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Matthew 2:14-15 (NASB) reads:

14So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”

This is a reference to Hosea 11:1 (NASB):

When Israel was a youth I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.

Matthew is referring to Jesus, but Hosea is referring to Israel. How did Matthew understand Jesus' travel to Egypt as fulfilling the prophecy about Israel?

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10 Answers 10

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This would take a book to answer well, but here's the gist:

Israel out of Egypt?

  • Israel in the Pentateuch was typological of God's people (cf. 1 Cor. 10)

    • (God's people would have to leave "Egypt", pass through the "water", follow God through the "wilderness", live by God's "law", etc.)
  • Israel failed to actually be God's people (cf. Hos. 11 and the rest of the OT)

  • There was to be an "Israel" some day who would actually fulfill God's Law, serve as a witness to the Gentiles, etc. But who? When? How? It seemed to be hopeless, with generation after generation falling flat on their faces. (Cf. Judges, the depressing progression through 2 Kings, etc.)

Christ out of Egypt?

  • Christ came be the True Israel, fulfilling Israel's mission, obeying God's Law

  • He also came as the firstborn among many brethren to blaze the trail. He was to lead the way for God's people, who would follow after Him and look like Him.

  • Matthew wanted to show that Christ was the True Israel. (He came out of Egypt, passed through the water, spent 40 days without food in the wilderness, fulfilled God's Law, etc.

The Hermeneutic

  • God's statement in Exodus 4:22-23 had Messianic undertones. Thus, while it did refer more immediately to Israel, they were merely a type of the coming "God's People" comprised of Christ and those in Christ, and so it more ultimately spoke of God's true people (Christ and the Church) being called "out of Egypt".

  • Hosea 11:1 referred back to that, maintaining the Messianic undertones, while showing that Israel did not succeed in being "God's son". In a sense, Hosea 11 then is Messianic as well, anticipating the True Israel who would be called "God's Son" and not fall flat on their faces.

  • Matthew 2:15 picks up on Hosea 11:1 and Exodus 4:22-23 showing Jesus as the "Son" that Israel failed to be

Can we follow that hermeneutic?

Sure, if you understand how it works.

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    You make that very clear! A pleasure to see something so simply and clearly put. – John Unsworth Dec 3 '13 at 21:32
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    Thank you. Fine answer. As Dr. Enns observes, the New Testament writers, especially the Gospel writers, had had their eyes opened to the centrality of Christ in the Tanakh and were eager to spread the message that Jesus was in fact the long-awaited Messiah. Rhetoric (my specialty) enters the picture since not only were the Gospel writers persuaded of Jesus' messiah-ship, but they were desirous of persuading others of His messiah-ship, too. As for a label for Matthew's rule of interpretation, I guess we'd have to say it was the supremacy of the Christological principle of interpretation? – rhetorician Dec 3 '13 at 21:54
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    @rhetorician It's tough to label... it's sort of Christian, Christocentric, typological, modified-double-fulfillment... or something like that. :) – Jas 3.1 Dec 3 '13 at 22:32
  • FYI - the question this was on had been marked as a duplicate long ago. As housekeeping, I merged the two questions in order to get all the answers together. This has resulted in yours being on a question that is worded a bit differently. I’m just letting you know in case you want to change your wording, but I think it’s fine as is. – Susan Apr 3 '15 at 8:54
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The usage of Hosea 11:1 in Matthew 2:15 is consistent with the "drash" reading of scripture that was accepted among the dominant Pharisaic Jewish tradition at the time of Jesus.

See this explanation of "drash" and its relationship to context in the Wikipedia article on "pshat" [emphasis is mine]:

Definitions of Peshat also note the importance of context, both historical and literary. This is in contrast to Drash, which will often take the text of a verse out of its context, for uses beyond the context such as ritual or moral purposes. However, this does not mean that Peshat and Drash are fully opposing methods. In fact, one may often be used in helping to explain the other, in finding and defining nuances in text that might be otherwise inexplicable without application of both methods.

