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When Matthew the Evangelist in 2:15 applied Hosea 11:1 to Jesus' return to Israel from Egypt after the death of wicked King Herod, he says,

"This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON'"

In other words, Matthew is saying that Jesus is God's Son and that God called Him from Egypt, telling Him (actually, Joseph, His earthly father/guardian) to return to Israel. Clearly, however, Hosea 11:1 links God's "son," Israel (formerly Jacob), to the nation of Israel in bondage in Egypt. Moreover, Exodus 4:22 and 23 tell us that Jacob was God's "firstborn" son! According to Matthew Jesus was God's firstborn Son, but the Scripture Matthew quoted in its original context referred to the nation Israel, not Jesus.

  • Why did Matthew seem to have the liberty to analogize Jesus' experience of being called out of Egypt with the nation of Israel's being called out of Egypt? Aren't Jacob (Israel) and Jesus two altogether different entities?

  • What does Matthew's method of handling that particular scripture in Hosea tell us about his hermeneutic?

  • Did Matthew apply a hermeneutical rule in the way he quoted and applied Hosea 11:1 to Jesus and not to the nation of Israel?

One instigation for my questions was a comment made by Dr. Peter Enns, author of Inspiration and Incarnation, while he was being interviewed on a "Beyond the Box" podcast. Matthew 2:15 informed an observation he made.