Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“Magi and Flight to Egypt (Matthew 2:1-23), Loc. 872-1095.
“Matthew 2 introduces two contrasting response to the Messiah. On one hand, the Gentile magi from the east seek ‘the newborn king of the Jews’ in order ‘to do him homage’ (2:2). On the other hand, Herod and his court seek the Christ child in order ‘to destroy him’ (2:13)” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 872). Mitch explores Matthew’s account of these two responses.
“The word magi originally described members of the Median and Persian priestly caste who advised the king and interpreted dreams. The term later was used more broadly to denote those who possessed mystical knowledge as priests, astrologers, soothsayers, or sages” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 895). These are unlikely people to welcome the Jewish messiah (Mitch 2010, Loc. 909). The account of a star is foreshadowed by the seer Balaam from Numbers 24:17 (Mitch 2010, Loc. 915). Mitch briefly discusses various theories about the identity of the “star” but is convinced only that it was supernaturally used as a sign for the magi (Mitch 2010, Loc. 926).
Herod’s response to the magi was typical of a king who did not desire rivals (Mitch 2010, Loc. 937). The use of priests and scribes reflects Psalm 2 and foreshadows the role of the priests in opposition to Jesus (Mitch 2010, Loc. 937).
Mitch observes that the events in Matthew 2:9-12 do not contradict the idea of Jesus’ birth in a cave or livestock area. This may have been associated with the house or the family may have moved (Mitch 2010, Loc. 948). The magi offer worship to Jesus (Mitch 2010, Loc. 959) and present kingly gifts. This may recall the nations of the world bringing gifts to Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-2) and show Jesus as “king of the whole world” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 959).
As Herod prepared to search for Jesus, Joseph was warned in a dream. Egypt was a place where Jews had gone for refuge before. It had a large Jewish population (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1014). Mitch compares this move to “Moses and the exodus” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1014). The one who is to rescue Israel is protected from harm in Egypt. Matthew views Exodus 4:22 and Hosea 11:1 as a prophecy of Christ (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1024).
Herod, an increasingly bloodthirsty king in his later years, ordered this massacre in Bethlehem. Mitch observes that this event, compared to other acts of Herod, was relatively small and could easily have escaped historic notice (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1035).
Mitch observes that in receiving a dream in Egypt Joseph is likened to the patriarch Joseph (Gen. 37:5-10; 40:1-41:36) (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1046). The work of Jesus to move from Egypt to the promised land corresponds to that of Moses, who began when those who sought his life were dead (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1057). Yet Archelaus was not considered safe, especially early in his reign (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1068). Nazareth was a small town, not controlled by Archelaus. Matthew’s reference to the Messiah coming from Nazareth is cryptic. There is no direct quotation. However, the term used fits with a broad prophetic tradition that the Messiah would be a branch of David. The term “branch” is very similar to “Nazareth” (Mitch 2010, Loc. 1079). Jesus was the branch of Jesse. The Messiah was regularly referred to as “the branch.”