For Matthew, Joseph's flight to Egypt and return with Jesus mirrors the exile of Jacob's son Joseph to Egypt and the later exodus of Israel with Moses as referenced in Hosea 11:1. Not only is the narrative context of Hosea not critical to Matthew, the fact that there is such an applicable verse in a different context and written so long before is further proof of his point and invites further comparison of the life of Jesus with other similar passages.

This usage of scripture is in part based on the conviction that they contain all knowledge of significant truths, past and future, either explicitly or in hints, and that this knowledge can be found in individual verses or even in parts of verses read on their own without reference to narrative context, and sometimes even read on opposition to the simple meaning (the "pshat") to yield new understanding.

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  • As you are not a Christian you might want to mention so when answering a question that seeks a Christian response, or at least when giving an answer most Christian would not find valid. This way the reader understands the framework you use to form an answer. As Christ is considered by Christians as the true Israel this explanation would not be accepted by most Christians as it was not Mathew's exegetical methods but rather the miraculous event that made the true Israel, mirror the ancient, that has caused the connection. No need to pretend the 'taking it out of its rightful context' this way. – Mike Oct 23 '12 at 1:46
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    @Mike I do my best to answer questions on this site based on my understanding of the intent of the author of the text, based on my knowledge of history, similar texts, and the languages of the period, whether or not I sympathise with the author of the text. My assumption is that no one posting a question on this site is looking for a response designed to support any particular theological position but is trying to understand the intent of the original author in his historical context. – Eli Rosencruft Oct 23 '12 at 11:02
  • Fair enough. As nobody is perfectly objective it seems beneficial in this case to have our personal frameworks apparent. Cheers. – Mike Oct 23 '12 at 11:39
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    Thank you, this seems like the most likely explanation. Though I'm honestly disappointed that the reasoning seems to be that weak. :/ – livingparadox Oct 23 '12 at 16:57
  • @livingparadox I wouldn't call it weak reasoning in the context is the accepted hermeneutics of the time. In fact, its pretty strong for this type of claim. – Eli Rosencruft Oct 24 '12 at 17:24
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There were many things that Matthew did not understand about the ministry of Christ until after Jesus death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. The references that the prophets made about the Messiah were likely high on that list. The beauty of most of the references about the messiah is that they were already understood in the historical context which they flowed out of. This being an excellent example.

Just before the record of the ascension in Luke 24 we read

Luke 24:44-45

44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, ESV

This identifies for us when Jesus opened the eyes of the apostles to understand the prophecies made about him. All through the gospels we are told that they saw but did not see, they heard but did not hear etc... and now they finally understand.

It is this understanding that Matthew then writes about in his Gospel.

As to the reference about Israel being called "my son" this is common language for God to refer to the nation of Israel in familial terms. In fact if God never gave us an earthly family in which to understand our relationships - we would have a lot more trouble understanding Him. In thinking about what the ideal earthly Father is, we can understand God the Father. In understanding how we would do anything to help our earthly brother (of course this is in the ideal context - no family feuds described here;) ) we see how the son of God came to do everything necessary to restore our relationship with the father.

It is the pictures in the OT that help us to understand better the pictures in the NT. The idea of Sonship is a central example.

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  • "Out of Egypt" was penned by 11 different prophets (he was the 12th), yet Matthew uses the singular "prophet". He practices the method of Remez and Drash to combine all the prophecies into a single prophecy, then interpreted it Christologically. – Bob Jones Oct 28 '11 at 21:33
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I apoligize that I must take the long road with this answer as it really cuts to the central meaning of prophecy.

This is an excellent prophecy to show the nature and correct use of Biblical prophesy as interpreted by the ancients as well as show how thoroughly honest Christ fulfilled scriptural and traditional Rabbinic interpretations of them.'It is also noteworthy as the way all prophecy was and should be understood at times such as in this instance almost seems to contradict a modern critical interpretation. In the extreme of our misunderstanding it would almost seem that Mathew was using dishonest methods of exegesis that would not be acceptable today even if they were acceptable at the time.

In fact I believe this kind of misunderstanding even exists among some Christians who would say Mathew was not being fully sound, but that God was still using Mathew's erroneous methods to yet reveal new infallible and perfect truth through fallible means. However when we look at the case closer this would be the least probable conclusion.

