Mat 2:13 And after they were departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him.
“And after they were departed,” &c. There is a great diversity of opinion among commentators and critics regarding the time which intervened between the departure of the Magi and the flight into Egypt. Indeed all the hypotheses advanced hardly, at best, exceed probable conjecture. (vide Patrizzi, Lib. iii., Dissert, xxx., &c., de Evangelis. Mandiut, Dissert. iv., &c.) The most probable arrangement, and the one that will most easily reconcile the apparent discrepancy between St. Matthew here, and St. Luke (Lk 2:22–39), is effected by inserting in this place all that is described by St. Luke in the above passage relative to the purification. After the purification, the holy family retired to Nazareth, their native place (Luke 2:39). It was there the Angel appeared to Joseph, and from thence they fled into Egypt, in obedience to the Angel’s admonition, in order, among a variety of other reasons, to be altogether outside the dominions of Herod. There is no real discrepancy between St. Matthew here and St. Luke; as the one only omits what the other describes. St. Matthew says nothing of the purification. St. Luke, on the other hand, says nothing of the flight into Egypt, described here by St. Matthew; one supplies what the other omits; without the slightest contradiction or discrepancy.
On this subject St. Augustine observes, “that each Evangelist so interweaves his narrative as to present the appearance of a connected series of events, so arranged as to seem to omit nothing. For, while omitting what he means to pass over, he so connects what he wishes to express, that one event would seem to follow closely on the track of the other” (De Comm. Evan. c. 5). At the same time, the Evangelist does not assert, that the events described immediately followed one another, or that other events did not intervene.
“An Angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph.” Whenever God deigns to manifest His divine will in sleep, or through the medium of dreams (a mode of making known the divine will, not unusual in the Old Testament), He so arranges it, that no doubt whatever of the real nature of the communication exists (Mt 2:20).
“Arise, and take the child and His mother.” On a former occasion, he called her “thy wife,” at the time when Joseph had suffered much anxiety on account of her as his spouse. Now, all this anxiety being over, the Angel calls the Virgin mother by a higher and more exalted title, that of “mother” of the child, “His mother,” Mother of God.
“And fly into Egypt.” Egypt was chosen as the place of safety, because being not very far from Palestine to the south, it was completely outside Herod’s jurisdiction, and enjoyed an independent government, and also in order to the fulfilment of the prophecy of Ozee referred to (in v. 15). For, the Israelites to whom the prophecy of Ozee (Hosea) directly refers, had dwelt in Egypt 200 years, and having been brought forth from thence by Moses, were a type and figure of our Lord when brought from Egypt, and this typical relation is the more clearly perceived from the circumstance that it was through the blood of the Paschal Lamb they were delivered, which was a most expressive type of Christ. There are several other reasons for preferring Egypt for this honour of receiving our Lord, mentioned by commentators, which it is not necessary to refer to here in detail.
“For it will come to pass,” &c. Our Lord might have saved His Son from Herod’s cruelty, by an effort of His power. Hence, as St. Fulgentius remarks, it was not from fear or necessity His flight proceeded, “fugit non humana formidine sed dispensatione divina. Fugit, non necessitate, sed potestate. (“he shuns human fear but not divine direction. He escapes, not of necessity, but of choice“ Fulgentius de Epiph). But the economy of God’s wisdom would have it otherwise. He wished to give a proof of the human nature of His Son, which the exercise of Divine power in His infancy might give some grounds for doubting. He wished to show His power by weakness. His wisdom by folly, &c. (1 Cor. 1)
Mat 2:14 Who arose, and took the child and his mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod:
“By night.” The very same moment he received the Divine mandate, he obeyed, without any previous preparation for his journey. We see here the commendable faith, the blind, unhesitating, unmurmuring, unquestioning obedience of Joseph, his humble submission to, and reliance on, God’s providence. Some expositors say it was to the event here recorded, the words of Isaias (Isa 19:1) mystically refer: “Behold the Lord will ascend upon a swift cloud, and will enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence,” &c. These words, however, more appropriately refer to the threat of the Lord to punish the Egyptians by means of the Assyrians, whom He would send to execute vengeance, and utterly destroy their idols. Mystically, Egypt signifies the world, as St. Jerome teaches, in which idolatry was destroyed by Christ; and in the mystical sense, the passage quoted may be said to refer to our Lord’s entrance into Egypt on this occasion, which may be said to denote that He would be received by the idolatrous nations, and that their false worship would be destroyed by Him. The fruits of mature sanctity, which so long distinguished Egypt in the numerous hermits, anchorites, and holy monks—these angels in the flesh—who peopled its deserts, such as the Pauls, the Antonies, the Macariuses, &c., may be fairly attributed to the early visit of the infant God to that country, which, together with Babylon, formed the great centre of infidelity and vice in ancient times. Historians and ecclesiastical writers narrate several wonderful occurrences which took place in Egypt on the occasion of this visit of the infant God. Among the rest, it is related by St. Jerome (in Isaiam xix. 1), that the idols of Egypt crumbled to pieces, at the entrance of our Saviour. The same is referred to by Rufinus and Palladius, as a very ancient tradition.
Till the death of Herod.” Herod’s death occurred after a reign of thirty-four years, from the death of Antigonus, and thirty-seven from the date of his appointment as king by the Romans (Josephus Antiq. Lib. xviii. c. 8; do Bello, Lib. c. 33). Nothing certain can be determined regarding the time our Lord spent in Egypt. Some say, three years; others, five; others, seven; others, eight.
Mat 2:15 That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son.
“That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke … Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” The quotation referred to in this verse is taken from the prophet Ozee (Hos 11:1), according to the Hebrew version, and the words immediately and literally refer to the Hebrew people, when leaving Egypt. Elsewhere, also, the Almighty calls the Hebrew people, His son. “Israel is my son, my first-born” (Exod. 4:22) These words are not fulfilled in our Lord in the sense of their having originally and literally referred to Him, as the words of Micheas are fulfilled in Him, “Et tu Bethlehem, terra Juda,” &c., because it was to Him these words of Micheas refer, directly and exclusively; nor in the sense either that they mystically referred to Him, as the words, “ego ero illi in patrem,” &c., although originally referring to Solomon, were, in a mystical and more principal sense, fulfilled in Christ, in which sense also the words, “os non comminuetis ex eo,” mystically referred to Christ, and were principally intended by the sacred writer to be understood so. But, they were fulfilled in this sense, that what is said of “Israel” applies still more strictly and more accurately to Christ, inasmuch as He was, by excellence, “the Son of God,” just as the words spoken by Isaias of the hypocrites of his time, “populus hic labiis,” &c., were verified in the hypocrites in the days of Christ, although Isaias did not directly refer to them. In the same way, the prophecy of Isaias (Mat. 13:14), “hearing you shall hear,” &c., although meant for the obstinate Jews of the days of Isaias, was literally and equally true of the Jews, in the time of Christ. Hence, said to be predicted of them and verified in them. In this latter sense, the words, “out of Egypt,” &c., were fulfilled in the person of Christ; and in His recall from Egypt Israel may be also said to be in a certain sense, a type of Christ; and hence in this sense also, the prophecy might be said, in some respects, to be typically verified in Him.
Mat 2:16 Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry: and sending killed all the menchildren that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Herod, seeing that the Magi did not return, very likely, conjectured that they saw through his wicked designs regarding the Divine infant. Ignorant of the heavenly guidance that directed them, he became exceedingly angry, and sending his executioners, he “killed all the men children,” &c. Most likely, for greater security’ sake, he was influenced in extending the age of his intended victims to the period of “two years,” &c.—as he extended the place or area not only to Bethlehem, but to “all the borders thereof”—lest possibly the infant of whom so much was said in the prophecy of Micheas, and by Simeon and Anna at His presentation in the temple (Luke 2:25–38), might have attained a size and an amount of strength not attained ordinarily by children of His age. Probably Herod, engaged in important State business, either did not mind the lapse of many days, and the delay in the return of the Magi; or, if he did, most likely he thought that, disappointed in their search, they returned home without calling on him, according to promise, in order to escape the ridicule to which their disappointment in their foolish search might subject them. But when the account of the wonderful things that occurred at the presentation (Luke 2, &c.), reached his ears, he then clearly saw he was baffled by the Magi, who may have seen through his wicked designs, and this caused him to be enraged. Sending his soldiers or executioners, he slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem and in all its confines, including all those who had been two years old and under, up to the time he had ascertained the star to have appeared, according to the diligent inquiries made of the Magi. Probably, as Herod had extended the district, “and all the confines thereof,” so he also extended the age of his intended victims to the period of two years, for greater security’ sake, lest, possibly, the infant might escape of whom so much was said both in the prophecy of Micheas, and by Simeon and Anna, on the occasion of the Purification. He may have imagined that, possibly, the holy infant might have attained a size and strength too great for His age. Perhaps, He would be equal in both to children born nearly two years before Him. From the words of this verse, some commentators suppose that the star appeared to the Magi, two years before, the infant was born. But, manifestly, the Magi regarded the star as the sign of the King already born, rather than of one to be born, “qui natus est rex,” &c. Others say, the Magi did not reach Bethlehem for two years after the apparition of the star, which was the cause why Herod fixed on the period of “two years.” But it is very unlikely that Mary and Joseph remained so long in Bethlehem; although, indeed, we are not bound by anything mentioned in the Gospels to believe that the Magi adored him in Bethlehem any more than at Nazareth. For, although Herod directed them to go to Bethlehem, it may be that the guiding star led them elsewhere. However, the common opinion is, that the Magi came shortly after our Lord’s birth, and the murder of the children; “and two years old” may be accounted for on the grounds already assigned. The words, “according to the time,” &c., are to be connected not with the words of preceding sentence, “from two years old,” but, rather with the words, “and under,” as if he said; he slew all the children who were two years old and under that age, up to the time that, by diligent inquiry, he ascertained from the Magi that the star appeared, so that, as he regarded the apparition of the star as a certain sign that the infant was then born, fierce as he was, he did not indulge in the gratuitous cruelty of slaughtering all the male children of Bethlehem, including those who were only a few days old. He excepted from this, the children born after the appearance of the star. Hence, the words, “according to,” &c., mean, up to, the time he ascertained the star to have appeared. Although this cruel deed on the part of Herod is passed over in silence by Josephus, it is mentioned by Celsus, against whom Origen wrote (Contra Celsum, Lib. i. n. 48), by Justin, in his Dialogue with Typhron the Jew. Josephus himself admits that Herod was becoming every day more suspicious and cruel. He slew his son-in-law, Josippus; his beloved wife, Mariamne; his sons, Alexander and Aristobulus; his third son, Antipater. The omission on the part of Josephus cannot be of any weight against the positive testimony of St. Matthew, who described this cruel deed shortly after it occurred. Macrobius also (Lib. ii. Saturnal, c. 10) mentions, among the many witty sayings of Augustus, that on hearing that, together with the children whom Herod killed in Syria from two years old, he ordered his own son Antipater to be put to death (he had already slain Alexander and Aristobulus), Augustus observed, “it was better to be Herod’s hog than his son,” in allusion to the law among the Jews regarding unclean meats, swine’s flesh among the rest.
At what time this infanticide took place is disputed. Some say, shortly after the departure of the Magi, towards the next Pasch, which occurred in March, for it was then, they say, Herod died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign, having a few (five) days previously put his son, Antipater, to death on a charge of plotting against himself and his reign. Others, and among them A. Lapide, say, it occurred fully twelve months and more after they departed, about the fifteenth month of our Lord’s age, and these say that the words, “a bimatu et infra,” mean, that Herod put to death only the children who attained the second year of their age or thereabouts, more or less, say, fifteen months, according to the time he ascertained the star to have appeared to the Magi.
Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying:
Mat 2:18 A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
“Then was fulfilled,” &c. The words of Jeremias (31:15), here quoted, are not so much “a prophecy” in regard to the event to which they originally referred, viz., the abduction of the ten tribes into captivity, as a narrative of a past event. In the prophecy of Jeremias, mention is made of the tribe of Ephraim only, from which Jeroboam, their first king, had sprung. It was the chief of the ten tribes that were carried into captivity. Rachel, the grandmother of Ephraim, then in her grave, is, by a bold figure of speech, represented by Jeremias, as deploring and loudly bewailing her children as they passed by her tomb into captivity, in order to convey an idea of the sad fate and misfortunes that awaited them in a strange land. Here the Evangelist, accommodating the words of Jeremias to his present purpose, says his words are fulfilled in the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, inasmuch as a similar, or rather a greater, cause for mourning has arisen in Israel under Herod, more calculated still to cause lamentation than the abduction of the ten tribes—the cause of the lamentation referred to by Jeremias. St. Matthew compares what happened now under Herod, with what happened on the occasion referred to by Jeremias. Between both there existed the mere relation of similarity. Under the type of the former calamity, the Holy Ghost wishes, in that passage of Jeremias, to denote the slaughter of all the martyrs, and the wailing of their mother, the Church—signified by Rachel—over the first fruits, or rather flowers, as the Church terms them, of all the martyrs put to death for Christ. “Salvete flores martyrum” (Hymn in Festo SS. Innocentium).
“Rachel,” the mother of Benjamin, was buried near Bethlehem, on the confines of Juda and Benjamin; and as the people of Juda and Benjamin were interspersed in that district, near Bethlehem, Rachel, although not the mother of Juda, is still said to mourn all the children; of whom those of Benjamin, “in the confines of Bethlehem,” formed a part. Moreover, both Juda and Benjamin formed one kingdom, so that what happened one might be said to be common to the other.
Rachel “would not be comforted, because they are not.” These words mean, in reference to the Israelites led into captivity, that those taken away were to remain in captivity, far away from the land of their fathers. In reference to the Holy Innocents, they mean, without taking at all into account the crowns of immortal glory in store for them, “that they are not in life, having been put to death.” In both the Hebrew and Septuagint of Jeremias, we have “lamentation, and weeping, and mourning”—three terms. In St. Matthew only two—“lamentation and great mourning.” Probably, St. Matthew, only quoted the substance of Jeremias, and the word “great” may be said to convey the idea of “weeping” expressed in Jeremias.
“In Rama.” “Rama” means “high.” Hence, St. Jerome, understanding it of any high place, makes it a common noun—“a voice was heard on high” (Jer. 31:15). The Greek interpreter of St. Matthew, following the Septuagint on Jeremias, makes a proper name—“a voice was heard in Rama”—a city in the tribe of Benjamin, seven miles from Bethlehem, near Gabaa, on the confines of Juda and Benjamin. The words convey an idea of the loud wail which was heard seven miles off, reaching from Juda to Benjamin, showing their common grief. The version of St. Jerome conveys the same idea—A wail was heard on high, and ascended aloft. It may be allusive to the usages of the Jews, who, on mourning occasions, were wont to ascend high mountains, to wail and express their deep grief.
Mat 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt,
“But when Herod was dead.” The period of our Lord’s sojourn in Egypt must depend on the period of Herod’s death. This is very uncertain. Josephus (De Bel. Jud. Lib. i. c. 33), says that he reigned thirty-seven years, from the time he was first appointed king by the Romans, and thirty-four, from the time he slew Antigonus. From this, some infer that whereas Christ was born in the thirty-second year of Herod’s reign, and, most likely, went into Egypt in the first year of His birth, He remained about five years in Egypt, and returned the fifth or sixth of His age. These several epochs are disputed by others. Hence, we can determine nothing with absolute certainty on this point. After Herod, no one else was appointed king of Judea—it would seem, by Divine dispensation, the true King of the Jews being now born, who returns to His kingdom on the death of the intruder, by whom was wielded the sceptre which had now passed away from Juda. Herod’s end was most frightful. He died of a complication of most loathsome diseases, and the excruciating tortures in which he closed his wicked life must be regarded as a just punishment for his crimes. Josephus describes his last days (De Antiq. Lib. xvii. c. 6.; De Jud. Lib. i. c. 33). The same historian informs us that, shortly before his death, he meditated a horrible deed of cruelty. He caused to be collected all the chief men among the Jews into one place, called the Hippodrome, and had them guarded there. He then gave instructions to his sister, Salome, and to her husband, Alexas, to have them all slaughtered immediately after his death, so that all Judea and every family among the Jews, to whom he suspected his death would be the cause of great joy, would be plunged into mourning on that occasion (Josephus de Bel. Jud., Lib. i. c. 31).
Mat 2:20 Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child.
The Angel does not tell Joseph into what part of “the land of Israel” he is to go, in order that, being left still in doubt, he would have occasion to consult God, and be consoled by the further manifestation of the care which God had of himself and the child.
“They are dead.” He refers to Herod, as is clear from the words (Mt 2″19), “Now Herod being dead.” It is to him the Angel refers. The plural, by a Hebrew idiom, is used for the singular, a thing quite common in the SS. Scriptures. Thus (Exod. 32:4), we find, “hi sunt Dei tui,” &c., although only one golden calf was made. Also (Exod. 4), the Lord, addressing Moses, says, “mortui sunt qui quærunt animam tuam,” although, as we are told (Exodus 2), only Pharao sought his life. Similar words are employed by the Lord, in calling back His Son from Egypt, to those addressed to Moses, who, as a deliverer, was an expressive type of Christ. Similar is the phrase, “dedit terra ranas in penetralibus regum ipsorum” (Ps 105), although there is question of Pharao only. Also “scriptum est in prophetis; erunt doeibiles Dei,” found in one prophet only (Isa. 54:13, and in the Acts 13:41). What is spoken by only one prophet, Habacuc (1:5), is said to be spoken “in the prophets.” So it is also here in the case of Herod.
Mat 2:21 Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
“And came into the land of Israel.” He came first to that portion of it nearest Egypt, viz., a portion of the tribe of Dan or Simeon.
Mat 2:22 But hearing that Archclaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee.
Archelaus was appointed king in his father’s will, subject to the approval of Augustus Cæsar, who constituted him ethnarch of one-half of the country over which Herod, his father, ruled, with a promise of making him king hereafter, if he deserved it. The other half, Cæsar divided, and gave to two other of Herod’s sons, Philip and Antipas. It was this Antipas, that disputed with Archelaus for the whole kingdom (Josephus Ant., Lib. xvii. c. 11). When, then, the Evangelist says, “he reigned in Judea,” it merely signifies that he exercised supreme civil power there, although he had not at the time the name or title of king. “In Judea”—inhabited by Juda and Benjamin; so called to distinguish it from the kingdom of Israel, inhabited by the ten separated tribes. The fact of his being constituted king in his father’s will, and being saluted as such by the soldiers and people, on his father’s death, would warrant the impression that he reigned there.
It may be that Joseph returned from Egypt shortly after Herod’s death, before Archelaus set out for Rome to see Cæsar, to justify his conduct, and obtain the ratification by Cæsar of his father’s will. It was not unusual with Hebrew and Greek writers to designate those as “kings,” in a wider signification of the term, who enjoyed any principality, even beneath the kingly dignity. Archelaus was ultimately banished by Cæsar into Gaul.
“He was afraid to go thither.” It may be that Joseph, on his return, was desirous to go to the Temple of Jerusalem, to return God thanks, before finally returning to his native dwelling-place of Nazareth. But, owing to the well-known cruel disposition of Archelaus, which afterwards cost him his crown (Josephus Antiq., Lib. xvii. c. 15), he feared to go there. It might be that Joseph, in his anxiety and apprehension for the safety of his heavenly charge, feared that the child would be recognised, owing to the occurrences which took place at Bethlehem and Jerusalem at his presentation; and he could expect no mercy from the wicked Archelaus, the worthy heir and rival of his father’s cruelties. Joseph naturally feared, he would not be safe anywhere within the dominions of Archelaus. It is related, as an instance of Archelaus’ cruelty, that he put to death, or rather cut to pieces, several thousands of the Jews in the temple, at the Paschal festival (Josephus, Lib. xvii. c. 9). Hence, being “warned in sleep” (χρηματισθείς means, receiving a Divine oracle), “Joseph retired into the quarters of Galilee,” where Herod Antipas, a prince of milder disposition, ruled, and where the circumstances of the child’s birth were not so well known.
Mat 2:23 And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by the prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene.
“Nazareth”—an obscure town at the foot of Mount Thabor, where nothing was known of the extraordinary events connected with the birth of our Lord, and where He could not be suspected of being one of the infants sought for in Bethlehem. This was supposed to be the birth-place of the Blessed Virgin, where she resided when she received the message of the Angel (Luke 1:26), and where our Saviour “was brought up” (Luke 4:16). No cause for jealousy on the part of the Herods could be apprehended from this quarter, out of which it was not thought anything good could come (John 1:46). It was a fit asylum for the infant Saviour.
“That it might be fulfilled … that He shall be called a Nazarite.” “That,” denotes the event or consequence, as if he said, from this resulted the fulfilment of the words of the prophets regarding Him, “That he shall be called,” &c. This passage has been a source of perplexity to commentators, who cannot find, either in the writings of the Prophets in general, or of any one amongst them in particular, that our Redeemer would be called a Nazarene or Nazarite at all, or that He would be called so from the place of His education. St. Jerome (Epist. xx. ad Damasum), says, “We cannot find it either in the Greek or Latin copies.” He writes to the same effect (in Isa. 11), and in his commentary on this passage (Matthew 2), he says, “that the Evangelist, by using the word ‘Prophets’ in the plural number, unmistakeably conveys, that he quotes not the exact words, but the sense of the prophecies which regarded Christ.”
The question which creates the great difficulty here is, where was it prophesied of Christ that “He would be called a Nazarene?” Commentators are divided in accounting for this. One class say, if the original Hebrew word for “Nazarene” be written with a Zain (ז) Nezir, then the word Nazarene will signify holy, consecrated, or set apart. Now, throughout the entire Scriptures, particularly the prophetical writings, our Lord is spoken of as holy by excellence. Thus, St. Jerome (in hunc locum) says, “Nazarene” is interpreted, holy. The appellation of Nazarene was given to the most distinguished types of our Lord—Samson (Judg. 15), Joseph (Gen. 49:26)—on account of their being separated from the people by their distinguished virtues, and, as such, types of Christ. According to these interpreters, it was the result of God’s wonderful providence that our Lord, by reason of His education at Nazareth, would be called “a Nazarene.” He was called so, no doubt, out of contempt by the Jews. But it was a title of dignity given by God, expressive of His incomparable sanctity, His eternal consecration in the intrinsic nature of the Divinity by which His human nature was assumed to a personal union. This interpretation is adopted by Tertullian. (Lib. iv. Adversus Marcionem; Eusebius Demon. Evangel.; St. Jerome in c. ii. Matt., &c.) To this interpretation might be added, that the appellation of “Nazarene” applied to Samson, &c., who were types of Christ, was verified and fulfilled in Him, as the antitype, when, from the place of His education, He was called a Nazarene, sometimes out of contempt.
The generality of commentators, however, understand the allusion to be to the words of Isaias (Isa 11:1), “There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” The holy Fathers, all Catholics, the most distinguished Jewish expositors of Scripture, the chiefs of the Rationalistic school, among them Rosenmuller, say, these words refer to Christ. St. Jerome tells us that in the original the word for “flower” signifies a Nazarite, so that the passage should be literally and strictly rendered, “a rod … and a Nazarite (Netzer) from his root.” In this the word is written not by Zain (ז) Nezir, as is supposed in the former interpretation, but by Psade (צ) Netzer, a flower or other “bud.” It, moreover, is against the former interpretation, that the word “Nazarene,” as applied to the types of our Lord, Samson, &c., is written in the Septuagint, Ναζαραιος; whereas, as applied to Christ, it is everywhere written in the New Testament with an ῶ, Ναζῶραιος. Hence, in this interpretation, the Evangelist means to convey that our Lord had chosen Nazareth for his dwelling and place of education, in order that from this would appear that the title or epithet of “flower” or bud (Netzer) given Him by the prophet Isaias (Isa 11:1), was fully verified in Him. The Jews called Him a “Nazarene,” out of contempt, as a term of reproach. But, to the believers who saw in the appellation a fulfilment of what was, in substance at least, if not in express terms, predicted of Him by the Prophets, it served as a further confirmation of their faith. The word, Prophets, although, according to this latter interpretation, referring to Isaias only, is, according to Jewish usage, used in the plural for the singular. The words, “to be called,” are frequently used to express, and are synonymous with, “shall be” (Eccles. 6:10; Isa. 14:20; Luke 2:23). Hence, here the words mean, “He shall be a Nazarene,” as was predicted by Isaias regarding Him.
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 1:1-17 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly on the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist (Matt 14:1-12; Mark 6:17-29) (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 19:13-15 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 18:1-10 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 25:14-30 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)