Joseph goes to Galilee (Mt 2:22-2:22)

“But when Joseph heard

That Archelaus

Was ruling over Judea,

In place of his father,

King Herod,

He was afraid

To go there.

After being warned

In a dream,

He went away

To the district of Galilee.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν· χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας

 

Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream (χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ), without the explicit mention of the angel of the Lord. Joseph found out that the son of King Herod (ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου), Archelaus, (23 BCE-16 CE) was now in charge in Judea (ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας). He was afraid to go back there (ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν) to Judea, since maybe King Herod’s son would be after his child just like his father. Actually, Herod Archelaus only lasted about 10 years before the Romans took the title away from him in 6 CE. Thus, Joseph decided to withdraw to the district of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας), without explicitly being told to do so. Galilee was a rocky terrain region in northern Israel. Originally, it was part of the tribal regions of Naphtali, Dan, and Asher, but later it was part of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a Phoenician presence and influence. In the Roman times, Galilee was clearly separate from Judea. Many of the events in the life of Jesus would take place there, even though Herod Antipas, the other son of King Herod, ruled Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE.

Herod was annoyed and frightened (Mt 2:3-2:4)

“When King Herod heard this,

He was frightened.

All of Jerusalem

Was troubled

With him.

King Herod called together

All the chief priests,

As well as the scribes

Of the people.

He inquired of them

Where the Christ

Was to be born.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἡρῴδης ἐταράχθη, καὶ πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα μετ’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ ἐπυνθάνετο παρ’ αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ Χριστὸς γεννᾶται.

 

When the old King Herod heard this (ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἡρῴδης) from the magi, he was frightened, troubled, and annoyed (ἐταράχθη), since he did not have a new born son.  He might have worried about his own sons, since his oldest son Archelaus would become the ethnarch of the tetrarchy of Judea, while Herod Antipas would become tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, when he died.  In fact, the whole town of Jerusalem (πᾶσα Ἱεροσόλυμα μετ’ αὐτοῦ) was troubled also, because they had not heard anything about a new king.  Thus, King Herod assembled all the chief priests and the scribes (συναγαγὼν πάντας τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς τοῦ λαοῦ) in Jerusalem to find out (ἐπυνθάνετο) where this new anointed king might have been born (αὐτῶν ποῦ ὁ Χριστὸς γεννᾶται).  Interesting enough, Matthew has the new child called Χριστὸς, the anointed one.  King Herod probably gathered the great Jewish Sanhedrin to discuss this matter.  Herod himself was from Edom and not really a traditional Jew, but had converted to Judaism, so that his knowledge of Jewish traditions was weak.