The Birth of Christ and Hosea 11.1 in Matthew 2.15

It is now Christmas day as I type this; the day that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. As I read Matthew’s infancy narrative I am again reminded of all that took place surrounding the Messiah’s birth and early life. It is hard to imagine a young woman being told by an angel that she was soon to give birth to the God-Man. The promised Messiah of Isa 7.14 and 9.6 was soon to enter the world of men. What must have gone through her mind as she listened to the words of Gabriel are possibly seen in the “Magnificant” in Luke 1.46-55. It could not have been easy for her to have to endure public shame and disgrace, but her faith in “God my Savior” was strong and genuine. As I read the account every year (almost always in Matthew) I am again humbled by the grace of God to send his Son to die for sinners. After all, it says in Matt 1.23 that “He will save His people from their sins.” This is one of my favorite verse for a number of reason, one being that I am one of “His people.” He came to save me; He was born to save me.

How does this all tie into Hosea 11.1 in Matt 2.15 you may ask? Honestly, there is no tie in. It was a couple of years ago that I was reading through the infancy narrative of Matt and like a jolt of lightning, I was hit with 2.15. I had read it time and time again. Matthew’s Gospel had long been one of my favorite books to read, and why I did not recognize this verse before hand, I do not know. But I remember thinking to my self, “Why does Matt quote Hosea in such a way?” Is Jesus Israel? Did he misquote or misuse Hosea? Now, I am still working through this myself, but I can say that I do not believe that Matt misquotes or misuses the OT. I think that he knows what it means and the context in which it is located. But still, why does he use this verse here?

I. A Few Observations and Questions

i. The fulfillment formula is found in the exact same way earlier in 1.22, 23. In both places the idea of “sonship” is addressed.

ii.  Why is the OT quote found here in 2.15 instead of after 2.20?

iii. Is Matthew use of Hosea to show that Jesus is a type of Israel?

iv. There seems to be running through the first few chapters of Matt an exodus theme. Does this shed light on the use of Hosea in Matt?

I have not yet been able to come to a definite answer to these and other questions that are going through my mind in relation the the use of the NT in the OT. I am indeed fascinated by how the NT writers quote, cite, allude to, and at times echoes the OT in the writings. A good friend of mine has done extensive research on this and I await his published thesis.

Well, may you all have a blessed Christmas and may the Lord shine his light of love upon you and your family.

Sources Consulted:

 

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