The Long Way Round

After the wise men had left (19), God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod intends to kill your baby. You must get up, take Jesus & Mary & escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.”  Obediently, Joseph got up, took the child & his wife, and left during the night for Egypt — where the family stayed until Herod the Great had died.


Meanwhile, when Herod realized that the visitors from the East had tricked him, he was enraged. In a furious effort to kill Jesus, and based on what he had learned from the wise men, Herod gave orders to kill all baby boys in the area of Bethlehem who were younger than 2 years old. (Sadly, this fulfilled what the prophet Jeremiah had said long before: “A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping; Rachel is crying & refuses to be comforted, because her children are dead.”)

After Herod the Great had died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take Jesus & Mary, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.”(This would fulfill the word given by God about Jesus long before to one of the prophets: “I called my son out of Egypt.”)

So Joseph got up, took his child & his wife, and went back to Israel. But, when Joseph heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go into southern Israel. After receiving more direction in another dream, Joseph went instead back to the province of Galilee in northern Israel, and made his home in the town named Nazareth. (And so, what another prophet had said of Jesus also came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”)


To summarize what happened after the birth of Jesus (20): When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the law of God, the Holy Spirit eventually returned them to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. Their child, Jesus, grew & became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God’s blessings were upon him.

(19) Matthew 2:13-23

(20) Luke 2:39-40