence his knowledge of magic (cf. Laible, in 'Nathanael,' 1890, p. 79).

2:13-15 Egypt had been a house of bondage to Israel, and particularly cruel to the infants of Israel; yet it is to be a place of refuge to the holy Child Jesus. God, when he pleases, can make the worst of places serve the best of purposes. This was a trial of the faith of Joseph and Mary. But their faith, being tried, was found firm. If we and our infants are at any time in trouble, let us remember the straits in which Christ was when an infant. 16-18 Herod killed all the male children, not only in Bethlehem, but in all the villages of that city. Unbridled wrath, armed with an unlawful power, often carries men to absurd cruelties. It was no unrighteous thing with God to permit this; every life is forfeited to his justice as soon as it begins. The diseases and deaths of little children are proofs of original sin. But the murder of these infants was their martyrdom. How early did persecution against Christ and his kingdom begin! Herod now thought that he had baffled the Old Testament prophecies, and the efforts of the wise men in finding Christ; but whatever crafty, cruel devices are in men's hearts, the counsel of the Lord shall stand.When he arose, he took the young child and his mother,.... That is, as soon as he awoke out of sleep, and rose from his bed, he did as he was commanded, he prepared for his journey; and very opportunely had the wise men presented their gifts; the gold they brought served to defray the expense of this journey, and which no doubt was so ordered by divine providence for this purpose. Joseph was very punctual and expeditious in obeying the command of God; he took the young child and his mother,

by night, the very selfsame night in which he had this notice; and which season was the most fitting to depart in for secrecy, and most commodious and agreeable to travel in, in those hot countries: hence it appears very manifest, that the coming of the wise men, and the departure of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, could not be within a fortnight after the birth of Christ, nor any time before Mary's Purification; since such a journey must have been very improper and unsuitable, at any time within that period; but rather Jesus must be about two years of age, whether something under, or over, it matters not, when Joseph with him

departed into Egypt: what part of Egypt he went into is not certain. The Jews say that Jesus went to Alexandria in Egypt, and which is probable enough; since this was a place greatly resorted to at this time by Jews, and where provision was made for their sustenance; though they greatly mistake the person with whom he went; for they say (f) that R. Joshua ben Perachiah, whom they pretend was his master, went to Alexandria in Egypt, and Jesus with him. However, this is an acknowledgment of the truth of this part of Christ's history, that he was in Egypt; as also when they blasphemously and maliciously say (g), did not Ben Stada, by whom they mean Jesus, bring enchantments or magic, , "out of Egypt", in a cutting in the flesh? To which wicked accusation Arnobius seems to refer (h), when he says,

"perhaps we may meet with many other of these reproachful and childish sayings; as that he was a magician, that he performed all these things by secret arts, and that he stole strange sciences, and the names of mighty angels, out of the temples of the Egyptians.''

(f) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 107. 2. Cabala R. Abraham. Juchasin, fol. 16. 2.((g) T. Hieros. Sabbat. fol. 13. 1. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 104. 2.((h) Adv. Gentes, l. 1. p. 36.

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