Only the Lord knows — and perhaps some biblical scholars — if there is symbolism in Mary and Joseph escaping Herod by going back to Egypt. But the oddity of this event struck me this morning. God, through an angel, commands Joseph to take Mary and the child, Jesus into Egypt because Herod is searching for them in order to kill the child. In Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus, he murders all the boys who are two years and under “in Bethlehem and its vicinity.” (Matthew 2:16) God’s people are not safe even in their own land under their own government, a government desirous of power and money.
Jesus escapes an early death by fleeing with his parents back into the land that enslaved His people for years and years. Joseph remains in Egypt until Herod dies at which time the angel of the Lord calls him back to Israel but warns him not to return to Judea but to live in the district of Galilee in a town called Nazareth.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Hosea 11:1)