Matthew 2:19

The Return to Nazareth

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

Matthew 2:19 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 2:19

But when Herod was dead
Who died, as before observed, a few months after this tragedy was acted; and, according to the F23 Jewish writers, on the seventh day of the month Cisleu, and which answers to the twenty fifth of our November: and was afterwards observed as a day of rejoicing by the Jews. The account which Josephus {x}, and from him Eusebius F25, gives of his miserable death, is as follows; a burning fever seized him, with an intolerable itching all over his body, and continual pains of the colic; his feet swelled with a dropsy; he had an inflammation in the lower part of his belly: a putrefaction in his privy parts, which bred worms; a frequency and difficulty of breathing, and convulsions in all his members; he had a voracious appetite, a stinking breath, and his intestines abounded with ulcers; when he found that all means made use of were ineffectual, and that he must die, he attempted to lay violent hands upon himself, but was prevented, and soon after expired in a very miserable manner. Now some time after his death,

behold an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt.
It may be the same angel who appeared in the same manner, and ordered him to go into Egypt, with the young child and his mother; and who now brings him news of the death of Herod, and bids him return to the land of Israel; which shows the watchful providence of God, and the useful ministry of angels, concerned in the preservation of the infant Jesus.


F23 Megillah Taanith apud Van Till. de anno Christ. Nat. p. 122.
F24 De Bello Judaic. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 5. 7. & Antiq. l. 17. c. 9.
F25 Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 8. p. 25, 26.

Matthew 2:19 In-Context

17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."
19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."
21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.