Matthew 2:13-23

Matthew 2:13-23
Christmastide A5


13 Now after they had left,A, Ban angelC of the LordD appearedE to JosephF in a dreamG and said, “Get up,H take the childI and his mother, and flee to Egypt,J and remain there until I tell you; for HerodK is about to searchL for the child, to destroy him.” 

Notes on verse 13

A “left” = anachoreo. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + choreo (to make room, receive, accept, make progress; to make room by departing – can also figuratively mean to live open-heartedly) [from choros (place); from chora (space, land, region, fields); from chasma (chasm, gap, gulf); from chasko (to yawn)]. This is to withdraw, retire, depart, leave. May denote leaving in the face of danger or retiring to a more peaceful or private place.
B [untranslated] = = idou. From eido (to be away, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
C “angel” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove) [also from ago (lead, bring, carry, guide)]. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
D “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
E “appeared” = phaino. Perhaps from the base of phos (light, a source of light, fire, or radiance. This is light with specific reference to what it reveals. It is luminousness whether natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative); from phaos (light, daylight); from phao (to shine or make manifest – generally through rays). This is to bring to light or cause to appear; to shine or shed light. This is show in a literal or figurative sense.
F “Joseph” = ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (Joseph son of Jacob and others); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). Joseph’s name means “he increases.”
G “dream” = onar. 6x in NT. This is a dream that one has when asleep and not a daydream. The only dreamers in the NT are Joseph, the wise men, and Pilate’s wife.
H “get up” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
I “child” = paidion. From pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is a child as one who is still being educated or trained. Perhaps one seven years old or younger. Used figuratively for an immature Christian.
J “Egypt” = aiguptos. From Egyptian ḥwt-kꜣ-ptḥ (Egpt; lit. “the temple of the ka of Ptah in Memphis, Egypt”); from ḥwt (enclosure, hut, large structure, palace, temple, estate) + ka (“a spiritual part of the soul in Egyptian mythology, which survived after death”; “something like ‘life-force’; the part of the soul which the living have and the dead do not…goodwill – especially of the king) + ptah (“a god of creativity and craftsmen, sometimes also identified with gods of death and the birth of the sun”; “Ptah, creator god and patron of craftsmen, worshiped at Memphis”). See
K “Herod” = herodes. Perhaps from heros (hero, warrior) + oide (song, ode, legend, tale) [from aoide (song, ode, legend, tale) {from aeido (to sing) + e (this is added to verbs to make them nouns)}] OR from hera (Hera) + oide (same as above). This is Herod, perhaps “hero’s song,” “Hera’s song,” or “heroic.” See
L “search” = zeteo. This is to investigate or search – it includes asking around to get to the bottom of things. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. According to a Hebrew idiom, it can mean to worship God.

14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and wentM to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the deathN of Herod. This was to fulfillO what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet,P “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

Notes on verses 14-15

M “went” = anachoreo. Same as “left” in v13
N “death” = teleute. 1x in NT. From teleutao (to come to an end, complete, bring to consummation; idiomatically, to die as in reaching one’s destiny); from teleo (to finish, end, fulfill, accomplish, complete); from telos (end, aim, purpose, outcome, result); from tello (starting out with a specific endpoint or goal in mind). This is a finishing or end and, so, death. Also, closure or consummation.
O “fulfill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its induvial capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
P “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view). Phemi is from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a prophet or poet. One who speaks with inspiration from God

16 When Herod saw that he had been trickedQ by the wise men,R he was infuriated,S and he sentT and killedU all the childrenV in and around BethlehemW who were two years old or under, according to the timeX that he had learnedY from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:Z

Notes on verses 16-17

Q “tricked” = empaizo. Related to “child” in v13. 13x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + paizo (to play like a child does – singing, dancing, sporting); from pais (see note I above). Literally, this is to child with someone. So, it can be to mock or scoff or ridicule them. It can also be to trick them.
R “wise men” = magos. 6x in NT. From Old Iranian; probably related to Old Median/Old Persian mayu; perhaps from Proto-Indo-European meh-g (“to be able to, to help; power, sorcerer”). This is Magi or magician; a Persian astrologer. See
S “infuriated” = thumoo + lian. Thumoo is 1x in NT. From thumos (passion like when one breathes hard – actions driven by strong emotions; rage, wrath, venting anger); from the same as thuella (whirlwind, storm); from thuo (breathing hard, blowing hard, smoke; smoke implies animal sacrifice, which implies slaughter for any reason; with violent breathing, this can imply raging or seething). This is being very angry or enraged. Lian is 12x in NT. It means very much, greatly, or vigorously.
T “sent” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up) [probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast]. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
U “killed” = anaireo. From ana (up, again, back, anew) + haireo (to take, choose, prefer) [perhaps from airo (to raise, lift, take away, remove)]. This is to take up or away, to make an end. So, it can mean taking away life i.e. murder, execution, slaying.
V “children” = paida. Related to “child” in v13 & “tricked” in v16. From paio (see note I above). This is a child, boy, or servant. It also emphasized that they are of an age that still requires training and/or development.
W “in and around Bethlehem” = en + bethleem + kai + en + pas + ho + horion. Literally “in Bethlehem and in all the vicinity of it.” Bethleem is 8x in NT. From Hebrew beth lechem (Bethlehem) [from bayit (house, home, family) + lechem (bread, food, grain, loaves) {from lacham (to eat, consume, use as food)}]. This is Bethlehem, “the House of Bread.” Horion is 12x in NT. From horos (boundary, limit). This is boundary or coast. As boundary, it implies district, territory, or region as well as frontier.
X “time” = chronos. This is time or season. It is time as sequential, quantitative. The word “chronological” comes from this root.
Y “learned” = akriboo. 2x in NT – here and in Matthew 2:7 when Herod learned from the wise men when the star appeared. From the same as akribestatos (exact, precise, strict); from the same as akron (highest, extreme, tip, top); from ake (edge, point). This is to inquire with exactness and diligence; it implies strictness and precision in ascertaining or examining.
Z “Jeremiah” = ieremias. 3x in NT. From Hebrew yirmeyah (Jeremiah)l [from the same as remiyyah (idle, slackness) + Yah (name of the God of Israel) {from YHVH (God, the Lord, the self-existent and eternal one); from hayah (to become)}. This is Jeremiah – the Lord loosens or the Lord will rise.

