Week Four Reflection: Flight into Egypt and Return from Egypt to Nazareth

Verses to memorize

Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you (Mt 2:13)


Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

The Flight to Egypt

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.
Mt 2:1- 23


  1. This week we find St. Joseph facing not one but two dangerous
    challenges. Q: What does King Herod learn from the Wise Men?
    A: That a child has been born who is “to be king of the Jews”, and
    that a special star arose that is the sign of his birth. Q: What is
    Herod’s reaction? A: He is threatened! Q: Why? A: Herod had
    been “appointed” King of the Jews by the Roman Emperor. He
    feared losing power.
  2. Q: What is Herod’s plan to protect his power? A: He asks
    the Wise Men to return and tell him where the child is so he claims he can
    “come and worship him.” Q: What is the real reason Herod wants to know where the child is? A: Because he wants to have him killed
    Q: Why did the Wise Men return home without telling
    Herod? Q: Because they were warned in a dream not to return
    to Herod.
  3. Once again, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a
    dream. Q: What does he tell him? A: To take Mary and the
    child and flee to Egypt. Q: Does Joseph obey this second angelic
    message? A: Yes! Q: How far is Egypt from Bethlehem?
    A: At least 260 miles. Mary and Joseph were humble and poor.
    Q: How did they earn money in Egypt? A: We can imagine that Joseph
    did carpentry and Mary could spin and weave.
  4. Finally Joseph gets a third message from the angel. Q: What
    Does the angel tell him? A: Herod is dead. They can return to
    Israel. Q: Upon arriving in Israel, what difficult news does
    Joseph learn? A: That Herod’s son Archelaus is ruling in his
    place. Archelaus was known for his cruelty and the massacre of his
    own people. Q: How does Joseph protect Mary and the child Jesus
    this time? A: They move back to Nazareth, another 90 miles, likely
    on foot. Through the promptings in dreams by an angel of the Lord, Joseph obeys,
    protects, guides and provides for Mary and Baby Jesus.


Courtesy of The Bible Project