Gibbs, Jeffrey A. “Matthew 2:13-23: Jesus Fulfills Prophecy as God’s Son.” St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006, pp. 129-150.
Following his typical pattern, Gibbs begins with textual notes, then moves into a commentary. In 2:13-14, Gibbs observes Matthew using an historical present, which he rarely does (Gibbs 2006, 129), then a genitive of time, another typical classical usage (Gibbs 2006, 130). I observe he is in the process of introducing a quotation of Hosea. His formal language may serve the purpose of drawing attention to the quotation.
Verse 17 uses a temporal clause for the fulfillment of prophecy. Only at this point and at 27:9 does Matthew use the temporal clause rather than a purpose clause to explain an Old Testament quotation. Gibbs thinks this may be because both instances refer to deaths (Gibbs 2006, 130). The response of verse 18, quoting Jeremiah 31:15, is not an exact quote of either the Masoretic Text or the Septuagint. Most importantly, Matthew changes “sons” to a singular, leaving no doubt about who is of primary importance, Jesus (Gibbs 2006, 131).
Verse 23 is problematic. Gibbs cites four ways the Old Testament citation is set apart from the nine other citations Matthew makes. There is no “saying” here (Gibbs 2006, 131). The plural “prophets” is used, rather than a singular. The particle ὅτι is used here and in no other quotations (Gibbs 2006, 132). It is finally not clear what Matthew is quoting. From a narrative perspective Gibbs sees the verse and Jesus’ residence in Nazareth as another instance of God’s salvation being revealed in an unexpected way (Gibbs 2006, 133).
Gibbs, moving into his commentary, reminds us of Matthew’s distinction between Jesus and Herod as kings. “Matthew proclaims that Jesus is the true King of God’s people - and even more than that, Jesus himself embodies the people (Gibbs 2006, 134). Gibbs sees Jesus as the summation of all God’s people. On the other hand, Herod and his son Archelaus wish to kill Jesus and are unable to do so (Gibbs 2006, 135). Matthew uses three Old Testament citations in the passage, and through these he shows Jesus as the embodiment of Israel and as the Messiah who will be rejected (Gibbs 2006, 136).
The concept of Jesus as the new Moses is a common theme in theological discourse. Although some scholars, most notably Dale C. Allison (The New Moses: A Matthewan Typology, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), find in this passage a Messiah who is a new Moses, Gibbs sees Matthew describing Jesus as a new Israel, not a new Moses (Gibbs 2006, 137). He does not see the structure of the passage or the actions as typological in nature. They are, at best, an echo of a well known theme (Gibbs 2006, 138).
Jesus, then, is portrayed by Matthew as a personification of the nation of Israel. Gibbs examines Hoseal 11:1, cited here by Matthew, and sees it as describing Israel’s history of captivity in Egypt, followed by deliverance by God (Gibbs 2006, 140). Rather than depicting Israel as God’s son, going to captivity and release, Jesus is God’s Son. The exodus was a sign, but only partially fulfilled,as Israel clung to the attitudes they had in Egypt. The fulfillment is in Jesus’ return from Egypt (Gibbs 2006, 142).
Gibbs goes on to describe the view of Jesus as the replacement of Israel in other scenes of the Gospel, such as his baptism and his temptation. The purpose of the typology is to show Jesus as the real savior (Gibbs 2006, 143).
In speaking of verse 23, Gibbs observes that Matthew’s use of a temporal clause may attempt to express God’s foreknowledge of the event but not his pleasure (Gibbs 2006, 143). The sad state of affairs is evident in an evil world. Yet God is still able to use the sin and evil for his good final outcome (Gibbs 2006, 144). Gibbs does ask whether the children should be considered martyrs. He concludes that while they were not martyrs in the strict sense of the word, they died for someone else and are worthy of respect (Gibbs 2006, 145).
Gibbs turns to a discussion of the comparative birth narratives of Jesus, from Matthew 2 and Luke 2 (Gibbs 2006, 145). For comparison, Gibbs recounts the cryptic narratives of Paul and Luke, from Acts 9 and Galatians 1, in which Paul visits Jerusalem. We are left wondering if both authors were present at the same vent (they were) (Gibbs 2006, 146). The nativity accounts of Luke and Matthew are relatively simple to harmonize, except for the visit of the Magi and the trip to Egypt, which are difficult to place in time (Gibbs 2006, 147). Matthew’s abbreviated and selective style is consistent with the many gaps, but also with an assumption that the chronology is accurate (Gibbs 2006, 148). Gibbs does observe that the star guided the Magi somewhere, and that was probably to Nazareth, as the Magi had been told to look for Bethlehem and would need no assistance finding it. This removes our wonder about Jesus staying in Bethlehem so long.