Flight into Egypt

Flight into Egypt

The Flight Into Egypt

Studio and Date Unknown

The window above the door of the Chapel of the Holy Family depicts Jesus, Joseph, and Mary during the Flight Into Egypt. According to Matthew 2:13-23, when the Magi came to Herod the Great in Jerusalem and asked where the newborn “King of the Jews” was, he became paranoid that the child would become a threat to his throne, and sought to kill him (2:1-8). Herod initiated the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child (2:16-18). But an angel appeared to Joseph and warned him to take Jesus and his mother into Egypt (2:13). Matthew is repeatedly careful to describe Joseph only as the husband of Jesus’ mother, rather than as Jesus’ father. Egypt was the logical place to find refuge, as it was outside the dominions of King Herod, and throughout the Old Testament it was the standard place of exile for those unsafe in Palestine. At the time in which the story of the flight is set, both Egypt and Palestine were part of the Roman Empire, making travel between them easy and relatively safe.