First lets start by recognizing Mathew was appealing to a traditional Messianic expectation of Messiah. The general understanding of scripture throughout Israel's history saw its own history as prophetic. In this sense every major event in Jewish history was expected to repeat itself in the unfolding ever more glorious exaltation of Israel against its unclean Gentile enemies. As Israel was God's son who was rescued from Egypt and passed through the Red Sea in baptism, so Israel would be rescued from its exile into Babylon. For example when Jeremiah prophesies about the 'second exodus' from Babylon he build upon this 'prophetic history repeating itself:

“However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them. ’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors. (Jeremiah 16:14-15, NIV)

Now just as the Exodus them was predicted to repeat in the Babylonian exile, so the Messiah was to be the ultimate deliverer and the ultimate fulfiller of the Exodus theme. The Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim documents this ancient Rabbinic expectation grounded in Psalms 2:7, which I quote in its entirety as it is so full of strong proofs showing Christ's fulfillment of not only the scriptures but of so many Messianic expectations as understood by ancient Rabbinic views. Of course the strong expectation that he raise Israel into a physical and literal mighty power and destroy the heathens was the one expectation Christ did not meet and the one expectation with greatest difficulty for even his own disciples.

Ps. 2:7 is quoted as Messianic in the Talmud, among a number of other Messianic quotations (Sukk. 52 a). There is a very remarkable passage in the Midrash on Ps. 2:7 (ed. Warsh. p. 5 a), in which the unity of Israel and the Messiah in prophetic vision seems clearly indicated. Tracing the ‘decree’ through the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, the first passage quoted is Exod. 4:22: ‘Israel is My first-born son;’ the second, from the Prophets, Is. 52:13: ‘Behold My servant shall deal prudently,’ and Is. 42:1: ‘Behold My servant, whom I uphold;’ the third, from the Hagiographa, Ps. 110:1: ‘The Lord said unto my Lord,’ and again, Ps. 2:7: ‘The Lord said unto Me, Thou art My Son,’ and yet this other saying (Dan. 7:13): ‘Behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven.’ Five lines further down, the same Midrash, in reference to the words ‘Thou art My Son,’ observes that, when that hour comes, God speaks to Him to make a new covenant, and thus He speaks: ‘This day have I begotten Thee’—this is the hour in which He becomes His Son. ( Alfred Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus, Appendix 9)

Take clear note Messiah was to be God's Son in connection with Exodus 4:22 creating the Hosea 11 theme as a natural progression.

Having settled the 'prophetic history' and Messianic expectation that Messiah would be another leader of an Exodus we approach Mathew's use of Hosea to draw a parallel between the Exodus of Israel and the Exodus of the true and perfect Israel from Egypt, that is the Messiah. At this point we could almost stop and say 'yes, well no more explanation is necessary'. However a few more observations may more fully allow us to appreciate the solid logic and inspiration of Mathew.

Worth noting is that under this historical prophecy of Israel's history a prophecy was understood as having a higher meaning than the prophet in his own time. Only as the history of God unfolded his purposes over time did Israel's purpose and all prophecy achieve its full and matured meaning. In this sense Mathew is retrospectively recognizing the fuller fulfillment of what Hosea himself may or may not have perceived under the inspiration of the Spirit when seeing the prophetic vision. (Theologians vary from claiming the prophet would have understood nothing about future God intended meanings to claiming that under inspiration they saw much more than they could express and so resorted to hyperbolic attempts of communicating great mysteries that they could see, yet not fully comprehend in a kind of ecstatic experience of profound depth). Regardless of how much we imagine Hosea to comprehend of his own prophecy, Mathew in retrospect sees the fuller meaning and so in true Jewish fashion brings this out to the satisfaction of his Jewish audience.

One last point might be made, this fuller meaning of history is also sometimes referred to as an imbedded type, or deeper meaning of scripture and rather than just a retrospective understanding. This is often understood as a type when some level of understanding is also assumed to be had by the prophet himself, even if at a subconscious level. The question is then posed can we find this same 'hidden types' or was this the role only of the inspired writers to take note of the wider accomplishments of the histories and types of Israel? Can we use these same types and histories to gather expectations of the end-times for example? The answer to this question seems best to be understood as it was throughout history. Yes, of course we can but we must understand as we are not infallibly inspired as Hosea and Mathew, we may develop many proper understandings as did many Rabbinic expectations but we may also develop many foolish expectations as they also did. In this sense we must always account for the uncertainty of predicting future events from past shadows and types but know when they are fulfilled everything becomes clear as the shadows depart making their fulfillment all the more convincing as it unravels and decrypts a previous hidden mystery.

