M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Matthew 2 – Return to Nazareth

It’s clear that the Bible speaks of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, it’s not so clear about the timing of his return to Nazarath. Let’s look briefly at the text and some old commentary to reconcile the records.

Remember Luke is writing to give an accurate account:

Luk 1:1  Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,

Luk 1:2  Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;

Luk 1:3  It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

Luk 1:4  That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.

After Jesus birth he is taken to Jerusalem for all the normal requirements of the law, including circumcision and offerings.
There were also two noted encounters while there..
Luk 2:25  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

Luk 2:26  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Luk 2:27  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

Luk 2:36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Luk 2:37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Luk 2:38  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.


Luk 2:39  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

Luk 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


Yet Matthew’s account says that there was a longer time involved until the return to Nazarath, major events not mentioned in the Luke account include the visit of the wise men, fleeing to Egypt, the murders of Herod, and finally, the return, with warning to stay clear of the Jerusalem area.


Mat 2:22  But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

Mat 2:23  And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.


Luke picks up the account years later…..

Luk 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Luk 2:41  Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

Luk 2:42  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.


John Gill writes clearly on this..

they returned into Galilee: not that they came from thence to Jerusalem, but from Bethlehem, where Mary gave birth, and her time for purification was now just expired: nor did they go now directly to Galilee; or, if they did, they soon came back again to Bethlehem, since here the wise men found them two years after; when by a divine warning, they went into Egypt, where they remained till Herod’s death, and after came into the land of Israel, into the parts of Galilee, and dwelt at Nazareth; for which reason it is here called their own city,

to their own city Nazareth: Bethlehem was their native city, the place of their birth, at least of their family; and Nazareth was the city of their habitation.


Btw, Matthew was a Jew and wrote his gospel to the Jews, so he naturally includes these prophetic references.

Mat 2:15  And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.


Mat 2:17  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

Mat 2:18  In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.


Mat 2:23  And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.



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