The Flight into Egypt.
It seems very strange that in a few hours after the wise men had gone over the hills to their own country, that Mary and Joseph and the Holy Child should be swiftly following the same road. The night after the wise men had been warned in a dream to go to their own country, Joseph was warned also in a dream to take the young Child and His mother and go into Egypt. He was told to stay until he had orders to return, for Herod would seek to take the Child's life. Their flight was in the night, and Mary's heart beat fast as she held her baby close and rode down the steep path from Bethlehem with Joseph walking beside her. They did not rest until they were far on their way. It was nearly a week before they reached the river that was the border of Egypt, but when they crossed it King Herod's soldiers could not harm them.

[Illustration: The flight into Egypt]

They had gold that the wise men had given them, and Joseph knew how to make many things of wood, so they lived quietly in Egypt waiting until the Lord should call them back.

Herod was very angry when he heard that the Magi had gone away without telling him anything about the young King; so angry that he ordered his soldiers to destroy every baby boy in Bethlehem. So all the little boys of Bethlehem under two years of age were killed by the order of this wicked king, and the Holy Child whom Herod believed would be destroyed with them was safely borne in His mother's arms along the road to Egypt, while Joseph walked beside them and led the patient ass, and angels went with them unseen to be their guard by night and by day.

They lived in Egypt about a year, and then the sick and unhappy old king died, and an angel came to Joseph one night in a dream, and said,

"Arise and take the young Child and His mother and go into the land of Israel, for they are dead which sought the young Child's life."

They were glad to know that they could come home again, and they came, perhaps with a company of merchants, into their own land. Joseph would have settled in Judea, the part of the land of Israel in which stands Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, the city of his ancestors, but Herod's son had been made king over Judea, and Joseph was told in a dream to go into Galilee.

In Galilee was Nazareth, where both Joseph and Mary lived when they were married, and there they went and were at home again, and there Jesus grew to manhood.

chapter ii following the star
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