Matthew 2:19
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
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Matthew 2:19. When Herod was dead — His death, of which Josephus has given us a very affecting account, happened, according to some, within three or four months of his perpetrating the above-mentioned bloody act, and was a fearful instance of that vengeance which God, even in this world, sometimes takes on his enemies, and those of his people. He died eaten with worms, at the age of seventy-one, after a reign of forty years, having endured such excruciating, lingering, and loathsome diseases, as rendered him intolerable to himself and others also. And his innate cruelty being thus exasperated, he became more barbarous than ever, and just before his death caused Antipater, his son and the heir apparent of his kingdom, to be executed on some groundless suspicion. God, it seems, made him, in a remarkable manner, a terror to himself and to all round about him. Eusebius, the ancient ecclesiastical historian, thought his death so great an illustration of the gospel history, that he has inserted it at large in his work. An angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

Probably the same angel which had appeared to him before, and directed him to flee into Egypt, and abide there till he should bring him word again. That word is now brought him, and in obedience to it he returns with the child and his mother into the land of Israel. Let us, in like manner, remember, it is God’s part to direct, and ours to obey. Nor can we be out of the way of safety and comfort while we are in the way of duty, following his directions, and steering our course by the intimations of his pleasure. For, “the preservation of the holy child Jesus may be considered as a figure of God’s care over his Church and people, in their greatest dangers. He doth not often, as he easily could, strike their persecutors with immediate destruction, but he provides a hiding place for his children, and by methods not less effectual, though less pompous, preserves them from being swept away even when the enemy comes in like a flood. Egypt, that was once the seat of persecution and oppression to the Israel of God, is now a refuge to his Son: and thus all places will be to us what Divine Providence will be pleased to make them. When, like Joseph and Mary, we are cut off from the worship of his temple, and, perhaps, removed into a strange land, he can be a little sanctuary to us, and give us, in his gracious presence, a rich equivalent for all we have lost.” — Doddridge.

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.Herod was dead - See the notes at Matthew 2:15. Herod left three sons, and the kingdom was at his death divided between them. To Archelaus was given Judea, Idumea, and Samaria; to Philip, Batanea and Trachonitis; to Antipas, Galilee and Perea.

Each of these was also called Herod, and these are the individuals who are so frequently referred to in the New Testament during the ministry. of the Saviour and the labors of the apostles. The above table will show at a glance the chief connections of this family, as far as they are mentioned in the sacred history.

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 [1207]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."

See Poole on "Matthew 2:20".

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.

{3} But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

(3) Christ is brought up in Nazareth, after the death of the tyrant by God's providence: that by the very name of the place it might plainly appear to the world that he is the Lord's true Nazarite.

Matthew 2:19-21. Joseph’s return. Τελευτήσαντος δὲ τ. Ἡρ: Herod died in 750 U. C. in his 70th year, at Jericho, of a horrible loathsome disease, rotten in body as in soul, altogether an unwholesome man (vide Joseph, Bell, i. 33, 1–5; Antiq., xvii. 6, 5; Euseb., H. E., i. 6, 8). The news of his death would fly swiftly, and would not take long to reach Egypt.There would be no need of an angel to inform Joseph of the fact. But his anxieties would not therefore be at an end. Who was to succeed Herod? Might he not be another of the same type? Might disorder and confusion not arise? Would it be safe or wise to return to Palestine? Guidance was again needed, desired, and obtained.—ἰδοὺ ἄγγελοςλέγων: the guidance is given once more in a dream (κατʼ ὄναρ). The anxious thoughts of the daytime are reflected in the dream by night, and the angelic message comes to put an end to uncertainty.

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). Matthew 2:19
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