This is what Christ did on hundreds of points of unfolding history and prophetic types, making it simply miraculous and unrepeatable!

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Hosea 11:1 is not a prophecy. It is a history that God called Israel His son out of Egypt.

A prophecy gets fulfilled by the predicted events taking place. How do you fulfill a historical event? Historical events are fulfilled by being repeated.

So Jesus fulfills the historical event of the Exodus by Himself, God's only begotten son, also being called out of Egypt when He was a child.

Matthew also records:

Matthew 2:20 Arise, take to thee the little child and its mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they who sought the life of the little child are dead.

Though Matthew doesn't tell us, the language is an obvious historical repetition, thus fulfillment of:

Exodus 4:19 And Jehovah said to Moses in Midian, Go, return to Egypt; for all the men are dead who sought thy life.

Someone earlier brought up:

Matt 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremias the prophet, saying,
18 A voice has been heard in Rama, weeping, and great lamentation: Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Like Hos 11:1, Jer 31:15 is not a prophecy. It is a history, worded in such a way that it would be repeated at Jesus birth by Herod's order to kill the children around Bethlehem.

When the New Testament quotes an OT prophecy as being fulfilled, it needs to be fulfilled in context. When an OT history is fulfilled, it is repeated in a different way such that the words of the OT history apply to what happened in the NT.

I'm just trying to understand what two other stories would be. Joseph gets his family out of Israel and down to Egypt to save their lives. That happens with Jacob's son Joseph and Joseph ("Mary's "husband"). However those are simply parallel stories (vs. prophecies or historical events)? @John Martin

The historical event of Joseph, son of Jacob, going down to Egypt, and thereby saving his family is a historical event, and not a prophecy. Could you say that Joseph, husband of Mary, fulfilled this when he fled to Egypt to save his family? Maybe.
I think, in order to fulfill a past historical event, as used by Matthew and Jesus, there needs to be a word in the Bible that fits both events, like Hosea 11:1. Maybe there is for this story. The stories of the 2 Josephs do parallel eachother, so I think at least you could say that Joseph, son of Jacob, was a type of Joseph, husband of Mary.

You asked for 2 other OT stories fulfilled in the NT:

1. Baby Moses'
Baby Moses' life was preserved by Miriam when she put him in the ark, watched what would happen, and advised Pharoah's daughter to hire Moses' own mother to nurse him. In this passage, Miriam is called an almah (Exo 2:8), which means an innocent young woman, and is the same word used in Isa 7:14 for "virgin", and quoted by Matthew 1:23. Almah is a rarely used word, so the Holy Spirit had a specific purpose in using the word almah here.
So, in a sense, baby Moses was brought forth by an almah named Miriam, which is the Hebrew equivalent of the name Mary. This was fulfilled by baby Jesus being brought forth by an Almah named Mary.

Moses' life is especially relevant to Jesus because God said

Deu 18:18 A prophet will I raise up unto them from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

2. David's being betrayed by a trusted friend
David says in Psalm 41:9

9 Even my dear friend,
whom I trusted, who my bread ate
raised his heel against me.

This is not a prophecy. It is a historical event that happened to David. I understand that it refers to Joab, who, at the end of David's life, joined Adonijah's conspiracy to kill Solomon (1Ki 1:5-12) and make Adonijah king.

Jesus says that Judas fulfilled this verse.

Joh 13:18 "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.

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    I'm just trying to understand what two other stories would be. Joseph gets his family out of Israel and down to Egypt to save their lives. That happens with Jacob's son Joseph and Joseph ("Mary's "husband"). However those are simply parallel stories (vs. prophecies or historical events)? – John Martin Apr 20 '19 at 11:33
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    Thanks for the comment, John. I added your comment and my response at the end of my answer above. – Steve Miller Apr 20 '19 at 14:53
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Matthew is a great book. It is an awesome account of Jesus. It is all God-breathed.

