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ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 15th 2011, 03:01 AM
In Matthew's account,
- Christ born in Bethlehem
- Magi came to Jerusalem inquiring about Messiah
- Matthew 2:9 doesn't actually tell us where they found Christ. Did they actually find him in Bethlehem, or in Nazareth in his own home? It also says house, not inn.
- It seems to me that they probably found him in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
- Immediately after Magi left, an angel warns Joseph to take Jesus and flee into Egypt.

In Luke's account
- Mary gives birth to Jesus in an inn in Bethlehem
- They probably stayed there another 40 days or so as required by the Law, after which they made their way to Jerusalem to perform the rite of purification.
- After their visit to the temple in Jerusalem, they went back to Nazareth in Galilee. (Luke 2:39)

So the encounter with the Magi couldn't have taken place in Bethlehem, because if it did, then Mary and Joseph wouldn't have gone to Jerusalem and then back to Nazareth, because Matthew tells us that they immediately left for Egypt after Joseph was informed in a dream.

Did I miss anything?

ZDOxcar
Feb 16th 2011, 02:42 AM
In the Matthew account, the Magi found Jesus in Bethelehem (since Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem to look for the Christ (see Matt 2:8 "He (Herod) sent them to Bethlehem and said, "go and make a careful search for the child")). When the Magi get to Bethlehem and the star stops over where the Christ is, this is at a house (not an inn) - see Matt 2:9-11.

In the Luke account, it specifically says Jesus was NOT born in an inn because the inn was full (see Luke 2:7 "She warrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was NO room for them in the inn").

1 Watchman
Feb 16th 2011, 06:39 AM
Right! The shepherds came and saw the baby in the manger, but when the Magi arrived He was older (probably up to two years old, since that is the age Herod chose to kill babies). He was also in a house, as was mentioned above. Joseph was told to take Him and His mother and flee to Egypt.

- 1 Watchman

ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 16th 2011, 08:19 AM
Unfortunately, this doesn't explain the difficulties I presented in the original post. If the magi found Jesus in Bethlehem, then it would contradict Luke's account, because:

Matthew: Their family packed their bags that very night after the Magi's visit and fled into Egypt. Note the urgency there.

Luke: Mary waited 40 days after giving birth and travelled from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for the rite of purification and to present Jesus at the Temple. After which, Luke says they went home to Nazareth in Galilee. Where was the escape to Egypt in Luke's account? The only logical time it could have taken place is after their return to Nazareth, because they can't possibly be in Egypt and Jerusalem/Nazareth at the same time.

Additionally, Matthew didn't say the Magi found Jesus in Bethlehem, although Herod did send them there. They were actually led by the bright light to where Christ was. Matthew however didn't tell us where that was.

I suppose some time must have passed as well between the birth of Christ and the wise men's visit, because when the star of Christ rose, they had to make their way from the East to Jerusalem (Matt 2:7). After that, they had to journey to look for Christ. This is also why Herod had children 2 years of age and younger slaughtered.

Why 2 years? Because it is very likely that the time when the Magi saw Christ's star rise and the time Herod decided to take action was about that period.

I apologize for giving my hypothesis after asking the question, but I had been doing a lot of thinking on this yesterday.

ZDOxcar
Feb 16th 2011, 02:42 PM
I see the problem you're bringing up - it appears from Luke 2:39 that Jesus is presented in the Temple (according to Lev Chap 12) and then immediately returns to Nazareth.

My guess is that in Luke 2:39, them returning to Nazareth doesn't imply "immediacy" but rather "at some time after the presentation, they returned to Nazareth".

My understanding of the sequence of events goes like
- birth of Christ
- Magi visit Jerusalem, meet with Herod, are ordered to search for Jesus in Bethlehem, the star leads them to the exact location of Jesus in Bethlehem, they present their gifts, and go back (to Persia) via another route (so as to deliberately avoid Herod).
- Jesus is circumsised on the 8th day
- Jesus is presented in the Temple on day 40
- Joseph/Mary/Jesus flee to Egypt
- Some time passes by
- They return to Israel, but upon learning Herod's son is there, they go to Narareth instead

ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 17th 2011, 07:52 AM
Thanks. Here's what I think happened.

- Christ was born
- His star is seen by the Magi in the East, probably the Parthian-Persian empire
- They assemble themselves and probably a military escort and head for Jerusalem
- In the meantime, 40 days pass, Mary and Joseph goes to the Temple for the rite of purification and presentation
- Mary and Joseph along with Jesus returns to Nazareth
- Magi arrive in Jerusalem searching for the Messiah
- Herod summons the religious teachers to inquire where the Messiah would be born
- Herod sends Magi to Bethlehem
- Magi however follows the star of Christ to Nazareth in his own home, and they worship him and present gifts
- That very night, God warns Joseph to flee to Egypt
- The whole family packs up and runs for Egypt immediately.

Raybob
Feb 17th 2011, 11:47 AM
One thing I noticed is that in Luke 2:12, the word "babe" came from the Greek "brephos".
In Matt. 2:8, the wise men were looking for a "young child", from the Greek "paidion" which would imply He was at least around 2 years old at that time.

