Apr 302016

Word of GodMatthew 2:19-23

So the king has come to Bethlehem as Micah said. He has gone to Egypt as Hosea said. And he has caused weeping in Ramah by Rachel, just as Jeremiah said. Finally, in Matthew’s various presentations of pictures of the coming king from the prophets, he includes one more – Nazareth.

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

  • Josephus in his Antiquities –says he died of this: “Ulcerated entrails, putrefied and maggot-filled organs, constant convulsions, foul breath, and neither physicians nor warm baths led to recovery.”
  • I would say a rather fitting end for that kind of a man.
  • How long was the holy family in Egypt? 6 mo – 3 ½ yrs.?
  • Joseph was told to go to Egypt and wait … he did.

20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”

  • Back to v.13 – when the angel had said “until I tell you…” – now he is telling them.
  • Apparently, Herod wasn’t the only one. There were some others involved, and the Lord had set them aside also. We don’t have any word about that, but its plural here. “You can go back now. They are all dead.”

21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

  • Moving day!
  • Think about this – if Jesus came to die, why wasn’t he allowed to die with the massacred children? Could he have died as ‘the child/God’ vs man/God?
  • Note that there is no specific place. They just came back to Israel, undoubtedly coming from the direction of Egypt, they probably came up through the south and they would have come to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Perhaps in their thinking, that would have been the place to stay.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.

  • Son of Herod – obviously not the threat his father was.
  • I wonder how Archelaus was spared execution?

23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

  • We don’t seem to have a direct passage saying this.
  • However, all of the geo political activity was used by God to put the pieces in place … as the prophets spoke.
  • Now here’s another element in the prophecies surrounding his birth to show he was born a king. He was to go back to Nazareth. By the way, this was Joseph and Mary’s original home, wasn’t it? According to Luke 2:4, they were from Nazareth. They were to return to live out the prediction of the prophets who said he would be a Nazarene.
  • The term “Nazarene” – this statement “He shall be called a Nazarene” appears nowhere in the Old Testament.
  • Let’s read it again – “so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, – plural – ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’ ” – Where is that found?
  • If you are looking in the Old Testament for the prophets who said it, you won’t find them.
  • Some will go far and wide to try and make a connection to Isaiah 11:1 where it talks about Christ being a branch netser, which is Hebrew, and they say netser and Nazareth – it’s a bad connection.
  • Besides, you still need to deal with the prophets, plural, not just Isaiah 11:1. It is very remote that anyone would make the connection.
  • Matthew says “the prophets.” – How would you explain this?” It is simple to explain – the prophets said this. It just never got written in the Old Testament until now and it finally got written by Matthew. “- But he means the Old Testament prophets said it.
  • So the question is presented – Did the prophets say some things that didn’t get written down?” Yes, there are plenty of things that were said that weren’t written down in the Old Testament.
  • Jude v14 = “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
  • Enoch did not say this in the Old Testament. It isn’t there. How do we know he said it? Because Jude said that Enoch said it. How did Jude know? Because Jude was what? … Inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
  • So guess who said that Jesus would be a Nazarene? The prophets said it.
  • This is beautiful – Matthew doesn’t even give a bit explanation. He just says “the prophet said, He shall be called a Nazarene,”
  • This tells me that it was common knowledge among the people – that the prophets said this about the Messiah.




  13 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. Thank you MLD. Great lesson!

  2. may i agree with Jean? good questions to think on, also

    “This tells me that it was common knowledge among the people – that the prophets said this about the Messiah.”

    and FWIW, that closing observation tells me that MLD is a man of Faith also – a thinking one 🙂

  3. “Think about this – if Jesus came to die, why wasn’t he allowed to die with the massacred children? Could he have died as ‘the child/God’ vs man/God?”

    been thinking on this… in addition to the fact that our Lord’s death had to carry the virtue of obedience to the Father (He came to do the Father’s will), He also established a witness to who he was in the miracles and teaching in His earthly 33 years (i remember the 12 year old boy amazing his listeners in the Temple)… miracles probably impacted His contemporaries, who witnessed them, more than reading the stories of them do us, but His teaching that has been recorded vitally impacts and edifies all of us … and condemns the scoffers, too, i’m certain

  4. I think it is very important to hang for a while on my opening paragraph to understand the great efforts the author takes to bring his class up to speed as to who Jesus is. He must do this through the prophets of the Old Testament to a people if they know anything scriptural may only know about the prophets (and this probably only through tales and yarns of such). So he slowly goes through, I forget how many, perhaps a dozen references to the the prophets to make his point — the pointing of the prophets to Jesus.

  5. Is MLD taking us through Matthew here? Why is he not credited?

    I have to say that the reference to Is 11:1 is a better connection and explanation than is allowed here. As for prophets, in the plural, it is not hard to make that connection from Is 11:1 to Je. 23:5, Je 33:15; Ze 3:8; 6:12 where the same hebrew root is translated as branch or shoot. This historic use of this concept is very old.

    I would agree that there is much that prophets said that is not in the text but believed to be genuine and would have had the people talking about such things, Spoken vs written words of the prophets is actually an interesting study and might be a line of thinking that is helpful here.

    Anyway I just think Is 11:1 is as good a connection as the supposition made here…

  6. Babs, As I always say, most of us who comment on scripture get our thought from the white spaces on the page.

    My point is, what is the directive that will point to Jesus if we use your verses? Is not everyone from Nazareth called a Nazarene? All people in Los Angeles are known as Angelenos. I think (and it is only my thought) that Matthew is referring to something more particular and direct that was commonly known but not put in a surviving writing.

    btw – what is a person from Albuquerque called?

  7. MLD,
    You got me thinking, as I was reading 1 Cor 15:3-4 this morning. Paul said that Jesus died, was buried and was raised on the third day, all in accordance with the Scriptures (our OT). It appears that when the apostles and evangelists studied the OT, they found Jesus stuff everywhere. In fact, would it be an overstatement to say that looking for Jesus and the Gospel and prophecies about Him in the OT is the only reason the early Christians studied the OT at all?

  8. Jean,
    “In fact, would it be an overstatement to say that looking for Jesus and the Gospel and prophecies about Him in the OT is the only reason the early Christians studied the OT at all?”

    I would hope that it was the only reason the OT folks read the OT – to seek Jesus. God made no bones about the purpose of the OT – he laid out the theme in Gen 3 – Man’s problem, God’s solution. The rest of scripture is just the details on how that works.
    (Hint – how that works = Jesus)

  9. Luke 2:25-30 has always touched me as a beautiful story… but i wonder if there is a lesson there that i have not picked up on…

  10. Lesson = God entering the temple after a 400 year absence.

  11. ah yes, an innocuous, little impotent baby – who knew what was about to be unleashed?
    good ponder
    but what about Simeon and Anna Luke 2:36 and others who must have come to the temple to worship God (Herod’s temple?) … ?… did God not honor their worship? how sad to worship in an empty, God forsaken place…

  12. Em, because God was not in the temple does not mean that God is not present and working with people. It just means that he was not in their presence in that special way that he was before the exile when he did inhabit the temple.
    My thoughts go like this (test them if you would like);
    1) God left the temple at the exile
    2.) God re entered the temple at the time described by Luke 2
    3.) At the crucifixion when the curtain was torn, was not to let people enter the temple to do direct sacrifice – but to show all that God no longer lives in a temple made by made.

  13. nothing to “test” MLD – 🙂

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