As for the question: “How did Matthew understand Jesus' travel to Egypt as fulfilling the prophecy about Israel?”

To answer this honestly, it’s a transgression (or sin, or a little of both) by Matthew that God chose to either direct Himself or “roll with;” hence, God-breathed.

It’s not prophecy. It’s a parallel written as a “prophecy.” It might be better to call it “an ironic and fascinating synchronicity,” directed by Jesus. We do see REAL prophecy in Matthew and the Bible (Ex: Isaiah 52 and 53?). This isn’t a real one.

We also see “synchronicity” mislabeled as prophecy in Matthew 2:17 and Matthew 27:9.

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    (-1)Very arrogant thing to say that about Matthew. He was an apostle taught directly by Christ. It says Christ taught his apostles directly from the law and prophets. And now your claiming, without any proof, that he made a divinely inspired mistake? Very weak answer. – diego b Jan 8 '18 at 6:13
  • Not at all good sir!! God bless you! I can righteously say that jealousy and fear (possibly envy) are underneath your UNRIGHTEOUS accusation of “arrogance.” It’s only simple analytics based on the narratives in each reference. I’ll break it down in an additional response within the next couple days. A clear conscience is required... – Tristan Moyle Johnson Jan 8 '18 at 6:33
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    Your spiritual discernment is way off too. Jealousy and fear? Your not understanding what Matthew is saying. He is showing Yahuwshuwa to be the true Israel, fulfilling their role to be a blessing to all nations, as was promised to Abraham. The nation failed at this. This is why Yahuwshuwa was brought out of Egypt, went through the water, then fasted 40 days in the wilderness. Matthew is showing Christ is the true Israel. – diego b Jan 8 '18 at 7:04
  • In the wilderness he accomplished what Israel failed to do. Israel murmered without faith when their was no food or water, while Christ fasted In faith, they put the Most High to the Test, while Yahuwshuwa resisted that temptation, they worshipped other gods, while Yahuwshuwa wouldn't bow down to Satan even for all the kingdom's. He is the promised seed of Abraham, Israel failed their priestly calling, that's why Christ restored it by himself and his Hebrew apostles. – diego b Jan 8 '18 at 7:05
  • Forgive me, but the deception and unrighteous ad hominem attacks are boring and not from Love, so let’s take a look shall we?? For those of us unfamiliar with the narrative in Hosea, it’s consistent with the primary theme of the OT: Israel and Judah being driven to wickedness, treachery, dishonesty, fraud, child sacrifice, rampant disease, satanic idol worship (Baal, Molech) etc, etc. – Tristan Moyle Johnson Jan 8 '18 at 19:42
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I answered a similar question and actually used this passage in Matthew as part of my explanation.

Yesterday, on a very insightful blog, I came across this post that has an excellent example of just this sort of thing:

...The Sacrificial Goat which took all the Sin of the Nation upon itself – On The Day of Atonement, the High Priest enacted a sacrifice to atone the sins of the nation. This twin sacrifice had two goats, one of which was taken before the High Priest, who then proclaimed all of the Sins of the nation on its head, and was then led away to the wilderness.

Lev 16:8-10 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Lev 16:21,22 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

It is traditionally known that this goat was pushed off a cliff by the person who led it away signifying the complete erasure of the sins of the people.

The Rabbis, interpreting “Azazel” as “Azaz” (rugged), and “el” (strong), refer it to the rugged and rough mountain cliff from which the goat was cast down (Yoma 67b; Sifra, Aḥare, ii. 2; Targ. Yer. Lev. xiv. 10, and most medieval commentators) Jewish Encyclopedia

The Sages taught: The word Azazel indicates that the cliff the goat is pushed from should be rough and hard. I might have thought that it may be located in a settled area. Therefore, the verse states: “In the wilderness.” And from where does one derive that the goat is pushed from a cliff? The verse states “gezeira,” indicating an area that is sharp, like a cliff. Yoma 67b – Talmud

Now read what happens after Yeshua reads the Scripture in Isaiah and has a dispute with the people in the Synagogue. The crowd unwittingly proclaims that Yeshua will be the sacrifice which takes away the sin of the nation, by trying to take Him to a hill and thrusting Him down from it.