David Taylor
Feb 17th 2011, 01:12 PM
In Matthew's account,
- Christ born in Bethlehem
- Magi came to Jerusalem inquiring about Messiah
- Matthew 2:9 doesn't actually tell us where they found Christ. Did they actually find him in Bethlehem, or in Nazareth in his own home? It also says house, not inn.
- It seems to me that they probably found him in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
- Immediately after Magi left, an angel warns Joseph to take Jesus and flee into Egypt.

In Luke's account
- Mary gives birth to Jesus in an inn in Bethlehem
- They probably stayed there another 40 days or so as required by the Law, after which they made their way to Jerusalem to perform the rite of purification.
- After their visit to the temple in Jerusalem, they went back to Nazareth in Galilee. (Luke 2:39)

So the encounter with the Magi couldn't have taken place in Bethlehem, because if it did, then Mary and Joseph wouldn't have gone to Jerusalem and then back to Nazareth, because Matthew tells us that they immediately left for Egypt after Joseph was informed in a dream.

Did I miss anything?

Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem from Nazareth for the census, and she gave birth while in Bethlehem.
They remained there during Jesus' infancy, eventually moving from the manger to a house. This lasted no more than 2 years.
During this time, they took Jesus to the temple, for Simeon the priest to bless Him and that stuff. (Jerusalem is only about 5 miles from Bethlehem, so it's not a big haul).
Somewhere around the 0-2 year mark, the Maji arrived at Jerusalem, having followed the star (Yes they never came to the manger, that's a misapplication of them into the manger).
The Magi first met with Herod, then later found Jesus, then they returned to Herod on their exit, but didn't reveal Jesus' location.
It was at this same time that Herod in trying to find the new 'King' ordered the slaughter of the 2 yrs and younger in Bethlehem.
The angel appeared and warned them to go to Egypt; and after their visit to Egypt; they simply returned back to their ancestrial homeland in Nazareth to the North.

My guess on what appears to be the discrepancy, is the Luke 2:39 doesn't mentioned the Egypt side-trip, between when they left Bethlehem/Jerusalem and when the returned to Nazareth.
Luke doesn't discuss the Herodian massacre plot or the Egypt holiday at all; by based on the timeline given between the two accounts, we can know the Egyptian trip would have been like this:

Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, (after Herod's plot, the Magi visit, and their trip to Egypt which only Matthew describes) they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

WSGAC
Feb 17th 2011, 02:52 PM
I think it's rather easy to read between the lines.

Mary, upon hearing she had conceived by the HS, left and went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth. I would guess she did this because of the scandal her news of a child caused for Joseph and in Joseph. Perhaps it was Joseph's idea for Mary to go? His way of "divorcing Mary quietly." He did not want to shame her by exposing her, but for Mary to remain in Nazareth would mean being exposed eventually. Mary had relatives in Judea, and so left Nazareth to stay with other family because she was pregnant in the time of betrothal. She went to stay with her cousin's family.

In her time away, Joseph is wrestling with himself and what has happened. It's while Mary is away that he has his dream and the command to go ahead and take Mary to be his wife, that her child is indeed the Son of God.

Perhaps Joseph decides then to go fetch Mary from Elizabeth's home, but how could he bring her back to Nazareth, now that she was nearly 3 months pregnant and showing? As providence would have it, a census had been ordered by Caesar, meaning that Joseph would have to go back to his home town to register himself for the upcoming tax. Bethlehem was also in Judea, and since it was Joseph's home town, he no doubt had certain relatives there with whom he could connect. He made arrangements to move his bride, Mary, from Elizabeth's house into the house of his relatives, so they could stay there for a time, have the baby, and avoid a scandal in Nazareth.

When it says "there was no room for them in the inn," it does not mean that Joseph and Mary couldn't find a hotel for the night. Bethlehem was a small town, and hotels are a modern phenom. And it's doubtful Joseph showed up in Bethlehem with a 9 month pregnant wife. Men can be stupid, but not that stupid. The word "inn" used in the text is kataluma, the same word used for the "upper room" where Jesus had his last supper with the disciples. A kataluma was a special room for guests in a 1st century house. There were no internal staircases. Upper rooms were reached by going up an outside staircase. It was the room guests used. The living room for the the family was downstairs. And, given that property in that time was often farm-type animals...sheep, goats, and the like, these same would be brought into the house for safekeeping against the elements, and also to protect from theft. Feeding troughs (mangers) have been found in the living quarters of first century Judean homes. Animals were part of the household, in other words.

There was no room in the kataluma for Mary and Joseph where a guest would stay, so they remained downstairs. Joseph probably excused himself during the birth, what with Jewish laws regarding blood, but Mary most certainly had women from the household helping her in the birthing of Jesus.

