After visiting and gifting their treasures to baby Jesus, the wise men were warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod. Despite Herod’s orders to return and inform him where Jesus was located, they faithfully obeyed their dream and took a different route back to their own country.
Later that night, Joseph had a frightening dream where an angel of God appeared to him.
“Wake up and take Mary and the baby to Egypt and stay there until I tell you further,” the angel said. “Herod is looking for your child and wants to kill him.”
Joseph immediately heeded the warning from the angel and woke up Mary and Jesus. Together, they walked many miles until they finally arrived in Egypt, where they would be safe from Herod.
Back in Bethlehem, Herod was furious when he realized the wise men disobeyed him and wouldn’t return. He wanted to be the only king, but the prophecy said that the newborn Savior was a king, too.
To remove this threat to his rule, Herod gave the most evil order of all: “Kill all the babies in Bethlehem that are two-years-old and under.”
Sadness and mourning swept over the land as Herod’s soldiers carried out the wicked order.
Years later, when Herod finally died, an angel appeared to Joseph in another dream. “Get up and take your child and his mother to Israel,” said the angel. “The people who tried to kill Jesus are now dead.”
As they went on their way to Israel, Joseph heard that Herod’s son Archelaus took over Judea in place of his father. Fearing something bad might happen to his son, Joseph waited for direction and received more from the Lord when an angel again appeared to him in a dream.
“Change paths and go to Galilee,” Joseph was directed.
So they changed their course and arrived in Nazareth, their home village. This fulfilled the prophets’ words, which declared that Jesus would be called a Nazarene.