Luk 4:28,29 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

So while the scriptures give a nod to the tradition by contradicting them, they give the correct interpretation where the "non-scape" goat, the one that died, would represent Jesus' death, the one that "escapes" represents the risen Jesus who "takes away" the sins of the "world" (which I take to be natural Israel, prior to 70ad).

I have long thought that the organization of the scriptures is very much like a Pack Rat's nest where the protruding parts appear chaotic but if you follow them back, everything is solidly connected:

Pack Rat's nest

Disclaimer: I may be wrong about the actual construction of the rat's nest, however, the scriptures ARE solidly connected through and through!

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I see long answers that seem too complicated and agonizingly painful for the author and the reader.

I think this is a simple case of Matthew using Hosea out of context as the verse Hosea 11:2 talks about how Israel went after other gods.

Also quoting a part of a verse to prove a point gives one a huge opportunity to make anything true.

How do you explain the below verse if this was about Jesus?

Hosea 11:2 ~ The more they called to them, the more they went away from them; to the Baalim they would slaughter sacrifices, and to the graven images they would burn incense.

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Because Matthew gave no explanation, a first impression is that he was only applying Hosea 11:1 to Jesus’ childhood. However, a careful study reveals that the application of this verse to Israel’s Exodus is important to how Matthew applied this verse. He was making a parallel to Jesus and Israel in exiting Egypt.

Matthew (Matt. 2:15; ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου NA27) quotes Hosea 11:1b, “… out of Egypt I called My son.” (NASB; וּמִמִּצְרַ֖יִם קָרָ֥אתִי לִבְנִֽי BHS; καὶ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου μετεκάλεσα τὰ τέκνα αὐτοῦ LXX). Matthew uses similar wording as the Septuagint except he more accurately translates the Hebrew word for son with the Greek word for son rather than the Greek word for child as did the Septuagint.

Another connection in Matthew for example is with Herod killing the children in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-17). This parallels how Jesus escaped the killing of children just like Moses did.

The oft-observed reason [for including Herod killing the children] is that Matthew is presenting Jesus as the new Moses. Moses was born in the midst of an occasion of the “slaughter of the innocents” as Pharaoh ordered the killing of all male Hebrew babies (Ex 1:8–22). In turn, Matthew relates a parallel story about Jesus.

Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 58). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

Note how John points out similar parallels in his gospel.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt [ἐσκήνωσεν] among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NA27)

The verb translated dwelt (σκηνόω) is the verb form for the Greek word for tent (σκηνη) . Thus, it references the tabernacle. God showing his glory is a common theme with the tabernacle.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (John 1:17–18, ESV)

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (Jn 1:35–36, ESV)

Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:44–45, ESV)

Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (2016). (John 6:31–33, ESV)

These are a few examples. Paul also makes the parallel of Jesus as the Passover lamb.

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Cor. 5:7, ESV)

Thus, Matthew pointed out how Jesus as a child fulfilled the same experience as Israel exiting Egypt. The Exodus was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ childhood.

This is the prophet Moses referred to that the gospel writers pointed to. They pointed out how Jesus paralleled Moses as evidence that Jesus is the prophet.

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet from among your own people, like myself; him you shall heed. 16This is just what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the LORD my God any longer or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.” 17Whereupon the LORD said to me, “They have done well in speaking thus. 18I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like yourself: I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command him; 19and if anybody fails to heed the words he speaks in My name, I myself will call him to account. 20But any prophet who presumes to speak in My name an oracle that I did not command him to utter, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet shall die.” 21And should you ask yourselves, “How can we know that the oracle was not spoken by the LORD?”—22if the prophet speaks in the name of the LORD and the oracle does not come true, that oracle was not spoken by the LORD; the prophet has uttered it presumptuously: do not stand in dread of him. -- Jewish Publication Society. (1985). Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures (Deut. 18:15–22). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