The holy couple remained in Bethlehem, like I said, to avoid the scandal that certainly would surround them had they gone back to Nazareth. Word may have already begun spreading about Mary's child. So they stayed in the house for a couple years (based on the time Herod determined for the killing of the innocents, ie., all male children two years and younger). It was during that time in the house that the Magi showed up at the door of the house...the same house where Mary gave birth....the same house where she and Joseph lived while away from Nazareth. No doubt the house belonged to someone in Joseph's family.

After the magi left, Joseph and Mary make their way to Egypt to escape Herod's campaign against the innocents. It may be that Joseph still was reluctant to go back to Nazareth just yet, and besides, a prophecy needed to be fulfilled: "out of Egypt I called my Son." It's possible that the holy family stayed in Alexandria Egypt. There was a large diaspora community living there since the destruction of the first temple. Perhaps Joseph had relatives there too.

After a time in Egypt, the couple made their way back, and now the coast was pretty clear. Enough time had passed, the scandal of Mary's pregnancy was forgotten, or was no longer an issue. Joseph and Mary reconnected with family there, and Joseph set up a shop to do carpentry work to support his family.

ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 18th 2011, 08:29 AM
Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem from Nazareth for the census, and she gave birth while in Bethlehem.
They remained there during Jesus' infancy, eventually moving from the manger to a house. This lasted no more than 2 years.
During this time, they took Jesus to the temple, for Simeon the priest to bless Him and that stuff. (Jerusalem is only about 5 miles from Bethlehem, so it's not a big haul).
Somewhere around the 0-2 year mark, the Maji arrived at Jerusalem, having followed the star (Yes they never came to the manger, that's a misapplication of them into the manger).
The Magi first met with Herod, then later found Jesus, then they returned to Herod on their exit, but didn't reveal Jesus' location.
It was at this same time that Herod in trying to find the new 'King' ordered the slaughter of the 2 yrs and younger in Bethlehem.
The angel appeared and warned them to go to Egypt; and after their visit to Egypt; they simply returned back to their ancestrial homeland in Nazareth to the North.

My guess on what appears to be the discrepancy, is the Luke 2:39 doesn't mentioned the Egypt side-trip, between when they left Bethlehem/Jerusalem and when the returned to Nazareth.
Luke doesn't discuss the Herodian massacre plot or the Egypt holiday at all; by based on the timeline given between the two accounts, we can know the Egyptian trip would have been like this:

Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, (after Herod's plot, the Magi visit, and their trip to Egypt which only Matthew describes) they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

Thanks for the thoughts.

However, I think we have to force that reading on Luke 2:39, because the plain reading of it to me, is that they went straight back home to Nazareth after the Temple visit. So Mary and Joseph could not have stayed in Bethlehem for more than 40 days or so. Luke plainly says that after they had done the rite of purification, they returned to Galilee.

We also note that they were poor from the sacrifice they offered for the purification (2 birds instead of a lamb and a bird) so it would be unlikely that they could financially afford to stay for any period of time away from Nazareth where Joseph's employment was.

According to Luke 2:22, they also went to the Temple roughly 40 days after Jesus' birth. Give or take a few days, but not a few years!

Besides, Herod didn't die till about 2 - 5 years later, depending on which historian we ask, at which time the family returned from Egypt. That's a long time to squeeze into Luke 2:39, don't you think?

ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 18th 2011, 08:30 AM
One thing I noticed is that in Luke 2:12, the word "babe" came from the Greek "brephos".
In Matt. 2:8, the wise men were looking for a "young child", from the Greek "paidion" which would imply He was at least around 2 years old at that time.

Good observation. I agree.

ThyWordIsTruth
Feb 18th 2011, 02:09 PM
Oh, there was one more thing that slipped my mind.

We can be pretty certain that the Magi did not meet Mary and Joseph before their visit to the Temple in Jerusalem. Why? Because the sacrifice of purification that Mary offered was two birds. The requirements of the Law was one lamb, one bird. But it made a provision for those who could not afford a lamb, to give two birds instead, either a turtledove or a pigeon.

This tells us several things. They could not financially afford to give a lamb. And the Magi brought some pretty generous and magnificent gifts. Now if they had given two birds when they could've afforded to give a lamb, they would have been lying to God and from the testimony of their character in Scripture, I do not think they would.

We have plenty of evidence that both Mary and Joseph were very devout and pious Jews. Evidence of that includes Mary attending the Passover when she was not required to by Law to do as a woman, Mary personally journeying to the Temple to offer the sacrifices for the rite of purification, which I understand she was also not required to do under the Law, Mary and Joseph presenting the baby Jesus at the Temple and offering the 5 shekels of silver for his redemption, which again they were not required to do according to the Law (they were required to redeem him, but they didn't have to bring him to the Temple). Additionally, they also stayed the whole 7 days for the Feast of the Passover. According to historians, Jewish men typically planned to arrive in Jerusalem the night before the Passover, stay and eat the meal, then go back the very next day. Only the most pious and devout Jews who honored God stayed the whole 7 days. And women were not required to attend the feast, and they typically did not.

So that presents another difficulty for the hypothesis that the Magi found Jesus in Bethlehem, in addition to all the others that have already been mentioned.