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Read:  Matthew 2:14-15,  14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matthew’s gospel tells us that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to flee from Bethlehem because of the threat of King Herod, who wanted to find and kill the newborn King.  God’s angel told them to go to Egypt, so that they would be safe.  They stayed until God told Joseph in a dream that King Herod the Great had died.

Why did they go to Egypt?  For safety, but there’s more. God’s people had a long history with Egypt.  Egypt has the Nile River, one of the greatest rivers on Earth, and a tremendous source of fresh water flowing through the desert.  With irrigation crops are protected from drought and in such times Egypt had food. That’s the reason God’s people went to Egypt in the time of the patriarchs, including when Joseph saved Egypt and the world from famine.  In Joseph’s time God’s people were welcomed and honored in Egypt, but over time that changed.  Eventually the Pharaohs enslaved God’s people.  For over 400 years they suffered until God empowered Moses to deliver them from captivity.  That epic story from the Old Testament of deliverance from slavery and “Passover” is paralleled by the spiritual deliverance from sin and death that Jesus provides.

In the gospel of Matthew the prophet that he is quoting is Hosea, (Hosea 11:1),

““When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

The prophet Hosea, in the later time of the kings, is using a poetic image of God as a Father Who views Israel as a child, a son, and is recounting how God delivered His son out of Egypt, at the time of Moses and the great exodus.  Matthew is reapplying this verse to Jesus.  Matthew believes the prophecy has a double entendre or double meaning, applying to both the message in Hosea’s time and a word about the mysterious life of God’s Son and how it would happen. Matthew’s gospel tells us how this ancient prophecy was fulfilled a second time in Jesus’ early years.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom