King Herod & Escape to Egypt

Bible Study lesson:

Matthew 2:13-23


Q. Significance of Ramah and escape to Egypt?

  • Ramah was about 5 miles north of Jerusalem, Israel. It indicates that King Herod’s slaughter of children extended at least 10 miles around Bethlehem, including Jerusalem. (Bethlehem is a town 5 miles SW of Jerusalem.)
  • It was a fulfillment of Old testament Prophecy in Jer 31:15. The Babylonians used Ramah as a collection point for the captives from Israel, they were about to exile!
  • Rachel was buried in Ramah. (1 Sam 10:2)
  • Escape to Egypt – It was like a cross cultural experience for Joseph and his family. (Cross-cultural experience can bring you out of your comfort zone, it teaches you to depend on God more.)

Q. Meaning of Nazarene?

  • Prophecy in Matthew 2:23, is not exactly recorded in any of the prophets. It is thought to be referred to Isaiah 11:1 – “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots, a branch will bear fruit.” Here Messiah is called ‘Netser’ or shoot out of the roots of Jesse. The name Nazareth was probably derived from the same root.
  • Nazarene means someone or something from Nazareth, friendly meaning – ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. ( Just like ‘Okies’ for natives of Oklahoma!)
  • It was also used by his enemies as a expression of scorn. (Matthew 26:71, Mark 14:67)

Q.  The slaughter of children by kind Herod

  • King Herod gave an order to kill all the babies, not only in Bethlehem, but vicinity, to kill so-called threat to his regime – ‘a new born baby‘!
  • Think of some recent human tragedy (not a natural calamity) which had a pronounce effect on people’s mind for a long time.
    • 9/11 attacks, Holocaust, shoot out at Virginia tech, Terrorist attacks in Mumbai …
  • Why do we see history being repeated over and over again, when somebody or some group bring such a great evil for their own agenda or thinking? Why or How does God allow such evil to innocent people, babies? These are hard questions to answer. Honestly, I do not have an answer. But in face of such great evil,  there is a hope, that God can still bring out good.
  • By saving child Jesus, on that day, God has shown the ultimate answer to Evil. The evil has been defeated by Jesus on the cross.
  • There is a hope that this evil will be eliminated forever one day. And we will see God’s perfect good.


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  1. Mike Higginbottom says

    Could you explain why this fulfils the prophesy of Jeremiah? You’ve said yourself that Jeremiah refers to the rounding up of the Hebrews by the Babylonians. Yet Matthew is referring to Herod’s extinction of children. How are the two related?

  2. Bible SEO says

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your question. I believe that even though Jeremiah 31:15 was talking about the captivity of Israelites by Babylonians and consequences of Israel’s wickedness and unbelief, it was also a prophecy that would be fulfilled in ‘slaughter of children by Herod’ at the birth of Jesus.

    I believe that biblical prophecies were pointed toward both immediate fulfillment and events in future. It is like looking at the mountain tops, but avoiding the valleys between them.

    I hope it answers your question.


  3. Mike Higginbottom says

    Sure. I realise that’s what you believe otherwise you presumably wouldn’t have said it 😉 I guess I’m wondering what it was that led you to that belief.

    The two situations seem to be unrelated and I don’t see any way Matthew could have conflated one with the other apart from the fact that there may well have been a woman called Rachel present at both events who was grieving over the loss of her children.

    But this doesn’t really seem to qualify as a fulfilled prophecy since the circumstances surrounding both grieving mothers are wildly different and surely an OT claim that a woman called Rachel would cry over lost children in Ramah at some unspecified point in the future was pretty well guaranteed to happen at some point during the intervening centuries.

    You also seem to be implying (with the phrase “would be fulfilled in ’slaughter of children by Herod’”) that Jeremiah was making a prophecy about Herod’s actions yet Jeremiah makes no mention of it. His prophesy concerns the return of the people captured by the Babylonians.

    What we actually have is Matthew claiming what he wrote about was a fulfillment of prophesy. We do not have Jeremiah making the prophesy that Matthew claims he made at all.

  4. Matteo Masiello says

    Can anyone explain why there is no historical record of Herod’s actions, even by his detractors, like Josephus. Also why doesn’t Luke mention it, if it really happened?

  5. LIZ says

    I hope I am not being out of order, I was wandering if I can get a little information or bible lesson on
    The Sabbath Day please thankyou


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