Matthew's gospel account
When the Magi come in search of Jesus, they go to
Herod the Great in Jerusalem and ask where to find the newborn "King of the Jews". Herod becomes
paranoid that the child will threaten his throne, and seeks to kill him (
2:1–8). Herod initiates the
Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child (
Matthew 2:18). But an
angel appears to
Joseph in a dream and warns him to take Jesus and his mother into Egypt (
Egypt was a logical place to find refuge, as it was outside the dominions of King Herod, but both Egypt and Israel were part of the
Roman Empire, linked by a coastal road known as "
the way of the sea",
 making travel between them easy and relatively safe.
Return from Egypt
After a time the holy family returns from Egypt. The text states that Herod had died. Herod is believed to have died in 4 BC, and while Matthew does not mention how, the Jewish historian
Josephus vividly relates a gory death.
The land that the holy family return to is identified as Judah, the only place in the entire New Testament where Judah acts as a geographic description of the whole of
Judah and Galilee
Matthew 2:20, rather than as referring to a collection of religious people or the Jewish people in general. It is, however, to Judah that they are described as initially returning, although upon discovering that
Archelaus had become the new king, they went instead to Galilee. Historically, Archelaus was such a violent and aggressive king that in the year 6 AD he was
deposed by the Romans, in response to complaints from the population. Galilee was ruled by a much calmer king,
Herod Antipas, and there is historical evidence that Galilee had become a refuge for those fleeing the iron rule of Archelaus.
Prophecy of Hosea
Matthew 2:15 cites
11:1 as prophetically fulfilled in the return of Joseph, Mary and Jesus from Egypt:
"... and out of Egypt I called My son".
Matthew's use of Hosea 11:1 has been explained in several ways. A
sensus plenior approach states that the text in
Hosea contains a meaning intended by God and acknowledged by Matthew, but unknown to Hosea. A
typological reading interprets the fulfillment as found in the national history of Israel and the antitypical fulfillment as found in an event in the personal history of Jesus. Matthew's use of typological interpretation may also be seen in his use of
Another reading of Hosea's prophetic declaration is that it only recounts God summoning of the nation of Israel out of Egypt during
the Exodus, referring to Israel as God's son in accordance with
Moses' declaration to Pharaoh:
"Israel is my first-born son; let my son go, that he may serve me" (Exodus 4:22–23).
Massoretic Text reads my son, whereas the
Septuagint reads his sons or his children;
 the Massoretic Text is to be preferred, the singular being both consonant with the other words which are in the singular in Hosea 11:1 and with the reference to Exodus 4:22–23. The Septuagint reading may be explained as having been made to conform to the
Hosea 11:2, they and them.