In Matthew 2.13-15 Joseph flees Judea with Mary and the baby Jesus because an angel told him that Herod was going to try to kill the child. Joseph leaves at night for Egypt and he doesn’t return until a few years later after Herod’s death. I have always imagined this to be quite the trip, yet “Egypt” wouldn’t have been all that far after all.
The Roman Province of Egypt seems to have ended near the modern Gaza Strip (which borders modern Egypt) and it was the neighboring district to Judea. If I understand my geography correctly it would have been a little more than fifty miles from Bethlehem to the outskirt of the territory ruled by Herod the Great.
So it seems Jesus’ family would not have had to cross the Sinai Peninsula to be “in Egypt”, technically. That frames Jesus exile a little differently. At least it made me rethink what may have possibly happened.
Some things just don’t translate well in print….let’s go there and do the measurements ourselves. Shalom-Salim!
@Ken: Let’s do it!
You said – That frames Jesus exile a little differently.
But nothing of any great consequence. I don’t think you are suggesting anything significant changes. Jesus still embodies Israel and Israel’s calling, seen at points like his own ‘exile’ and ‘return’ to the land.
@Scott: Sure, but I found it interesting none-the-less. It shows how Matthew is continually trying to connect Jesus with the Hebrew Scriptures.
It shows how Matthew is continually trying to connect Jesus with the Hebrew Scriptures.
If you want to talk History & Geography…
Yes, it could have been Gaza, but – assuming complete historicity – I think Alexandria is by far the most likely place Joseph could have gone, especially for a place to sell (safely) some bits of their gold, incense & myrrh, when they needed the help.
The city of Gaza itself wasn’t considered “Egypt” at that time, I don’t believe.
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