HEROD had not been honest in saying that
he wanted to go and worship Jesus. He feared that the Saviour would grow
up to be a king, and take his kingdom from him.
He wanted to find the child, that he might have Him put to death.
The wise men prepared to return and tell Herod. But the angel of the
Lord appeared to them in a dream, and sent them home another way.
"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to
Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His
mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word:
for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him." Matthew 2:13.
Joseph did not wait till morning; he rose at once, and with Mary and the
child, started by night on the long journey.
The wise men had given costly presents to Jesus, and in this way God
provided for the expenses of the journey and
their stay in Egypt, until they should return to their own land.
Herod was very angry when he found that the wise men had gone home
another way. He knew what God by His prophet had said about Christ's
He knew how the star had been sent as a guide to the wise men. Yet he
was determined to destroy Jesus. In his wrath he sent soldiers to kill
"all the children that were in Bethlehem, . . . from two years old and
under." Matthew 2:16.
How strange that a man should fight against God! What an awful scene
this slaying of the innocent children must have been! Herod had before
done many cruel things; but his wicked life was soon to end. He died a
Joseph and Mary remained in Egypt till after the death of Herod. Then
the angel appeared to Joseph, 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." Matthew 2:20.
Joseph had hoped to make his home in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born;
but on coming near to Judea, he learned that a son of Herod was reigning
in place of his father.
This made Joseph afraid to go there, and he did not know what to do; so
God sent an angel to instruct him. Following the directions of the
angel, Joseph returned to his old home in Nazareth.