He will be called a Nazarite. Matthew 2:18-23.

We ended our last dive into Matthew’s gospel with Matthew 2:16.

So let’s see what we can come up with after recapping the last verse. This will give us a foundation for the following few verses.

“When Herod saw that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was filled with rage. Sending orders, he put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, according to the time he had learned from the Magi.”
Matthew 2:16 BSB)

While most will look at this and see an evil man, it is much more profound than that.

Do you actually believe that “our enemy,” Satan, did not have everything to do with this vile murder of innocent children, as he tried to, once again, eliminate, in this case, the toddler Jesus, that would bring salvation to all humanity?

This battle started when God spoke “prophetic” words over Eve.

Here is a side note for your extracurricular education.

Time, as far as humanity was concerned, began with Genesis 3:1-7. Time was of no concern, and no record was ever kept until this day in the garden. Why do you suppose that is? Because it impacted all of humanity, damaged by the genetic transfer of sin, and it was the beginning of God’s plan to restore a relationship with anyone who would choose to accept this salvation. If you are a thinker, I know I opened a big can-o-worms for you. Lean on the Holy Spirit; He will straighten it out for you. 

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15 BSB)

Every time I see this word, enmity, I struggle to remember what it means because this is no longer a commonly used English word.

Webster’s dictionary defines it like this. “The quality of being an enemy; the opposite of friendship; ill will; hatred; unfriendly dispositions; malevolence.”

It doesn’t get real until you hit those words: hatred and malevolence. 

Striking his heel sounds like child’s work compared to getting your head crushed. I would also note that the crushing of the head sounds like a permanent death blow, while the striking of the heel can be a temporary discomfort.

If this is the case, then why is Satan still alive?

The endless question. Because the entirety of God’s plan will be completed, as it takes us all the way out to the judgment at the white throne, where it all comes to a final end. As a follower of Christ, from the catching away of the bride, we will live in peace from that point on.

In case you did not know, this relationship between Satan and the seed was guaranteed to go both ways, and what we see in Matthew 2:16 demonstrates that Satan does not care one bit about you and wants you dead.


Because being in Christ and made in God’s image, you look like the enemy.

If you haven’t noticed, God and the enemy use people to carry out many of their wishes. Therefore, since you are in a spiritual battle, attack it with the weapons of Spirit, the Word of God, and stand your ground.

For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
(2 Corinthians 10:3-4 BSB)

If I have left you hanging, wondering what the weapons are, here is verse five.

The weapons we use are not human onesOur weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments, and we tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.”
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ERV)

Do you see that the most significant battle always occurs in the mind?

Ask yourself, what are the things that can raise themselves up against the knowledge of God. Most are associated with doubt and defeat.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.”
(Philippians 4:8 BSB)

True or honorable things can only come from God as they are based on His moral authority. The LSV translation expands this to anything from the heart of God that is true and honorable.

As to the rest, brothers, as many things as are true, as many as are revered, as many as are righteous, as many as are pure, as many as are lovely, as many as are of good report, if any worthiness, and if any praise, think on these things;.”
(Philippians 4:8 LSV)

Ephesians 1:3-9 (LSV) lays out many things that you could think about.

  • The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

  • He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, for our being holy and unblemished before Him, in love,”

  • Foreordained us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

    Honestly, I could not get any of my dictionaries to define the word foreordained.

    We should understand that fore implies a previous state or event, like before the worlds were created. Ordained is to be Appointed; instituted; establishedinvested with ministerial or pastoral functionssettled.

    Do you realize these are the things that God thinks about you? HE established you, invested His life in you for a purpose, and gave you the giftings to make that happen. 

  • (We areto the praise of the glory of His grace.

  • (And, it is through this grace thatHe made us accepted in the beloved,

  • (It is because of that grace that) we have redemption through His blood.

  • The forgiveness of (all) trespasses.

  • (Because of His graceHe has lavished all of the wisdom and intellectual insight we need.

    Even if it doesn’t seem like it.

  • And, because of that grace – unmerited favor, He has made known to us the secret of His will.

    Some would say we can’t know God’s will. Well, you can, and He has made it known through the scriptures. A clue, as you read, you are looking for the nature and character of God. His Word is His will, and Jesus walked that out perfectly.

Several years ago, we used to sing a worship song that goes like this. “I remind myself of all that He’s done.” I just spelled out many things that He has done for you. If Satan has you going in circles, it is because you have forgotten who you are, a child of the King.

Consider being proactive. Paul, in his letters to the various church bodies, told the recipients, including you and me, that the enemy is restrained from being able to launch total frontal attacks because WE, God’s people, are doing everything in our power to resist the enemy

Well, that was quite the introduction.

Herod’s interactions with the Magi and subsequent order to kill all the little boys in the Bethlehem region were foretold. Unfortunately, the intended person that was meant to be receiving the brunt of Herod’s jealousy is not spelled out in Jeremiah 31.

This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15 BSB)

If Jesus was born in Bethlehem, why is the slaughter, according to Jeremiah, focused on Ramah? 

  • Potential answers lie in what Herod learned from the Magi.
  • The star took them to the home where the family was NOW living.
  • And the Magi were able to calculate His approximate age, about two.

The commentary written by Albert Barnes tells us that Ramah was the mother of three tribes, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, but Rachel is regarded as “the mother of the whole ten.”

