|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:19-23 Egypt may serve to sojourn in, or take shelter in, for awhile, but not to abide in. Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, to them he must return. Did we but look upon the world as our Egypt, the place of our bondage and banishment, and heaven only as our Canaan, our home, our rest, we should as readily arise and depart thither, when we are called for, as Joseph did out of Egypt. The family must settle in Galilee. Nazareth was a place held in bad esteem, and Christ was crucified with this accusation, Jesus the Nazarene. Wherever Providence allots the bounds of our habitation, we must expect to share the reproach of Christ; yet we may glory in being called by his name, sure that if we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified with him.
Verses 19-23. - The return from Egypt and settlement in Nazareth. Verse 19. - But when Herod was dead. Does the repetition of the tenor of ver. 15 point to a different source? Behold, an angel (rightly; contrast Matthew 1:20, note) of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph (φαίνεται κατ ὄναρ, as in ver. 13). In both cases the stress is on the fact of the appearance, not on its mode. In Egypt. The evangelist will leave no room for doubt as to where Joseph then was (cf. note at head of chapter).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But when Herod was dead,.... Who died, as before observed, a few months after this tragedy was acted; and, according to the (w) Jewish writers, on the seventh day of the month Cisleu, and which answers to the twenty fifth of our November: and was afterwards observed as a day of rejoicing by the Jews. The account which Josephus (x), and from him Eusebius (y), gives of his miserable death, is as follows; a burning fever seized him, with an intolerable itching all over his body, and continual pains of the colic; his feet swelled with a dropsy; he had an inflammation in the lower part of his belly: a putrefaction in his privy parts, which bred worms; a frequency and difficulty of breathing, and convulsions in all his members; he had a voracious appetite, a stinking breath, and his intestines abounded with ulcers; when he found that all means made use of were ineffectual, and that he must die, he attempted to lay violent hands upon himself, but was prevented, and soon after expired in a very miserable manner. Now some time after his death,
behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. It may be the same angel who appeared in the same manner, and ordered him to go into Egypt, with the young child and his mother; and who now brings him news of the death of Herod, and bids him return to the land of Israel; which shows the watchful providence of God, and the useful ministry of angels, concerned in the preservation of the infant Jesus.
(w) Megillah Taanith apud Van Till. de anno, &c. Christ. Nat. p. 122. (x) De Bello Judaic. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 5. 7. & Antiq. l. 17. c. 9. (y) Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 8. p. 25, 26.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. But when Herod was dead—Miserable Herod! Thou thoughtest thyself safe from a dreaded Rival; but it was He only that was safe from thee; and thou hast not long enjoyed even this fancied security. See on Mt 2:15.
behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt—Our translators, somewhat capriciously, render the same expression "the angel of the Lord," Mt 1:20; 2:13; and "an angel of the Lord," as here. As the same angel appears to have been employed on all these high occasions—and most likely he to whom in Luke is given the name of "Gabriel," Lu 1:19, 26—perhaps it should in every instance except the first, be rendered "the angel."
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