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Encyclopedia > Flight into Egypt
Giotto di Bondone's The Flight into Egypt

Matthew 2:14 is the fourteenth verse of the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Joseph has been warned in a dream that he must flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. Giotto di Bondone (better known as just Giotto, 1267 - January 8, 1337) was an Italian painter and architect. ... The Gospel of Matthew is one of the four Gospels of the New Testament. ... The New Testament, sometimes called the Greek Testament or Greek Scriptures is the name given to the part of the Christian Bible that was written after the birth of Jesus. ... Saint Joseph, also referred to as Joseph the Betrothed and as Joseph of Nazareth, was the foster-father of Jesus, according to the New Testament (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23). ... Herod I, also known as Herod the Great was a Roman client-king of Judaea. ...

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads: This page is about the version of the Bible; for the Harvey Danger album, see King James Version (album). ...

When he arose, he took the
young child and his mother by
night, and departed into Egypt:

The World English Bible translates the passage as: The World English Bible (also known as WEB) is a public domain translation of the Bible that is currently in draft form. ...

He arose and took the young
child and his mother by night,
and departed into Egypt,

As with Matthew 1:24 Joseph's obedience to his dream is immediate and unquestioning. Rapid obedience to God is an important virtue throughout the Gospel of Matthew. It should also be noted that Matthew again is careful not to describe Joseph as the father of Jesus, only the husband of his mother.

This event is known as the Flight into Egypt and it is one very frequently depicted in works of art. However this brief verse is the only information in the canon scriptures give to this voyage. Most of the traditions about this voyage come form the New Testament Apocrypha. These later works have a number of miraculous stories occurring on the voyage with palm trees bowing before the infant Jesus and the beasts of the desert paying him homage. An encounter with the two thieves that would later be crucified alongside Jesus is also reported. In these tales the holy family are joined by Jesus' nurse Salome. The story of the palm trees makes it into the Quran with Sura 19:24 relating the event. In the process of determining the Biblical canon, a large number of works were excluded from the New Testament. ... Genera Many; see list of Arecaceae genera Arecaceae (also known as Palmae or Palmaceae), the palm family, is a family of flowering plants, belonging to the monocot order Arecales. ... The Quran (Arabic al-qurʾān أَلْقُرآن; also transliterated as Quran, Koran, and less commonly Alcoran) is the holy book of Islam. ...

That the Gospel of Luke does not mention this sojourn at all and rather has Jesus in the town of Nazareth has inspired a number of attempts to reconcile the two gospels. At the time Egypt controlled Gaza, only a few miles from Bethlehem. Some evangelicals thus feel that the family merely made this brief, and unremarkable journey, and did not go to Egypt itself. However at the time Egypt generally referred to the Nile Valley and most readers would have interpreted the term much the same way modern readers would. If the author of Matthew was referring to Gaza he was creating something of a false impression. The city of Gaza is the principal city in the Gaza Strip. ...

Why Matthew includes this trip to Egypt has also been debated by scholars. Stendhal's interpretation of Matthew 2 is that it is a lengthy apology for why the messiah left Bethlehem, a town of great religious importance, for the minor and little known Nazareth in Gentile Galilee. However, the side trip to Egypt does little to advance this argument. One view is that Matthew is presenting Jesus as Moses, but in reverse, to draw parallels with that other great Jewish leader. France feels that the trip to Egypt is part of Matthew greater interest in geography. France notes that in Matthew 4:24-25 the entire Holy Land is described as being aware of Jesus, while the arrival of the magi "from the east" in Matthew 2:1 is a reference to Mesopotamia. This leaves out only one major portion of the Jewish world: Egypt. France feels that this brief trip was added to cover this omission. The word Gentile has several meanings. ... Galilee (Hebrew hagalil הגליל, Arabic al-jaleel الجليل), meaning circuit, is a large area overlappping with much of the North District of Israel. ... Moses or Móshe (מֹשֶׁה, Standard Hebrew Móše, Tiberian Hebrew Mōšeh, Arabic موسى), son of Amram and his wife, Jochebed, a Levite. ... Mesopotamia (Greek: Μεσοποταμία, translated from Old Persian Miyanrudan the Land between the Rivers or the Aramaic name Beth-Nahrin House of Two Rivers) is a region of Southwest Asia. ...


  • Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
  • Brown, Raymond E. The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. London: G. Chapman, 1977.
  • France, R.T. "The Formula Quotations of Matthew 2 and the Problem of Communications." New Testament Studies. Vol. 27, 1981.
Gospel of Matthew
Preceded by:
Matthew 2:13
Chapter 2 Followed by:
Matthew 2:15

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