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  • Another example of Jesus's experience being foreshadowed in Israel's typology is when curiously the around the Passover the Jewish leaders or possibly even a crowd took Jesus to the brow of a hill to throw him off and this seems to be and allusion to the tradition that the scapegoat was thrown off a hill. The scapegoat carried off the sins of Israel into the wilderness, but in tradition it was killed by throwing it off a hill – Ruminator Apr 20 '19 at 16:26
  • Ruminator, I have a question. Tanakh has 23,099 verses and is a huge book, If I understood the foreshadowing logic correctly, we are saying that what happened to Jesus was shown in advance in the old testament. The issue I see is with 23,099 verses in the Tanakh pretty much every event in Jesus' life can be mapped. Where in the Bible does it say we need to adopt this approach? – Yeddu May 3 at 12:29
  • @Yeddu What is the purpose of the Bible? – Revelation Lad May 18 at 14:15
  • @RevelationLad, The Bible is to understand what G-d said in context. – Yeddu May 18 at 14:22
  • @Yeddu I think a broader horizon is needed. Surely application is intended and surely God is revealing Himself. Should we not reflect on the context of actual situations and consider how a different response might have avoided the consequences the context states? And is the Word of God not compared to rain and snow, seed and bread? And are not those examples from God's creation He chose to explain His word? And if so, is there not always a "now" (rain/seed) and "to come" (snow/bread) aspect to the Word of God? – Revelation Lad May 18 at 14:44
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Background
As both were available at the time, it is necessary to begin by comparing Matthew to the Hebrew and Greek (LXX) texts of Hosea:

14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called (ἐκάλεσα) my son (υἱός).” (Matthew 2 ESV)

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
(Masoretic Text)
For Israel was an infant, and I loved him, and out of Egypt I recalled his children.
(LXX NETS)

Matthew rejected the LXX translation and chose to use the Hebrew. This is significant since the LXX is a snapshot which reflects how Hebrew scholars before the Christian era understood the passage:

Arguably, these are mistranslations. Yet except for a wrong name, they work together to make an accurate statement describing the Exodus from Egypt:

When Israel (should be Jacob1) was an infant he was loved (cf. Malachi 1:2-3). Israel took his family to Egypt [at the LORD's guidance (cf. Genesis 46:1-4)]. Therefore, it was the LORD who recalled (not called) his children (not son) out of Egypt.

The LXX modifications create a text about the nation's exodus from Egypt. It is fair to say this required misrepresenting the literal original message which spoke of the Northern Kingdom's apostasy (cf. "Israel" in 10:15 and "Ephraim" in 11:3). Nevertheless, the changes produced a statement consistent with the entire nation's history of idolatry and subsequent apostasy.

In the overall context of Hosea, these "mistranslations" transform the apostasy of the Northern Kingdom into a national problem which began in Egypt, continued through the wilderness, and persisted even after Israel was given the inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Since the LXX was produced after the Southern Kingdom returned from exile, it is historically accurate and functions to "level the field" between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms: both were guilty of, and punished for their apostasy.

It should be noted Matthew's treatment follows the Hebrew exactly. It correctly states the son not children was called, not recalled out of Egypt. Thus, while often criticized for his appropriation of the Hebrew Bible, in contrast to those who produced the LXX, Matthew was faithful to the original text. One may object to Matthew applying the text to Jesus, but not his translation into Greek.

Reading Hosea
Both Matthew's and the LXX's application are in harmony with the original intent of Hosea. Scholars recognize this type of interpretation is implied in the first verse:

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. (Hosea 1:1)

Ehud Ben Zvi comments on how the temporal "mismatches" within this statement show the original text was never intended to be read from a single point of view:

Although the setting for the book is the Northern Kingdom of Israel, its intended readers are the Judeans who may constructively reflect upon the demise of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BCE. References to the kings of Judah precede, and are more elaborate than, the reference to the Israelite king. Further, since Jeroboam (II) died during the reign of Uzziah (2 Kings 15.8), the temporal references do not match. From the Israelite perspective, the book is anchored in the last period of strength of the Northern Kingdom; from the Judahite perspective it is anchored in a period in which Israel moves from a political position of strength to the beginning of its demise in the days of Hezekiah. This double perspective is no mistake, but a rhetorical clue for the reading of the book.2

