Fun with the Bible: How Jesus’ Birth in Matthew is Like Moses’ Babyhood in Egypt

I don’t know if you’ve ever read chapter 2 of Matthew and thought to yourself, hmm, this sounds like something or reminds me of something that I just can’t put my finger on. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone and you’re picking up on an important motif that the author of the gospel of Matthew wanted you to see.

What happened to Jesus as a baby is meant to make us think back to the early chapters of the book of Exodus and liken Jesus’ tale to Moses.’ Why would Matthew want to do this? Well, Moses was the ultimate leader of the Jewish people (up until this point, Matthew would like you to believe), and perhaps more importantly, it is the Mosaic law that the Jews follow. Jesus is the bringer of the new law (that of the Holy Spirit) and should be, for Matthew, the leader of the Jewish people.

By likening their babyhoods Matthew is telling us that Jesus is now the new Moses. After chapter 1 which connected Jesus to Abraham and David, the other big figures of Judaism, Jesus is pretty set to rule the roost. (If you’d like to read about the connection of Jesus to those two figures in Matthew 1, click HERE.)

So, let’s list the ways that Jesus and Moses are connected:

1. Matthew 2:13 – Clue number one is the inclusion of the word “Egypt.” Go to Egypt, Joseph is told in a dream, and just like the Jews went to Egypt the first time because of Joseph, so too are some going now.

2. 2:16-17 – King Herod as the baby killer echoes the story of Pharaoh killing all the babies in Exodus 1.

3. Like Moses, Jesus escapes the baby-killing.

4. Joseph and company make their exodus from Egypt to Israel.

Now, some of you may be like, “Dude, that was not sufficiently convincing evidence.” I understand your troubles, but I stand by the fact that the inclusion of Egypt and babies being killed around Jesus and Jesus’ parents ensuring that he escaped this terrible fate, etc. are meant to make us liken Jesus to Moses.

What do you think? Do you buy it? Do you notice any other clues to this association?

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Enjoy more Fun with the Bible posts.

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