Why (and Where) Did the Holy Family Flee to Egypt?
The Flight to Egypt When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.” So he got up, took the Child and His mother by night, and withdrew to Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.””
Few people ask why Joseph and the Holy Family would flee to Egypt of all places? Surely there were other lands or closer communities where the family would be safe from Herod? Didn’t it take Moses and the tribes forty years to get from Egypt to the Promised Land? Why go such a long distance? It’s over 140 hours walking distance to Alexandria (maybe a month or more journey?). And where would a Jewish family consisting of a Carpenter and wife and a brand new baby find sanctuary in a foreign land? Unless perhaps they had a SPECIFIC place to go? There was an Essene ‘Mystery School’ and people known as the Therapeutae at Lake Mareotis near Alexandria, Egypt. There was a ‘Jewish’ teaching school at Nagaa Hammadi (Where the Nag Hammadi Scrolls came from) and possibly another school at Karnak at Luxor. A fellow Essene family would have been welcomed with open arms these places and been provided a safe place to raise a family. We know these stories well, but do we think about the particulars of their reality and accomplishment.
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are now dead.” So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he learned that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a “town” called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.””
Matthew 2: 19-23
Here we have Joseph’s tribal land, House of David Judea, mentioned. THAT should be where their “own town” is. And yet, his choice where they might know people was “Nazar”eth – their “own town.”
The Return to Nazareth When Jesus’ parents had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.”
Luke 2:39 NASB