Modern scholars state the original text was understood as intentionally written to be considered from more than one point of view. This is affirmed by the last verse in the book:

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. (Hosea 14:10)

In other words, this prophetic word should not merely be heard once, but must be carefully studied...3This was, and still is, the Jewish tradition (emphasis added):

Prophetic books were written texts meant to be read, or more properly, to be re-read and studied. Texts written to be read many times tend to show more than passing instances of ambiguity or multiple meanings. Such multiple meanings abound in the prophetic books...4

Matthew approached Hosea as any Hebrew scholar would study prophetic texts:

From an insider's religious perspective, when the monarchic period came to a close, Jerusalem (= the LORD's city), the Temple (= the LORD's house), and the Davidic dynasty (= the LORD's chosen dynasty) all fell. There is no doubt that the events of 586 represent a watershed in the history of Judah and ancient Israel, and were understood as such by those who lived after these events. Postmonarchic Judahites tried to understand them in terms of divine justice and tried to understand themselves within a world in which their community, from their perspective the LORD's people, was so powerless compared to other nations and compared to the memory of monarchic Judah. These issues loomed large in the postmonarchic communities within which the prophetic books were written or reached their present form, and certainly were of great concern to the people for whom they were written. Reflections on these issues are abundant in many of the prophetic books, often taking one or the other of the two forms: either condemnations of monarchic Judah for sins so great they justified the LORD's destruction of Jerusalem, or messages of hope and restoration that reassured the postmonarchic community that their present situation was not the "end of the road" but only a minor stop in a journey that led to an ideal and glorious future for Israel - and that times, for the nations too.5

One may reject Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah prophesized in the Hebrew Bible, but the prophecies still produce an expectation the Messiah will come. As Ehud Ben Zvi says, the prophetic texts give hope of "a journey that led to an ideal and glorious future for Israel - and that times, for the nations too." So those who question Matthew's application of this and other texts to Jesus, have a difficult balancing act when saying Matthew's approach is wrong yet maintaining the Hebrew Bible predicts a Messiah.6

An Exodus Leader in Hosea
The LXX points out the difficulty a translator has in rendering the original text as a statement about the exodus. If Israel is both the loved child and the called son, both must refer to the nation as a whole. However, Israel the man (singular), not Israel the nation went to Egypt. In fact the purpose of going to Egypt was to make Israel a great nation in Egypt. YHVH says Israel is "my firstborn son" (Exodus 4:22), but that was when they were in Egypt. Moreover, they became YHVH's people after He brought them out of Egypt. As the LXX shows, in order to present the passage as a description of the past exodus, the original text must be changed to make it fit what had happened.

On the other hand, if Hosea is understood as foretelling a future event, no changes are necessary, as Matthew's treatment shows. When the text is seen as prophetic, all that is needed is to identify the singular person it predicts: just as Matthew did. Hosea was a prophecy about a new leader, as Moses had also said:

15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ 17 “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 18)

Obviously, Jesus did not lead the people out of Egypt so in that sense there was no second Exodus. But as Moses said, the LORD would raise up a prophet like himself and in order to fulfill that Jesus would have to leave Egypt to prepare for His assignment, just as Moses had to leave Egypt to prepare for his assignment (cf. Exodus 2:11-15). So Matthew's application is in the context of Moses' replacement: both Moses and Jesus were first called out of Egypt before they could begin their assignment. For Moses that would require going back to Egypt in order to bring the nation out; for Jesus that would require going back to the wilderness (cf. Matthew 3:13-4:1) to "pick up" from where Moses had stopped (cf. Deuteronomy 34)


1. Jacob was given the name Israel as an adult (cf. Genesis 32:28).
2. Ehud Ben Zvi, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 1144
3. Ibid., p. 1164
4. Ibid., p. 1140
5. Ibid., p. 1139-40
6. For example, there are references in the rabbinic literature in which some equated the son of Exodus 4:22 with the Messiah himself (cf. Midrash on Psalm 2:7) [Rabbi Barney Kasdan, Matthew Presents Yeshua, King Messiah, Lederer Books, 2011, p. 23. This would also result in understanding Hosea as Matthew did.

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