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OF OUR LORD'S GOING DOWN INTO EGYPT5.
WHEN the Magi had returned to their country, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and said to him, 'Arise, take the Child p. 87 and His mother, and flee to Egypt; and stay there until I tell thee.' So Joseph arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and fled to Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod. When they were journeying along the road to Egypt, two robbers met them; the name of the one was Titus, that of the other Dûmâchos (?). Dûmâchos wished to harm them and to treat them evilly, but Titus would not let him, and delivered them from the hands of his companion. When they reached the gate of the city called Hermopolis1, there were by the two buttresses of the gate two figures of brass, that had been made by the sages and philosophers; and they spoke like men. When our Lord and His mother and Joseph entered Egypt, that is to say that city, these two figures cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'A great king has come into Egypt2.' When the king of Egypt heard this, he was troubled and moved; for he feared lest his kingdom should be taken away from him. And he commanded the heralds to proclaim throughout the whole city, 'If any man knoweth (who He is), let him point (Him) out to us without delay.' When they had made much search and did not find Him, the king commanded all the inhabitants of the city to go outside and come in one by one. When our Lord entered, these two figures cried out, 'This is the king.' And when our Lord was revealed, Pharaoh sought to slay Him. Now Lazarus--whom Christ raised from the dead--was there, and was one of the king's officials, and held in much esteem by the lord of Egypt. He drew near to Joseph and asked them, 'Whence are ye?' They said to him, 'From the land of Palestine.' When he heard that they were from the land of Palestine, he was sorry for them, and came to the king and pledged himself for the Child. And he said to the king, 'O king, live for ever! If deceit be found in this Child, behold, I am before thee, do unto me according to thy will.' This is the (cause) of the love between Lazarus and Christ. One day when Mary was washing the p. 88 swaddling bands of our Lord, she poured out the water used in washing in a certain place, and there grew up there apûrsam1 (that is to say balsam) trees, a species of tree not found anywhere else save in this spot in Egypt. Its oil has (divers) properties; if a man dips iron into it, and brings (the iron) near a fire, it shines like wax; if some of it is thrown upon water, it sinks to the bottom; and if a drop of it is dropped upon the hollow of a man's hand, it goes through to the other side. Our Lord remained two years in Egypt, until Herod had died an evil death. He died in this manner. First of all he slew his wife and his daughter, and he killed one man of every family, saying, 'At the time of my death there shall be mourning and weeping and lamentation in the whole city.' His bowels and his legs were swollen with running sores, and matter flowed from them, and he was consumed by worms. He had nine wives and thirteen children. And he commanded his sister Salome and her husband, saying, 'I know that the Jews will hold a great festival on the day of my death; when they are gathered together with the weepers and mourners, slay them, and let them not live after my death.' There was a knife in his hand, and he was eating an apple; and by reason of the severity of his pain, he drew the knife across his throat, and cut it with his own hand; and his belly burst open, and he died and went to perdition. After the death of Herod who slew the children, his son Herod Archelaus reigned, who cut off the head of John. And the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt and said to him, 'Arise, take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the life of the Child are dead.' So Joseph took the Child and His mother, and came to Galilee; and they dwelt in the city of Nazareth, that what was said in the prophecy might be fulfilled, 'He shall be called a Nazarene.' In the tenth year of the reign of Archelaus the kingdom of the Jews was divided into four parts. To Philip (were assigned) two parts, Ituraea and Trachonitis; to Lysanias one part, which was Abilene; and to p. 89 Herod the younger the fourth part. And Herod loved Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
4 In the Oxford MS. chap. xliv.
5 Matt. chap. ii.
1 In the Thebaïd. For the opinions of the ancient writers on this subject see Tillemont, Mém. Eccles., i. 8.
2 When Christ entered Egypt, ail the idols fell down and were broken. See Fabricius, Evangel. Infantiae, p. 175; Migne; Dict. des Apoc., vol. xxiv, p. 926; Thilo, Codex Apoc., p. 399; Cowper, Apoc. Gospels, p. 63.
1 See Löw, Aram. Pflanzennamen, p. 73, no. 53.