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,AA
    wailingBB and loud lamentation,CC
RachelDD weepingEE for her children;FF
    she refusedGG to be consoled,HH because they are no more.”

Notes on verse 18

AA “Ramah” = rhama. 1x in NT. From Hebrew Ramah (height; several place names); from the same as ramah (height, high place; high places were often where idolatry happened); from rum (to be high, rise, be exalted, to extol; to raise literally or figuratively).
BB “wailing” = klauthmos. 9x in NT. From klaio (to weep, mourn, lament; to cry aloud audibly, to sob; there is a different word, dakruo, for silent crying). This is weeping, lamentation, or crying; often crying with shrieks of grief.
CC “lamentation” = odurmos. 2x in NT. From oduromai (to lament) OR related to duno (to enter, sink into); from duo (to sink). This is lamentation, wailing, sorrow, mourning. This is mourning with physical signs – crying, moaning, shaking the head, etc.
DD “Rachel” = rhachel. 1x in NT. From Hebrew Rachel (Rachel); from the same as Rachel (female sheep; root may mean to journey as ewes are good travelers).
EE “weeping” = klaio. Related to “wailing” in v18. See note BB.
FF “children” = teknon. Another new word for child! From tikto (to bear, bring forth, produce). This is a child or descendant.
GG “refused” = ou + thelo. Literally “was not willing.” Thelo is to wish, desire, intend, or be willing. It is a specific choice from a subjective perspective. By a Hebrew idiom, it can also mean delight in something.
HH “consoled” = parakaleo. From para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call, summon, name, call aloud). This is to call to, summon, encourage, exhort, console, invoke, entreat. This is to call someone near personally. It came from the legal setting as an advocate. It is used for the Holy Spirit (the paraclete i.e. the comforter).

19 When Herod died,II an angel of the Lord suddenlyJJ appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the childKK and his mother, and go to the land of Israel,LL for those who were seekingMM the child’s lifeNN are dead.”OO 

Notes on verses 19-20

II “died” = teleutao. Related to “death” in v15. 13x in NT. From teleute (see note N above). This is to complete, come to an end, or die. Similar sense of consummation as word above (i.e. meeting one’s final destiny).
JJ “suddenly” = idou. Same as untranslated word in v13.
KK “child” = paidion. Same as v13.
LL “Israel” = Israel. From Hebrew Yisrael (God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring); [from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god)]. This is Israel the people and the land.
MM “seeking” = zeteo. Same as “search” in v13
NN “life” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.
OO “dead” = thnesko. 9x in NT. Different from “death” in v15. This is to die or be dead literally or spiritually.

21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that ArchelausPP was ruling overQQ JudeaRR in place of his father Herod, he was afraidSS to go there. And after being warnedTT in a dream, he went awayUU to the district of Galilee.VV 23 There he made his homeWW in a townXX called Nazareth,YY so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”ZZ

Notes on verses 21-23

PP “Archelaus” = archelaos. 1x in NT. From arch (to rule, reign, begin, proceed) + laos (the people or a crowd). Archelaus means “people-ruling.” He was king of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea from 4 BCE to 6 CE.
QQ “ruling over” = basileuo. From basileus (king, ruler, emperor; also sovereign in an abstract sense); probably from basis (a foot or step; pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is to be king, reign, or rule. Can be used in a literal or figurative sense.
RR “Judea” = ioudaia. From Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judea, which was a Roman province.
SS “afraid” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.
TT “warned” = chrematizo. 9x in NT. From chrema (something you use or need like money, wealth, possessions); from chraomai (to use, furnish what is needed; to employ; also used for how one acts towards another); may be from cheir (hand, grasp, help, power). This is admonishing someone, giving an oracle, be warned. It can also mean to reveal or speak based on a valuable/substantive foundation.
UU “went away” = anachoreo. Same as “left” in v13 & “went” in v14.
VV “Galilee” = galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, rod, circuit, district); from galal (to roll, roll away, remove, trust, wallow). This is Galilee the region as well as the sea.
WW “made his home” = katoikeo. From kata (down, among) + oikeo (to inhabit, live, dwell; to make a home or live at home) [from oikos (home – the building itself or one’s household i.e. family, lineage, etc)]. This is literally “to down home” or “to home among.” It is being established permanently i.e. settling down. Figuratively speaking, it means to be right at home.
XX “town” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a city of any size that has walls.
YY “Nazareth” = Nazareth. 12x in NT. Perhaps from netser (branch) OR from natsar (watch, guard, keep). This is Nazareth – either “the Branch” or “the watchtower.”
ZZ “Nazorean” = nazoraios. 13x in NT. Probably from Nazareth (see note YY). An inhabitant of Nazareth.

Image Credit: Depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents in the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chartres in Loire, France; circa 1150.

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