The Flight Into Egypt

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matthew 2:13-15)

Detail of an early twelfth century Sinai icon of the Nativity, showing the Flight into Egypt. The Virgin Mary and the Christ Child are seated on a donkey that is being led by Joseph. They are accompanied by James, the brother of the Lord. A personification of Egypt stands at the open gates of the city of Alexandria to welcome them.

From Saint John Chrysostom, Commentary on Matthew, Homily VIII:

Joseph, when he had heard these things, was not offended, neither did he say, ‘The thing is hard to understand: Didst thou not say just now, that He should save His people? and now He saves not even Himself: but we must fly, and go far from home, and be a long time away: the facts are contrary to the promise.’ Nay, none of these things doth he say (for the man was faithful): neither is he curious about the time of his return; and this though the angel had put it indefinitely thus: ‘Be thou there until I tell thee’. But nevertheless, not even at this did he shudder, but submits and obeys, undergoing all the trials with joy.

And this because God, who is full of love to man, did with these hardships mingle things pleasant also; which indeed is His way with regard to all the saints, making neither their dangers nor their refreshment continual, but weaving the life of all righteous men, out of both the one and the other. This very thing He did here also: for consider, Joseph saw the Virgin with child; this cast him into agitation and the utmost trouble, for he was suspecting the damsel of adultery. But straightway the angel was at hand to do away his suspicion, and remove his fears; and seeing the young child born, he reaped the greatest joy. Again, this joy no trifling danger succeeds, the city being troubled, and the king in his madness seeking after Him that was born. But this trouble was again succeeded by another joy; the star, and the adoration of the wise men. Again, after this pleasure, fear and danger; ‘For Herod’, saith he, ‘is seeking the young Child’s life’, and He must needs fly and withdraw Himself as any mortal might: the working of miracles not being seasonable as yet. For if from His earliest infancy He had shown forth wonders, He would not have been accounted a Man.

3 comments to The Flight Into Egypt

  • MARIA KEPELEK

    when sorrow overwhelmed my heart and body and I was asking you, why I am sent into exile in the far East-with no family, no child, no fresh food,barefoot,not even my little Charly-, you sent me an angel:The Virgin Maria with the Christ being seated on a donkey..THE FLIGHT INTO AGYPT! now I know., submit and obey..

  • MARIA KEPELEK

    in that way I arrived here, so I am not complaining, thanks for the lesson Father, we have to bear everything patiently

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