campaign came, and that the flight into Egypt was from Nazareth and not Bethlehem, as a recent Watchtower said?—R. B., New York.
The Gospel accounts are brief, and what one leaves out another often supplies. We cannot assume that Luke related a complete coverage of the movements of Joseph and Mary and the babe Jesus; actually, we know positively that Luke did not do so, since he does not even mention the flight into Egypt. Luke 2:39 merely spans the time gap between the fulfilling of the law relative to the newborn babe and the later taking up of residence in Nazareth, without attempting to relate everything in between.
Matthew’s account, however, fills in more details for us. It shows that the astrologers were sent to Bethlehem by Herod, and since there is no recorded change in the directions we must assume that that is where they went, the reappearance of the “star” being necessary to guide them, not so much to Bethlehem, but to the particular house where the child was. Thereafter the record tells of the flight into Egypt to escape the mass infanticide by Herod. Note that this murderous slaughter of boys of two years of age and under was confined to “Bethlehem and in all its districts”. (Matt. 2:1-16, NW) The districts of Bethlehem would be nearby areas, not even reaching to Jerusalem, and certainly nowhere near Nazareth in distant Galilee! If the child had been in Nazareth it would have been in no dire peril. But the slaughter struck at the region wherein the child resided, making necessary the angelic warning and the subsequent flight into Egypt.
Matthew next tells of Herod’s death, which opens the way for the safe return to Israel of Jesus and his parents. Apparently Joseph was going to return to Judea to take up life in Bethlehem, whence he had fled in the first place. But Herod’s son ruled there and Joseph feared for the child’s safety. Through a dream he received divine warning not to return to Judea, but to go instead into the territory of Galilee. There, in order to fulfill further prophecy, the family settled in Nazareth. (Matt. 2:19-23) All of this clearly implies that Joseph was returning to the place whence he had fled, Judea, and more particularly Bethlehem, but that a change in plans was effected through divine intervention, for the child’s safety and for the fulfillment of prophecy. So they went to Nazareth instead, and we are back at the point in Luke’s narrative recorded in the latter part of Luke 2:39.
So we believe that The Watchtower of December 15, 1951, correctly stated matters in its published reply to this question, on page 764.
HEALING FOR LIFE IN THE NEW WORLD
“On this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life . . . And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2, NW) Note, these trees are in evidence while there is still need for “curing” or “healing” the nations, that is, people of all nations. Actually the provision for life and healing is that which flows from the Word of God. (Prov. 3:18) The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures makes access to this “tree” more readily available. Why? Because it offers in understandable English the life-giving truths taught by the Lord and his disciples. This translation, together with the study aid What Has Religion Done for Mankind? is a remarkable means of bringing spiritual health to those seeking it. These two books constitute the offer to be made during the month of May to carry life-giving truth to all who desire it. The contribution for this excellent combination is only $2. Obtain it and present it to others at every opportunity, and report your activity at the close of the month.
“THIS MEANS EVERLASTING LIFE”
“In his certain knowledge of what is immediately ahead Jehovah God is causing the means of knowledge to flow forth like an ever-widening, ever-deepening river of crystal-clear water. It is a river of Kingdom truth. It flows, not from a spring that may fail with a disastrous water shortage for the people, but forth from the established kingdom of God and of his Christ. . . . How precious is life! Without it nothing exists for your enjoyment. It is your privilege now to choose it in preference to destruction. . . . Choose now to live forever in the blessedness of the new world under God’s kingdom by Jesus Christ.” The foregoing is an extract from the beautifully bound and excellently arranged book “This Means Everlasting Life”. Get your copy, on a contribution of 50c.
Week of May 4: Is God Responsible for World Distress?
Week of May 11: Pinning the Blame on the One Responsible.