Research Question

Here’s a quick question for anyone who’s interested:


How old was Jesus when he came back from Egypt to Israel with Mary and Joseph?  (Matthew 2:20) The Greek could be anywhere from infant (not likely) to pre-puberty. Any other evidence one way or another? Archelaus is a clue, but without a bit of research, I don’t know how he relates to the timeline, particularly the slaughtering of the innocents. I read a novel once in which Jesus was six or seven coming out of Egypt, but don’t know the sources involved.


Why do I ask? Well, commentaries and even translator’s handbooks often don’t answer the kinds of questions that come up in Sign Language translation. SL translation is visual. In natural signing, as often as not, action is shown, rather than told about. So when Joseph  “takes the child  in draft one of our JSL Matthew, the signer briefly takes on the role of Joseph looking down at a child in his arms. The way he holds the child would be very different depending on the age—past a certain age, he wouldn’t likely be holding the child at all. In draft one, Jesus looks very much like an infant. That didn’t seem right to me, but I would like to have more information on it if possible before discussing changes.



About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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One Response to Research Question

  1. Ingvild says:

    I certainly do not know, but as king Herod had asked the wise men before he did the slaughtering, my guess is that Jesus was about a year, or a little more, when they fled for Egypt. He seems to have been established in Nazareth before they went to Jerusalem when he was 12, so between 5 and 10 somewehre??? Not a baby to be craddled

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