And was there until the death of Herod
Which was in a very short time; for Eusebius F9 says, that immediately, in a very little time after the slaughter of the children at Bethlehem, the divine vengeance inflicted diseases on him, which quickly brought him to his end; so that, according to the learned Dr. Lightfoot F11, Jesus was not above three or four months in Egypt. Now all this was brought about,
that it might be fulfilled;
not by way of accommodation of phrases to a like event; or by way of type, which has a fresh completion in the antitype; or as a proverbial sentence which might be adapted to any remarkable deliverance out of hardship, misery and destruction; but literally, properly, and in the obvious sense thereof;
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,
not Balaam, in ( Numbers 23:22 ) or ( Numbers 24:8 ) but in ( Hosea 11:1 ) "when Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt": the meaning of which passage is, either in connection with the last clause of the foregoing chapter thus; "in a morning shall the king of Israel be cut off", (ren) (yk) , "because Israel is a child", a rebellious and disobedient one, acting a very weak and wicked part; "yet I have loved him, or do love him", and "have called", or "will call", (the past tense for the future, frequent in the Hebrew language, especially in the prophetic writings,) "my son out of Egypt"; who will be obliged to retire there for some time; I will make him king, set him upon the throne, who shall execute justice, and reign for ever and ever; or thus, "because Israel is a child", helpless and imprudent, and "I love him", though he is so, "therefore l will call", or I have determined to call
my son out of Egypt:
who through a tyrant's rage and malice will be obliged to abide there a while; yet I will bring him from thence into the land of Judea, where he shall live and "help" my "servant", (paidov) F12, "child Israel"; shall instruct him in his duty, teach him the doctrines of the Gospel, and at last, by his sufferings and death, procure for him the pardon of all his transgressions; of which there is a particular enumeration in ( Matthew 2:3 Matthew 2:4 Matthew 2:5 Matthew 2:6 Matthew 2:7 ) . This is the natural and unconstrained sense of these words, which justifies the Evangelist in his citation and application of them to Christ's going to Egypt, and his return from thence, as I have elsewhere F13 shown.
F9 Hist. Eccl. l. 1. c. 8. p. 25, 26.
F11 Harmony of the New Testament, p. 6.
F12 Luke i. 54.
F13 Prophecies of the Messiah p. 123, &c.