For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Matthew 2:13-18; The Escape to Egypt (Historical Background)

posted by Mike Nappa

Matthew reports that “Herod” was the bloodthirsty king who ordered the mass murder of all boys aged two and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. (2:16). History knows this king as “Herod the Great,” though “great” seems a stretch for this man.

He reigned as a Roman appointee over the conquered Jewish people from roughly 37 B.C. until his death in 4 B.C. As a politician, he was very astute, avoiding assassination, imposing peace, creating alliances, and overseeing magnificent construction projects that included palaces, fortress Masada, the harbor at Caesarea, and even the temple in Jerusalem.

As a person, Herod the Great was a murderous, emotionally disturbed, manically paranoid, possibly insane man.

Roman emperor Caesar Augustus once said, it was “better to be Herod’s pig than his son,” and he was right. Because the Jewish king didn’t eat pork, pigs in his household were never butchered. The same couldn’t be said for Herod the Great’s family members.

Herod executed two of his sons for suspected treason, along with his wife and many others in his court and extended family. He brutally tortured and often killed anyone who even hinted at being a threat to him. Worried that people would rejoice at his death, he gave instructions (thankfully unfulfilled) for Jewish leaders in every town to be killed when he died, so people would have to mourn.

Herod the Great died in 4 B.C., after long illness and in excruciating pain, suffering from internal ulceration and decay.

 Matthew 2:13-18

Works Cited:

[WOB, 136-38]

 

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Matthew 2:13-18; The Escape to Egypt (Geographical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

At the time when the angel instructed Joseph to flee King Herod, Egypt had become a kind of safe haven for Jews forced to leave their home country.

Egypt (like Herod’s Judea) was under Roman control—but was outside of King Herod’s authority. Jewish philosopher, Philo (15 B.C—50 A.D.) lived during that time and reported that Alexandria, Egypt alone had about 1 million Jews living in relative safety there. Although Egypt wasn’t exactly close to Joseph and Mary, it wasn’t too far either. The border between Judea and Egypt was about 80 miles away from their home in Bethlehem—a distance that could be covered within days.

Because of its heavy Jewish population, accessible walking distance, and its peaceful coexistence with Judea as part of the Roman Empire, Egypt was the ideal place for Joseph to hide his family from Herod’s murderous intent. And that’s exactly what he did.

Pyramid of Khafre ca. 2525 B.C. Giza, Egypt

Works Cited:

[ZB1, 17]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Bible Resource Spotlight: The MacArthur Study Bible

posted by Mike Nappa

Reader Appeal: Students, Parents, Pastors, Bible Study Leaders

Genre: Study Bible

FBSN Rating: B

It’s easy to appreciate the scholarship invested in the verse-by-verse commentaries that make up the bulk of The MacArthur Study Bible. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, John MacArthur delivers solid insights into the meaning, history, and background of Scripture—as we would expect. Still, the necessary brevity of these Bible-verse commentaries sometimes leaves a reader wanting more (and one annoying part of this commentary is the frequent use of “See note on…” directions that requires skipping to a different part of the Bible for exposition on similar topics.)

That’s why the real value this award-winning book will have for most Bible Study Nerds is in the wealth of its accessory materials. Students (of all ages and backgrounds) who are just beginning a lifelong discovery process of God’s Word will devour the clear, relevant, explanatory “Introduction to the Bible,” which gives an overview of the major themes on display in Scripture. The “How We Got The Bible” and “How to Study the Bible” introductory sections are also must-reading for just about anyone who desires a deeper understanding of Scripture.

From there, MacArthur offers surprisingly helpful references for keeping all of Scripture more understandably organized in your head. Old and New Testament chronology charts make it easy to flip back and forth between Bible history—without losing your place. “A Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles” is an unexpected blessing, as is the brief overview to the latter parts of the Old Testament, “Introduction to the Prophets.” MacArthur’s coverage of the era between the end of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus is both concise and informative, and includes yet another chronology of events that really helps bridge the gaps in history between the testaments. Finally, the end sections of this book (after Revelation) offer serious discussion and explanations on matters of basic theology and Christian doctrine, stated plainly and well-supported with Scripture. This end section is a great place to start family discussion on the Christian faith and everyday belief acted out in everyday lives.

Though some will view it as a little dense, and others will see it as lacking in detail, anyone who picks up The MacArthur Study Bible will still find a rich source of practical information about God and his Word.

The MacArthur Study Bible

The MacArthur Study Bible by John MacArthur

(Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matthew 2:13-18; The Escape to Egypt (Cross-Reference Comparisons)

posted by Mike Nappa

Matthew references Jeremiah 31:15 as the prophecy fulfilled by Herod’s slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem. That Old Testament passage originally prophesied about mourning that would accompany the conquering of the Jewish kingdom of Judah by the ancient Babylonian armies. After that conquest, Babylon would eliminate from history any remnants of an independent Jewish nation, and disperse the Jewish people as slaves in exile. In this context, “Rachel” was a collective personification of all the mothers in Israel, grieving for their lost nation and exiled children.

Matthew, however, showed a dual meaning to this Jeremiah prophecy. One was in reference to the ancient exile, and the other was a collective reference to the mothers of Bethlehem weeping for the children murdered by Herod.

Matthew 2:13-18; The Escape to Egypt

Works Cited:

[ESB, 1823]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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