All this about the tribes happened before they left Egypt, where the final few were the sons of Joseph. So can I assume that the ten referred to those born through Jacob? I am still determining.

Adam Clarke’s commentary states that Rachel was buried very near Ramah.

The UCRT gives us a few additional reasons why there is such symbolism in Ramah. “(1) A city of Benjamin, where captives captured by Nebuchadnezzar were guarded, Jer_31:15; Jer_40:1, (2) A town in Mount Ephraim, also called Ramathaim-zophim, the birthplace of the prophet Samuel, 1Sa_1:19, (3) A town on the boundary of Asher, Jos_19:29, (4) A fortified place in Naphtali, Jos_19:36, (5) Another name for the city of Ramoth-Gilead, 2Ki_8:28-29, (6) A place where some Benjamites returned after the captivity, Neh_11:33.”

So there is a tremendous amount of symbolism, but for me, it is the place that the Magi identified merely by their presence.

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of Adonai appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are dead.”
(Matthew 2:19-20 TLV)

Joseph, having been warned in a dream to escape to Egypt, did so. You might think that Joseph was an expert at prophetic dreams by now, and this is where they stayed until they were given the green light to return.

The only question left to answer is, where are they to go upon their return?

Why would I bring up the idea of where they should go?

Because their hometown of Nazareth (a relatively small city) may still be hostile toward Joseph and Mary, both for what the town folk deemed was their respective silence about their premarital activities or the possibility that Mary had an extramarital relationship. If you are struggling to understand or believe this, consider that Joseph took his pregnant wife to Bethlehem, his hometown, under Roman orders, to be counted in the census.

What would Joseph expect to find there?

Kinfolk. Kinfolk or not, NO ONE took them in, and they had to make due in a stall alongside cattle and their excrement.

For the longest time, I was not clear about the city they came out of. Luke’s gospel solved that problem for me.

In the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.”
(Luke 1:26-27 BSB)

You see, unless you have had vivid, clear dreams yourself, you are NOT going to fully understand what God has told them and what they were to do, and you may not want to understand what “God” has been telling you, such as, you are going to have a child without any human contact.

So, Joseph now has the green light to go back home.

So he got up, took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel.
(Matthew 2:21 TLV)

Ah, so he does not go directly back to Nazareth. The land of Israel is relatively big; it only makes sense that they might have gone back to Bethlehem or Ramah, but I am only guessing.

But when he learned that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. And having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
(Matthew 2:22-23 BSB)

  1. It seems like fear motivated Joseph at this point. Just saying.

    Archelaus, being a son of Herod, may well act just like his father. You have heard the saying, the fruit does not fall far from the tree. So it would be reasonable to feel fear about this man. Nazareth was not Joseph’s first choice of places to live.

  2. Again, Joseph is warned in a dream.

  3. he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.”

    This sounds like this was the first time they had been here, but that isn’t true.

    I pointed out some reasons that Yeshua might sustain attacks from people, which you can perceive as you read the gospels. If you, like me, had concerns about the abuse Yeshua might receive upon their return to Nazareth, then perhaps we should try to do the math.

    By the time the Magi arrived, Jesus was about two years old, and they were living in a house, most likely in Ramah. Joseph was identified as a craftsman by the Pharisees. The Bible translators assigned the word carpenter to the Greek word tekton, which means craftsmen but covers poets, artisans, and stone masons. Details about how they afforded that house are unimportant at this point. The family flees to Egypt, fully funded by the gifts that the Magi brought. 

    And there is a strong possibility they will return home to Israel when Jesus is about four. 

    At this point, they have been gone from Nazareth for at least five years. Nazareth is not a big town, and people are always willing to remind you of your past, but we don’t see that in scripture. This does not mean it didn’t happen, but I think the damage may have been minimal at this point, and Jesus might have attended synagogue school unnoticed. 

    Besides, have any of them seen Jesus or pictures of Him as He grew to the age He is? NO.

    To demonstrate that there was evident knowledge and almost open aggression, I give you several scriptures.

    They replied to him, “You were born completely in sin, and you’re teaching us?” And they threw him out.” (John 9:34 TLV)

    This comment, “you were born completely in sin,” is not a casual comment. It is a direct and aggressive challenge to Jesus’ parentage.

    We know for certain that God spoke with Moses, but as for this Fellow, we know nothing about where He hails from.” (John 9:29 AMP)

    His surrogate parents were from Nazareth, and Jesus spent most of His life here. They knew exactly where He was from, so once again, they challenged His parentage.

The law given to Israel while they wandered in the desert clearly spoke about illegitimate children.

A person begotten out of wedlock shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall his descendants not enter into the congregation of the Lord. 3) An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation their descendants shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord forever,” (Deuteronomy 23:2-3 AMP)

Jesus, according to family lineage, was a descendant of Moabites through Ruth, and because of the silence of His surrogate parents, He was thought to be the product of adultery. Please don’t get the impression that Mary and Joseph were wrong; they were, in fact, bold and brave, declaring that He was the son of God. Sadly, you quickly learn that no one cares about the truth, as they each have their own truth.

This entry was posted in Bethlehem, bible study, dreams, Egypt, Herod, Israel, Joseph, Magi, Mary, Matthew's gospel, Nazareth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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