Matthew 2:16-23
Mat 2:16 (KJB)
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
History does repeat itself. Just as Pharaoh tried to kill Moses by ordering the death of the newborn in Egypt, here Herod is following the same method. He knew that he was tricked because it had taken them a long time in Bethlehem to search for the child. Herod probably dispatched some people to Bethlehem and they inquired and was told that the wise men had departed already. Since they could not find the Lord Jesus Christ, Herod thought that he could solve the problem of the challenge to his throne by killing all the boys in Bethlehem which were two years old and under. Not only did he have the children of Bethlehem killed, but also the children in the surrounding villages which is what is meant by “the coasts.”
Mat 2:17 (KJB)
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
Matthew now goes on to make reference to the prophecy which is found in Jeremiah 31:15. Everything that pertained to the Lord Jesus Christ was prophesied and planned hundreds of years ago.
Mat 2:18 (KJB)
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
(Jer 31:15 KJV) Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Ramah in Benjamin was 5 miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem. Many Jewish captives were killed in that area in 586 B.C. after the Babylonians destroyed the city and temple of Jerusalem. (Gen 35:19-20 KJV) And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. {20} And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. Rachel was buried either in Bethlehem itself or very close to the town and was a well known site. Since Rachel had died many hundreds of years before, Matthew attaches the same type of representation to the saying from Jeremiah. As Jeremiah used it as a representative of the mourning of all the mothers who lost their sons, Matthew applies the same solemn meaning to the fact that all the mothers of two year old and younger sons that had been killed by Herod’s command. It was a meaning of mourning in all Israel for this slaughter.
Mat 2:19 (KJB)
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Now it was time for Herod to die and when he was finally dead, an angel of the Lord now appears to Joseph. There is nothing written as to how long they stayed in Egypt nor their sojourn there. At that time, Egypt had a pretty good tourist system in those days and those who wanted to stay there would find that it would have been very expensive. However, the expenses would have been paid for by the gifts of the wise men, especially the gold. This would have happened in the spring of the year 4 B.C. which is when Herod the Great had died.
Mat 2:20 (KJB)
Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
Herod was a murderer even upon his own death. He had ordered his sister Salome and her husband Alexas to assemble the prominent Jewish leaders in Jericho where he had them all imprisoned in the arena. He than gave the order that at the moment of his death, they were all to be killed. However, that did not take place because Salome had feared reprisal from the Jewish people and had freed them all before the announcement of the death of Herod. When it speaks about “they are dead,” it speaks about Herod and his men. (Exo 4:19 KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. This event had paralleled that of Moses.
Mat 2:21 (KJB)
And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Joseph continuing his obedience to the Lord, got his family together and headed back to the land of Israel. At this point, they may have settled in Bethlehem and made many friends there. Once they were told about the pogrom of the little children, I am sure they probably went back to Nazareth because it was a longer distance from Jerusalem, about 70 miles (113 km) north.
Mat 2:22 (KJB)
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
Archelaus was one of the three surviving sons of Herod. The other two were Philip and Antipas. Archelaus was a very cruel man and Caesar Augustus had refused him the title of king until he saw how he would behave in office. He received the title of Ethnarch which was a title for someone who ruled a certain group of people. He ruled the provinces of Judaea, Idumea, and Samaria. Eventually, the Emperor had him deposed and banished him to Vienne in Gaul. Joseph did not want to live under the authority of this man for the purpose of protecting his family, and his suspicions were correct. He received another warning from God in a dream and that caused him to go to the parts of Galilee and there settled in the town of Nazareth.
Mat 2:23 (KJB)
And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Spoken - Verbally spoken
He and his family had finally settled down in the town of Nazareth where he probably continued his carpentry business and from this time of living here, Jesus would be known as a Nazarene. This too was a fulfillment of what was spoken by the prophets. This is one of those verses which give Bible critics something they think they can cling to. This prophecy is not found in any of the prophets in the Old Testament and therefore how could it be spoken of by the prophets? The key is the word “spoken.” The verse tells us that what was fulfilled was “spoken” and not written. This is not the only verse in the Bible where something is quoted by someone who just spoke and did not write. (Acts 20:35 KJV) I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35 quotes the Lord Jesus who said it. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is not found in any of the quotes in any of the rest of the Bible, yet here it is quoted as Scripture. So Matthew 2:23 is absolutely proper in the way it delivers the truth. There are absolutely no problems with this verse as some Bible critics attempt to claim it as a mistake.