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“Out of Egypt … called my son.”

The statement could be take in two ways: Out of Egypt because he would eventually return from Egypt into Judea - which would reenact the Exodus; or, Herod’s Judea had become the new Egypt, and Christ’s flight into Egypt is an ironic reversal of the Exodus.

What are the approaches to Matthew’s Citation of Hosea 11:1?

  • Jesus’ life is a recapitulation of the nation of Israel, and therefore his leaving Egypt fulfills this passage typologically.
  • The sensus plenior view, which would have God intending a direct fulfillment here, although Hosea was not thinking of the Christ. c.f. William LaSor Tyndale Bulletin 29 (1978) 49-60.
  • Hosea is speaking of the divine love for Israel, that despite his judgment he will restore them. Hosea is speaking of the restoration of Israel which is part of the fabric of Messianic thought throughout the OT into the New, and the “Son” term is part of that as well. Hosea may not have had the Messiah directly in mind, but Matthew’s interpretation is consistent with the development of a Messianic understanding of Israel’s restoration. c.f. Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary
  • The book of Hosea is a compilation of the prophecies of Hosea to serve as a metaphorical application to Judah. In this view, Hosea 11:1-4 speaks metaphorically of the eschatological deliverance, and therefore Matthew is citing the literal sense. Sailhamer would say Hosea himself intended the messianic meaning of the Exodus as interpreted by the Pentateuch. Specifically, it is Numbers 24:8 which looks forward to the future king coming out of Egypt after Numbers 23:22 speaks of the past Exodus of the people. c.f. Brevard Childs, and subsequently John Sailhamer.
  • Analogical correspondence: Matthew looked back and drew analogies or correspondences with events depicted in Hosea 11:1 rather than Hosea 11:1 looking forward to the events depicted in Matthew 2:13-15.