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§ 21. The Return to Nazareth.

Joseph and Mary remained but a short time with the child in Egypt. The death of Herod soon recalled them to Palestine, and they returned to their old place of abode, the little town of Nazareth,6363   It was formerly thought that Matthew and Luke contradicted each other here. Luke states that Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary, and that, laving gone to Bethlehem for a special purpose (the taxing), they remained long enough to perform the necessary ceremonies after the birth of the child, and then returned home. According to Matthew, Bethlehem appears to have been their settled place of abode, and they were only induced, by special considerations, to betake themselves to Nazareth after their return from Egypt. The apparent contradiction vanishes when we consider that the memoirs were collected and written independently of each other.
   Luke may have received the account of the journey of Christ’s parents to Bethlehem, without learning either their intention to remain there with the child, or the cause that led them to change that intention; while the author of the Greek text of Matthew may have adhered to the separate statements that were given to him, in ignorance of the special cause of the journey to Bethlehem. Both accounts may be equally true, and harmonize well with each other, although those who put them imperfectly together may not perceive the argument. Moreover, even in Matthew (xiii., 54) we find Nazareth named as Christ’s “own country.” There is no improbability in supposing that Joseph and Mary were induced, by the remarkable events which marked the birth of the child at Bethlehem, and by the revelation of his destiny that was vouchsafed to them, to fix their residence at the seat of the tribe of David, in the vicinity of the Holy City; but that fear of Archelaus, who emulated his father’s cruelty and contempt of holy things, led them to change this purpose. This much is certain, that Matthew’s statement of the apprehension which grew out of Archelaus’s accession to the government agrees precisely with the testimony of history in regard to that prince, who, in the tenth year of his reign, was accused before Augustus of various crimes, and exiled to Vienna.—Joseph., xvii., xiii., 2.
in Galilee.

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